Help out however you can. (Money is best!)
Last Sunday night I went for a walk in the storm and it was an encounter with the sublime—wind, rain, emptiness, the singing of toads. At the same time the sublimity of the night was tempered by knowing how incredibly destructive the storm was/is.
Help out however you can. (Money is best!)
The old guy with the beard here is Solomon Mick, my great-great grandfather. He was a Civil War veteran—with the North, with the Union, with the United States.
His brother, Clinton, was a traitor who fought with the south.
Solomon never spoke to Clinton spoke again, and they lived only about 30 miles apart, and both lived a long, long, time.
Solomon’s granddaughter, Goldie—my great-aunt—once told me that if she thought she had a confederate ancestor, she’d be so ashamed she’d cut the vein and let the traitor’s blood flow out.
Rebel, Nazi, alt-right, white supremacist, Trumpist, dumbass, redneck—all are sickening traitors and all need to be defeated. Most of the statues need to come down. People need to be finally educated.
America needs to cut the vein, finally.
Words found, words written, words made better, and a new book from Alamo Bay Press!
I am very sorry to hear of the death this week of Austin newspaper columnist John Kelso. As his former colleague Michael Corcoran said, “He loved his job and so he was better at it than he had to be.”
Kelso was the model for the character Wes Leonard in my story “Bad Guts” and my novel That Demon Life. When he interviewed me for the column below, he said that he approved. He even said That Demon Life was funny--as nice a thing as has ever been said.
Writer's Book Came Together Between Cab Fares
By John Kelso
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Lowell Mick White may be the only author to ever write a 182-page novel while driving a cab.
OK, so he wasn't really driving the cab around Austin while he was writing "That Demon Life", a book full of colorful, sketchy and disreputable characters you probably wouldn't want running your Brownie scout meeting. While writing, he was parked between fares.
"I sat there with my clipboard and a cheap notebook I got at H-E-B, and I'd write," said White, who, from 1998 to 2002, spent time driving around Austin in a Yellow Cab putting his book together. "I'd find a place to park and I'd write 'til I got a call and I'd pick a passenger up. Yeah, I did it old-school with a pen."
Macs are for sissies.
This guy is no slouch with the words. He was the recipient of a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, which includes a six-month residency at J. Frank Dobie's former Hill Country Ranch and a payment of $1,200 to write out in the country.
But most of the book was composed in the cab, on Austin streets. White says you can tell from looking at the structure of the book when the passengers climbed in.
"You might have noticed those little short subchapters. That's where I got passengers in the cabs."
This is one of those deals where life imitates art, or steam imitates steam.
"They sat naked on the mussed bed eating greasy chicken and drinking warm beer, and Richard felt like nothing in his life — nothing, nothing, nothing, ever — tasted better," it says on page 35. "He was just so damn happy."
Then, in real cab life, White remembers the time the drunken wealthy attorney got in the back of his cab and did a strip tease as he was giving her a ride home. He didn't say if he had tinted windows.
"Her friends didn't want her to drive and they put her in the cab, and I was taking her home and she was taking her clothes off," White recalled. "And when I got her home she didn't have her (house) keys, so I was taking her back to the party. I had no place else to take her. But her daughter showed up" and let her in the house.
It's not easy writing a book in a cab. Your cab is your office. White recalls the four slobs who got in the cab and messed everything up.
"I worried a lot of the time that I might lose whatever notebook I was working in, or that it might get damaged," wrote White, who is working on his Ph.D. in English at Texas A&M. "I remember once on Fourth Street some older drunk guys got into my cab, four of them, three in back, one in front, and the guy who sat up front plopped his fat middle-aged butt down on my notebook before I could move it. I totally lost my temper — started cursing, yelling, kicked them all out before I even started the meter."
It's a fun book. There's a little round judge named Cantu, who has the hots for a chick named Giselle, who has a gigantic bird tattoo on her back. There's Paige, who will nail every male that breathes. There's a defense attorney named Linda, who hates her job and thinks all the criminals should be lined up and shot.
White appreciates his characters and loves Linda. He says at a book signing recently when a reader came down on Linda, it made him kind of mad.
"This guy said, 'I didn't like Linda very well; she's not a very moral character.' I said, 'I lived with Linda in the cab for years, she's a very moral character. I like her.' "
Hey, at least she didn't throw up in the back seat of his cab, like some of his real customers.
I can't find a link to the column on the American-Statesman website. The story "Bad Guts" is included in Long Time Ago Good. And of course you need to read That Demon Life.
The Messes We Make of Our Lives is coming soon! So here is an out of context excerpt....
In the Hemingway story “Now I Lay Me,” Nick Adams, wounded and in a hospital, is afraid of the dark and he is afraid of going to sleep—he is afraid of many things. To stay awake and pass the time, he re-fishes all of his favorite streams. I tried that. I tried pulling out everything I had internalized over the years—all the people I had known, everyone who had ever damaged me or helped me or even talked to me, all the places I had been. I tried living—or dying, maybe—like a Hemingway hero, re-fishing not just my favorite and best-loved and best-remembered rivers, but re-driving my favorite streets and roads, too, and re-drinking my favorite bars, and re-listening to all the stories people had told me—re-living all the things that had been a part of me and were all now nothing but me, and I escaped my poor health and my poverty and I got back out on the road, driving in the city, the country, the mountains, driving everywhere, getting away from everything by dropping my Self and becoming everything and everyone.