Friday, November 27, 2009

Contrabando, up against the wall red neck mother

Day before yesterday, I received a couple of copies of Contrabando, the original hard-backed version. For whatever reason, I picked up the book and began reading. It's been long enough that it was almost, (but not entirely), like reading the work of another.

I felt like I needed a marking pencil. The writing is stilted and disjointed in places. I found repititions. Inaccuracies. But the story behind the words still has value. It's a flawed depiction taken from the front lines of this so-called war on drugs which is really a war on people. A flawed version of one that has actually been there is better than a well written version of those that have not.

Stephen King compared the skills needed to write a book to a box of tools. He went on to say if a person has a good story, they can write a decent book with a minimal amount of tools

I wrote Contrabando with a hammer, a crescent wrench, a pair of vice grips and a single slot bladed screw driver. I needed more tools.

I won't try to rewrite the book. Life has moved on; I've better and more timely subjects to address.

Ray Wylie Hubbard once said, be careful about the song you write because you might still be singing it thirty years later. To this day, Ray gets requests to sing up against the wall red-neck mother, quite possibly the worst song he ever wrote.

I know how he feels.


  1. Hey Don..., don't beat yourself up. I had to look up "stilted"..., "stiff and artificial" the dictionary says. I am only a few chapters into "Contrabando" after finishing "Ruminations..." but I haven't found anything artificial yet. Yes..., you have learned to use the tools you have to better advantage over the years..., and I am sure you will continue to refine your skills as time goes on.

    Am looking forward to that..., but it doesn't mean I am finding fault with the results thus far.

    Right on Don..., write on.

  2. Scott,

    Well, then you'll meet Lee Cross, mentioned briefly in Ruminations from the garden. He is a very dear friend. Went though hell with the guy.