But in the spirit of better late than never, Mort indeed got his first letter from me last week. He is an incredibly creative writer who loves Nebraska’s Sand Hills even more than me (read chapters of Ghost Dance at http://churnhead.blogspot.com). He works hard at a craft the rest of us can dabble with at best.
January 6, 2011
Mort: How is it that we have both ended up in the southland, you for more years than me but in roughly the same place and stage of our “careers”? I still pinch myself – a form of self-abuse, I guess – many days wondering how the hell this has all come to pass.
I’m not one to overly beef about it, but as a recent convert to the “it is what it is” way of thinking, I can’t help but think of the daily reminder that is chief, but not the only factor, that keeps me here: the weather map. It is just a hell of a lot nicer down here, on balance, than we might be experiencing back in the heartland. I keep reminding Ellen and Reid that – rubbing it in, really – when it is 60F here it is likely -10F there. You said the other day my blood must be getting thinner, but is there a way to make that happen to the rest of me, too?
There has to be a way to get you and Mike back down here. Hill has to be going nuts, and taking Leann with him, as he twiddles his thumbs up there. What would it take him to get to ATL? A strong day and a half, max, to reach you? Then it’s the short jaunt over here. On my oath, I swear you would have separate rooms with clean sheets. This is the sort of pilgrimage the two of you ought to make. That, or I save you the gas – petrol and/or Mike’s gas – by jaunting over your way. You make the call. I can go either way.
I’m glad you liked the reference to the Sandhills. The pioneers were probably smart to set up shop all those years ago near a source of water, the Platte, but if they’d only plunked Grand Island on the map a bit further to the north than that would’ve met my needs all that much better. Pretty short-sighted on their part. Must be the wind-swept appeal of those hills. Kind of like New York; not sure I want to live there but I sure like to visit although a spot up that way could be fairly palatable if you had the right amenities like running water and Wi-fi. A golf course within hailing distance would be a plus, too. That round up by Chadron was one of the more memorable I’ve had although I can do without bunking at Ft. Robinson. Have you read John Janovy’s book Keith County Journal? Or was that you that turned me on to it? Either way, it’s a good descriptor of that portion of the country.
On that score, I think you should plow ahead at flank speed with your book. That you started it at all is sort of Lao-tzu – a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. It’s just a matter of finishing. I’ve been following that writer’s group you got me onto enough to know that the self-help stuff a lot of them promote is okay but hardly up to your standards. There’s always room for a good oater. Besides, you’ve come this far and there are lots of self-publishing situations that can help you bring it to fruition. It’s all going online and e-book anyway. I would volunteer as the necessary second set of eyes, and no doubt Hill would too, if he’s not already.
As for me, I’ll be content to trundle into the office every day and get done what needs to get done. The last few months have been an epiphany on the work scene. Some days I wonder about the long-term but then I look in the mirror and realize it’s me that needs to adapt and change. I’ll keep the blog up and going since it is one of the few creative outlets at my disposal. Readership is picking up bit by bit and that’s good enough for me.
Well, as Walkin and Mayeux used to say, it’s time to sign off. Really, you and Mike butt heads and see what you can muster in terms of you coming here or me going there. Either way, it is high time I got a chance to see you ruffians and to hear your old yarns. Emphasis on the old.