Tom Atkins, Quarry House and the Wisdom Letters

I’ll apologize for the length of the introductory page right here at the start.  I am something of a storyteller by nature, and this page, and the idea of the Wisdom Letters has evolved a great deal. This means that there’s not a good 25 words or less way to tell you much about what this blog is, and what it isn’t. Don’t feel obligated to read it all, but if you are like me, interested in people’s stories and how those stories have influenced people’s lives, work and personal ministries, then I’d love to share my own story with you.

Let me start by talking about “The Wisdom Letters”. The original Wisdom Letters was a gift, given to me at a time when I needed it the most.  We’re talking about right around the turn of the century.

I was in a bad place. I could not seem to write. For years poems, short stories, essays and articles had come easily to me, but suddenly, I could not seem to produce anything of any value (or at least of any value to me,.).  This went beyond mere “writer’s block”, which generally lasts a day or few. It had gone on for months, and then years.

Those who know me well know that writing is not something I do. It is what I am. So not being able to write was a terrible burden to me. It was as if part of me, maybe the biggest part, had vanished and I felt lost, miserable, frustrated and very, very down on myself.

I had a friend who I had known since graduate school, who took it on himself to help break me out of my funk in a creative way. Pouring through many years of letters and e-mails, he collated and created a small book he called “The Atkins Compendium” to show me that I had been writing all along, whether I knew it or not.

You see, I write letters. In today’s world of tweets and short little Facebook posts, I write long rambling letters and e-mails to those who listen and respond. I’ve done this since college. I fill the letters less with news than thoughts, ideas, things I am working out in my own head, and I use everything from simple prose to poetry to fictional blurbs in my letters.

And my friend wanted me to realize my letters mattered. I’m was very appreciative, but I wasn’t sure that they mattered to anyone but him. Then an odd thing happened.

People began to read….

I told people about my friend’s gift, and people asked to read it. They asked for copies. They wrote me letters and e-mails saying how much they had gotten from it, how it had touched them, how this section or that section helped them deal with things in their own life.

One reader suggested that I call it “The Wisdom Letters” and the name stuck. On the suggestion of another friend, I created an e-book out of the thing before there was even a word for e-book and literally thousands of them got downloaded from my web site. Today, you can get it as either a Kindle Book or Paperback at Amazon

What I do

For those of you who don’t know, here at Quarry House, I do several things:

Following the lead of others, this has meant different newsletters for each group and different blogs for each group. That’s what marketing mavens say to do – create lots of outlets so you appear all over the Search Engine world. And I did it, and a lot of people have read my various blogs, magazine articles, and other media/marketing outlets.

But the thing is, at my heart, I believe in the power of simplicity. All that writing takes time, is complex to keep going, and frankly, didn’t do what I think makes me, and Quarry House unique and powerful – bring a wide variety of expertise to every project, whatever it might be. So during the time of Pandemic and the lull in business that came with it, I have been asking myself the same questions I often ask clients, How I tie all these things together? How do I simplify Quarry House, still offer the variety of services I offer, and bring the full power of what sets me apart from a zillion others doing other things?

This is fairly easy to do in a web site, I discovered. And it’s not hard to do in conversation.  It’s not even that hard to do in work, as Quarry House has shown, But when writing an essay, trying to stay focused on a single topic, and making that topic have value to each of my client groups….. That has proven difficult. Because simplicity, EFFECTIVE Simplicity, is not easy. That is the lesson I have learned serving my clients, and I wanted to put it to work for myself as well.

This blog, is my first real attempt to pull this off. I  will try to create something unique, essays and a newsletter and classes that will deal with thoughts and issues that tie together life and work in a way that, if I am right, will not only help you do what you do a little better, but will broaden your own thoughts and give you some new ideas to chew on.

The whole premise is that we want to get better. Better at life. Better at work. Better creatively. Better relationally. That there is no “there” as in getting there. There is only getting better or not getting better. My whole life and work is dedicated to helping people find their own path to better. And so is this blog.

As far as I can tell, there isn’t anything like this “out there” in the vast blogosphere. And it won’t be for everyone. If you read a couple of these, and it’s not for you, it’s OK to go away. I don’t want to waste your time. I’d rather you find things that ARE right for you. I want to be useful to every one I come in contact with.

But if it IS something you get value from, I’d love a note or comment. Even more, I’d love it if you told others and added them to our family of readers and thoughtful people.

I say it often, and I will say it again. I am crazy grateful for each of my clients and readers. Some of you have become friends as well and a real blessing to me. I appreciate your trust, your comments, your friendship and your support.

So that’s the short version, or as short as I could make it. Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

Take care. Travel wisely,

Tom Atkins
founder, Quarry House

PS – if you want a copy of the original Wisdom Letters, you can get it in paperback or e-book format from

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