Bloody Dawn: A Documentary & Return from Jefferson

Jed Marum is more than a friend: he is an inspiration and the finest Irish and Civil War guitarist and songwriter I’ve ever known. I just received this note of a newly released documentary on the burning of Lawrence, Kansas that features some of his original music. (If you’ve heard my own Civil War program or show, you’ve heard me do some of Jed’s songs). Do yourself a favor and check out this trailer for the documentary. Here is Jed’s note:

One of the recent projects I’ve worked on is a film called BLOODY DAWN. It has just been released and is currently making a series of premier and festival showings around the US. It will be later be released to television and DVD and I will spread the word when that happens (probably next fall).

You can view the film’s trailer on Youtube at this link

BLOODY DAWN is documentary that retells the story of the Lawrence Raid, led by William Quantrill and 450 renegade riders. The film uses narrative, interviews with historical experts and dramatic reenactment to tell the tale. They have licensed 4 of my recordings for use in the film and I am currently working with them on some of the incidental music. You’ll hear some of my song, ONE BLOODY FRIDAY in the trailer.

Please take a look at the Youtube clip and also please rate and comment. Ratings and comments help with the Youtube rankings – which in turn helps draw more traffic.

And finally I ask that you please pass on this news to folks you think will have an interest.


– Jed

Book Signing News: I just returned this morning to Monroe from spending four days in Jefferson, Texas at Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend. So much was accomplished and I met so many wonderful writers, artists and others associated with the publishing world that I’m sure to have many posts about this event, so do check back with me.

Trish Murphy & Melanie Wells: Jefferson Weekend

Friday night after the Neil Simon play, the audience was entertained by the acoustic guitar and vocal music of Trish Murphy. The beautiful and talented Austin, Texas musician was accompanied by featured event author, Melanie Wells (My Soul to Keep, Multnomah Fiction) on fiddle. I found Murphy’s original music to be innovative and possessing powerful lyrics. She performed again on Saturday, and we spoke at length about her music, travels, and ideas. As far as evaluating her song writing ability, I’d have to rate her as an equal to my friend Jed Marum–and that is high praise I don’t give lightly. I obtained three of Murphy’s CD’s: Girls Get in Free, Captured, and Crooked Mile.

You can (and should) check out Murphy’s website here:


trish murphy

Jefferson, Texas: Thoughts of Friday

My head is reeling from hearing so many good speakers Friday morning and afternoon. I’ll have much more to say about the speakers, topics, and my observations in future posts. Last night, I was out till 11:30 pm. At the Bull Durham Theatre here in Jefferson, I saw a play.  A Wonderful performance in a historic theatre. Here is the play’s description from the playhouse’s site:

 THE SUNSHINE BOYS – Dinner Theatre

by Neil Simon

THE SUNSHINE BOYS is filled with sparkling dialogue about a long-ago-broken-up vaudeville comedy team named Lewis & Clark who are convinced to reunite for a network television special. However, these two grumpy old men can’t stand each other anymore, and their mutual crankiness produces both hilarious and heartwarming moments. When a major television network decides to do a special on the history of comedy, they call on the famous vaudeville team of Lewis & Clark. However, the two aging comedy stars haven’t spoken in years and must be persuaded to work together. Willie Clark is a diehard New Yorker who lives and breathes show business. The stubborn and slovenly actor still auditions for work, although he can’t remember his lines. Al Lewis walked out on the team’s final show to retire and move to New Jersey with his wife and kids, much to the chagrin of his show-loving partner. The two eccentric characters are complete opposites who worked together as a comic powerhouse in the past, known in their heyday as the Sunshine Boys. Reminiscent of THE ODD COUPLE, THE SUNSHINE BOYS is a theatre experience to treasure, with all its emotional ups and downs, laughter and tears.


Andrew Looney as Willie Clark

Lindsay Lebell as Nancy Silverman

Bill Smith as Al Lewis

Dan Harrigan as the Patient

Helaina Patrick as Nurse MacIntosh

First Day at Jefferson

Yesterday, I arrived in Jefferson just in time time to attend the Author/Speaker/Media  Reception sponsored by the House of Seasons Bed & Breakfast on South Alley Street. Leonarto DeVino, aka church Gray, had a hilarious presentation of his book, The Da Vino Code.  If you love thematic playfulness with words, you will love his book. I met so many cool authors from so many places. Kathy Patrick asked me to play my guitar and sing a couple of songs, then I accompanied a wonderful singer, Wava as she sang a couple of songs.    After more wine and cheese/snacks, we moved on to the Bull Durham Playhouse in Jefferson for  a gumbo supper.   Today is full of workshops at the United Methodist Church here, and tomorrow’s sessions will be at the  Jefferson High School.  Tonight, we’ll attend dinner theatre:  The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon at the Bull Durham Playhouse.

Last night, I met a fascinating writer, Rosemary Poole-Carter.  I also obtained her new novel, Women of Magdalene. Here is a short summary from the back cover:

“The women of Magdalene are dying and no one seems to care, least of the haughty Dr. Kingston, the director of the genteel Ladies’ Lunatic Asylum.  Set in the shattered post-Civil War South, Women of Magdalene is a beautiful tale of deception, betrayal, greed and self-sacrifice.”

I’ll give a full review after I’m finished reading it.

A Poem Inspired by Marcus Aurelius

Sometime ago, I think after watching the movie Gladiator, I did some reading on Marcus Aurelius. That reading inspired this poem.

The Color of Our Imagination

A person’s life is dyed with the color of his imagination—Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180).

Marcus Aurelius was much more like us than you think,
Writer, thinker, burdened with duties he didn’t relish,
A man with a firm sense of responsibility,
Worn out from fighting, defending a crumbling empire,
Forced to watch the collapse of the Pax Romana.
We’ve done all of that in our own way.

He was a stoic by necessity and choice,
Believing the soul to be the
Active elements of air and fire,
Believing the soul to be a *tabular rasa,
Accepting fate with eagerness, believing that
Whatever happens, must happen,
That inner freedom is attained when
Detached from that not in our power.
Survival tactics we should remember.

His writing shows that
He knew much of life and love,
I think this quote was written for us,
For we found each other through
The colors of our imagination,
And it dyed our lives with
Colors we’d never seen,
Feelings we’d never had,
Beginning a journey we
Thought we’d never dare.
Aurelius believed that the natural
Had its own innate beauty,
And every time I see you,
I know it’s the truth.
You are the color of my imagination.

Book News: Today I’m traveling to Jefferson, Texas for Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend. This is advertised as the biggest and best book lover’s  and book club convention in the South. So many talented writers will be there, and I’m looking forward to meeting them and learning from them.  I’m sure I’ll have much to report in my future posts. From Jefferson, I’m taking advantage of the long holiday and driving to my parents’ house in Kemp, Oklahoma to help them with some chores.

My Scots-Irish Program for Schools and Other News

What I’m Reading: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  I read about 80 pages last night before the powers of darkness overpowered me and I fell asleep. This book was a gift from my daughter. (I’m so glad I raised a reader!) Of course, I must also read Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.  My friend Michele, an extremely talented, Gifted English teacher in Assumption Parish, said she’d soon give me a report on the book and the movie.

School Programs:  My calendar (see my personal website, is filling up fast with signings at bookstores, programs at schools and libraries, and with other events. I’m working on several new programs to do, including one for Texas about Juan Seguin, one about Hank Williams (for arts schools perhaps), and one on the Scots-Irish in America. The Scots-Irish in America program is the one I hope to begin as early as March, in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day.

1. I will be costumed (in my kilt)

2. I will have a show and tell table that so far has Scottish/Irish flags, peat, tartans, Celtic cross, as well as photos of claymores, bagpipes (both Irish and Highland) heather, thistle, and William Wallace.

3. With guitar and vocals, I will perform Scottish or Irish music. I’m currently working on my song list, which will vary according to age group in the schools,  but it will include songs about Scottish and Irish history, St. Patrick, war, immigration, mythology, and love songs.

4. If the program is extended, I’ll show my young scholars how to make their own children’s book in a creative writing exercise or read/write about some of the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish writers I hope to introduce to them.

In short, this program will be packed with information and activities!

First Day at the College

Yesterday, most of the day was spent on the phone or sending emails relating to my writing business. I did manage to set up several new signings/programs. I also signed my contract my contract with Louisiana Delta Community College, created and copied my syllabus, and resumed my teaching duties. This semester I am teaching ENG 101. They seem like a friendly group of students. The class is MW from 5:00-6:15 pm. We covered the syllabus, had an introductory writing exercise (which I need to read and mark before Wednesday) and read an essay by Camille Paglia I like to use in 101 entitled, “Rock as Art.”

An Aside:

I received a letter from a Fort Worth Librarian who wants me to come to her school for a program. This great quote was in her signature:

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.”

G. K. Chesterton

Book Tour News:

I’ll be in Jefferson, Texas, from Thursday until Sunday for Kathy Patrick’s annual book and author gala. Patrick, who began her literary career through the nation’s first hair/book salon, has been featured in Oxford American Magazine and on Oprah. I’ve attended this event since it first began, and this year I’m scheduled to sign books and be a member of the “Blue Bayou” Panel Discussion, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Here are the other authors scheduled for the same particular panel:

Moderator: Will Clarke, The Worthy: A Ghost’s Story, Simon & Schuster
Kim Sunee, Trail of Crumbs, Grand Central Publishing.
N. M. Kelby, Whale Season: A Novel, Three Rivers Press
Rosemary Poole-Carter, Women of Magdalene, Kunati, Inc.
Rickey Pittman, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House
Stories of the Confederate South, both by Pelican Publishing.
Lyn LeJeune, The Beatitudes: Book I,
Wava Everton – Musical Artist

New Review of Jim Limber Davis

Here is a new review of my children’s book. The reviewer is Cassie A. Barrow. It was published in the November/December 2007 issue of the Confederate Veteran. 

Book Review for Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House by Rickey Pittman. Children’s Book, illustrated, 28 pp., 2007. Pelican Publishing Company, 1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053, $15.95 plus shipping.

Throughout history there are incidents and events that are forgotten or overlooked by time. Jim Limber Davis is one such story that few people would recognize. There are ample primary sources to support his account with the Davis family, but many politically correct historians say he is only a legend.

Rickey Pittman, author of Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, weaves the tale about this young boy who was a member of the Davis family until the Union army removed Jim by force from his loved ones. Due to the fact that the author takes liberty to add dialogue to this story, the publication is considered a historical fiction; yet, the story line is completely factual. Details such as the President Davis registering Jim as a free black child and becoming Jim’s legal guardian can be proven.

Mr. Pittman allows the chronicle of Jim Limber Davis’s story to come to life for the reader. The story is captivating and informative. The book also contains detailed pictures by Judith Hierstein to help its young audience visualize what the words are portraying. One such illustration is of the First Lady, Varina Davis, reading a night time story to her biological children and Jim. Even though this book is primarily for elementary aged children, readers of any age would find the story fascinating.

Mr. Pittman ends the book with an Epilogue to Parents by stating, “Jim Limber Davis’s disappearance remains one of the great mysteries of the War Between the States. The Davis family searched for Jim for many years, but they never found him. Many scholars and historians have continued the search, but they have failed to discover the fate of Jim Limber, a black orphan in the Confederate White House.” Even though Jim’s life may have been left out of history books, he should never be forgotten. Jim Limber Davis, A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House keeps his memory alive in an informative yet fun way.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow

Notes on a Sunny Sunday

Book Signing News:

I had a successful signing at the Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge, another sell-out and as usual made some new friends and good contacts. I was so busy that I neglected to take any photos. I returned home late last night, played my guitar a little and crashed out. This morning, I sent two articles in to TGIF Weekend Bandit, for my column on the Civil War in Indian Territory and North Texas. Today, I hope to do some creative writing, work on learning some new songs, and of course attend to my list of endless tasks associated with the writing business.
Tomorrow, I resume teaching my classes at Delta. Thursday through Sunday, I’ll be in Jefferson, Texas, for Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend. I’m scheduled to be on a couple of panels, and I’ll have a table there to sell some books. This is always a fun and profitable weekend for me. However, I will try to post a blog entry every day.

North Texas During the Civil War: Life in the Corridor

This is a short excerpt from a novel in progress. It portrays a member of the 23rd Texas Cavalry returning home on furlough during the last year of the Civil War. I have set my novel to take place in Jack, Parker, and Young counties, an area of Texas heavily raided by the Kiowa and Comanche. The wide swath of land the raiders followed from Texas up into Oklahoma, Kansas, etc. ,was known as the Corridor. In this excerpt, my protagonist, Micah, comes upon a young boy after he crosses the Trinity River.

After Micah crossed the Trinity River, he reined his horse to a halt and watched the small, brown human speck weaving erratically toward him through the mesquite trees and grass. Micah studied the youngster and determined him to be about six years of age and a Mexican.
Micah nudged his horse on, holding him to a slow gait. The wind had shifted to the north, and it bit his neck and back and the gusts gnawed their way through his tattered gray-wool greatcoat. Micah thought the northern had arrived early. The gusts rocked the creaking, bobbing mesquite boughs and roared in his ear as they blasted past him. As the wind wended its way past him, it whistled sharply with notes as shrill as an eagle-bone flute in a Kiowa Ghost Dance. He pulled his felt hat down further on his head and tightened the drawstring.
As Micah neared the boy, he saw brown eyes that spoke of terror and loss and sadness. Without stopping his horse, Micah bent over and scooped the little one from the ground. The boy’s teeth rattled and he quivered in Micah’s arms like a captured rabbit. He wore only a nightshirt, and his legs were blue from the cold and lacerated from mesquite thorns. Micah reached for the Federal issue blanket tied to the back of his saddle, unfastened it, and wrapped it around the boy, and they rode on toward Jacksboro. The wild-eyed boy clung to Micah’s neck and buried his sobbing face in his shirt.
“Shhh. Shhh, hijo,” Micah whispered. “I ain’t gonna hurt you. ¿Donde está su paredes?”
The boy turned his face toward his right shoulder and pointed to the west. “Alla.” He sobbed again.
Si. Mi padre dice son Comanches.

To Baton Rouge This Morning

In just a few minutes, I’m on the way to the Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge for a signing. I hope I’ll make some contacts for programs, as the money an author makes from royalties of signings is not worth the gas expense. Likely I’ll spend the dark morning drive listening to music as I don’t have any more books on CD. Last driving trip, I listened to Son Volt and Jerry Jeff Walker. Today, who knows? One of the songs on the Walker CD was this one, which I intend to learn for one of my shows.  I found the lyrics here:

Mississippi, You’re On My Mind

I think I see a wagon rutted road
With the weeds growing tall between the tracks
And along one side runs a rusty barbed wire fence
And beyond that sits an old tar paper shack

Mississippi you’re on my mind
Mississippi you’re on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you’re on my mind

I think I hear a noisy old John Deere
In a field specked with dirty cotton lint
And below the field runs a little shady creek
And there you’ll find the cool green leaves of mint

Mississippi you’re on my mind
Mississippi you’re on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you’re on my mind

I think I smell the honeysuckle vine
The heavy sweetness like to make me sick
And the dogs, my God, they’re hungry all the time
And the snakes are sleeping where the weeds are thick

Mississippi you’re on my mind
Mississippi you’re on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you’re on my mind

I think I feel an angry oven heat
The Southern Sun just blazes in the sky
In the dusty weeds an old fat grasshopper jumps
I want to make it to that creek before I fry

Mississippi you’re on my mind
Mississippi you’re on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you’re on my mind

Yesterday was packed solid with writing work–phone calls, emails, etc.  I did set up several new book signing sites.  My calendar is really filling in. Most of the future signings I set up yesterday are in Texas. I also added some schools to my calendar, Lufkin and Waskom. For my complete calendar and information on my school programs, go to