Vaughn C. Hardacker here. Several years ago (2004 as a fact) I was a member of a writer’s group that met at the Exeter Public Library in Exeter New Hampshire. We were a diverse group in what we wrote and over time became a clique. One evening a new person
joined us. He wore a cowboy hat, boots, and all of his his clothes were as black as Johnny Cash’s. He introduced himself as Ronnie Jay and said he wasn’t sure that he’d fit in with us as he wrote country music songs. He also said that he’d just moved to New Hampshire from Nashville, Tennessee. That week he listened and when we broke up, most of us doubted we’d ever see him again. Much to our surprise Ronnie returned for the next meeting and said that he didn’t want to attend empty handed so he’d written a poem. My head filled with visions of a country ballad filled with drinking, jailhouse blues, and lamentation over lost love. What we got was anything but. In fact in a single page of poetry Ronnie hit a note within all of us, especially since most of us were unpublished and those of us who were had either self-published or published in online eZines.
Here’s what Ronnie read.
The Unknown Writer
I’m an unknown writer
Creative as they come
But, there’ll come a day, I dare say
I’ll be a famous one
I’ll write a #1 best-seller
And oh, the riches it will bring
It’ll sell more in every bookstore
Than Grisham, Crichton or King
I know you won’t believe me
And I can’t make you a believer
But, if I don’t believe in myself
No one else will either
Yes, I know it sounds impossible
To reach those heights of fame
And I realize that I may never
Be a household name
But, it doesn’t really matter
If my dreams do or don’t come true
I’m still gonna keep on writing
Because that’s what writers do
When he was finished reading, the entire room was silent. He sat back and said, “I guess you don’t like it.” I replied, “Just the opposite. You hit the nail square on the head. In a few simple verses you have voiced how every writer feels at one time or another.” Then I asked him if I could submit it to a newsletter a group of us were publishing. He gave his approval as long as he was given credit for it. I readily gave him my word that I would ensure that his name was listed as the author. Ronnie disappeared after that meeting, he had mentioned he was considering returning to Nashville as that was the capital of the country music scene, and we assumed that’s what he did.
I have not heard of Ronnie since so I’m publishing his ode to writing hoping that should he ever see this, he’ll approve. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never heard any of his songs (at least I don’t think I have) but I never forgot him and how he hit the bulls eye and got to the heart of how many of us writers feel. Then again, I would imagine the struggle to get your work published (recorded?) must be as tough for a song-writer as it is for a mystery/thriller writer. So Ronnie, in the event you should see this blog, get in touch with me.