Archive for the ‘writer’s corner’ category

Reed’s Bookstore Tupelo Mississippi

October 1, 2008

        Smitty and I played golf on my visit to Saltillo (I’m gonna post on that soon- a very spirited match it was) and after the round he told me about Reed’s Book Store in Tupelo.  He said it was the happening place where all the writers want to do a book signing.  I dropped back by the Jameson and checked my e-mail in the lobby.  The lady at the desk and I got to talking and she mentioned Reed’s also, so I decided it was a must.  Like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture. I always liked Clower anyway, and I figure in Mississippi you better pay extra attention to Jerry.  He was pretty well known in those parts.

        Reed’s is not hard to find.  It’s right across the street from Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis’s mom bought his first guitar.  We walked in the Reed’s clothing store, and a man came right up to ask if he could help you.  His name was Rush, and he’d been there forty-five years.  I figure he can size up a man for a suit from thirty paces.  My guess is downtown Tupelo has not changed much over the years, and I like that.  He directed us to the bookstore just around the corner.

        Just like the clothing store, right away a lady named Susan asked how she could help.  We got a camper’s travel guide we’d been looking for, and talked books for a while.  I told her about my blog, and all my dreams of how I hoped to get my book published someday.  She said John Grisham’s first one was self-published, and that Reed’s carried it and had him do a book signing.  To this day, he still comes back to Tupelo for signings when he has a new release.  I  noticed a stack of his signature editions on a table.

        Ms. Susan mentioned that independent book stores were a tough business these days, and the support of a man like Grisham was beyond helpful to them.

        “You know Ms. Susan, I’ve read most of Mr. Grisham’s books.  Of course I don’t know him, but I have to tell you I admire loyalty in a man.  It sounds like Mr. Grisham believes in Sam Snead’s old saying- ‘Dance with who brung ya.”

        “Oh yes.  He is a very fine man.”

        “Well, Ms. Susan, I’ll never be like Grisham, and I’ll be lucky to get one book to see light of published day.  But I can promise you this.  If I get a book out there and there is one human being in the world who wants me to sign it, I’d love to do it here.  If y’all let me, I’ll never forget ya.  I might not be Grisham, but I do know to dance with who brung me.”

       She looked me right in the eye.  “Dr. B, we’d be proud to have you come.”

        At my age, a man’s gotta have his dreams, and Ms. Susan understood that.  I got out my mandolin and played a few bars of ‘The Kentucky Waltz.’  She’d made my day, the least I could do was play the lady a tune.

        We went back to the Jameson and got ready to check out.  I had promised Mark, the manager, I’d play him one tune on the mandolin, so I pulled it out of the case in the lobby and rendered ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to the best of my ability.  Soon a crowd gathered, and a young lady named April from housekeeping asked if I knew ‘Glory Hallelujah, Gonna Lay My Burdens Down.”  I kicked it off in ‘D’ and she flat belted it out.  I sang the harmony part with her on the second go round.  It was great stuff.

        Mark knew we were on the way to Memphis and recommended we stop in Oxford on the way.  He said it was the perfect modern southern town- not too big, not to small, literary minded, great book stores, and perhaps most important, had made the transition to the New South.  I recalled my agent had said to go there, too.  Hm, like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture.  We plugged Oxford into the GPS, shook hands with brother Mark and lit out for Ole Miss and Oxford.

Dr. B


Dr. Tom Bibey- by request

September 25, 2008

        I have had many folks ask for a picture, so here it is.  This was a sketch mid way through the Mandolin Case.  My hair was jet black then so I did ‘doctor’ the photo to reflect my current hue.  I believe Pande would call it blond, or perhaps chrome, as they say on her blog, but in reality it is salt and salt.  It ain’t even got enough tinge to look like that stuff y’all put on the roads up North when it snows.  In fact it looks like the snow- I was generous with the sketch to give it as much color as I did.  In real life the pepper is, as the song says, “gone but not forgotten.”

        There are reasons for the sunglasses.  For one, the work I had to do in the Mandolin Case involved some quaisi CIA-like activity.  This is part of the reason for the secrecy.

        The other though, is not known to many folks so y’all don’t share it.  Since the Mandolin Case is now history, I suppose I can give up this much.  Tommy Bibey has one green eye and one blue eye. 

        I only lose about three golf balls a year, but if you play in the South and find a Titleist marked with a green dot on the left, and a blue one on the right, you will know that Tommy Bibey was there.  It stands for one green eye, and one blue one, but also for BlueGrass.

        Now that I have given up my identity if you run into me on the bluegrass road come up and and shake and howdy.  I’d love to meet ya.”

Dr. B

Old Green Eye/Blue Eye

Old Green Eye/Blue Eye

Indian Summer Gig

September 21, 2008

        We had a gig down on the river today. 

        I think I told y’all, but Indie’s Cabin washed away in the great Eastern N.C. flood.  Well, I knew they had a cabin down there a lot like Indie’s old place, so I got a notion to check him out of the Nursing Home and take him with us.  We carved his name in an old tree stump and told him the bluegrass folks dedicated it to him-  ‘Indie was here,’ it said.

        Indie loves the fall of the year.  Always has.  He says the autumn air is crisper and his lungs fare better.  Besides, fall always reminds him ain’t nothing permanent.  After Blinky died Indie was a bit more melancholy, and fall suited him better than ever.  He’d lived eight days a week anyway but after Blinky was gone, he seemed to make even more of an effort to do so.

        He had a big day, a large time as he says.  He sat in his lounge chair and smoked cigarettes and greeted old music friends who hadn’t seen him out in a while.  He got inspired and fiddled a slow one with us- ‘The Kentucky Waltz,” and rendered it pretty, too.  I don’t think Indie had played in public since he wound up in the Nursing Home.

        He drank a Coors or two, and when we played the second set he went to the river and helped the kids with the ‘Rubber Ducky Regatta.’  Indie ain’t nothing but a big kid anyway.

        After the gig I took him back to the Nursing Home, and got him tucked in.  Ms. Jenkins is gone now, and all he has left is me and Barney the skeleton.  And his roses- he stops to smell them every day just like he tells me to do.

        The other day I found some old sketches of Indie I thought you might enjoy.  I should have dated these- I think they were about mid-way through the Mandolin Case.  It was a pressure cooker, but except for the fact his pal Blinky was gone I don’t think it changed Indie too much.  You know how it is – some things never change and them bluegrass folks are like that.  And Indie was bluegrass people as much as anyone I ever knew.

        Here he is:

Fine Doc and Master Fiddler

Fine Doc and Master Fiddler

The Agent

September 21, 2008
        Someone wrote and said they thought they recognized my man- the eyes seemed familiar.  They asked me to blow it up so they could study it some more.  So, here he is again.
Dr. B
International Man of Mystery

International Man of Mystery

The Agent

September 17, 2008

         O.K. folks.  Here he is. THE AGENT.  Whereabouts unknown.  International man of mystery.

        Once the Agent was in a workshop at a small book store in New Mexico.  One lady wanted him to get her anthology of casserole recipes carried by Barnes and Noble.  He was polite, but told her he was concerned he might not be able to sell it- casserole recipes were not hot that year- and she beat him with a tennis shoe.

        Being the Southern Gentleman he is, it was against his code of ethics to hit back, but he did not accept new clients for six months after the incident.  I had to chase him longer than I did my wife.  (She married me after eight proposals- she decided I warn’t going away.)

        His geneolgy is a mystery but I have been told he is a direct decendant of Huckleberry Finn.

        The agent wishes to maintain his anonymity and does not allow pictures, but at our last conference I secretly sketched him.  The light was bad, but this is a very close image.

        I hope he does not fire me for this post.  If you run into him I have but one request.  Tell him you are going to buy Dr. Tommy Bibey’s book but only on the condition the Agent gets his 15% cut.  And tell him you like Bibey’s writing and he can draw good too, ’cause it looks just like him.


Dr. B      

Whereabouts unknown...

Whereabouts unknown...

 P.S.  To the boss.  I’ll get that fifteen bucks in the mail as soon as I’m paid.

My Long Journey Home -Updates

September 17, 2008

        I apologize in advance.  This post is a bit disjointed, but there are several items I need to update you on.

        First of all, and most important as a Doc, I am now the proud recipient of a certificate of Board Re-Certification.  It was my fifth time around, so I am a bit of a professional test taker.  I did very well, especially in Ambulatory Medicine, which I do every day, although I have to admit I have drifted to about average in maternity work.  But I haven’t delivered a baby in a quarter century, and I’m too old to sign up for that gig again anyway.

        Being the obsessive type I am, even though I’m getting some age on me, I felt compelled to study and do my best.  I did not want to concentrate on my book until I wrapped up this year’s medical study.  It is sort of like my monthly Home Study CD.  I make myself memorize it before I will let myself listen to my music.  Old habits die hard I guess.

         When I was a little boy, I used to stay at my grandmother’s farm some on the weekends.  We’d eat Post Toasties and watch the Miss America contest.  She could always pick the winner.  After those trips I’d write up stories and I’d get an ‘A’ every time.  I still remember the blue ribbons and the teacher’s comments as to how vivid the stories were.  I have wanted to recapture that feeling for years, and my book takes me there. 

        Of course, she is no longer alive, but if she were, I am sure she’d be proud.  I still enjoy the Doctor gig, and I plan to do it for many more years.  With this last recert I’ll have a ten year exemption.  But, I have to write my book, too.  It is one more thing I must do before I am out of this old world.  It is a long journey home, but when I get there, I’m sure Grandma will be proud.

       And speaking of a journey, I want to update you on the business plan my agent and I are working on.  It includes some promotional efforts in the South in 2008, but in 2009 my wife and I plan a trip up North.

        The English Professor has been so kind to promote my blog.  I am gonna have to go find him.  Also, there is a program called Bread Loaf that originated up there somewhere I want to go see.  All I know of the program is what they have done with some Mississippi school kids I became pen pals with, but if they  encourage students to be like them, I want to know more about it.

        While I am there, I hope I will have a book to promote or at least have the project very close to publication.  If all that happens, I hope all my blog pals up that way, folks like mrschili and Ms. Pande, will help me figure out some libraries or church fellowship halls that might be acceptable venues to meet some of you and your families.  Your kindness to this old Doc has meant so much on the long journey to writer.  Your encouragement has been a major factor in my decision to try to learn to write again.  I thank you and hope to see some of you on my 2009 New England Tour.

        Will keep you posted on the progress of the book.  I’m getting there.

Dr. B

Dr. Zink and the Country Doctor Compilation II

September 11, 2008

        Y’all remember some time back how I told you about the book Dr. Zink is putting together?  Dr. Zink is a University Professor doctor who has been published in JAMA.  Her book is a compilation of stories, essays, and poems from rural docs all across the country.  My agent had me write up an article for her, and it got accepted.  (Come to think of it I guess I can’t say I’ve always been a bridesmaid now, huh?)  My article is called “Inside the Mind of a Modern Country Doctor.”  (Scary, don’t ya think?)

        The book is due out in 2009, and I have gotten to read a number of the selections.  The docs range from folks who in rural towns like me, to one lady who works with the Amish, and another who doctors the Navajo.  One fellow described his office, and it might as well been about home.  His place was right down the street from the liquor store, just like mine.

        I am proud to tell you Dr. Zink also asked me to do a summary article for the book.  (It is one of four)  Mine is called “Where We Are,” and is to summarize the different locales of the docs who will be published in the compilation.  She requested about 1,000 words and I hit it on the nose, (writers are proud of such things) but of course it may change some in the edit process.

        After studying the work of a group of Docs from all over the country I was struck by the fact we were more alike than different, and our problems were universal.  My summary article will be near the front of the ‘Where we Are’ section, so y’all look for it.

        I pasted in Dr. Zink’s recent comments she e-mailed to me below.  Y’all look for the book.  I reckon I can add ‘scholar’ to my resume if you can imagine that!

Dr. B

Dr. Zink’s comments:

        At this time approximately forty story tellers, poets and essayists
from across rural America have contributed.  The title is currently The
Country Doctor
Revisited: A 21st Century Reader of Rural Health Care

        There are 4 sections: Who We Are, Where We Are, Who We Serve and Resources and Challenges.  Each section has a synopsis, one written by you.  The contributors are physicians, nurses, psychologists, midwives and students of these professions. The anthology should be published in 2009 by Kent State University Press.

And the Runner-Up is….

September 9, 2008

        Tommy Bibey!

        Hey, I’ve been a brides-maid so long it don’t bother me.  But I’ll have to say you guys have taken me up the blog ladder beyond my wildest dreams.  The English Professor did some research and found out my blog had crossed into the top 300,000 on the Net.  My agent checked it out, and sure enough I was 271,202 in the world to be exact.  I wasn’t sure how that happened, but it has to do with y’all visiting and commenting and linking and all this business I’d never heard of a year ago.  Shoot, last year I didn’t know a blogroll from an egg-roll. 

        Well, like I’ve said if you play the mandolin in the forest and no one is there to listen there ain’t no music, and as far as I’m concerned if I write down me a dadburn treatise and no one reads it, then there ain’t no story.  It’s all about communication, and you guys are the ticket.  No readers= No blog.  I like the blog and I like y’all too, so thanks.

        But again, I’ve been a brides-maid before, and I ain’t worried.  On the high school golf team I was sixth man.  Snookers was the star.  He shot 65 to win the State one year, but my contribution was to be sure he passed History.  His picture wasn’t in the yearbook- he was out gambling that day- but he did graduate high school in spite of a year book that might as well have read golf and smoked cigarettes, 1,2,3,4.  He says he owes his academic career to me, but I tell him not to advertise it.

        I won the red ribbon in the Jr. High science project one year.  The guy that won the blue became a brain surgeon.

        And in med school ole Tom Bailey kicked my academic a^^ every time, but like Avis, I tried harder, did my best, and finished second to him once.  I was runner up for most promising Family Doc.  The kid who won quit after one year and switched to Radiology.  I don’t blame him.  He made a bunch of money.  Being a country doc is a lot like playing bluegrass music or writing.  You do it ’cause it’s in your blood.

       One year Warbler said I made the top thirty on the mandolin at Galax, but I think he just said it to make me feel better.  See, the way I learned my baritone part singing was to work off the peg board in Moose’s garage, where Neuse River practices.  I’d go up and down with the pitch as I imagined various tools were the notes.  One time Jen rearranged the pegboard and I missed my Stanley hammer note, though.  

        At any rate, at Galax that year I focused on a handrail and some steps in the stands. I had my routine down, and went up and down the steps in perfect pitch.   All this went fine till some fellow got to making out with his girl right there on the steps I needed to focus on, and I didn’t get my part quite right.  It upset me cause I felt like I let the band down.  We finished 12th that year, but I think we’d made the top ten if that durn fool boy hadn’t been kissing his girl friend on what I had designated as the 3rd tone in the B flat scale.    (Yes, I know it is odd music theory, but I knew a bass player who went by colors and he is a far better musician that I am.) 

        But I ain’t worried about all that runner up business.  Years ago, some football player and I were competing for the prettiest girl at Lake Forest and somehow I won.  It might not a worked out for poor Charlie Brown, but I got to marry the little red-haired girl and we lived happily ever after.

        I am at the age where every day is all excellent, and if I never had any more good fortune in my life I’d be a most lucky fellow.  But at the same time, just between me and my blog buddies, I hope y’all will keep reading me.  Who knows, you might propel me into the top quarter million, and I’m gonna be honest- that tickles me.  So, thanks for coming along for the ride.

Dr. B

Bluegrass Barber Shop/The Making of an Author

September 6, 2008

        I like to keep y’all updated whenever I get an article placed.  In the last issue of the Laurel Magazine of Asheville there is one I wrote while on vacation this summer called ‘The Bluegrass Barber Shop.’  The Laurel can be accessed on my blogroll.

        I was real proud they chose me, but my editor, Mr. Paul Howey, said not to get the big head.  His boss wanted it written up by a bluegrass mandolin picking doctor, and the one he knew in Tennessee was tied up, so I got the gig.  (Sometimes availability trumps ability)   

        Mr. Howey is a good’un.  Any cat who wants me to play bluegrass music a half a day with a bunch of fine pickers, write up an article on it, and pay me to drive up there to boot can be my boss any day.

        With this article, I reckon I am now promoted to ‘author.’  (Definition:  A writer who has been published three different places.)  On the other hand, Clive Cussler has already claimed the title ‘His Authorship’ so maybe I better stick to being Tommy Bibey, bluegrass picking doctor writer.

        But, no matter how you cut it, this writer gig is one heck of a lot of fun.

Dr. B

Exhumed-Excerpt of Chapter 41

August 29, 2008

Chapter 41:  Exhumed 

        Dawn broke.  Did the ruse work?  Was Snookers able to convince Olden his case was in jeopardy?  All I could do is wait on one of the scouts to call.
        It warn’t long.  Light-thirty.  Six bells. My computer flashed an e-mail alert.  Ms. Cindy had logged onto the blog.
        “Me and Ranger Dog were out for our morning walk and wish to confirm.  There is a body and that body is Blinky.”
        I responded.  “Positive ID?”
        “Yep.  Correct headstone anyway.  Plus Jim Olden was ecstatic.  He said to take him to the morgue now, then re-bury that S.O.B. just as fast as you can.”
        “Got it.  No question, then.  That is a positive ID.  Anything else?”  I typed a response.    
        “Yes.  Do not trust Mr. Olden.  Betty Wallendorf was all but slobbering over him.  Ranger Dog growled at the man.  Ranger likes everyone- Olden must be a cheat.”
        “I always trust the intuition of young women and old dogs, Ms. Cindy.  Thanks for the heads up.”
        “Not a problem Bibey.  Y’all play ‘Lonesome old Graveyard’ for me in your next set,” she replied.
        “Will do.”  Ms. Cindy was a good’un.  I reckon I’d better get down to the morgue and see what was gonna shake out.
        I sauntered in.  “Hey ya’ll, Dr. Mortimer around?  I promised I’d bring him Darrell’s new gospel CD.  Lord a mercy it’s good.”  Everyone looked very nervous, and of course I had no idea why.  “Lord, y’all look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Ain’t y’all used to dead people by now?”…………..

        Well, back to Indie’s current situation.  I am pleased to report he is a little better.  Right after the holiday I’m gonna check another chest x-ray and be sure this pneumonia clears 100%.  I’ll let you know how it looks.

Dr. B