Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Book I Would Have Killed to Have Written by James Lee Burke

A few years ago I wrote a story about war that I thought was going to be the first of many, maybe enough for a collection (finding a publisher for said collection would be a different issue). The story was called Elena Speaks of the City, Under Siege and Crimespree published it. It was a good story, and if you scroll down far enough, you'll find it on this blog in its entirety. The collection I was planning would be of war stories and they would be devastating. Of course, no one thinks of writing dull stories...

Anyway. Elena was as far as I got except for a few snippets here and there. Certainly no collection, no devastation. But of course, my conceit remained. That always dies hard. Ah well.

But then I picked up Jesus Out to Sea by James Lee Burke recently. I've only read a few of the stories, but great googally-moogally. Approaching what I've read from the POV of a writer it's like Mr. Burke got tired of listening to me prattle on, stood up and punched me in the gut. Then he stoops over me as I'm on all fours trying to get air back into my lungs and he asks whether I'd like more. And for the life of me I can't help but say yes.

This is exactly the collection I wanted to write. I'll have more to say later and I'll save it for Nasty. Burtish. Short. but let me just hint that a story called The Village is as chilling a piece as I've read in some while and I read a lot of chilling things.

My hat's off to you Mr. Burke. But you knew that. You're the one that knocked it off my head.


Blogger Bill Crider said...

I know that feeling. It's the one that also makes me want to get an axe and chop my word processor into little tiny pieces.

June 29, 2007 10:07 AM  

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