Monday, June 05, 2006

The Best of Life 101

I took the first steps toward making my book a reality today. It will be self published. I have a great editor. My friend Dale Short has agreed to edit and work with the layout. A local printer that I have used for other projects verified today that they do what’s called Print on Demand. It’s basically a way for beginning writers to publish their work without having to buy hundreds of copies of books that sit in a closet until they sell…..and if they don’t sell, they just sit in a closet.
I’ve been toying with the idea for some time and I have mentioned it before on this blog, but a note I got today sealed the deal. My old friends Joel and Ann Robinson sent me an email. It seems that Ann was browsing back through some Daily Mountain Eagles and came across a mention about the website. When she went to the site, she found this blog. She read some of them to Joel. She said she wound up printing twenty-nine pages to read to him. Joel doesn’t use computers these days. He's is a retired attorney in Jasper that is the most remarkable story teller I have ever heard. I could sit for hours and listen to him tell about the people of Walker County.
He told me a story about a military funeral he attended many years ago. The family was from a hollow deep in the rural part of the county. He said the deceased had served in World War II and seen things no human should witness. The wife, the young son the soldier’s mother and grandmother were there along with friends and neighbors near and far. They had just lowered the casket into the grave and the bugler was playing Taps which is the saddest song I have ever heard. At the end of the song the color guard fired the first of a twenty-one gun salute. Joel said when the rifles sounded; it scared the grandmother so bad, she fainted and fell into the hole on top of the casket. The young son exclaimed “the sombitches have shot grandma!!!”
I laughed so heard when he told that story I literally cried.
Joel’s life story is a remarkable one. Like many people in rural Walker County, his family didn’t have a lot. He joined the Navy and served in WWII and when he returned after the war, he put himself through school, then law school and became a country lawyer in Jasper. He reminds me of Atticus Fintch in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
I’m not sure if Joel realizes this, but he is partially responsible for me wanting to become a writer. Joel has always made me feel special. I’m not sure how or why…I can’t put words to it, but it’s the truth. Maybe it’s because we both came from humble beginnings and somehow found our way in life, or maybe it’s because we are kindred spirits that had the good fortune to find each other and spend quality time telling stories.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I would like to put in my "two cents" about your publishing a book. I don't feel like your writing is getting enough exposure just from your weblog postings. The lady connected with the Daily Mountain Eagle being a good example. Once she started to read it she "gobbled" it up. When I look back in your log and see some great stories with no comments I wonder about the amount of exposure your getting. I have to fight the urge to comment on at least 75% of your posts. I think you should definitely take the advice of your friend Dale Short. I am no writer and not much of a reader but I know some of your work needs to be published. It's like, I can't pick a decent tune on the radio but I can tell you when it isn't right. You're ready. There was a guy by the name of Jim Redfield who went to high school with my wife and me. He was told he couldn't publish his own book. While I personally don't have an appreciation for the genre he writes in, he is a best-seller, accomplished writer and he's also quite rich. No matter your motivation, I hope you do publish Life101. I'll want one of the first copies. Maybe you could include a song. You have passed the test. Now finish the lesson.


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