Soon after I started writing the column TALK OF THE TOWN for The Baldwyn News, I came to a conclusion. I admit I’ve never been one to linger over any issue very long WITHOUT reaching a conclusion. My lovely wife Rothann might even add that I sometimes reach a conclusion BEFORE an issue has even arisen. For now, we’ll set aside the question of whether or not I need a self-improvement course in open-mindedness and move on to the discussion of the conclusion that I reached. That is: my literary talent should not be confined only to a local weekly newspaper.
I owed it to humanity, I reasoned, to disseminate the wisdom that I was full of (“You are full of more than one thing,” my lovely wife Rothann might add), and I took steps to provide the huddled masses with the weekly glimmers of enlightenment to whom, heretofore, only those who subscribed to The Baldwyn News were privy. I started a blog.
When TALK OF THE TOWN went online at baldwyntalk.wordpress.com in November of last year, I braced myself for the flood of calls that I would soon be receiving from New York City publishing houses and probably even from the television and movie studios out west. Didn’t William Faulkner end up writing screenplays in Hollywood? I’d seen “Julie & Julia.” I knew where this was headed. I contemplated hiring a secretary (“As long as she’s over 70 and weighs no less than 180,” my lovely wife Rothann might add) to help me manage the imminent mountains of paperwork that would overwhelm our little engineering office.
I set up my account with WordPress.com, picked a motif, included a few nice historic photographs, and posted the four or five TALK OF THE TOWN columns that had been published up to that point in The Baldwyn News. At the suggestion of Baldwyn native Robin Phillips (Robin writes a very entertaining blog of her own – cantheytellthatimlosingit.wordpress.com – that you should check out), I “shared” my posts on Facebook. In this way, I would announce to my waiting audience that indeed the time had come when the unabridged works of S. Clark Richey would be available at the touch of a button, the click of a mouse. Ah, modern technology! I could almost feel them – my waiting audience – trembling with anticipation.
In the first set of posts to the blog, I included my introductory column, “What It’s All About,” which told of my many connections to and love for my hometown of Baldwyn; “The Life and Death of Colonel William H. H. Tison,” the GREATEST story EVER written, outside of the Bible, of course; and “Now Showing: The Deacon,” the in-depth, historical investigation of a turn-of-the-century playbill that hangs on the wall of a local restaurant. I immediately received several congratulatory notes from friends and family members. I wondered if I would have to start churning out book after book like John Grisham and what a continuous grind like that would do to the artistic quality of my work.
In December, my blog had 268 online visitors who viewed the various stories posted – the first batch and one each week thereafter – a total of 632 times. Well, it was not 10,000 hits, but it was not “nothing.” I realized that. I’m very glad to have those 268 folks interested in the column. But I didn’t get the first call from New York!
Well, surely business would pick up in January.
January came and went. Literary gems including “Tommy Moffitt Was a Great American,” “Murders, Etc., Etc.” and “Dick Clayton’s Letter from Jacinto” passed in front of a vast, admiring public. 136 visitors. 236 views. Hmmm.
My lovely wife Rothann suggested that I write something somebody would want to read. I discarded that suggestion out of hand and moved on to a better idea – I would name the stories something salacious. Rothann suggested that I write more humor and less history, or at least humorous history. I responded with “Sweetie, I think I’ll try the naming thing.” (“Whatever,” the lovely Rothann may have added.)
I prepared my next few stories – another drunken murder in Carrollville, this one in 1843; the life and times of Abednego Inman Taylor, whose grandfather fought Indians with Daniel Boone; and a previously undiscovered first-hand account of the removal of the Chickasaw Indians from our area. My twist, however – one worthy of Edgar Allen Poe himself – is that I plan to entitle these works: “People I Saw at Bushwhackers Saturday Night,” “Eight Preachers Spotted in Lee County Liquor Stores,” and “Nude Supermodels to Hold Guntown Carwash.”
Personally, I think my plan is foolproof. I’ll report the results here as soon as they come in. I forge on, undeterred. 10,000 hits, here I come! (“You’re an imbecile,” my lovely wife Rothann might add.)