Brown Box, Brown Box, What Do You Bring?

On Saturday, I received a box in the mail. The fact this box is in my hands at all is somewhat amazing to me. Let me tell you the story of this box.

To understand the box’s importance, you also have to understand my mindset. I don’t know if you can tell by what I post here, but I struggle thinking positively.

Often, I wonder how things would be different had I pursued graduate work right out of college. But I didn’t and so now, though my friends and acquaintances have several degrees – even some PhDs! – I’m often the “least educated” in the group. Usually it’s not a big deal, they’ve told me on numerous occasions that there are plenty of doctors that don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve told me I can hold my own. I love my friends’ confidence in me, because sometimes I don’t have very much myself.

Because sometimes – sometimes I wonder if I have anything worth saying. And when I know I have something worth saying, I wonder if anyone is listening. Or even cares.

Now, right or wrong (mainly wrong, I think), that’s the way my mind works. But, like I said, I have an amazing group of friends encouraging me.

Several years ago, one of my good college friends suggested I listen to a particular podcast. Today, that podcast has expanded into an entire network of shows: the Christian Humanist Network. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this is humanism in the medieval/classical sense: the humanities. It’s an excellent group of podcasts covering everything from academia to social issues to Disney films. Really!

Oh, before I forget, my friend has written several books of historical fiction and will be releasing a new one soon, this time set in the Civil War. Check him out!

A year later, two of the hosts gave me a chance to appear on a Thanksgiving podcast talking about the history of Thanksgiving. That led to more guest hosting opportunities on a different podcast in the network discussing certain social issues and the intersection of history and the present.

That was two or three years ago.

Meanwhile, a former college professor (and now wonderful friend!) suggested I follow historian John Fea online. You’ve seen me write about him on more than one occasion, I know.

I followed him, and eventually interviewed him on the podcast! Fea and I have struck up an online acquaintanceship, perhaps even a friendship. As you know from my review earlier this year, Fea recently released a book on the 2016 election.

The review came to the attention of those in my podcasting circle, particularly the press liaison and one of the founding members of the network. They offered me the opportunity to review and interview a book/author on the Profiles podcast. They said “Go for it anytime. You’re one of us.”

So I talked things over with the press liaison and she contacted a certain agent about a particular publication and now I hold in my hands they very first book I’ve been asked to review for the simple reason someone values what I have to say.

It’s a real book and I’ll have the chance for a real review and real interview with a real, blue-check-verified-on-Twitter author. I can hardly believe it.

I love my friends; without them none of this would be possible.

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