July 2024 Update

“But I still believe that the unexamined life is not worth living: and I know that self-delusion in the service of no matter what small or lofty cause, is a price no writer can afford. His subject is himself and the world and it requires every ounce of stamina he can summon to attempt to look on himself and the world as they are.”

— James Baldwin, Introduction to Nobody Knows My Name

June has gone and summer is officially in progress. For the husband of a teacher the summer is more than an atmosphere shift around his daily routine. It is an expansion of the world. Projects become possible and time seems to be more forgiving. For a writer this should mean faster and better progress on his sequel... Shouldn't it?


My wife has been miraculous by giving me time, and I've been using it, so the pace is probably a little faster even though it feels the same. I enjoyed writing for about a week before I hit a snag and crashed back to drudgery, but still the drudgery is more worthwhile. Writing has been accepted as an occupation for some time now, but when one does it regularly, one realizes what a deranged passion it is. Without the motivation of money and prestige (for which there is almost a negative guarantee), why on earth would anyone spend their time arranging words to tell stories that seem impossible to figure out? Don't knock it until you try it.


I built a guitar pedal based on EQDs “Acapulco Gold” and it sounds incredible: instant Jimi button. But of course this means I spend a lot of time playing with it and not as much coming up with something original. However I did manage to put some tracks down for one of my Lit songs, and I did spend a lot of time writing another one. I think I have enough songs for an album.




Picked up a collection of James Baldwin essays and they have been life-changing. He writes with such honesty, that no matter how scathing his indictment of White America or White Christians is, I listen. This does not mean that I always agree, but it allows me as the reader to have a rich dialogue with him as I compare his experience with my experience and the experiences of others. His sarcasm also makes me laugh out loud:

“Nor can you get a meal anywhere in the South without being confronted with 'grits'; a pale, lumpy, tasteless kind of porridge which the Southerner insists is a delicacy but which I believe they ingest as punishment for their sins.”

Have also been working through the East of Eden Letters, which Steinbeck wrote to his editor while he was writing East of Eden. Good stuff.


Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys got a lot of play time in June for my kids' bedtime music. It is really one of the best albums I've ever listened to. If your only idea of the Beach Boys is “Surfin' U.S.A,” then I highly suggest it. Really wonderful listening but also very subtle and creative storytelling with music and lyrics. Favorites for me are “Sloop John B,” “I Just Wasn't Made for These Times,” and “God Only Knows,” but they are all good.

For July, my goals are to find some more traditional gospel music and alternative Christian music that gets away from the contemporary Hillsong/Bethel stuff. I'd like to be able to suggest some songs for the worship team, but I haven't done enough listening to find stuff that could work on a Sunday. If you have some suggestions, feel free to toot/tweet them to me.

Until next month...


Thank you for reading! I greatly regret that I will most likely never be able to meet you in person and shake your hand, but perhaps we can virtually shake hands via my newsletter, social media, or a cup of coffee sent over the wire. They are poor substitutes, but they can be a real grace in this intractable world.

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