Thursday, February 23, 2012


My life has been such a whirlwind of late that I feel I barely have time to come us for air. The workload at Texas State has been unusually heavy this spring semester, which has verged on overwhelming at times. At home, all three kids have school and extra-curricular events going on that swallow huge chunks of time, and The Wife's photography business rebounded quickly from the traditional January lull, which means weekends are usually booked with photo shoots--many demanding my assistance.

It's no small miracle I get any writing done at all.

But writing I did, finishing up Chapter 5 a couple of nights ago. That makes 6 out of the outlined 14 chapters completed and in the can, and moves me one step closer to the all-important halfway point. After spending three years chasing down all manner of leads and interviews and digging through dusty stacks for obscure references and rare newspapers (if I ever see another microfilm, I surely will barf) the fact that the Chicken Ranch book is taking tangible form is psychologically empowering, if nothing else. This is good, in light of the fact that publishers are actively considering the proposal. I have noticed a curious pattern, however: The final few pages of each chapter are invariably more difficult to write than the first 20 or so. I've no idea why. Also, once a chapter is completed, several days elapse before I'm able to begin the next chapter. Not before I want or intend to begin, mind you, but actually able. A while back, it was my car developing engine trouble that wiped out a couple of days. Before that, it was having new flooring installed. Then there was the leaking toilet, the less said about that the better. Last night, it was heading down to San Antonio to see Blue Man Group at the Majestic Theater. Granted, that interruption (a Valentine's gift from The Wife) was infinitely more appealing than the previous ones, but still. The interruption came between chapters, rather than in the middle of one. What are the odds?

In any event, I finished the chapter and remain on schedule for completion by June 1. I refer to is as "The Aggie Chapter" because, well, it delves into ties between the Chicken Ranch and Texas A&M. I originally intended it to contain more material from Texas students as well, but curiously, no Exes responded to my various posts, announcements and calls for interviews. Aggies, on the other hand, seemed all too willing to share their memories of the place. Go figure. Here's a sample from that chapter:
Aggie football players were much more likely to get a free trip to the Chicken Ranch as a recruit in those days. Assistant coaches would take promising blue chippers down to La Grange in hope that a lusty evening with the whores might sway him to signing a letter-of-intent. The university didn’t officially condone such practice, but at the same time, did nothing to stop it. The only problem with the Aggies’ recruiting strategy was that Texas, Rice University, the University of Houston and other competing schools did the exact same thing.
Next up: The life and times of Sheriff J.T. "Big Jim" Flournoy.

Now Playing: Silly Wizard The Best of Silly Wizard
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