Photo:  Brooke Blake

Hey folks,

Really happy you’ve taken a second of your time to check out my thoughts and musings.  I love sharing my life and interests with others, but only those who want to listen.  If you’re here, you either want to listen or you’re lost.  Either way, maybe I can help you.

My name is Hamilton Bolton and I come from a small town just south of Atlanta called Griffin.  I think of Griffin when someone says the word ‘home’ and I have a feeling I always will.  I’m the youngest of four, and I was born into a loving and tight-knit family (being the baby, naturally, I could do no wrong).  I don’t remember much about childhood, but I know I was a pretty happy kid.  When I was a few months shy of nine years old, I lost my dad, David, to cancer.  I was too young to understand, but they had given him a mere six months to live five years before he passed.  He is a man whose legacy has truly outlived him, as I hear of his untiring smile and love of life even today, years later.  Not too long after dad’s death, my mom remarried a good and kind man named Art, and I was blessed to have another male figure in my life to raise me and teach me through the awkwardness and novelty of adolescence.   In spite of the loss of my dad, I remained a happy kid; I thrived in the simplicity and carefree nature of childhood, making adventures out of just about anything.

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve taken off to the University of Georgia in Athens.  My short four and half years there were filled with so many different joys, hardships, lessons, and, most importantly, good friends.  I could ramble for hours, but the point is: I had a fantastic time.  While I was having so much fun, I managed to study just enough to secure myself a job here in Atlanta, where I currently work and live.  Though I gripe about the traffic and all the other stresses of city living, I’m happy to be here, close to home, close to Athens, and close to most of the people I love.  

In November of 2012, I lost my mom (also to cancer).  She and I were incredibly close, and the pain of her loss is still a daily struggle.  I used to talk to her almost every single day; I would call her after work and hear about her day and share mine with her.  I know she was always thrilled to hear from me and I was happy I could please her simply by picking up the the phone - she was easy to love.  Losing the sort of relationship that bears that level of warmth and closeness seems, more than anything else, like losing a part of my own life.  I could write on and on about her but, for now, this will suffice.  

Last but certainly not least, I want to talk a bit about my faith and what I believe to be true about life, where we’re going, and where we’ve come from.  I don’t do this out of some sense of duty or simply because I am spiritually compelled to do so, I do it primarily because it lies at the core of who I am.  Much like what I mentioned above about feeling as if I’d lost a part of myself with the passing of my mom, if that part was a piece of something whole, this would be at the center of that whole. But I’m working backwards here.  As far as Christianity is concerned, I went from thinking I believed to realizing I didn’t actually believe, and finally, to believing.  The truth is, I didn’t want to confront all of this as I was growing up.  So instead, I accepted what culture handed me, and, as can often be true in the South, the culture on a Sunday looked quite different than on a Friday night.  I saw church as something to endure rather than something to enjoy, and I dodged conversations about religion like the plague.  I held onto a faith about as deep as a puddle and deferred any difficult questions my own mind may have asked; thinking, “I’ll deal with that down the road”.  Once I had taken off to Athens, however, questions were asked, my beliefs were challenged, and ultimately, holes were punched in my flimsy understanding of a god I only halfheartedly believed in.  If ignorance is bliss, then awareness of ignorance is fear and uncertainty - now I had to figure out exactly what I believed, if anything at all.  Now was the time.. not after college, not once I’d “grown up”, not when I was old and wise.

So, during the summer of 2010 (roughly), I set out to nail down what I really believed about the God described in the Bible.  I read the Gospels over and over because I wasn’t sure what else to read, and I prayed and pleaded with God.  My prayers were something to the tune of, “If this is real, please come and change me; come and change my heart.”  And, eventually, He did.  As I read more and more, the parables and stories began to make more sense - I could relate to the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) in so many ways.  I was lost and I needed to come home.  It was really as simple as that; for all of the complexities in the Bible, the plea from God is really just for His children to come home.  Slowly, I came to believe in the account of the life of Jesus, that He lived, died, and was resurrected for the glory of God and the salvation of sinners like me.  

I hope, at the very least, this gives you a small glimpse of who I am.  Part of me wants to spill way more of my life onto these pages and part of me is terrified of sharing the little that has already been written.  Either way, there is more sharing to be done and more stories to be told.  Ultimately, these are the sort of things that have shaped me and made me who I am and there’s no doubt they will bleed through the words I write.

Paper and Prose

Where it all begins:  A blank sheet of paper and a freely flowing mind.  Before bestselling paperbacks were bestsellers, before groundbreaking philosophical and theological essays were published, and before scientific theories graced the pages of medical journals, they all began with the imagination of their creator playfully dancing onto a clean sheet of paper. Whether they had pen in hand or hammered away on a typewriter or keyboard, the all important first step of turning an abstract idea into a meaningful piece of work had occurred.. and that, my friends, is my favorite part.

There are few things more exciting than a brand new, fresh idea suddenly materializing in my mind, and it really starts to come alive once I’ve put pen to paper.  Something about writing it down just makes it feel right.  Whether it’s a story, a breakthrough thought on a nagging problem, or a tender childhood memory that somehow surfaced in my mind, writing it down allows me to bring it to life.  Paper and Prose, named as a nod to this very process, is intended to be a vehicle for sharing ideas, thoughts, faith, life, and adventure.  There is goodness, vitality, and love to be both found and shared through writing and it is my aim to do a little finding and a little sharing - I hope you’ll join me.  Thanks for stopping by!