The Desperately Ordinary

My sister epitomizes this quote by Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Right now, she’s doing her bits of goodness by making soap. You can read about it in Encore Magazine, while enjoying the gorgeous photos taken by Brian Powers. This essay is part of my forthcoming book, Kissing the World Goodbye, a collection of essays, recipes, and more that will be published by Unsolicited Press in March of 2022.

My sister makes numerous appearances throughout the book, so if you enjoy this piece, you’ll want to get your hands on Kissing the World Goodbye. Until then, I’ll leave you with a collage of some of my sister’s work and photo of her cutting pumpkin soap.

Keep scrubbing those hands with soap!

Are you ready? Heaven is almost here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven descends to earthly bookstores this June. Unsolicited Press, a small and amazing press based out of Portland, Oregon, has been shepherding the book.

A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven is not so much concerned with moving earth towards heaven, as it is with yanking heaven to earth. Even amidst our haste, failures, distractions, and worries, it’s all within reach. The poems invite us to see the mystery in the every day, and revel in the wonders of such things as moths, dandelions, dogs, and beer. 

These poems serve as a gateway to the inner journey. They remind us we are one holy family cut from the same cloth, spiritual explorers of this beautiful, broken world. This collection urges us to pay attention and get to work, “while we still have time to build.”  

If you live in Michigan (or you enjoy driving across the country), stop by Texas Corners Brewing Company on Monday, June 10th from 4:30-6 p.m. and celebrate the book launch with us! I can’t think of a better place to celebrate the arrival of A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven than at Texas Corners Brewing Company, a former church turned farm-to-table restaurant that serves up some heavenly (and devilish) craft beers and ciders. Books will be available for purchase from Michigan News Agency.

Whether you think you’re ready or not, heaven is ready for you.

Texas Corners Brewing Company



Wrangling Black History

Since writing Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman, some of the most interesting people have cropped up in my life. If it wasn’t for Johnny, I doubt our paths would have crossed.

One person intrigued me so much I just had to write about him: Mr. Murphy Darden. I’m thrilled that Encore Magazine has published “Wrangling Black History” as their February feature story and that this most deserving man graces the cover. Yee-haw! You can wrangle up your own copy of Encore from one of these Southwest Michigan locations, or read it on-line, here. Enjoy Brian K. Power’s stunning photography that accompanies the article and learn about a man who Encore’s editor Marie Lee calls “one of Kalamazoo’s most interesting residents.” (Can you spot the Johnny Appleseed connection? Hint: Enoch & Deborah Harris.)

Here’s Johnny!

It’s like two books in one: a book of poetry that encompasses America’s past through the vehicle of Johnny Appleseed. As he moves through the country sowing his seeds, the American landscape, too, evolves, warts and all. The lives of pioneers and settlers, the displacement of Native Americans, slavery, the Pony Express right up to the internet. It’s such an accomplishment. And the end notes are as entertaining as the poetry. If history had been taught like this, I would have come to it much earlier.” ~Elizabeth Kerlikowske, author of Chain of Lakes, the chapbook, Last Hula, (winner of the 2013 Standing Rock Chapbook Competition), and Art Speaks, a collaboration with artist Mary Hatch

The beautiful cover art is by Ladislav Hanka. “Colony Farm Orchard Script” is a drawing over hand-tinted paper.

To find out more about Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman, and where it’s available for purchase, check out the Book page within Clark’s site.

Looking to purchase this book for a library, bookstore, or school? Contact Shabda Press for special discounts.