My favorite form of writing is the short-short story. I try to make each short story a photograph in words, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks—to smell the dirt under the porch, maybe know that the dirt under the porch became a ball diamond and, then, a parking lot for WalMart.
I decided to retire in the spring of 1992 and devote serious attention to my writing. What started as a coming-of-age short story expanded into my first novel, The Revival, a humorous tale of one week in the life of an eleven-year-old boy growing up in a small Kansas town. I bought my first computer and worked steadily on the novel for a couple of years—reading it, one page a week, to A Table for Eight until they urged me to go on without them. It took several more years for The Revival to be published, but reader response has been gratifying. The Revival had its fifth printing in Spring, 2005.
My second novel, Tales from Comanche County also started as a very short story, originally published in the Topeka Capital-Journal at the time of the millennium celebration. I had dreamed up two crusty, loving characters, Great-uncle Jack and Great-aunt Tildy. I realized that I had much more to say about them than any newspaper article could contain.
I often speak at events around the state of Kansas. Sometimes I read one of my poems or short stories and I am asked by listeners whether these pieces exist in print. In 2004 my collected poems, essays, and short stories became book #3: Felicia, These Fish Are Delicious. There is no "Felicia" and no "fish" mentioned within its pages, but the name is fun to say aloud. Try it. I always had in mind to write a book with that title…so now I have.
I was nervous about exposing my serious side in Felicia, but readers seem to accept this serious writing as well as my humorous work. Some have even told me they like it best.
I was pleased to gather good reviews of Felicia, including its listing as one of the "2004 Ten Best Reads" by Nancy Mehl of the Wichita Eagle.
I recently completed my fourth book and third novel, The Moon Butter Route. I seem to have not yet worked out my need to deal with adolescence. My twelve-year-old protagonist, living down in southeast Kansas, has inadvertently become a bootlegger. His mother is in the kitchen preparing her most famous (and only) meal: fried weenies. His father plots to move the courthouse a few feet to the south to make room for a steam whistle—which he believes will alleviate all the suffering of mankind.
Where is the school psychologist when I need her?