The premise of each of these essays is the same: describe what job you were working at when you decided to try your hand at earning a living writing. Sonny Brewer has somehow convinced 23 hard-working, busy, professional writers to pause and remember when they weren't writing full time, but earning a living at some job, dirty or clean, poorly paid or lucrative, dangerous or only mortally boring, that they quit in order to devote themselves to their craft.
Dog books are a genuine subgenre. There is no parallel category for cat books, as cats will not bring you your slippers or newspaper, greet you enthusiastically when you come home from work, ride in the car with their heads out the window, or keep you company while you write book reviews. Cats have made their choice. They are famous for being aloof and needing nobody. Fine, they just won't get many books written about them.
Brewer's series of books are a true grab bag--fiction, nonfiction, poetry-some of it reprinted and some of it original, and, of course, some of the thirty-two pieces are wonderful, some not.
By Don Noble
As the title indicates, this is volume four in the series of collections of Southern writing Sonny Brewer is editing. Blue Moon books are meant to compete with the annual New Stories from the South volumes edited by Shannon Ravenel and put out by Algonquin, but there are important differences.
A man who is dying of tuberculosis discovers how he wants to live the last year of his life.
By Don Noble
The Poet of Tolstoy Park
There really was a poet of Tolstoy Park.
In Montrose, Alabama, there sits a round house, built of hand-made concrete blocks. It was erected, alone, by Henry James Stuart, the man who was known as the ?Hermit of Montrose? but was not actually much of a hermit at all.
In "A Roadside Resurrection," by Larry Brown, the first piece in Sonny Brewer's second volume of Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe, one might wish the idiot in question had been locked up by the state, but he hasn't. He's in the basement.