Author: John D. Nesbitt (page 1 of 6)

In the Breaks Commentary

“In the Breaks” is a short story that is included in The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories, published by Five Star Publishing in November 2019. This is a collection of stories featuring strong female main characters in frontier settings.

Continue reading

In the Great Tradition

When I was a grad student at UC Davis in the 1970’s, I believed in a liberal education. With a B.A. from UCLA, I entered the Ph.D. program in English in 1971, and I was in no hurry to specialize. University life seemed natural to me. Unlike some of my fellow students of that era, I enjoyed preparing for the foreign language exams, I liked all areas of literature, and I loved teaching English 1, the freshman composition course. Philosophically at least, I felt responsible for everything in my field, but I also felt I should be free to study what I wanted.

Continue reading

Working in the Fields

At the party after eighth-grade graduation, some of us got to kiss the girls. When the party ended I went outside, where my father and two brothers were waiting in the station wagon. I could see it was packed and ready to go. A couple of my friends, guys, asked if I was leaving that night for a fishing trip. I said, no, we were going to follow the crops.

Continue reading

My Literary Influences – Part 2

I think of Homer as the father of narrative.

Having cited the three main influences on my development as a student and writer of fiction, I thought I might go on to discuss the topic in more variety. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have read a little bit here and there, as most people in my world have done. Most of us still have big things we haven’t gotten to, and most of us have gone off on our own paths of interest, but there is a core of literature that many of us share. I will mention a few highlights that are probably on other people’s lists as well.

Continue reading

My Literary Influences – Part 1

My sense of literary influence is rather broad. In the course of my undergraduate and graduate education I read all of the major novelists of Britain and America, plus many of the minor novelists. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the western novel, and in my teaching and writing career I have studied numerous short story writers plus many novelists I did not read the first time around. And in the midst of all of this, I have maintained a fondness for the two great epics of Homer. In order to discuss the most significant influences, I would have to cite three, as I could not pick two of the following to the exclusion of a third. As it turns out, one of my writers is British, one is American, and one is Canadian.

Continue reading

Darlings of the Dust Commentary

“Darlings of the Dust” is a short story that appears in the anthology Contention and Other Frontier Stories, released by Five Star Publishing in May 2019. In my story, the cowboy detective named Dunbar (from his own series of Dark Prairie, Death in Cantera, and others) arrives in the town of Westlock, Wyoming, and goes to work at the Paradise Valley Ranch.

Continue reading

Pearl of Great Price Commentary

“Pearl of Great Price” is a novella that came out with Sundown Press, a division of Prairie Rose Publications, in August of 2018. It was reprinted in book form along with a handful of other stories in a collection entitled Tales of the Old West, also by Sundown Press. “Pearl of Great Price” runs to 12,000 words, somewhere in the range between long short story and novella. As with other works I have written in middle length, this story found its own length according to the magnitude of the idea I had.

Continue reading

Leaving the Lariat Trail Commentary

“Leaving the Lariat Trail” is a novella, or short novel, that is a little less than half as long as a traditional western novel. It has been published as an e-book by Sundown Press, a division of Prairie Rose Publications, and at some point in the future it may appear in print form with one or more other selections.

Continue reading

Endeavor Books

Endeavor Books is a small publisher located in Casper, Wyoming. For several years it was an independent publisher and printer, but now it is a division of Mountain States Lithographing.

Continue reading

Meeting the Governor, his wife, and Baxter Black

In the fall of 2009, the president of Eastern Wyoming College surprised me with a small tribute. He told me that the governor of our state was going to be visiting our campus on October 16 as part of a visit to the new corrections facility being built near our town. The governor was going to stay for the Baxter Black show, and there was going to be a reception before the program. At the reception, said the president, he planned to present the governor with a collection of four of my books that he, the president, had found in the college bookstore. The president said that if I liked, I could attend the reception and present the books myself. I was quite honored by the invitation, and I said that I would have to make sure I didn’t have a conflict. I added that if I thought I had a small conflict such as elk hunting, my wife would make it quite clear that meeting the governor was much more important.

Continue reading
« Older posts

© 2019 John D. Nesbitt

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑