Are You Self-made?

America has gained this reputation as the land of opportunity. It has done so by trying to destroy any and all hereditary obstacles to advancement. Instead, in America the idea is that individual initiative alone could create social mobility. A self-made man would owe his advancement to things like self discipline, loneliness, sobriety, the avoidance…

Dream Attained. Closing Shop.

Fifteen years. Five books finished. The final chapters in the lives of my best friends soon to be sent off to the editor. I feel like I want to die. Or maybe write an epilogue? Maybe another spin-off? My issue with God and writing books is that I followed the instruction to love my neighbor…

Fiction: Tangled

“Seems the bit of merriment you boys had got the lieutenant shot,” said the veteran doctor. Buck swung his legs to the side of the bed. “I have to see him.” “No, I’m afraid not, son. Fahy won’t want to see you. He’s upset and angry, poor devil. Says you both stole horses and deserted…

What Does Your Name Mean?

How do names shape us? In ways we often little realize. Parents and fiction writers have their methods of putting name to face. Some search lists and meanings long before the person is made flesh. Some, like me pick names at random. I thought it would be fun to compare the personality traits of the…

“It is not the critic who counts. …

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither…

Fiction: A Race and a Rescue

William wasn’t used to such high-quality drink, and it affected him strangely. He pulled out his Bowie knife—passed down from his Uncle Simon’s old things—and started for the mountains where a band of Apache camped. “Bill, what are you playing at?” Fahy asked. “Apache tizwin. I heard it’s good drink. I’m gonna try it.” “How?…

How Will You Live in Old Age?

Some people seem to take years to die. In my family members crash and burn. One moment my father was cooking burgers on the grill for my son, the next he was dying of a heart attack. Aside from dying while sleeping, this is the best way to go, though it’s a shock to those…

Fiction: Burnt

“Stay with me, cadet,” Fahy replied. “We’ll have some devilment tonight.” But Buck had come west for a break from devilment. The day glistened like a golden carpet to the west and Buck felt the nip of sunburn and weariness as the soldiers tended a massive fire with choice cuts of rare buffalo brought in…

An Architect of Happiness: Henry Van Dyke

“Dr. Van Dyke is the kind of a friend to have when one is up against a difficult problem. He will take trouble, days and nights of trouble, if it is for somebody else or for some cause he is interested in.” Helen Keller said of him. There are some long-dead men who follow their…

Fiction: Stuck

Fahy caught Buck’s unfriendly look. “What’s the matter? Has something happened to Thankful?” “She’s fine under the circumstances,” Buck said in his strongest voice. “I know she’s upset over my being here—but it’s the army.” Buck said nothing more. He’d been sworn to secrecy by Thankful. “The cadet brought us a whole case of fine…