Friday, October 25, 2013

'The Fracking War' novel, The Trojan newspaper and Harry Robie

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - It was about 47 years ago that the late Harry Robie - yes, that Harry Robie - complimented me on some bit of hack writing I had done in our Southwestern Central High School newspaper, The Trojan.

Harry - excuse me, Mr Robie - pulled me aside after that weird double history/social studies melange that many of us sat through our senior year. If you were in that class, you might remember the teachers rotating in and out like cuckoos in a Swiss clock.

The Trojan staff, circa 1966
I was reflecting/remembering about that conversation this morning because Harry (whoops) Mr. Robie had liked the Eavesdroppers gossip column that John Rupp and I penned for the newspaper. All these years later, I write a column for a daily newspaper in Geneva, NY, the Finger Lakes Times. Nothing like the Eavesdroppers - or The Trojan - but who knows how much those few words from Harry were pushing in the background when I went to college, got into newspapers (and got out before the collapse) and eventually taught journalism for nearly 30 years.

Had I not gone into newspapers and been a journalist, I doubt I would have ever finished my novel set to be published this fall called 'The Fracking War.'

We had good teachers (for the most part) at SWCS. Mildred Dennison taught us life-skill math. (I still balance my checkbook to the penny). 

Mrs. Stupka - the wife of football coach Ed Stupka and who ran off with the SWCS art teacher - scared me into reading George Eliot and a few other authors who I might have avoided. 

A Mr. Coleman (in 8th grade English) really set me on the fiction writing trail by having us all do short stories in class. He was another teacher who took me aside. He told me I should pursue writing, specifically fiction.

I wish I had followed his advice earlier in my life. Now I feel that biological clock ticking.

Right after our 20th high school reunion, I started writing a non-fiction book called The Class of '66. I have published some pieces of it already. Before John Rupp passed away, he wanted to jump in and we were going to co-author - just like The Eavesdroppers in The Trojan.

Harry Robie might have liked that. Mr. Coleman (if he had a first name, I sure never knew it) would likely be happy I finally got around to writing fiction.

If you want to take a peek at the first chapter of my novel, it's posted on my campaign page. Several Class of '66 classmates were kind enough to pre-order copies of 'The Fracking War' for which I am very grateful. 

I wish I could get copies into the hands of Harry Robie and Mr. Coleman. 

I wish.