Home Country – Writing a once-in-a-lifetime book

People - Slim Randles
Published Sunday, May 30, 2021
by Slim Randles

Dud Campbell was at the kitchen table, contemplating what to do next on his novel, "Murder in the Soggy Bottoms." It's been a constant concern to him for several years now, since the idea struck him. The idea was a love affair between a duchess in a castle in Europe and an American truck driver on special assignment to her home country.

Try as he might, he had yet to overcome a few roadblocks in the writing, such as what to do with the love child the duchess had from him the last time he was on special assignment, what the special assignment was, and how many murders to put in the first chapter.

A guy can't just rush into these things, of course. On top of all that, he still had never heard of a place called Soggy Bottoms, and didn't even know which state it was in. The guys down at the Mule Barn thought his book should be called "The Duchess and the Truck Driver," but Dud didn't think it was mysterious enough. And Doc thought Soggy Bottoms sounded like a diaper change was called for.

But maybe he could conjure up something from his own past that at least might give him an idea of what to write next. So he took the lid off his cast-iron Dutch oven and walked into the back yard. He built a fire in his barbecue and tended it until it was down to coals, and then turned the lid over and put it on the coals. He smeared a little oil on the lid and poured pancake batter on it.

After eating too many pancakes even before Anita woke up, he walked back in the house and began writing. How on earth, he asked himself, does anyone anywhere write more than one book in a lifetime?

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