Rock Skimming at Staircase

The youth group at Beverly’s church is camped out at Staircase in the Olympic National Park. Most of them have spent the whole time competing at skimming rocks across the water. Beverly’s boyfriend, Kirby, is clearly the champion skimmer. He routinely gets his rocks to skip four, five and six times. When he hits seven, …

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Billy Bland’s Improbable Future Ghost

I woke up on a recent morning with the title in my mind but no idea for a story. But later this morning I sat down and wrote the whole thing in less than half an hour. And the next day I re-wrote it. And a few days later I re-wrote it again. It’s my …

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My brilliant failures

  I’ve never been successful when it comes to holding a job or making money. And through the first few tries I was not successful at marriage either. I think my inability to succeed came from being half of a cute-as-all-get-out set of identical twins who were spoiled rotten and the delight of our parents …

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I got too much stuff on the grill

I got too much stuff on the grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue chicken, corn on the cob, veggie burgers. Everything cooking at once. Uh oh, the hot dogs are about to burn. Gotta get them off the grill. Oops, chicken needs more sauce. Hey, ya’ll better get your buns and spread you some mayo and …

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Something about Elvis

A friend sent me the link to this article by Patti Nickell: “Small town of Tupelo, Miss., has lots of love for native son Elvis.”  Tupelo, birthplace of Elvis. My birthplace too, and the settings for my novels Until the Dawn  and Tupelo. When I was born, the family was living on South Church Street …

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An offer you can’t refuse

Well, yeah, you can refuse any offer. But this one’s pretty good if you’re a book lover. I’m offering free copies of any of my books that have been on the market for more than a year (which at the moment is all of them). I can’t afford to send out print copies. What I’m …

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Welcome to Arrow Catcher, Mississippi

I just discovered the writer Lewis Nordan. I should have been aware of him long ago, but I wasn’t. And then I saw an excerpt from The Sharpshooter Blues in Grit Lit: A Rough South Reader , which I recently wrote about for this blog. I hardly got started on the opening scene from The Sharpshooter …

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Merry Pranksters or me at the periphery of hippiedom

Many years ago a “new journalist famous” famous for wearing white suits and writing non-fiction in a novelistic form wrote a book about a writer and former college wrestler named Ken Kesey who took a band of hippies on a cross-country trip in an old school bus painted in psychedelic slashes of color with the …

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Twin stories – life saving

My identical twin and I were one, two, maybe three years old, young enough that we were still sleeping in baby cribs. Did we each have a crib or did we share one? I don’t know. My mother told me about this, and nobody who can remember is still alive, except for my sister Lynda, …

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Rough South Reader

I wrote a piece on Grit Lit a little over a week ago. And then I ordered from amazon a used copy of Grit Lit: A Rough South Reader, edited by Brian Carpenter and Tom Franklin, and as soon as I got it I read Franklin’s preface, and immediately I thought Shit, man, I don’t …

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