A book of essays, Chickens One Day, Feathers The Next, has muscled its way into line ahead of the thriller L.A. Hardscape, and some of the pieces are pretty sober. Some aren't. "Publishers Never Call," for instance, is downright silly. The title piece is about death, though the quote itself comes from the subject, USMC Captain A. Rudolph Green, who was a close friend and one of those crazy buddies for whom no escalation of whimsy was ever too much.
I recall the time he stood on the mat outside a grocery store which kept the glass door from opening outward until a gaggle of angry customers and the store manager were all shouting at him. He handed me the keys to his Jaguar and said, "We may need a fast getaway from this one," studying the effect of his experiment on the faces pressed against the glass. As I drove up, he stepped aside, and the crowd at the door fell outside upon one another. He leaped into the Jag roadster with the steaks he'd bought, and it was off to another adventure. I loved him for these outrageous moments and for the whiskey-fueled talks that lasted into the morning hours and may have involved philosophy of a very high level.
He once visited me at the University of Arkansas and, at a Razorback football game, was beside himself, helpless with tear-causing laughter, when the fans erupted with the victory cry, "Whooooo PIG, Soooooeyyyyy," "Did they really yell that," he'd say every time. "And you chose this school."
There are essays, memoirs, about horses, Louisiana, motorcycles,Tulsa, KC, Van Gogh, Cormac McCarthy, rejections, rodeoing, birds, advertising, boxing. Oh, it's varied and faceted, as we say when neglecting themes altogether.
Ben Carmean is working on a cover, which means the book will look professional, inviting, of interest. I hope you'll find it all of those and more. All my books have marvelous covers because they're all done by Ben. I don't know what I'll do when he finally says, "I'm not doing any more covers for you. You never paid me for the first one."
It's good enough to have merited a contract from the publisher who did Ruined Days and Resume Speed, and it will join those books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites.
So, if all goes right, 2019 will feature two more G-books. I just need to finish the other one. And, first friday in May, The Hilliard Gallery opening is a G-solo show, with a title from the Chickens book, "A Love Letter To Tensas Parish." Some of the sculpture is inspired by some boyhood time spent in St. Joe, Louisiana, and there will be deep south blues harp and guitar and drum music by John Paul Drum and The Big Three. Louisiana finger food and Mudbug Beer, too.
Some men and women from the parish will be presented in pictures and short bios; the mayor, a poet, a young distiller, a lady entrepreneur. I'm working on sculpture now and it's more fun than it probably should be. I saw things down there, or believe I did, that direct me in the welding of these pieces, some of which are effigial, some metaphorical. Bayou freedom informs them. I can't explain it. Perhaps the pieces will speak for themselves. John Paul Drum's music will surely help. It should be quite fun and I hope you can make it. Six to nine, and later, May 3rd, Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee, Crossroads. Just follow the strains of southern blues in off the sidewalk. (Click this for a youtube of him and Nine Below Zero)