“The rutted road wound down. Other roads branched off this one and other yet, like capillaries bleeding off civilization into the wilderness, and finally he was deep in the harrikin.
Untitled, Oil on Canvas, by William Gay, Passage from “Where Will You Go When Your Skin Will Not Contain You?” Time Done Been Won’t Be No More
Again, I want to thank WellRead Magazine and creator, publisher, editor, Mandy Haynes, for taking on a massive project with such a limited amount of time. I think I ended up sending in almost fifty images of old photos and images of William Gay’s folk-art, plus close to 17,000 words. It’s a lot to tackle on its own, but it was by far not the only project WellRead supported in the month of November. So….gratitude.
The connections between William’s prose and his paintings are simply incredible. For me, I felt as if I was immersing myself into one of his settings and meeting his characters. I hope I articulated this well for his fans and readers. It’s been an ongoing honor to work with the William Gay Archive, Team Gay, and now with WellRead Magazine. For the final part of the series on William Gay, WellRead will be publishing a never-before-seen excerpt from Gay’s first novel, The Long Home. This piece was cut by the publisher. In addition, the roundtable discussion with Team Gay will be included in December’s edition, so be on the lookout for more from WellRead and William Gay.
For years, I wanted the space to write about supernaturalism in William Gay’s works. I have had the honor of lecturing at writing conferences and festivals, teaching, as well as writing short essays on this topic, but always within a word-count or a limited time to speak. Unless I wanted to self-publish (which I still may do), I would have to find an online journal or magazine willing to entertain my obsession. The beauty of online publishers is that they tend to allow for longer pieces. But even online publishers balked at what I was proposing. They have to be judicious because every page adds up or takes away from another author. I get it.
I realize I was asking a lot. I wanted as many pages as it took to cover this subject. I wanted colored images of Gay’s paintings along with passages of his prose that complemented those images on full pages. I wanted the cover. Did I mention I wanted a lot?
One thing I’ve learned over the years of writing and working with publishers is to ask for the moon first. They may not agree. They may laugh at you a little for your extreme ask. Typically, I find that if what you are writing about is unique and provides insight into something new or reimagined, they will try to make you happy. My advice is to go ahead and ask. If they say no, hey, you’re a writer and familiar with rejection.In my experience, the publisher will try and meet you halfway.
Well Read Magazine has given me the freedom to write this piecethe way I wanted to write it.I got my wish list and William Gay got the cover he deserves. I couldn’t be happier. These are the moments where all those rejections and “thank you for your submission, but unfortunately…blah, blah, blah…you know the drill” makes it worth it. Don’t give up.
To read my article in full visit: Well Read Magazine. It’s a great read for Halloween. I cover Gay’s haunted forest, the Harrikin, ghosts, haints, fortune tellers, witches, necromancers, and so much more. If you enjoy my article, please consider sharing with others. Authors get known through social media and every post helps get their name out there.
A few months ago, I received a FB message from the editor-in-chief of WELL READ Magazine, Mandy Haynes, asking if I would be interested in writing a feature on the late, Southern Author, William Gay. If you know anything about me, that’s like asking a kid if he/she wants cupcakes for breakfast. Would I ever?!?!
There’s so much to say about William, from his lyrical prose, his artwork, his Southern legendarium, to where he places among the great Southern authors. I’ve wanted one place to house all of these topics for years. And it’s with the utmost pleasure that I can say this wish is being fulfilled by WELL READ.Not only one article, but four!
The first article, provided by lead archivist, biographer, and friend, J.M. White, begins with when he received the news that William Gay had passed away and discusses the undertaking the archive took to gather, edit, and ultimately publish Gay’s posthumous works. This piece is an excellent foray into the archival process. Plus, there’s a real story here. What an act of love it was for Gay’s friends to endeavor upon this journey!
In 2018, I came into the picture while I was writing my master critical thesis on the speculative elements in Gay’s work. I interviewed Michael White. I haven’t been able to let go, and it was great honor to later become part of the archive.
To read the full story in WELL READ Magazine, click this LINK AND please spread the word about William Gay by posting on social media and sharing with friends.