Meet my guideson Cooper.

You last saw him in my NYT best selling memoir Not Without My Father. My novel Hard to Die is dedicated to him, a fitting tidbit for this little story.

A story of my soul

For years, Cooper has been obsessed with dinosaurs. He is a walking encyclopedia of dinosaur trivia. Wherever he went, he spouted scientific names, specific diets, and times lived. No toy was as magical as one with a dino-theme. What better gift could two guide parents give a child than taking him to the cradle of dinosaurdom, Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park? We redeemed every travel point we had to ship four humans to this spot for under $500, an epic memory-making experience for Cooper.


Look at that face on our fossil safari. HE WAS MISERABLE. He never stopped reminding us how awful it was. We kept trying different ploys to coax him toward enjoyment, but he always pointed out what was wrong. He wanted dragons, not dinosaurs. A love of dragons is a recent development.

He came around eventually, BTW. I *think* we made some exquisite memories.

When I look at this face, I see the products of my soul. What are the products of my soul, you ask?

My books are living chunks of my soul, carved from my very essence.

This experience reminded me how I feel every time I hack off another piece of my soul in book form and launch it into the world. I want everyone to receive it with joy and unfettered glee, because it’s my soul, after all.

What you hold in your hands is more me than I am. It’s the purest me you’ll ever find.

And so much of the time, creators find themselves staring at a facsimile of Cooper’s bloody expression and wondering why they try. What’s the point of untethering finite lumps of one’s soul and flinging them into the world when so few people care? I mean, there’s only so much soul to distribute before it’s all used up. Gone. A dusty husk. A barren well.

If I am resilient or inspiring or strong, I am because I keep creating in spite of this collective face. Creators are compelled to drain their souls and watch what happens when you hold them in your hands. The two parts – making and releasing – are the essence of being a Creator.

Be gentle with souls. You never know when you’ll need someone to be gentle with yours.

Three years ago, I walked the Natchez Trace Parkway…all 444 miles of it…over one million steps……..

But sometimes it’s fun to retrace our steps.

You can read more in this blog post about that time of my walk or you can read the whole story in Not Without My Father. Available NOW. Amazon/Nook/iTunes/Kobo/Audible.


A driven daughter. A gassy, nightmare father. Can they finish an epic walk of an ancient highway before they kill each other? If you like Bill Bryson, Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, then you’ll love Andra Watkins’ New York Times bestselling memoir. 

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