Rod Picott’s Out Past the Wires

What makes a well-crafted short story is the writer’s ability to create an identifiable character, distill that character’s experience down to a couple thousand well selected words and convey an underlying theme that teaches us something about life.

I met author and singer-songwriter Rod Picott at an independent bookstore a couple of years ago,. I left with an autographed copy of Out Past the Wires.

Each of Picott’s eleven offerings is a tightly distilled portrait, written in clean and straightforward prose. His characters are the kind of folks we might encounter on a commuter train, seated in a small-town diner or in a crowded hall outside a courtroom. We cross paths with them but for a moment, and leave feeling we’ve known them all our lives.

In “A Cow Named Burger King,” for example, we meet reclusive dairy farmer Jim Miller, who, over the objections of his wife, purchased a dairy farm, years ago, only to see his herd slowly dwindle to a single cow too old to give milk. Jim sets out one beautiful morning before sunup to mow his hay. His wife, Helen, rises to cook breakfast, neither of them knowing what fate has in store.

Picott’s stories leaves us breathless, gazing over a precipice at the wreckage of ordinary lives and personal tragedies. They give us an appreciation for the quiet desperations of people we could so easily ignore. This is a book you read in one sitting and leave hungering for more.

We write such stories and release them into the wild to survive on their own, like fledglings leaving the nest. We never know who will read them or what special meaning they might arouse. I know you’ll be as grateful to Rod Picott as I am for having shared his gifts of stories and music. Out Past the Wires and other Picott collections are available through your local independent bookstore or online. For help in locating a store near you, write me (RayDanParker@Hotmail.com).