Rusty Haggard Blog

Archive for May, 2012

Hopefully Inevitable: Growth as a Writer

“Revision is real writing.”

And resistance to that was part of my approach as I began a critical view of my novel – my first one, where I was so happy with myself that I’d actually written a novel and my second, which I took to a writing workshop for a submersion with other writers for a week into a world where that lead sentence above was carved into stone for everyone in the class. Still, I ignored it.

Now, however, I’m revising my first novel. Why? Because, ahem, “revision is real writing.” I finally let go of the original story, which in retrospect was (as someone in the writing workshop pointed out to me about my second novel) what writers would actually refer to as a “draft.” I’m doing the hard work now of thinking through the characters before going forward with the new story. It’s not easy. Writing is a lonely life. Just me and the keyboard. But it’s what I want to do.

In revising, wholesale changes occur. Dates change, characters grow and take on new names, characters’ motivations are made more solid and more interesting.

Growth is important. I’ve learned that, in writing, revising is even more important.




Abbey Road Photo: The Man in the Background

I read the news today…about a new photo that surfaced in the Beatles famous Abbey Road album cover shoot. The Beatles are walking in the opposite direction in the new photo. And Paul is wearing sandals instead of being barefoot. It’s all very interesting. To me, however, here’s the most interesting thing: the man in the background is still there, just like in the photo that eventually became the cover shot. And I knew him.

It was back in the mid-1970s and I lived in Austin, Texas, as I do today. The group of friends I hung out with included a guy named Robert – and I’m sorry I can’t remember his last name now. He was a few years older than me. One day he told me that he was on the cover of Abbey Road. Now that’s just something you didn’t hear all the time.

He then pulled his wallet out and showed me a photograph of himself in London on Abbey Road. The setting is the same, except the Beatles aren’t walking across the street. He said he was in London at that time and saw the shoot going on as he was standing on the sidewalk that day. Later when the album came out and he realized he was in the photo, he put on the same clothes he was wearing that day and had a friend go back to the location and shoot a picture of him – for posterity, right?

It was pretty amazing. It’s him in the photo. The photo he pulled out of his wallet way back in the ‘70s was worn and faded and crinkled (he had been carrying it around for about six or seven years by then), but when you looked at it and you looked at him, you had to say, “Wow, that is you all right.”

He passed away several years ago, but every time I see the Abbey Road cover I always think of him. So today when news came out that there was an exciting new photo of the Beatles walking the wrong way as depicted in their iconic cover shot, I looked at it immediately. Yep, there’s Robert (no, he’s not the famous “Dr. Robert” from the Beatles song). But in this shot there’s no black London taxi near him. That must’ve pulled up at a different time because he is standing near the taxi on the cover photo. He was in the right time at the right place.

Limeade Crisis Fades, Reappears

Austin, TX – When we last reported, yes, a shortage of frozen limeade was in effect – meaning those nice little frozen concoctions, as Jimmy Buffet sang, were tough to come by without that key ingredient, frozen limeade. There’s plenty of tequila. Don’t worry about that. It seemed like that – for now at least – the crisis had eased…until Cinco de Mayo last Saturday.

Cinco de Mayo is perhaps the most celebrated misunderstood holiday ever. Why? People think it’s Mexico’s Independence Day. Wrong. It’s a David and Goliath type thing. The Battle of Puebla in 1862 is remembered on May 5 each year because it was that battle that resulted in a vastly outnumbered group of Mexicans fighting, stopping (temporarily) a much larger French Army force on its way to Mexico City. Underdogs. Against all odds. You get the picture. I’ll drink to that, and millions of other people join me each year – on Cinco de Mayo.

Chris called and invited Cherie and me over for fajitas Saturday night. “And bring some frozen limeade,” he said. When we arrived at his place, he told us that he had gone to the store to buy some limeade frozen concentrate and there was none. The store manager told him people had been coming in the previous day and buying cases (24 cans to a case) in preparation for Cinco de Mayo. We handed over our requested delivery (we had some on hand only because we stocked up the last time we couldn’t find any) and moments later were – yep, celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Limeade: it’s getting harder to find all the time. People buying 24 cans at a time? Really?

Stock up wherever you are. The crisis continues.