Why I Write: Richard C Rutherford

My father had coon dogs. When I was a kid I listened to coon hunters tell stories, whittling and keeping my mouth shut. I noticed that the good stories were repeated—often changed in small ways. No one seemed to mind if the story was different. We wanted to be entertained, we wanted inflection and gestures, we wanted to know the phase of the moon and if the breeze was moist or dry.

It never hurt the story if the old tree dog was dead or if Sadie was the best cold-trailing bitch that ever lived, but never had a pup that wasn’t rattle-headed. What mattered was if the story flowed as only a truth can. Radio and TV was young in the 1950’s. Hunting stories are ancient.

So I learned that I could distinguish myself at school by using a hunting template to recount a PTA meeting where someone’s mom had toilet paper sticking out of her pants. I made the story better than it was, and my friends liked it. Of course, I liked the attention. But more important, I found purpose for my OCD motor. Everything could be retold.

By the time the drug culture brought marijuana to our living rooms, my story-telling was welcomed. Viet Nam and Civil Rights needed words and phrases to articulate our frustration and my opinions were tangible. Language brought young women to my bed, and language settled us in the awkward moments after.

Stories—or narratives—create and sustain our cultures. I work the supply side.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Flash Talk Featured Fiction New Fiction Developing a Writing Life Essays/Articles (all) The Story Behind the Story Fiction Craft Advice / Suggestions Interviews (all)
Sort by

“A Rest”

There in the Carr Avenue house on an early spring evening in the year of the Great Shedding, the two youngest
2019-07-26 23:32:47



The ranger pulled into Patcher Woods, parked on the shady side, and wrote the time into his notebook. 1102 hours.
2018-12-21 07:45:46


Why I Write : Alexander Nachaj

In “The Cat Who Walks through Walls,” Robert A. Heinlein’s 1985 sci-fi classic (or yarn, depending
2018-09-12 09:38:47


“From Authors Remote, Alien, Diverse”

“A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time,
2018-01-08 10:39:31


The Story Behind the Story: “A Trail of No”

A writer’s life is fraught with rejection. In the face of continual rejection, of people telling you that your
2017-11-16 09:32:24


“Striving for Immortality”

Every night, my wife and I listen to an old time radio program. In the twelve or thirteen years we’ve been doing it,
2017-11-03 17:12:33


“Tips and Rules to Use in Writing Historical Fiction”

These are the lecture notes I used at Missouri State in W. D. Blackmon’s class and at the Creamery Arts C
2017-04-17 18:13:10


“A Trail of No”

I like to tell my students about the worst rejection notice I ever received. I mailed a batch of poems to a west
2017-02-19 11:38:00


Interview with Paul Griner

Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class
2016-12-22 13:47:01


About Richard Rutherford

Richard C Rutherford is previously published in Conclave: A Journal of Character, upcoming in Hypertext and he reads Julia Whitty, Kevin Barry, DeLillo, Traci Foust. He believes that hand held phones and the need to use them creates a growing market. He intends to work the supply side. He has a collection of shorts, flashes, and micros.