And I’m Following Gilstrap, As Usual.

 By John Ramsey Miller
A few years ago one of my dearest friends, John Gilstrap, invited me to join the Kill Zone Blog Group.  I suppose I was the last of the original seven to be called on. And I got the best day, Saturday. I thought blogging would be a great way to exercise my pomposity, talk about where stories come from—life,  and to be truthful with newcomers about what the craft was really like. I hope I’ve done some of that over the past four years and whatever John thinks as to the number of blogs. I have had my dear friend, Joe Hartlaub taking every other Saturday since life started taking up more and more of my time. I’ve got nothing else left unsaid that I can think of.
I’ve truly enjoyed writing most of the articles, although sometime I had nothing in mind right up until I was against the deadline. Since I’ve had Saturdays I could write Friday evening. Sometimes I’d be into my happy hour before I realized I hadn’t posted my blog. A couple of times James Scott Bell would have one ready and he’d be kind enough to go in a day early, and let me go after him. My 5:00 constitutional is either a single malt self-served neat, a scotch on the rocks, scotch and soda, a vodka martini with big ole huge Mangarangololo olives, gin and tonic, beer, and I usually do several of one of those.
I have enjoyed great latitude blogging here, often bragging about my marvelous chickens, my grandchildren, children, my excellent dogs or the garden my wife loves tending. I was here when my Marine son was in Iraq on the Syrian Border pushing at the insurgents. Sometimes I have written a post I wished I had thought through better, or hadn’t taken on the subject matter.  I’ve been a nice guy and I’ve been a bastard when reviewing authors submitting first pages.  My sense of humor is sometimes hard-edged, my patience often too thin.  I’ve wished I knew more about this craft, but I’ve always been an instinctive writer, not a taught one because I rarely pay attention to advice or suggestions. My bad.
I will miss being here, but I’m going to keep writing at a relaxed pace (doing a book with Mark Tufo) and if it works, it works. I think it will.  Tufo is a great guy.
So far in life I’ve had several successful careers.  I had a career as a photographer. I produced 75 record album covers for major record labels. I traveled for LOOK, LIFE, PEOPLE, COUNTRY MUSIC MAGAZINE. I did a series of “formal” Death Row portraits. I loved it.
I co-owned a successful Advertising Agency in New Orleans. Loved that too.
I wrote features for the Miami Herald’s TROPIC MAGAZINE. Great fun.
I wrote a non-fiction book about the 2 Live Crew’s obscenity Trials. Weird, but interesting.
I wrote one screenplay and sold it to a major studio where it vanished into turnaround. 
I wrote a New York Times Best Seller. I followed that with six other novels. I have, last count, 2 million books in print.  A few have sold. It was all a blast.
I wrote a book with eleven other authors and it was the audio book of the year beating out Harry Potter and The BIBLE. Then I gave my slot to another author for the next book, because I thought the project was a great opportunity for me and I was convinced that another writer should have the same opportunity I’d had. I have never regretted that decision and I don’t think THE COPPER BRACELET suffered for it. Great experience.
A few months ago joined my son in a silk-screening business he started in his garage and we moved it into a large commercial space with high-falooten equipment. His wife is expecting my seventh grandchild in a week or two. It’s just the two of us, working shoulder to shoulder. Nobody knows or cares that I was a best selling author. I’m just Pops up there. I’m getting my hands dirty and having the time of my life. I’ve got Plastisol inks under my nails right now. You guys ever need custom printed T-shirts or embroidered caps to sell your books, call us.  DaVinTee is the name. We’re in Concord, NC.  Just say that you heard about us on John’s Kill Zone Good-Bye blog and get a 20% discount off our already low, low prices. 
Will I miss this blog? I think so. Will I miss all of my blog mates and readers?  Absolutely. I’ve a few years left and I plan to run through them grinning. It’s time for me to walk away and let someone else step up. Joe and the gang will keep this blog at the top, where it deserves to be. I will be lurking, and like, Gilstrap. I’ll be commenting because it’s our nature. That is the way of life and the way it should be. I’ve spent my life walking from thing to thing, and it’s kept me smiling.  
 Hell, I’m smiling now. Oh, and may God bless you one and all.

15 thoughts on “And I’m Following Gilstrap, As Usual.

  1. And I will never forget you passing that opportunity on to me, John. Thank you. And thank you for all your posts here. You are and will always be someone I call friend.

  2. John–I will truly miss your posts and I hope you visit & comment often. Great farewell post too. Saturdays won’t be the same without you & your chickens. Cheers!

  3. A storm popped up and raced through here last night. We’ve got electric out, trees down, cats throwing up, and I read this and laughed until my butt fell off and shed a tear or two as well.

    John, thanks for bringing me in here. And there ain’t no were…you ARE a best-seller!

  4. Sigh…two of my favourite John’s abandoning me.

    Well, I will say this, it has been an interesting, informational, inspirational, insufferable, insolent, insoluble, inerrant, institutional, insouciant, irrepressible, irascible, inscrutable, inoffensive, irrational, improper, immobile, indescribable, indisposable, indecent, indolent, incontrovertible, indisputable, indescribable, and inductile. To say the least.

    I’m gonna miss you guys…sniff…sniff

    group hug…

  5. What are we going to do without Colonel Harland B. Miller and his free range chickens? It just won’t be the same. Thank you John for all you’ve given and shared. Come back often. You will be missed.

  6. John, I feel as though I’m in the middle of Agatha Christie’s classic, And Then There Were None. Despite sadness that you won’t be posting here regularly, I’m happy that you won’t be just sitting on your porch and rocking. Thanks for everything.

  7. Now all the Johns are gone! Whaddaya gonna do now?

    Thanks to both Johns for your sometimes helpful input. You KNOW what!

    I’ll be in contact for some t-shirt deals, Pop.

  8. Jim in Missoula, our two Johns are leaving big shoes to fill! As our Search Committee recruits our Next Great Bloggers, we’ll all be pitching in. Next week we’re launching Reader Fridays–we will suggest a topic, and respond to questions and topics from the Comments. Stay tuned!

  9. Oh, dear, oh, dear. So sorry to read this yet I understand completely. There comes a time when moving on is the right choice.

    You will be missed.

  10. My favorite is still the Twitter Post where John wrote that he felt like he was screaming at his trees.

    That post fired my imagination, remained with me, and still makes me laugh.

    That’s what great writers do.

    Thanks John. We’ll miss you!


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