Thoughts On Being A Texas Writer

In the past, I have considered myself a writer…not an accomplished one, but a pearl in the making. I’ve been at it since I was ten, using No. 2 pencils and a Big Chief tablet. At that time, I seriously considered becoming the next Mark Twain if I could somehow channel his spirit and process his talent.

I soon gave up on that dream and changed course to become the next John Steinbeck, although he was still alive and writing at that time. I read his novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” which was a daunting feat at the age of ten, but I made it through the book in a few months, understanding about a third of it, and when finished, considered myself a literary genius. My mother politely busted my bubble, reminding me I was still a kid with a Big Chief tablet that was a pretty good reader that wrote cute little stories about my friends and animals. I did send a rousing story about our neighborhood idiot to our local newspaper, the Fort Worth Press, but never received a return comment. I watched the paper daily for months, expecting my story, written on tablet paper, to be published. I likely offended someone in the guest editorial section.   

     My late aunt Norma introduced me to the alien world of books. She and my mother taught me to read at six years old. Until then, my childhood was watching cartoons, producing elaborate play battles of World War 2 and the Alamo with my neighborhood friends, and dealing with the bad boys across the tracks, “the hard guys.” My next-door neighbor, Mr. Mister, an Air Force veteran and an aircraft designer at Chance Vaught, was our neighborhood mentor…his wife, Mrs. Mister, was our second-in-command mentor. She was also a rabid reader of books and a devoted disciple of American literature. Although from California, she loved our revered Texas authors, J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb. Larry McMurtry hadn’t come along yet, or she would have followed him to his Archer City home and camped on his porch.

     The reality of my situation is such that I may never get a book written and published. I have started on one but am stuck and can only go as far as the few chapters I have produced; I’m not sure if the world is ready for a Horned Lizard ( a Texas Horney Toad ) that turns the tide in the battle of the Alamo. It’s a tale for children, but some adults might find it amusing after a few drinks. My wife believes I still have it in me, and she may be right. There are days when I feel the spirit and will churn out a short story about my childhood experiences or what happens in my small town and the state of Texas. Sometimes I write about politics, which I shouldn’t do, as anyone wanting to write serious stories, poisons himself when he enters that gladiator’s arena.

     Recently finishing one of J. Frank Dobies books, and in the middle of another, and once again, I feel the spirit and yearn to write again. Short stories, anecdotes, and tall tales are well and good, and I grew up reading and listening to them as told by my uncles and grandfather, but my gut tells me to write “the book.”

     Below is a quote from one of our famous Texas authors, Walter Prescott Webb. His quotes and campfire tales alone are enough for their own book. He is right, of course, about writers and authors, himself being one. I am guilty of all the below.  

A quote from Walter Prescott Webb, a famous Texas writer, and historian.

           ” It takes a good deal of ego to write a book. All authors have an ego; most try to conceal it under a cloak of assumed modesty which they put on with unbecoming immodesty. This ego manifests in the following ways: 1. The author believes he has something to say. 2. He believes it is worth saying. 3. He believes he can say it better than anyone else. If he stops doubting any of these three beliefs, he immediately loses that self-confidence and self-deception. That ego, if you please, is so essential to authorship. In effect, the author to write a book spins out of his own mind a cocoon, goes mentally into it, seals it up, and only comes out once the job is done. That explains why authors hide out, hole up in hotel rooms, and neglect their friends, family, and creditors….they may even neglect their students. They neglect everything that may tend to destroy their grand illusion.”

11 Replies to “Thoughts On Being A Texas Writer”

  1. I always think of myself as not being a writer, but rather a person who writes.
    (1) Back in 2002, I had a vanity press publish Yaaländogs! Part I: Bar-LeDeuc. The press went out of business, and the paperback is out of print. However, I have boxes of hardcovers in the house. And the owner of the defunct press, with whom I recently renewed contact, is offering to help me put them on Amazon, but a different ISBN number must be assigned first. The science fiction book was meant to introduce a series of books, but is actually self-contained.
    (2) In 2013, using KDP Services, I self-published Pope on the Dole. I issued a second edition in 2017, and also a Kindle edition.
    (3) I have two detective novels that are awaiting front and back cover art before being self-published this year using KDP Services.
    (4) Although I’m putting the redaction on hold for a month (life gets in the way!), I’m working on a new standalone sci-fi book. Having only finished 27% of it, I doubt it will bask in Amazon’s light until 2025.
    (5) I have plans for future books as well (titles, name lists, etc.).

    Ego has nothing to do with my writing. I readily concede that I don’t write literature. I don’t expect to find a readership. I basically write to entertain myself. It’s a hobby, nothing more. I simply enjoy the process.

    Back when I was in 4th Grade, my teacher told me that I should become a writer. Well, that will never happen. But at least I became a person who writes.

    And by the way, I love your writing. You really should write a book!


    1. Thank you for your kind words. I don’t believe everything in his quote applies, I am a person that writes, as you say. I do plan a book of my short stories and Tall Tales. Most of what I write is true, and some of it is a tall tale, that’s what my blog is about. I got all the stories I could from my uncles and grandfather. I look forward to reading your books on Amazon, please let us bloggers know when and how we can access them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe you should publish a book that is a collection of stories, instead of a long running novel? Not everyone can be Twain…or Rowling.

    You tell us stories. Gather them all up and publish.


  3. I totally agree with Vic above this comment…you should self publish all of your stories into one book… I would buy them. Get it on Amazon and anything could happen…but it’s the accomplishment that matters.

    Being a huge success at writing is almost like being a rock star…they are hard to do. I do think being lucky is more important than being talented in both fields…you are talented at it though.


  4. You should keep working on your book. From what I have seen here on your blog for the short time I have followed it, I think you could do it.
    Oh, and please have the horney toad bite one of Santa Anna’s chihuahuas.


  5. I’ll buy the ego but not assign it in all cases such rude manifestations. Do think you should find a writer’s site that routinely posts editors looking for submissions and give it a go with the Horned Toad story. Why would I think that? Glad you asked: there are so many “writers” putting out so much schipt that corrupts little minds, children need authors grinding axes other than political correctness, LBGTXYZ, CRT, entitlements and pure pap. Noting wrong with a good and decent moral. If you can swing it to entertain adults, you join the likes of Schulz, Milne, and Seuss.


    1. Thank you for the encourgment. I agree with all you say. I am on the verge of finishing the story and putting to print; possibly Amazon. There are publishers that will take you, such as Black Rose, but you have to put up the money and pay for the first printing. A friend published two books with them, but it cost him more than he expected. He wound up giving most of them away. The Horned Toad story is historical fiction and is meant to be for children, although some adults may see the humor in between the lines. I am appalled at some of the authors out there today that are considered ” the next Hemingway” and so on. I attempted to read Johnathan Frazan, but gave up, just to painful. I read a minimum of a one book per week, sometimes two so I am careful of the authors, or writers I choose.
      Thanks for the input.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: