Robert, The older I get the more valuable my friends are. Leaving home, nearly fifty years ago, I didn’t realize how rich I was. Coming back, finding that the best friends I ever made were the ones I lost touch with, has calmed me down, made me realize, I’ve always been looking for something I […]
About Bo Bryan
I’m a Southern writer, raised a gentleman trained to open doors and carry packages. I am well mannered, if not always polite. I write for pleasure. I wiggle my fingers over a magic board and words appear like pixie dancers, telling in motion the stories. I capture the motion to preserve moments, to share my astonishment for the visceral ballet of head, heart, and spirit that is a human being, and a miracle.
Very little of my writing is yet known. Most of it no one has seen. Twenty-five years ago, I got a taste of success, publishing my first novel, Bitsy Nickle Might Have Aids—a tale of political satire and black humor. The book was optioned for film, caused a stir among local health department bureaucrats, elected officials, and preachers-of-the-true-gospel. That got me on television. My wife didn’t like it much—me in the public eye talking about another woman, even one that was make-believe. My second book was SHAG: The Legendary Dance of the South, a regional bestseller. SHAG, and the attention that came with the book, ended the marriage. Then the court battle for the kids ensued. I won. I became a single parent, raising three young children on an island without a bridge.
I disappeared, but I kept writing. The books I had published went out of print. People who enjoyed my work continued to look me up and ask what I was writing now. I explained that I still worked each day, getting up at three in morning to write books—I just wasn’t interested in publishing, which would have required me to go on the road. I more enjoyed being home; besides, I owed it to the kids, having taken them away from their mother, nutty as she was.
Bo BryanSole custody came with a price, and I paid it in full: stuck close, cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, doctored, counseled, laughed and cried, read Goodnight Moon, and fell asleep exhausted. Got up and did it all, again and again—the writing first, the writing always. To have a story going was another reality. I wrote about the life I had left behind, that I imagined returning to when the kids were grown: that of a Southern writer and a Southern gentleman at home in the land of shag, seeking sin and salvation on the same dance floor. I never stopped writing. I stacked up manuscripts one after another: novels, stories and poems, non-fiction, essays and memoir—and all of it I wrote content to sit tight and wiggle my fingers for seventeen years.
Now the kids are grown, and I’m back in the game—back-with-a-stack, as the road gamblers say.
I am a Southern writer, trained as a gentleman. My stories will open doors if I’ve done my job, minded my manners and been polite—not too polite. If the stories lighten the load, I will not be a burden to the young. I’ll be a silver soldier of my generation, the biggest generation of all, by God, the one that Boomed, the one that rocked, and the one that rolled, the one that brought the power of flowers to the future. I was never a hero who refused to fight—nor a hero in the jungle. I ran up and down the road chasing beauty and the truth of myself. First I caught up with enough, then too much to carry. The beauty died young, but it rose again, trust me. I’ll tell you the whole truth and nothing but, even if I have to invent it.
Entries by Bo Bryan
IT CAME OUT OF A CLOUD LIKE THE SUN like a spinning something all gas, spun into fire, burning at the core and all the way out, making light, giving heat. and everything else. Going off, out, away, beginning, time upon time, birth and death of stars. Blown to position, beginning accretion, Womb of God. SUN […]
SHAG DANCER’S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE A friend of mine had a birthday recently: Janet Harrold, the lady who keeps the editorials and party pictures coming from Carefree Times, the one and only newspaper in the Land of Shag. The party was a surprise to Janet, to me as well. I didn’t hear about it until a […]
The Size of Greatness When I was younger and dumber only a boy in the 8th grade, my science teacher told us, not to mess around thinking how big the universe is. He said it would make us crazy, imagining beyond The Milky Way. Our 8th Grade science book asserted: all of everything that was […]
The Earth is spinning at over a thousand miles an hour. That’s how fast I’m moving right now, sitting in one place wiggling my fingers. How did I get here? Easy: due to stars exploding. That’s evidence verified, no faith needed. Everything material originates in the furnaces of dying suns. The Pope bestows blessings upon […]
This morning right at daylight I was walking in the fog. The sort of fog that soaks your hair that makes it seem you’re walking through a glass of fat-free milk. Reality, as far as you can tell. For in the fog everything is different not the way it is in sunlight or in the […]
Waking up in the dark, before the earth rotates and the sun appears to rise, I sit on the edge of a bed, facing a wall-size mirror. I position myself so the mirror divides my reflection: half I can see, as if the mirror were the past, where in the mud of memory, I get […]
What do you get dancing the shag at SOS? Everybody gets what they came for. That was my impression. I just hoped SOS wouldn’t end before it got old. You never want the music to stop, to go back where you come from, where the rules stay the same all year. At SOS a different […]
In the Land of Shag, I watched a pretty woman dancing smooth as a glassy ocean. Her backside boogie walked cool as a breeze on a humid afternoon. She was a silver fox. The man dancing with her was a silver soldier. He had a permanent suntan. The deep-cut lines around his mouth and eyes radiated […]