Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to write about 2018. But there is one thing I’ll share.

One of the most pleasing things that has come out of publishing my first book was my son reading it and doing a book report* on it for school. When I was publishing Everything is Broken, I mentioned that hearing my wife talk about my characters like they were real people was probably enough to keep me doing this even without any sales. My son is anxiously awaiting North Country Girl’s publication, because he wants to read it for his next assignment. Folks, it doesn’t get much better than that.

But let’s reflect on the last assignment. Dylan and I were out walking the dog. He had just finished reading the book, and he asked me about the book’s theme.

Oh brother.

Here’s the thing. I try NOT to start out with a theme, because I feel like it cages the story. As someone who defiantly does not outline, caging the story is exactly what I do not want to do. Of course, high school English teachers do not want to hear any of that.

So, I told my son the truth, but added, “pretty much all of my stories see a couple of themes show up. Those two themes are fatherly love and the tendency of our pasts to have a ripple effect on our presents and futures.”

Dylan nodded his head, “Papi.”

Yep, fatherly love.

But I could see him struggling with the other.

I helped him out, “Pretty much the entire Fuzzy Koella character embodies the second theme. But I don’t set out to tell stories of these themes. It’s just obvious that I am interested in them, and that shows up in the stories.”

“Dad, I think I’m going to go with the theme that’s right in the title.”

Proud papa moment coming.

“We’re all broken in some way, and Fuzzy learns the hard way that you can’t fix everything. Sometimes trying to fix things only makes them worse.”

Yep, fatherly love.

*It’s called something different today, but it’s basically a book report.


If you’re interested in finding out how close Dylan and I got on the themes of Everything is Broken it can be purchased at these fine online retailers:

It can also be ordered by your friendly local bookseller.

2019 Writing

Jan 1 – 731 words

2019 Total – 731 words


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