Friday, October 29, 2010

Stuff I'm working on and an All Due Respect preview

Since I'm in grad school the majority of my writing goes to professors who then grade it.  It's almost like getting paid, except I don't get paid and at the end of the trail I'll have a nice government loan waiting to be repaid.  This semester is particularly troublesome because I fucked up and took a history course as an elective.  My English professors "get me."  They give me the grades my writing deserves.  My history professor is rigid and has new expectations every week.  As a result, I've actually gotten 2 Bs in that class and if it continues, I'm going to have to drop it and flush the thousand bucks it cost to take it down the toilet AND take a class next summer after I march.  I've learned my lesson, trust me.  Never stray from your appointed field.  Folks in other disciplines got diff'rent ways of looking at the world...

In addition to all the strain the classes put on my writing, I am working on a thesis that is a collection of short stories.  Since it's for the university, I have to write "serious" or "literary" stories, stories that don't have fun stuff like guns and dames and screams and murders.  That leaves very, very little time to work on the fiction I truly love, the kind that used to be printed on paper that turned yellow and smelled like apples.

Regardless, I have managed to crank out some rough drafts.  The first is a nasty story about an ex-convict who plays poker regularly with a group of his brother's friends.  One of them can't keep his mouth shut every time he beats the ex-con with shitty cards.  The ex-con has to teach the idiot a lesson.  Since it's my story, you know the lesson is gonna' be brutal.

The second story I am putting the finishing touches on is my first western.  It's short, about 1500 words.  Most of the lingo in it I picked up from listening to Johnny Cash's "True Songs of the West" (I think that's the title, it has "Boot Hill" and "25 Minutes to Go" on it).  The story has card players (seems to be a current theme of mine), a dandy from the east trying to be a gunslinger, some nice billiard girls, and a protagonist who fought for the south despite having been sprung from the union of a slave from Africa and an indentured servant from Ireland.  An All-American, in my book!

Where these stories will find a home remains to be known.  I'll pass word as soon as I get it.

The next issue of All Due Respect will be up Monday.  November will feature a fantastic short story by Garnett Elliott.  I'm looking forward to reading reactions to it.

Speaking of All Due Respect, I've contacted a couple of women writers about contributing as I don't want it to be a male-dominated situation.  One has promised to contribute in the future, the other appears to be too damn famous as she didn't get back to me at all.  Anyway, I'd like to put the word out that All Due Respect respects all due writers, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, etc., etc.,  So if you are a woman writer, or if you know a writer who is a woman and writes good, tough, hardboiled fiction, please let them know they are welcome at All Due Respect.

Thank you and have a nice day.


  1. I grew up on that Cash album and am looking forward to your western.

    Garnett E rules. One of the rising talents.

  2. That period of Johnny Cash's career is my favorite. It's true he was killing himself with pills at the time, but he turned out three outstanding records-- Ride This Train, Songs of the True West, and Orange Blossom Special. He was way ahead of rock and roll in terms of making "concept albums" and aside from the music being great, the records seemed to me to be so creative as to go beyond any limitation of genre.