A-Writing We Will Go!

Work is going well on the new book. I finished another chapter yesterday!

For reasons my neutologist is trying to sort out, I am having difficulty typing. Rather than give up, I am writing this new book entirely by hand.

I write on Amazonbasics legal pads in pencil. I start out with a large quantity of sharpened pencils point-up in mugs and jars. As they go dull I drop them point-down in an empty container.

I use a shitajiki writing board under the page as I write to keep the pencil point from making an impression on the pages below it.

MUJI erasers work really well for someone who writes with a heavy hand like I do.

The Blackwing sharpener actually makes a difference. It is not fast, but the slow pace adds to my Steinbeckian morning ritual of sharpening enough pencils to get through the day.

Field Notes and Write notepads help me keep my thoughts in order when I have to step away from my desk.


When I finish a chapter I pass it over to Dear Old Dad. He gives it a quick edit and passed it back to me for scanning.

I scan the chapter to post for our Patreon sponsors. They get the raw unprocessed data that will eventually be organized into a complete work.

After I post the chapter I give the pages to Dear Old Dad for transcribing to Word, editing and recording for the audiobook edition.

Dear Old Dad's work station

Pooka has the hard job of keeping me company while I write.


Pooka: “I don’t know what USB is, but I’m going to kill it anyway!”

My infamous Dobro 33H guitar is always close at hand while I am writing. This instrument played such a huge role in my life that it is practically a character in the book!

If this book is ever made into a movie they will probably get whatever is left of Johnny Depp to portray my Dobro 33H guitar.

Dobro 33H

It’s not all pencils, all the time. When I am writing someone directly I like to use my Montblanc pen. The pen was a gift from a friend, and it writes like a dream. I use Mystery Black ink on Tomoe River paper.pen

I have been fighting my computer for a while now, and it had gotten deeply frustrating. Working by hand this way has been liberating. To make things even sweeter, I get to do this with my dad!

The chapters we are posting for our sponsors is a window to the work as we create it. We are inviting you to experience the creating of this work as it happens. We are not hiding Dear Old Dad’s edits or sending out Instagram samples of calligraphy. This is a book in the raw.

If you would like to get involved in this project signing up for Patreon, you could always send us some supplies instead.


  • AmazonBasics Legal Pads I was pleasantly surprised by the paper quality of these pads. I write on them all day and they are just perfect for the way I work.
  • I burn through note pads and notebooks. Field Notes and Write make nice things . Amazonbasics makes a nice Moleskine knockoff for under ten bucks.


Other Stuff

  • AA batteries (for our Zoom H1)
  • Micro SD cards (for out Zoom H1)
  • Seltzer water
  • instant coffee
  • Catnip for Pooka
  • pencil erasers
  • Red pens
  • Post-it Notes
  • Stuff from Archie McPhee

It doesn’t have to be something on this list. Use your imagination. Sent it to the address on our contact page.

Whatever you send, be sure to include your email address so that I can keep you up to date with chapters we have shared.

When the book is finished our sponsors will receive the completed eBook as well as the audiobook, We have to wait until the book is finished before we make definitive printing and publishing plans.

I wish this neurological mess was not happening. I had to stop and come back three times to put this post together, The computer keyboard has gotten so frustrating.

In spite of that I have people helping me work with my father to create a different kind of music book. Even though we encounter new obstacles along the way, we are still on the adventure that began when I accidentally wrote The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo back in 2003!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

God bless,

New Book News!

Patrick just handed me the next chapter of his new book. This one is a doozy. I will have the first edit back to him tomorrow to scan and upload in longhand for our Patreon subscribers. Then back to me for transcribing and more editing. I am having a ball working with him on this project. As God is my witness it is all true and no names have been changed to protect the guilty.

To watch this book come to life go here

Two tests at our local hospital last week with one more (MRI) next week. Them back to the neurologist. Prayers welcome.

Peace to all,
Pat Costello (Dear Old Dad)


I placed my order with seedsavers.org this morning!

When the seed packets arrive, I can get to work creating a container garden on a slab of concrete in our back yard. I will be using inexpensive plastic tubs from Dollar General to plant flowers, vegetables and herbs. I will even be planting milkweed, fennel and parsley to attract butterflies. Joy!

I don’t get out of Crisfield too often nowadays, so the garden will be a nice way to escape the office and watch the bees as I work the soil.

If any of you have any leftover seeds to share I would love to add them into the garden. It would be a way to add faraway places into the back yard.

In The Works . . .

The Daily Frail and the Patrick and Dear Old Dad Vidcast are starting a regular production schedule and our Patreon is growing day by day. This gives us time and resources to start working on new projects.

Here are just a few of the things we are working on:

Folk Guitar:
A weekly workshop with Patrick sharing insights and instruction on the techniques that come together as folk guitar.

Group Video Workshops:
We are setting up a weekly group video chat. This feature will be limited to our Patreon supporters. More information soon.

Book In Progress:
I have a new book in the works. This summer we will be making it available a chapter at a time to our Patreon supporters. In addition to reading the work first you will gain insight into the creative process behind The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo and other much-loved music books.

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We have a lot of great stuff in the works, Your support on Patreon will go a long way towards helping us make it all happen!

Read more about our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/Dobro33H

My Holiday Wish

This weekend many families round the world will be celebrating Christmas and after that everybody rings in the new year.

If I have one wish for the holidays it would be for all of you to take your banjos when you visit friends and family over the weekend.  Lead the party in singing Silent Night or Auld Lang Syne. Play Cripple Creek for your children or grandchildren to get them dancing and Rosin The Beau as a lullaby. Heck, I don’t care what you play. What matters is that you seize the opportunity to create memories for yourself and the people you love. So many people start playing the banjo only to freeze up when it comes time to put yourself out there.

Get out there and play!

God bless,

Patrick’s Favorite Family-Friendly Horror Movies

Halloween is fast approaching. A lot of you may already know that I love scary movies. Here are a few of my favorite monster movies that manage to be scary without a lot of swearing, nudity and gore.

I added the IMDB link so that parents can check out the parents guide for each movie.

The Body Snatcher (1945)
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are mesmerizing in this Robert Louis Stevenson tale of grave robbers supplying doctors with cadavers for medical testing.

The Green Slime (1968)
Astronauts in cardboard spaceships fight slimy green monsters, but the story is actually pretty good. I love this movie!

The Thing From Another World (1951)
Space communists menace a north pole scientific outpost. This movie is a gem. The characters talk with snappy dialoge that makes you care about the people in danger.

Horror of Dracula (1958)
Christopher Lee is truly scary in this Hammer classic.

Duel (1971)
Truck driver messes with a commuter.

The Haunting (1963)
“Whose hand was I holding?”

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Stretching the family-friendly concept here with a PG-13 title, but I love this movie. It’s about the most unlikely movie monster: killer klowns from outer space.

The Uninvited (1944)
“They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland which rear up against the westward ocean. Mists gather here… and sea fog… and eerie stories…”

Happy Halloween everybody!

God bless,