Update on THIS LIFE, An Autobiography

Hi everyone,

RACHEL KERSEY, my editor for THIS LIFE reports that the publishing branch of Ingram has gone silent on her about the fancier version of the book they committed to print several months ago. We’ve been waiting for the special paper to arrive and expecting delivery of the new printing in January or February. At this time we are assuming that this isn’t going to happen.

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting for the Ingram edition before ordering your copy. Rachel is in the process of seeking another publisher so that we can still make THIS LIFE available online, but for now your best bet is to order from the original version published by Ozark Studies Institute at https://ozarksstudies.missouristate.edu/book-series.htm It’s well done and in stock.

I’m grateful to those who have sent or posted such nice comments about the book, my lifelong adventure toward becoming a writer of books for young people and teachers. Here’s an excerpt from one of the stories.


On the other side of the road across from the Pauly farm lay a large field. The owner lived in another state and paid little attention to his property. In summer the weeds grew so high you had to shove your way through them. On the far side of the field, two large mounds of white rocks rose into the air like small mountains. They marked the spot where in the 1800’s there had been a lead mining operation. Billy had heard that a guy was killed in a mining accident around 1920 and the mine had shut down. All that remained of it were those enormous piles of broken up limestone. Billy’s persuasive begging worked on his mother and we were allowed to set off across that field toward the promise of adventure.

We made the trip to the mine more than once the summer we were twelve. A major attraction was the discovery of large lead crystals scattered here and there among the rock rubble that glistened in the sun with metallic light. We accumulated a treasure trove of the crystals and kept them hidden away in a spot no one would ever find. Later, we couldn’t find them, either. But the main reason we went back was the cave. We had been told there was a cave near the mine tailings that opened like a hole in the ground and had been boarded over for years. We had also been warned to stay away from it. Naturally, finding the cave became our mission.

We eventually discovered the rotting framework of the wooden cover and managed to shove it aside. The entrance went straight down for ten feet before the entrance to a tunnel angled off to one side. Sometime in the past, the sides had been walled up with stone. With our 6th grade ingenuity, we tied a rope around the trunk of a nearby crabapple tree and climbed down the rope to the floor. We used flashlights to explore the tunnel back several yards to a good-sized room where water dripped and we filled our pockets with fossils that stuck out from the stone walls and littered the floor. That’s where we should have stopped. Instead, we found a small tunnel scarcely larger than our bodies and wondered where it led. Billy wormed his way into the entrance and I followed. Not far into the tight quarters, Billy let out a low whistle.

“There’s a skull up here!” he whispered. “Somebody was murdered in here!”

KSMU Public Radio interview


Hi everyone,

Okay, this time the KSMU interview with MICHELE SKALICKY, which includes my editor for THIS LIFE, RACHEL ELAINA KERSEY, is really going to be aired. At 7:45 a.m. CT tomorrow (Tuesday), here’s how to look for it.

This Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. CT I’ll be on Ozarks Public Radio KSMU, interviewed by an old friend, MICHELE SKALICKY. We’ll talk about my newest book and upcoming plans for others. Here’s the beautiful building that is home to the public TV and radio station. It’s located on the campus of Missouri State University. KSMU Public Radio reaches 40,000 listeners on a weekly basis. View the numerous ways you can listen to NPR and KSMU on the web or from your phone. Or manually load the streaming links into your favorite mobile app.MP3 encoding 128 kps Stereo

KSMU – http://ksmu.streamguys1.com/ksmu3
KSMU HD2 – http://ksmu.streamguys1.com/ksmu4
AAC encoding 128 kps Stereo
KSMU – http://ksmu.streamguys1.com/ksmu1
KSMU HD2 – http://ksmu.streamguys1.com/ksmu2
From your radio, hear KSMU in the following cities on these channels:
KSMU: 91.1 FM – Springfield
KSMS: 90.5 FM – Point Lookout/Branson
KSMW: 90.3 FM – West Plains
K204FX: 88.7 FM – Mountain Grove
k255AH: 98.9 FM – Joplin
K279AD: 103.7 FM – Neosho

It’s a KSMU Public Radio day

Hi everyone,

I look forward to meeting with MICHELE SKALICKY at KSMU this morning at 9:15 CT. Good news is that my editor for This Life, RACHEL ELAINA KERSEY, is joining us for the interview. Here’s Rachel on the day I signed the contract for the book. All the KSMU contact information is provided on my blog from two days ago.

I’ve very grateful for all the kind comments from readers who have finished reading This Life. Thank you very much! You can order a copy at this link: https://ozarksstudies.missouristate.edu/book-series.htm

I had a fine time

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to say that we had a good turnout last night at the Library Center and most of them were old friends, many of whom I’ve known for decades. I couldn’t have asked for a better night or way to introduce THIS LIFE to a supportive audience. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who braved the cold and remaining snow to be there and share my evening. Thanks to ANGELA KNIGHT (librarian at Harrison Elementary School) for taking this picture of my trying to think. That’s my editor for the book, RACHEL KERSEY, who did a great job of feeding me good questions. TOM PETERS, Dean of the magnificent Duane Meyer Library, was there, too, and handled book sales. It was Tom’s decision to publish my memoir so I’m especially grateful to him.

Tonight I’ll hope for another good experience when I start talking about and reading from THIS LIFE at Pagination Bookshop at 1150 E. Walnut at 6:00. Again there will be time for questions and answers.

Coming up next is an interview with MICHELE SKALICKY at KSMU next Wednesday morning at 9:15. I will let you know when it will be aired.

Tonight at the library

Hi everyone,

Tonight is a big night for me. For the first time since it came out, I’m introducing my autobiography, THIS LIFE, to the public. At 7:00 my editor, RACHEL KERSEY, and I will sit before an audience gathered at The Library Center in Springfield and talk about the book.

Rachel will come prepared with questions and I, hopefully, will come with answers. I may read a bit now and then to help provide further insight about how I chose the events in my life that I think eventually influenced me as a writer and poet.

The cover for THIS LIFE was taken by RANDY BACON when he was shooting Words and Pictures, the marvelous exhibit that has been on display at numerous locations around the area. I’m very grateful to Randy for allowing me to use the picture of me on the cover.

I’ve given many programs at The Library Center over the years. Most have been well attended by audiences that included numerous children. But tonight’s event is different. There won’t be many or any children there. This time the subject is for adults — writers, readers, teachers, librarians, parents… I don’t know what to expect and can only hope for a nice turnout. Wish me luck. Come if you can.