What kind of a writer are you?

Discussion in 'Sound Off' started by spinner, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    Lots of people try to write. Some are successful. Others are NOT.
    What are some of the common mistakes that wantabe writers make?

    I am a campfire story teller. If you find a 25 dollar word in my story. It was not written by me. I write about common folks and days gone by.

    What do the rest of you think?


    I am NOT the one with the two "SIX" guns. I am the one on the far left. (Common Folk)
  2. What are some of the common mistakes that wantabe writers make?

    Writing about subjects they know little about. The best advice I received over thirty years ago was to write about things you have experienced - things you know about. If your audience are knowledgeable on your subject, they'll see right through your inexperience.

    Also, not studying the markets you're attempting to get published in. That will tell you exactly what the editors are looking for.

    Finally, most don't write often enough. Write daily. Keep a journal. Write, write, write. Like the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect!"


  3. I certainly don't fancy myself a writer although every year I try to keep some sort of journal of my fishing and hunting experiences. My biggest problem is I can never write well enough to make it sound as enjoyable as each outing is.
    I am reading "John Adams" right now which has given me a little motivation to write more often. It is amazing how many letters he wrote to both loved ones and fellow politicians/forefathers while helping to shape our nation.
  4. writing

    I've been an outdoor writer for the past twenty years, more or less. Lots of stuff published nationally, statewide and regionally. It just to be more important to have a regular pay check...so, now, I'm a newspaper editor.

    You have to have passion for whatever it is you're writing about. Even if it's something you could care less about, remember that someone else does, and try to put the passion into your piece that they would.

    And remember, it's all a judgment call. What one editor trashes another one might love. Don't give up.
  5. Leep

    Leep Guest

    A Bad Night In Yellowstone:

    I was pleasantly surprised to find an area for writers....
    I would like to submit a short story I have written for your critiques...

    I have a lot of different copies due to the many times I have reformatted this dang compute rover the last year so this particular copy may not be the best but they are all pretty close except for perhaps some small errors...

    A Bad Night in Yellowstone:
    It is odd that I would be here, in this hospital bed, writing this story. Odder yet, that I am alive yet to tell it. But if I do not, it won’t get told.
    Camping: it is something I usually enjoy very much, but this night, as many others, I was in enough pain to make it look less than attractive.
    My wife slept quietly beside me as I lay awake listening to the noises of the night. A coyote barked and yipped questionably at the moon. A raven croaked twice, and then was silent, evermore.
    I wondered at this because they do not talk in the night.
    I cranked open the vent above the bed and felt the cool air enter the camper.
    Suddenly, the night became quiet, the air almost oppressive. Even the slight rustlings of the smaller creatures stopped. Then, I heard something moving about outside the camper, something large, and unafraid. I heard a snuffling then a grunting sound, and as chills ran up and down my spine, I realized what it was, a Grizzly.
    I reached over to the side of the bed and picked up my Browning .22 automatic and felt, lying beside it, my hunting knife with its three and a half inch blade.
    My wife and the rest of the campground slept on unaware of the danger stalking us. I felt a little foolish as I held the handgun close to me. I knew how effective it would be if I had to use it for protection. It was just about enough to make him mad. And the knife: I remember stories about mountain men killing Grizzlies with their Bowie knives. But, I didn’t have a Bowie and my name wasn’t Davie Crockett.
    I had heard tales of Grizzlies literally tearing open campers like they were sardine cans, and was still a little apprehensive.
    I had seen a female with two cubs once in the back country in Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park and still shivered at the memory.
    This one however, was a big boar, I was certain of that, as he had been seen there several times before.

    Then I felt rather than heard him brush up against the trailer, a soft swishing sound and the trailer rocked a little. I was glad we had a hard side camper, they were pretty safe and this would make a good story to tell in the morning to my friends beside me in their tent trailer.” Hell, I thought, their tent trailer.” “I hope he put his cooler with their food in it in their Pathfinder like I told him.” I realized then I was holding my breath and let it out slowly and quietly. “Damnit, I thought, he doesn’t even have a gun and his wife and son are in there with him.”

    I lay there scarcely breathing, sweat running down my back.
    It was quiet again, too quiet.
    My wife must have sensed something because she stirred and then rose beside me, asking, “What is it honey?”
    “A damn bear, keep still.”
    She tensed beside me and clutched my arm. “What kind of bear?”
    “I think it’s a Grizzly, stay here and I’ll look out the window.”
    I disengaged myself from her grip and slowly and quietly slipped out of bed and made my way to the side window.
    The moon was up and it was clear and bright outside.
    A dark shape came into view suddenly and there he was, at least 700 pounds of quickness and meanness.
    I stepped back as he stopped just outside the window. I swear he looked right into the window at me.
    I never moved, I didn’t even breathe.
    After an interminable time, he slowly turned and shuffled away, massive head swinging as he went.
    I crept back into bed and covered up with the comforter, cold suddenly to the bone.
    My wife asked, “Where is it?”
    I said, “He left.” But neither of us believed it for a moment.
    “What about John and Debra,” she asked suddenly.
    “Just pray they didn’t put that cooler in their camper.” “If they did, it could get bad.”
    Seconds crawled by slowly, becoming minutes, but nothing else was heard. I prayed he had left the campground and gone back to his mountains. As the time dragged on and the silence reigned, we began to breathe easier. I lay back with a sigh and put my arm around my wife’s’ shoulders. She snuggled closer to me and kissed my quickly and lay down.
    “I think it’s gone,” I said.

    For a long while, it was quiet.
    My wife had fallen asleep again and she breathed softly beside me.
    I, as usual, just lay there, a part of the night, yet separate from it.
    Then, I must have fallen asleep myself, finally.
    Sometime later, the screaming started:

    It was terrible to hear.
    My wife jumped up and cried, “It’s after John and Deb, do something, honey.”
    “Do something; I thought wildly, what the hell can I do?” ‘I warned the dumb ass, but he never listens.”
    Then, along with the screaming there was this great roaring, bawling sound and I knew I had to help,… no one else would.
    “Stay in here, I told her, don’t you come out until I or someone else tells you too.”

    I ran for the door, clutching my automatic in one hand and my knife in the other. As I reached for the door knob, for some reason I grabbed the flashlight off the stand. I literally flew out the door tripping and landing on my knees. The gun skidded out of my hand and bounced in the dirt. I scrabbled over to it and scooped it up frantically.
    I screamed at the dark bulk at the top of my lungs and something in my voice made it turn then and look questionably at me. An almost comical look passed over its face, and then it turned back to the task at hand.
    It had ripped a great, gaping hole in the canvass at the end of the camper and I saw my friend’s frightened face as he swung what looked like a broom at the bear.
    “John, you idiot, get the hell out of there and get your family into the car.”
    “Leep?” Where’s your gun, Leep?”
    “John, move man.”
    With that he grabbed his son in one hand and his wife in the other and like a shot was out of the camper and shortly I heard his car door slam. Lights were going on all over the campground and questions were ringing out from all corners.
    All I wanted to do then was slip back to my camper and lock the damn door,…. but it was not to be.
    I had never seen anything move so fast. One second I was turning to run back to the camper and the next I was being shaken like a damn rag doll. I felt its hot breath on my face and felt and heard my bones cracking and grinding.
    “So this is what it feels like to die, huh?”
    Without conscious thought, I swung my right hand up with all my strength and felt the knife go in his side to the hilt.
    Thinking he was being attacked by something else other than me, he dropped me suddenly and wheeled to face this new adversary.
    Somehow, in the second or two his attention was diverted, I found my self scrambling under the picnic table.
    I lay there cowering, feeling the hot blood running down the side of my head. I could hear dogs barking all around the campground, my own two small dogs in the 5th wheel adding to the clamor.
    I remember one or two braver souls starting my way, but the roaring and growling the bear was making changed that quickly.
    John had started his car and turned it somehow so it was illuminating both me and the bear. He told me later that I looked like something out of Dante’s Inferno, blood running down my face and part of my scalp hanging over one ear.
    The bear finally spotted me cowering under the table and lunged with bewildering speed at me. The lights must have confused him somewhat because he hit the concrete bench with stunning force, jarring the whole table.
    Curiously, I could hear my wife crying inside the camper, calling my name over and over again.
    The bear grabbed the concrete seat in one massive paw and pulled with all its formidable strength. I could hear the very foundations creaking and groaning, almost like a living thing in pain. But, thankfully, it held.
    This infuriated the beast even more and suddenly it reached in under the bench and scrabbled blindly for me. I saw one huge paw hesitate for a moment and without conscious thought, I sank that good and true blade deep into it. My fear was so strong that it gave me more strength than I really possessed. The blade went into its paw and protruded through the other side. It was almost comical then what happened. The Grizzly jerked its paw out and shook it like a man that had let a match burn down to the quick.
    But, this match stayed lit.
    The roaring and bawling it did must have wakened everyone in the large campground.
    My wife was screaming out the window by then for someone to help me. “Its going to kill my husband she sobbed, please someone help him.”
    But, no one ventured out of their safe havens.
    I could hardly blame them.
    John had his door open by then watching this unfold over the top of it. I believe he would have run to my side if it weren’t for his wife screaming in fear crying and begging him to get back in.
    Their son was frozen, unable to look away. I hoped he would not be affected by this too badly. His mother finally drew him down beneath the window.

    Suddenly, the bear became quiet. I saw him crouch down, belly almost touching the ground. He had finally figured out that I was the cause for his pain and it was payback time.
    I was tired… so tired, and all I wanted was to be back in my bed with my sweet wife.
    I was also getting just a little pissed, too.
    He stuck his head under the table; suddenly there he was, right in my face.
    I had never seen an animal that big so close before and I was certain that this would be the last impression I would carry out of this world into the next.
    I had totally forgotten the pistol I still clutched in my left hand.
    Before I could even bring it to bear, he had me in his great mouth again, worrying me like a dog with a bone. This time, he had me by the leg and was dragging me slowly out from under the table.
    Time slowed down then, each second dragged by.
    It was like I was standing off to the side watching all this unfold with great interest. I thought to my self then,:”This poor bastard is dead meat.”
    I lay quietly then and just watched through half closed eyes. I could only see clearly through one, the other was bothered by the flow of blood in and around it.
    The bear suddenly stopped worrying my leg and, holding the paw with the knife in it carefully away from its body, he reared above me, and then with jaws extended wide reached for my poor head once again.
    Just before they closed over me, I turned suddenly to the side and sticking my Browning automatic into its gaping maw, I started pulling the trigger as fast as my one good arm could pull it.
    I don’t remember how many times it fired, but I do remember hearing the slight clicking sound over and over signifying an empty clip curiously over the bawling and roaring that was going on in my ear.
    Then, all was quiet and I knew I was dying.
    I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see. I couldn’t even hear. It was almost like I had ceased to exist.
    Then, I suddenly became aware of light and noise, and pain, incredible pain.
    I heard sirens in the distance; I knew they were coming from West Yellowstone, three miles down the road. Curiously, I remember worrying about my son, who lived there.
    I did not want him to see me here like this, torn, bleeding, dying.
    Someone had a cell phone, I thought.
    I learned later that the switchboard in that little town had been overwhelmed with calls, to the police, the fire company, and the hospital. They were too small to have a 911 system.
    I felt my wife by my side and felt her hands on my head, blood staining them. “Get this damn thing off him,” She yelled. “Damn you all for cowards.”
    I smiled a little at this;… at least I think I did.
    John was there with several others, pulling that damn bear rug off my mutilated body.
    At least now I could breathe, although the sounds I made doing so didn’t sound quite right. It was a liquid, hot sound.
    Then the lights and sounds became one as trucks and cars raced into view surrounding us.
    I remember seeing my son’s face looking down at me, tears running down his cheeks “Hold on Dad, hold on.”
    “Hold on to what,” I wondered idly.
    Then strong hands lifted me gently up an placed me on a cool white stretcher, even this small effort bringing gasps of pain from that unfortunate thing lying there.
    For, there I was again, standing off to the side watching these proceedings with a kind of detached interest.
    The EMT looked over at his partner and shook his head slightly.
    I stood shaking my head also. The poor bastard wasn’t going to make it. Pity, that, but what do you expect taking on a Grizzly Bear with a knife and a popgun?
    I stood with the others and watched as the ambulance raced back towards town, lights flashing and sirens screaming.
    His wife and son held each other for a moment, and then they walked slowly over to the truck, got in and followed the procession on into town.
    I hoped they could drive alright, both of them crying as they were.
    Me, I felt fine, relieved almost, at peace. I wasn’t the least bit afraid.
    I felt something then and turned to see what had caught my attention. Something or someone was standing beside me, but it was too dark to make it out.
    Then,…. I saw a bright light beaming down out of the blackness of the heavens. In the light was a silver stairway with golden steps. I was drawn to this, like a moth to a flame.
    I walked over to it eagerly and stepped up on the stairway. At least, I tried to. I heard a voice then, both in my head and coming from the indistinct figure that stood to the side. “It is not yet your time, my son.” “You have much to do yet here.”
    “But, I don’t want to stay, I want to go home.” “If I stay it’s going to hurt.” I felt and saw the figure smile fondly at me. He, it, turned and walked slowly onto the stairway and then suddenly, was gone, along with the light and the stairs.
    I turned this way and that looking in vain for the stairs; I wanted to, no, I needed to go with him.
    But, it was not my choice.

    The next clear memory I had was of me flying through the night at an incredible speed. I was flashing over trees and water, rooftops blurring beneath me..
    Then I was going through walls like they weren’t there. Ending up finally in a room with my wife and son standing together, tears on both their cheeks.
    I saw myself lying there on the table, and I didn’t look good.
    My son turned suddenly and said in a firm strong voice,” one more time, Doc, please, one more time?”…….
    The young doctor looked at his nurse and the EMTs and shrugged his shoulders a little as if to say, “Why not?”
    I watched as they put two strange looking paddles on my bloody chest and pressed a switch.
    My son stood silently as my body arched upwards towards the ceiling and my new body flashed down and into the old.
    All the fluorescent lights in the emergency room suddenly blew up into a thousand pieces and then just as suddenly turned into small bits of light themselves, winking out softly.
    The nurse shouted suddenly, “Doctor, we have a heartbeat.”
    This brought forth a lot of activity in a very short amount of time.
    The next thing I knew I was in a clean, soft bed with cool sheets under me and the young doctor walking away shaking his head saying to himself in wondering tones, “If this isn’t the damdest thing I ever saw.” “One more time Doc, and he’d already been dead for fifteen minutes.”:
    The damndest thing.”
    I smiled a little at this and thought to myself, “Doc, do I have a story for you, but who would ever believe it?”

    So, here I am days later, writing this thing down as fast as I can and as clearly as I can remember it.
    I’m going home tomorrow; my son and my wife are taking me home.
    And, I am ready.

    John and his wife and son were in for a few minutes: he just held my hand and shook all over. His wife kissed my cheek and thanked me in a shaky voice, tears in her eyes and on her own cheeks.
    Her son looked at me in awe and said, “Geez Leep, you killed that old bear just like Davy Crockett did on the World of Disney.
    For some reason, I found that particular observation just hilarious and laughed so hard the nurse walked in quickly to see what the commotion was about and shooed everyone out.
    I fell asleep about then, thinking, “I’m going home tomorrow.”

    The next thing I remember was my wife shaking me by the shoulder and saying in a worried voice, “Wake up honey, wake up, you were having a nightmare.”
    I jumped up and looked wildly around and saw------ my wife and my camper and the clock over the bed glowing redly in the night.
    “What, what did you say, I asked?”
    “You were having a nightmare honey, something about a bear and John and Davy Crockett.” “Are you ok?”
    I looked at the concern on her face and said, “Yeah, I’m ok, honey, it was just a dream, but man what a dream.”
    She kissed me with love in her eyes and said,” You need to get some sleep for once.”
    I agreed with a smile and lay down beside her. I held her close and she murmured in a soft voice, “I love you honey” I answered, “I love you too.”

    Finally, I too fell asleep:

    Sometime later, I awoke:
    I heard a coyote crying into the night and a Raven croaked into the blackness.
    And, I started to shake:….

  6. wow

    Leep, that is VERY, very good. Not just the story subject, but the writing itself is tight, concise, and very well written. If I were to criticize it at all it would be that you spend a bit more time than necessary on the attack itself, but overall, the story is mesmerizing.

    I would urge you to submit it for publication in print, but knowing the outdoor pubs as I do your chances of publication would end with the realization that the whole thing was a dream.

    But it's still very good. Keep writing.
  7. Leep

    Leep Guest

    The Old Man and the Hound:

    Birdhunter, thanks for the kind words and the encouragement..
    I have another that I wrote after I put my dog to sleep..I took him to the woods he loved and put him to sleep there myself. It bothered me very much. More than I ever thought it would. I sure loved the little guy. His name was Remington...
    So, I hope some one likes it...

    My Little buddy, Remington was so old and sick that I finally decided I had to put him to sleep. So, I took him to the woods he loved and, well he's gone now.
    I never imagined that it would affect me as much as it did. I grieved for a long while, still am, a little I guess.
    So, one night when I couldn't sleep, again, I got up and wrote this story as quickly as I could. It helped me some, but I have been amazed at how many other fine people had the same experience, or would soon as their beloved pets were nearing their time.
    So, I hope you like this small offering i have here.
    Thanks, Leep:

    The Old Man and the Hound:
    Jack drove his old jeep down the dirt road carefully. Since no one lived along this road anymore but old Tom, the highway department seldom serviced it. He guessed it didn’t really matter much as old Tom didn’t drive much anymore..Perhaps once a month when his retirement check came in. Then he would come into town driving that old rickety truck and cash his check, buy some groceries and collect his mail.
    He used to get his mail down the lane at the mailbox, but since he was the only one living up the old road anymore, the town decided he would have to come into the post office to collect his mail. Jack would always check it himself when he made the trip out.
    He’d pull into the yard and scatter the few chickens pecking along the driveway and the old man’s hound would walk slowly off the porch and bay at him. When Jack got out of the truck and walked up to the porch old Sam would sniff at his hand and then satisfied would wag his tail and walk stiffly back onto the porch and sit down by the old rocker.
    “How do, Tom.”
    Tom would always answer the same way, “Why Jack, you didn’t have to come way out here just to check on me. I’m just fine.”
    “Ah, I like getting away from town for awhile. You got any of that cider left?”
    “You just set down and I’ll bring us a cup out.”
    Jack looked around and felt bad at how the old place was slowly falling apart. Tom did his best, but he wasn’t in much better shape than his old hound.
    Tom would come out onto the porch, the old screen door bouncing on its hinges a little as it banged shut. He’d hand a cup of sweet cider to Jack and sit down beside him, sniffing the cup a little before taking a long drink.
    “Tom, you make the best cider I ever had.”
    Tom nodded a little and said, “Well it will probably be the last year for it, Jack. The old tree up there hasn’t had a good crop of apples for the last year or so. I guess it’s getting old and worn out like me and old Sam here.”
    Upon hearing his name, the old dog wagged his tail and looked up at his master.
    “Tom, why don’t you sell this old place and move in with your boy or your daughter Linda?”
    “Ah, Tom snorted, what in hell would I do in California; I been here my whole life.”
    “And, they don’t allow dogs in either of their homes. Be damned if I’m gonna ‘leave old Sam here for anyone.”

    “Him and me are all we got left.”
    The kids have been gone for over ten years and Dorothy has been gone for almost fifteen now. “I sure miss her Jack;… we were married for over thirty years.”
    Jack looked down sadly and said, “Well Tom, you think on it some. I gotta’ get back into town. I have the night shift. It isn’t much of a town, but I reckon even it needs a police force.”
    “I’ll be back out in a couple days.”
    “How you fixed for wood, it’s been getting pretty frosty the last few nights.”
    “Why Jack, you cut enough wood last summer to keep me in wood for two winters.”
    “Me and old Sam here will be just fine.”
    After a few minutes of silence Tom said, “Jack, you remember all those times I took you hunting at night.”
    Jack smiled and said, “I reckon I do Tom, those fox and coon hunts are a part of my memory I will never forget. We sure had some good times.”
    Tom looked fondly down at Sam and said, “Now all old Sam and I can do is set on the porch in the sun and remember.”
    He wiped his hand over his eyes and coughed a little to hide his emotion.
    Jack looked across the field and pretended not to notice.
    “Old Sam is getting old and life is kind of hard on him now. I don’t know what I’ll do when he goes.”
    “Don’t you worry about that Tom, he’s got a couple good years in him and if worse comes to worse, why you can come into town and live with me. I’d be honored to have you.”
    “Ah, get on with you, you better get back down that road and get to work. I’ll see you next time out.”
    Jack tipped his cup and finished off his cider, handed the cup over to Tom and shook his hand.
    “You take care of yourself and I’ll see you in a day or so.”
    Tom said suddenly, “Why don’t you marry that little girl that works in your office. Any fool can see how you feel about her.”
    Jacks jaw dropped and he answered, “well damnation, isn’t anything a secret around you? Heck, Susie would probably laugh me out of the office.”
    He walked to his truck, started it and scattered some more chickens as he drove down the road.
    The nights were getting colder and Sam was getting worse. Once or twice Tom had gotten up the next morning and he saw that Sam hadn’t made it to the door in time.
    Tom said softly, “Ah Sam.”
    Sam looked up at Tom with shame on his face.
    He had gone to the bed and whimpered a little to let Tom know he had to go outside, but old Tom hadn’t heard him.
    Tom reached down and patted Sam’s side and said softly, “It’s ok old friend, Hell sometimes I have trouble getting to the bathroom in time myself.”
    Sam whined softly and leaned against Tom’s leg, tail wagging.
    Old Sam had aches and pains now and his backend didn’t work right sometimes. He had arthritis almost as bad as Tom did.
    It troubled the old dog some because he didn’t know what was wrong, only that just about everything he did anymore hurt him somewhere.
    Tom had trouble with his hands. They were twisted and knurled some because of age.
    Seemed he hurt just about everywhere too.
    About a week or so ago he had moved the single mattress down from one of the bedrooms upstairs and put it beside his bed. Sam seemed to like it there more than his old bed in front of the stove. Course, Tom had to be careful when he got up in the night to stoke the stove or make one of his trips to the bathroom. A couple times he had almost stepped/fell over Sam sleeping beside the bed.
    Tom would lay awake at night listening to the crackling of the fire, and the sounds Sam made sleeping.
    From some of the noises he made, you’d think he was back running down game up in the mountains. Tom would just grin a little and lie back with a sigh.
    “Damn, he thought to himself, “I miss my wife. I miss the kids too, but they have their own lives, and I don’t blame them much for not keeping in touch more than they do.”
    “They do call, though.”
    “I hate to talk on that damn phone.”
    The other morning he had stepped out of bed and the next thing he knew he woke up lying beside Sam on the mattress.
    Sam was curled up tight against him, whining softly, licking his face.
    He had been having pains in his chest and in his arm but true to form, paid it little mind.
    Hell, old and beat up as he was, it was a wonder he didn’t have a lot more, he thought to himself.
    He never did mention any of this to Jack. And sure as the sun set each night, he never said a word to the kids. If he did, he knew they would come out and get him and the next thing you know he’d be in some damn home somewhere, surrounded by strangers, getting poked and prodded.
    By the Lord Harry, that would never happen to him, he vowed.
    The morning sun beamed bright through the window and both Tom and Sam got up together. Tom walked Sam to the door and onto the porch. The old dog made his way down the front steps and around the side of the house.
    He came back a few minutes later and creaked his way back up on the porch and curled up beside Tom who was back in his rocker.
    Tom liked sitting there in the early morning. Why, you never could tell what you might see. Usually a deer or two. Always a couple squirrels. And the birds, why there must have been a dozen or more different kinds that made the old farm their home.
    Tom looked fondly down at Sam and said, “I reckon it’s too late for that bear to show up anymore this year.”
    The old bear that denned every year up on the hill behind the barn showed up a few times every year.
    Sam would get insulted when he would stand on the porch and bay at the old bear. He would either simply ignore Sam or he might stand on his hind legs a second to get a better look at that noisy thing.
    Neither one of them could see worth a darn anymore.
    Tom would shush Sam when the bear would show up. He kind of liked seeing him each year.
    Sometimes Tom would wake up on the porch and couldn’t remember where he was for a second or two. A couple times he and Sam were both pretty darn cold cause Tom fell asleep pretty close to dark.
    Tom would stand carefully and stretch and call Sam inside. “I reckon we both could use a bite to eat, eh Sam?”
    Inside though Tom was worried, more worried than he might let on. One night, as he lay awake in his bed, Sam whimpering beside him, he knew that it probably wouldn’t be much longer for either one of them.
    The next morning dawned bright and warm. Sure looked like Indian summer was here.
    As Tom sat on the porch, steaming cup of coffee in his hand, he heard the sound of a vehicle coming up the road. His heart gladdened at the sight of Jack pulling into the driveway. He turned off the engine and walked up onto the porch.
    “Howdy Tom, how are you and old Sam getting along?”
    Tom grinned a little and answered, “Tolerable, Jack, just tolerable. How about a cup of coffee?”
    Jack said, “you just sit tight, I outa’ know where the cups are by now.”
    Jack came back onto the porch and sat down in the old straight backed chair that sat against the porch rail.
    “Sure is a pretty morning, isn’t it Tom?”
    Tom smiled and said, “It surely is Jack, prettiest one so far this fall.”
    Jack said, “I’m sure sorry about taking so long to get back out here Tom.”
    “I’ve been following your advice and spending some time with Suze.”
    Tom smiled wide and said, “Well now, it’s about time.”
    “I asked her to marry me Tom and she said yes. It might be awhile yet because we are both saving for a down payment on a little place somewhere out here in the country.”
    Tom stood carefully and leaned over and shook Jacks’ hand. “Well that’s fine news, just fine Jack, best of luck to the both of you.”
    They sat and talked for a couple hours. Tom even went inside and fried them a couple fresh eggs and bacon.
    Tom sat over another cup of coffee while Jack washed and dried the few dishes they had used during breakfast.
    “Well Tom, I better get back into town. I promised Suze I’d be over to her place for dinner and I sure don’t want to be late. I’ll be out in a couple days for sure this time.”
    Tom walked out onto the porch and reached to shake Jack’s hand. He couldn’t hide the pain he felt in his chest.
    Jack said, suddenly concerned, “You ok Tom?”
    Tom grinned and said,” Hells fire Jack; you get to be my age, you find out you have all kinds of aches and pains. I’m fine,… now don’t you worry.”
    “I have any trouble I’ll get that damn contraption hanging on the wall in there and give you a call.”
    Reassured, Jack walked briskly down off the porch, patting Sam on the back as he walked down to his truck.
    As he started the truck, he looked back up on the porch, worry in his eyes. He sure loved that old man, and the dog too.
    His Dad had left when he was still a little fella and Tom was the only father he had ever known. He had played with Tom’s son and stayed overnight more than once growing up. His wife Dorothy had always treated him like one of her own kids too.
    With another wave, Jack drove down the lane and turned onto the county road leading into town.
    Late that night Sam took a turn for the worse…Tom woke up to hear him whimpering somewhere on the floor.. For some reason, Sam had decided he needed to get to the door and collapsed halfway across the kitchen floor.
    He was trying to drag himself back to Tom, but he could see it hurt him too much.
    Tom jumped out of bed and half ran, half fell over to Sam’s side. He curled up on the floor beside old Sam and held him close, hot tears running down his face. He crooned to Sam, holding him tight.
    After a while it seemed Sam was some better and Tom carried him back to bed, laying him carefully beside him. Sam nestled close to his master, licking his face, finally settling down with a sigh and, in a minute was fast asleep.
    But there would be no more sleep for Tom this night. The extra exertion he had expended getting to Sam and carrying him to the bed had awakened old hurts. This time the pain was crushing in his chest and he could hardly draw a full breath. He lay very still breathing carefully and in a few minutes the pain had subsided, for the most part.
    The next morning dawned cold and frosty.
    Tom was too weak to get up and put more wood on the fire. So he and Sam just burrowed under the heavy blankets and kept each other warm.
    By noon both of them felt well enough to get up.
    Tom walked slowly to the stove and opened the door, laying wood inside. He felt all right this morning, but he knew he had to be careful.
    Soon, the coals had caught and after Tom opened the draft, the house quickly warmed.
    It didn’t take much to heat the place anymore as he and Sam just lived in the downstairs. Actually, just in the kitchen and living room. He had closed off the other rooms downstairs.
    Hell, he and Sam had more room than they needed with what was left.
    Course, he kept the bathroom door open. It had been a lot of years since he had to walk out the backyard and sit on that cold seat in the outhouse.
    A man needed some comforts when he got older. Hell, who was he kidding,… old.
    Sam was curled up by the fire and Tom just decided to feed him there. But Sam just looked at his food, took a couple bites and turned his head away.
    Tom whispered, “I know just how you feel old buddy, I know how you feel.”
    Tom sat the day away in the kitchen, thinking hard.
    Just about an hour before dark he got up and rummaged around in the old closet in the hallway. Sam heard the clanging and looked up to see what his master was up to. He was sick still and in a great deal of pain. He hadn’t moved much all day, just thumping his tail a little when Tom bent to put more wood in the stove.
    But, when he saw what Tom was carrying, he struggled slowly to his feet, tail wagging, whining softly in his throat.
    Tom had his hands full with his old rifle, his sack and Sam’s old leash.
    Sam walked over and smelled the gear Tom was carrying.
    Tom said, “You wait just a minute Sam and we’ll go hunting.”
    Hearing this Sam perked up and he barked a couple times, tail wagging fast.
    Tom walked over to the desk that stood in the corner and took out a writing pad and a pen. He sat writing for awhile, thinking from time to time.
    Finally satisfied, he put the paper in an envelope and wrote Jack’s name on the front.
    Getting up slowly, he hooked the leash to Sam’s collar and they walked out the door, onto the porch and into the yard.
    Sam was even pulling a little at his leash, whining in anticipation.
    Tom opened the truck door and helped Sam up onto the seat. He sat right up looking out the windshield.
    “I sure hope this old truck will start,” Tom muttered.
    But, after turning over a few times it caught with a roar.
    Tom turned on the lights and they drove down the lane, taking a left turn towards the mountains.
    Tom looked at the gas gauge and saw it was almost empty. He shook his head and said to himself, “well there outa be enough to get us there.”
    The drive on the main road took only about ten minutes, and then he turned off onto a dirt road. He drove up this road for about twelve miles until he reached a turnoff. He pulled into the parking area and shut off the truck.
    The silence was deafening.
    Sam was sure they were going hunting one more time, but Tom had finally decided he could no longer allow Sam to suffer any more. And, with the troubles he was having, he was damned sure he wasn’t going to have a stroke or heart attack and have some stranger put old Sam down, while Sam pined for his master.
    He opened the truck door and Sam jumped out and hit the ground with a little thump. He yelped a little as he did and looked over at Tom.
    It’s all right old friend, it’s all right. Now let’s go huntin’.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015
  8. Leep

    Leep Guest

    Part Two:

    It’s all right old friend, it’s all right. Now let’s go huntin’.
    He bent and unsnapped the leash and Sam took off up the trail. He stopped and looked back making sure his friend and master was coming along.
    “Go get ‘em boy, let’s get em.”
    Sam grinned back at Tom and took off again.
    “Well he ain’t going very fast, but he’s going.” Tom turned on his headlamp and followed along.
    After about an hour, Sam was back beside Tom, worn out and again suffering from his ailments. Tom looked down at Sam and said, “Well buddy, we don’t have much farther to go.”
    He knelt and picked up Sam and placed him across his shoulders. He soon found out this would not work for very long. He thought about standing his rifle against a tree and going on, but then he remembered why he was carrying it in the first place.
    He stopped from time to time, wiping his brow, Sam whimpering a little when he did.
    “Hold on Sam we only have a little farther to go.”
    But, the pain in his chest was growing and he was having trouble getting his breath.
    “We’re both a couple of damned old fools, Sam. We outa know better.”
    Sam just leaned a little and kissed old Tom on the cheek.
    In another few minutes Tom breasted the hill and there in front of them was the peak of the mountain, standing high against the moonlight.
    With a deep sigh, Tom leaned over and carefully lay Sam down under the old Fir, one they had sat under many times over the years. He stood his old rifle against the tree and sat down wearily with Sam curled up tightly against him.
    It was getting downright cold now and both Sam and Tom were shivering a little. Tom opened his old coat and Sam snuggled closer with a sigh.
    A coyote yelped down in the valley and Sam growled a little deep in his throat.
    A little later a wolf howled long and mournful on the mountainside across from them. Sam bristled and stood up and bayed long and deep, a sound that carried and echoed for a long time.
    The old wolf snarled a little and looked over at the other side of the mountain, and then he turned and loped down the far side, going somewhere else to hunt this night.
    Tom smiled with love down at Sam and his dog satisfied, snuggled close once again.
    Tom sat and gazed over the beautiful country he had hunted almost all his life, sick inside with what he must do sometime tonight.
    He looked over at the rifle shining in the moonlight and said softly to himself.
    “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, I just don’t know how. I love him too much.”
    But he also knew he loved him too much not to.
    Sometime later that night, Sam began to whimper, some from the cold, but more from the pain. The walk up here had taken too much from him and he was again in a great deal of pain.
    With tears in his eyes, Tom reached back and fumbled around until his hands closed over the stock of his old rifle. He opened the breech and saw the cartridge gleaming in there.
    He closed it with a snap and slowly turned it around until the barrel was pointed at old Sam’s head.
    Tom eared back the hammer and at the slight clicking sound, Sam raised his old head and looked into the eyes of the man he had loved and trusted all his life.
    Tom sat there and looked back at old Sam; tears running freely now down his face. Sam raised himself up with a little whimper of pain and kissed Tom on the face; trying to comfort this man he loved who was so obviously in pain himself.
    When that happened, Tom let down the hammer and with an oath threw the rifle as far down the mountain as he could.
    Sam crawled closer to Tom and lay down again, looking up at him.
    Tom said to himself, “I just can’t do it, I can’t,…. I won’t do it….
    A little later, Sam was shivering in the cold and had crawled as close to Tom as he could get.
    Tom was shivering badly himself by this time.
    Finally at some point, Tom fell asleep himself.
    It was cold,…. so cold.
    Something had awakened him, he knew not what.
    Looking down at Sam, he could see that he wasn’t moving anymore. He wasn’t breathing.
    He was gone.
    Tom held him and the tears fell unashamedly.. “Oh, Sam, my dog, my best friend, now what am I gonna’ do….?” He held Sam for a long time.
    Tom suddenly sat up straighter, something had caught his eye.
    The sun was coming up slowly, the light barely touching the top ridge of the mountain. Something was moving towards him.
    Or someone.
    The sun had just made it over the top of the mountain and was shining in Tom’s eyes.
    He stood up and walked towards the person.
    “I wonder who that is up this high… this early.”
    Tom felt something nudging his hand and looked down to see Sam, leaning against his side, tail wagging.
    “Sam, he yelled, you’re alive.”
    Sam jumped up on Tom licking his face. Tom picked him up and held him tight.
    Then he stopped and looked down in the meadow at whoever it was walking towards them.
    “Well maybe we do have a couple more good years in us Sam. I shoulda’ listened to Jack.”
    When the person got closer, Sam started barking joyously and ran down into the meadow towards the approaching figure.
    “Sam, where you going,… get back here.”
    Tom walked faster down into the sun drenched meadow and almost fell when he saw who it was.
    “Dorothy,… Dorothy, is it you,…. how can that be?”
    But it was,…. his wife ran up to him and fell into his arms.
    “My God, honey, how can this be?”
    His wife said, “That’s how Tom,… by God.”
    “Look back behind you.”
    Tom looked back up the hill and there under the tree laid old Sam and there he sat, straight and tall, back against the old bark.
    “Now my darling husband, follow me, we’re going home and we will never have pain or sickness or worry ever again.”
    Tom was shocked; this was too much to take in all at once.
    He followed his wife numbly, occasionally stealing glances behind him to assure himself that he wasn’t still sitting there under that tree, dreaming.
    But, there he was, and here he was with old Sam running and jumping like he did as a young hound.
    Tom reached and took his wife’s hand and followed along silently.
    What next?
    As they walked down the meadow Tom saw the air shimmering a little suddenly in front of them.
    And he and Dorothy and Sam walked right into that waving air and right out of this world into a new world.
    Tom got down on his knees and thanked God right then and there.
    His wife smiled down at him and said, “come on honey, let’s you and I and Sam go home.”
    And so they did.
    Two days later, Jack pulled into the lane leading to Tom’s place.
    He had been worried about the old man more than he wanted to let on. Finally, he left the office on his lunch break, telling Susie he would call her from Tom’s place.
    She said” go ahead honey; I’m worried about him too.”
    Jack stepped out of the truck and looked at the cold, dark house.
    There was no smoke from the chimney and the place just felt empty.
    He yelled, “Tom…. Tom, are you home?”
    Running up the porch, he tore open the door and ran into the house.
    Silence and cold was all that greeted him. The dishes were done and put away, the bed made neatly.
    Looking frantically around, he saw the envelope sticking out from the desk.
    Picking it up, he saw his name in big letters on the front. He ripped it open and read it quickly.
    Jack grabbed the phone of the wall and frantically called the station. Suze answered the phone.
    “Suze, call the search and rescue right away and tell them to follow me up to road 347. From there go twelve miles to the turnoff. They will see my truck and Tom’s too. Tell them to take the trail to the left until they get to me.”
    “Please hurry, Suze.”
    “Oh, and tell them to bring a stretcher, the biggest one we have.”
    Jack ran down into the yard and fired up his truck. He roared down the lane and turned left on two wheels as he came out the lane.
    “Please God, please let him be all right,” he prayed.
    In no time he saw Tom’s old pickup parked in the turn around. He jumped out and felt the hood on the truck.
    It was as cold as ice.
    He reached behind the seat and grabbed the old, heavy coat he kept there for emergencies.
    Jack turned and ran up the trail. He never slowed down to more than a jog the whole time.
    As he breasted the hill he looked down into the meadow, to the tree Tom always sat under when he hunted. Jack had sat there many times with him. He ran stumbling and falling down the hill, the sound of an approaching siren far in the distance.
    When he reached Tom and old Sam, Jack fell to his knees sobbing.
    There sat Tom, cold, with two frozen tears still on his cheeks. Sam was curled up tight against him, Tom’s right hand on his head.
    The two paramedics found him there later, sitting beside Old Tom, holding one of his frozen hands in his, crying.
    “Jack,… Jack, one man said softly,… Let us Jack.”
    Jack stood up unsteadily, wiped his face and said, “No, I’ll do it.”
    Jack laid old Tom’s body on the stretcher and covered him with a blanket.
    They started to walk up the hill when Jack said, “Wait a damn minute.”
    They looked askance back at Tom and he said, “The dog too.”
    “What,… Jack..The dog?
    “I said THE DOG TOO….”….
    The two men looked at Jack for a moment then walked back down the hill carrying the stretcher.
    Jack picked up the cold, stiff body of old Sam and laid him tenderly beside Tom, covering them both.
    Then he took one end of the stretcher and carried it the whole way back down the mountain. The other two men took turns but Jack just stubbornly held on to his end, tears running down his silent cheeks.
    Finally they reached the ambulance and they carefully put the stretcher in the back.
    Jack said, “Be careful with them.”
    One of them said, “Sure Jack, don’t you worry, we’ll take care of them both. We’ll see you back in town.”

    The next spring Jack and his new wife stood on the front porch of Tom’s house and looked out at all they owned.
    His wife said, “I still can’t believe Tom willed this whole place to us, Jack.”
    “And, I can’t believe how good his son and daughter were about all this.”
    Jack put his arm around his wife’s shoulders and pulled her close.
    “They knew he loved me and that I loved that old man.”
    “We’ll take care of this place and fix it up like it was when Tom and Dorothy lived here..
    Jack looked up the yard to the little graveyard where Dorothy, Tom and Sam lay.
    It was getting close to dark and Jack suddenly stiffened and turned his head a little, listening.
    Did you hear that Suze?”
    “I think so, honey. It sounded like a hound bawling up on the mountain.”
    Jack grinned and held his wife closer.
    Soon they heard the sound of a baby fussing in the house.
    Jack said, “We better go in and feed the baby, honey.
    I think Tommy is hungry, and we need to feed little rascal of a pup Sam too.”
    With a smile, they walked back into the house, arm in arm.
    And somewhere, high on the mountain, Tom stood watching, his arm around his wife, Sam by his side smiling.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015
  9. Leep you beat me to it. I was going to say for you to post the Story of the old man and Hound. I'm quickly becoming a fan of your writing!
  10. spinner

    spinner Staff Member


    Have you had that story published?

    If you have not you should.

  11. Leep

    Leep Guest

    Spinner..I did have both of them posted on an online magazine called BigGameHunt.net..The editor sent me an email chastising me for the Bad Night story saying she felt it was true right up to the last..Said it was really good. The other one she posted also and again chastised me because it made her cry..Lol
    She was really nice. but as for being published in a real publication, well like a magazine or other publication, I haven't been fortunate enough for that.
    I did write a western last year. Took me about a year to write it..I just write when the feeling hits me. I sent the first part to William Johnstone, the famous western writer, though he has written successfully in other genre.
    He said he was printing it out and would read it over the weekend. I never heard from this fine man again. I thought it was really bad and he was simply too nice to tell me.
    A few months later I received an email from Jo Johnstone informing me that William had passed away and she found my story going through his effects. His son J.A. Johnstone took over his fathers writing.
    Jo said she originally believed my story was something that J.A. was working on, in her words,"It was that good". She then encouraged me to finish it because like Paul Harvey she couldn't wait to "See the rest of the story."
    I did finish it and posted it on numerous forums with real good results. Virtually everyone who read it liked it and most said they would purchase it if I ever got it published. Therein lies my dilemma.
    The few times I tried to get someone to read it, I failed miserably...
    Perhaps later I could post the part I sent off for someone to review and get yours and others opinions on it. thanks again for the kind words from you and Waterdog...:smile:

  12. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

  13. Leep

    Leep Guest

    Thanks Spinner. I just submitted "A Bad Night In Yellowstone"..Guess we will wait and see what happens..:smile:

  14. A little editorial advice

    If you want your stories published in print, DON'T post them online first...

    These looonng pieces are really only suitable for the larger national publications, if you shorten them up a bit, I would query someone like Fur, Fish & Game...they buy a lot of short fictional outdoor stories.

    Query your prospective editor first...send a short, to the point hard-copy letter or email, no more than three short paragraphs. Give him an idea exactly what your story is about, and do your best to SELL that story in that short letter.

    Be patient...you may not get a reply for several weeks. After a couple of months, send another very polite and courteous query reminding him of your first letter, and asking again whether or not he's interested. Give him an idea of how long your piece is, how many words, and whether you are including photos or some sort of art with it or not.

    If you get a positive response, don't waste any time. Send it immediately. And don't expect a receipt of response. Sometimes you will, sometimes you just wait and voila, one day it shows up in print. You hope for a check, sometimes editors don't pay for first time publications, it depends.

    Good luck...
  15. Leep

    Leep Guest

    Thanks Birdhunter....My biggest obstacle is finding a publisher any publisher that shows any interest. I haven't been able to contact any that I could be certain were mainstream publishers. I did get a couple nice rejection letters some time ago.

    But, since I am not even certain that my work is of high enough merit to garner any true interest, I am not really too disappointed..