WESTERN FICTIONEERSCongratulations to Six-Gun Justice Podcast co-host Richard Prosch for winning the election to become President of Western Fictioneers—an organization of professional authors of western novels and short stories. Below is Rich's open letter to the organization...
I started writing stories when I was nine years old. One of the first was about a cowboy whose horse got stuck in the mud. I don’t remember a lot about the character or how he wound up in the predicament he did. What I do know is I had a lot of fun describing that mud. It sloshed and splooshed and stunk like cowpies in July. I used words like muck and mire, and when I ran out, I cracked the old thesaurus on the shelf for more. My mud oozed and trickled and even percolated in the sun. More than half the story was about that darned mud. My fifth-grade teacher gave me an A, said the tale had great depth, but with a side note she asked, “What happened to the cowboy?”
Oh, yeah. I got so busy describing the mud, I forgot about him and his trusty horse.
As an adult writer that memory haunts me. Not so much when I’m putting pen to paper, but instead, when I’m not. Depth of setting is important, in the written story, and in life. But sometimes I get so busy thinking and talking about the writing environment, the blogs, the podcasts, the social media feeds, the Kindle boards, the signings, the conventions, the organizations…I forget about actually writing the stories. What happened to the cowboy?
Western Fictioneers is first and foremost, an organization of writers—fiction writers. Storytellers. That’s what we do. There’s an over-abundance of groups in today’s world that will tell you how to design a book cover or market yourself. At Western Fictioneers, we write stories. We help each other write stories. We encourage each other. We learn from each other.
We get each other unstuck from the mud.
In this, our 10th Anniversary year, I can honestly say without the membership and support of Western Fictioneers, I never would have continued to write fiction in a serious way. I always dabbled, probably would have continued dabbling. But without the early support of this group through blogs, personal emails, and the anthology collections, I never would have made an honest go at it.
So, what happened to the cowboy? After more than 40 years, I’m gonna tell you. With the help of his friends, he got unstuck. With his trusty horse by his side, he went on to help others get unstuck. At the end of the day, the mud dried up, and everybody had a party.
That’s how I’d like to think of my time with you as Western Fictioneers’ president. We’re going to help each other get unstuck. While the mud dries up, we’re going to write stories, share stories, encourage new stories, and talk about the craft of fiction. Young, old, new to writing, or an old hand, we all have new things to learn and new stories to tell.
And just maybe we’ll sneak that party in as well.
President, 2020 - 2021