Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Howard Jones Tribute Poem

A prairie man.
Tall as June days.

A cabin log,
hand hewn from pioneer stock.

Crowned with silver.

A water man.
Fishing every ocean
and lake
and river
and coffee cup,
for that elusive catch,

A book man.
Reading and
writing into the pages,
and into the night.

A word man.
A fish in water.
A noon beer at Coyote Ugly.

A strong cable across
the homestead's long driveway.
Protector of sod-house-dreams and
lifetimes of labor.

A battler against the elements,
the status quo.

A river man.
Portraiting the mighty Mississip.
Mighty cousins, both.

A tall tree rising above the others.

Monday, June 15, 2009


A great man has passed away. Howard Jones, author of two Savage Press, books left us last night. He was a great, great man, a mentor, a friend, and a source of inspiration. He is missed. I loved him like a father. He will be missed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


A Senate Race of Our Own

I wish Wisconsin had an eternal senate race of our own.

That Dang Minnesota. They always get the good stuff.

Minnesota got Rich Gannon for a quarterback in 1992. What did Wisconsin get? That crappy
Brat Favre.

Minnesota got idealist Hubert Humphrey. We got mean Joe McCarthy.

Minnesota got the exotic and elegant loon. We got the lowly robin.

Wisconsin did win one. Minnesota got the gopher. Wisconsin the badger.
Badgers…now that’s a bad ass state animal. Way better than a gopher. What state in its right mind would want a gopher as a state animal?

Oh, I don’t know….how about a state that can’t pick a senator? I’m guessing that any state that selects the gopher as its state animal deserves to have a perpetual senate race.

You know what I wish? I wish Wisconsin’s most famous actor, Orson Wells, who was born in Kenosha, would challenge Herb Kohl or Russ Feingold in an election. That would be newsworthy enough to rid the world of Minnesota’s attention grabbing eternal senate race.

Oh, I forgot…Orson Wells is dead. But then, so is Norm Coleman. So what’s the diff?

That Minnesota. They get the good governors too, like that awesome politician and diplomacy icon, Jesse “The Body” Ventura” who wants to waterboard Dick Cheney. Wisconsin got Tommy Lafollette or was it Robert Thompson. I can’t recall…some governor….oh yeah, now I remember. Wisconsin got Nelson Dewey that famous governor who came up with the Dewey Decimal system that the whole world (except the United States) uses as a system of measurement. I may be a millimeter off on this one.

So, there you have it, I’ve got a serious case of Minnesota envy. I should just move to Minnesota and get it over with. Put an end to my miserable Wisconsin residency.

But I just can’t do it. I just love living in a land where the last word in the state is sin.

Life is good. Let’s make it better. I’m Savage, and I’m done.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Here's how it goes in publishing sometimes.

Got an interesting query letter from a fellow in Michigan. He has a "railfan" book about Michigan railroads. I was curious, interested in looking at the work. As I was on the road working, I'd opened his query in webmail and didn't delete it with all the SPAM that floods in. Today, back in the office, I looked for his email...not there.

Sometimes the circumstances of publishing can derail a plan. A letter gets lost. An email gets deleted by mistake. I remember Tony Jelich of Solon Springs, Wisconsin stopped by the office to talk to me about publishing his book, Stop and Smell the Cedars. I was out getting the mail. He went directly to Arrowhead Printing in Superior and gave them the disk to have the book printed up. It was a good book. It is a good book. I would have liked to publish it.

But for a trip to the post office.

So, the morel (I've been looking for mushrooms lately) of the story is: Don't feel too discouraged when a publisher or editor does not show interest in your work. It may be that she/he deleted your email accidentally, or the envelope fell between the wall and the desk, or the dog ate it.

Keep pitching your ideas. Be relentless. Back in the day, when I was freelancing in a big way, I had a bon mot taped to my wall: 10% INSPIRATION. 90% PERSPIRATION.

Keep on keeping on. And, if you know a railfan author from Michigan who might have queried Savage Press recently, do your part to get us reconnected, please.