Monday, January 25, 2016

From Coffee Can to Publication

I recently participated in another round of Oral History Inteviews for out city. One of our colorful local authors, 83 year old Hub Parker, regaled us with tales of his early life of farming and ranching. He was in his 60s when an accident (he and his horse both fell, and the horse landed on his foot) put him out of commission for a long time.

Faced with a lot of time on his hands, he started scribbling down his thoughts and memories on little scraps of paper and stuffing them into a coffee can. Hub says, "I didn't know I liked to write until I started doing it."

His wife found the can and asked him about it. "It's just a bunch of junk and when it gets full I'm going to dump it out and burn it, and then fill it up again." She encouraged him NOT to burn his little slips of paper.

Over time Hub experimented with poetry, submitted a few things and then was asked to do readings at cowboy gatherings. The persistent encouragement of family and friends eventually led to several published books of poems, and the novel, Long Ride to Davis. His narrative style is one of a kind.

Three tips for authors that I gleaned from Hub's interview:
  • It's never too late to start.
  • You don't need a lot of fancy equipment. Just use what you have (i.e. imagination, pencil and coffee can).
  • Surround yourself with a network of advisers and supporters.
Hub has a quality all authors need, and that is the ability to laugh at oneself. "I didn't know what I was doing, but I did it anyway," he said.

Just do it. 
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