The title of this post is the opening line to the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The following is a review of the series I’ve read thus far, and a commentary on the motivation I’m gaining as I’ve been reading it: 

As you know I’ve been reading the Dark Tower series, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty hooked. I didn’t think I would get taken in this deeply by Stephen King (a author whom I have a very sordid history with). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series it’s about a man named Roland and his journey to find the dark tower. He is a gunslinger (think like a knight of the old west) and he is defined by his antiquated nature and his devotion to honor and destiny. He is also the last of his kind.

Everything takes place in this “world” that’s a lot like our own, but it’s mixed in with a very dystopian western future/past. Think: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly meets The Lord of the Rings and then they made very good looking baby with The Postman (a Kevin Costner classic).

The imagery of this whole landscape is enthralling and makes you wonder about what’s lurking around the next corner. The humor (what little there is) is poignant and helps break up the very heavy nature of this tale. The story is a slow burn, but slow like a mine fire; there is a lot is under the surface, likely a raging inferno, but all you can see is the poisonous gases and smoke the seem to fill the air. But I feel the most important aspect of this story are the different characters. (Certainly, as all great stories have).

(Very mild spoilers ahead)

All of these characters have their major flaws; just like ourselves. That’s why you read. You start to realize that maybe you have the same demons as Eddie (an addict), or Susannah (anger), or Jake (naivety). But once these characters enter Mid-world (the name of this crazy Middle Earth) then they sort of get knighted by Roland as gunslingers. These people have their struggles but they learn to stop, listen, and aim true. They start solving problems because they remember their past and know it can help them. They know their roles in this world and do the right thing. (It also helps when they’re all obsessed with reaching the end of their journey)

When you reach the point in the story where I am you start to learn a little more about Roland’s past. This is remarkable because Roland is a character shrouded in secrecy. He says very little and usually let’s bullets do most of the talking. You learn that, as a boy, he had to watch his family get torn apart by deception. He had to witness the decline of his people and the love of his life.

Knowing all these hurts in his life you start to wonder “what is Roland really chasing?”. It’s not just a big dark tower in the middle of a field of roses…is it? What does he want from this journey? Redemption? Vengeance? Saving a damsel in distress?

I’m willing to bet, if I could ask Roland that question he’d likely reply with “I wot, maybe it’s not about what I’m chasing, it’s about what’s chasing me.”

Now, I still have a ways to go in this story, but that’s what keeps hitting me. What is Roland searching for? It’s the reason I keep picking the book up. Maybe I’ll learn more. Maybe I’ll be teased further. Either way, it’s good storytelling.

And that’s why I’m making this post. This story is pulling me in because, I feel, that it reflects our own journey much better than other books do. No, I don’t have a great deal of tragedy in my life that has left me rabid with a desire to chase my enemy to the ends of the earth. Nope, I haven’t tried to find meaning in life by devoting myself to restoring justice and balance in the universe. I mostly drink too much soda and spend too much time on the internet. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have my own dark tower looming on the horizon. I just haven’t really started chasing it yet.

I think my dark tower is the same as Roland’s. I think yours is as well. We are all looking for that one thing, we just don’t exactly know what that one thing is. When we find it, it will feel like we’ve found a key that finally fits the lock in our heart. Maybe you’ll get to that dark tower and it turns into a Super Mario scenario. Maybe you defeat the monster but learn that the Princess has been moved to another castle. Still, you will persist.

I think a lot of people get discouraged in life because of this. “What is the meaning of life?”, “How come nothing goes my way?”, “Life is so unfair.” are phrases that we all say (I know I’ve asked myself these once or twice). Some people ask themselves those questions and they just sort of give up on the journey. They tell themselves they’ve achieved enough and that will be okay or maybe they say they are not fit for the journey and can’t go on. But the truth is, they’re just settling with your weaknesses. You can make this trip.

So, using this odd source of inspiration, I’ve decided to continually improve myself. Maybe I need to stop making fun of people so much. Maybe I need to stop the soda and the internet (or mostly stop). Maybe I need to exercise more self control to find more self motivation. Maybe I need to go out into the world so I can really find my dark tower.

Do as Roland did; chase that thing which seems nigh impossible to catch. Walk across a desert, a place of death, and persist. Don’t give up. Even when the buzzards are flying overhead and you find new paths along The Beam, continue onward. You may have to establish new and unexpected relationships, you might even have to sacrifice some other relationships. Press forward.

So, if i can, I’d like to hand you a pair of guns. They have the same ivory handles and have been passed down from gunslinger to gunslinger for generations. They will always be by your side. They will always shoot straight. They will keep you protected. Don’t forget to treat them with the care they have received before. These will serve as your tools on your long journey to find the dark tower.

It doesn’t matter who your family is, what creed you follow, or what (sub)culture(s) you claim as your own. What matters is you learn from your past, get things done in the now, and look toward the future.


You have been knighted, so steady your hand, aim true, and pull the trigger.

The dark tower awaits.


Quaint Dream and Reading

April 23, 2012

Yesterday I awoke with the strangest memory of the strangest dream. I’m going to relay every detail to you. Maybe there is a special meaning behind it. Maybe it’s just random firing of synapses in my cerebral cortex while I enter R.E.M stages of sleep. Maybe it’s not really a dream but a memory from some very odd sleep walking.

In my dream I wake up. I’m in my bed and everything seems normal. Bed sheets are green, lights are off, and fan is on.

I drudge myself out from under the covers and stumble toward my shorts that are laying on the ground. The shorts are the same shorts that I had worn the day previously and had taken them off before I went to bed. As I shakily place one leg into the opening I manage to lose my balance more than usual. I step through and feel constrained. I try the other leg and can’t quite reach through the other side.

My shorts have magically become pants.

And then I woke up. For real wake up.

Weird…I know. But that was the entire thing.

I should take this opportunity to mention that I’ve been reading a lot lately. This feels really good because I haven’t read anything of substance for a long time.

But this sword is double bladed. While I’m reading more, I’m writing less. I know this shouldn’t be true. The experts (whoever they are) always say, “writers read.” I’ll be honest, I know I should read more, but if I were to do that, my brain would be more preoccupied with reading than writing. I just feel so engrossed in a good story that I really don’t want to put it down. (Also, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I read very slowly.)

What exactly have I been reading?

I’m so glad you asked.

  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King
  • Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
  • Thud! by Terry Pratchett (currently reading)
No, I’m not really into reviewing books but here’s a statement that works for all of them.
They’re all good.
Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may be quick to notice this isn’t the first time I’ve posted updates to my reading list. Those of you with impeccable memory will also notice that none of these books are on that list.
:::Gives self the finger of shame:::
I’m terrible at sticking to reading plans.
Yeah, well, so what? What about your reading list, huh? How you read anything that’s actually on it? I have my doubts…

This certainly is a strange mix of novels. But




April 2, 2012

Jessie quit.

Just like that she just up and left. It’s a real dissapointment. That means I will cancel my whole book deal and have gotten my job back as a teacher. The book is being pushed back indefinently. Sorry to disappoint all of you like that. Maybe next year.

Also, I’m not really named Philip Dalton. Or was it spelled Phillip? I don’t really know. It’s not my name…

So I’m back here running things. So let’s just pretend nothing even happened yesterday. Deal?

Let’s start of the month by showing you all another one of my goodies that I have received from my Marbles-Round-the-World project. (You really need to come up with a catchy and easy-to-say name for this project, cause’ I’m no good at it.) Today we will look at a marble that I sent to Malaysia.

CHA-CHING! That’s money in the bank! (Okay, it has nothing to do with money, but that’s just what came out…)

This little guy traveled further than any other marble thus far. It now has a lovely view of some very lovely buildings that are all stuck in perpetual winter of what seems to be glitter. A real sight to behold.

In other news,  I had a dream about taking a plane trip to Canada. I didn’t have a passport so they held me and kicked me out of the country. Luckily for me the plane had landed just inside the Canadian border. And I mean just inside. Like 50 feet from the border.


Right now I’ve got a writing prompt to work on…so… go do something cool.

Tell Me What To Do!

February 16, 2012

This weekend will be my first full weekend in 3 weeks. It will also be a long one.

I’m looking at the precious 72 hours as a real opportunity to do something special. I would come up with a cool plan myself, but I’ve already used up all my good ideas and inspiration this week. So YOU need to tell me what to do.

What would you recommend? Should I…

  1. Go camping?
  2. explore a city I’ve never been to before?
  3. Eat a two pound BBQ pulled pork sandwich?
  4. Begin a Pez collection?
  5. Workout to the song “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito?
  6. Shave my head?
  7. Clean out a neighbors gutters?
  8. Go see a doctor to receive a full colonic irrigation?
  9. Go rent a car and tell everybody about my disdain for the company because they “only had a compact”?
  10. Finish my lamp?
  11. Go bowling and bowl 3 consecutive games of exactly 156?
  12. Try out for a professional soccer team?
  13. Perform my own rendition of ‘One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest’ in a city park?
  14. Learn to weave baskets?
  15. Grow a beard overnight and then enter a beard contest?
  16. Flash mob in a mall?
  17. Buy a new towel?
  18. Rent a tent for a large outdoor event?
  19. Clean the undercarriage of my car?
  20. Sleep?

Yeah, those are just a few things I thought up but I’m positive you can come up with better.

So help me out. What should I do?


An Event

September 14, 2011

So, Mr. King and I have been working together.

You see, I’m still reading that book On Writing and I came across something that really made me stop and say, “Woah.” And yes, I said it in my best Keanu Reeves voice.

No, I did not learn Kung Fu.

Mr. King has described writing as one thing.


We can literally transfer our thoughts into the minds of others by using the silly medium of written/printed words.

For his example he described a very unique setting.

Look –  here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In it’s paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.

While that is very little description, it’s done just right to make you imagine what that looks like. You actually did envision a cute little bunny who was gnawing away at an orange stick. Perhaps it was making those adorable little crunching sounds as it was nibbling. Maybe you imagined the rabbit as a white one with red eyes, or maybe it was a brown and white mix. The point is, you literally saw exactly what he wanted you to see. A rabbit with some very mysterious number on it’s back.

How awesome is that?

I read that and had to stop for a moment. I had to collect my thoughts.

I’m literally trying to make people think a certain way when I write…

That’s not only really cool but it also makes me tense up as I contemplate what power that could wield. Do I have a talent or skill developed enough to actually allow this to happen in my readers’ minds?

Quite honestly, no. I don’t think I have developed that far as of yet. I’m too busy trying to figure out how things are even supposed to look or feel. I’m too worried about if my story makes sense. I’m too nervous on whether I will say enough…

But Mr. King speaks on this again. (Since I can’t find the quote I’ll just paraphrase). He says something along the lines of “trust your readers.”

Trust them? How can I trust them with this world/character I create? They are mine. I want them to see the character as I see them. Nothing else…

Then i realized I’m a selfish writer. I write for me.

Yes, the name of the blog is bookforme, but that doesn’t mean my actual writing has to focus on what I want. I can reach out to my audience. (Since I don’t really have an audience, I will just pretend I have a certain group of individuals I want to read my work.)

So I can feel free to stop worrying about silly details about a characters past. As long as the character is real and easily relatable to the reader, what do I have to worry about? They will take care of them. They will give them a face, a walk, and voice, and an attitude that I couldn’t put into words anyway.

Okay readers, I’ll try to start trusting you.


Some Days Just Require Action

September 9, 2011

Maybe it’s just Fridays in general, but today was a real tough one.

At the end of today I felt like I had been wading through marshes filled with molasses while having a root canal. There was nothing very pleasant about the day at all.

I had 3 different labs to do today. I even made sure these lined up and happened on the same Friday. Why? Because it seemed like a really good idea at the time. Then I actually had to do the labs with my kids…

It wasn’t the lab setting up that was the hard part, but the constant requests to use the bathroom and constant “Mr. Bank-croft” or “Mr. Uhmmmm…” as they raise call out for me to explain a question to them for the 4th time. Come on guys, I have done a pretty good job on learning your first and last names, the least you can do is remember my one last name. It’s not like you have 74 teachers’ names to worry about.

But like I said…maybe it’s just Fridays.

The point is I really needed to get away from it all. Even if it was just for a little while. A little “me” time would do me well. I also stayed behind at school really late yesterday, so I didn’t want to be there any longer than I had to.

So, I packed up after school and left. I decided to drive 30 minutes to my favorite comic shop and just geek it up for a little while.

Did that. Now what?

I’m not sure if what I did next was a sad thing or a good thing. I went to a restaurant and had a meal. By myself.

Why could that be seen as sad? Well, I’m just a guy eating alone trying to not spill anything on his tie. A guy that doesn’t have somebody to talk to. Nothing to laugh about. Nobody to share a smile with. Just me, my food, and a few restaurant employees. Not to menntion it’s a Friday night and I look like I’m an office worker trying to get a lunch in on a Tuesday afternoon.

Why could it be a good thing? I had been surrounded by dozens of people all day and I was through with that business. I felt great. I liked the idea of sitting (I was actually on my feet all day). I just leaned back and relaxed. I didnt’ care if somebody was with me. I might do it more often now that I think about it.

(Side note: My tie survived the meal.)

After that I went to a very large book store and just… did nothing. I perused and searched. I looked and read. I picked up and put back.

Annnnd I bought a few books…

Don’t worry, I actually started reading one of them and have already put down the first 100 pages. So I don’t expect this to be any real burden on me or my reading list fiasco.

The book?

On Writing by Stephen King.

Why this book?

Well, a few reasons really.

1. I’ve read excerpts of this book before. Especially a small part where he writes about how one article he wrote early in his life was edited by somebody right in front of him. He claimed it changed his writing style/career forever. This little piece has always stuck with me and now I can say I posses it and have read it in a legal way.

2. I have a teacher friend who has taught high school English and Literature courses. She claimed that King’s On Writing has helped a few of her students. Hey, she even had a lot of classroom copies of the book. Which is kind of scary considering how much cursing there is in the book. But that’s besides the point.

3. A nice internet stranger I met on here on WordPress seems to mention it at least once every two weeks. Since I appreciate how she writes, I definitely took her subliminal recommendation into consideration.

4. I want to be a better writer. So I figured reading advice/thoughts by one of the most popular authors to put pen to paper in the past 50 years deserves at least a little attention.

What will I gain from the reading experience? I dunno. Maybe a lot. Maybe none at all. At least I’m really enjoying this read.

Alright, it’s beddy bye time,


Forward I Say!

August 7, 2011

The whole purpose of this entire little blog is for me to have an avenue to allow me to write.

A plan was put forth that call for me to implement, esentially, two steps. The first is creating a blog that allows me to write and get feedback on. And after I do this for some time I’m sure that I will end up a little more skilled in the words department. Secondly, the plan is to write a book. Bookforme is the name of the blog after all, and my ultimate goal is to do just that, write a book for me.

Or myself. (I still need help in the words department as you can tell).

Well…I think I may have just begun/talked my way into writing a book. Again. Sort of.

(This is a long story, that will be shortened, and certain areas will be emphasized for dramatic effect. Oh, and there’s spoilers.)

Just like any story begins, two years ago me and a couple friends we sitting around just chatting.  And we got to talking about authors and stories that we love. Then it popped up that some of us had tried writing before and some of us even had a file full of ideas for books. (No, I was not one of them). Then a few things were said and we all decided that we should write a book together.

That’s right, I said friends. As in plural. Three of us.

We got together and went through that folder full of ideas and found one we all felt could turn into a really fun story. We even planned out a lot of characters and plot points and actually attempted to write some stuff down. As it turns out, the two of them are lazy bums. (It should be noted that I am also a lazy bum but of a different caliber than these other fellows). And we only really got a ton of ideas down, but very little writing actually completed.

I was totally for it though. I had never done any writing up to that point. After I attempted my first real writing session, I ended up walking away feeling quite wonderful. I even put a lot of effort into doing that. I mean, I worked really hard over 2500 words when the other guys were barely putting out 500. I felt like I could totally do this. And that was the moment I thought to myself, “I want to write a book before I die.” The seed was planted.

But then us bums were bums, and nothing came of it.

School. Internships. People in and out of my life. Family. More school. Laziness…

Still, that seed wanted to grow.

The decision was made that blogging would become the water for that seed.

And I’ve been watering it pretty consistently for the better part of three months or so. I knew that I wanted to write but wanted feedback to help me learn. And that’s what I did. This blog has really become a part of my life. I really do live on the internet in a way because of this pixelated hole-in-the-wall. I have the freedom to come up with stories and explain life events in a way that is totally unique to me. And I like that.

Here is where the conflict of the story shows up.

I’ve never told anybody about any of it.

Even my “Two Step Plan to Totally Own Some Book Writing Skillz” is a secret. The existence of this blog is a secret. My passion for wanting to write is a secret. Heck, just my writing itself, is a secret.

I never let anybody read my writing other than those two fellows mentioned earlier. And they only read the stuff that I knew they had to read because it was supposed to be in the book that we were making together. I still worked on other things that have been hidden away for nobody to see.

Why then would I decide to start publishing little stories on the internet for all to read? (It’s actually more like maybe a dozen people).

Because I think it would help me get past the fear of letting people see my creativity and judging me for it. Yes. Because I could get feedback in a personable way that would encourage me to keep writing. Yes. To make me think about the audience I was writing for. Yes. To just feel free. Yes. People won’t have any preconceptions about what THAT GUY is writing. Yes.

Still, to this day, my friends, family, and coworkers do not know of my blogging double life. And I don’t plan on letting that change.

How do I keep my secret from those closest to me?

:::Spoiler Alert:::

My name is not really D.A. Bancroft.


I know. A real surprise. It’s a pen name. It’s a pseudonym. The proverbial cat is out of the proverbial bag.

(Wait…what do you mean you already suspected/knew this?)

This was the best way to make sure my secret passion was never revealed. Yes, i’m sure somebody could find out if I have an internet presence if they really searched hard enough. And yes, I know people on the internet could probably find out who I really am. But that’s kind of the fun behind it I guess. They could know…but they don’t. How long can I keep this going?

Now, I take you to only a few days ago…

After a while of being lazy bums, those two fellows have decided to “reignite” the whole writing subject.

Here are a few points, both positive and negative, that are placed before me.

* I already have writing commitments on this here blog. I mean, yes, I could just post my progress on this book as my writing for this blog (and it may come to that), but I still want to write much more original material before I really write anything very big.

* I do still want this blog to remain “secret” and will think that me publishing any “group book” work on here would dangerous. There will be words and thoughts involved in this story that will be veeerrry unique. And if any of those showed up on this website, I’m sure that a simple google search would pull off the covers, so to speak.

* I am now a full time employee, and my students will come first before any writing. So I may not have a lot of time to devote to that whole story over there. I will still place my blog before any shaking book idea.

* How do you write a book with more than one author? I know it can be done. I’ve even read some books that were quite good despite them having multiple authors. And these guys are my friends. We know each other. We know what makes each other tick/laugh/cry/sneeze, so i’m guessing we can agree on the direction a story takes. .

* This multi-authorship will also mean that this book is not going to be my complete vision for something as grand as we are planning. It will be full of compromises and shortcomings. It will be our vision. I still want to write a book that is all mine. MY universe. MY decisions. (Call me selfish)

* This project has stalled out before and it could likely stall out again. Now, I don’t plan on being the one to cause no progress to occur, but I fully expect very  little contribution from the other authors unless they light a fire under their butts and get to work. So all this concern may be over nothing.

Still, things will continue here unabated. I think. Progress will go forward.

So there it is. You have my origin story. My big secret. And my dilemma. All in one post at that!

This kind of makes me feel like a super hero…

I am – the batman…

The not really, but still going to use it,


More self examination

May 29, 2011

I’m sure most who write blogs (probably you) take pride in your work. And you should! It’s not easy.

But I’m sure most of you have a name for your blog that you’re proud of. It’s a real statement. It sums everything up about who you are and what you’re doing here.

Bookforme is the name of this blog.

Not very good is it? While I’m sure I could change it I would like to tell you why I will not.

The name bookforme will stay there as a constant reminder to me that my goal in writing is to complete a book.

When I came up with this blog, I wanted to accomplish one thing in particular. I wanted to write a book. I don’t care if it gets published or not. I don’t care if it’s even that good. But I do care if I can actually get it done. This is going to be tough for me because I am not a particularly skilled writer.

I have no plans on writing a book right now. I’m still trying to learn how to write posts and comments without making myself look like a total dweeb. But when I get a lot of short stories under my belt I will try writing a book. I expect that this blog will likely end up being where I post each chapter as I write it. I might even end up breaking chapters into sections and release those. In all reality, I’m not at that bridge, so I’m not going to worry about it much right now.

What I am going to worry about are the little things. I need to know about creating a story. Whether it’s formal or not, I need the knowledge base to develop those ideas. I also need to learn more about grammar. I know some may warn away from spending too much time here, but I think I need to feel confident enough about it in order to put my mind at rest. Plus, it’s not like I have an editor or anything. I edit my own stuff.

Here are some other goals I would love to accomplish in anticipation of writing a book:

1. Write over 50 short stories. (hopefully they will get better with time).

2. Write some sort of short serial. That means I would like to write a number of short stories that actually have some line of continuity through them. This seems to be like it could be the most fun in my near future.

3. Try things like poetry/haikus/jokes/lyrics on some occasion. (In order to bring my attention to other forms of writing.)

4. Network with other writers in order to help me develop what I do into a real skill.

5. Write a novellete. (This could or not become my future full blown novel, but trying a story in that form would be a tremendous adventure and likely be good practice in creating a long story.)

6. Shorten the time it takes to let a story form in my mind and then write it down.

7. Reach my goal of a complete book within 2 years. (This could be subject to change, but only in a shorter time frame, not a longer one)

Overall, I think these are reachable goals. You’ll notice that the number of short stories should take me about a full year to finish (at one story per week). That would give me the chance to work on a novel for a whole year. I’m sure I need this much time in order to change and edit if I need to.

Hey, maybe I’ll write a book and then I’ll say to myself, “Oh that was not that bad”. Then I’ll get confident enough to keep it up. Or maybe you will all form an angry mob and demand my retirement from the field. Either way, I look forward to a book for me.

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”  — Loretta Lynn

But everybody dies sooner or later. That’s why you should spend as much of your life doing what you love.

This is why people have bucket lists. They have a list of things that they MUST do before they die. I’m no exception to this idea. I really would like to accomplish a few things before my life ends here on earth. One of those is to get something published as a writer. To really stand out on my own and show the world that I am important and unique in my own way.

“I just had a dream about zombies, some were green and some were purple; some fake, some real. I just know that it kind of freaked me out” — Me


I know, I had a good thing going there. I was making you think about life and what really matters to you. You might have even been thinking that you totally knew where this was going. This blog was going to be remarkably unoriginal, the guy was totally a wuss, and you were totally bored. Then I’ve got to screw everything all up.

Well I’m okay with that. And if you are as well,  then keep on reading.

To explain the title of the post, I would really like to create my own new world.

No, not in that maniacal kind of way. I’m not some villain that is trying to destroy the world and rebuild it in their image. And that image would likely involve transforming the state of Connecticut into a giant trampoline. I’m not sure if that could  be done, but I would be such a ruthless dictator that I would make it happen. Oh yeah, I’d live in a volcano and wear a spiky helmet.

No, no. I’m not one of those people. But I do wear an eye patch and plot doom for others…

When I say “create my own world” I mean to find a new field of personal expression.

Okay, let’s not play games here, I’m not actually a ‘writer’. I’m more of a reader who aspires to write. In turn I will be using this tool to help me become more of a writer. That basically means I’m going to write things (stories and ideas) in a manner that isn’t totally embarrassing for myself as well as a little entertaining for you. I will put a lot of work into making something entertaining, but am mostly just publishing this to learn more about the craft of writing. Finding my voice if you will.

Also, I would love to hear the opinions of those on the internet (the most receptive audience in the world, I know). You reading this (and any future writings) can provide me with essential advice that will help me hone and develop my small amount of skill into something that I can be happy with.

Within a week I plan on adding a short story. Feel free to express your opinions and tell me how to edit and format the work. You can tell me what works and what doesn’t. You can tell me to print it and then burn it, destroy my computer, and smack my deceased mother for giving birth to me. Hey, you can even compliment me from time to time.

Either way, I hope we can have fun and I can scratch something off my bucket list in the future.

Sincerely, D.A. Bancroft