Living on the road is an unstructured lifestyle, certainly not conducive to routine activities . . . like writing. I don’t exercise enough self-control when it comes to hiking or exploring because immersing myself in such awe inspiring beauty motivates my spirit – which is good for creative endeavors. Daytime was play time because I would write at night. But a funny thing happened during the past few months – my insomnia dissipated . . . and so did my writing.
Not that I had much time to write, anyway. March was a whirlwind of activity filled with author appearances, presentations, gatherings, and making a mad dash to California to visit the hubmeister’s family. I managed three book signings, one at the prestigious Tucson Festival of Books, a successful Gold, Ghosts and Gravel Roads presentation before almost two hundred attendees, spent four days at the Escapees Escapades – a gathering of over 2000 RVers, and enjoyed great fellowship with some new friends in Tucson. I also was awarded a signed copy of Red Steagall’s book, “Ride for the Brand” featuring his poetry and songs when I won the Cowboy Poetry Contest at Escapades57.
But all that is behind me now and it’s time to get back to business. Starting May 1st, we’ll be “workamping” at Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon, Utah. Even though I’ll be settled in one place for five months, my job in the Rock Shop will compete with writing time. I’m hoping my psyche will respond to the newfound “structure” and re-ignite good writing habits to take with me after we leave. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Here’s the poem that won the Cowboy Poetry contest . . . based on the legend of the ghost horses from Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. You can read the history behind the lore in my Road Tales book.
The night was as dusty as an ol’ wrangler’s chaps
After rounding up strays on the West Texas flats.
As I searched through the darkness for Camp Cookie’s fire
The wind cut right through me like a strand of barbed wire.
My horse gave a whinny, his eyes grew real wide
Hooves pawed the ground as he danced to the side.
Something was out there. It was too dark to see . . .
But the ground rumbled ‘neath us and I whispered . . . “Stampede!”
I pulled my horse next to a stand of tall trees,
Praying we’d survive the oncoming steeds.
I tugged down my hat and held the reins tight
As thundering hooves galloped past us that night.
A hundred wild ponies, fast on the run . . .
I heard them. I felt them. But saw not a one.
When the sound faded into the folds of pitch black
I spurred on my horse, and never looked back.
Now I’m an old cowpoke with my share of strange tales
But I never had nothin’ turn me death pale
Like the Devil’s ghost herd on that cold Texas trail.