Monday, November 15, 2004

Jesse Stuart

So Sunday I got up early and went on my way to church. Usually Lisa comes with me, but it was her sister's birthday weekend and said sister wanted to go to evening "jazzy" (shiver) service. I had evening plans already (D&D WOO!) so I went ahead to the morning service. Went to Neil's Coffee across the street from church and enjoyed a good breakfast. An older fellow sitting beside me on the counter said something like, "Well, winter is officially here." Now, I hate talking about the weather but I chat with him a bit. Eventually, he asks me where I'm from and I say "Kentucky."

"Anywhere near Greenup?"

"Actually, right next to it."

"There was a writer I used to read a lot . . ."

He didn't even have to finish. "Jesse Stuart. He's actually a friend of the family." Jesse Stuart was a writer from my area that got some attention, mostly during the pre and post WWII era. I like his stuff . . .kind of like what you want Hemmingway to be: simple, tough, but poetic (without all that closeted and suicidal bunk). He was friends with my Gran and Grandad. In fact, they were all in a movie together . . .and Edward G. Robinson. It was for the American Heart Association. My aunt was born with congenital heart problems and so she and my mom's family were the focus of one of the AHA's films, hosted by Robinson. Jesse Stuart wrote part of it and played the part of the narrator/interviewer. It was neat seeing a VHS version a few years back. Seeing my mom in a movie as a little girl certainly was odd.

Anyway, we chatted for a while and it was very cool. Served in WWII in San Diego, graduate of Indiana University ("Year One,"), affable fellow. I had to go on to church, but that brightened my morning. I was a little sad that he was obviously pretty lonely, but hopefully the talk brightened his day as well.

One thing he said . . ."You're probably a writer, too, right?" Made me think. Am I? I was, once. Now I'm a teacher. Can I be both?

I just started a play that I'm writing for my kids' Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration. Baby steps, I suppose.

Check out some Jesse Stuart. You might like it and you'll be able to out-obscure all your pretentious friends.


At 8:21 PM, Blogger Ed Cunard said...

But... if I'm friends with you, I can't out-pretentious you, you pretentious fuck.

(And, yes, you are a writer.)

I will check out Jesse Stuart.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Joe Rice said...

Nobody can out-pretentious me. I'm a writer. Nyah nyah.


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