Creating (hopefully) Memorable Characters

by Alec Clayton It takes me a year or two to write a novel, which means I spend that much time getting to know each of the characters in my novels. And then I forget about them. I go on to my next novel and a new set of characters, and tend to forget the …

Read more

Cavorting Naked in the Dark with John Langenbaugh

Satire—as if you need to be told by Alec Clayton The new film Cavorting Naked in the Dark, neither produced nor directed by legendary filmmaker John Longenbaugh, is perhaps scheduled to premiere at Olympia’s equally legendary Capitol Theater on Feb. 31. Longenbaugh, who worked on neither Titanic nor Birth of a Nation and is married …

Read more

Never Again Missouri

Sometime around 1970 I was offered the job as the art teacher for the Clarkton, Mo., public school. Notice there’s no s on the end of school. There was one school for grades kindergarten through 12. I mostly taught high school with a few hours each week in the lower grades. Clarkton is in the …

Read more

My Bout with Cancer – Part Ten

The end of this month will mark the one-year anniversary of my cancer surgery. If we can believe the doctors, they got it all. No more cancer. Zap! Gone! But the aftereffects of the five surgeries I’ve had so far are not fun, and there is a promise of more to come. The most bothersome …

Read more

After the Circus

In the mid-1980s Gabi and I published a quarterly statewide literary/arts magazine called Mississippi Arts & Letters. I wrote a column called Publisher’s Privilege. This is the one from the premiere issue, Winter 1983-84. We are thrilled that as of this year, MA&L is in the The University of Mississippi archives.

My Bout with Cancer – Part Nine

We’re closing in on a year now since I had cancer surgery. It was January 24. Then there were two plastic surgeries to reconstruct my nose with Dr. Sampson Lee, a cool guy with a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best. In a follow-up appointment, I told him that my eyes were burning, …

Read more

My Bout with Cancer – Part Eight

I think I’m almost done. First, Dr. Kim at Swedish Hospital removed the cancer from my nose. It was supposed to be an outpatient operation, in and out in a few hours. But once he got inside my nose he saw that the tumor was much larger than at first thought (about one and a …

Read more

Why?

Sometimes late at night or when I wake up in the morning a sentence or two unrelated to anything invades my brain. Often, it’s a line of dialogue with no context. Whatever it is, and from whatever recesses of my unconscious it arises, I then lay in bed for the longest time writing and re-writing …

Read more

Long Ago August

It was August 1955. Or maybe it was ’54, my memory is not perfect. But I’m going to go with ’55. We spent that entire summer in a rented house on a lake in Louisiana, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, and at night betting matchsticks on poker. Didn’t have a TV, paid no attention to the news. …

Read more