One of the interesting writers I have read recently, writes about murders in history with a keen insight and great sense of humor. Immediately, I was jealous of Keven McQueen (www.kevenmcqueen.com), who teaches English at a Kentucky university. His students are just plain lucky.
It was my brother who told me one of Keven’s books included a tale about our great-grandfather, the man who helped Confederate General John Hunt Morgan escape from Yankees in 1863. I did not know the story Keven told. It was news to me. But I never claimed to know all there was to know about my great-grandfather Pryor.
Keven was hard to find on the Internet, but once I had turned up enough rocks around his university, I stumbled across an email address for him– no doubt just for his students. So I wrote to Keven and asked if he had written about any of the murders I had written about. He soon responded. The answer was in the negative, so I had no reason to be jealous of him were not for the fact that Keven was a better writer than I.
I took out my irritable feelings toward Keven by saying that he was very hard to locate and that he needed a web site. I even offered to get more information so he could set up a site. He responded by saying that he had a friend who would put one together for him. And, by golly, he did!
So Keven has a nice web site and it has more personality than mine. Another strike against him.
The angst of writing not only includes the agony of punching keys on a computer while deciding whether you are using the correct verbal form of, say, preach. In the past tense is it “prought”? Maybe not. The angst of writing also involves reading other writers who say the same things you do, but they do it better.
Some writers such as Keven write easily, while others pound out each word with great difficulty. I used to say, and may have said it here, that the author Wendell Berry’s words are like feathers on a page while mine are like nails driven into an oak board—and bent over. On a scale that extends between Heaven and Hell, Keven is closer to Wendell than to me as a wordsmith. But I enjoy the warmer temperatures.