I think I chose to set The Rock Hole in 1964 is because we were at the end of a time that was a dividing line between this nation’s agrarian roots and today’s technological era. I prefer the old days. My bride, The War Department, says I was born during the Depression, but that ain’t true. I came along in 1954. I was just raised by folks who survived the Depression.
To me, the world was a slightly better place back then. Just look at the music, it was full of innocence and fun, instead of what came along later. Country music was about the earth, crops, and Life. Even rock and roll was fun, though I don’t believe it was as scary as the naysayers thought. Sure, it was raw, but it wasn’t threatening. Musicians from both sides of the fence back then knew something about harmony, chords, and simplicity. Later, the Vietnam war darkened our music and our lives, and that’s why Vietnam figures so strongly in both the first book, and the second one due out in July, called Burrows.
They always say authors should write about what they know. I knew those years, as you other Baby Boomers did, because we were there and we lived it.
Two years ago David Morrell, one of the finest authors of our time, gave an address to a group of writers in Florida. Sitting in the middle of those aspiring authors, and genuine published names such as Stephen Cannell, I listened as Morrell had this to say, but I’m paraphrasing. He might at some point want to claifity this quote that I may have altered for my own benefit, but the essence is clear. “Writers write because they are damaged, and in doing so, we find a way in our works to write about what damaged us.”
The Rock Hole and Burrows might have that element of past damage, but I’m not sure that I can see it at this time. Maybe it’ll come clear as the third book in the Red River series comes together.
Oh, and thanks to everyone, readers and reviewers alike, who have praised The Rock Hole for the dialogue. Folks tell me that I’ve captured the essence of the language, the pattern, and the pronunciation by people in northeast Texas. I’ll always avoid the false dialect that many writers use to capture our Texas way of talking. Sometimes it comes across as the Beverly Hillbillies, or at least as ignorant backwoods lingo. I’ll try to keep the Hollywood stereotypical language out of my books, and concentrate on the way people really speak. Let me know if I fail in this, or get out of line. By the way, this is the proper spelling for “y’all.” “Ya’all” is incorrect. And just the other day I read something by a Texas blogger who professes to know country life. Where I come from, polk salad is the correct pronunciation…not polk salat/sallet. Jeeze!
As we progress through these blogs, I’ll probably throw some things out that you won’t agree with, or things that’ll touch you at some point. I hope you stay with me and I look forward to your participation. Can’t say if I’ll do this weekly or daily, or even if it’ll come out the same time as this one, but I’ll find a comfortable place, eventually.
Thanks for being a Reader. You can find my outdoor newspaper columns online through papers such as The Paris News, Country World, and The Rockport Pilot. I write a monthly humor column for Texas Fish and Game Magazine, and usually have half a dozen or more feature articles in there during the year. Hope you enjoy them.