Just So You Know

An idea that fixed him to one spot was that life was a death dance and that he had quickly passed through the spring and summer of his life and was halfway through the fall. He had to do a better job on the fall because everyone on earth knew what the winter was like.
- Jim Harrison, Farmer

I don't know that I'm halfway through the fall, but I'm definitely in the fall. And I've got to do a better job. There'll probably be two posts a week here for awhile; no more of this every-day-nonsense.

JK, the book agent, believes a fiction piece I've started has the potential to be the next, well, something. He's not alone. When I woke up that day and said hey, why don't I quit everything I've known and try and be a writer, I never considered fiction my genre. Writers use words like genre quite a bit. But a nanosecond's reflection and I'm very aware that fiction has held my heart captive for years. Maybe now, in the fall of my life, it's time to give in. Everyone knows what winter is like.

So, I'll continue to post here a couple of days a week, maybe more if I should win the lottery or discover I'm pregnant or something. But the other mornings, I've got to do better, I've got to put my hand to this plow called story and try and run the rows. If you think about it, I'd appreciate you saying a prayer or lighting a candle or whirling a dervish for me. The spring and summer have passed. I'm hoping this is a golden time for me, for her, for the three who call me dad.

One of my favorite fiction writers, Wallace Stegner, said we write fiction to tell the truth. Amen, Wallace. Amen. I shared that quote with a friend not long ago and he said what? but fiction's not true, right? Some will not understand. But the fall is not a time for catering or convincing; that's what summer strength is for. No, the autumn is time for changing, gradually, briefly, into something distinct. Winter's coming.


  1. That feels right. Blessings my friend as you find companionship with story, truth, and the fall. I,too, am riding through fall and want to do better, thanks for the pause this morning to reflect.

  2. if you turn up preggers, John, that in and of itself will be a "work" worth writing about!! :)

    I will say a prayer (with my eyes open) for you--that this season will be the best season and it will uncharacteristically produce fruit for you....and oh my, I do completely believe that fiction tells the truth--so, amen. again. Wallace.

    I'll keep checking in...however often...just remember us "shameful" readers when you're out on the book tour or at a book signing or accepting an award..."I'd like to thank my readers at The Dirty Shame..." ;)

  3. John...
    I'll gladly give up seeing daily posts on the Dirty Shame in exchange for a book by you. Praying for you to maintain the discipline it will take along with a good dose of inspiration!

  4. Do what you need to do, Dude. Will be praying for you, and anxiously awaiting posts and that awesome work of fiction God has planned for you. Blessings, Gretchen

  5. i will run, not walk to the nearest bookstore when your novel is released.

    loved the quote about fiction. reminds me of emily dickinson's "tell all the truth but tell it slant."

  6. I'm on board. Big time (in the words of a soon-to-be ousted vice president)

    If I ever knew anyone who needed to put their heart and pen to the story, it is you - and I don't say this lightly. Most people who think they have a novel in them, well, don't. (case in point: the fiction aisles at Family Christian Bookstore)

    "the fall is not a time for catering or convincing" - that one snagged me, I'll be ruminating it for a bit.

  7. Can't wait to read it, John.

    Just make sure the cover has a picture of a woman with a bonet, and a few more women on the cover looking plainly, and laboring in the western plains with a dude in coveralls.

    Now, that could sell.