Phil Dunlap, Western Author

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why we do what we do.

"Why do you write stories? Why don't you get a real job?" someone asked, as I stood behind a table filled with my books, hoping to snag a kindred soul. "What a waste."

"Are you kidding? Give up working my tail off, sitting 10-12 hours a day at a computer coming up with one 'What-if' after another, struggling to get each sentence down just the way I want it, re-writing, and re-re-writing? Seriously? Dreaming is what I do best," I called after him, somewhat miffed that such a question might even be uttered.

Thankfully, he wandered away before something nasty happened. I did notice he was later grumbling at his wife who left the bookstore with a stack of new reads, her unhappy husband in tow. I had to wonder what it was that got him hooked. If anything. Don't we all need something to set our souls ablaze? Besides football, NASCAR, and beer, that is? My soul needs History and the excitement of revisiting life on the frontier. To my mind, the 1800s exemplified the most fascinating period in our country's history.

In case you're interested, I'll tell you what got me hooked on writing Westerns. I have a long list of reasons, but basically it boils down to : Wild Bill Elliott, Lash LaRue, Hopalong Cassidy, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, etc, etc–the multitude of great western actors, writers, movies and books that populated my youth right up to this very moment.

So, my intention with this blog is to come up with things that might pique a reader's interest or spark one's imagination–reader or writer, alike.

I'll try my best to keep posting about those things and people I find interesting, and maybe even strike a chord with another whose love of the old west is similar to mine. I'd love to hear from anyone with a comment, piece of advice, or critique of anything I might say. I'll not delve into politics or religion, but otherwise, if it has to do with Historical reading and writing, I'm up for it. Bring it on.

But, for both our sakes, always try to aim straight.


  1. Phil, herein lies the crux. Nobody reads any more. People like to be told what ta believe these days.

  2. Don, I recognize that things look bleak in today's publishing overview, but there are rays of hope on the horizon. At least, that's my fervent hope. The gigantic sales figures for e-readers has to point to something other than a desire to get one's hands on the latest techno-device. With those sales, there does seem to be an uptick in on-line book sales, as well. I'm almost as much a skeptic as you, but I also hold out hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And 'm hoping that light will include the Western genre. I shall continue to write them until all hope is lost.