|The incumbent author, his Uncle Larry, and a bottle of Southern Comfort in pre-dawn 80's... Kindergarten Crack Kills...|
Mom later cooked with it as an added recipe for one of her bible study coffee cakes.
She never had a clue.
Last Saturday was the Kentucky Derby which makes me think of my dear friend John Armstrong. John is 86 years old and was an old school editor at the Peoria Journal Star for almost half-a-century. Twice a week John’s wife of 65 years lets him go out to Champs West for a cigar and a nightcap, and every Tues and Thurs for the past fifteen years John has driven from Washington to West Peoria to close down the bar. Although nearing 90 John is gentleman, the drying husk of an old school journalist. Sometimes he wears a fedora cap. Lately he’s been walking with this classy cane. The way he smokes his cigar makes me feel like I am having a beer with the late Mike Royko.
We continue to drink and smoke. We continue to laugh.
Some metapysical torch between no-noneshit octogenarian journalist and crazy long haired writer is being passed. There is over half-a century between myself and John, but when we talk about horses, when we talk about good writing, when we take swigs of our beer and tap the ash out from the tip of our cigars it feels like the curtain of time dissipates into narrative wisps and the stories we tell and chronicle in ink will endure far past the vagaires of our alloted moments in this placed called time. Called earth. Called eternity.
I wrote 2000 single-space pages, blew my wrists out. Took a month off. Then pissed out another 1000 pages.
And somehow I want my career as a writer to be like that Gelding. I want to be counted out and come out of nowhere and inspire.
Perhaps these forty days is me exiting the gate, getting flecks of dirt kicked in my face, refusing to yield.