*Blog Post Photo by Aubri Hoffman

Friend Files is a feature I added to my blog, Away With Words, a while back – this being the 22nd installment. Past installments appear under the “Friend Files” tag on my blog. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading online.

Today, I will be talking about Derek Hoffman. Before I get into what I think of him, here is my mini-interview with Derek (exchanged over Facebook) where he jotted down just a few thoughts:


Photo by Aubri Hoffman


ME: Give me some details about your life.

DEREK HOFFMAN: My family and I just moved halfway across the country in October. In that time, I quit my eighteen year career in IT to become a stay-at-home dad, caring for our toddler and soon to be caring for his little brother as well. I started a business whose focus is on design (graphic and web), IT (strategy and consulting), and editing (lit. and technical). Through all of this, I still want to be a writer. So in the wee hours of the morning I can sometimes be found bleary-eyed in front of the computer putting words on the page. I prefer fantasy, crime, and sci-fi, but have been writing letters to my son and editing old poems to post on my blog.

Eventually, I hope to resume playing the drums, guitar, and finding a new (or old) martial art to study.

ME: How exactly did we meet?

DEREK HOFFMAN: We met in Maine at the Stonecoast MFA program. I believe it was winter because I remember your jacket of many buttons.

ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?

DEREK HOFFMAN: I remember you reading some of your writing at one of the residency events. I think you were sick and had a really deep voice at the time. It made some awesome words sound even better. Most of my other memories are reading your posts on Facebook and imagining them spoken in that same ultra-deep voice.

ME: Why exactly are we still friends?

DEREK HOFFMAN: Even though I disagree with you on some topics, I appreciate that you are both logical and passionate in your beliefs and how you express them and how you still respect alternate views. I like your stories and think you have a good heart.

ME: Anything you want me to plug?

DEREK HOFFMAN: I have a few websites – THIS is my main site for writing and blogging, THIS is a site for stories dealing with victims of abuse and those that fight for them, and THIS is my forthcoming business site.


Derek is correct in that we met during Stonecoast, at a residency. I do believe that I first met him in the winter, because I distinctly remember him being in the registration room where they hand out our nametags and it was in a place called the Harraseeket Inn, which our Stonecoast group only met at during the winter residencies.

I didn’t get to hang out with Derek a lot in person, seeing as he was just graduating during my winter semester, but he is one of those people you can quickly warm up to in conversation. He’s very open, smiles very genuinely, and he also had some tales to share with me and some others about his days playing D&D or Magic: The Gathering, although a lot of people were in and out that day so it may not have been him.

Mostly, through the magic of the internet – I got to know Derek more. From his posts, I can tell that he is a loving and dedicated father and husband to (soon to be) two children and a wife. Derek has always commented and shared even if there’s a topic he doesn’t really agree with me on, as he said – and the same goes for him. I try to surround myself with people who are respectful of others, even those they disagree with, and Derek is one of those rare people who can do that, seemingly without flaw.

On top of that, I enjoy reading his writing. Mostly, I’ve seen his poetry, which is really good – and I’m not even much of a poetry guy any more. Here’s an excerpt from one of his latest, called Family Values, but you should really check out his website linked above.

she is safe with me
when she asks
I tell her that you are free
and in the place without masks

she walks the streets of green lights
she is too strong to stray
she reminds me of our wrongs and rights
and every night she prays–

for her mommy

Also recently, Derek happened upon some really cool vintage Star Wars photos and mailed them to me, because he’s that cool and knows I love Star Wars so much that he felt he couldn’t pass them up. It was such a nice thing to do. Not many people would go out of their way like that, but Derek did.

Anyway, I’m glad that Derek and I connected, even if it was mostly online, because he’s a super-nice guy, always with something interesting to say and write. With that, I will leave you with some photos relevant to who Derek is as a person – or at least that I feel represent him best from my interactions with him.



Photo by Tim MacKay


Photo by Tim MacKay