Magnolia Wind by Guy Clark

This week’s song lyrics is a song I perform sometimes when I do my one-man show. It’s by Guy Clark and it’s called, “Magnolia Wind.”

I’d rather sleep in a box
Like a bum on the street
Than a fine feather bed
Without your little ole cold feet.

And I rather be deaf
Dumb and stone blind
Than to know that your mornings
Will never be mine.

I’d rather die young
Than live without you
And I’d rather go hungry
Than to eat lonesome stew.

You know it’s once in a lifetime
And it won’t come again,
It’s here and it’s gone
On a Magnolia wind.

I’d rather not walk
Through the garden again
If I can’t catch your scent
On a Magnolia wind.

So if it ever comes time
And it comes time to go
Just pack up your fiddle
Just pack up your clothes.

If I can’t dance with you
Then I won’t dance at all
I’ll just sit this one out
With my back to the wall.

I’d rather not hear
Pretty music again,
If I can’t catch your fiddle
On the Magnolia wind.
If I can’t catch your scent
On a Magnolia wind.

WRITING QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (From Writing From Personal Experience by Nancy Kelton)

“Writers, by their nature, spend their time thinking about, wondering about, delving into, trying to understand the very things that the rest of the world doesn’t like to think about”–Harry Crews.

The Cost of Writing Success

Yesterday, I had my first signing for Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House at Windows: A Bookshop in Monroe. Today, I’m doing a speech at the Scottish Society of Northeast Louisiana on the Flags of the Seven Celtic Nations (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Brittany, Galicia, and Cornwall). I’ll also be signing my book there. My May calendar is officially full of events and I am now filling my June calendar. My head spins when I think of all that I need to do to promote my books successfully.
Margaret Atwood in her book, Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing,  tells a joke I wanted to include in my post today regarding the cost of writing success.  She says:

“The Devil comes to the writer and says, ‘I will make you the best writer of your generation. Never mind generation–of this century. No–this millennium! Not only the best, but the most famous, and also the richest; in addition to that, you will be very influential and your glory will endure for ever. All you have to do is sell me your grandmother, your mother, your wife, your kides, your dog, and your soul.”

“Sure,” says the writer, “Absolutely–give me the pen, where do I sign?” Then he hesitates. “Just a minute,” he says. “What’s the catch?”

Jim Limber Promotion Schedule and Special Ebook Offer

My children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, is now available. Today officially begins my marathon of promotion, signings, and presentations. I’ll be on KEDM’s program, Lagniappe, at 8:30 a.m. and again sometime around noon. An interview with me will be recorded this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. for a local program called, Hello, Monroe. That interview will be aired on cable channel 75, Comcast Cable, May 29 and 31, and June 5 and 7 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on each of those days. Here’s some other dates for my book promotion:
Saturday, May 19, I’ll be at Windows: A Bookshop, 609 Park Ave, Monroe, for a signing from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 20, I’ll be presenting my book to the Scottish Society of Northeast Louisiana. The society meets at the Monroe Jaycees building, 710 30th St. in Monroe at 2:30 p.m.

May 21, Tuesday, beginning around 7:00 p.m., I’ll be at the Nicholson (Ruston, Louisiana) Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for a reading and musical presentation. They meet at the Woodmen of the World building in Ruston. They are always a lively group and true Southerners.
SPECIAL OFFER: If you order a copy this week of either Red River Fever or Stories of the Confederate South from the links on this blog, I’ll send you a free pdf ebook of either How to Market Your Book to Libraries or Just Write for Dinner: Planning, Producing, and Presenting Dinner Theatre. You can have your choice of which ebook you want. Write me at and let me know the date of your purchase and I’ll send the book to you.

Thomas Mann: Death in Venice

Last night I finished reading Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. I enjoyed the read tremendously. The story is considered to be Mann’s masterpiece. I read the Dover Classic edition, which surprisingly had a fascinating introduction and critical notes after the story. He was Nobel laureate in 1929. Set in 1911, the story touched on these particular areas of interest to me:

1. The city of Venice: This is a city I must see someday, if I can see it in the right circumstances and in the right company. I don’t want to see it alone like Aschenbach. The details Mann provides are rich and thought provoking. I particularly liked the reference to the “Bridge of Sighs” that is also mentioned by Byron.

2. The psyche and creative life of intense writers and artists: Aschenbach was “the poet of all those who labor on the brink of exhaustion . . .” Some of the phrases Mann uses are quite suggestive and may give me ideas for my own future writing. For example, some phrases that struck my fancy are: “the productive machinery within him,” “burdened with the obligation to create,” and “sacrifice upon the altar of art.”

3. The power of love and obsession: Mann’s thoughts on this are filled with mythological allusions. He implies it occurs to artists because they have a “life lived under the spell of art.” The narrator says, “we poets cannot travel the path of beauty without Eros joining company with us and taking over the lead.” He also says artists are not suitable for other jobs because they are born with “an incorrigible natural penchant for the abyss.” Throughout, leitmotifs and symbols are used powerfully.

Mann is a writer you must read with attention, but he will teach you more than you expected to learn, and his writing will move you and make you think. Mann’s biography is another one I must add to my reading list.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

I’ve always liked the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first woman to win the Pulitzer, and one known for her unconventional and bohemian lifestyle.  I intend to read her biography soon. Here’s a poem of hers I found at:

Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that’s permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish—and men do—
I shall have only good to say of you.

A Reader’s Blurb: Stories of the Confederate South

My schedule is starting to fill up with TV and radio interviews, signings, and appearances. I’ll try to post a detailed schedule in the next day or two as there have been some changes in the schedule I posted earlier.

*Here is a short blurb from someone who attended one of my readings at the Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston, Louisiana. I was promoting my book, Stories of the Confederate South.


Thank you for your recent presentation at the Lincoln Parish Library. It was a pleasure to hear you read from your own work and to learn how you researched your characters for the short stories. I have now had an opportunity to read and enjoy the entire collection of tales. What a delight!

You have truly caputured the spirit of the Confederate South through your characters. (It’s about time somebody did!) You bring life to the reality that our Southern ancestors lived. Thank you!

I would like to talk with you again about writing Southern tales.

Your Confederate friend,


An SCV Review of Stories of the Confederate South

Authors should keep up with all reviews and blurbs of their work.

Here is a review of my book of short fiction, Stories of the Confederate South that was printed February 6, 2006, in the Butternut News, a newsletter SCV members in north Louisiana utilized for a while for communication and unity efforts:

It isn’t often that the Butternut News is included to review books that should be reviewed by such luminous tombs such as the New York Times or the Atlanta Constitution but the opportunity fell in my lap last month.  Compatriot Rickey Pittman of the Thomas McGuire camp in West Monroe has published a book of short stories entitled Stories of the Confederate South.

I’ll tell you up front that I have never been a big fan of short stories no matter who they are written by.  It has always seemed that just when something is starting to happen, it’s all over.  Well, I am going to have to change my stance on this matter.  I thoroughly enjoyed Rickey’s book.  Not all of the stories were set in the days of the Second Revolutionary War and that kind of surprised me when I first started to read.  No matter, all of the stories were interesting and all concerned us and our heritage.

With any collection of events some read better than others and, of course, I had my favorite ones.  I truly believe that these could stand up against Conan Doyle in holding you there until the end comes.  I heartily endorse Compatriot Pittman’s writings and his book.  I recommend that you buy it and buy a couple to give to your friends.

Good reading,

Thomas E. Taylor
Northeast Brigade Commander
Louisiana Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

“Duty is ours; consequences are Gods”

P.S.  The cover shot was taken at the 140th Franklin and came from the camera of David Hill, Commander of the Richard Taylor Camp in Shreveport, La.

Hunting for Civil War Relics

In the days when I had time, I used to like to hunt for Civil War Relics. I have two metal detectors–a Fisher 1266 and a Tracker IV Bounty Hunter. I do believe there are still  some finds awaiting the persistent and the diligent.

I’ve done pretty well in the past, not so well lately. Being a successful “digger” requires time, some resources for travel, a lot of research, and much walking. As the easy places are all gone now, and so many are protected by the Park system, you must go to a good bit of trouble to find a good site to metal detect. As an example of how one’s interests can lead to money ideas, I sold an article on the topic to a national magazine. “The Quest for Forgotten Camps,” Western-Eastern Treasure, October 1999. I’ve changed computers, but if I find the article I’ll post it here.
So, the writing lesson for today is to pay attention to what you like to do, express it well in writing, and then sell your work.  If you have any questions on metal detecting, drop me a note at  I’ll try to answer them.

A Gift From Erin: A Short Story about the IRA

Last night I went to Enoch’s, our town’s Irish pub to hear Jeffrey Phillips perform.  Tom and Wayne from the Scottish Society were also recording the evening for a live CD.  And as usual when at Enoch’s, my friends and I discussed Irish and Scottish politics and the historical oppression of the English. I woke up thinking of that discussion.  Sometime ago, I wrote this short-short story about a girl in the Irish Republican Army for a contest. It’s about 1,200 words.  Let me know what you think of it.

WHEN THE TRAIN FROM NEW HAVEN STOPPED AT GREENWICH, FIONA SPOTTED A MAILBOX ON THE TRAIN PLATFORM. She told the conductor she’d be right back and exited the train, briefcase and coffee in hand. She dropped a letter addressed to her sister, Martina, now in Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland, and then walked back to the train.
After returning to her seat, she laid her briefcase in her lap, and drained the Starbucks café au lait. She searched the blank eyes of the travelers waiting on the train platform. All seemed distant, as if they sought to look through her, beyond her. None appeared to be policemen. She felt suspicious about one man, but when his eyes met hers, he indifferently raised his newspaper.
“Wall Street bastard,” she whispered. “Just like the Fleet Street English.” She remembered the suited British detective who had arrested her sister last year in New York’s Grand Central Station, then taken her in handcuffs on the next flight to Belfast. At her trial, Martina was given a life sentence for her supposed role in a bombing. When Fionna heard of her sister’s extradition, she promptly joined the IRA and was given the task of raising money in America for guns and assistance to IRA children whose parents were being brutalized in British jails. At Yale, she had mounted an effective letter writing campaign to encourage the many IRA POW’s, and this past summer had gone to Cuba for special training. The result of that training now lay in her lap—a briefcase full of gelignite, a present for a visiting British diplomat—a gift from Erin. The Englishman was scheduled to deliver a speech outside Grand Central Station at two o’clock. Fionna had been directed to get as close as she could, and at 1:55 p.m., set the briefcase down and walk away. A pre-set digital timer would ensure the death of another enemy of Ireland.
She lifted her wrist and looked at her watch. It was only noon. She should reach
Manhattan ahead of schedule.
Across the isle sat an old man with a long, white beard. Next to him sat a young girl. The little one held an hourglass, holding it up and giggling as she watched the sand flow down.
The image brought her grandfather to mind. Fionna had gone to Ireland to visit him one summer at his small farm outside Baliná. One day she helped him in his garden. As he hoed, she followed, scattering seed along the shallow furrow. When they finished planting, her grandfather scooped up a handful of the sandy soil and let it run through his hand. “I am glad you came to see me. I wish Martina could have come.”
“She’s busy, Da.”
“Yes, I’m sure the Irish Republican Army keeps her very busy. But those she has chosen to work with will bring her and our family nothing but grief. Life is too short to give yourself to a cause one cannot win.”
Shaking her head to clear away the daydream, she whispered, “We will win this struggle, grandfather, we ourselves.”
At Portchester, a young man boarded and sat next to her. “Hello,” he said.
An Irish accent. Christ, she thought, these Irish buggers are everywhere. After she opened a copy of An Phoblacht/Republican News, he said, “An Irish girl, are you?”
“Name’s Seamus,” he said. “And you?”
“I come from Ulster. Where is your family?”
He glanced at the newspaper. “Are you with the IRA?”
“What’s it to you?”
“I don’t care much for them. They knee-capped my brother with a Black and Decker drill when he wouldn’t join.”
“I am sorry for your brother, but war always has casualties. Every soldier knows that. Besides, if you want to compare bad treatment, I could tell you of how the British broke my sister’s jaw when they arrested her.”
“Sinn Fein is not an army. They’re a bunch of thugs.”
“Why don’t you fuck off if you don’t like my politics. Anyone truly Irish is committed to uniting all of Ireland. Only then will Ireland have peace.”
“You’re living in a dream-world. The Irish, even Irish-Americans, won’t support the IRA anymore. You try to look like noble freedom fighters, but running drugs and guns and killing innocent people with sniping and bombs make you look like terrorists. Anyway, let’s change the subject. I don’t like arguing with a pretty girl. Where are you going?”
She looked out the window. The train still had not pulled out of Portchester. “To Grand Central Station. I’m going to leave a gift with someone. And you?”
“I’m going to hear the SallyMacs. They’re an Irish band from Memphis playing at some reception for an English big-wig.”
“He’s a British diplomat.” Glancing at her wristwatch, Fionna saw the time had not changed since Greenwich. “Damn it,” she said. Slipping the watch off her arm, she shook it, then banged it against the window. The second hand still would not move. “My watch has stopped. I’ve got a deadline, and I don’t want to be late. What time do you have?”
“I forgot my watch this morning, Colleen. Sorry.”
“Don’t call me a Colleen. My name’s Fionna.” She leaned toward the old man across from them. “Sir, do you know what time it is?”
He shook his head. “But it’s always later than we think.”
“Shit,” she said as she slumped back into her seat. “Crazy old man.” Finally the train began moving, and after what seemed an eternity, pulled into Grand Central Station. Seamus left his seat before the train stopped and stood at the door, talking to the conductor. They both turned and looked at Fionna, and Seamus smiled and shouted, “Erin go bragh!”
As soon as Fionna stepped out of the train, a Transit Officer stepped in front of her.
“Miss, please come with me,” he said.
“What’s the problem?”
“I’m sure there’s nothing to it, but a passenger complained that you attempted to sell him drugs. We are obligated to check these things out, so please follow me.”
He led her to a small room and pointed to a chair. “Have a seat. A female officer will join us in a few minutes.”
After several minutes, Fionna said, “Look, I resent this harassment, and I have no intention of being strip-searched. You Americans better wake up and see the rights you’re losing.”
“I’m sorry, Miss. Things here have changed greatly since 9-11.”
“There’s an appointment I’ve got to keep, and you’re going to cause me to be late. You better have a hell of a good lawyer.” She cursed herself for not bringing her pistol with its silencer. “What time do you have?”
“It’s 1:59. What time is your appointment?”
Fionna glanced at her briefcase and laughed. “Two o’clock.”
“What’s so funny?” the officer asked.
“You’ve had anti-terrorist training?”
She handed him the briefcase. “So you know what gelignite is. I intended to present this to a British diplomat. It’s a gift from Erin and the Irish Republican Army.”
“Shit!” he said.
Fionna glanced at her watch. The second hand was now moving.

Mayhaw Festival in Marion, Louisiana

This weekend I’m working at the Mayhaw Festival in Marion Louisiana. The festival began last night with a street dance. I shared a booth with the Elijah Ward Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Though my children’s book is now printed and I have my author copies, I do not have copies to sell yet, so I am just selling Red River Fever and Stories of the Confederate South at the Festival.  Hoping to spark conversation with folks about my book, the SCV, and the Scottish Society, I wore my kilt.
Did you know that Mayhaw jelly is the official state jelly of Louisiana? The berry is not desirable to eat raw, but it does make a delicious pie or jelly. Gathering mayhaws seems to be a laborious and  intensive task. You can read more about the Mayhaw here:

This morning I’m off to the festival again in just a few minutes. I’m going to march in Confederate uniform in the festival parade with the other members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and fire my musket for the South. After the parade, I’ll be selling books again. I’ll stay at the festival as long as there is traffic. Then tonight, I’ve agree to go to Enoch’s with Tom to hear Jeffrey Phillips, an Irish-American performer.