Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dodging Tax Time and Talking About the Pulps

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to even think about posting a new blog. Getting my taxes done was the big project for the past few weeks. I'm not one of these people that has her act together and posts receipts during the year - I throw all of mine into an envelope (that ends up being two or three or four by years end) and then stress out in January and February sorting through all of the mess. You'd think I would learn otherwise but nooo.... Maybe I just enjoy the trip down memory lane of going through receipts from the past year, thinking, "oh yeah, that was a great restaurant," or "ouch! I paid how much for that computer???" and realizing that one of my biggest expenses was dog food and vet bills. Or at least it seems that way.

But taxes are done, spring is in the air, and I had a great dinner at Nikko's in San Pedro - great place to eat and very reasonable. Things are lookin' up - the Dodgers have won two in a row! And maybe three - it's the bottom of the 4th right now in the 3rd game of the series against the Giants and it's 0-0. but now it's raining. I'm very excited about this season, for obvious reasons (i.e. Joe Torre) but it's a restrained excitement. I'm hopeful, but I don't want to be crushed like I did last year - man, that meltdown in August was ugly. I hope they all learned their lesson.

I have another presentation coming up soon - August 12 at the Westwood branch of the Los Angeles Library. The address is 1246 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024. Phone is (310) 474-1739. I'm looking forward to it - there was a period a few months ago when I was getting a little tired of doing them - but now I've taken a six week break and I'm rarin' to go again.

For those of you who aren't familiar with my presentation, I give about an hour talk about the history of pulp fiction magazines. I start the presentation by telling people how I found my grandfather's manuscript for Pulp Writer, his career as a pulp fiction writer for Wild West Weekly and Weird Tales, and then give a overview of pulp fiction during the 1930s and 1940s. It's just right for those who don't know anything about the subject. And there are a lot of people out there who don't. I don't know how many times I told people that I was writing about "pulp fiction" and they would say, "Oh, you mean the movie?" And for those who do know a lot about the pulps, it works for them too, because I talk a lot about Wild West Weekly, one of the lesser known magazines.

So if you're in the neighborhood....Westwood is a good place to visit - very near the UCLA campus and, if I'm not mistaken, in the Westwood village where there are a bunch of cute shops and restaurants and movie theaters, so you can have lunch beforehand. Then come by the "libary" as I used to call it - the program starts at 2 p.m.

And now I'm off - the Dodgers are ahead 1-0, my favorite pitcher Chad Billingsley is on the mound....but wait, there's a rain delay - just in time to turn the channel to American Idol! What a night! Go David Cook!


Steve said...

To create a website for a now-forgotten author of pulp fictions, pen name J R Johnston: this is the task I've set for myself. My father Gerald R. Johnston (1901-78) had his first of 411 short stories published in 1924. Additionally, he authored three novels and had one published, _Stampede Range_, in 1929. Mathematically speaking, I rather doubt that more than 100 of his stories are extant. His legacy to me was less than 20 stories, a number of which are undated manuscripts. (Emphatically, I am seeking photocopies of any more of his stories, for the website.) After the Crash, with so many pulp magazines having shut down, I imagine he ceased full-time writing of fiction within two years following. (The military then became his primary career. He made colonel by the end of WWII and left active duty in 1947.)
I don't remotely have the knowledge to lecture on pulp fiction of any era. I did have a very attractive idea of placing his name and literary accomplishments in Wikipedia. That was cut short when I researched several of his contemporaries -- Zane Gray being one such -- and realized immediately that they were far more prolific and met the requirement of "well-known". Also, fans of these authors had already created websites in their names. This I envy.
Steve Johnston
1817 E. 18th Ave
Spokane, WA 99203

Laurie Powers said...

It doesn't matter how many stories your father published or that he wasn't as "well known" as the others - what's important is that you find as much information as you can and pass that information on to others who are interested and are trying to preserve the correct legacy of popular fiction history. There is so much misinformation out there that it's very important that the record is set straight. Your website is a beginning. If you haven't already, you might want to look into joining some of the online chat groups, like on yahoo there is PulpMags group, full of historians and collectors who may be very interested in making sure your father's career is preserved correctly. They may also have information for you that you don't know. If you're not part of this group, I strongly recommend that you join. I am in awe of how much knowledge and experience is represented in that group.