Tag: john d nesbitt (page 1 of 5)

May I Continue to Remember

It is a truth, perhaps not universally acknowledged, that a large percentage of college instructors come from middle-and lower-middle-class families of industrial workers, construction workers, hard-scrabble farmers, farm workers, and other blue-collar employees. I am one of them. Like a great many people I have met in my line of work, I chose a profession that offered a moderate but secure income and a modicum of status—two things that I did not grow up with; like many of my colleagues, I followed the ideal of humanistic education rather than the lure of material success.

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“Rangeland Lament”

Rangeland Lament” is a song recorded by Carol Markstrom and included on her award-winning Desert Rose album. I wrote the original lyrics to it, and it has been a great honor to see my work end up in such a distinguished place.

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When the Poet Calls

It has happened to me, and I imagine it has happened to many of you: an aspiring poet is ready to “do something” with his or her work but needs a little help in knowing how to get it published (or “publicated,” as I have heard it called). Sometimes it is difficult to respond to such a request, but I have stumbled onto a few points that could be useful to others in giving direction to the emerging poet.

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Write with Pride

I could see I was snowed in but good. My circular drive had three huge drifts, and the dirt road that led out to the paved road was drifted over in several places. Snow was still falling, and a hard, cruel wind was blowing from the northwest—a true Wyoming blizzard. I walked the half mile out to the corner to see how bad it was, and I decided I wasn’t going anywhere. Even if I did dig myself out and manage to get to the main road, I would lose a few hours, and most of my work would be drifted over when I got back.

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Strange Fish

I had been teaching English as a grad student for five years, part-time, when I received an appointment to teach a section of composition at a branch campus of a community college. I had done an internship at the same place a year before, which meant that I had worked for free, grading papers and giving lectures for the regular instructor. Now he was on sabbatical, and his work load was divided up among a few part-time adjuncts, including me.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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