Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My first serious efforts at writing came in high school. My cousin and I trapped during the winters and during our freshman year we co-authored an article for Fur, Fish and Game magazine. It was titled Cousin Trappers!  and had all the killing, blood and gore of a great war novel. We submitted a handwritten copy and about a month later received a letter saying the story had been accepted. Our excitement was not about the acceptance, but over the payment--2 years subscription to the magazine, the Bible of our winter activities. We penned no other stories, but did try to write a couple of songs. It was the tail end of the surfer band era and, being car crazy, our contribution was about our dream hot rod we called Rip Van Winkle.

Rip Van Winkle she's a real good deal
Rip Van Winkle she can really peel
Rip Van Winkle, Rip Van Winkle

Well, Rip Van Winkle she can really go
Rip Van Winkle she's the star of the show
Rip Van Winkle, Rip Van Winkle
We'll go to the drag and money we'll earn
other drivers will be breathing the rubber we burn
Rip Van Winkle, Rip Van Winkle

That's what I remember of it, and I don't think the addition of music would help. I think back often about my years up to and through high school, it is a limitless source of material. The good, the bad and ugly. As a writer, thoughts have to be sifted through and events selected. The difficult thing, for me, is to decide which way to spin the event. Do I take the serious and add humor, or vice versa. When any of us really analyze things that happened, there will almost always be several angles that are apparent. Do I leave the tone alone and decide the mixture of fact and fiction? For example, I mentioned above the trapping. We did good, we made some money. At the time that is what was important. However, looking back, it was senseless slaughter. This is one of the poems that came from the analysis of our trapping:

Blood Money

I did my share of killing.
whichever method
produced a pelt,
at a time when anything I wanted,
or needed, was measured
in the grade, type and number of hides.
Ten medium muskrats,
two large coons
and a grey fox
bought four games of bowling, including shoes,
two rounds of pool, a pizza and a couple drinks.
A nice mink, skinned properly
with no cuts, meant I could wear new
jeans and shirt on the date.
It seemed a good way to make money,
until each time the carcasses
and guts had to be buried
on top of last year’s bones.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I have been in love with words, reading and writing, since my first day in school. I could not get enough of the Alice and Jerry stories in Mrs. Hamilton's first grade class at Carrie E. Gould Elementary in Savannah. I remember thinking about those simple adventures as I walked to and from school. Like many boys of the 1950s and '60s The Hardy Boys, The Black Stallion, How and Why science books all captured my imagination and sent me to countless hours of daydreaming. Frankly, even in high school and college, while others were finding shortcuts, I found textbooks, particularly those historical in nature, to be immensely interesting, whether art, music or just plain history.

The book that pushed me on the road to writing was Jesse Stuart's The Thread that Runs So True. Maybe because he was from Kentucky and I was a West Virginian there was something in his descriptions of the hills and people that hooked me. Maybe it was his language. Maybe the hard life while growing up. Maybe the dream and actions to be better, to go somewhere, while all the while remaining truly humble and loyal to where he came from. It was a little of all those things and more, but one thing is sure, I was reeled in.

So, I will try to post every few days a little about my past writing and work my way to current pieces. I will post some of the pieces, along with background. If you are a writer, it will give you a peek at how someone else does it. Right or wrong, strange or common, it will be worth following.