I have a busy day ahead of me. I thought I’d make myself take a personal inventory as to why I’ve chosen to be a writer. This is a brainstorm list, so I’ll probably develop and perhaps even revise it later.
1. I’ve always loved words, loved reading and writing them. Always loved books and the worlds they take me to.
2. I’ve heard the Muse sing to me. I couldn’t resist her beauty, though deadly she may be.
3. I’ve read many biographies of writers and realized that many of them are like me: curious, eccentric, wild and on the edge, perhaps a little insane.
4. My writing will leave behind a legacy. (in comparison to my other and previous “jobs”).
5. Writing connects me to the past. Like the ancient bards and scops, I can pass on history.
6. Writing is (sometimes) good personal therapy.
7. I have recently realized that I will never and could never be truly happy if I weren’t a writer. I’ve heard that Kafka said that to want to write and not write is to invite madness. I think that would be true of me.
8. Every writing project helps me grow personally in some way.
9. Writing–because of the research, marketing, and promotion required–results in my meeting the most interesting people.
10. Through my writing I feel I can truly be useful to people in some way.
*Write me and let me know what you think of this list and I’ll send you a free ebook of one of my plays. firstname.lastname@example.org
Today was extremely busy. I worked on finishing up an editing project and had a signing at the Snyder Museum in Bastrop from 1:30-5:00 p.m. Tonight, I’m doing some computer work while my air conditioning friends finish up the installation of my new unit. The one that came with the house we bought was at least 40 years old.
Tomorrow will be spent in marketing and writing. Saturday, I’ll be at the Monroe Zoo’s Wet N Wild Zoobilation 2007 10am to 4pm. The zoo is called Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo and is fantastic. I’ll be set up where the 3,000 or so visitors to the event will pass right by me. Sales should be fantastic.
I’ve had so many good things happening with the promotion of my new children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. Many future events look promising, but I’m hesitant to speak of them this early for fear I’ll jinx them. (I searched unsuccessfully for the origin of that word). One thing is for sure: This book will make national news. It is a book that promotes family values, racial harmony, and how the color of one’s skin has nothing to do with love and acceptance when you’re talking of the hearts of good people.
Today, I thought I’d post Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah.” This song, like much of what Cohen writes, has long haunted me. I first heard it last December. Heard it again today in the coffee shop. Lots of memories attached to it. It’s funny how songs speak to our hearts, carrying those memories of words and scenes and feelings like silent spectres. I found the lyrics here: http://www.seeklyrics.com/lyrics/Leonard-Cohen/Hallelujah.html
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah Lyrics
Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Last night, I was the featured speaker at the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Eldorado, Arkansas. I spoke on my children’s book and my future plans. Everywhere I go, folks are moved by the story of Jim Limber. I’ve only found a few who are embarrassed by the story—that would be the Southerners who are determined to be politically correct at any cost. I guess when you’ve been trained to eat crow, truth doesn’t taste good.
My main salesman contact at Pelican is on vacation this week, so that has put my Louisiana travel plans in limbo, as I can’t set up signings etc. without him. Today, I must finish an editing job, or I’ll be really behind schedule! Tomorrow, I have grandfather duty in the morning. Thursday, a signing at the Snyder Museum in Bastrop.
Coming Up: Yesterday, I attended a teacher’s meeting for a couple of hours. I’ll be part of the Strauss Theatre’s summer workshops–the featured artists the week of June 25-29. Long days, lots of work, but so much fun. I’ll have a couple of really sharp theatre interns working with me too. The theme is going Hollywood, and my week is focussed on “Survivor.” If you have a child age 5-13, you should enroll him/her in this program. Last year, over 200 children participated. Call the theatre at 318-323-0474 for more information.
My first book of poetry was a self-published chapbook, Cracks in the Mirror: Experiences in the Boston Movement. The old Boston Movement morphed into its current version, The International Church of Christ. Surprisingly, my little book of poetry helped the many people who bought it and made me a little spending money. This morning, I decided to post some of the responses to my first poetic effort:
RESPONSES TO CRACKS IN THE MIRROR
Your book of verse on your experiences in the Boston Movement is the best thing I’ve yet seen on idealism degenerating into tyranny. It’s the Orwellian nightmare of “Big Brother” all over again, and your vision of the experience is immediate and wrenching. It’s the perfect work to give to a Boston Movement adherent, anyone tempted by rank legalism, or anyone who wants to know what it’s like to be caught in the web of
cultism.—Don Glover, Minister, Forsythe Avenue Church of Christ, Monroe, Louisiana.
I know your inspirations will help many in that healing process. They certainly have helped me.—Emma Hodges, Former ICC member in Australia.
I want you to know ho much I appreciate your poetry. My favorite is “The Butcher of White Plains,” because it is the most graphic of the brutality in the Boston Movement. Your poems are so powerful. I can relate to them all.—Susan Irwin, Former Boston church member.
You don’t know me and you obviously would get tons of letters from people all over the world after they read your poems. I wanted to write and thank you for such an enjoyable reading of humor and memories. You recall experiences of the movement so realistically—straight from the heart, to other hearts knowing exactly how you felt.—Angela Sanders, Former member ICC church in Australia.
My husband and I have recently read your book, Cracks in the Mirror. We understand your pain and appreciate your coming forward with these powerful poems that express that pain in no other way we have yet seen.—Ann McDonald, Balls, Texas.
Yesterday, I had my signing at the Barnes and Noble on Youree Drive in Shreveport. I arrived early as I was to meet some editing clients from East Texas for lunch. The Barnes and Noble here surpasses anything we have in Monroe. They have wireless, but it’s not free. You must have an AT&T account. The manager helped me get online so I could sit in the coffee shop, check my email, and do some writing as I waited for my friends, Norma and Marvin, from Diana, Texas. When they arrived, we went to lunch at Ci Ci’s Pizza. (I love pizza). Norma is a talented writer who will be coming out with a truly moving novel soon. The novel is entitled, My Name Is Lisa . . . Norma is an experienced social worker and her knowledge and compassion for children has helped her write a truly socially significant novel. I’ll have more to say about Norma and her book in future posts.
After lunch, I manned my post in Barnes and Noble. The manager had placed my table at the front of the store, so every customer who came in had to look at my table. Sales were brisk. I met several new people and lined up some more work with Shreveport area schools in the future. As always, I learned much from this signing. Barnes and Noble liked me and the managers invited me to return when Stories of the Confederate South is printed by Pelican.
Our band’s performance at Enoch’s went well. We had a good crowd all night. Hot and humid, but we escaped the rain. Our performance was solid. Waigne Cryer recorded us live. Possibly we can construct a CD from the night. We quit playing at midnight, but Tom and I stayed till 2:00 a.m. (closing time), talking with audience members and to Doyle, the owner. Needless to say, I’m a little tired this morning (but thankfully not hungover).
Today, I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start. I do have an opportunity to sell books at a church in the country today. They’re having a special service and activities. I’ll likely start with that and go from there.
Today began warm. Now, I love, I mean I LOVE summer in the South. However, it became warmer when my air conditioner suddenly died. This is not so much a hardship on me–I can live fine with fans and open doors and windows. (We have an old house, so the windows are large, and all the doors have screens). However, family members and visitors would think of it as a sauna, while I would be thinking of the electricity bill I would be saving. So, I must purchase a new unit. It will be installed next weekend. Money I don’t really have to spare, but what are you going to do? I was going to take a road trip today, see a friend and try to stir up some business, but had to wait on the repairman who couldn’t get there till noon. I was not happy.
I went to Office Depot to get a new Day Timer, as my schedule for the next year is filling up so fast. From there, I decided I wanted coffee and a small Pellegrino. I’m at Starbucks as I write this post. At 2:00 I’m leaving as I need to hear my band, Angus Duhbghall, on World Stage on KEDM, our local public radio station. We played seven songs and the rest of the program is interview. Brad Shelton did a good job hosting the program, and he had excellent interview questions.
On my way now to listen to the program and pack for my very busy day tomorrow. In fact, it looks like I will have very few days off in the months ahead. But I like that, and the writing life is the live I love best and the one I’ve chosen now. Wish me luck.
Tonight, my band Angus-Dubhghall will be recorded and interviewed for a local radio program, World Stage. This program is on KEDM, 90.3 FM, Public Radio. The interview and studio recorded music will air Friday, 2:00-3:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 p.m.-midnight. The program’s host is Brad Shelton. If you’re not familiar with World Stage, KEDM’s Web site says this about the program:
Music from everywhere – A celebration of life! Explorations of music from all over the world including african, celtic, latin, middle-eastern, to name a few – along with interviews and special features. Friday afternoons feature more upbeat mixes while Sunday nights are more tranquil.
Of course, I hope to be able to talk about my books as well as my music. In addition to planning for the interview, we’ve selected a half-dozen songs that we’ll play live, time permitting. Here’s a picture taken when we played at the Celtic Festival in Monroe, October 2006.
My schedule is continuing to fill with book signings and other good things. Between my book editing, my band, and promoting my books, I’ll have more than enough to do this year.
June 9 – Shreveport: Barnes and Noble 2:00-4:00 p.m.
June 11 – Eldorado, Arkansas. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Ryan’s Steak House. 7:00 p.m.
June 14 – Snyder Museum, Bastrop, LA 2:00-5:00 p.m.
And there are more to come. Here is photo from a recent signing at the main branch of the Ouachita Parish Library, May 26. The librarian, the beautiful Jennifer Schneider, is an Irish dancer. She also was part of a Civil War dance troupe when she lived in South Louisiana. She came to the signing in an Ante-bellum period dress, and she added so much to my presentation.
Tonight, I wanted to post a short entry about Civil War reenacting. I’ve done this for about three years now. Last year, I didn’t do as much as I wanted, but this year, since I’m focusing on my writing, my music, and my books, I intend to do more. It’s not really an expensive hobby or interest, it can be, but participating in one battle with men who have studied every detail–major and minor–about the War Between the States, is a richly rewarding experience. I’ll post more on this topic later.
Here’s a picture of me in my Confederate uniform, taken at Eldorado, Arkansas, at a living history event. This was the first day I had ever fired a Civil War musket.