About the Site

          Thanks for visiting my website. This ‘front page’ gives you a ‘snap shot’ of the site content. While it obviously features a collection of my writings and musical compositions, it also contains miscellaneous posts and comments particularly relevant to the moment. In some ways the old French word, menagerie, which the French-language "Methodical Encyclopedia" (1782) defines as an "establishment of luxury and curiosity", I think pretty much describes me, however, more ‘curiosity’ than ‘luxury’.
          An old cliché declares that, ‘curiosity killed the cat’. It applies to me in the sense that, lest I am continuously aware of what I am doing, my ‘extreme’ curiosity can ‘kill’ whatever I am writing or composing. In other words, I can quickly be distracted by the rabbit (another subject or thought) that just raced across my path. So, one of the greatest challenges for me is that of ‘focusing’ on whatever it was I started out to do. Thus, most likely what you will read and hear inside will be indeed a ‘menagerie’ of words, music, thoughts, comments, and epigrams expressing what I am feeling, thinking, and experiencing at ‘the moment’.
          Feel free to comment, criticize, or applaud what you read and experience here. Most of all, enjoy the ‘menagerie’ of what is presented. I hope you find something that will brighten your day, increase your faith, multiply your hope, provide a new perspective, and most importantly, point you in a more clearly defined understanding of the direction you were headed…or at least you thought you were headed.

About the Author

Willis photo-color.jpg          Willis Baker is a veteran, a patriot, and a true 'Son of the South', where the holy human trinity was faith, family, and friendship. Born April 3, 1943 in a small, clapboard house on Park Ave, now N. Nave Street, in Clinton, Tennessee, he is the sole survivor of four children born to Willis, Sr. and Myrtle Lee Christenberry Baker. His maternal family was moved off their land in 1942 for the Manhattan Project in what is now Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1943, his father and a half dozen men began the establishment of what would, over the next 40 years, become known as the Oak Ridge Theaters.Denied by the Great Depression of her lifetime aspiration of playing the piano, not to mention owning a piano, the first family purchase after Willis’ birth was a family piano. With him in her lap, his mother would play what little she could by ‘ear’. At age four, he began reaching up to the keyboard and playing what she called ‘his musical nonsense’. At age five when he repeated the same ‘nonsensical patterns’, she took him to Reba Gentry, the town’s classical piano teacher.  From that moment to the present, piano has been an integral part of his life. As a boy, as a teen, throughout college, and into his marriage, music played a major role in not only his life, but his ‘livelihood’.
          Still, he grew up enjoying the challenges of a southern boyhood not so dissimilar to the 'vernacular' worlds of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, swimming in ‘the creek’, rafting in the sloughs of the Clinch River, making bows and arrows, tepees and tomahawks from nature's storehouse. He learned the facts and morals of life from scripture and Christian parents and grandparents. He grew up close to the earth, in the 1952 experiencing the waning days of agrarian America, and in the 1960s, witnessing the beginnings of the death of industrial America, and from the 1970s to the turn of the 21st Century served a career in executive management with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
          In 1965, he married his wife of now 49 years, Joyce Ann Gaylor of LaFollette, Tennessee. He served his country in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam era from January, 1966 and returned home in 1970, completing his Baccalaureate degree in Public Health, and a Master’s degree in Health Care Planning and Administration. Well into a business career, faith called and he across five years of night school he earned masters and doctoral degrees in theology. Parallel careers followed in business and theology until his early retirement in April, 2000. During his business career, he also served as a weekend chaplain at a large regional hospital, pastored and interim pastored, and was a radio bible teacher for twenty-five years. Upon his retirement, 21st Century technology drove him to writing and an internet ministry in an attempt to oppose the serious scriptural ignorance, deficiency, and biblical apostasy that is now at a free gallop in Christianity in the second decade of the 21st Century. Willis’ essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in major publications, newspapers, and journals. Books in inspirational writings in poetry, essay, short story, and a Christmas novella have followed. Summaries of those writings can be read elsewhere on this site and are available in both print and electronic form at Amazon.com.
          Coming over the next four years are: a book of original epigrams selected from his writings across the years; a doctrinal theological series; and a five volume saga, “Across All Seasons; Memoirs of the Heart”. Well underway is this current characterization of the story of the ‘Prodigal Son’, an account and arc from the ‘spring’ to the ‘winter of life’ of an aspiring, southern pianist and author, his life, loves, achievements and failures. Offered as companion to this series is an already complete and recorded, original musical score for piano, orchestra and chorus of the music actually written and performed by the young pianist in this saga.
          Humor, romance, suspense, drama, and adventure all find their way onto the page, into the lyric, and in the harmonic, melodic, and dissonant blend in not only Willis’ literary writings, but in his musical compositions as well. As one character in the saga novel series proclaims: "In the Day we have our fun portraying the characters and roles we choose, but Night ultimately comes, in which we either sleep or lie awake, forced to reconcile the how, the why, and the way we performed those things we chose in the day.” At the companion ministerial website, www.jesusisstilltheanswer.com, a companion ministerial website is a continuous stream of inspirational essays addressing current spiritual and temporal issues Willis feels are bringing the secular, religious, and moral collapse of today’s world. He responds personally to hundreds of email and questions from the website and his teaching ministry regarding the implication and application of faith in today's rapidly degenerating world.
          Willis lives in East Tennessee with his beautiful and wonderful wife of 49 years. He enjoys his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, writing, music, a close relationship with the Christian community, and maintains a casual, work relationship, serving as a tour guide at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and in the summer season as a tour guide of the Manhattan Project with the Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.