Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Fighting about writing?

We’ve been writing together for 17 years, about the same amount of time we’ve been a couple. The two are definitely related. We wrote our first book—The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance—in 1999 to see if we could refocus, or at least constructively channel, some of the dysfunctional energy that had already broken us apart once. It worked, and we’ve got the emotional scars, and books, to prove it. Here’s a Top 10 list of our most memorable writing fights and actual, applicable lessons extracted from each.

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Discovering the present in the past

Can we learn from the saga of Bonnie and Clyde and find ways to rebuild the working class or will we continue driving full speed into our own ambush? As Mary Wollstonecraft — a writer, philosopher and staunch advocate of women’s rights (and mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein) — once famously said, “people are rendered ferocious by their misery." 

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A story of five dollars

I was grateful to be so vividly reminded that even the smallest gesture—in this case, a single five dollar bill—can become something consequential. Even if most of the time, we don't see the immediate impact of our actions, it reminds me that every little bit of kindness is important.

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Bonnie and Clyde: Poverty, second chances and true love

Today is the formal release date of the new book Kathleen and I wrote together, Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation (Pumpjack Press). It’s the second book in the series (book one, Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road came out May 2017) that imagines what might have happened if the two outlaws were spared from their gruesome end and given (or, more accurately, forced) to work for the government to protect the greater good. So why pick two notorious criminals and murderers (even though many believe Bonnie never pulled a trigger herself) to anchor the series? For three reasons...

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A jailhouse interview with Clyde Barrow

Interview recorded by Royce Jenkins, a reporter for the Texas Lubbock Dispatch. 

My name is Clyde Barrow and I am a thief, a murderer and a product of wealth inequality. You may know me from the shenanigans I got caught up in with the love of my life, Bonnie Parker. Most folks think Bonnie and Clyde got cut down in a hail of bullets outside of Sailes, Louisiana in 1934, and most folks figured we got what was coming to us — neither is exactly true. 

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An evolutionist in action 

Sometimes, you get lucky and find an author that just nails it for you. The writing of Percival Everett in So Much Blue besotted me—and the story it told too, of course. And then I read Erasure, and it blew me away. I’ll return to describing my reaction to these novels, but first, permit a brief digression into how I discovered Everett. 

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Mona Gordon's ring

His face emits a shade of gray, as he is whipped by my news. Did I know when I sold Mona Gordon’s ring that my father would feel betrayed? I don’t remember, but I guess I didn’t consider the action from his point of view. Maybe this makes it a grander betrayal, but only if they come in different sizes, which they probably don’t. 

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