Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry and Happy whatever you celebrate....from Writers4Higher

The year's-end holiday in my family revolves around the celebration of Christmas. Wrapping gifts with the involvement of a pet (usually a cat, as the dogs historically only got involved if food was involved), a bit of baking, seeing family and friends, and southern comfort food. Okay, so the traffic makes me a little more nutso than usual, but I do get a kick from the random discussions with complete strangers in the toy aisle. This year, a few of us gathered around a robotic dinosaur that could be "taught to belch and fart." Wow. Sometimes there truly are no words. :)

I am so very fortunate. Period. In all ways. In regards to the Writers4Higher blog, I have been impressed by the posts of my fellow authors and others affiliated with this writers' life. 

The media would have us believe that people are inherently evil, intent on destruction. This blog confirms the opposite: a far greater number of humans are kind, willing to give their time and gifts to uplift, sustain, and inspire. 

I thank you all for that. We are staging our own quiet version of a revolution.

May you have a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate. Allow yourself to take a deep breath and enjoy.

See you all in January, with more talented authors and writer-ly folks.

Rhett DeVane
southern fiction author and blogmaster 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Writers4Higher features author Jeff Weddle

Hi Jeff. Welcome to Writers4Higher.

First of all...perfect shirt!

1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I am a native Kentuckian living in Alabama. My family has been here for eleven years and we love it. My day job is teaching in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. I am a pretty average guy. Wife. Son and daughter. Cat. Dog. I practice Tae Kwon Do, as do both of my kids. I also happen to be the son of a writer. My mother, Laura Weddle, has published two short story collections and I’m proud to be following her lead with my new collection from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, When Giraffes Flew.

The strongest influences on my writing are probably Charles Bukowski, Barry Hannah, Raymond Carver and Richard Brautigan. I have loved short stories since I was old enough to read them and was fortunate enough to take classes from Barry Hannah when I was a graduate student at Ole Miss about twenty-five years ago. Barry taught me a lot about narrative voice and the delicious ways in which humor and simple human tragedy can comingle. While I don’t write every day, I have been a steady writer for many years. This new book is a culmination of my efforts over a long stretch.

2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

When Giraffes Flew is my fourth book. My first, Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of The Outsider and Loujon Press (University Press of Mississippi, 2007) won the Eudora Welty Prize and my others are a poetry collection and a co-authored text on negotiation strategies for librarians. I’ve also published a fair amount of fiction and poetry in little magazines over the years. With Giraffes, I feel like I’m on a roll and am looking at putting together another story collection maybe in a couple of years. I might get ambitious and try my hand at a novel.

3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I am a teacher by profession, so I hope I can say that my job is helping others. The fact that I teach in a program that educates future librarians makes me feel like I’m helping not just those that I teach, but also the communities they will help when they find jobs as librarians. I also do volunteer work for the Tuscaloosa City Schools, most recently teaching Tae Kwon Do to elementary school kids. I have also taught classes in Book Arts and Origami for the kids.

Do you have a taste for the bizarre, abstract, and peculiar? This eclectic collection of short stories will tantalize your imagination and your sense of propriety.

Here you will find exploding chickens, flying giraffes, and one very ugly monkey. Barbers sick with love and school spirit. A mailman with a vendetta against junk mail. Mayhem. Love gone wrong. Lost souls of all stripes. Join Jeff Weddle—Eudora Welty Prize winning author—for twenty-nine excursions into the dark heart of contemporary American letters. When Giraffes Flew is sure to grab you and not let go.

 A blurb from a reviewer:
"Weddle's stories are dark gems. When cracked open they reveal the pathos of the twisted light that governs the strangeness of the human psyche."
George Eklund, The Island Blade, Poems, and In the Arms of the Fog, Poems in Spanish and English

Where may I find Jeff Weddle?

Thank you, Jeff.

Rhett DeVane

southern fiction author and blogmaster

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

Deep Thoughts, Bruises and All. First of all, Happy Holidays . No matter your outlook or what you celebrate, I wish you renewed ...