There was an instructor at a prestigious college program in the Midwest who always gave this advice. Never try to write a novel. Rather, try not to write. And if the time ever comes when you can’t help yourself, when you wake up in the middle of night because the prospect of some journey keeps calling you, at that point you’ve got to get on with it and see it through.
In a way, that’s the sort of thing that happens to me. As a case in point, I never set out to write a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey. I never even knew such a thing existed. It all started when a friend of ours invited us down to the hill country of Mississippi. As it happens, he’d inherited a backwoods cabin and was in the process of fixing it up. At one point, he suggested that he and I take an exploratory walk. Following a narrow overgrown path, soon we became entangled in briars, edged past some barbed wire as the terrain sloped down and eventually came across some waterlogged broken limbs sticking out like menacing pitchforks. Fearing that perhaps we’d gotten lost, I turned to him and said, “Bob, do you have any idea where we are?” Continue reading “Allowing the story to come to you by Shelly Frome”