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An Excerpt from Dear Great American Writers School
Twin Branch, Ky.
January 3, 1944
Dear Great American Writers School,
Today I read your advertisement in Liberty magazine and hope you
people can help me with my life. I write stories all the time. I can write
5, sometimes 6, in a day. "Murder and Mayhem" stories used to be my best.
They called them that on the cover of the true detective magazines where
I sent a story once about a bloody ax murder that took place right here
in Twin Branch. The murderer was never brought to justice, but everyone
knows it was Bill Farley who murdered his wife, Hilda, and not some hobo
off a C&O caboose the way Bill Farley tells it.
Bill Farley's been county sheriff as long as anyone can remember. He's quick-tempered
and mean as a pistol if you dare spit on the sidewalk. I changed all the
names in my story and put the location in Nome, Alaska, the farthest place
I could think of at the time, because I know better than mess with a man
who'd ax his wife for burning the biscuits.
It turned out it didn't matter because none of those magazines said they
wanted to publish it. I've quit writing detective stories and now I write
just plain detective stories like you read in Liberty magazine.
I carry those little spiral notebooks, no bigger than a person's hand, and
when I see something cute or hear a spicy remark, I write it down and keep
track of it for stories that come to me sometimes in the middle of the night.
. . .Send that lesson soon, you hear?
Bobby Lee Pomeroy
Twin Branch, Kentucky
January 8, 1944
Dear Mr. Pomeroy:
Congratulations! Our professional staff read Lesson One with great interest
and feels certain you have the kind of new, fresh, lively talent
that every editor seeks. We urge you to act. WASTE NO TIME. If it is not
ALREADY IN THE MAIL, then send your $10 IMMEDIATELY. Send check or money
order. . . .
HENRY W. BUCKLEY, PRESIDENT
THE GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS SCHOOL
P.O. BOX 140, KOKOMO, INDIANA
Dear Mr. Henry W. Buckley:
My hands were shaking when I opened your letter. Mr. Gallings said, "Bobby
Lee, you lost your color. You going to faint?" To tell the truth, I thought
I might. Your letter said YOU have talent. You do mean me,
don't you? You don't mean a Mr. Pomeroy who might have written
to you, too? Remember me, Bobby Lee, a girl? I explained it in Lesson #1?
I don't care so much about the "Mister" thing, but I wish you'd remember
about the installment plan. . . .