Spent 25 years chasing stories on deadline for the cheap sheets. Now I’m shooting for the impossible from the cheap seats.
I’m calling it Author-ized in ’18. My MFA requires I put this whole book thing together, so it’s now or never. Nothing like a deadline to get you off your dead ass…
But I knew that going in, too. In fact, that’s why I checked the program out in the first place. A way of moving beyond the “Round Tuits” I kept stacking up and actually writing that book I’d always thought I could. Lord knows, I’ve been threatening to do so long enough. I just celebrated my 45th birthday last November, and know full well I have every best intention of actually writing book back when I was 20. Of course, I had things to see, stuff to do and probably yours and my share of beers to drink.
And I did. All of it. Then a not-too-shabby career as print journalist popped up on my horizon. Sure, I was writing, everyday and then some at most the places I worked. Even won a few awards for my efforts. But while I was busy seeing the great wide wonder, filling my days writing other people’s stories, I never got around to any of my own.
Truth be told, I was getting a hellova lot farther away.
Of course, life often has a way of making you appreciate a thing or two, usually right about the time you start whining about how much of a rut you feel like you’re in. And did life ever hand me a doozy. Pissed me off so bad, at the time, I swore I’d never write another word again. I barely even signed my name unless I had to.
Funny thing: The one detail that really stood out for me from that entire quarter century I spent chasing stories on constant deadline came from back when I used to introduce myself to strangers as a professional writer. Why? Because I dug how it sounded. No other reason.
But unless I was talking to another newspaper geek like me or a truly polished politician, you could stand there and watch as this weird, glazed look would wash over the faces of people in front of you. They’d be all smiles, grasping your hand, but sooner than those vibrations of the word writer got past the lips, the look of them began to change as they processed what they just heard, like they heard what I said, but they just didn’t have a clue what language I’d suddenly taken up.
Can’t begin to tell you how many times I saw that look.
But no sooner than I say to hell with all that and start doing some real work, like building buildings and shaping steel, I wind up hearing from many of those same people–those same glazed lookers from before–saying how I really needed to get back to it. Then, quite nearly without fail, they start tossing about words like gifts and talents–stuff that crawls up the spine and makes you want step out of your own skin for a while.
You just can’t please some people…
So can an Old Fart learn a new trick or two? Guess you’ll just have to hang around and see. Feel free to follow, maybe even sit a spell. Check out a thing or two. Come see Texas from my point of view, which has always been a little bit outlaw and plenty off-center. Who knows? You might even find something you relate to…
Until then, here are a few oldies but goodies mixed in with some of newer items. I’ll add to this list periodically. It ought to get you started, anyhow. Hope you enjoy!
A month after Gramma celebrated her ninth decade, she went to bed one last time at her home. She died sometime in the early hours of Sept. 7, 2018. Members of the family asked Bobby if he would write her eulogy. This is what he came up with.
She will be forever missed…
“. . . Even as kids, you sense its mortality. Summer’s about gone. By then, you’re full-on summer grooving. None of that amateur crap like in June. Plus, you know your days are numbered. You wanna make it count. You’re a bit more adventurous, a bit more courageous. . . “
“River ice jamstuck bridgebent, bang crackpop. / He boards his jeep / then engines it alive with a twist / the BIG clattering tit /
& rather than / wrangle away / straightaway /
as we all thought he might / he sat there /
contemplating his poopec . . .”
POEM PUBLISHED: Alchemy Literary Magazine | May 2018 Edition Portland Community College (Portland, Ore.) Why You (Dis)sin? 5.1.2018
“The Alchemy 2018 editors would like to congratulate you on the acceptance of your poem “Why You (Dis)sin?” for our publication. We are excited to work on this thought-provoking piece. Thank you for allowing us to publish it.”
(After as many rejections as I’d gotten before this, I didn’t know what to do…)
- POEM PUBLISHED: Alchemy Literary Magazine | May 2018 Edition
- Portland Community College (Portland, Ore.)
- My Little Girl
” . . . tearsangerhatreds despised / sometimes I’m glad I can’t see / my little girl’s eyes / till, my little girl / turned 21 / today / and I can’t / even call her— / my little girl”
SHORT STORY PUBLISHED: Bluestem Literary Magazine | May 2018 edition Eastern Illinois University | Charleston, Ill. Mr. Man Candy (text version) 4.30.2018
“I always take him with a few grains of salt. Not too much. I mean, dude’s always been on the rotund side, and he’s got a heart condition, for Christ’s sake. But don’t take everything he tells you at face value. You just can’t . . .”
NO TIME TO READ IT ALL YOURSELF?
Then let the Outlaw read it for you. Yep, the whole damn thing. So, kick back and enjoy!
There’s Mr. Man Candy (the full audio version), too… Bluestem Literary Magazine | May 2018 edition | Charleston, Ill. Produced by Eastern Illinois University’s English Department since 1966
When was the last time you heard a grown man performing the part of a geriatric Playboy Bunny whose libido rivals that of a 17-year-old in the backseat of a Buick trying to wrench open that zipper on the back of the prom queen’s gown?
That’s far too long. But trust me, we’ve got you covered . . .
Award Winner in Las Positas’ 2018 Annual Poetry Contest Second Place Entry out of 350 Poetry Submissions
POEM PUBLISHED: LPC Havik Anthology RISE | May 2018 Las Positas College (Livermore, Calif.) Hipster Jesus
” . . . maybe / Jesus would / go by . . . the savior / formerly known / as Jesus. / That’d be / so much / cooler & / hipper for / a hipster, / don’t you think? / (But) don’t forget / Jesus loved / you before / you got so / damn cool, / & that applies / to happening / Hipster Jesus, too . . .”
POEM PUBLISHED: LPC Havik Anthology RISE | May 2018 Las Positas College (Livermore, Calif.)
“I remember a boy / clumsy, cotton-topped / following that old man / around, every-where / hat stuffed with newspapers / hulking, over-sized . . . “
NEWS STORY: Riders of the River, 2008
They may seem right out of the Old West, but truth is, these fellows are our real first line of defense against invading terrorists. If you’ve ever eaten a hamburger, they are, anyway. This won AFBF’s Best News Story in 2009.
AFBF’s BEST VIDEO NEWS STORY 2009: Originally aired on the RFD-TV Network Produced/Narrated by Texas Farm Bureau’s Ed Wolff Writing/Interviews/Videography by Bobby Horecka
It wound being the most costly drought in Texas history, but sometimes it’s not so much the money involved as it is the people. This story, it’s video companion and the website they launched won a trio of AFBF bests in 2009.
NEWS STORY: Mexico_Costa Rica 2008
Just as Texas livestock officials stopped a load of Canadian cattle bound for Mexico at the Rio Grande, livestock leaders from the Lone Star State headed south into Central America to meet with their counterparts, meetings that ended a near decade-long ban on live cattle trade from the United States.
Ever get sick and tired of people bragging about something that ain’t all that? I did. Then I wrote this. I’ve seen it pirated a few times now, but it managed to catch the Texas Press Association’s eye for Best Editorial in 2005.
It’s not every day one finds poetry on a news page, but for this particular story, it just seemed appropriate. I wrote this piece while serving as managing editor in Sealy, TX, USA. It got voted Texas Press Association’s Best News Story in 2005.
Hurricane Ike put a hurt on the Lone Star State back when he blew through, shutting the lights out on nearly half Texas for at least week. But none had it near as dark as young county agent, fresh out of college, still finding his way around the new job, and leery as hell of a redneck reporter who arrived on his stoop one day. He later told me they read these words when they named him agent of year in College Station…
That should get you started. Like I said, I’ll add to this list periodically as I locate them. Hope you enjoy!