Ordinary Soil

“Ordinary Soil brings to haunting life the desperate realities of the American heartland but also offers a glimpse into a better future… a call to action for all of us.”


A terrorized, addicted farmer’s suicide attempt under a rotting burial elm unearths his family’s dark history, exposing diseased generational roots of abuse and abandonment. But strength, light, and hope also wait, deep in the ordinary soil of the Oklahoma panhandle.

Ordinary Soil
Alex Woodard - Guitar and Dog
Alex Woodard on Annie
Alex Woodard - Rider of horses and waves.

I’m a writer.
Of books and songs.

I’m a singer.
Of my truth and maybe yours.

I’m a rider.
Of horses and waves.

I live with four horses, two dogs, two chickens, and two beautiful humans on a small ranch near the California coast.

Thanks for being here.

“Alex Woodard is one of the greatest writers I’ve ever discovered.”



Latest Stories

South Pacific Sun
The little girl was telling some tall tales. Dreams, conjured from the depths of an innocent soul, about fantastical whales and maybe mermaids and other oceanic creatures. Hard to know…she talked so fast, scampering in and out of the shadows…

Rebirth. I suppose that’s where this Easter situation started. I’m not sure how a rabbit and eggs, unrelated to each other, made their way into an early spring resurrection Sunday, but a fat dude in a red suit falling down chimneys…

Wild and Free
I watched the horses run, wild and free and unmoving across the stretched canvas. A young one, somewhere between foal and colt, led the small herd, her gangly, undeveloped limbs at odds with her dominance.  Wonder if that one is still…

Somewhere Other Than Where We Are
I haven’t been on the InstaTwitFace in quite a long time. Folks in my ecosystem know this, and every so often they’ll send me whatever rare gem they might find in that wasteland of digital dystopia. Like today. The video…


For The Sender

What if…
Grammy®-winning singers and songwriters took your letters and turned them into songs?

Alex Woodard - For the Sender
Alex Woodard - For the Sender: Love is (Not a Feeling)
Alex Woodard - For the Sender
Jean G
Informative This book is thought provoking and informative. I enjoyed the multi generational aspect and how the story unfolded, layer by layer. Some of the dialogue was stilted and affected, especially the librarian's. An appropriate ending. I recommend this book to anyone interested in health, nutrition, agriculture.
A generational tale *spoilers*........I liked this book, it's about several generations of a family of farmers who over the years get on board with big farms. Each generation moves a step away from the old traditions of caring for the land and harvest. Machines, fertilizer, pesticides, that sort of thing. Each generation is also slowly suffering from more and more health problems, as well as being terrified by the ghost they've called the man in the wheat. He appears to the farmers as a man with his skin and face melting, and none of them realize until it's almost too late that he is the ancestor trying to send a warning. The land needs rest, and the chemicals are not only harming the soil but harming the health of the farmers and their family.While not exactly an exciting book with a lot of horror, it was still a good read and gives you something to think about with the way things are in todays world and the way our food is grown. I've never read a book with generational hauntings, so it was an interesting idea. There are times when self harm and suicide are talked about a lot, and the characters and timelines took some time to figure out because of the writing style. I'm not a note taker but I feel like that would have helped me a ton
Story of respecting nature and listening to our ancestors Everything in our world is connected. The food that we eat, the way that it grows, our relationships, and our health. Sometimes in ways that we would never considerOrdinary Soil tells the story of how moving from the old ways of growing healthy crops to feed families and transitioning to cash crops has an impact on our health. And the impact can last for generations.This book has a lot of emotional turmoil, following a suicidal man who only wanted to provide for his family, and instead faces losing it all. It has learning to look past the stubbornness of "how it's always been done" can literally change your life.It is a little slow at times, but it's a great read.
Very good A moving and thought provoking tale of ancestry and the soil that connects us. It delivers a powerful message.I received a gifted copy.
Cheryl Camardo
Well done - A nice story that introduces the connection of the soil to humans in a way that also links us to the past. An important story for the next generation of farmers. As a gardener and soil advocate, I appreciate the lessons the author is providing, including the resistance of change. The proof of regenerative/ancient practices wide scale is at its infancy. I believe this book will help folks see the benefits. Save the soil. Save lives.
Wife is in love with the book My wife loves the book and is very happy. She enjoyed every time she spend reading it.
George M.E. Taylor
An outstanding read. First off, I would like to thank NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group Press for the Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of this book.Ordinary Soil is no ordinary story.At first, I struggled with what was happening in the story, but once I caught up things just started to fall into place. And boy did it hit and hut hard. This story is ripe with feelings and there was always a lump in my throat.I'm honored to have been one of the first to read it in its complexity.Watch and read as generations pass before your eyes, taking you on the path of the male members if this ancient family.And under the feet of those generations is the dirt that carries them, the dirt that the first generation made vows over, vows that would haunt the following men that worked the earth.Fantastic read. Wusj I could read it again, but it's been archived. I will have to buy it.
In all things, what is given is returned. "Mark, you better come home."He knew what those five words meant.You'd think Alex was an Okie, the way he writes my home and its weighty relation to the earth. Opening this novel, a real treatise on the way so much sadness is so ordinary, feels overwhelming at first. There are many characters to parse out and relationships to dive into. But That feels, especially as an Oklahoman, like a perfect mirror to our southern/midwestern ways. We are ordinary, connected, solemn.I felt deeply the webs of generational trauma- generational toxicity, and the wistful nature of reconnecting to your family through land cultivation. This book is thoughtful, thought-provoking, and thorough. Well worth the read.
Doris Snyder
Oklahoma As an ancestor to the First Families of the Twin Territories; this book was an important piece of literature for me. My great great grandfathers farmed hundred of acres. Thank for writing this Alex.
Octavia McGee
Fantastic Fiction Novel With A Bit Of Facts Ordinary Soil by Alex Woodard is a beautifully written novel that follows Jake and the things that are going on in his life. There are a lot of real topics that are touched in this novel that made me think about issues that are going on in the world. Readers can expect to feel some type of emotions when reading a serious story like this one. While this isn't something that I would generally read, there were things that I liked. For one, I enjoyed that there were flashback scenes from the past. It reminded me a bit of Holes by Louis Sachar where the past was connected to the present. I also enjoyed the way Alex Woodard brings up serious topics without being morbid about it. Even though there are a few moments that are sad and could be hard to deal with, Alex Woodard doesn't romanticize what's going on in the novel. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and can't wait to read what Alex Woodard writes next. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy novels with serious topics and to those that like historical fiction. I rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars.
“Throughout ‘Living Halfway,’ Alex writes the same way he sings: not always pretty, and his words can tear your heart out of your body. But I forgive him for that, because what he writes is beautiful, and real, and true.”


Happiness Expert And Author Of “Shift Happens! And Finding Love Everywhere”