Con essions’of a graduate author newspaper reporters, and one poor so who had actually signed up for Gourm Cooking. Published Authoress, with two volum of poetry, one novel and a rather sizab bill to one of the better known vani publishing houses to her credit, show immediately that hers was a highly creati mind, appearing at the first regular meeti with several personally autographed copi of her own works which she was willing let go at regular prices. \(Local legend has it that she on appeared at a rather plush autograph par signalling the arrival of a local author latest book and busily set about to pedd In all honesty I must say that my tenu in Community Service Course 18 turne me to a harbringer of some doubt as to th future of the art as we know it today. F if, in fact, the average age of the class is legitimate yardstick, literature, one mig assume, could be a dead duck by no lat than, say, the late 1980’s. Grandmothe with stretch pants, high heels, and lip painted on crooked occupied a gre majority of the folding seats in the Testin & Guidance Center. And the simple fac that there was a gaping sexual imbalanc of sympathy for those editors of women magazines everywhere who have by no likely re ceived a number none-too-sparkling stories based loosely o a funny thing which actually happened t Aunt Suzy on the way .to church on Sunday morning and how Uncle Je reacted the night his best coon dog passe on to that Great Doghouse in the Sky. It must be said here that Mr. Dewlen, conscientious sort with a soft voice and a obviously huge capacity for trivia questions, did his best. It took only th first meeting for me to learn that he was man of great strength and restraint, of nea holy patience and sympathy for his fellow artists. After spending a good deal of hi introductory lecture pointing out tha creative writing hardly does for the sou what basket weaving and stamp collecting do and that it was a great mental test; a lonely endeavor which had, in fact, lef four of the original thirty-five members o his own creative writing class still in menta hospitals today, a kindly little lady approached him after the class had been dismissed. With a benevolent smile which I’m sure would have turned even the resident Sister to putty, she said, “Mr. Dewlen, I’m so happy to be in your course. I’ve just been released from the psychiatric ward and the doctors told me that writing would be a very good form of therapy for me By Carlton Stowers Amarillo It is only fair that I point out to you the fact that this particular piece is being written between revisions of my Nobel acceptance speech. I wouldn’t have bothered at all were it not for the fact that the water bill just arrived and, much as I hate to admit it, even those of us tapped by the literary angels remain subject to second notices, flat tires, mothers-in-law, and the common head cold. The reason for my current flow of confidence is the fact that I have just been officially licensed to write. At last my credentials are in order. It says so right there on the four-by-five slip of paper I was presented just the other evening: This is to certify that Carlton Stowers has satisfactorily completed a 10-hour ,course in Creative Writing. It’s signed by a supervisor, a dean, the college president and my instructor, Al Dewlen \(author of Night of the Tiger, The Bone Pickers and Publisher’s Row is no doubt ankiously awaiting the day your Graduate iluthor’s maiden manuscript arrives safely in their sweaty palms. The Saturday Even ng Post, God rest her, will never know hat she missed. Though Mr. Dewlen never c me right out and told me I was, in fact, o of the Gifted. I got the message. ‘Twice during the five weeks of Monday evening meetings he looked directly toward me when he used such phrases as “you the author” or “when you have polished your book” no small distinction, you understand, in view of the fact there were something n the neighborhood of 100 enrolled in this particular phase of Amarillo Junior College’s Community Services Program. And, lest you think it was a group of rank amateurs who shelled out six bucks a head to become Graduate Authors, best I acquaint you with a few of my more noteworthy classmates. AMONG OUR selected legions was a published authoress, editor of a local historical magazine, a gentleman who had at one time shouldered the full burden of responsibility for getting out his firm’s monthly newsletter, several members in good standing of the local Pen Women’s Club, one nun, a number of frustrated The writer works for the Amarillo daily. 16 The Texas Observer ul It was the following day over et warmed-over coffee and in far more private surroundings that Dewlen, in a most es uncharacteristic manner, severely le questioned the ancestry of any doctor who ty would lead someone on such a hopeless ed and potentially dangerous goose chase. ng THOUGH PROBABLY not in the ye es best of literary taste, many of the to characters in my Nobel Epic may well be fashioned after those who shared the ce enlightening hours with me in the T&G tY Center \(as we came to call it after ‘s becoming more familiar with the campus Doubtless, my classmates will easily re recognize the housewife who took notes on d the back of her grocery list during the e initial session \(milk, eggs, head of lettuce, or elements of characterization and subjective ht ultimately graduated to the use of a bill of er sale signifying her ownership of a like-new rs Ford pickup. During one coffee break a classmate at nodded her head in the direction of one of g our prospective authoresses and t confidently informed me there was a e rumor circulating to the effect that the e rather pudgy lady in question had, sure as ‘s shootin’, bumped off her wealthy hubby w and, as a result, was likely the most f financially solvent of our group. “But,” she n continued in an out-the-side-of-the-mouth o whisper, “the insurance company won’t e pay off. I hear they’re wise to her.” d Right there in front of God and the Coke d machine I had been gifted with another character for my literary debut. a Outside the weekly ultimatum from the n -school maintenance department that there 1 would be no more smoking allowed inside e the building and the regular question on a flashbacks asked by the same lady each r meeting there was little one could anticipate from class to class. To be sure, there were phases of our preparation to s join the world of letters which were t painful. Dewlen, no doubt stoked from I time to time by pangs of conscience, showed us the dark side of the industry and methodically set about to destroy t some of the monetary myths of the f profession. But rest assured that we were a 1 stout-hearted lot. Our dedication would not be blunted by a few trivial factors which were abudantly overshadowed by prospects of such things as Immortality and Celestial Tax Brackets. ! That University of Texds professor Bill Lord, in his book, “How; Authors Make a average take home pay for one of God’s Gifted is slightly over $3,000 per annum,
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