Of Water and Melons (1999)
The first time I read Of Water and Melons to an audience, circa 1980, the response was amazing. Not one but seven people approached me after the reading and requested copies of the story. The next time I performed the story, even more people requested copies. Thereafter, I made it my habit to bring along photocopies of the story, for there never failed to be multiple requests for copies.
For several years, I offered the story to magazines large and small, with no success. And then in 1999, twenty years after the story came pouring through my pen in a single unaltered rush of words, Quinton Duval — the great Sacramento poet — published the story in chapbook form through his Redwing Press, and I have evermore had lovely copies to sell for five dollars each. My friend Vance Lawry made five splendid illustrations for the tale.
In 2003, the audio version of Of Water and Melons came out on my CD I Steal My Bicycle and other stories, available from CD Baby, where it is also possible to download Of Water and Melons.
Of Water and Melons is set in 1932 in North Carolina, and is something of a fable, though quite realistic. I seem to have a deep affinity for that era. My only attempt at writing and directing a short film — Bums At A Grave — evolved from another story of mine set in 1933, though I was not born until 1949. I am fairly certain the popularity of Of Water and Melons springs from the power of love of which it speaks. Many readers have told me they feel the story would make a splendid film.
You can order the chapbook directly from the author (for $3):
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