The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

The Value of Words; authors among us


February 14, 2018

Erik Sietsema

"All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down," Friedrich Nietzsche, even if that world is the world of one or the many. Some people have dreams to write, to write anything, and yet they spent their lives void of any attempt. Erik Sietsema had just that very dream as a young kid. Erik said, "When I was very young I'd write short stories. Several times over the years I started writing non-fiction and lost interest."

He's writing a trilogy for young readers. The first book has gone through two rounds of revisions and editing. He hopes to finalize it this month, although he doesn't have a name yet. He has already started to write the second. It's a similar type style like The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Erik is planning on self-publishing so he has to do all the work himself.

"I've recruited readers, and those who edit, even a couple of people around Big Sandy. The most exciting thing about writing, was people reading it and responding to the characters. Writing was fun and I lost track of time because it was so exciting, but connecting with people through it has been the best experience."

Actually, the whole idea came to him while he was enjoying a cup of coffee at the Bear Paw Deli. There was a quilt on display there and he let his mind wander to what it would be like for his son to be in that world. The hero of the book is Joseph, who everyone calls Jose in the book. That came from a time when Jessica, Erik's wife said to their son Titus, "No Way Jose." And Titus responded, "my name isn't Jose." An endearment name they use to this day.

His daughters name is Abigail Rose Marie, so he named the second character Rose Marie. The books and movies he loves have worked their way into this book. Originally, he never intended to publish it, he wrote it because he thought it would be fun to write and then fun to read it to the kids. But then he read a number of books about the self-publishing revolution and the idea just took hold. "Its turned into a lot of work."

Erik read a number of books on how to self-publish and then last year he read 112 books, many of them novels to learn how to write story lines and characters. "I'm firmly of the belief that one of biggest things you can do is read. If you want to be a good communicator and writer. You just can't read enough." What started the whole project, way back, was he had read what a hug impact reading had on his children.

Loretta Nepil Jonhson, whose parents were Laddie and Helen Nepil of Big Sandy, lived about 2 miles from the Hopp School house. She self-published Farm Stories a Fading Dream. Loretta grew up here and telling her story gave power to her words for her. It wasn't always a dream of hers to write, but the idea came because her granddaughter, when she was little, always asked her to tell her stories while they were getting ready to go to bed. Loretta didn't know any stories, so she just told her own farm stories. "And she loved them, and in fact she didn't care if she heard them over and over. She would go home and tell her mother all the "farm stories" and her mother would say, I never knew that.

Loretta's daughter inspired her to write it. was what she used to self-publish. "I wanted to leave a legacy. And I started to realize my upbringing was kind of unique because I lived on a farm when we didn't have electricity or running water, or indoor plumbing or a telephone. And I went to a one room school house my first four grades." That became the driver for the book, but she also recognizes that small farmers are no longer in existence and she wanted to support the smaller farmers. It allowed her to get back to her up-bringing, and reconnected with classmates. You can find "Farm Stories a Fading Dream" at our local library or purchase it on Amazon


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