A Lot of Questions

I am answering a few questions sent in by people. I chose the most commonly asked questions, but I threw in a few strays, too. I’ll quit wasting time:

Q: All time favorite song?

A: Easy. “I’ll Fly Away.”

Q: What are your dogs’ names?

A: Otis Campbell and Thelma Lou. The first is an alleged Labrador. The second is a Clydesdale draft horse who resembles a bloodhound.

Q: How did you get started writing online?

A: It’s a long story. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. The embarrassing truth is, I couldn’t hack it as a real-world writer. I got turned down for writing jobs with small publications because I had “great enthusiasm,” but was “not really what we’re looking for.” Meaning: I stunk.

Q: But you still write?

A: Pretty much.

Q: Why?

A: Because my work is a vital part of some peoples’ morning bathroom rituals.

Q: That’s a bad joke, and it’s in very poor taste.

A: You think I’m joking?

Q: You’re always writing to kids when they ask you for advice, why do you write so many kids?

A: Because I was a lost boy. My father died young, and my mother did the best she could. I was like a kid in a boat adrift in the middle of a sea. Today, I’m still in that same boat, only now I have a cheap 2.5 horsepower motor. So I use this proverbial motor to cruise around the bay, looking for lonely boats, and anyone giving away free beer.

Q: How do you stay skinny when all you eat is junk food and barbecue all day long?

A: I do not eat barbecue all day long. I quit at about 9 p.m.

But to answer your question, I don’t know. Maybe because I walk a lot? I seriously do walk a lot. Always have. I’ve been kicking cans on highway shoulders since I was in seventh grade to deal with my own anxieties.

Q: Really?

A: Yep. For most of my life people in town knew me as “that weirdo always jogging on Highway 98.” That was my local name. I couldn’t go to the grocery store without someone saying, “I know you!”

I was once pulled over for a speeding ticket and the cop said, “Hey, you’re that guy I always see on 98.” And I said, “Yes, it’s me.” And we laughed and laughed. Then he wiped a tear from his eye and said, “You’re still getting a ticket.”

Q: Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer like me?

A: Not really. Asking me for advice is like asking a five-year-old to parallel park your car.

Q: There you go again. Why’re you always poormouthing yourself?

A: Because people deserve to know the facts about me. I’m a former high-school dropout who didn’t finish basic community college until he was thirty. I bounced from construction jobs and bar gigs. I’m unkept and hairy. If you saw me in the Walmart you wouldn’t be asking a guy like me for advice. Your first thought would be, “I wonder if this guy needs a ride?”

Q: So you’re not going to give me any advice about writing?

A: Since you ask. My advice to you is—and this goes for everything in life—trust your gut. I am still trying to follow this advice.

Q: Favorite food in the world?

A: Barbecued pork shoulder. Cooked over hickory, applewood, and mesquite. Naked, no sauce. Just lots of smoke.

Q: Does this virus scare you?

A: Yes. Are you kidding? Still, if you ask me, the older generations who survived a very scary Great Depression were transformed into beautiful human beings because of the hell they went through.

I believe this is our moment. Our generation has the unique opportunity to put down our cellphones and be the kind of people our grandparents were. I think this pandemic is making us kinder, more compassionate, and—hold on, I just got a text.

Q: I wrote you a letter once, but you never wrote me back. Why not?

A: I apologize. Sincerely. I wish I could answer every letter that comes into my inbox. But I’m just one guy with a big nose and an overbite. I don’t type very fast. It doesn’t mean I don’t read every message. I do.

Q: Sometimes you write funny stuff and sometimes you write sad. I never know what it’s going to be. Why can’t you just pick one style and do that? I don’t like sad stories, I want them all to be funny.

A: Here’s a story. One time, my friend who owned a shrimp boat took me out trawling. We raked in tons of shrimp and I got to keep two coolers full. For the next six months I ate shrimp every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Shrimp omelettes for breakfast, shrimp cocktails for lunch, shrimp boils for supper. I never want to see another shrimp again.

Q: What the heck does that mean?

A: Trust your gut.

Q: I’m in high school, both my parents passed away, I live with my uncle now but he’s never home and so I think they’re going to shut my school down ‘cause of ‘rona virus… I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but whatever… I am depressed all the time, I don’t know who else to tell. What do you think about heaven? Please tell me you know it’s real ‘cause I want to think my parents are there but sometimes I’m not sure if I can believe it and I want to believe.

A: Some glad morning, when this life is over, the words of an old song will make sense.

And it’ll be a reunion.


  1. Sarah - August 24, 2020 7:15 am

    Beautiful. I’ll Fly Away is also my very favorite song and I intend to have it sung at my funeral some day.

  2. Steve Winfield [Lifer] - August 24, 2020 7:36 am

    Like Betty’s comment on yesterday’s article, you always make my day a little better. I’m so happy this writing thing has worked out enough to pay your bills. I know I’ve became a little friendlier & more open since I started reading your stories daily. I really appreciate that. I absolutely love your books & have read most of them. Most more than once.
    I pray the storms pass you & Jamie & the pups by.
    Maybe when & if things get back to normal you’ll do another book signing near me. Sure enjoyed meeting you both & would love to again.
    Love & hugs to all four of you.

  3. Mr. Kraft - August 24, 2020 10:20 am

    I have lost all respect for you. You don’t eat sauce on your “bar bq”? That’s not bar bq, Sean. It’s just cooked meat. 😉

  4. topdock - August 24, 2020 10:32 am

    “I’ll Fly Away” and “Down to the River to Pray” are two of my favorites. Love to hear them sung by Three on a String. Alison Krauss singing “Be Thou My Vision” is what Heavan must be like.

  5. Holly mcintyre - August 24, 2020 10:36 am

    I’m not good at writing so I’m going to state facts. I’m so happy I stumbled upon you. I look forward to reading you every day. You’ve touched something in me. I cry at all your stories. I’m going in for my first chemo treatment today and I’m scared, but I’ve saved all your stories and I’m going to reread them all day today. THANK YOU .Dont mention my name, not too many people know I’m sick

  6. Cynthia Woods - August 24, 2020 11:28 am

    Love you, Sean!! Sunday’s sermon was “The In Between.” Were you there!? We’re not where we were and we’re not yet where we’re going. 1.Slow down, time to think, to be. 2.Lay all your stuff down at His feet. Be honest. He knows anyway. 3.Lean on Him, on a friend or be one. We need God, we need each other, we’ll get through this. And then……
    “One fine morning……we’ll fly away, oh Glory! ♥️

  7. Doug Graydon - August 24, 2020 11:49 am

    Chemo sucks, but when you get to the other side, you will be a stronger, better person. Take care of yourself, listen to your oncologist, write down questions, keep a log, and be grateful that you can get care. Now every day is precious (even the bad ones) My best to you in this crazy year 👊

  8. Abby Carroll - August 24, 2020 11:49 am

    Thanks for being true to self! I enjoy your writing! 👍😘

  9. Susan B. - August 24, 2020 11:51 am

    Great ending!

  10. Anne Dishongh - August 24, 2020 11:55 am

    Sean, You say what we all think, only better.

  11. lifeonsugarmoonfarm - August 24, 2020 11:56 am

    One of my faves. “I’ll Fly Away” is everything. Write on.

  12. Edwin G Staples - August 24, 2020 12:25 pm

    Hang in there Buddy. There are people out here in the world that need you advice every day,and i have been around long enough to know, I’ll be 89 next month.

  13. katherine thomson - August 24, 2020 12:34 pm

    I believe there will be a reunion Sean! Thank you so much for this very needed reminder. And for another wonderful post.
    Hope your week is blessed and joy filled.

  14. Jan - August 24, 2020 12:40 pm


  15. Betty F. - August 24, 2020 1:21 pm

    Please tell me you were not referring to Jamie when you said you added a 2.5hp motor to your boat. (LOL)
    Thank you for trusting your gut. You’ve constantly made so many others’ days with your words and poignant observations.
    Be safe with these latest storms.

  16. Teresa Blankenship - August 24, 2020 1:27 pm

    Thank you for staying true to yourself 🌞

  17. Christina - August 24, 2020 3:20 pm

    Agreeing that the gift of your authentic self is the best

  18. GG - August 24, 2020 3:59 pm

    I’d like to comment on your response to the young person who wrote the following:
    I’m in high school, both my parents passed away, I live with my uncle now but he’s never home and so I think they’re going to shut my school down ‘cause of ‘rona virus… I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but whatever… I am depressed all the time, I don’t know who else to tell. What do you think about heaven? Please tell me you know it’s real ‘cause I want to think my parents are there but sometimes I’m not sure if I can believe it and I want to believe.
    A: Some glad morning, when this life is over, the words of an old song will make sense.
    And it’ll be a reunion.

    I pray my reaction isn’t even close but it sounds like the possibility this young man may have been seeking advice on throwing in the towel and joining his parents in Heaven. He needs hope for today and not a permanent solution to a temporary problem. He can see no way out but possibly suicide. Not that losing his parents, in this life, is a temporary problem. Give him hope and advice through an adult who will listen and try and guide him. Hope, Sean, hope.
    I read you every single morning, as soon as your daily piece hits my phone (which is in the wee early hours. I appreciate what you do but please try and give this young person a little more…

  19. vickie hayes - August 24, 2020 4:14 pm

    Wishing you a full recovery!

  20. Linda Moon - August 24, 2020 5:01 pm

    “I’ll Fly Away” unexpectedly became one of my favorite songs a long time ago. It makes sense to me now. Someone I know and love a lot is an aspiring writer who walks a lot and was a lost boy….so very much like you, Sean. I hope to read his work one day. Your work is vital to me between late-morning kitchen rituals and routines. And I sure do hope to see both you “boys” after the glad morning when the ‘rona virus ends!!

  21. boomer43 - August 25, 2020 2:26 am

    My sister had it at her funeral.

  22. Frieda Borntrager - August 25, 2020 3:12 am

    Thank you for being so real with all of your stories. The world is pretty crazy right now, but it’s nice to have someone to help keep us grounded.

  23. Robert M Brenner - August 25, 2020 11:50 pm

    Thanks for showing your readers real compassion in your writings. You’ve been a “national treasure” during this pandemic…Thank you Sean 😊❤️

  24. TrixC - September 28, 2020 3:04 pm

    I am one of those people who can’t wait to see my daily email from you. It’s part of my tea ritual…and I never know where you will go with your writings…but where ever that is…that’s where I’m supposed to be. I laugh…I cry. Keep doing just what you are doing.

  25. Kim P - September 28, 2020 4:49 pm

    ‘I’ll Fly Away’ was my happy song after being baptized… always bring a smile to my face!

  26. Elouise Billions - January 10, 2021 9:58 pm

    Sunrise Tomorrow, and I’ll Fly Away.


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