Monthly Archives: November 2016

writers researching and being researched nov 27/2016



news from jolly old.  a surveillance bill has passed parliament which would allow police surveillance of everybody’s internet browsing history. this from The Independent Oct. 30. all web browsing histories of everybody for the past year.

and so writers writing spy novels or westerns or dystopian works etc etc who go about u tube or elsewhere researching guns, archery exploding things poisons siege ramps mortars and other artillery, traps hanbo sticks quarterstaff moves, krav maga attack cats knife defenses limpet mines grenades claymores fertilizer explosives and so on would probably get a visit from inspector dalgliesh’s far more serious twin.

yes you see we have here a record of your internet browsing perhaps you can explain this.

oh oh, i’m a writer! this is for my spy novel, ‘the exothermic villain’!

is it really, interesting, we see you have recently visited spain.

yes, yes, part of it happens in spain where he falls afoul of several  assassins, you see, who try to kill him with a bow and arrow and he knocks them off with an umbrella gun, I can show you the manuscript! i’m a writer! I make stuff up! honest!


it’s not too far from that to:

then perhaps you shouldn’t be writing this sort of thing, should you. here is a list of approved subjects for fiction from the agency of narrative control.

pardon bad typing, I have to type with one hand. this elbow cast comes off Thursday!! then wrist cast. much better, and the title above comes from my very nice and wise orthopedist, he was putting on the elbow cast and said ‘this fixative is what we call exothermic. maybe you could find a title in that’. and I said, yes! the exothermic villain! dr. William Anderson, great guy.


to the national book awards in n. y. w/ left arm in a cast and a black eye posted November 20


typing with one hand. I was a finalist. I didn’t win.

okay I fell on a rainy pavement coming out of bookpeople in Austin where I had just been signing books and had an interview with the dallas morning news and had met june and her daughter nikki, we agreed to meet later for dinner, I walked out and came down off a curb on my left foot, slipped, broke left wrist in 2 places, bashed face on left side. off to trauma center in ambulance. june and nikki came and did all sorts of heroic driving in rainy Austin traffic to get my prescriptions get me to hotel and left me w/ hot tea and painkillers.

I ordered chili poblano soup from room service, it was the crappiest soup I ever ate. insult to injury. acid green lichen-like slime. and I had to eat that shit with one hand.

so I drove home next day after I gave reading and signed boox with black eye and emergency cast (yes I actually did, there are witnesses) and then drove home in rainstorm w/ june ahead of me, started fishtailing and spun out on hiway 483 ?? landed in arms of a big cedar, people stopped, got truck back on road, I went on home. drving w one hand leads to various disasters but the point of all this is I made it to n.y. for all the hoopla for nba. this with a grim black eye like the eye of sauron and arm in a cast.

my editor jen brehl and agent liz darhansoff deserve endless accolades and heartfelt thanks for all they did for this book, their kindness all around, and ESPECIALLY since liz had to help me put in my earrings and jen had to cut up my food. Fijate! that is true friendship.

got to stay with liz in her apartment on riverside drive and be driven around in limos!! also my bluegrass group sent me a video of them all yelling good luck! do I deserve all this, I ask myself.


statue of Eleanor Roosevelt riverside drive, liz’ ap’t one of the buildings behind.


voila riverside drive plus park body of water adjacent is the Hudson


one of the cool little elderly buildings surviving intact on r’side drive between huge ap’t bldgs., these are all off bing images.

liz a most amiable companion and good walker, we had a wonderful walk down the park alongside the Hudson ab’t two miles. I have pics of the awards dinner on my phone which I lost and then refound will post them when I get Harold t come help me. lunch w/ HarperCollins people was so nice. amazed at champagne toast from all to me! jen brehl you are amazing person and great editor. and so on I went, floundering from event to event w/ grimy cast and makeup plastered over black eye.

for the awards dinner I cut the cuff off a black sock and put it over cast, jen helped stick rhinestones on it.

so many events and harper Collins supplied limo for all, went up and down west side parkway a gazillion times (a gazillion is the total of the u.s. national debt plus five and a bag of chips).


that’s me at the reading for all finalists held at auditorium of new school for social research and I am laying down the law about something or at least the captain is, probably ‘you will fight with each other on your own time and not during my reading’. note they selected a color for the graphics to match my sweater.

some time later will include more stuff. a short time w/ Gordon lish, far too short, which reminded me why I absolutely love the guy, his stream-of -consciousness gossip is revelatory, heartening, I could have listened for hours.


lish. great image. stole it from


another jim — a kind and faithful fan. did this drawing and gave it to me at the reading in san Antonio at the twig. muy linda!



this was for congratulations for being a finalist NBA. is it cool or what/  one-handed typing here.

will keep this blog up better now that traveling is over. at the reading tues. nite in n.y. November 15th afterwards a big tall guy came up with five copies notw for me to sign — he had a great n.y. accent. he said he was a retired teacher and ‘I read your blog all the time’. I am continually astonished at the people who read this diaristic rambling thing but here’s to you, tall n.y. guy with cool accent. and twigman jim too.


RIP James R. Johnson LtC USA 1932 – 2016



This is the crest of the 141st regiment 36th division of the texas national guard, jim’s home regiment. he was very proud of it. the 141st was unstrumental in the fight for monte casino and was sent on the disastrous foray across the rapido river at the base of the mountain. few survived. one was jim’s friend Charlie meuth, another was audie murphy. jim joined in high school 1952.