Friday, August 26, 2016

"George Running Poles" finds a home in new Wyoming anthology

I've been working on a novel since the spring. I got tired of agents and editors asking me, a short-story writer, if I had a novel. This longer piece grew out of a short story that wanted to go long. So now it is. I won't say what it's about because it's supposed to be bad luck. I will say that it's set in Colorado in 1919-1920. An intriguing era, this post-war period. The Great War altered how people viewed the world. Women got the vote and Prohibition became law which led to lawlessness, even in rural Colorado. The Klan was on the rise, attacking Irish- and Italian-Catholics -- and Hispanics -- when they couldn't find any black people to torment (the alt-Right is nothing new). Americans were spooked by the Russian Revolution (the U.S. had 8,000 troops in Russia in 1918-1920 fighting the Bolsheviks) and blamed commie troublemakers for everything from labor unrest to avant-garde art. That gives me a few subjects to use for conflict in my story. Then there's the usual problems caused by the human heart in conflict with itself.

On the short story front, I heard two weeks ago that my story "George Running Poles" has been accepted for the new book, Blood, Wind, Water, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers. It will be published in the fall by Sastrugi Press of Jackson. Lori Howe, a fine poet, is the editor. Look for it at an indie near you. Support your Wyoming writers! Just to whet your appetite, here is the story's opening paragraph:
Two teen boys walk along the asphalt bikeway in Riverton, Wyoming. George Jumping Bull pushes a shopping cart he found abandoned in the winter-brown grass. He’s wearing black sweatpants bunched over white running shoes and a red bandanna tied around his close-cropped hair. Jimmy Jones wears his black Oakland Raiders cap sideways, its bill pointing east. He milks a pint bottle of vodka as he walks. George reaches for it.
Lynn Carlson has asked me to write a short piece for the blog she co-authors/edits with Susan Mark. The blog, Writing Wyoming: Words, wind and everything else Wyoming, features great posts about writing and marketing your work. I've pulled a number of publishing leads off of this blog. Lynn's latest post on Aug. 16 is about the Storycatcher Workshop she attended in Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Go read it. Lynn asked me to write a composite post by Sept. 9 on the subject of reading your work at open mic sessions. I readily agreed, as it took me awhile to read my work in public, period. I was 39 or 40 the first time I read in public as a late-blooming grad student at CSU in Fort Collins. Since then, I have embarrassed myself many times in public, from Denver to Cheyenne to Washington, D.C. What experiences do you have as a writer in a public forum? Let me know so I have something to blog about in September. Here's the topic: "A good noise: in praise of the open mic." Lynn took the title from a John Gorka song:
'Cause if you cannot make yourself a good noise
tell me what you're doing here.
My daughter Annie now lives in Chicago. Her northside neighborhood was once Polish and then Hispanic and now, I'm afraid, is in danger of gentrification. A brewpub has opened next to the wig store and funky murals are replacing graffiti. Hipsters have been sighted. She wants us to come visit so is arranging interesting sites to see and tours to go on. The Chicago Mafia Tour sounds intriguing. I may prefer the Chicago Literary Tour which includes stops at sites occupied by such fine writers as Gwendolyn Brooks, Ernest Hemingway, Lorraine Hansberry and Carl Sandburg, and the office of the woman who first published James Joyce in the U.S. Writers with Chicago roots continue to compose great works. I'm talking about you, Larry Heinemann, Dave Eggers and Walter Mosley.

1 comment:

Liz Roadifer said...

Congratulations, Mike. It's a great story. Glad you found a home for it. Looking forward to buying my copy of the anthology and getting you to sign it.