Friday Guest Post- Newsweek and Mark Twain

        Okay, so Newsweek didn’t log onto my blog, and yeah Twain didn’t weigh in either. But I promised a guest post each Friday and my blogger this week ran into some commitments. But you gotta give me an “A” for creativity. How else but by physician bluegrass fiction could I get Newsweek and Mark Twain to comment here?

        Check out the August 9, 2010 edition of Newsweek. Twain is on the cover. It reads “The Books Issue: Secrets, Lies, and the American Writer.” If you have even a remote interest in books, publishing, famous authors, or current books this issue is worth the read.

        There is an article on Salinger. As best I can tell he got famous and then became a recluse. I don’t care to become famous. I write to find the other people out there who think somewhat like I do, but I have zero interest in celebrity. As soon as you’re old that’s over and I’m already there. I can’t see any reason to write to find friends, then make a point of being lonely. I’ve watched too many people die all alone, and I have no interest in playing my cards out that way. Critics might say I’m just too gregarious, but I hold my family and friends close and always will. The critics can die alone if they want to, but as an old country doc I don’t recommend it.

        Then there was the Twain article. Like many Americans, Twain’s my Lit hero. I think he also had some ambiguous feelings as to fame. Maybe it’s why he created a pen name. At least in the beginning it gave him some partial anonymity. Perhaps he had an early sense of marketing too, though. Who’d want to read an article by a guy named Samuel Clemens? It’s be like John Smith or something. I’d use a pen name too if mine was that boring.

        Twain wrote with compulsion. He wrote because he had to. The quote I liked the best about Twain was at the end of the article. “When faced with a difficult situation he’d pick up pen and paper and “write his way out of trouble.”

        Sound familiar? As Indie said, it doesn’t take any special talent to be wicked. Anyone can do that. But to be a decent person requires creativity to the point to art. Simple as that.” I learned a lot from Indie. As Irene Lehmann says, “When a man writes like that, there’s a reason.”

        The article titled “Who Needs a Publisher” was so familiar it was down-right spooky. I read a few paragraphs and then checked to see if my Lit agent wrote it. The new publishing paradigm they discuss is exactly as my agent has outlined over the last few years. The old way of doing business doesn’t work, and publishers are going broke. 

        However, the astute can find opportunity in the rubble just as my agent did for me. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. As my man says, “Son, you picked the worst time in history to be a new writer. You also picked the best time.” With the power of the Internet, the little guys in literature are gonna make an end run on the powers that be just as sure as the indies are doing in the music biz. If it empowers the artist I’m all for it.

        The last article was titled “What To Read Now.” I sped read the entire list and many were of interest. They did make one mistake though. I looked it over with great care and they failed to mention “The Mandolin Case.” Given we made it all the way to #1 in the Amazon Country Books category this summer (it was at #4 yesterday) I guess it was just an oversight. (Ha!) Maybe one of my readers can log in at Newsweek and inform them they missed out.

       But even if I’m never on Newsweek’s radar it doesn’t matter. What they gotta understand is I’m on theirs. One should never underestimate country people. They tend to hold their people close and are seldom denied a life of grace and dignity if they pursue it with passion.

          Even though they didn’t give me an honorable mention, I ain’t gonna cancel my subscription. It’s pretty good rag, and one I’ve read a long time. No reason to get my nose outta joint over it. Besides, there’s always 2011 and hope springs eternal.

        Y’all check out my “Tour” page. I’ve got a few new August stops posted. See you out on the road and come visit.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “Friday Guest Post- Newsweek and Mark Twain”

  1. Tel Says:

    Thanks for spreading the word, doc. I’m going to pick up my copy today.

  2. Felix Miller Says:

    I read those Newsweek articles a couple of days ago, Dr. B, and thought of you right off, especially when I read about the new publishing reality. You posted last month on that very subject, “What’s on your bookshelf? (The revolution is at hand)”

    Mark Twain is a fine choice for guest blogger, fictional or not. I knew Twain was prolific, but when the article was over, I was in awe – what titanic energy. He must never have just sat down.

  3. Sounds like a good issue of Newsweek, Doc! Wish my mom was still subscribed to it… Oh well, I’ll have to find an old copy of it one day :).

  4. drtombibey Says:


    Eveything is changing. When Newsweek sees hard times in the publishing biz I can only imagine what it must be like for the smaller outfits.

    Part of the equation too is that people just don’t read as much as they used to. We tried to break “The Mandolin Case” up into shorter chapers to take into account the time constraints people have these days. I hoped this might allow them to take in one segment at a time if that worked better for them.

    Dr. B

  5. Bob Says:

    Better World Books has your book in stock. 100 of them from reading their website, well 99 now.

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