There’s the world of paying work and then there is the work you do for which no one has to pay. You’ll do it regardless. That’s what this is about.

portraitOver the years I’ve sold some boats and sold some books. The money was frosting on the cake. The truth is that it would have been tough to keep me from building the boats or writing the novels.

The boats are primarily skin-on-frame craft, made in the style of Greenlandic or Aleutian kayaks. Mostly they’re scraps of wood, laced together in a cunning manner and then covered with painted fabric. It’s a bit like being able to make a Porsche out of some tin cans that you happen to have around the house. The kayaks are light, nimble and fast, and built exactly to fit. They’re not to everyone’s taste — some people find them claustrophobically tight, or generally untrustworthy. But they align perfectly with certain of my desires — the appeal of making something out of almost nothing, of being at least in this small sector self-reliant, and of occupying myself occasionally with something other than pixels. (You can read much more about my small kayak business here.)

The novels are another case of making something out of nothing. You start with a few thoughts, a blinking cursor and go from there. I’ve had some luck with publishing over the years. Two of my novels were published in the old-fashioned way by New York firms. I sold some film options and foreign rights. With my more recent novels I’m closer to the bleeding edge of modern publishing. I’ve made my novels available as eBooks. (Get details about the books and ordering here.) Samuel Johnson was probably right in observing, No man except a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” The flip side is that if you’re writing fiction with the expectation of money, you’re likely a blockhead. You had best find the activity rewarding in itself. And I do.

I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, with my wife, Patricia and two dogs. Our two wonderful daughters are off on lives of their own.

Comments are closed.