Let’s talk literary this morning. I have had more people lately asking me about “my” book than you can shake a stick at. They want to know when I’m writing one. Or when am I going to put my little blurbs into book form.
You don’t know how much I appreciate the sentiments. It truly honors, and humbles me. But let’s get something perfectly straight here…..
John Milton could write a book. His prose, grasp of word usage, graphic descriptions made “Paradise Lost” leap off the page at the reader. The thought provoking subject matter didn’t hurt either. In “Paradise Regained” Milton wrote “childhood shows the man as morning shows the day.”
I couldn’t touch that with my absolute best effort!
Ernest Hemingway could write a book. He jots down a simple tale of a Cuban fisherman hooking a “big one” while thinking about baseball great, Joe DiMaggio. You can feel the saltwater splashing over you. Your eyes burn from glinting into the sun. You get angry and strike the water as sharks eat the flesh off the old man’s catch.
I get seasick stepping over a puddle.
Mark Twain could write a book. I recall “Life on the Mississippi” today and I have this tremendous urge to sell my house, buy an old fashioned paddle wheeler and “batter down by Baton Rouge, River Queen, roll it on”….. And listen, no one really believes Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn were imaginary characters. How about that kind of writing!
I can’t even convince people I’m not making up LaRenda Bradfield and Graylene Lemonds.
Louie L’Amour could write a book. He painted the high desert plains a thousand hues of purple, orange and various browns as the sun danced across the western sky. When his horses thundered down the page dust settled on your reading lamp. When lead flew in his novels, you dove for cover with the rest of the innocent folks.
That’s writing way above and beyond my reach.
Charles Dickens could write a book. He would take the most unexpected down and out character (think Pip in “Great Expectations”) and turn him into a hero. Dickens’ depiction of Victorian era England is like a walking encyclopedia. Without question his deprived and difficult childhood was a springboard for his runaway success as an author. Of course, his talent didn’t hurt either.
Perhaps I was too happy as a youth to write a book.
Edgar Rice Burroughs could write a book. He introduced the world to Tarzan of the Apes. I’ve swung through trees with the jungle hero, fought alligators in water so clear you could see the whole thing in your mind, fallen into quick sand, scaled escarpments that reached near ’bout to the sky and even made the trip into Nairobi one time.
Maybe I’m too tired to write a book.
Miss Barbara Clark taught us sophomore English and Literature. She introduced us to Milton, Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg, Nathanial Hawthorne, Sinclair Lewis….
I read everything she put in front of us. At no time did it cross my mind that I might could do that some day. IT STILL DOESN’T!
You don’t have to be a real writer to jot down some things you remember about growing up back home. You just have to think of something funny Patty Gaines said or did and inscribe it right quick on something before it gets away.
Buddy Wiggleton lived just a few blocks from the house. He was a “story a minute” all by himself. You could fill a blank canvas in no time if you kept your ears open up on Woodrow Kennon’s front porch. And just imagine the macabre stories Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had grown up with my older brother!
So I don’t really write my articles. Pam Collins does. Or Ricky Hale. Jane Hill. Yogi, Charlotte Melton. Jackie and Paul David. Mr. John Motheral. J. A. Abernathy. Rollin Trull. The Paschall brothers. David Mark. Deake Bradley. It’s a cast of thousands…..
The whole town gets involved.
And I’m mighty grateful they do. It has been so much fun keeping up with them. They don’t always remember it exactly like I do. But I’ve never missed the truth or hurt anyone or presented it slightly different than it actually occurred…..in my heart!
But this book idea would create a dilemma for the publishing company. Just think of all the folks they would have to send royalty checks to……