Monday, June 06, 2005

More on Norwood

Warren's papers are in the special collections at the University of North Texas, which he is an alum of, but there's one composition by him that isn't anywhere else other than my head. I doubt if even Warren or Gigi remember it, though it made quite an impact at that writer's workshop:
The Ballad of Caius

Whining away all his life
saved by a ghost with a knife
can't save himself from his striiiiife
Caius the whimpering bumble-boy

It was sung to the tune of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," and encapsulated much of what was wrong with a short story I had no right to think was anywhere nearly as good as I did. The opposite of good was pretty much the case, in fact. But that silly, throwaway song stuck with me and taught me good things about character and plot and a bunch of other things I did badly. Interesting that now I'm one of the "professionals" sitting in on writers workshops, with earnest would-be novelists committing the same crass abuses to the written word I did back then. I only hope I can offer some suggestions as useful as those Warren gave me--although I suspect I'll take a pass on the singing part.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an extensive biography up, which I'm reposting a big chunk of here:
WARREN NORWOOD | 1945-2005

Novelist was a teacher and a musician

WEATHERFORD - Warren Norwood, a writer, writing teacher and musician, died of liver disease Friday morning. He was 59.

Mr. Norwood, a longtime employee of Craig's Music in Weatherford, wrote novels, mostly science fiction/fantasy, including Shudderchild, The Windhover Tapes Trilogy and True Jaguar.

Mr. Norwood taught courses at Weatherford College and what is now Tarrant County College about writing and selling fiction.

"What I remember most about Warren was his love of learning," said Shannon Story, a former student. "He was always learning new things and was eager to share his wealth of knowledge with everyone he met."

Another student, Viqui Litman, said: "He was a great teacher. He focused on the nuts and bolts of writing. He was a good critic and gave a straightforward reading."

Mr. Norwood was born Aug. 21, 1945, in Philadelphia. His family moved to Fort Worth when he was 12, and he graduated from Arlington Heights High School in 1963.

While serving in the Army in Vietnam, he earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal.

He learned about Buddhism in Vietnam and continued to practice it, according to his family.

Mr. Norwood graduated from what is now the University of North Texas and was later named an Outstanding Alumnus by the philosophy and English departments.

"Warren was a master of the English language," said Raymond Pritchard, a friend and neighbor. "He was very articulate and could paint a picture with words."

Mr. Norwood's papers are in the Texana Collection of the University of North Texas Libraries.

Mr. Norwood learned how to play the mountain dulcimer in 1987. He was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Dulcimer Friends.

"He loved music and played with Loyd McGuffy and The Country Gentlemen at the Spring Creek Musicals, a monthly performance in the Spring Creek community," said Kenneth Murphree, a friend and fellow musician. "He seemed happiest when he was making music."

There will be a memorial at 7 p.m. July 12 at Craig's Music, 115 E. Spring St. in Weatherford. The service will be Buddhist.

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