About the Author

I’ve got nothing to call a resume.

I’ve worked, sure. Hard. I spent thirty years grinding along.

But while I have worked, have written, for decades, I have never yet published or shipped.

In boxes or backups are a few million words set to digital paper.

Go back farther, and you’ll get to layers of pulverized wood struck by ink and ribbon and key.

Stretch back to the stone age, and you’ll reach hand-written drafts, penned in a careful script I no longer possess the ability to replicate.

I was born and raised on a working ranch, smack in the center of Flyover, High Plains, USA.

There was a clutter of little towns around the ranch, weak-light stars on a sky map—but a close one was twenty miles off, and a real town was seventy.

You want civilization? Top-off the tank.

The farm that became the ranch, or a bit of both, began after the last shots of the Civil War. It hosted generations.

No longer. I am the last of my kind. The ranch is a lonesome place, now… a place of strays and skinny cattle.

It seems made for people who are able to be alone, who enjoy the quiet, who can hear awful silence, and survive.

The first horse I rode was “Hoss” and there was a dog named “Red” and a human-chasing cat named “Dammit” and… yes, it’s true. I was simply drenched in a world rich in wit and wisdom.

Also, gin-dry sarcasm.

My kind put more into human names than the pets and critters, but glance at the family Bible and it suggests… not by much.

Still, where there is life of any kind, however badly-named, there is company.

While a lizard will not speak to you, you can speak to it, or give it a voice on paper.

And if you think you cannot learn a good deal from a swallow-tail or a BB gun, you are mistaken.

For one, you learn you can kill, and that you maybe thought you wanted to—until you did. The same lesson in power goes for the use of slingshots.

And words.

I grew listening to the old-timers, mostly unkempt men who knew how to skin a cow, rope a post, and lie through their remaining teeth.

The bachelors would swing past as though wind-borne, then seem to catch on a post, and they would spin yarns and complain about everything that had ruined the world, which had once been less bleak.

They were unusual souls, speaking like time was broken and their backs were next—they always leaned on something: corral fencing, tractor tires, or their arms slung over the bed-sides of rusting pickup trucks.

Over the years, the leaning men left the world, by ones and twos, and what was left of that same world then said I should leave, in my way.

Go see the blue marble. Get rich. Find myself.

I left. I am returned. I speak now as they spoke, and learned now what they knew, but a different knowing.

Unlike those planted old-timers, my roots broke like tumbleweeds in a gale; broke by design, unstoppably fragile, snapped from the hard baked ground, and I have as much as moved, simply grown back, like so much unwanted volunteer crabgrass, bursting with half-formed new life.

That’s my curriculum vitae.

If I am not always a good man, I am a good man with certain types of tools. And sometimes… sometimes, I can find the right words to fit the right ideas.

The time’s coming to share what thirty years of writing looks like in the public glare.

Technology as it is, the time’s come a novel can be done, cover to cover, by a single body left alone.

That fits the world I was born to, though the world took its sweet time to tilt that way.

I see it.

I see the open window.

It will close, and fast—time will bang the sill and probably break the glass.

Now I count the days before I can jump into a sloppy puddle of muddy water, boots on, both ready and not. Alone and not.

Like the old men used to say, leaning and spitting through their wide stances: the devil take the hindmost.

Until we meet on that other side of never…

WSB

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