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Excerpt: “Down on Parchman Farm: Reflecting on My Teenage Prison Sentence”

June 30, 2010

So, as I’ve mentioned, I started this blog to document my journey from leaving a stable, full-time advertising job (at the height of the recession, I might add – are we capitalizing “Recession” yet or is it still theoretical?) to pursue the completely bipolar world of freelance writing.

I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’m not totally sure (yet) that I’d do it all over again.

However, along my journey, I can say the nonfiction class I took at NYU was a highlight. Out of it came not only great friends but great instruction and deadlines which forced me to be more prolific than my self-discipline typically forces me to be.

So, what in the hell have I been working on? Well, here’s a sneak peak at one of the short stories I am working on. It’s only an excerpt but I decided it may behoove me to give readers a taste of what I’m doing.

WARNING: It’s actual WRITING so there are no pictures. It may take you a while. Fix yourself a drink. Sit. Relax. Enjoy.

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My Love Affair with Viking Range Shall Never Fade

June 28, 2010

You know what’s great? Nice people.

Some friends of mine brought A Frightened Writer to the attention of the kind folks over at Viking and this is what I found today on my Twitter feed.

Nothing makes you feel more encouraged to keep doing what you’re doing (in my case, writing) than when people show gratitude – even when it’s for a tiny little blog like mine.

Now, about making my kitchen an official “show kitchen….”

Things Worth a Damn: Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

June 23, 2010

This does conjure the image of a cigarette butt in a birthday cake.

My dad was a man of very few vices save for his love of scaring the shit out of people.

He did, however, occasionally smoke a pipe. I think he bought it at a store in New Orleans and held onto it for as long as I could remember. It was one of those great curved pipes you might smoke while walking your property in the English countryside wearing a Barbour and Hunter Wellies.

I can honestly say I hadn’t thought about that pipe in FOREVER until last Sunday.

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A Frightened Writer Doesn’t Think the Oil Spill Is Funny

June 9, 2010

(Image via

A lot of us Southern bloggers keep our blogs up-to-date in order to talk about the great things going on in the South. It keeps those of us living “above the line” in touch with home without actually being there.

This past week, SouthernGentBlog got a letter from a reader asking why he’d avoided talking about the disaster in the Gulf. His response, I think, was a good one: How can we even process this if it’s not anywhere near over? responded as, I think, we all feel on some level: pissed. She created the graphic you see to the left. I don’t have to elaborate on her entry to echo the same sentiment of rage, upset, disbelief and confusion that accompanies this situation.

Initially, I didn’t want to post anything because I didn’t think anyone expected me to. Pretty silly logic now that I look back on it…

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Snapshot: More Underwater Hellbeasts

May 21, 2010

(via my phone)

We all know how much that Giant Isopod business stressed me out. So, as I was going for a walk the other weekend on 3 Mile Harbor, I ran across this. I was pretty sure it was a piece of metal because it appeared rusty and was perfectly round – like a lid to something. Then I got close to it and it turns out it was the shell of a horseshoe crab – a dead one, but still one nonetheless. I wish this photo had more scale because it was no smaller than the diameter of a basketball. There’s just something incredibly unsettling about a creature that (a) hides in murky water and (b) is like a Roomba ready to surprise you by mauling your foot.

From Wikipedia: “…Beneath the carapace they look quite similar to a large spider. They have five pairs of legs for walking, swimming and moving food into the mouth…”

I have to share the water with that? Yeah, I’m good sitting here reading on the beach.

Things Worth a Damn: Viking Range Stuff

May 20, 2010

Let's talk about things I will never be in this lifetime: #1 - Food Photography Stager. Doesn't that old block of cheese further discolored by bad lighting look delicious?

My dear friend Carrie has a birthday coming up. But this has nothing to do with that. In fact, it has more to do with my birthday or any holiday where I may be receiving gifts.

Where Carrie comes in is at another time. See, she used to work for this big, scary monolithic PR Firm where they made her cry a lot. My office wasn’t far away from her building so sometimes I’d escape and try to make her feel better.

One day I walked into her (bizarrely large) cubi-office and noticed something on her desk.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“It’s a knife, Ward.” she said.

“You don’t cook, though.”

“I know. Someone gave it to me for something. Want it?”


And that’s when I obtained my first piece of Viking Range – a knife Carrie didn’t want that’s worth a couple of hundred dollars.

I love this knife like it’s a baby. I keep it in a special drawer. No one is allowed to touch this knife but me.

However, let it be known my love affair with Viking doesn’t begin and end with this knife.

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Points of Inspiration: Capri

May 17, 2010

This is a tough one. How do I write about this without seeming like I’ve lost my damned mind and am no longer in touch with reality?

Let me preface by saying, we have made a purchase. A big one. One that will mean we’re knee deep in home improvement for quite some time.

This has me looking back through old photos, not only for design inspiration, but because I really like to get sidetracked with old vacation photos. Wait! Sorry. Did I say “old vacation photos”? I meant “critical images paramount in understanding the depth of this post.” Yeah.

Anyway, there’s this one trip in particular that will forever be my happy place, one place that’s inspired people around the world since the Emperor Augustus was entertaining himself by watching people fight man-eating lions.

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