Saturday, January 17, 2009


Tomorrow the local newspaper here in Amarillo is supposed to run a story about the fire and the way you guys have all rallied to help my family. I'm more than a little nervous about the piece even though I can't really put my finger on why.

I'll post a link to the article as soon as it comes out.

I wanted to put up some great witty post today, since the article is bound to drive some new traffic here but I'm simply not feeling creative at the moment,so for any newcomers and all of you repeat readers I'm sorry but this is another retread post from the past.

This one originally was posted on April 30th, 2007 and was titled ...

The Other White Meat

What makes a writer?

Once, at a writer's conference, I heard a literary agent say, "Anyone under the age of thirty-five should attempt to write fiction. " Now this was a reputable agent with a good many projects sold to big publishing houses. But I still say the idea you have to be a certain age to write is utter nonsense.

Everyone is a writer in some sense. Don't think so? I'll wager a dozen T-Bone steaks to a head of lettuce that there's not a single person in this world who hasn't already wrote a conflict scene or two in their head. We all do it. Get in to some type of argument and then later think ... oh I should have said this. And then you plan out how the other person would have responded with blah, blah, blah. And then you could have really got them with ...

Come on admit it. You've done this.

The trick is to put that kind of stuff down on paper, mix in some inner emotional turmoil, or middle-eastern terrorists, or a dead body or whatever fits for your genre. All the while adding in the bits and pieces of everyday life that all of us see first hand. Which brings me to life experience. You can have it at ten in some extreme case and you can be a hundred and still not have much.

Now I personally still have about eight months until I hit that magic age of thirty-five (I've since zoomed past that mark) and if I suddenly get my break the day after my birthday, (nope) well then that particular agent can look me up and say , "I told you so."

But in the meanwhile I've lived a pretty varied and eclectic life that I continually go to for material. Here is the short list.

Paying Gigs- grocery sacker, wood sander, feed store worker, postal worker, football referee, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, gigilo - Okay I'm kidding about that last one, but if the price was right you never know what I might do. (Especially for a book deal.) All of these have had their moments but the time I spent at Rose's Feed and Garden gave me more material than ten authors could ever use in a lifetime. Now of course I twist around my experiences, enhance them and give the reader a more entertaining twist than the actual reality, but still I've seen some interesting stuff, like the time a well-meaning mom of a small child groped me while I was in the Easter Bunny costume, but that is a whole other story.

Critters- Once upon a time I wanted to be a vet. I love animals, especially the tasty ones. But over the years I've raised a variety of animals for both fun and profit. Okay, only the pigs were what you could call real profitable, but still it was interesting. Rabbits, at one time I had almost two hundred. Dogs- I've had good one, bad ones, and some that weren't worth shooting, Cats- Blame my wife for this. Pigs- I earned more my senior year of high school showing hogs than I did in the two years after graduation. Nothing goes together like FFA, stock shows, and smuggled Everclear consumed straight from empty shampoo bottles, again a story for another day. Lambs, Goats, Chickens, Turkeys, Hedgehogs, Tropical fish, and Guinea Pigs, which don't taste anything like actual pork. Or so I'm told.

Sports-Football, Hockey, Softball, Frisbee Golf, Miniature Golf, Real golf, Video game golf, Okay I'll stop now that I sound like Bubba Gump.

On top of these things. I read like a fiend, I talk way too much, which leads to meeting some interesting people, like to travel, enjoy a variety of music, but mostly Texas Country which is a whole lot different from the stuff Nashville cranks out for the uninitiated.

Guess what I'm trying to say is it ain't the years behind ya that puts experience in your tank, its the miles.

Of course you can even get by that if you have a heck of an imagination and a strong tendency to make up lies.


Michelle said...

Making up lies? Is that what writers are reduced to? Just kidding!
I look forward to reading the news article about your house fire, and all the blessings you've received!


Aaron said...

...anxiously awaiting the article...

Janna Qualman said...

That's awesome news about the article! I can't wait to see what they have to say.

Cloudia said...

Tell it like it is, Texas!

Charles Gramlich said...

That's pretty cool about the article. Maybe it'll get some more folks involved in helping others.

WordVixen said...

Wow- I actually remember that post! It's a good one though... Oh wait, most of them are! :-)

An article? Can we count this as a clip when we approach publishers? "Sure I have a platform! I've already been featured in an Amarillo newspaper..." Dude, that is so cool. Can't wait for the link!

the walking man said...

I would make the bet with you T, but I doubt you'd eat the lettuce if you lost it.

alex keto said...

You're nervous because the reporter will write the article about your life from their viewpoint. And their viewpoint will be published in the newspaper for everyone else to read. Naturally, you'd rather have the article from your viewpoint.
Whatever the article says, remember that today's newspaper wraps tomorrow's fish. Everyone will forget about it in a week or two.

Angie Ledbetter said...

What a great feeling it is to live in a real community surrounded by people who really care.

Melanie Avila said...

From a shampoo bottle? Really?

I've spent a lot of time at the airport yesterday and I'm steadily building an arsenal of characters.

Melanie Avila said...

^^^ lately. Not yesterday. Sheesh.

Lauren said...

I would think that the older you are the more life experience you have to draw from in order to create a great novel--and 35 is still pretty young.

Junosmom said...

I have heard that if you get too old, publishers don't want a first time author because the years they have left to produce more titles is reduced. Yet, like you, it seems the older you are, the more experiences, the more you have to write.