Craig Nagel


For the past thirty years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the bi-weekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.”

His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall or stuck on the refrigerator door, read aloud at various meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor.


Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.

The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality…

Fred’s Way
by Craig Nagel


Feeding the birds

Feeding the birds

Like millions of other Americans, my wife and I enjoy feeding birds. Given the fact that we live in the woods and have accidentally also found ourselves feeding bears, we long ago ceased stocking our feeders once spring has arrived and our furry neighbors have...

Chipmunk Dreams

Chipmunk Dreams

  Many years ago a family of chipmunks moved into our house. Not the house proper, of course; nothing like that. Instead they took residency under the stone-and-concrete walkway leading from the front door out to the attached screened porch.  When we built the...

Play Your Own Tune

Play Your Own Tune

Recently I had the honor of addressing a roomful of people interested in writing. As part of the address, I talked about the novelist Frederick Manfred, an excerpt of which follows. It's been several years since Frederick Manfred died, and I for one still mourn his...

Craig’s Books

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