A thank you and a love story

A big event in my life is rapidly approaching. For this week’s article I have decided to share my “thank you” to the Rome Area Writers group.  I have been a member of this group for over four years and they have helped me in many ways. Their motto is, “Writers helping writers.” This piece was written for my reading at the April 14 meeting.  I hope you will like it.  It is also a love story.

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

 Thank You Rome Area Writers

 This month’s prompt, I believe, is “why do I write?”  I have thought about this and the only answer I can come up with is that I often get little movies going on in my head and they develop over a period of time to a point that becomes interesting and I feel a need to tell about them.  So I sit down at my computer which has evolved from a word processor which evolved from an IBM Selectric which evolved from an Underwood manual.  I love the computer because of the back space feature which lets me delete and start over.

 The movies develop while I am writing and the changes rapidly turn the story into something I never thought of.  I love the mutability.  I love the way the story develops as I write it. I love the way I can think about it later and think, “I should of put a coon dog in there” and then go add it to the story.  It gives me a feeling of power, also.  Fiction is wonderful.  If I don’t like the way someone is behaving, I can change them or kill them off.

 It kind of reminds me of a John Prine line

“We talked all night ‘til you said something neither of us knew”But all of that is not my message tonight.

My message is to say thank you to RAW.

And to tell you that I will probably miss the next meeting.

 A little over four years ago, I was living by myself, changing my lifestyle into I knew not what.  I had decided a year before to spend some time writing that book that I had always wanted to write.  I had made a lot of changes in my life and I was casting about, looking for direction.  I had exorcised a lot of unwanted people, places, and habits. I was looking for a start on something different.  All I really had going for me was my landscaping and my book.  I had even gone so far as to throw the tv out the window. 

 I maintain the flower beds in the library garden in Rome, Ga, and one day while I was there, I saw a sign that read “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday.”  So I thought that would be fun.  I showed up Thursday and found nothing—no meeting—nothing.  So I researched it and found that the meetings were on the second Thursday and I had gotten the third.  I was ready the next month.

 I went to the meeting and enjoyed it so I joined.  I remember being extremely nervous about my first reading and saying something like, “I’ve never done this before” but it went well and the nice people made me feel good about myself and about my writing.  So I kept up the writing and the readings.  It felt good.

 But I was looking for an editor and thought, “what better place to find an editor?”

And I found one, too.  I met with her and we made a financial arrangement.  I will never forget the first editorial discussion when I showed up to find my manuscript red lined all over the place with some big yellow magic marker lines thrown in for color, interest and contrast.  It was worse than any graded paper I ever got back while majoring in English at the University of Georgia.  I was a broken man.

 The editor pointed out lots of flaws and things that needed changing.

I said, “But I like it that way”

She looked me straight in the eye and said,

“You ain’t Faulkner”

And of course, she was right.

 So I listened to the editor and made the changes and went through many more editing sessions.  It got easier and easier.  My work was turning into a book and I was excited.  I looked forward to second Thursdays at which I shared my progress and at which I received lots of helpful reaction. 

 I had explored many self publishing options and checked out companies like Authorhouse, X libris, and Trafford.  I decided they were rip offs.  I have always had a good talent for spotting a scam. I did more research and then more research and figured out that I needed to do it myself.  So the editor and I set up Wheredepony Press and began a learning process.  The learning process turned into a two year endeavor. The book was published. The book, Requiem for a Redneck received excellent reviews and won a first place award from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for “Best Southern Fiction.”  We were validated.

 Somewhere during all of the editing and publishing I had fallen in love with the editor.  I had started out to write a book and had ended up with a book and a partner.  I had found the direction that I had been looking for.

 One of those movies that goes on in my head still has me pausing in front of the sign that reads “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday night”

 That sign made a lot of difference for me.  I met wonderful, helpful people and entered into a new dimension.  I am happy for that.  That’s what I wish to thank you for.

 And next month’s meeting?  I don’t think I will be here because the meeting is on Thursday night and I will be preparing for a wedding which will be on the following Saturday, May 14.

 The editor and I will tie the knot.

Thank you, Dekie Hicks for giving me direction

And Thank you, Rome Area Writers.

 Thank you, Dear Johntheplantman Readers for all of the support you have given.  This site has become popular way beyond my expectations.

 John P. Schulz

 

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If you would like a consultation with John Schulz, Landscape Artist, in your yard,

Please contact me by email

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nelson Magee
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 13:59:01

    We wish you and Dekie the very best happiness and good health. Also success in your future publications which we look forward to reading.
    We are so pleased to be your friends.
    Love you both, Nelson & Yolanda

    Reply

  2. Jenny McGuire
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 15:52:53

    John we wish you and Dekie all the hapiness in the world!
    Love, Jenny

    Reply

  3. Hilda Moore
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 17:00:24

    Two greater and talented friends could ever be found in the flowing fountains of friendship.
    I loved your story and it made me realize there are better tomorrows to be lived and enjoyed.
    Sending my deepest appreciation for your influence and assistance in publishing my memoir, Two Sons Twice Born.
    Wishing you a wedding of fairytale fame, which will live forever.
    Love and Hugs,
    Hilda

    Reply

  4. Cherie K. Miller
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 18:01:53

    John, what a coup (I had to make sure, so I looked it up & it means: coup (plural coups)

    1. A quick, brilliant, and highly successful act; a triumph.)

    Not only did you gain a best friend, a cheerleader, and an editor (which every writer needs), but…. you gain a coon hound.

    What more could any man need? Congratulations to you and Dekie! (And, most of all, Speck – I’m sure you were in on the thing, too….)

    Reply

  5. Annie Shay Lester
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 22:50:04

    I love the absents (sp?) of detail. I love the dovetail of editor becomes wife. Some of my happiest times have been with a group of writers. Great romances cannot be minutely detailed because one is washed in love, and not one part of your love needs finality of description, or it’d be a story and not true love. Thanks for sharing this post!

    Reply

  6. Jimmye Grimes
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 20:53:27

    I’m very happy for you dear friend. Blessings to you and Dekie for all the years of your lives. Jimmye ~j~

    Reply

  7. Patsy Hubbard
    May 10, 2011 @ 14:26:59

    WELL SAID !!! I WISH YOU BOTH GREAT HAPPINESS!!!

    LOVE,

    PATSY

    Reply

  8. annie
    May 23, 2011 @ 00:49:44

    So happy for you.
    John you smile like your dad and look like my dad.
    Dekie Hicks Schulz – God bless you in your prettiness and thank you for your red and yellow decorations all over his redneck self.
    cuz, keep on writing – she woud’ na bothered if it weren’t worth it!
    the sky is steely white here with the rainy season – Ikoma Mt
    now
    your cousin with much love, annie

    Reply

  9. Agatha
    May 24, 2011 @ 07:14:29

    I stumbled onto your blog doing a google search on caring for roses…Congrats!

    Reply

  10. Trackback: My self publishing experience part three-Turning it into a book. « johntheplantman's stories, plants, and gardening
  11. Trackback: Press Release–Redemption for a Redneck « johntheplantman's stories, plants, and gardening
  12. Trackback: Press release, “Redemption for a Redneck” | John P. Schulz-humorous southern fiction

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