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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

In the Burlington depot, Red Cloud Nebraska - home of Willa Cather.

The old Burlington RR depot, Red Cloud
The folks at Red Cloud really looked after me on the last day of my Nebraska book tour. Special mention to Tracy Tucker and Jackie Lemmer for that. I don't think they had any idea I used to be a railroad brakeman, but they put me up in this fabulous old depot - an inspired choice that truly thrilled me.

Last time I was around the place it was 1993 and 140 attendees at the Willa Cather Conference (Hastings) gathered there for an evening concert of World War I songs, the week's central focus being 'One of Ours', the book based on the military exploits (and death) of Cather's cousin. I remember being terribly moved when everyone broke into 'Over There', a song which I'd always construed as jingoistic but which now came across as touchingly hopeful, and therefore quite tragic. And now, here I was, 23 years later, eating my dinner at that window under the red signal. I have to say (yet again) that the Willa Cather people down there have created a world-class set-up - and there's a lot more to come as the next phase in the development takes shape: green rooms for the theatre, apartments to rent, and all the refurbishments done in style with quality materials. The woodwork is just beautiful. (I don't think I was supposed to have seen that, but I did - somehow.)

My talk at the opera house went well - a good turn-out, an appreciative audience, and a decent number of sales. I really was quite sad to take my farewell so soon after winding things up, but I had to dash back to Lincoln and get a decent night's sleep before my flight Sunday morning.

I got home Monday morning and was in the dentist's' place this morning (Tuesday) with my mouth full of that gooey blue stuff they use to take impressions.

What did I achieve in twenty days? Substantial sales, a lot of good will, and a probable lecture tour in 2017, that being the year Nebraska celebrates 150 years of statehood. Made a few more friends too. So thank you, Cornhuskers.


  1. I'm pleased to hear it went so well for you. The possibility of a lecture tour in 2017 is proof that all writers need to move out of their comfort zones and make things happen to start a chain reaction. Well done.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I think you're right. The fact is, when people see my Nebraska books in front of them they tend to pick them up. And they do love to hear a foreigner telling them what a great place they live in.


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