I’m often asked about my childhood. How I grew up. Where. What informed me as a writer, man and child of God. Starting with some of my earliest memories, these are stories of that place in me. That kid in me. In here you will find honest admission of my mistakes, failures, successes. Note: these are not fiction and this is not a novel.
These stories are as true as I can remember. In these pages, you will hear the beginnings of my voice as a writer, the things that were troubling me — things I didn’t know how to voice out my mouth so they bubbled up and out my fingers. You will also hear my unshakable and childlike faith in a sovereign and good Heavenly Father.
I wrote most all of these stories between my sophomore year in high school and my senior year in college so my temptation here and now was to edit them. To make them sound like me today, the writer I’ve become after almost thirty years with this keyboard on my lap. For the record, I have not done that. What you read today, is what I wrote then. (That doesn’t mean they’re sloppy. I’ve cleaned them up a bit.) But, as a result, you hear my early voice. And while it is ripe with mistakes and a wordiness long since edited out of me, there’s also an innocence and purity that I cherish.
For those of you looking for my next novel, this is not it. But, it will give you insight into the novels you have read or might read. I’ve entitled them, “River Road,” because I grew up there. Because that hallowed ground along the St. Johns River holds a tender place in my heart. Because the valiant, sweaty kid I knew back then is still running around with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and he holds an absolute faith that fishing is a more noble pursuit than school, that he can play in the NFL, that men don’t die of hiccups, that he can still cat-walk his Schwin Mag Scrambler over sixty nine parking spaces, that swallowing Levi Garrett chewing tobacco won’t hurt him and that girls actually think it’s cool, that throwing tangerines at cars is good training for arm strength, that being a bully to a buddy hurt his heart, that a pellet to the gonads is excruciatingly painful, that when my praying mother hit her knees next to a wrecked car and bleeding man that she towered over the men around her, that forgiveness is the toughest thing that kid will ever offer another and that God can and will kill the devil. Enjoy.