Reform School! was printed in 2009. It spoke to the problems with public education and offered ways to fix the system. The book was self-published, the editing was not good, and the writing only a little better. Frankly, it fell far short of expectations. There will not be a second edition, but some of the ideas, the ones that transcend time, will be periodically shared as blog posts. The basic tenets of the book were: 1) Public education should be free and available to all students, but they must earn the right to receive their education. 2) Students earn this right by following the rules and not distracting the rights of other students accordingly. 3) Public schools are top-heavy with bureaucracy; put all educators in a classroom for at least a part of the day. 4) Develop a program that pays students to go to school. 5) Use technology to make classes relevant to the times. And, 6} Set common, nation-wide achievement standards. Sadly, the gurus that can fix the consistently falling performances of K-12 students seem content to let “water seek its level,” meaning “the cream rises to the top.”
Dead Man in a Lincoln is set in a small Iowa town and built around the local sheriff, his family, and best friend. As the characters entwine themselves in the case of the dead man, there are surprises along the way that ultimately links everything together. It’s the “story within the story” that makes the novel special as it captures the uniqueness of Midwestern psyche, and explores traditional belief systems concerning the existence of God. Dead Man in a Lincoln is somewhat dark, somewhat sophomoric in its humor, somewhat super-sensory, and somewhat thought-provoking.
Jess is a coming-of -age novel about a young high school student whose family moves from a mid-sized Iowa town to a large city in the mid-south. Originally intended to be a young reader’s book, Jess’s ever-present problems soon become pretty adult as he and his two new-found friends struggle to do what is right in their inner-city school. Ideas from Reform School! are conveniently placed into this novel that is presently about 150 pages into its first draft. Jess is targeted for the near future.
Paperboy is an ever-growing, absolutely true (if you enjoy a bit of hyperbole) ongoing work in progress chronicle focusing on just how tough life was for a kid growing up in the early- and mid-1950’s. Excerpts are available on request. Cy ‘n Ginny is a book that if I live long enough…