The Beardly Writer

Some write from the heart. I write from the beard.

Category: Uncategorized

Evolution of a Writer

Human – business evolution

I drove from Ohio to Tennessee yesterday. A little over seven hours. It’s a journey I often made when living in Tennessee. Now that I live on the other end, not as much. The drive isn’t as scenic as I remember. Nostalgia and all that, I suppose.

Through most of the trek, from just outside Dayton to just beyond Nashville, I listened to Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur as read by Tom Parker playing on my phone via an earbud in my right ear. The car I borrowed lacked a radio. Despite having read On The Road five times in the last 12 years, this was only the second book of Kerouac’s I’d read. The two books were published only 5 years apart, but there seemed to me, at least, a noticeable difference in style which if I had to put a finger on, I’d say was due to Kerouac’s evolution as a writer.

I’m no literary scholar. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Neither am I an expert on Kerouac. My assumptions of the differences between these two works could be and probably are stupidly erroneous. Whatever. I guess that’s not really the point I’m making. It made me think about how writers mature and how that maturation reveals itself in the writing. Mostly because I’m going through the same.

The guiding philosophy of my writing has been the same since undergrad; “Everything is Broken,” like the Bob Dylan song off 1989’s Oh Mercy. I used to believe that. Part of me probably still does if I cared to delve. But I’ve changed not just as a writer but as a human person in all those years. By God, I hope so, anyway. It should go that my philosophy should change right along, too. And then it came to me.

I’m not getting into details or personal emotional, psychoanalytical, Myers-Briggs, woe-is-me, personality plop. Nope. But I will say that as I sat at my mind-numbing, mind-eviscerating temp day job a few weeks ago, my brain coughed up this little loogie-gem from out of nowhere. Wasn’t even thinking about it. “Your stories are haunted by the inability of characters to ever truly connect with others.” I wanted to dramatically fall out of my chair as a sort of acknowledgment and respect for the revelation, but work wasn’t the time or place. If a writer must write of which he knows, and as I’ve written, he does, then this guiding ideology is my special domain.

It’s a special kind of realization, recognizing what you’re meant to write. It’s like if someone dropped a calculus textbook in my lap and told me to memorize it, but when I opened it I found I’d written it. I’m home. And I’m so excited to write.


Bacon Blogger


A few months back I applied to be a bacon blogger. Yes, I too was surprised that such a job existed. As part of the application process I had to write a 600 words or less blog about my favorite bacon memories. Time has progressed and I didn’t get the gig, so I’m posting the story here. Enjoy.


The Pig is a magical creature. There’s scarcely a part of the pig that isn’t, either naturally or through some culinary witchcraft, delicious. From the mild, juicy tenderloin to the full pork explosion of chicharrón; from the lip smearing decadence of Jamon Iberico to the southern tradition of barbecue Boston butt; it’s as if the gods looked down from Olympus and, in a rare moment of pity, gave to us mere mortals a porcine gift. Because more than chops and roasts, better than hocks and hams, tastier than ribs and wursts, there’s bacon. We may not be gods but at least we have bacon.

I have a friend who followed a kosher diet. Outwardly I respected her choice while inwardly I railed and screamed at the stars, “but there’s bacon!” Maybe the stars heard me and intervened because she recently posted to Facebook that she’s eating bacon. You’d think she had a baby or kicked a drug habit, I was so proud of her. Her next several posts were all about bacon. How she dreams about it. How she cooks pancakes in bacon grease. Her latest post reads, “Bacon on my salad is changing my life.”

Of course it is. It’s bacon. Bacon is life. To know bacon is to know love. I think, therefore I eat bacon. Much has been said about bacon over the years. None of it does bacon justice. Its transcendence is tantalizing yet terrifying. It resists all attempts to quantify its taste and appeal. We’re told it’s bad for our health but we crave it nonetheless. My favorite bacon memories are any in which the supply of bacon is unlimited. Even that paper thin, factory produced, Old Country Buffet bacon fills the bacon shaped hole in my heart.

Years ago, before the bacon craze of today, I ordered breakfast at a local restaurant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I asked for a side of bacon with my eggs. The waitress replied with the most beautiful question I’d ever heard: “What kind of bacon?”

What kind of bacon? My head swum. With quivering lips I stuttered, “What kinds do you have?”

“Applewood, maple, and peppered,” she said as if bored of blowing people’s minds. I couldn’t possibly choose. So I didn’t. “All three” I managed to grunt.

I don’t remember anything else about that restaurant. I don’t remember its name or how my eggs turned out. I don’t even remember how I got home. All I do remember is a plate of thick center cut bacon and a Zen feeling of contentment and being one with the universe. The rashers snapped with just enough resistance but yielded quickly as I chewed. The flavors of pepper, Applewood, and maple syrup were present but only as background singers to the real star of the show. It was bacon nirvana.

Bacon, or at the very least cured pork, has played a part in most of the great meals of my life.

The first time I had guanciale, essentially bacon from the pig’s jowls, it was home cured by a chef friend of mine and served at a secret dinner, wrapped around a locally sourced organic strawberry. I must have chewed it for ten minutes. Not because it was tough but because I didn’t want the experience to end.

And I still don’t. Bacon is not created equal. Some bacons are better than others. But all bacon is better than all other food. This is food fact número uno. It can turn a lifetime Kosher eater into a bacon fanatic. Does it deserve its own blog, reviewer, and a place on our plates?

You bet your bacon.