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


Some Thoughts About Writing

Some Thoughts About Writing

Every now and again you come upon a quote that resonates with you. Over the years I’ve taken to writing them down, to revisit them for inspiration or just chuckles. Here are a few of my favorites. “He asked, ‘What makes a man a writer?’ “Well,’ I said, ‘it’s simple....

High-Tech Blues

High-Tech Blues

Many years ago, on a Monday night, shortly after borrowing money from our local bank to buy a nice new state-of-the-art electronic typewriter, I sat down to write a Cracker Barrel column. I flipped on the power switch, fed a sheet of paper in the sleek, space-age...

Surviving Winter

Surviving Winter

Every year about this time, along with most everyone else here in the great north woods, I get royally sick of winter. Over the years I’ve tried to figure out just where the irritation comes from. I know it’s not just snow. The view out the window is beautiful....

Craig’s Books

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