Friday, January 9, 2009

First things first

Mr. Barnwell has requested that readers of his blog, er, book, er, blog put their comments in this section here at the top of the blog. He will entertain any and all questions and comments as long as they are relevant and interesting. Mr. Barnwell alone will decide what constitutes relevant and interesting.

Note. If you are a first-time visitor to this blog, skip this section for now. Go at once -- do not pass GO, do not collect $200 -- to the next post, the one entitled “Caveat Emptor!” and do not come back here until you want to leave a comment or read the comments of others. Mr. Barnwell feels that this will be the best way to interact with you. Also, he didn’t want to have to be checking his individual chapters constantly for comments. As you can see, it’s all about him, him, him and not about you, you, you. Oh, and he wishes to thank you in advance for your cheerful cooperation.

If you are the independent type who doesn’t like to be told what to do, go ahead and read the first couple of comments below to get a flavor of what you’re in for. But it’s prolly probably better to get bogged down in the book itself than in the comments, at least until you have been exposed to enough of Mr. Barnwell’s twisted mind book to decide for yourself how you want to proceed.


Here are the first two comments received, along with Mr. Barnwell’s replies:

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Dear Billy Ray Barnwell

So far, I have read the Title Page and the Note From the Publisher (my eyes misted up with joy at what lies ahead) and would continue if I didn’t have to take Snuggles and Buddy back home this morning because last night I forgot to bring their dog food to my house whence I returned because I cannot sleep well in any bed other than my own and the dogs need a fenced yard in which to do their business so I don’t have to stay up or get up in the middle of the night, get them to hold still while I attach their leashes, then wander around a strange yard with no flashlight because my family let all their flashlights go dead and I don’t want to end up with a broken leg lying in the cold in my pajamas and my cell phone on the nightstand and no neighbor within earshot, and I will do so when I return to whatever I choose to call “normal” in my life. (January 9, 2009 7:22 AM)

Jeannelle said...

So, how long have, Mr. Barnwell....been working on this? You mean you have a whole book here on this blog? This blog is a book, then. Very cool. Mr. Barnwell, I think you should go give your opinions on my post of 2 p.m. today, entitled Poll: Reading or Writing. I’d love to know your views, considering you are now a “published” author.

I will look forward to reading this,, blog......

Good job! (January 9, 2009 1:28 PM)

Mr. Barnwell replies to comments from readers:

Pat, I completely understand the unavoidable delay caused by your dilemma with Snuggles and Buddy because I have had dogs myself starting with Tippy, a Border Collie, when I was just a kid and continuing with Sandy, a Shepherd-Collie mix, and then Frisky, another Shepherd-Collie mix, about whom my mother taught me to say, “I have a little dog named Frisky, he is a very intelligent pup, he can stand on his hind legs if you hold the front ones up” and each of those dogs lived to be three years old before they were hit by cars they were chasing so I certainly understand the need for a fence and I shudder to think about the possibility of you, make that your, ending up with a broken leg lying in the cold in your pajamas and your cell phone on the nightstand and no neighbor within earshot and may I also say that I admire your writing style immensely.

Jeannelle, rhymeswithplague posted about this book two times back in January of 2008 and even included Chapter 27 in one post as a teaser but no one seemed to take the slightest notice at the time and he also commented on your “Poll: Reading and Writing” post yesterday, not that it’s any business of mine what he does, he is an okay sort of guy when I can get him riled up about something but most of the time he is a complete drain on my creative juices and so I think I need not post my own answer on your blog as it might be somewhat repetitive but thank you for asking. (January 10, 2009 7:21 AM)

(Click on Comments below to leave a comment)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Caveat emptor!

This blog was created on January 8, 2009, by Robert H. Brague, also known as rhymeswithplague. Billy Ray Barnwell is not exactly Mr. Brague’s alter ego, but he has taken up quite a bit of space in Mr. Brague’s head for some time. The only fair thing to do, Mr. Brague reasoned, was to give Billy Ray his own blog and so clear Mr. Brague’s head once and for all. To which Billy Ray replied, “Good luck with that.”

Mr. Barnwell often attempts to take over Mr. Brague’s thought processes. For example, Mr. Brague is not now nor has he ever been a fan of Elvis Presley. Still, Mr. Barnwell suggested to Mr. Brague that Elvis Presley’s birthday (about which Mr. Brague posted earlier today, also at Mr. Barnwell’s suggestion) would be an excellent time to show the world Mr. Barnwell’s book, Billy Ray Barnwell Here (The Meanderings of a Twisted Mind).

If you choose to read Billy Ray Barnwell Here (The Meanderings of a Twisted Mind) from absolute beginning to absolute end, which Mr. Barnwell highly recommends, you may find that Mr. Barnwell is taking up more and more space in your own head as well.

Comments are neither requested nor encouraged, but if you choose to leave any, Mr. Brague is not responsible for whether Mr. Barnwell might respond, or how.




The Meanderings of a Twisted Mind


Billy Ray Barnwell

(Not a memoir...Not an autobiography...Not Grapevine, Texas)

A Truly-Godawful Book



The manuscript that became this book was found in a manila envelope on the ground next to a dumpster behind a Waffle House restaurant in Crabapple, Georgia, on a cold night in January by Melvin, the cook, who was taking a smoke break. Attached to the envelope was a yellow Post-It note containing the following message: “Whoever finds this, you can have it, do what you want with it, I don’t care any more, I’m going to South Padre.” Eventually the manuscript made its way into our hands. An extensive search for its apparent author, the hitherto unknown Billy Ray Barnwell, has proven fruitless to date.

Because we believe A this is an important work that may become a modern literary masterpiece and B it will change the way you think about the English language and C it deserves wide distribution, the book we mean, not the English language, that and the fact that we couldn’t pay any editor enough money to touch it, we have decided to publish it virtually unchanged from the form in which it was found and furthermore we plan to hold all monetary proceeds from sales of the book in an interest-bearing account for the talented but elusive Mr. Barnwell until we locate either him or someone willing to admit to being one of his legal heirs, whichever comes first.

The preceding sentence-paragraph is written in what will surely become known to the general reading public as “Barnwellese” just as soon as Mr. Barnwell acquires a general reading public. That’s where you come in. Read. Enjoy. Tell others. This unusual but compelling book, which includes blurbs written by the author, a first sentence that is 274 words long, and not one but two dedications, deserves a wide audience.

One caveat: do not expect Mr. Barnwell’s writing to be burdened with conventional punctuation; as a matter of fact, not much about Mr. Barnwell is conventional. That said, we haven’t enjoyed a book so much since The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N.

--Robert H. Brague
President, Godawful Books


Billy Ray Barnwell here, here are some blurbs you might want to put on the dust jacket unless you decide to use a plain brown wrapper instead, I prefer the plain brown wrapper, either that or a nice bright dayglow orange, or if you could pry that guy Fabio which is pronounced FOBBY-oh away from making those commercials for fake butter for a few seconds maybe a picture of him ripping at the bodice of a voluptuous but extremely willing maiden, and in case you are wondering, I made up the blurbs myself because a lot of these people are dead and the ones who aren’t would not return my calls.

“Step aside, P. Diddy and Britney Spears, pop music is dead. There’s going to be a new idol in America and his name is Billy Ray Barnwell.” --Simon, Paula, and Randy

“More fascinating than Bulfinch’s Mythology. Mr. Morris would be so proud.” --Elizabeth Beaver

“As refreshing as a snow-covered mountain in Alaska, as spectacular as a waterfall at Lake Louise, better than algebra.” --Belmont Brockett

“Any book that mentions me is simply fabulous, dahling, but this one is much more profound than Marcel Proust’s. I couldn’t put it down.” --Zsa Zsa Gabor

“Who?” --Bobby Clyde McWhorter

“Who?” --Elizabeth “Pie” Holland Griffin-Bonazzi

“Who?” --George Barton

“No comment.” --Horace Earl Triplett


There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

--Julius Caesar, IV, iii

by Mr. William Shakespeare
(or maybe it was
Mr. Christopher Marlowe)


Billy Ray Barnwell here, Udella Mabry helped me sign on, if I were going to write me a novel, which I’m not, please note the subjunctive mood, which my old English teacher Mr. D. P. Morris back in Grapevine Texas said indicates an impossibility as in if I were you, which I also am not and could never be, I might call it Fifty Ways To Love Your Loser or something equally catchy but I sure wouldn’t sit down to a computer like this one and start pecking away at the keys like some Banty rooster trying to get his daily supply of corn kernels, no sir, no ma’am, no way, Ho-zay, and as the late great Tennessee Ernie Ford used to say on the TV, bless your little pea-pickin’ heart, no, I’d get me a big stack of yellow legal-size pads with blue lines and go out on the screen porch with a nice glass of sweet tea and proceed to do it using pen and paper the old-fashioned way, after all if it was good enough for President or rather ex-President Bill Clinton, the part about the yellow pads, I mean, not the screen porch and the sweet tea which he prolly can’t get either one up there in Harlem, then it’s good enough for me, and speaking of the old-fashioned way, how he could think of anything to write about except Monica Lewinsky is beyond me, it’s certainly what all the rest of us think about when his name comes up, and the kindest thing I guess we can say about that is at least it kept his mind off Hillary.

Wow, would you look at that, 274 words already and that was just the first sentence. I could learn to like this, I bet my novel will just fly by on this computer, not that I’m going to write one, novel I mean. You know, I learned so much from Mr. D. P. Morris, he wrote really helpful notes in red ink on the top of our papers, one time in the ninth grade my friend Bobby Clyde McWhorter got a paper back from him that said “Bobby, you need help in the areas of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, thought, reasoning, punctuation, and penmanship. It also would be nice if you researched your material” and another that said “The only reason I gave you the 60, I knew this had to be your work, because you could not have possibly copied it from someone else” and another that said “Someday, you will understand the reason for this grade” and another that said “Bobby, I know you have a talent for writing, I hope you find it before your senior year.” Whoever is going to be editing this book, do not add any commas in the previous sentence, I know where you think they belong but I like it better the way it is, I think it has the ring of au-then-tici-ty, plus its length is right nice too. Bobby Clyde was a true friend, even though there was that one time in the tenth grade when he tried to get me to cheat during an algebra test and give him the answers, which I of course refused to do and he wouldn’t talk to me for about a month, he was also really good at playing basketball and after we finally graduated from dear old G.H.S. I heard later he went into the army and became a guard at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington D.C. for a while but I eventually lost track of him. All the papers I ever got back from old D. P. as we called him, not to his face, said “Great work” on them or if they didn’t I have blocked it out.

Mr. Morris, if you are listening somewhere up there in English teacher heaven, I have already written over 600 words and am still in the Preface so I feel that I am well on my way to fame and fortune, and by the way when I got to the university I took some kind of a test which they then let me skip both semesters of Freshman English and go right into Survey Of World Literature at the sophomore level taught by Dean Ruth Ferguson who was the local big deal because both of her two sons had been presidents of the local chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, whatever that is, but one thing that still irks me about that whole experience is they wouldn’t give me but three hours credit instead of the full six, the university I mean, not Dean Ferguson’s two sons, which I still think was grossly unfair, I think if you’re going to let a person skip both semesters then you should let him have the credit for both semesters, don’t you? and if you’re still listening, Mr. Morris, what I loved most about your class was when we diagrammed all those sentences but I have heard they don’t teach English that way any more, well it’s their loss, but thanks for your expert tutelage.

.#.#. .#.#. .#.#.

It is now the next day and I have to say right off the bat that my total output yesterday was 666 words which gave me pause, what with that being the number of the Anti-Christ and all, so I went back and added some more stuff in there this morning to get around such an unfortunate start, after all Ann Landers the famous advice columnist said if life hands you a lemon make lemonade, I underlined the added part and I promise I will try not to do any more adding in the future and just let each day’s output stand on its own. Since this isn’t going to be a novel, maybe it will be my autobiography instead with the names changed to protect the guilty, ha ha ha, that’s supposed to be a joke, either that or a journal of personal reminiscences, I read that phrase once in a magazine, or wouldn’t it be a hoot if it turns out to be a scientific treatise or some sort of historical romance or maybe I’ll just try my hand at a few poems or some nice short stories. I can hardly wait to see what it turns out to be. It just occurred to me that Mama used to get a funny look on her face sometimes in the middle of our conversations and say you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, I often wondered why she did that, but I have always believed I might could maybe make a 50% cotton, 50% polyester purse out of just about anything if I put my mind to it, so anyways I will just plunge on ahead and give it my best shot and if I am successful or rather I should say when I am successful you may be reading these words somewhere ages and ages hence, as the famous poet Robert Frost might say, and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.