Location: marengo, il, United States

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Hit and A Miss

The following story might contain some facts that could very well infuriate my good friend Clive, but understand; the Muses have inexplicably let me be for a time, so in order to post something -- anything -- I feel a need to press on without them.

Undependable snots.

I met a bona fide published writer once. My eldest sister, herself one whom I term a professional student (as well as a teacher in the Texas public school system for many years), introduced us over beers at a local pub one evening in Grandview, Texas.

The place catered to a well-behaved and wiser crowd than what I was used to, so at first I felt uneasy among these sorts, being the youngest as well as a lesser-educated person of the bunch. That feeling did pass quickly, though, as I sat and listened while this man spoke and regaled our booth with some of his fascinating life-history.

Benjamin Capps, some twenty years my senior, mustachioed, wrinkled and tanned, had also just finished his latest manuscript, I learned. Naturally, since I possessed talent with artistic tools, the subject came up at some point about the possibility of me illustrating his story. After a few beers, the idea began to grab hold, and I believe I eventually agreed to do so.

The problem is that I am an ardent procrastinator, so I blame the beer for that terrible mistake. You must understand this part well: I also despise commissions.

Ah, well. We all had a good time that night.

Now several weeks later, I received a box crammed full with a ream of neatly-stacked onion-skin paper, double-spaced on each page. Capps had sent me his one and only copy of a soon-to-be-published novel to read over. I did just that before returning it too, plus I felt powerfully honored to even be considered.

But to this regretable day, I have no idea if that manuscript ever went to press.

And of course, I failed to keep up my end of the bargain then, so it became one of those mysterious things one can only wonder about -- what might have happened, you know.

So such is life, Clive. Such is life.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Broken promises and smashed dreams - that's what life is all about, Harry. I think back over all those times I've rashly accepted a commission to do something, only to find later that I can't or won't or don't want to do it. It all comes down to my motto in the end: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.

And, of course, we all know what happens to tomorrow, don't we? ;)

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Was it a western?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

All too true, Gone.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

No Ned...I omitted the gist of the story, being the consummate lazy bones that I am....but it involved a set of characters reminiscent of a Ma and Pa Kettle, and their newly-married son that refused to leave the hen-house (where he and his new bride set up their honeymoon quarters), and a finger, lost by Pa, to a circular saw he operated to rid the land of pesky mesquite trees, and Ma, who yelled at him for dripping blood all over the house. How in the hell could I draw that, I wondered?

5:17 PM  
Blogger Keeefer said...

yes! Harry strikes a blow for the'canr be arseds'

10:03 PM  
Blogger glenniah said...

Hen house! I wonder did they know Alice or Freda.
I'd like to say I remember Ma and Pa Kettle but I shan't it would give my age away. Suffice to say Ma and Pa Kettle are akin to the Aussie's Dad and Dave.
The thing that annoys me about me is that I actually have begun to procrastinate the procrastinating.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Jodie said...

Procrastination is a wonderful allows you to put all your "I ought to do that"s on the back burner and then do whatever the heck it is you really wanted to do, even if it means curling up in a sunny spot and napping.

hmmmm...wonder if I could find a sunny spot...

12:43 PM  
Blogger glenniah said...

You can join me here in my sunny spot if you like. I do believe summer has come back to stay. Next month its meant to be winter and thus far no cold or rain in sight, yay.
Perhaps winter is hibernating or procrastinating this year.

5:02 AM  
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2:09 PM  

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