James D Doss.
This man is officially one of my all time favorite authors. He’s been writing for, well, ever you say? My most sophisticated and non-grouchy reply…..Have you seen how many books are in the library? And I swear they seem to add more every day! At this rate I will be lucky to read them all before I pass on to greener pastures..and yes, I do believe as the lusty, well tanned, powerful, and barely-there loin covered Imhotep, “Death is just the beginning.”
So back to James, Mr. Doss, one of the best fiction writers I’ve come across to date (having only worked through a small section of the library at this point). The man penned the Charlie Moon Mysteries. Stone Butterfly is the work propelling me into his fan club of one. (Not like I’d actually join a real fan club. Hello? Lame. But if you decide to read his novels and want to join my non-lame fan club, I’ll consider it for a small monthly fee. Not. Joking.)
James D. Doss is originally from Kentucky but since moved out west. Kentucky is my dad’s home state. He (my dad, not James Doss) grew up poor, one of six children to a coal miner. (I know, it makes you think Loretta Lynn…but damn, you think her daddy was the only coal miner in Kentucky? And what was her mama thinking? Rockin the babies at night? My grandma hoed the fields while chewing tobacco and worked twice as hard as ANY coal miner with SIX kids to tend. Yes I know it’s not a competition. But still.)
I don’t know if my ancestors carried the story telling craft over from Wales when they traversed the big pond. It don’t much matter (nod to my plain spoken kin). The point is, I grew up hearing tall tales from the members of my father’s family all my life. (Of course then I did not appreciate the craft and tended to just called them lies. TamAt-toe, TamOt-toe.)
Perhaps Doss draws me into his story weaving so readily because it has a familiar tone, a recognizable cadence. Despite being a relocated hillbilly, his craft still burns like distilled Kentucky bourbon.
My theory? Once people reach a certain age, an age in which they feel tired, or admit to themselves they will never be President, or write a best seller, or be the greatest movie star EVER, or (insert dream which measures the fantastic success of your life, as compared to the normal every day successes here), they tend to fall back on the familiar. And the way this embracing-of-all-things-they-once-despised is rationalized? Maturity.
Now, I am not saying I have reached the aforementioned milestones in my life. (I plan to die long before anyone could ever label me mature. ~shivers~ Vote Tonya in 2012!)
However, since discovering Doss, and knowing I am no closer to accepting the unacceptable today as yesterday, the basis of my theory is obviously flawed.
That’s right. I said it.
Sometimes things don’t require a lot of thought and theory. Sometimes things just are.
Sometimes familiar is not just safe but also good. And sometimes familiar is even better than what the rest of world has to offer.
Having tasted quite a smorgasbord of fiction over the last well, lifetime, I can honestly say the Kentucky flavor is superior to almost all others. Spiced just right, it rolls off the tongue and through the mind like a soft whisper at midnight, making one wonder if it’s actually a work of fiction or the echoes of their own deep well.
That’s not to say Doss’ writing is low brow. Quite the opposite.
Here is an excerpt from Stone Butterfly.
“Those privileged few who are accustomed to riding in the comfort of a luxury automobile, such as a Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph or Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, may be interested to know that designers of horse trailers do not invest excessive attention to the issue of suspension. Indeed, these conveyances are apt to bounce and buck like some of the more spirited equine stock transported therein. Furthermore, the interiors tend to smell a certain way, and it is not like the sweet essence of wild roses in late May, but more like the terminal end of an herbivorous quadruped which processes hay—despite the fact that horse trailers are usually well ventilated.”
Now about the fan club fee.....