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The Reflection, Only Hers

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The Wonder Years

I’ve been watching a lot of The Wonder Years lately. Love that show. It has a way of making you feel really old and reminiscent – like seeing your life in little flashes of old home movies.

The night I graduated high school, I got into the Camaro I borrowed from my cousin, cranked Third Eye Blind’s “Graduate”, and peeled out of the parking lot. It is now a perfect illustration of most of my high school years; something that was so cool, but actually wasn’t. I was a jerk in high school. Not enough of a jerk that I didn’t have any friends (I had tons), but enough that I think back on some things and say, “Yeah, shouldn’t have done that.” In fact, I shouldn’t have done most of what I did. 31 year old Jeremy says 18 year old Jeremy was an idiot. For those that went to school with me, I can see you nodding.

For all the bad of social media (there are negatives), it does have one pretty big positive: A person can go back and see who and what everyone turned out to be. As determined as I was to peel out of that parking lot and never give another thought to anything or anyone in that town again, I’m glad I didn’t. And I’m damn proud to keep a distant eye on the people I grew up with, and to see the incredible things they are doing.

Stephanie, Heather, and my very own little brother are all teachers. Let’s go ahead and call that the most challenging and important profession in America. This is something you realize when you walk your own kids into the building on their first day of school.

Jeremy is in a band called the Chorderoys. They are seriously good. Remind me a little bit of The Doors. It was probably the first album I’ve bought in 5 years that wasn’t John Mayer. Go check them out.

Courtney owns a Therapy Center that works with children who have autism. I don’t want to be dramatic, but this is life-changing stuff she’s doing.

Ronnie and Brad are both firefighters. As in, literally saving lives.

Buzz is in the Coast Guard. I’m fairly certain this was just his way of having quick access to go fishing, but still, pretty cool.

Whitney’s a nurse. So is Erica. Lacy works for Foster’s Home for Children. On and on it goes.

I know I’m missing so many others. A few people served our country (thank you). A couple didn’t live to see thirty. Almost every one of my old friends are doing the most important thing in the world – raising children of their own.

Oh, there was a girl in high school that I never really dated, but on the weekends we would bum a bottle of Crown Royal from my buddy and go find a place to drink it. Usually, all of it. I hope her mom isn’t reading this. This girl has created three incredible children, built a successful business of her own, and put up with me for eleven years. And me, well, I get paid to make up stories.

All in all, high school was pretty good. I just think that The Wonder Years are probably happening right now.

 

 

 

 

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11 Years

Today marks my eleventh year of marriage. It absolutely does not feel like eleven years, and at the same time I cannot remember even a little bit of what it feels like to not be married. Which is fine with me.

I feel like we’ve seen quite a bit. I also feel like the days go by much faster than they used to. I’m not sure if there’s anything that can be done about that.

People ask me, “How do you do it?”, and I have no answer to the question. There’s nothing intentional about marriage – at least our marriage – it’s a natural existence. It’s not hard. It’s not perfect, either (what is?), but it’s not hard. Sorry, but I don’t think it should be.

I know one thing: My wife makes me a better person in every aspect, and the thought of not having her is scary as hell.

Happy anniversary, April. I really love you a lot.

 

 

 

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Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all.

Grateful for this pretty important piece of writing:

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Read Something!

I spent Sunday evening in Aledo speaking to the children at Camp Hope about the importance of reading. Camp Hope is a great program put on by the Center of Hope teaching kids all over Parker County essential life skills and encouaging them to reach their full potential.

I did my best not to scare them with the statistics, but they’re not made up. Keep reading. Keep your kids reading. And when you’re done with a book, give it to me and I’ll find a good home for it

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Poll: Where do you buy books?

Yeah, I know, you probably buy books at all four of these places.

Where do you most often buy books?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Dreams Come True – Rebecca Emin

A while back I told you guys about a friend of mine putting out solid young adult literature.

Rebecca Emin’s newest work, When Dreams Come True, was released just today. Another great book for the young reader in your house.

Here’s the synopsis:

Charlie is happiest when biking with Max and Toby, or watching films with Allie. But when Charlie reaches year nine (age 13), everything begins to change.

As her friends develop new interests, Charlie’s dreams become more frequent and vivid, and a family crisis tears her away from her friends.

How will Charlie react when old family secrets are revealed? Will her life change completely when some of her dreams start to come true?

You’ll need something to pass some time this summer…go grab this book.

 

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Books and Music and Something Free

I spent the majority of yesterday recording the audio version of While I’m Still Myself with musician and audio producer Timmy Coufal.

I don’t mean to complain – there are plenty of people out there working much harder than I do – but I was surprisingly exhausted from 6 hours of sitting and reading into a microphone. I have a new respect for musicians who probably spend 10x that much time recording their albums, and for the producers who then spend countless hours fixing it all.

Speaking of music…

After the recording was done, I began asking Timmy about some of the bands he produces, his own music, and music in general. It was interesting to hear a musician talking about what he “needs” out of music; what he needs it to do for him. What it’s supposed to feel like when it’s right. It was all the same things that a writer says about literature, which I think I knew already, but was glad to be reminded of it. If we’d had a painter in the room, they probably would have been nodding in agreement. There’s something universal about “art” and how people attach to it, though the mediums and styles and everything else are completely subjective and unique to each person. I thought about it a lot on the way home.

It also made me think about my children, and how I suffer a little bit from the normal parent thing: I want my children to get good grades, go to college, get stable, high-paying jobs, and live comfortable lives. I really do want those things. At the same time, though, I’m watching my daughter write stories and my other daughter draw really great pictures and my son snap the strings on a guitar and listen to the sound of it, and I catch myself hoping that something sticks with one of them.

Anyway.

Timmy is working as you read this on correcting my 112 errors from the recording yesterday (he tells me that’s not bad, which I choose to believe) and at some point we’ll have an audio book ready. Timmy and I recorded one story as a test several months back, and I will be giving away this audio story for free all the way up until the release of the the full book. I love how the story turned out, and it will give you a taste of the full work. Just comment on this post, or contact me through any other method and I’ll get you a file that you can load up on iTunes or whatever music service you use.

Last thing: If you or someone you know needs audio production, you can’t do better than Timmy Coufal. He’s selective, so make sure you’re ready, but if he takes on your project you’re getting the best.

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Goodbye, Bookstore

Mark Hayter says goodbye to his favorite Houston bookstore.

We’ll probably all be doing the same before long.

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Audio

I’m still trying to figure out how you guys consume literature.

Many of you still visit your local library, or your local bookstore, and you read paper books and refuse to fall prey to the “new ways of reading.”

Many of you read on y0ur e-reader, or your computer. Some of you read on your phones during a lunch hour or while waiting for the doctor’s office to call you in.

And some of you, I bet, want to be read to. Audio books are awesome – one of my favorite things. So, I’ve been working with an audio producer to work up some readings of my stuff, and I’d like to try it out on you.

Hop on over to YouTube and check out what I just posted. Let me know if you like it, and let me know if you hate it. I need to know.

No, really, I want to know. Let me hear from you.

 

 

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