Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One of the frustrations in writing is the delay that sometimes occurs in getting a book released.  For me, my nerves have been jangled by a real delay and a feared delay.

First the real delay.  A problem with the page formatting kept the book from being released on May 24, which I had originally projected as the publication date.  Those problems are being resolved, and it looks most assuredly that the book will be available at Amazon on June 10--but that could shift by a couple of days, one direction or the other.

Second, the feared delay.  And it involved Outlaw artist Shooter Jennings--and a lesson about different strokes for different folks.  Back last December I asked Shooter if he would write the foreword to the book, and he graciously said yes, and even insisted that he would be quite happy to do it. Fast motion to late January and still no foreword from Shooter.  I texted him and told him I would need it by mid-March to stay on schedule, and he said that he would get it done soon.

Then came mid-February, and still no foreword.  So I decided to head northward to North Carolina to meet with Outlaw artist J. B. Beverley, whom I had interviewed over the phone for the book but had not yet met in person, and at the same time to see Shooter, who was going to be visiting with J. B.

Shooter again was most gracious and said that he was sincerely glad to see me.  I told him that time was getting short for the foreword--especially since I would need a few days to review it and have it edited--and he said that he understood and would get it to me soon.

Mid-March came, and nothing.  And now Shooter wasn't even answering my text messages because he was so involved in finishing his new CD, "The Other Life." Finally, I laid down the law for the Outlaw: I would need the foreword by April 1, no later.

Shooter's silence worried me.  He had been so true in keeping to his word before, what was wrong now, at this critical juncture, I wondered, with his name already prominent on the working book cover.  I began to doubt myself--maybe I had offended him in some way, I thought.

Finally, Shooter answered my panic-strewn text message sent on March 30 and said he would have the foreword for me that night.  Darkness came and went, and still nothing except my own blackening attitude. One last text message: I told him I couldn't wait but more than a day longer.

The night of March 31, the foreword came in.  Theoretically, Shooter could have sent me a short piece of crap.  The foreword, however, turned out to be lengthy and beautiful . . . a work of art.  It was filled with Shooter's personality, his enthusiasm for the book, and  his appreciation for the work I had done.  Bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth, and Shooter hit it out of the ball park.

In the foreword, Shooter lovingly calls me "insanely neurotic."  It was indeed that personality that had run into Shooter's own modus operandi.  As he told me, "I have to be right up against a deadline to do my best work."  And best work he did. Thank you, Shooter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It was like a magical night for me last Saturday.  I never thought I would have four of the Outlaw artists who are featured in the book with me on, of all things, the Shooter Jennings tour bus.  But so it happened.

First it was me and Shooter and Joey Allcorn on the bus, waiting for Shooter to begin his 10:30 show at the Cut Bait Festival in Columbus, Georgia.  Shooter surprised Joey by asking him to sing with him on the "White Trash Song" from Shooter's new CD, "The Other Life."  Joey did a helluva' job especially given the faulty sound system.  "This is where I was meant to be," Joey said to me right before he took the stage.  He is oh so right.

After the show, I was sitting in the tour bus speaking with Shooter and Joey when Outlaw artist Bert David Newton, aka "Chigger," knocked on the door and immediately sat himself down next to the bottle of Jack.  Chigger is fun to be around, a great conversationalist, and thoroughly immersed in the history of 1970s Outlaw.  His band is four-on-the-floor powered right at you.

A strange scratching at the door followed.  In came Wayne Mills. I tell a story of an adventure I had with Wayne during the book interviews, and it helps reveal why his nickname is "Moonshine." No moonshine this night, but good times that allowed me to live a dream.  Thanks, guys.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In war or politics its called an "interregnum."  It means a gap in the social order or the government or something like that.  But right now I am feeling my own interregnum, my own gap connected to "Outlaws Still At Large!," for I am in the situation of having turned in all the work, all the photos, all the changes in the manuscript and am anxiously awaiting the printing of the book.

There's not much that can be done save work on promotion and on the release party (the Outlaw Bash), but as I do so I hear the drumbeat of anticipation and behind that the marching feet--tromp, tromp, tromp--of an army of readers, small or large, I have no clue, who I hope will enjoy but will certainly pass judgement on what I have written.--Neil