09 June 2013


I like 'normal' stories.

They're hard to keep normal because the 'Writer' in one feels it has to kick in and jazz it up just because they're 'writers' ... the words have to dance on the page.

Elmore Leonard once told me,

"Anything that reads like I'm 'writing', that's it. Out it goes."
I'd like it if someone told me this story but I'd like it better if they kept it normal.

Zach Works ~

I tell this often and I try to pitch it outside Amazon but people say

"No no, keep it Amazon. We can pick up on terms like 'Lead' and stuff."

So I tell it how it's embedded.

Starship Decatur - I'm a lowly rep and over there is my lead, the piratical bearded Zach Works;  I'm telling you, that boy looked mean in those days. He's mellowed since then; a good woman will do that, take the outlaw out of an hombre

I had a query - must've been a big one to disturb The Man - but even as I approached his cubicle he whipped off the cans and  totally focused on my problem. There were Leads who'd see a peon approaching and lean further into their slacking, but not Zach. I never forgot the shock of his consideration. 

Cut to Pacmed and zworks is the other side of the world, carrying the White Man's Burden on the sub-continent. I 'borrowed' a CD by one Iris DeMent - captivated.

Cut even further to San Antone to where Steph and I had retreated to her mom's spread and I saw Iris was appearing in that musical paradise, Austin.

Vroom vroom off in ma-in-law's fancy Pontiac where I actually got to talk to ID. Maybe my English accent, anyway she had all the time in the world for me and midst chatting I mentioned a book being published by my old alma mater, Secker & Warburg.

"Gee, I'd really like to get a-hold of that when it comes out Stateside."
'Give me an address and I'll write to you when I know the American publisher and publication date.'
When I got back to Alamo Central I emailed my former assistante who'd taken over from me as PR supremo at Secker's, asked her for info' on the American edition.

"Why don't you just give me her address and I'll send her one of ours?"

Now, I must have exchanged my details because out of the blue came the sweetest hand-written note thanking me for fixing the book and if I was ever blah-blah-blah to be sure to yadda-yadda.

I keep that notelet in one of my Iris jewel cases: 

"Good lord! Is this actually from Iris DeMent herself?"
'Actually, it is ...  yes, Iris 'n' me ... we go way back.'

Cut to 0130hrs, June 9th. I've had a bellyful of birra down the Navigators and I'm fired up.

I gun up the jalopy to search out thenext bar. An Iris track kicks in - Banks of Jordan

As I juggled the steering wheel ... who knows? Maybe the sound of Iris' voice?  Maybe the image of that wingman Zach whipping off his headphones ....

I drove home with the clear image of those cans being whipped off with such lightning speed. Ridiculous what stays with one.
I described it to my girls pretty much when it happened and, years later, Georgina told me
"Dad, you remember that guy who was listening to his music and you needed something and he straightway paid attention to you? I was reading something and someone wanted to ask me something so I closed the book right away and said "Tell me."

Bread on waters. Respect.

* Iris ~ sounding her usual delicious ... the way she should.

1 comment :

Simon Baddeley said...

Nice. How I miss the island. Last night had the last of the lemons we brought back from the garden and passed around here.
Re writing. Proust. 'It's dreaming and trying not to let yourself wake up as a result of knowing you are'