Renaming a mysterious Arkansas town ‘Garth, Texas’

In the summer of 1980, if I remember right, we traveled from Kansas to northern Arkansas to visit my Dad’s older brother, Uncle Don. He, my Aunt Mary and my cousins lived in Harrison, near Dogpatch. I also remember something about getting some Cavender seasoning, since it’s made in Harrison. (I still use it today, although I prefer the salt-free form).

As we traveled to Harrison, my seven-year-old mind seemed to record us being on some sort of mountainous hill. One road went to Harrison while another road seemed to lead to another town down in a distant valley. A look at a map reveals it might’ve been Omaha, Arkansas.

To this day, 32 years later, I still wonder about that town. What was its name? What secrets did it hold? What stories did it tell? Or, did it exist solely in my imagination?

I have resurrected and transported the town approximately 800 miles southwest into West Texas in a short story I am working on, titled Garth, Texas. In this lengthy, in-progress short story, a road goes up a hill, reaching a zenith; what lies on the road beyond the zenith is completely unknown to anyone seeing the road from the main road it bisects.

But to those who travel to the top of the road, they will see a sharp, gradual decline as the road slopes downard for about five miles. And in the distance is a tiny speck of a town.

Garth, Texas.

Stay tuned.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Writing out of sequence–blasphemy or bold?

In my fiction writing, I am working on two projects: a novel called Randy and Rhonda (a Christian romance that has some frank looks at relationships and sex and how some Christians prefer isolation over insulation) and a thriller/suspense short story called Garth, Texas.

In both, I hit snags where I didn’t know what to write. Especially in the novel, since part of it deals with a segment of America that I know very little about (I’d rather not say what at this point, except that a friend is trying to set things up for me to interview someone from there). So, what to do?

Write out of sequence.

A friend who studied broadcasting at college told me that movies are very seldom shot in sequence. Sometimes the very first scene to be filmed is one of the movie’s final scenes. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the opening scene where they drive to the restaurant in the morning was one of the very last filmed. And, I understand that the opening rig scene in Armageddon was actually the final scene filmed.

Why not do the same with creative writing?

So, I do this in the novel and will probably do so in the short story: if you hit a snag in the story, skip over the scene and write later scenes. Perhaps somewhere down the road the creative juices will flow and you can fill in the gaps.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

Writer’s Block strikes me again. Grrr!

I am currently working on a few short stories, most notably a Twilight Zone-style fantasy thriller tentatively titled Garth, Loving County, Texas. Then there are two books I’m working on: a Christian thriller The Game Show and a Christian romance novel Randy and Rhonda. All three of these are really good stories, but I’ve run into the same problem with each.

I have no idea what happens next.

It’s an annoying case of writer’s block as I try to ascertain what happens next.

I’ve also found it an excessive challenge to keep my blogs updated. Am I just hitting a dry spell where I don’t have the energy to write?

As of this writing (October 28), I have about six unpublished blog postings.

I can think of two things I’ll have to do: re-read that essay by Lois Duncan on Writer’s Block and consult with a former creative writing teacher of mine.

Richard Zowie tries to stay busy in his writing life and believes it’s far better to be busy than unemployed. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.