Thoughts on Jewel & Other Matters

Jewel Kilcher

The January issue of Cowboy & Indians features an article and interview with Jewel. This glossy, high quality magazine features an individual each month. I knew a few things about Jewel: that she lived in Stephenville, Texas with her now husband, Ty Murray, a seven-time World All-Around Rodeo Champion, that her song and poetry writing abilities are extraordinary, and that she was a decent actress (Ride with the Devil, a fine Civil War movie). She is one artist who paid her dues in life, made her music and made it her way. Joe Leydon’s article points out that Jewel lived in her car for the better part of a year. She played small clubs coffeehouses and “anywhere else she could pass the hat, or, when she was really lucky, receive payment based on the size of the crowd she attracted.” She said she began writing her own songs to have enough material for an act. The article continues, “Then she made the rounds of the venues open to eager nobodies . . . Jewel slowly accumulated a small but enthusiastic following in San Diego.”

Mickey Newbury Song Lyrics: “Poison Red Berries”

Book Business News:

Here is a new video/interview of me at the Arkansas Reading Association in Little Rock. On the same page is another taken at the Texas Library Association.

Here’s another song by Mickey Newbury from his CD, Winter Winds.

Poison Red Berries

You know I don’t think much about her no more

Seldom if ever does she cross my mind

Yesterday’s gone Lord, it’s better forgotten

Like a poison red berry to die on the vine.

This morning at dawn Lord I pulled into town

Had some coffee and talked

With some old friends of mine

Laughing at all the good times they remembered

I remembered a time.

Lord I can see the bright lights back in Dallas

As Yesterday moves like a dream through my mind

I didn’t suppose I would ever forget her

And you know it took such a long time.

But I don’t think much about her no more

Seldom if ever does she cross my mind

Yesterday’s gone and better gortotten

Like a poison red berry it clings to my mind.

Black Friday Thoughts

Black Friday: It’s raining. I’m sure the deluge will ruin shopping in our area, but maybe not. On the news I saw footage of shoppers shoving their way into stores. Some had a crazed look in their eyes. I’m locking myself up in the house to work on my writing and music business.

MASON: Here are three photos of my grandson. First, as Spiderman (his Halloween costume), and then two of an afternoon together in Forsythe Park in Monroe. He is riding the dragonfly in the first, then he wanted me to take a picture of him in my hat.


On Nov. 7, I presented programs at Dubach High School.

Writing Contest News & The Parable of the Prodigal Confederate

I’m a Writing Contest Winner!

Though I don’t enter writing contests as often as I should, I do try to enter as many as possible. Though I didn’t win money with this one for the New Millennium Contest, I did win Honorable Mention in the short-short fiction category and future publication. Here’s the letter notifying me:

Dear Rickey Pittman: Congratulations on your Honorable Mention Award for your story, “Little Rose and the Confederate Cipher” in the New Millennium Writings competition that closed July 31, 2008. Your name will be included on the Awards page of our next issue of New Millennium Writings, 2009-10, due out in one year, and will soon appear at, along with other winners of our 26th Consecutive Awards. The winners and runners-up, including your entry, were selected from about 1,400 total submissions in four categories. The quality was high, and you should be proud of your accomplishment.

Issues and Views: So you still believe all blacks think alike? . . . Reporting from the frontline of dissent since 1985.

In my college classes, I often use articles from the above site to teach my students on various topics related to black Americans. This site is written by black intellectuals, some of the sharpest minds you’ll find anywhere. If you’re a teacher, you should consult the articles often and present the information to your students. After reading just a few articles you will see how not only has Southern history been rewritten, but black America’s history has also suffered from the hands of revisionists with a destructive agenda. There is a whole page of articles on the subject of reparations here:

Sometime ago, I wrote a piece that touches the subject of reparations. It’s called the “Parable of the Prodigal Confederate.”


After reading the one chapter in his college textbook about the Civil War, a young son once said to his father, ‘Father, I no longer want to live in Dixie. I am ashamed of my Confederate ancestor. I will not live in a house that flies and honors the Rebel Flag. It is a symbol of racial hatred and is not politically correct.

13 “Not long after that, the young son got together all he had, set off for Yankeeland and there squandered his Southern legacy. He lost his accent, and though his own ancestor had owned no slaves, he demanded that white America, especially those in the South, make reparations for the evils Southerners had committed against black Americans. He decided that even thousands of black Americans whose ancestors had never been slaves, and descendants of those blacks who had been slave traders, would be entitled to this

Poems from a College Class

Sometimes, my students will share their poetry in their portfolios they turn in at the end of the course. Here are two from the Academic Seminar course I last taught at Delta Community College.

by Jessie Dunham

A Young man standing on the side,
Waits for a taxi to take him on his last ride.
“Where to,” said the Driver.
Take me to the end of this road.
This life has put on me a heavy load.
I’ve lost my daughter of only three,
and now there is no need for me.
I’m stuck in this world all alone.
The driver listed to the man’s tone.
He could tell that he was half gone.
His life flashed before his eyes,
As the window showed all his cries,
all his laughs and all his lies.
He saw that it was worth the while.
He tapped the driver with a smile
“Slow down!” the man cried.
“Stop the car
“Cease, subside!”
After all, it is a very short ride.

Whisper of the Past
by Heather Pruitt

Winter was in the air that night
As I set out on that long-forgotten road
To ease my pain and fill my heart
With memories of all things past

And on that empty road that stretched for miles
I found myself to be nothing
Not a whisper in the air
Not a name of one’s lips

Then there came a voice from far away
That chilled me to the bone
I had an urge to run to safety
Until I recognized it as my own.

It recalled the dark, unknown abyss
That masquerades as my past
Hiding in the smallest corners
Of the shadows of my mind.

And there I stood alone and cold
With nothing left on the old road
Not a thing to look back at
And only a whisper of the past.