Pancake, Breece D'J


Breece D’J Pancake was brought to my attention only a couple of years ago, one of those writers who didn’t leave a whole lot left behind for us to gluttonously swallow, and one who was willing to grab the short story by the balls of its form and steer it where he wanted.

In his forward to the collection of Pancake’s stories, James Alan McPherson quotes from a letter he received from Pancake: “Anyway, what was that Latin phrase about the Obligation of Nobility? If it’s what I think it means — helping folks — it isn’t bad as a duty or a calling. We’d both better get back to work.”

And there are some stories that cause us to shake the fog forcibly from our head, that draw our pens to the paper and force us to get back to work. And let me tell you something, these stories do that. And I know it’s summertime and we should take it easy and allow ourselves to dawdle in the sun, but if you need a firecracker tossed under your feet to get you to dance, you should have a listen.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to trying to glue the heads back on my flowers.

Ford, Jesse Hill

To the Open Water

As I noted in the whole wide verbal megillah setting up tonight’s reading, I’m taking great issue with the Wikipedia entry on tonight’s author. Here, again, is the first sentence, with my call to fix it:

Jesse Hill Ford (December 28, 1928 – June 1, 1996) was an American writer of Southern literature who produced one good novel (Mountains of Gilead), one popular novel (The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones) and a host of mediocre works entirely at odds with his public posturing at the heir-apparent to William Faulkner.

Wikipedia Entry on Jesse Hill Ford

And maybe that’s true, beats me. I mean, I’ve gotten the impression that he wasn’t necessarily the mowing-the-lawns-of-the-elderly sort of gregarious, in character anyway. And I don’t know enough about his writing to know if the above is true or not.

But in the interest of improving the accuracy and objectivity of the world’s knowledge (which, I suppose, is the point), I’m drawing your attention there now. Hopefully we can resolve this before it becomes a full-on obsession, before I start the Jesse Hill Ford Credibility Restoration PAC, or somesuch.

Faulkner, William

A Rose for Emily

So, my “identity” was stolen recently. And not for the sake of sordid members-only internet sites or international travel or a weekend of Spitzering other scandalous activities that, if you’re going to have your identity stolen, would constitute Theft in Style. No, my identity was used to buy clip art and stock photography and website services, which is about as exciting as cutting school to go and get a root canal, sneaking out of the house late at night to mow the lawn next door. You get the picture.

So a personal note to identity thieves in training: when you’re done with me, at least return me with a few heavy anecdotes and a thrilling punked-up haircut. OK?