9:04 AM


In the Author Spotlight

Ed Williams

AL: Hi Ed Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Ed: I appreciate it more than a lifetime supply of Atomic Fireballs, Ann - thanks!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Ed: I just recovered from a weekend spent at the IHOP last weekend with my two best friends, Ray and Hugh, collectively known as "The Brotherhood." This weekend I'm rotting out my eyes watching tons of college football on my new HDTV-ed set. The rest of the things I'm doin', Ann, I can't talk about as Tami says there's only a certain level of sin that can be inserted into an interview like this one, and she also noted you were nice. I respect that.

AL: You have a book coming out in November, ChristmaSin. Please tell us a bit about this story.

Ed: Ann, I grew up in Juliette, Georgia. Its one claim to fame is that it's the place where the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" was filmed. When I was growing up there the official town census count was around 400, so it was one of those situations where everyone knew everyone else. Juliette had more than its share of very unique Christmas traditions, amongst them being the yearly cockfight that the men had about a week before Christmas. They'd all gamble on the fights, and a few would win enough money to buy Christmas for their families. And that was just one of our low-keyed Georgia traditions.

Over the past few years I've read a couple of Southern Christmas books, and the truth for me was that they were kinda surgary and too much like "The Waltons," which is nothing like I remembered Christmas. So, I decided to take a few real life things that happened in Juliette, blend them all together with a healthy amount of BS, and see if I could write a wild rural Southern Christmas story. "ChristmaSin'" is what resulted.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Ed: None. I write strictly for fun, do a weekly article or two for Gather.com, that's pretty well it right now. Ellen Smith, the owner of Champagne Books, and I have talked a bit recently. We kinda have a deal between ourselves that if "ChristmaSin'" does well that I'll start another novel for her next year. We have the concept all worked out, I'll just have to get up off my heiny and do it!

AL: When did you know you had to be a writer?

Ed: Ann darlin', I don't have to be one, I just enjoy being one right now. I hated writing in school, I just had the flukey luck about ten or so years ago to have written a few stories about some wild antics I engaged in during my growing up years in Juliette. I happened to take one of them to a local writer's meeting and randomly got picked out of a crowd of about 70 - 75 people to read it. I was nervious beyond belief, but I got up there and read off this story about how my dad and I caught the choir leader at our local church parking down behind our house entwined with one of the ladies in the choir. After I read it, a lady approached me about my stories, and from that about a year later my first book came out. It was called, "Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals," and it started about 5-6 years of travel, fun, sin, more fun, and more.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Ed: Ann, I've been fortunate as hell re my writings. "ChristmaSin'" is actually my third published book, SDDAM being the first and "Rough As A Cob: More From the Juliette Journals" being my second. I was also fortunate enough to be asked to submit a story called "Sally the Screamer" for the Southern humor anthology, "Southern Fried Farce." I'm kinda like the Forrest Gump of Literature, I've just happened to have written some things that have gotten out there just a bit. For right now, my goal is to do the best I can to sell some copies of "ChristmaSin'" so that Ellen and Tami will be happy. After that, we'll see what happens.

AL: All right Ed, it’s time to for us to call on your southern hospitality and find out some extra things about you. Being from the south, what’s your favorite comfort food?

Ed: A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen. If I were going for a lethal injection and had only a coupla hours left to live, I'd ask for as many as they'd bring me, they're like heroin in a paper cup.

AL: What kind of music makes you want to get up and dance?

Ed: Ann, I like the kinda questions you ask! For me, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Jr., Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Eddie Cochran, and Gordon Lightfoot make my soul dance, my knees freeze, and my heiny shiny!

AL: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider, or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep up with you?

Ed: I'd wish for something like the Space Shuttle on four wheels, I can't ride fast enough or go high enough. I really am an adrenaline junkie, I love riding the baddest thrill rides!

AL: So, now for the important questions. Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Ed: Ummmm, I opened my mouth to speak at a business meeting earlier this week in a room full of about 100 people and burped instead of saying my first word!

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Ed: "What's causin' all this?" - the Nature Boy Ric Flair.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Ed.

Ed: Ann, I appreciate this opportunity more than you know! Y'all please give "ChristmaSin'" a look, Ellen and Tami are nice ladies and I don't wanna let them down!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Ed please visit:
 
www.edwilliams.com
www.champagnebooks.com
www.elwiii.gather.com
 
FEATURED TITLE: CHRISTMASIN
 
Blurb:
 
"The walk back into the house is a lot longer on account of toting this heavy-ass wood, and by the time we both get inside, we are hassling pretty hard. Ed Jr. turns, looks at us, laughs, and then tells us that he is going to recite an old Christmas poem for us that he’d heard many years ago. We know that it is going to be good, when he tells us to sort of listen out for Mama, and that if she happens to come into the room, mum’s the word. Once we all understand the ground rules, my dad clears his throat and recites this tender rhyme for us:


“Santa’s outfit is red and white, it’s all that he has, but it fits just right, his boots are black, his balls are blue, being cold all night does that to you.

He has a doll for Cindy, a dog for Fred, and a New Orleans woman, sittin’ in his sled.

He laughs so jolly, never sad nor whiny, now he’s off in his sleigh, to hone some Louisiana heiny.”

Excerpt:

(During the annual Christmas celebration at the Juliette Methodist Church, December 1972, as told by a 17 year old Ed Williams. We pick it up at this tender point...)

You total these two women up, Miss Evelyn and Miss Annie Bell, and you have two solid women who don’t back off from a whole lot. And they don’t regarding this megaton fart that Miss Simulah has just put out. Miss Evelyn gets the ball rolling when she whispers loudly, "My goodness, someone needs to change their eating habits, I think we’ve been graced with the after effects of someone who’s enjoyed a lunch of red hots and baked beans." That is a shot aimed right at Miss Simulah, cause everyone knows she loves those damn cheap ass red hot sausages (Ed Jr. said one time that she likes them because she never gets a helping of some true pink trouser sausage, but Mama came in before he could say much more about that) more than anyone around these here parts. Miss Simulah blushes a tad and looks away from Miss Evelyn, trying to act like she didn’t hear what she’d said, and that’s when she looks right into Miss Annie Bell’s face. You can tell it sort of shakes Miss Simulah up to be looking right at Miss Annie Bell, and it gets even worse when Miss Annie Bell whispers, "Simulah, we are in the House of the Lord, and what I’m about to say isn’t very Christian, but it needs to be said. I can put up with your body stink, even though I shouldn’t have to, but when you blend in the fruit of your ass with it, why, it’s just too damned much. You can either excuse yourself and go home, or else we can have a real set-too right here. I mean it. I’m not whiffing your ass pearls for the rest of this night, dearie."

It’s hard to believe that Miss Annie Bell just comes right out and says that, but she does, and Miss Simulah shoots up out of her seat like a rocket. She then bustles down her pew, walks down the aisle and leaves the church, whispering something to the ushers about leaving her stove on at home. All of our suspicions that Miss Simulah is the church stinker proved to be correct as all of the funk and farts clear up right after she leaves. Miss Annie Bell notices it, too, ‘cause she leans over to Miss Evelyn and says, "Eve, it may not have been the right thing to point out Simulah’s problem, but maybe it will cause her to stand a bit closer to the washrag tonight." Miss Annie Bell nods in agreement, and then their conversation ends as Reverend Malkinski calls the service to order.

I know ya’ll are expecting me to say that I am bored as all hell at the service, but it actually isn’t too bad. Reverend Malkinski talks about how the birth of Jesus was the single most important event in the history of mankind, and you can’t argue too much with that. He also talks about living a good life and about being a good example to your family and friends, and I guess I’m a fairly decent example of that while the sun’s up, but at sunset I sort of turn into something different. Maybe I’m a tad like the Lon Chaney, Jr./Wolfman situation, or the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one. Rev Malkinski also talks about Christmas being a season for children, and that we should all do everything we possibly can to be good to them this time of year. He says if we do that they’ll grow up associating positive things with Christmas, Christ, and the meaning of the holiday. He then reminds us all that there were some really poor people out in the world, children who would get nothing for Christmas and who might not even have decent clothes to wear or food to put inside their stomachs. Situations like that makes my stomach knot up inside, because any man with two balls ought to be able to put some food on the table, and I can’t stand to think about any small child suffering. This isn’t masculine worth a shit to say, but it makes me cry down inside to my soul to think about any child hurting needlessly. Just the thought is wrenching, and it makes me want to kill an adult who would deliberately cause a child to suffer because that adult ought to be willing to do just about anything to help that child.

I have to make myself stop thinking anymore about that ‘cause I will bust out crying in church, so I make myself focus back on what Reverend Malkinski is saying. That isn’t the best idea in the world as the good Reverend is now telling us this lame ass story about a Christmas a few years back where he bought his wife some glass sculpture type things for their dining room table. Apparently, he liked the glass stuff, but Mrs. Malkinski obviously thought they looked like shit because she gave him some cock and bull story about how nice they were and then she told him she was going to sacrifice and donate them all to the Salvation Army so that some other less fortunate family could have a better Christmas. The whole crowd laughs pretty hard, Mrs. Malkinski blushes, and I whisper to Jenny that the Reverend Malkinski is a really good preacher. That he is, but the main reason I bring it up is so I can score some brownie points from Jenny for being so attentive during the sermon. Normally, during any sermon I’ll think about most anything other than God--women are typically my first choice, then football, and if those two fail to keep my attention I just run some good old Elvis tunes through my head. Elvis is really doing good these days, he’s doing some concerts out in Vegas and all, and there are rumors going around that he might head back out on the road again. I would give ten years of my life to be able to see him in person, but there’s no way in hell he’ll ever find his way to Juliette. Hell, if he found Macon it would truly be a blessing from God, although I wonder if God would consider blessings and rock and roll in His same thought process. I’ve gotta start thinking about something else, ‘cause God might use me as a cue ball in a pool game with the devil if He starts paying attention to all this crazy ass shit going on in my head.

Reverend Malkinski speaks a little more about Jesus and the Christmas season, and you can see all the small children in the congregation getting antsier and antsier. The reason for this is that each year our church draws names (kids only) and buys a gift for whosever name they pick. We have lots of kids in our church, so this year there is a big stack of gifts waiting for them up under the tree, and they’re ready to tear into them. When the tension gets so bad that it seems like the whole church needs to burp, Reverend Malkinski says, "Wait just a second! I think I hear what? Are there some reindeer outside? Why in the world would any reindeer be here tonight?"

All the kids start ooohhhing and ahhhing, and Reverend Malkinski walks over to a side door, opens it, and in walks ole Santa himself! Well, it’s not really Santa, but it does happen to be my Uncle Dog who’s sweating it out in the red and white suit. It’s really pretty easy to tell who it is given the cheap ass Christmas outfit that they have "Santy" wearing. The britches are about eight sizes too big, the belt is made of the cheapest vinyl imaginable and keeps sliding all over Santa’s gut, and the beard honestly looks like one of those thick old woven carpet rugs that you see on the floor in a doctor’s office. I did notice that Santy has some real rosy cheeks tonight, but I have a feeling I know the true reason for them.

Santy has his bag over one shoulder and a walking stick clutched in his other hand. As he walks over to the church Christmas tree he turns to lower his bag to the floor. When he does, it causes his other hand to come around and thwack his walking stick right into the tree. It’s a pretty solid shot, several ornaments are popped or knocked out into the crowd, and a couple of tree limbs are broken and left dangling off the tree. Santy slips up for a second and said "damn" right out loud, which causes almost everyone there to start laughing and buzzing around like a bunch of yard flies over at Winn Dixie. The Reverend Malkinski is trying to cover it all up by saying "darn" two or three times, but nobody is buying his feeble attempt at a dodge. Ed Jr. is tickled as all hell with the way Santy has just expressed himself, but he has to hold in his laughter as my mom is staring at him like a condemned man does the clock during his final hour. Of course, him not being able to laugh forces Brother and I to share his fate, as we both know that we would tote the red ass if we slip up and laugh out loud. That’s the worst thing to me about church, you have to hold stuff in sometimes when you‘d really just love to let it all out. We can’t do that, though, because Ed Jr. told me one time that, "If men could do anything they wanted, the world would be nothing but farts, jism, sass talk, and women whose legs were spread wider than the Grand Canyon." He’s pretty much hitting that one on the head, although we guys don‘t wanna admit it.

The laughter finally dies down, and Santy goes over and sits down on a big wooden chair and starts handing out presents. He reads off each child’s name, and then that particular child comes up and receives their present. Most of the kids who come up are shy. They just get their gifts from Santy and walk back to their parents. One little girl, however, is different. Her name is Samantha Griffin, and when her name is called out she walks up and takes her gift from Santa. Then, instead of shying away or running off, she looks up at him and says, "Santa, I love you and God loves you. I didn’t get anything for Christmas last year 'cause my daddy got the cancer and died. Thank you for being so good to me." If that isn‘t enough to tug at your heart, the little girl then holds her arms open for Santa to hug her. Santy does, and there aren’t too many dry eyes in the congregation while the two of them embrace. The little girl then steps back, waves at Santa, and returns to her seat. With all due respect to the Reverend Malkinski, little Samantha probably did more to remind everyone of what the true Christmas spirit is all about than anything else presented during this evening. And then some.

7 comments:

Kristie Leigh Maguire said...

Hey 3E! So nice to see you here. Of course I'm still laughing my a** off from reading your interview. You still got it, my friend!

May you sell a million copies of ChristmaSin.

Kristie Leigh Maguire

CallMeKayla said...

Great interview! Your book sounds great, I'll be sure to tell my friends about it.

CallMeKayla said...

Opps! Forgot my email:

kaylajohnson3969@sbcglobal.net

Ed Williams said...

Kristie, it's so cool to see you here! And CallMeKayla, your comments are much, much appreciated!

It's so wild to be able to write stuff that I enjoy writing so much and actually have other people read it!

Smoochies to you both!

E3

Ann Lory said...

Thanks so much, Ed, for interviewing this week. He's a character everyone. You can tell. Seems you would fit in perfectly with my family after reading your responses and excerpt. I was out at my dad's last night helping him with some things. He cracks me up. He's a country boy too. :-D

Ann

Ed Williams said...

Ann, you were awful sweet to have me, so let me do some sincere sucking up and thank you for the opportunity! You run a classy joint here!

Smoochies and thanks,

E3

Ann Lory said...

Thanks Ed.

Smoochies back at ya. ;-)