The Rev. Steve Shoemaker, a family friend from Urbana, Ill., should be dead by now. Doctors told him more than six months ago that his pancreatic cancer meant he'd probably not survive six months.
But instead of watching TV all day or moping around and driving his wife Nadja nuts, he has resurrected and added to some poetry (though he never calls it poetry), publishing it recently in a wickedly funny, prophetic new book called A Sin a Week.
The subtitle tells a lot about the irony, satire and truth you will find here: "Fifty-two sins are described here in loving detail for folks with the inclination and ability to do wrong, but who have run out of bad ideas."
It's illustrated with wonderful cartoons by T. Brian Kelly.
Steve recently explained some things about his work on his CaringBridge page, where he keeps friends up to date on his health:
I began writing poetry in Urbana High School. I continued the questionable practice in college. Ten years later my first poem was published in a reputable journal.
Twenty years after grad school, I believed a collection of my poems could be made around the theme of sin. I hired an undergraduate cartoonist, T. Brian Kelly, who had a weekly strip in the Daily Illini student newspaper to illustrate them. At $20 a poem I could afford it, and he needed the money.