The golden boy of Hollow Rock, Tenn.
The golden boy of Hollow Rock, Tenn.
Summer flowers in Bruceton, Tenn.
"Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile." ~ William Cullen Bryant
My wife and I took a drive along the Foothills Parkway near Walland, Tenn., on Oct. 14. The fall colors are exploding all around.
A large digital pigment print of Memphis photographer William Eggleston’s iconic tricycle image fetched $578,500 at a Christie’s auction in March.
Eggleston took the photo in surburban Memphis in 1970.
Forty-two years later, buddy Tom Graves and I spent the first afternoon of summer re-creating Eggleston’s famous photo with a Big Wheel instead of a tricycle. I’m delighted with my re-creation.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So here’s to you, Mr. Eggleston.
Tom and I ended the afternoon with a visit to the Lisa Kurts Gallery, where several of Eggleston’s photos are on display.
Part-time jobs were hard to come by as a youngster in tiny Bruceton, Tenn. As a result, I developed a healthy entrepreneurial spirit.
I remember selling lemonade and comic books next to a shade tree in my front yard. I recall going door-to-door in my neighborhood selling Grit newspapers, seed packets and holiday cards.
In my teen years, my brother and I operated a successful lawn-mowing service in the summer, raked leaves in the fall and shoveled snow in the winter.
That spirit carried into my mid-20s when I was a partner in a sports memorabilia store for a few years, and it resurfaced again in my mid-30s when I developed an online travel site.
Now, on the back side of my 40s, I’m at it again.
Author Tom Graves and I recently founded a literary agency called The Devault-Graves Agency. We specialize in helping authors convert backlisted books into ebooks.
Digital publishing can bring new life to these backlisted titles and help authors cultivate a generation of new readers.
Our motto: “No good book deserves to fall into obscurity. We can bring your book to life in the digital world.”
Tom and I have spent the past several months carefully developing our business plan. Now we are in negotiations with several authors to represent them and their books.
Our agency will e-publish the books to numerous ebook outlets, including Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Reader, iPad, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Kobo and others.
Authors can do it themselves, but all the different formats can drive them crazy, not to mention take them away from their precious writing time.
For a standard 15 percent of an author’s sales, we handle and monitor the entire process.
My niece Katarina gets ready to take a stab at her first birthday cake on June 3.
Happy birthday, sweet girl.
If you find yourself tripping over common grammar situations while writing, you should pick up the latest book by Joe Hayden, associate professor of journalism at the University of Memphis.
The Little Grammar Book: First Aid for Writers is a concise guide that dispenses grammar advice in a breezy style that won’t intimidate you.
Hayden addresses punctuation, comma splices, sentence fragments, subject-verb mismatches, and a whole lot more.
"Grammar matters because there will always be a need for clear, substantive writing," Hayden writes. "Lawyers, bankers, administrators, journalists and virtually all other professional people and organizations have to communicate with power and precision."
"Think you’ll ever read imo or lol in a stock report? Get real.”
Hayden, one of my favorite colleagues in the U of M journalism department, illustrated his own book, using simple but effective cartoon-style drawings. (I used to wonder why he doodled so much during faculty meetings.)
It’s a refreshing, highly useful book.
Everyone needs a first-aid kit at home.
And every writer needs Hayden’s first-aid advice for writers.
Grab a copy of his book and avoid the “grambulance.”