The Fabulous Baker Boy (1 of 90)

The southern part of the River has changed course many times over an area some 300 kilometers wide.

The key to these changes is the River’s natural tendency to follow the "path of least resistance," which is almost always the shortest route to the sea.

The Mississippi follows a single channel until gradually its channel fills with sediment. At that point, the River easily overtops its banks during periods of high discharge. When that happens, it is free to find a more direct route to the Gulf, until of course, the lengthy cycle begins again.

This cyclical shifting of the Mississippi has resulted in an ongoing battle to control the forces of nature.

— U.S. Department of the Interior: U.S. Geological Survey, Running Water II: Landscape Evolution


There are very few moments in life that will shake your existence to the core. We mostly try to avoid them. Feverishly. Fevorishly.

Because our lives are set, rolling along like the soft southern Kentucky foothills. Beautiful. Unnoticeable. Every once in awhile, we catch a glimpse of them as the sun bounces off their tops, our eyes caught in a double-take before returning to the road.

It’s how we exist. We are like the river, always seeking the path of least resistance. Convincing ourselves that our path is the path. It must be. We took it. And we flow towards the straightest path to our destination, dropping sediment along the way until we are pushed over the edges.

Our path changes. We seek the lowest ground again. We begin again, convinced this time will be different as we flow towards the inevitable sea.


I launch my 90 in 90 project with the support of two of my fine young students: Tiffany and Megan. I have challenged them to search for their voices through the daily act of writing, the thing that we must always do as writers. The thing that I have not done myself.

I have let myself go. I have lost the essence of the person that I used to be and searched for that in others. I have sought to find a thing to fill the gaping emptiness of my own-ness.  I don’t know how exactly this happened. Only that it did. And the words – which used to define me – have gone lost on me. My motivations eroded. My confidence gone.

Yet the projects continue to pile up before me. Not simply the teaching, but the writing. I am a slave to the work that sits around me, but only mentally. Because the work around me is not getting done.

I sit. I fidget. I tinker. I stare.

I have ceased to be the river. I have become the sediment.


It’s time to carve a new route for me. A new course. One that doesn’t require the sides of the river to climb the banks, to flood the surrounding area.

There is writing to be done. There is research to be done. There are words to find. A life to live.

So here is the plan: 30 days each on the books: Dungeons + Dreamers, So Far Appalachia and Making Digital.

There’s no reason to dilly dally around anymore. No excuses. No life. No anything.

Simply me, the words and you.


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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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