One Last Chapter
Letter sent to Joe Dewey, April 30, 1985
Kingman, AZ 86401
Joe… Got your nice letter just before I left Yuma, about a month
I am now at Kingman, which is about half way to the Utah border.
Am just a little over two hundred miles from Lorin and Bertie.
As I grow older, I miss the family more, I guess a person is almost a kid again when they get to be my age.
It is nice to know that at least one member of the family, is interested in my stories. And if anything should happen to cause this old guy to pass on, I think you are the one that should take over.
Keep this letter, and if something did happen to me, get in touch with Bertie and Lorin. I have made out a handwritten will and it is on my dresser. I have made Bertie the administrator. She is the oldest; also lives closer than any of the rest of the kids.
Whether or not these yarns are of commercial value, I do not know. But this, is for certain… Along the way, many of my friends and people that I have met have read them; and most all agree, that they are far more interesting, than most novels. Probably not as well written, but they hold the interest of the reader, right down to the last line.
With only an eighth grade education and no lessons in typing, also I never attempted to write a yarn of any kind, until I was past sixty years of age. Tends to prove one thing… There is a lot of difference between an educated writer, and an author. I will give you an illustration.. A true one.
After your mother and I split up, I moved to Boise. Brother Dell and I had lost control of the Silica plant at Emmett, also the Limestone mountain at Durkee Oregon, We went looking for something else to get into; mining, preferred. We ended up in the mountains near Stanley Basin, which, at one time, there were many rich gold mines.
There was an old newspaper office there, that had been in business for a long time. They had copies of news items that dated back to the gold rush days. One yarn that interested us more than the rest, was the closing of the old Charles Dickens mine.
This was one of the richest mines in that area. Ore that was so rich, that some of the outcroppings were almost solid gold. After the Hi-grade was removed, a horse drawn arrasta, was installed to grind the remaining ore, It was a mighty slow process.
The mine was finally abandoned. The fortune hunters, moved on to new strikes. Leaving the thousands of tons of unmined ore.
There should be a fortune left. We concluded. With modern machinery and a little luck, we should make millions… At least, we had a prospect…
We were short on money. We had to sell stock in this venture to make it work. We would need something to excite the investor. A good yarn about those good-old-days, just might do the trick, we decided.
Neither of us had any experience in this sort of thing, but somehow I got elected to do the job… So, this was my first story….
“Those Good Old Days.”
That is what I decided to called my yarn. I used a combination of fiction and non fiction. I quoted many of the old news items I had read in the old newspapers. I told about the rich gold strike at the Charles Dickens, and more. I told about the big snow slide, that almost wiped out the city, I told about the bar-room brawls, also the many women that appeared on the scene.
Of course I did all this in plain handwriting. I knew a lady in Boise that was a typist. I turned the thing over to her.
Down on the creek just below the mine was an old abandoned gold dredge. It had taken millions in gold from the creek and rivers below. It had followed the gold trail, right up to the rich Charles Dickens mine – THE MOTHER LODE! At least that is what I wrote in my story….
Now I am about to get to where something happened to make me realize that there was a big difference between an author, and a writer.
I was alone, Sitting at the controls of the old dredge, reading the manuscript that that the lady had just typed out for me, I had just finished the last page, when suddenly I realized, that I was not alone. I heard a man clear his throat, and he was standing just back of me. I turned and looked up at him.
“Howdy… I didn’t hear you come up here,” I said.
He smiled, a friendly smile… “Didn’t mean to slip up on you. Didn’t know anyone was up here.”
I looked the guy over. He was an elderly guy that could sure use a shave, I thought. He looked vaguely familiar.
“You live around here?” I asked.
He nodded, “Yes, I got a shack down at Ketchum, just out of Sun Valley.”
“What inspired you to come up here today?” I asked*
“Was just driving by and thought I saw some movement up here. Just curious, I guess… And may I ask, just what the Hell are you doing up here?”
I looked down at the dozen or so sheets of paper in front of me. Then back to the guy with the whiskers. “Just finished writing a short story about the by-gone days of this neighborhood.” I told him. “Nice and quiet, up here.”
The guy raised an eyebrow, “A writer, eh? Mind if I take a look?”
I felt flattered. Maybe he had some money to invest. I handed him the manuscript. “Here.” I told him* “Read it. It will only take you a few minutes, I’ll go take a leak.” I headed for the rear of the dredge.
About ten minutes later I returned to the control station. The man laid down the last page and looked up at me. There was a twinkle in his eye,
“How long have you been writing?” he asked.
“I am a miner.” I told him, “Just decided to write a bit about the by-gone days of this part of the country, What do you think?”
“Would you like an honest opinion?”
“I sure would… This is my first yarn..”
For a moment, the man stood there, his eyes half closed. Suddenly he smiled.
I will never forget those words that he spoke:
“Mister, you are a piss poor writer… But, you are one hell of a Story Teller. Keep up the good work..” He laid a small white card down by the manuscript and walked slowly away. Out of curiosity I picked up the card.,
I about fell of the dredge.. The man was, ERNEST HEMMINGWAY.
It was only a few years after this, that this great writer killed himself. I guess he and Gary Cooper had a bet on who would be the first to go. Ernest Hemingway won the bet… The twelve gage shotgun he pointed at his head and pulled the trigger with his toe,
Why? The man was dying of cancer. He left a note to Gary Cooper. It read: “I’ll beat you to the barn.” All this happened at his beautiful home at Ketchum.
So, after all these years, I have never forgotten that great writer’s words; “You are a piss- pore writer, but one hell of a story teller.”
This is the conclusion I have come to. I had a natural gift at telling the story, but putting it down on paper was another thing. I had a lot of learning to do. As a kid I received all my learning from a one room country school house, which had only one teacher for all eighth grades.
Actually I only attended school for six seasons. Made the third and fourth in one winter. The sixth and seventh in another. So. I was only-twelve when I graduated from the Mountain View School. Whatever I have learned since then was because I was my own teacher.
It was back in nineteen sixty, that I decided to write another story.
I had just returned from my first trip to Central America and my head was buzzing with ideas. Dell and I had met the Somosa family. They had taken us in like long lost brothers, told us we could bring down dredges to mine the gold and many other things. There was only one little item…
Whatever we went, or whatever we did one member of the family would-get a share of the profit. In turn, we would have access to the army, and also there would be no taxes.
When we returned to the States, we landed in Los Angeles. I got a job in El Monte, working for Glacier Mfg. Co. They built beverage cooling equipment, including all the famous A&W Root Beer mixers and coolers.
Brother Dell returned to Idaho. He would sell enough stock in our new Corporation to build a small Gold Dredge. When it was finished, the plan was to take it down and we would mine the gold.
This was when I decided to write another story, It would be about my trip down there and the new world that I had discovered. I would name the yarn, THEY, ALWAYS SMILE,
Why this title? Several reasons: one, life is cheap down there. A guy will cut your heart out, and the smile will never leave his face.
Two… There are about twelve women to every man, in the City of Managua. And boy, some of them lookers! And stacked…
The City is full of side-walk cafes. Park yourself at one of the tables and watch the girls go by. But be careful… A smile is an invitation. If you smile at a girl and she returns with one of her own, she is yours. And, THEY ALWAYS SMILE.
So that is how I arrived at the name.
I wrote it as a first Person story… I did this, and I did that.. etc. Then I found a lady that would type it out for me. She didn’t know much about typing novels, but at least it was in print.
I let several friends read the thing… Everyone loved the story, but, they all agreed, that it could stand some editing. Yes, I was a great story teller, but a Piss Poor Writer!
I decided I had better find someone that know something about writing, to take a look at the darn thing, I finally went to the library and borrowed a WRITERS MARKET, book. Also bought their magazine that was on the open market.
From these I got the name, KATHERYN BEEMIS WILSON,
This lady. for many years, had been writing stories. Mostly continued novels that appeared in, The Saturday Evening Post, Canadian Star Weekly, and many more, She lived in a big mansion, up in the Hollywood Hills*
I guess she had made a pile of dough, She had quit writing, and now was devoting her spare time to new writers that were just getting started.
One week-end, I grabbed my manuscript and drove out to her fancy home.
She was very nice, She took one quick look at my manuscript, then, once more, I got told off., She said, “I can’t do anything with this, the way it is. Have you girl retype it on eight and one half inches by eleven, bond paper, double spaced. Understand?”
“Then bring it back to me and I will give it a going over.”
She gave me a lot more good advice, Such as, “on every sheet put your last name in the upper left hand corner. On the right, the number of the page. Also on the first page, print the number of words in the story.”
When my typist got through with the yarn, I had to admit that it looked much better, Once more I took it out to Katheryn.
“Much better.” she said. “I will see what I can do with it* Come back next week,”
This I did. When I picked it up she charged me fifty bucks and handed me the manuscript.
“Have your girl re-type this,.” she said, “Then bring it back, Maybe I can find you a publisher.”
Boy, was I in for a surprise. When I got home and looked over my lovely manuscript all I saw was a tremendous mess. About every line on each page, had been corrected. You’d have to see it to appreciate how I felt.
After I studied the thing for awhile, all the scribbling began to make a lot of sense. Now I could see why the thing must be double spaced, Also, just a whole lot of minor changes, would certainly make the thing look a lot more professional. I finally decided to head for my typist.
Once more, she typed the story and made a carbon copy. Once more I went to see Katheryn. She said everything was OK and she would send it to a publisher in New York. She would let me know when she got an answer.
Finally it came, and the manuscript was returned… with a rejection slip.
I was disappointed, but there was one consolation… On the reject slip was a notation. It read… “A well written story, Sorry, not exactly our type,”
Well there was one thing for sure, I had graduated from being a piss poor writer, and that was something,
Now here is a little notation I will put down here. If you are writing a story or a novel, take your time. Pick up any good novel and study several chapters very carefully. Study the many ways that you can substitute the word “said.” “He said,” “She said,” etc. This is for the amateur.
Also study the punctuation. The beginning of A new paragraph… The spelling of many words, And a lot of other things. And keep this in mind.. This book is well written, and has been edited by professionals.
If I had done a bit of this, maybe I wouldn’t of been out that fifty I gave Katheryn; also, the many bucks I gave the typist.
Oh well, you got to live and learn, but I suppose I am still a long way from being a good professional writer.
Anyhow, this is how all this got started,
I called the next story I wrote, WHEN THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.
I was in El Monte at the time, It is a first person story. So
far I had not attempted to go the other route.
Most of this story takes place in Emmett Idaho. There is drama, mystery, love, sex, and a lot of entertainment in this yarn. And probably as you read the thing you will understand why I could and did, write a story like this. At least I had a brother that inspired me. Read the story and you will know which one,
Once more I went down to Central America. We took the gold dredge up north and east of Managua, to a spot on the Rio Coco. It was near the town of Quilali. It was here that I met the Judge of Quilali. And on my return to the States, I wrote the story, THE, JUDGE OF QUILALI. It was a real thriller.
Last summer, I dug out a copy of the yarn and really enjoyed reading it. If it weren’t a first person story, it would be a real good novel, I thought. So, I got out my old typewriter and rewrote the thing. Also changed the name. It is now, BEYOND THE, BEND IN THE RIVER.
This is a real thriller diller. A young Arizonian goes to Nicaragua in search of relatives that live there, He ends up down in no mans land, the Rio Coco, which is the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. There’s lots of action and the most beautiful girl in the world, in this one.
While I was in El Monte, I met a young lady. She was from my home state and had come to Hollywood. She had dreams of becoming a star. She was really something. She was ambitious, but got mixed up with the wrong crowd.
She inspired me to write my next novel, THE BEAUTY AND A BEAST. The story of a beautiful young girl, who marries for money. The man she marries, is a wealthy old Wop from Chicago. A real gangster. He has a couple of gambling joints in Nevada, and is truly the West Coast King of the Mafia,
After she bears him a son she realizes her mistake and decides to pull out. Take the kid and vanish.
So, it is one pretty little lady, against the gang. Lots of action in this one.
So now, I had two yarns that were written in the second person. At least I had graduated from that old, “I did this,” and “I did that.” Maybe I was learning… but I was still a lousy speller.
Occasionally I would get back to Emmett and I would always I would go down and visit my mother and brother Bob. This dear brother of mine, had recently been stricken by the terrible, incurable diseases Multiple Sclerosis. He was in a wheel chair and would never walk again.
Mother was getting quite old and had a bad heart, She needed, help. So until Bob and Mother both passed away, I spent a lot of time with them.
Ray and his dear son Don, had gone into the business of picking up dead or worthless animals and selling the hides and meat to the canneries for dog food.
Boy, what a stinking place! And it was close! Just above the orchard. In fact, it was where everyone used to bring their dead or worthless animals, DEAD HORSE GULCH was what it was called many years ago. In fact when I was a kid, I caught many a Coyote and Badger there using the carcass’s of the dead animals for bait,
Almost every evening the stench of Dead Horse Gulch, would come drifting down to my open bed-room window. It was awful. I had to do something about it.
And I did! I wrote another book! The title I gave it, was; THE GIRL FROM DEAD HORSE GULCH,
Back in the good old days, when the horse was the only power the farmer had, there were many of them. I guess there was a dead horse gulch in most every neighborhood,
I was sure there would of been a burial ground up close to High Valley, Ola, and Cascades
I loved the country up there, so that is where I set the stage for the story.
I spent a lot of time on the story. It is one of my favorites* But there was one thing I didn’t like and that was, the name, so I did something about it. I gave it a new one: JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY
This is a true modern Western. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “true.” Anyhow, it is truly western. A great young hero that drives a Jeep, and the beautiful blonde girl, daughter of the rotten family, who live in Dead Horse Gulch, is really a character… And, she is JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY!
Or is she? Anyhow, now you know what inspired me to write this yarn,
In the summers I spent a lot of time up in the mountains, around Cascade, The fishing was great and there were deer and Elk. I always managed to get my share. Yes, I loved those mountains. And when I am dead and gone, I want my ashes sprinkled around, up there.
Brother Dell was now living in Boise. It had began to look like our interests in Central Americas were not turning out so good, but I won’t go into that.
To say the least, Brother Dell was a dreamer. And he almost made a lot of them come true… He was a great guy.
One day he looked me up, and he was really excited. “Ted, there is a million in Gold Nuggets and dust, for sale in Boise, I think the stuff was stolen years ago, when all the dredges were working up around Idaho City, No doubt the stuff is hot, and I hear it can be bought for far less than the market price. We could make a bundle.”
That summer we were really chasing rainbows, Looking for that pot of gold. That story really got around.
We were not the only ones, looking for it. Even the guys who didn’t have a dime to their name, were searching for the owners. Also, many were looking for someone with a lot of loot, who would finance the deal. Yes, everyone wanted to get a cut.
We spent a lot of time, running down leads. We also, wanted to get a cut, Well, we never found what we were looking for, but we had a lot of fun trying and, I was inspired to write another Book, which I gave the title, I WANT MY CUT,
In this yarn, I didn’t write it the way it happened to me and my dear brother, But,.. I wrote it the way I thought it should of happened.. And I think I hit upon a lot of the truth, at least, some of it.
Of course I put in a couple of beautiful girls, The Carter Sisters, May and June who were Twins. Our heroes had a hard time telling them apart, and frequently get them all mixed up.
There’s lots of drama, mystery, and love making in this one.
It was somewhere about this time, that I bought my first typewriter, Finding a woman that could type and correct my mistakes,, wasn’t easy.
There are lots of men and women that make a business out of preying on the sucker that has just written a book and thinks it should be published, Some of them even charge for reading the manuscript,
Yes, I got took. A lady in Yuma Arizona, was one of them that got to me,
I got her name and address out of a Writers Magazine. She was a published writer, also was acting as an agent; so her ad stated,
I was spending the winter there, I drove out to her house.
“I have just finished writing a story about the old Yuma
Territorial Prison,” I told her. “the title is, DIAMONDS IN HELL.”
I left the manuscript with her, Boy, that was a mistake! She told me: “I have read your story, It is very good and real interesting; however it needs a lot of work. I have already made most of the corrections. My fee is fifty cents a page and I charge the regular ten percent of whatever I can get from the publisher. That is the standard fee,”
That old gal really screwed up my manuscript. Pencil marks all over every page, and none of them made any sense whatever. One of these days, I will get around to re-writing the story.
Oh yes. I found out later, that she had sold a couple of short poems to some children’s magazine. So, she was a published writer.. And also, she had no connections with any other publisher.. Oh well’, Live and learn.
Yes, there are a lot of would be agents and typists who make a living preying off the sucker that has a story that isn’t worth a damn to anyone, and they know it…
Both mother and Bob had passed on, and I was living in a travel trailer. Drawing my Social Security… Spending my summers in Idaho and my winters in Arizona, and writing more stories.
By using the HUNT & PECK system, I could now type out my own stories. So, I kept right on writing more novels. I think my next one was, A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB.
I never write about a place that I have never been. And there is a lot of truth in every story and a lot of the real Ted Dewey, in each one.
This yarn, starts over in the Los Angeles area, right on Skid row, on second and Los Angeles Street, then to El Monte, then over to, Las Vegas Nevada, where I usually spent a month or sot coming and going each spring and fall.
Next it moves on to Apache Junction. Here I spent several winters. This winter resort, is right to the foot of the famous, SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS. The home of the famous, LOST DUTCHMAN, gold mine. It is here, that the story comes to a dramatic ending.
It is a story about a young man, recently retired from the U.S. air force. He has saved his money and invests it in a small dinner club and gambling joint in Las Vegas Nevada.
He marries a beautiful girl, hires a handsome friend to manage the place. He discovers he has bit off more than he can chew. He takes an overseas job with a big construction company flying choppers. In about a year, he would make enough to pay off his debts. He leaves his friend and wife to manage the club and takes off.
For one full year, he lives on his expense account, sending his salary home, Then he returns…
He discovers that his beautiful wife and his friend the manager, had been shacking up, since the first week that he had taken off.
His wife accuses him of being a deserter. His manager hires a couple of thugs to beat him half to death. He leaves, a bitter broken young man.
He goes to L.A. and gets a job tending bar in a club on skid row. He makes a new friend. A heavy-weight fighter, who is also, down on his luck. And broke, but has a beautiful singing voice.
The club manager is a nasty, mean and ornery guy. He treats our hero like a tramp as well as the big fighter, who is working as a bouncer and clean-up man.
One rainy morning, our hero is walking to work. A covered Van hits a big chuck-hole in the pavement, and something falls out the back end, and comes floating down the swollen gutter.
Later that evening in his room, he opens the package. It is full of old unmarked currency, that was being sent to the mint to be exchanged for new, good spendable money…
What a change! All of a sudden he and his buddy the fighter, throw the mean and nasty manager out of his own club, grab a couple of good-looking gals and take off for Las Vegas, He has a mountain to climb.
Yes, after some good brawls and a blooming love affair, he once more gains control over the dinner club in Las Vegas.
Then in a hidden compartment, in a used trailer that he had bought, he and his lady friend, find a sack full of gold nuggets and a map….
They believe they have discovered the way in to the famous Lost Dutchman gold mine, in the Superstition mountains of Arizona*
They leave the singing prize fighter and his lady to manage the club, and they take off. MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB… This is the title of the story.
Everyone should enjoy this one. Lots of excitement, drama and mystery.
As the years passed, I quit going back to Idaho, and would follow the climate around in Arizona. On thing about this state, you can find most any climate, summer or winter.
One of my favorite hangouts for the summer, was Prescott. Pronounced, Pres’kett. This mile high city, had nice cool summers, and something is always going on. They celebrate every red-letter day on the calendar, and then some.
For instance, every spring they have what they call, The Old-Timers Auto Show. Everyone who has an ancient car comes to town. There is a big parade, lots of prizes and dancing on the streets.
In one of these parades was an old model T Ford, a 1910 model. Years ago when I had the garage and welding shop in Pratum Oregon, I had one just like it. Brass radiator, carbide lights, and the works. When we moved back to Idaho during W.W. Two, I gave the thing to the football team in Salem. They wanted it for a mascot.
Seeing this one in the parade, and looking it over and kicking all the tires, brought back a lot of memories… Yes, it sure did,
Everyone of the old timers, also kicked the tires and one of them commented, “Boy! If this old girl could only talk, what a story she could tell! This was her first home, and she has sure been around. If only old Lizzy, could talk! What a story…”
That night I couldn’t sleep. I kept dreaming of my old 1910 Lizzy. If only she, could talk, What a story she could tell…
The next morning, I started the story.,. A new novel. The name, THE TIN LIZZY.
There is a lady in Yuma, where I spend most of my winters, who has read most of my stories. This was her opinion.
“I like this one better than any of the rest. So true to life.. Sure brings back a lot of memories. Also the younger generation should really get a kick out of it. Yes, your Tin Lizzy, could teach them a lot about what went on back in those good old days.”
So much, for The Tin Lizzy. This is the title of the story.
While I was in Nicaragua prospecting, the gravel bars of the Jaciro and the Coco rivers, many strange things happened. Down there, is really a world of its own. Everything from Witch Doctors, to Love Potions, the women feed their men, to keep them from running away. And this, is the truth.
And I know it works….Don’t ask me to explain, just read the book.
THE LOVE POTION. I wrote it a couple of years ago in Yuma, where I was spending the winter.
The root of this pretty flower that grows in the jungle, looks very much like garlic. Many small pieces in a flimsy wrapper. But for sure, it does not have the flavor or aroma of garlic, In fact, it is practically tasteless, maybe a bit of Ginger scent.
While Dell and I were down there, our old friend from Boise, come down
To see what was going on. His name was Clyde Flory.
Clyde was quite a wealthy guy and I thought he might be interested in investing some money down there,
Clyde didn’t have any kids, but this elderly guy that had a beautiful wife in Boise, a string of apartment houses and a big bank account.
Although Clyde was about Sixty five, he was still as ornery as a Texas toad… And it didn’t take him long to find a beautiful young thing to keep him company. Now I am sure that Clyde didn’t know it at the time, but this pretty young thing was putting this Love Potion, in his food and drink.
Then it was almost Christmas, Clyde decided to return to Boise. We had access to a small chopper so he was flown to the City. Here he had to wait five days, before he could get a return Visa,
The Little Girl, he left behind (as he called her) wanted to go along, but Clyde said no. His wife Alice, surely wouldn’t approve.
But the Little Girl kept smiling. “He will be back for me,” she kept telling us. “Maybe tomorrow.” She went ahead and packed her bags.
Three days later, the chopper and Clyde returned, picked up the girl and took off.
Months later when we returned to Boise, we learned that Clyde and Alice were divorced. He had given his wife most everything and took off with the little girl and headed for California,
Now every word I have told you is true. This is what inspired me to write the story, The Love Potion.
So, the first part of the story is almost true. From there on, I used my imagination… And it was working pretty good.
I guess this is the sexiest yarn, I have ever written, Of course the old body could use a bit of this potion, but the mind is still working.
In this yarn, an old guy like Clyde, dies and leaves his two sons a hothouse full of love potion bulbs and a pretty housekeeper. Also he tells his two sons, who he hasn’t seen since they were little kids that the bulbs and seed are worth millions. They were the fountain of youth!
Does this stuff really work? Read the story and see. Anyhow I think it makes a very interesting story, And it moves right along…
I have been through a couple of bloody revolutions in Central America. I hate fighting. I think it is about time that mankind wakes up and begins a new phase of this life. Forget about power and greed. This we know, is the root of all evil. Now, everyone is living in fear of being wiped out at any moment, There will be no warning.
Big bomb shelters and Sanctuaries are springing up all over the world. People grasping at straws. Hoping to be one of the few who might survive. This is one of the things that inspired me to write the novel, THE SANCTUARY. I will explain a bit about that.
All my life I have been sort of a genius. I built a power plant
in the drain ditch which ran by our house, giving us all the power we
I have built Wind Chargers and have drawn energy from the sun. I
hate Atomic power, and it will soon destroy us all. if we don’t do something
Huge monopolies and the filthy rich control all the energy. They own all the oil and the Atomic Power. But there is one thing that progress has stayed away from and that is the wind.
At one time it was the greatest source of power. It sailed all our ships, spun all the windmills that pumped water for us and our livestock.
Why was not this gear power followed up and developed? Simply because, there was no way to put a harness on this great power and monopolize it, It was most everywhere and free for the taking, This giant is miles tall and covers the face of the earth. In a few minutes it can turn our mighty oceans from a sea of tranquility, to a raging mass of angry waters….
To accomplish this with Atomic Power, it would take more than man has developed, all together. And the wind can do this every day of the week, and without even taking a deep breath.
For many years, I have studied this great power. Finally the answer dawned on me. And it was so simple. I guess it wasn’t complicated enough for the modern educated mind,
A few summers ago in Prescott, I built a miniature model. Of course, it worked like a charm. I went to see a lawyer that I knew, to see about getting a patent.
This lawyer, had read a few of my stories and we were good friends. He told me, “Ted, getting a patent on this thing, would take years, also a small fortune to finance the thing. Now I am going to make a suggestion… You have a great talent for writing. Now for sure, you have a great subject. Put in a little fiction along with the facts, and you could come up with a great novel. You could give the whole world a new outlook on energy. The book could make millions.
So, that is what inspired me to write the story, The Sanctuary. And I believe I have come up with enough facts, to start the ball rolling in this direction. We will GO WITH THE WILD WIND.
After I finished this story I decided to follow up with another. I named this one, WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER.
I would use the same characters and the beautiful new City and the Sanctuary that was high in the mountains of Arizona. Also, I would come up with some fresh new characters.
On the opening page of this story, the bombs are dropping… The beginning of the end, or is it?
Anyhow, everyone heads for the shelters, everyone for themselves.
There are one hundred families holed up in their big underground shelter. With enough food to last for twenty years. Also all the other necessities of life. And a big library that contains the secrets of mankind. Everything but how to split the atom. From now on, this will be a no no.
How do you write an interesting story about a group of people holed up in a big cavern? It is not easy, but I think I finally made it. Read it and judge for yourself.
A few years ago, I got so fed up on watching the crazy shows on TV that I created a new series of my own and wrote three one half hour shows.
No flaming cars jumping high into the air on this one. No big explosions and no shoot outs.
It seems to me, that over the period of the last several years, everything is based on violence, brain washing everyone.. Especially the kids… Getting them all ready for another big bloody war.. Actually promoting the thing. Don’t you think that HE MAN and SKELATOR makes a lovely program for children?
Anyhow, I created a new series, which I gave the title, THE CONSULTANTS. These are thoughts I had in mind, as I wrote the script.
Make it a true to life, comedy, a simple setting, only three regular stars and a program that all ages will enjoy.
Today, the divorce rate is about fifty percent. And for damn sure, the other half don’t get by without having their troubles. Personally I think quarreling and squabbling is stupid, and I am sure that if most married couples could hear how ridiculous they sound they would be more compatible.
So, I made my three stars, all in one family. They are, a middle age couple and a pretty boy-struck teen age daughter. The setting, is a middle class home in the Los Angeles area. A plaque hung on the wall beside the door, reads; THE GORDONS, MARRIAGE CONSULTANTS.
This couple have come up with a scheme… To subsidize their pension, they will solve other peoples marriage problems. After all, they have been fighting with each other for over twenty years and are still living together … And, they think they can come up with an answer to any marriage problem.
They run ads in the local news papers. The daughter is the receptionist, and answers the phone. Also entertains the customers and sends customers back to the office, one at a time.
As the Gordons hear each side of their troubles one at a time, it is really amazing the difference in their point of view.
The first episodes I named; SNORE SENOR. A young couple have just returned from their honeymoon in Mexico. Which lasted only one night. She tells her side of the story, and why she pulled out on him in the middle of the first night.
Then his story… Quite a difference….
Anyhow the awful snoring of his wrecked the marriage. Now the Gordons must find a solution.
Note: I know that snoring has been the cause of a good many divorces. At least, one Hell of a lot of fights. Don’t you agree? Personally, I am not a snorer, and can’t stand being around anyone that does.
I called the second episode, THE SLEEP WALKER.
Lots of people walk in their sleep. Some even cuss and swear… Others talk, and the next morning remember nothing.
In this episode, a middle age couple are the customers. The lady, Mrs. Smith, is quite worried, Her husband has suddenly taken up sleep-walking. Goes around with his arms stretched out in front of him, walking around…
She is afraid to awaken him. Never awaken a sleep-walker.
Of course when you hear Mr. Smith’s side of the story, you can easily see why this gentleman slips around in the dark.
Episode three, I called, TOO MANY PETS.
This middle age couple is really in trouble. Mr. Honeyfunkle, complains about his wife having too many pets… Her big new vicious dog, has just bit a piece out of his leg. She has a Coon, and a talking Minor bird. A frog that she keeps in the refrigerator and a catfish in the swimming pool that bit him on the hand… And now, she wants a horse!
But, wait till you hear, Mrs. Honeyfunkle ‘s side of the story.
Also, the solution.
The title to the next one I was going to write, is; YOU KNOW.. YOU KNOW…
So many people any more can’t carry on a conversation, without using this awful phrase, with every other breath. Even my darling daughter Alberta, picked up the habit somewhere along the way. Every other breath, would be a you know… you know,
And do you know something? She didn’t even know she was doing it.. And I guess the habit grew so gradually that even Lorin didn’t realize what she was saying.
A year ago last summer when I stayed up there, I had a good long talk with that sweet lady. She didn’t realize what she was saying, until I began using the phrase every time she did. She couldn’t believe what she was doing… But when she did, she realized how ridiculous it sounded. Before I left there saying this was a no no… I hope she hasn’t picked it up again.
I made up a long list of titles that I thought would make a good episode. With a bunch of these, after reading, seeing, or directing the three I wrote, most any good writer could keep up the good work for years. And least I know I could, and I would also bet that you could do the same.
Outside of a few short stories, this about covers everything I have written.
Haven’t written anything new for the last two years. But I have been busy.
I decided that I was as good a writer as I ever would be, so instead of composing something new, I would go over the old and see what I could do with it.
I have put in many hundreds of hours, in these last two years, going over and over these novels. Re-writing most of them altogether, and making corrections on most every page of the rest, Then I had a Photo copy made of everything. At least most everything… So not only have I spent a lot of time on them, but also quite a bit of loot… At least about as much as I could afford. Living on my S.S. isn’t a life of luxury.
Now I have suitcases full of the stuff under my bed. Maybe I am still a piss poor writer, but it is about the best I can do.
You told me up in Idaho, then again in your last letter, that if anything should happen to me, you would like to have my stories and if you should sell them, you would share with the rest of the clan.
It is very difficult for me, to act as my own agent. Living in a trailer and moving around all the different seasons, and having no permanent address, makes it almost impossible. Most publishers usually take two or three months to give you an answer… Several years ago, I sent of a couple of manuscripts to publishers, and they were never returned. Got lost in the mail, or, their answers. Don’t know which… Your mail just can’t keep up to you, when you are moving around like I do.
I guess your address in Boise, is quite permanent. Correct? Would you like to act as my agent? Would you like to read a few of the finished product?
If you would like to act as my agent, I will appoint you to this position. Making everything all legal. So if I should happen to kick off some dark night, you could go right ahead and promote the stories. If they turn out to be worthless on the market, my kids and grand-kids, and so on down the line, can at least read the stories and say… “He was a Piss Poor writer, but one Hell of a story teller.”
As I have been teaching myself how to write, I have also made a study of how agents operate. Maybe I will be able to help you a lot.
Many publishers will not deal direct with a writer, but only through a dependable agent. They and what they print and pay, are all listed in the book, THE WRITERS MARKET. ,
They cost about twenty bucks.. I have bought a new one each year, for at least the last six or seven years. Didn’t get a new one since eighty three. I could send it too you… It’s a big book and has most of the information that you will need.
Most every agent, charges a ten percent fee. Five more for foreign jobs. There are lots of them listed in the book. Also, in the magazine, WRITER’S MARKET.
To get this show on the road, I think the first sale we make, you and I should split right down the middle, At least the down payment, which is usually several thousand dollars.
Just work on this in your spare time. Don’t count any chickens, etc.
I think the first to offer, is, THE SANCTUARY, and WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER?
These stories are right in tune with the times. They could be sold as one book, part one and part two… Either that, or sell them separately. The publisher could also, come out with, THE SANCTUARY, then follow up with, WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER? They should know which is best. Also two for one, should give them a break.
I think I had better call it a day, for now. Write and give me your ideas about this. Maybe we can get the show on the road.
BYE BYE, for now