Saturday, October 28, 2006


I put this picture up earlier, months ago in fact, back when Alan Clark finished it. This is the cover illustration for my book, JUST NORTH OF NOWHERE.

Needless to say, I love the painting. It's an image from the chapter called "The Ninth Goddamned Kid."

Still not sure of the publication date but we're shooting for early 2007.

For those of you who have read or heard any of the "Bluffton" stories, this is a collection that doesn't quite exhaust the supply -- yes, there are a few more in the trunk -- but these are the ones that currently fit into a comfortable sequence, one with the other! It's damn-near a novel for cripes' sake!

If any of you are only familiar with my "vile tales" such as :"Little Girl Down the Way," or "Catching" (from the SEX CRIMES anthology -- and even I shudder at that one -- the story and the book!) then the Bluffton stories may surprise you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This WILL Make Sense

Soon, sometime soon, I'll explain.

Okay. I'll explain a little of it now: I turned in the ms. for "Just North of Nowhere" last night. Well, okay: ms. is a misnomer. I turned in the file, sent the disc. Except for individual chapters and tales that I've printed out for readings, the book hasn't seen paper YET! But the publisher has the words, the virtual pages! All 499 of them.

This doesn't mean I'm finished. Oh no! Lots left to do, and after that, more! Lots more to sell the thing. Hopefully we'll have the book out, well, soon! In time for NEXT Christmas!!

The picture: it's one of the bluffs of the REAL Bluffton -- the name of which I will not say. Not here. Not yet.

The other picture is another bluff. Bluffton's surrounded by them. See? I wasn't kidding. The Driftless is real!

Okay. More later. I'm exhausted. Back in a bit.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Okay. Summer's over. The Cubs won their last game and the team's been disbanded for the season. See you next summer all you suburban yutzes that have pissed in my alley and puked on my stoop and stood around in an alcoholic daze wondering how we city-dwellers could live in such dirty surroundings.

Anyway. IT is nearly finished. That's right: the book's almost done and I'll soon be back to solo blogging. In the's a pitiful story out of Texas from the Dallas Morning News.

I WAS going to post a report on the Religious Nut convention, the "Values Voter Summit" that took place in Washington DC on September 22-23, but I just couldn't. Really...I was so furious, so shakingly terrified for the future of the country, that I couldn't bring myself to post it.

Frisco teacher on leave after museum trip
Art instructor who led museum trip will not have contract renewed

07:23 AM CDT on Tuesday, September 26, 2006

By KAREN AYRES / The Dallas Morning News

FRISCO – An elementary school art teacher who has been publicly at odds with the Frisco school district over a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art is no longer in front of a classroom.

The school district placed Sydney McGee on leave with pay Friday afternoon. After a special school board meeting Monday night about Ms. McGee, Superintendent Rick Reedy said he would recommend that her contract not be renewed when it expires at the end of the school year.

In the meantime, Ms. McGee will be paid her full salary while remaining on leave from Fisher Elementary School.

Ms. McGee's attorney, Rogge Dunn, said the decision was a "crazy use of taxpayers' money."

"She wants to be in there with her kids," Mr. Dunn said.

A Frisco ISD spokeswoman said the district had no further comments on the case.

Ms. McGee, a 28-year veteran teacher, contends she was retaliated against after a parent complained that a student saw a nude statue during a field trip to the museum in April.

District officials have repeatedly pointed to other performance issues and said the trip didn't spark the reprimands.

Ms. McGee became the subject of frequent media reports over the last month after the board rejected her August request to transfer to another Frisco school.

District officials said they didn't want to give Ms. McGee an escape hatch to move elsewhere without addressing other issues, including lesson-plan preparation.

But Ms. McGee said she received a negative review and several directives from Fisher principal Nancy Lawson only after a parent reportedly complained about the trip.

The school board stopped short of terminating Ms. McGee's contract Monday night. But after a closed-door session, Dr. Reedy said he would recommend that her contract not be renewed.

"If they had good reason to fire her, they would have, but they don't," Mr. Dunn said. "It's mind-boggling."

Buddy Minett, school board president, declined to talk about the case.

"This is something where it's really better if we don't comment," he said.

Mr. Dunn said he and Ms. McGee plan to review their legal options.