An Author’s Inspiration

This past October, I held a book signing event for my first novel, The West Bluff, in Orange, Texas. It was the place where I grew up(mostly). It is a town that has been slowly dying since I left it in the mid-60’s. Not because of me, heaven’s sakes, in any way. It seems to me I am watching it devolve as others who have lived there saw it evolve. It is the yo-yo of time, I suppose. However.

The event was held in the middle of town, at the old train station that has been saved from rotting away by concerned people and contributed money. It was the first train I took a ride on, in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, after I threw a paper route. 4:00 a.m. I went all of twenty miles or so to the next town and promptly returned on the Sunset Limited. Later in life, I adventured onto trains throughout Europe and traveled using an Eurail Pass(?) and not able to read departure schedules in foreign languages, which was scary in its own right. I digress.

Back to the point. I was asked by one of my book readers about my inspirations in going after writing a novel. That answer can be short or long, depending, if you are visual or tactile. “How do you write?” I can say that it may or may not be a technique that others use, but here is an answer, for the moment.

I have a small notebook that I keep bits and pieces of things in, kinda like a book for odds and ends that I don’t know where to put or what to do with them. It is kind of like a prompt that a character I may write about may have or say. They are fun to look at occasionally, with nothing other than an open mind. So, I thought I would give you some for you to look at and see what you do with it or where you use it. Some you may know.

Death is not a big deal but dying is the painful part.

When it comes to crazy, everybody stays hushed up.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Look back across that time.

I am as deeply rooted to my patch of ground as he is to his.

Learning about life is like living like a pencil. You can put it all down until you want to change, so you try to erase and write anew. The marks from before are still visible and you can squint and look back on what was written there before.

I saw a woman in a tussle with a bunch of balloons and a man in the meadow with his dog on a chain.

It is a matter pf perspective, a twig is a limb to a hummingbird.

So, there are a few things to ruminate about. I will give a hint, however, to you. I have just finished writing the manuscript for my next novel and I may or may not have used any or some of these quotes in the upcoming book. If you stick around, you might be able to solve this greatest of mysteries.

I hope you do.



Was he a drunk or was he just drunk

I found myself in someone’s yard sitting in the grass and enjoying the afternoon with friends and family. They were sitting around in the grass, too, and on a porch just talking and drinking beers and smoking cigarettes. They were all smoking cigarettes.

Funny, when I go back and think about it now. There had been a fire of some sort and some cleanup had taken place, where several shovels of burnt stuff and charred matter were just thrown into the middle of the yard. What seemed disturbing was a large amount of the debris was made in large part by medicine bottles, mostly broken and spilling out the contents into the grass and charcoal. I was alarmed that no one seemed to pay any attention to the potential hazard that could get out of hand and threaten me somehow.

Part of the ugliness was  in the color of the mostly broken bottles , they were ugly amber brown. Not something pretty. It reminded me of the color of a brown gallon Purex bottle my grandmother used from time to time. It had a bad smell that made me dislike that color.

Grownups were quite lazy after the big meal and just sat around smoking, but, I noticed they watched me as I kinda poked around through all the little piles of colored pills. They were watching me to see if I was going to swallow one. The smell of the Purex made the impression that those pills probably tasted like the Purex, even though you aren’t suppose to taste pills, but just swallow them instead. When one of them gets stuck in your throat, you wind up tasting it anyway.

A big man was close to me sitting in the grass with his shirt off. Old men did that to cool off when there wasn’t a breeze. He sorta slipped over and fell to laying over sideways in the grass. When I laid in the grass with my shirt off, I would get itchy, so I didn’t do it much.

He would lean up and drink, no, gulp his beer and lay back down in the itchy grass. He would try and talk to the other people around him but slowly, his words would slur a bit.

He tried to keep talking, somewhat. He began to make more and more no sense. Some people were laughing at his antics. He became  yard entertainment.

I was told to ask him a question and see what kind of an answer he would give back. He was funny. Then he was sad. I took a blade of grass and tickled his belly and he would swat it. That was funny.

I could tell him that he was going to be dropped into a burning fire and he would yell, “Nooo.” He would not wake up, but he continued to talk his “drunk talk”.

I remember it was on a Sunday afternoon and I was going to have to go to school the next day, so we left. We left the pills and the broken bottles, and the charred wood used to set the pill bottles on fire, which they didn’t do.

I never figured out if he was a drunk or just drunk. Unknowingly, I began to learn about alcoholics and drunks. Maybe the second grade or maybe just the first.

Coming Soon

West Buff_Ver 3

The West Bluff and surrounding swamps along the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana have provided a modest but comfortable shelter and satisfactory sustenance for Dick Jackson and his Cajun sweetheart, Penny, in the years just after World War II. But lately, things have not seemed right. Trapping has become dangerous, as a fearful presence has crept its way into this region known as the Big Thicket. Dick has already lost two of his hunting dogs within days of each other under unusual circumstances, and the remaining dogs whine and pull at their chains. Four friends come from Georgia to join in the hunt for whatever it is, and Cajun folkways are employed to ward off this haint. But the challenges seem only to multiply.