So it turns out yesterday played a pretty rough toll on me, so I don't have much to share in the way of housekeeping. I do want to send out a congrats to Chuck B who won the blogiversary contest. I have a nice box of goodies going out to him.
I also thought you might like to know that tomorrow is Read in the Bath Day (no I didn't make it up). I expect you all to observe accordingly, but protect those books or devices.
If you're still looking for a Valentine card for your sweetie (or your secret sweetie) this is terrific...and it looks like it would be quite easy to make, if you have the supplies.
That's all the odds and ends I have to share. Since I'm not on my game today, I'm glad Chris is here to take up the slack. He's a super nice guy, married to an equally nice gal. It's a treat to be able to sit and talk with them. A treat I wish I could indulge in more often. Chris rocked the crime fiction world with his debut novel Dead Harvest and I'm beyond delighted that he made time to hang out with us. Please help me welcome the uber-talented Chris Holm and enjoy this wonderful Five on Friday!
I love Chris' picture, appropriate and taken right here in NE Ohio!
If I could tell my 16-year-old self one piece of advice, knowing what I know now, it would be:
Only one piece? Because believe you me, that kid coulda used reams of advice. Then again, every bit of pain he suffered through – and every damn-fool mistake he made along the way – somehow wound up landing him exactly where he wanted to be, but was too scared to even admit aloud. I’d hate to muck that up. So I think what I’d tell him to maybe ease his burden, spoiler-free, would be:
Don’t worry, kid. Hard as it is to believe, you’re not alone; you just haven’t met your people yet. But they’re out there, and they’re incredible. Hang in.
One thing I have no tolerance for is:
Bigotry in any form – which sounds like a no-brainer in this day and age, but it isn’t. Gay and trans rights in this country are opposed at every turn, and I think that’s in large part because too many folks in favor of them grant the opposition legitimacy by engaging them in polite debate, when in fact their position amounts to nothing more than hate-speech and should be labeled as such.
A skill I’ve always wanted to have, but don’t is:
Collecting music is a lifelong passion of mine – an obsession. But, much to this music-geek’s dismay, I have no musical ability whatsoever. Lord knows I’ve tried. As a kid, I played saxophone in the school band. My band leader pulled my parents aside one day and said, “You know, showing up to rehearsals isn’t enough – Chris really needs to practice at home if he wants to be any good.” To which my parents replied, “He plays at home all the time!” In college, I wound up playing percussion – terribly – on some friends’ band’s album; I hope to god no copies still exist. And I still muddle through to this day, which leads me to…
The best gift I ever received:
About twelve years back, my wife Katrina gave me my first guitar: an entry-level Yamaha acoustic. I don’t think she had any idea what she was in for. As I mentioned, I’ve no musical ability whatsoever. Can’t play. Can’t sing. Don’t seem to improve much, no matter how often I work at it. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying. To this day, I still play guitar nearly every day, banging through the couple dozen songs I’ve learned with zeal, if not talent. And, dear sweet woman that she is, Katrina never complains. If that ain’t love, I don’t know what is.
The #1 item on my bucket list right now is:
I don’t have a bucket list, for two reasons. One, because – like most writers – I’m insatiably curious, and a bit of an experientialist; there’s very little I don’t want to try, to see, to do. That’d make for a mighty unmanageable list. And two, I think bucket lists – like lotto tickets, long-gestating vacation plans, and the promise of retirement – encourage folks to delay living, or to parcel it out into small chunks. That’s an understandable instinct, but I think it’s also a dangerous one, and I push back against it every chance I get.
But I suppose if I had to pick something, I’d say my number-one item would be to write full-time. At present, I have a day job, and while I’m grateful for it (since writing doesn’t pay all my bills), I’d love the opportunity to live my passion.
If Chris starts a musically untalented club, I'll be able to join with flying colors! Many thanks to Chris for his time and his wonderful responses. I hope you'll check out his work if you haven't already. Have a great weekend and happy reading, friends!