Tuesday, October 04, 2011
New Books: If The Woodsman is Late by Matthew Paust
Dear Friends - Another literary egg has popped out of this rooster's butt. This one is a collection of stories, some fiction but most of them of them true. There's a gun theme in many of them. The title refers to one of the stories, which reflects on what might have happened to Red Riding Hood had the woodsman who rescues her from the wolf in the fairytale gotten distracted or sidetracked or for whatever reason couldn't get to her in time to kill the wolf. The link below will take you to an announcement I posted on my Open Salon blog. I'm also attaching a photo here of the book's front and back cover. I trust all of you are well. Fall has finally arrived here with its cooler, friendlier weather. We're enjoying the change. Cheers and love. - Matt
If the Woodsman is Late
Despite impressions you might have taken from the title and cover of this book that it is devoted solely to guns, please know that while guns do play a role in most of the stories – a mix of fiction and true – many are completely gun free. If you like the way I tell stories but don't like guns there's plenty for you here. In truth, guns have played a significant role in my life from as far back as I remember. In today's world this would be unusual. Today a boy can be expelled from school for drawing a picture of a gun. When I was a boy my best friend brought a real gun to school for show and tell. While an adult eyebrow or two might have been raised, no one called the police. He carried the German Luger openly from home several blocks away, dazzled his classmates with his uncle's war trophy, and carried it home again.
It is this contrast between yesterday and today that interests me, and I hope will interest you, as well. Although my biases may be obvious, I will do my best not to batter you with them. One of the first rules of good writing is not to tell but to show. I have attempted to follow that rule in these stories. I don't consider it my job to try to change your mind on anything, but I can't deny I'd be delighted if my stories helped you to see and understand a point of view that might be different from one you already hold.
I've included the gun-free stories to help you gain a more rounded perspective of a man who otherwise might be seen only in the glaring light of what has become a highly adversarial issue. To those at one extreme of this spectrum, who might see someone like me as a stereotypical gun nut, unstable and dangerous, I hope to reveal a gentle, good-humored family man who shares most of the same fundamental values as they. Folks at the spectrum's other extreme might find me lacking sufficient militant fiber to carry the Second Amendment battle flag into the enemy camp, at any cost. They may be right. I don't know.
Carl von Clausewitz defined war as “the extension of politics by other means.” From this view, the politics of gun ownership is still in play. At stake are hearts and minds. To this and to life I write.
I've arranged these stories in no particular order, although I have grouped several of them by subject. The newspaper stories are together, if not in any particular sequence, as are those reminiscences of my Army days. I've dropped in a whimsical piece here and there for variety. The fiction should be readily identifiable, but to avoid any confusion I've indicated in the table of contents those that came entirely from my imagination.