“The Man Who Loved the Graves”
– Steve Shoemaker, April 24, 2012
When I was just a young and naive pastor,
an old man in the congregation
would always arrive long before the rest
of the people at the grave site. He’d shun
the funeral, but haunt the cemetery…
Standing by the open grave, he’d state
his opinion of the deceased and share
with me the type, style and brand of casket
he’d told his wife he wanted when he died.
As the morticians say, he “predeceased”
his spouse, and when we met to plan, she tried
to grant his wishes to the very last
She blessed their common gravestone with her tears,
but smiled through life for many happy years…
NOTE: Steve predeceased Nadja, the love of his life all the way back to high school.
Tonight at 7:00 p.m. CST, Nadja and a host of Shoemaker relatives and friends will gather at First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, Illinois for Steve’s memorial service followed by a dessert potluck to smile “for many happy years.”
Blessed are the dead who die in the LORD, for they rest from their labors, and their works follow them: A Sin a Week: Fifty-two Sins Are Described Here in Loving Detail for Folks With the Inclination and Ability to Do Wrong, but Who Have Run Out of Bad Ideas Order a copy in honor of Steve and for some good ideas!
-Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, October 15, 2016
Steve recently published A Sin a Week: Fifty-two Sins Are Described Here in Loving Detail for Folks With the Inclination and Ability to Do Wrong, but Who Have Run Out of Bad Ideas. You can hear Steve’s renditions in an audio book available on Amazon.
This morning he posted this invitation on his CaringBridge page:
A Sin a Week: 52 sins described in loving detail…
Remember my book reading tonight, Thursday, August 11, 7-8 pm @ the Philo Presbyterian Church, 105 E. Jefferson, Philo, IL.
Crackers, cheese, coffee & wine with words about sin. A whole evening with sin.
Free & open to the public. Free parking.
Bring your copy to follow along & see the illustrations. The bookless can use loaners–or just listen happily….
NOTE from Gordon: Steve’s poetry and reflections on life, death, and dying are featured on Views from the Edge. Just enter his name in the search box and he’ll pop up!
A Sin a Week:
52 sins described in loving detail for folks with the inclination and ability to sin,
but who have run out of bad ideas.
To order: email firstname.lastname@example.org
$ 19.30 incl tax
I began writing poetry in Urbana High School. I continued the questionable practice in college. Ten years later my first poem was published in a reputable journal.
Twenty years after grad school, I believed a collection of my poems could be made around the theme of sin. I hired an undergraduate cartoonist, T. Brian Kelly, who had a weekly strip in the Daily Illini student newspaper to illustrate them. At $20 a poem I could afford it, and he needed the money.
“A Sin a Week” became the title and I sent the manuscript to finally a total of five unimpressed NY publishers. They said few books of poetry sold well. Then I put it in a drawer for 25 years.
A month ago Doris Wenzell of Mayhaven Publishing asked me if I had a collection of my poems she could see. She had heard I had readers of my poems on FaceBook, especially since I had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Two days later I handed her my manuscript with my newly added subtitle. (See above.)
She loved it, we signed a contract, she rushed through the editing and printing because of my predicted shortness of time, and the book has now been selling for a week. Reviews from early readers have been good.
Notice the book says it describes sins, not that it is poetry. The first sin described is “Lying.” Ancient writers referred to the Devil as “the Father of lies.” This theme continues throughout the book, notably in my never revealing the book is poetry.
This is my confession–if you choose to order a copy, you’ve been warned.
- Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, June 14, 2016
Both of us – Steve and Gordon – recently received good news from publishers.
Last month Steve received word that Mayhaven Publishing will publish a collection of poems under the title “A Sin a Week: 52 sins described in loving detail, for those who have the inclination and ability to sin, but have run out of bad ideas”
Sinners can order the Steve’s book @ email@example.com.
Yesterday Wipf & Stock Publications notified Gordon of its acceptance of “Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness” to be published sometime in the next year.
Steve’s work is done. Gordon’s is not, which is the bad news, if work can be called ‘bad’, which both of us think it can’t, except when it becomes obsessive, which, in one of our cases, it often has been – one of the 52 sins described in loving detail perhaps!
We’re glad to report to Views readers that Steve is doing remarkably well with chemo treatments having stabilized or shrunk the tumors that by all early reports were expected to take him by mid-February. To the best of our knowledge, Gordon has no tumors but reports that the few remaining brain cells he still has are shrinking fast with age.
All in all, life is beautiful! Sin boldly, and if you’ve run out of ideas, order Steve’s book!