The short version is that I'm a husband, father, and writer living in Waco, Texas.
The long version—and how my stories fit into the timeline of my life—is below.
Born in Waco, Texas. We are a family of five, and I'm the middle of three brothers. Extended family is in Clifton, Abbott, Iredale, and the small towns surrounding Waco. I later write a book called Waco Native about the characters of small town Texas.
We move to Crawford, Texas on a 10 acre piece of land that's a boy's paradise. We have horses, a cherry red go-kart, an above-ground pool, and a fort with a zipline attached. I love sports and play baseball and football.
The house is struck by lightning while we are out of town at a baseball tournament and burns to the ground along with everything in it. We have no photos and no possessions. We spend part of the next year living with my grandparents then move back into Waco. I'm drawn to music and buy my first guitar.
I take the girl who will one day be my wife on our first date. I first met her when we were three years old. Apart from one week where we broke up, we've been together ever since. Along with playing football, me and a buddy run a lawn care company.
Senior year I'm the captain of the football team and life is good. But I want something more. I get invited to a Sunday night church program and join the Sacred Circle, a group of guys who are led by my now lifelong friend Jonathan Hal Reynolds. I'm handed a journal and begin to write. Everything changes. I begin to read widely, fascinated by the ideas of Emerson, Thoreau, Merton, Rilke, Gibran, Solomon, and others. I later write a book based on this experience called One Night in a Thousand Years.
I consider going to Oklahoma University but change my mind and go to Baylor. That's where Kayleigh is going, and I believe we are going to get married one day. Turns out I was right. I spend the next four years obsessed with writing stories and working alongside students and professors in writing groups. I write an early draft of We From the Sunrise and walk away from Baylor with an English degree and a minor in History.
I marry the love of my life. My plan is to teach high school literature and write books in the summer, but different doors open. I take a writing job, and eventually work odd jobs to support my writing dreams. For the next few years, I work as a substitute teacher and bookseller. Add those to the list of over twenty other jobs I've held in my lifetime, ranging from a mover to a waiter to a produce stocker. I later write a book called The Weight of Love and Time that encapsulates my philosophy around love and marriage.
Kayleigh and I pick up and move to Austin with no jobs and one car. We need a change of scenery, and I think Austin will have more opportunities for me to write. Throughout this season I'm working on a book called For Man to be Alone, and another called We From the Sunrise that I would rewrite a hundred times. I take various writing and copywriting jobs, until a friend of a friend asks me to write a film script called Fluidic. The movie gets produced. I move into the local film business.
Me and a few friends form a film production company called Canowan that mostly works with nonprofits and churches. That's how I make a living for the next few years. I write and direct a feature film called Genesis, a short film called Jonah, and we produce dozens of story videos based on interviews. In the meantime, I'm writing more scripts with hopes to produce them into feature films one day. The dream to be a writer remains as strong as ever. During this season I write the notes and source materials for the books Vigil, Stones of Eden, The Teacher, A Place to Land, and A Natural Death. I return to these projects in 2021-2023 and finish them out as books.
Our first daughter is born and everything changes. I've always played guitar and messed around with writing songs, and I write a simple album called Songs for My Family. Like most of my projects, I show it to my wife and no one else and move on to the next thing. Asking some big questions about fatherhood, God, and purpose, I determine to write the one story I have to write before I die. It's One Night in a Thousand Years. Our second daughter is born and we are ready to escape the traffic and go back to Waco.
I take a job as the editor-in-chief of the Baylor Line. I've never worked for a magazine before, but spend the next three years rebranding and producing issues for our 10,000 subscribers. In many ways, it is my first "real" job with a salary and benefits. Until now, I've freelanced and contracted.
On New Year's Day, I wake up at 5am and write on a scrap of paper "Roaring down the roads of our centuries comes the King of Salem carrying fire." That line begins a massive, 7-book project called Theology. I spend the next few years obsessing over the works and nearly go crazy doing so. I'm offered a publishing deal which I turn down. I take a job at Magnolia as the content manager, and begin to write for Magnolia Journal.
On the heels of Covid, I enter a season of inspiration and productivity. I write a collection of short stories, fables, and essays titled Freedom Day. I return to writing One Night in a Thousand Years and wrap a final draft.
As I continue to edit One Night in a Thousand Years, I write a project about the divine feminine and the divine masculine called XYXX. I begin working on a new idea that would merge songwriting and a novel. The project is called The Swidden. I begin to publish all of my finished book projects under the Canowan imprint.
I record the songs for The Swidden in a friend's cabin and make a film around the songs. I publish the story, which is about a father looking for his family in a war-torn land. I take a job as the creative and communications director at Harris Creek Church. I publish One Night in a Thousand Years and partner with Kent Studios, and soon after we bring on James Van Der Beer to record the audiobook.