Saturday, September 12, 2009

Man at Work: Old Erskine

I ran across a worn copy of "Tobacco Road" in a box of old books in my garage. It reminded me of a story a boss of mine once told. He was seated near Erskine Caldwell on a flight and was stunned by the amount of work the novelist completed during the trip. He said the man seemed capable of total focus.

I suppose that helped to produce material like this:

"Quit chunking that durn ball at them there weatherboards, Dude," he said. "You don't never stop doing what I tell you. That ain't no way to treat your old Pa, Dude. You ought to sort of help me out, instead of always doing something contrary."

"Aw, go to hell, you old dried-up clod," Dude said, throwing the ball at the side of the house with all his might and scooping up a fast grounder on the rebound. "Nobody asked you nothing."

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