Monday, July 29, 2019

What are you working on?

That question, I suppose, is asked of writers more than any other. At least I get asked quite often. You might think it’s an easy thing to answer.
But, it’s not. At least for me.
Right now, for instance, I’m working on this that you will be reading soon, I hope.
At the same time, there’s a novel that’s mostly finished that I am working on finishing.
There’s some publicity material I need to send to the host of an upcoming speaking engagement, and I’m working on that.
And I’m working on what I am going to say to those people when it’s time to stand up in front of them.
There’s information to gather for a magazine story, and I’m working on that.
I have a magazine column that will be coming due and I’m working on that.
I’ve been invited to sit on a panel discussion at an upcoming writers conference, and I’m working on that.
I will be presenting a couple of workshops at another writers conference a bit later, and I’m working on that.
I’m working on an idea for a poem that keeps rattling around in my head.
I promised to read a manuscript for another writer, and I’m working on that.
I’m working on publicity material for a movie that was released recently.
There’s a history book I want to write that I need to be working on. I should get to work on another short story. There are books of mine out there that could use some sales support and I should be working on that.
And I need to mow the lawn.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A new dispatch.

The summer issue of Saddlebag Dispatches is online and off the presses. Included in its 162 colorful pages is my regular column, “Best of the West.”
Featured in the column are cowboy poet Andy Nelson and songster Brenn Hill, whose on-stage exchange of poetry and song are unrivaled in western entertainment. Andy and Brenn are both outstanding writers, which, to me, is what matters most.
But that isn’t where their talents end. Andy is a master of ceremonies, reciter, humorist, and commentator without equal. Brenn is a lyricist, composer, picker, and singer of the finest kind. Together, they blend poems and songs on similar subjects seamlessly, alternating stanza and verse to tell a bigger story than either song or poem tells on its own.
Link up with Saddlebag Dispatches, and enjoy all it has to offer in the way of magazine features, short stories, poems, photos, and more.
And don’t miss the “Best of the West.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Saluting the flag.

This time of year, flags fly in abundance and are celebrated and saluted in many settings.
Every rodeo begins with a flag ceremony in conjunction with the traditional grand entry, with the stars and stripes flown from horseback in the arena. Men doff their hats, hold them over their hearts, and—for those so inclined—sing along with the Star Spangled Banner.
It’s different for those of us who practice(d) the bareback bronc riding trade. Here’s a poem I wrote about the experience from behind the bucking chutes.


The Star Spangled Banner inspires all manner
Of feelings in folks when it plays—
Every bareback bronc veteran feels a rush of adrenaline
Long after his rodeo days.

The Anthem’s first sound brings the Chute Boss around
Yellin’ “Pull ’em down boys! Let’s rodeo!”
And you straddle the chute, ease down onto the brute,
Grab your riggin’ and stretch latigo.

Then the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Grow distant; seem to fade into dim.
Rosin squeaks in your handhold. The horse shivers as if cold.
And, for eight seconds, there’s just you and him.

Monday, July 1, 2019

On newsstands now.

Many of you are familiar with Cowboys & Indians magazine. It’s a slick, upscale periodical that covers entertainers, travel, food, shopping, and other people, places, and things around the Western states.
The current issue focuses on Texas, including a feature story on rodeo legend Ty Murray. Included in the feature is a sidebar I wrote about the Professional Bull Riders Ty Murray Top Hand Award, an award created to honor bull riding’s roots in rodeo, and recognize cowboys who are not bull riders and have made a significant contribution to the sport.
The handsome award itself, modeled on a pair of Ty Murray’s spurs, was designed and sculpted by my friend Jeff Wolf. As you see, it’s a real work of art. Recipients of the award will no doubt be honored to display it.
Get a copy of Cowboys & Indians and read all about it.