March 30, 2017
Welcome to “A Penny for My Thoughts”.
I’ve resisted starting a blog for a long time. It has always struck me than a more than a little arrogant to believe that, with all there is to do, people would take time to read my blog, or that I would have something interesting, novel or edifying to share with folks once or twice a week.
But then a fellow member of a writing group of which I am a part strongly suggested that I have one. For one thing, she said, I usually had good insights into issues, and that I expressed those insights relatively coherently and articulately. (As I write, I am blushing with embarrassment at my shameless relating of her compliments.) She said that I struck her as someone engaged in issues before us as private individuals and as a society, and that I ought to reflect on those issues and share my reflections with others.
So, I conceded. Flattery always works, doesn’t it?
Most of you who have looked up this blog know me already. Those who found it on a search engine or by word of mouth, allow me to introduce myself.
I am a sexagenarian rapidly approaching the status of septuagenarian, much too fast, it seems to me. In June 2015, I retired after over 40 years as a Lutheran pastor in Canada and the United States.
I have been married since Richard M. Nixon occupied the Oval Office and two years before he relinquished the office in disgrace. My wife Diane is a Pennsylvanian by birth (Lancaster). I, on the other hand, am living in my third country: born in Finland; raised in Canada; and a resident of the United States since 1981. I imagine that my multinational identity will play a part in more than one future blog post.
We are proud parents of two adult sons: Luke, almost 39, who lives with us in Wyncote, PA; and Jesse, 35, who stayed put in Gainesville, FL when we relocated to the Philadelphia area in 2002 for the sake of a new ministry challenge for me.
I am a Canadian citizen, but cheer for the Finnish ice hockey teams in international tournaments, even if Canada is the opponent.
Since retirement, my self-identity has transfigured from thinking of myself primarily as a clergyman, to thinking as a novelist. Instead of looking out at the world and finding sermon material, now I find ideas for future novels. I’d always wanted to write one since I studied English literature at the University of Toronto. So, I did. In October of last year, my immigration novel Beginning Again a Zero was published at Lulu Press (http://www.lulu.com/shop/jack-saarela/beginning-again-at-zero/paperback/product-22899604.html).
I’m engrossed in writing a second one now. It will be more complex and expansive the first – and therefore trickier to write, but hopefully not trickier to read.
I am sure I will have more to say about both books in future blog posts.
In the meantime, live this day to the fullest. A penny for your thoughts, dear reader, in the “Reply” box below.