Building a box seemed the appropriate thing to do. To mark the publication of my 12th book, I constructed a wooden box to display the three novels and the five bound collections of essays, short stories, and poems in the Old Coot series and the three in the North Country series. Plus the worst juvenile fiction book in the history of children’s literature.
When I am anxiety ridden and stressed, the result of my borderline psychosis is often a wooden box. Sometimes these boxes are made for a specific purpose. Sometimes their purpose is to contain my sanity This time the box project served for both.
Shortly before the scourge of pandemic ended public life, I published A View from The North Country. A reading and book signing session was scheduled to promote that book at the local book store, Dragonfly Books. But a week before that event, precautions against public gatherings were wisely implemented, and the book signing was among the casualties.
There followed 18 months of isolation, social distancing, mask-wearing, shut-ins, shutdowns, remote schooling for children, local business slowdowns, layoffs, Economic Impact Payments, unemployment benefits, and disorganized vaccinations clinics before life in the North Country of the upper Midwest returned to a more normal pace. Through it all, I continued to write. That was probably another attempt to contain it all in a box.
Late in 2020 I published Coot Dogs – An Anthology of Dog Stories by a Crazy Old Coot. Most of those essays and stories had been previously published in one of the Coot series or North Country series books, but a few of the tales of dogs kept my writing alive when it could have died a suffocating death in the time of COVID.
On June 1, the latest book was published: A Slow Walk Through The North Country. A collection of 49 new essays, stories and poems that should nail my reputation as an outdoor writer – or, as it turned out, nail together a box to display the creative writing of my previous 12 years.
I hope you will enjoy this book. I hope you will enjoy all 12 of my books, although you would be advised to avoid the children’s book, Scrawny Dog, Hungry Cat, and Fat Rat, which saw the light of day for reasons that had little to do with literature and much to do with friendship.
The display box has room for one more book. I think I have one more book in my imagination, struggling to escape, to be written, and to be published. We shall see.
A Slow Walk Through The North Country is available in paperback and Kindle formats.