I love to write, as you may have noticed. For more than 21 years, I’ve been churning out more stuff every day, every single day, in this space.
What we write here has limited relevance. Post it one day and the next it doesn’t so much because there is always something new to take its place. I wrote Playmakers partly to create something that would have a little more duration than the non-stop news cycle.
In 2020 I started messing around with fiction. Yeah, I wrote a crappy sci-fi football novel many years ago that weirdly got me into this business in the first place. This time, a combination of a little extra free time during the pandemic and a jolt of inspiration got things going.
My father was a bookmaker in the small town where I grew up. He was attached to a wider crew, and my parents did a very good job of sheltering me from the realities of the things they (not my father, as far as I ever knew) were doing.
On the night of my birthday in 2020, I had a very vivid dream about my father and the things he and they may or may not have done back in the 1970s. It gave me an idea for a novel about mob life in the small town. I started writing it the next day.
One thing led to another, and I’ve written six novels since then. I’m more than halfway through a seventh. I have a few ideas for No. 8, No. 9, and No. 10. It’s a night after night process, with an hour or two of writing and rewriting and editing and reediting as a way to reset my brain for the next day constantly to think and talk and write about football. I will finish one, start another, tinker with an earlier one, work on it, start another without any real plan or strategy.
Last December I wrote a Christmas novel. It was based on an idea that had been rattling around inside my head for more than a decade. Once I sat down and started hunting and chopping, the words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters flowed. It felt less like I wrote the story and more like the story wrote itself.
So what the hell do I do with these things? One thing I learned from Playmakers experience is that even with a not too shabby advance from the publisher, writing books will not change anyone’s life – with extremely rare exceptions. And while I’d eventually like to cobble together something that people might want to read and enjoy after I’m dead and gone, I don’t expect, need, or want to make a dime at all from this hobby that has become part of my everyday life . routine.
The whole idea was to create something that people will read and enjoy. So why not just let people read it, and possibly (if they’re a little drunk) enjoy it?
That’s what I’m going to do with the Christmas novel that pretty much wrote itself last year. Officially, this is a Thanksgiving thanks to everyone who has supported what we do over the years. Unofficially, it’s an experiment to see if anyone will read this and possibly (if they’re a little drunk) enjoy it.
The book is called On the way home. If you love the holiday season, there’s a good chance you’ll like it. If you’ve dealt with the pain of losing a loved one, the story may resonate even more with you.
I post a chapter a day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It has just enough chapters to fit the 32 day window.
Give it a try. Here is chapter one. Whether you like it or not, you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. And feel free to get a little drunk before you start it.