Guest Posts on County 10 are provided by contributors and the opinions, thoughts, and comments within are their own and may not necessarily reflect those of County 10.

    It’s been said that the greatest inspiration is the deadline. That might be true for many people who exist in a seemingly endless series of projects that arrive, get worked on, and then submitted. That type of inspiration comes from simple survival. You get the job done on time, and on budget, or you don’t work very long.

    There are of course many well-known exceptions, the Senate and Congress come to mind immediately when you think of people who never get anything done yet get paid well and are highly regarded by their cult following.


    This isn’t the type of inspiration I’m thinking of, but rather, the type that has led me to 1603 consecutive weekly columns dating back to the fall of 1995. Add to that, another 320 midweek sports columns, a much younger duration, and you have almost 2,000 times I’ve been “inspired,” I prefer “motivated” to write a thousand words or so on the subject du jour. (Nope, I’m not French, but it sounds sophisticated.)

    Where does this inspiration come from?

    With sports it’s easy, often it’s just relating the events of the current season or delving back in time to my coaching days, or even further, to a time when dirt was new, when I was playing.

    Sunday or Monday columns, as the 1,603 works of art (who is Art?) I’ve written for 28 years aren’t as easy, but they arrive nonetheless in a variety of ways.


    Many times, I’m sitting in a church pew on Sunday morning when an idea for a column hits me. No, it is far from divine intervention, but for once, no one is bringing me into “their projects” to help or solve a problem. I’ve noticed when it’s “my” project, it remains that way and I get all the solace I need since no one else is volunteering to help. Such is the life of the aging toxic male, so those few moments when no one is asking for time, help, money, or donated labor often bring inspiring ideas for topics.

    I used to write them down on the Sunday bulletin with those little pencils you find in the back of church pews, but lately, I surreptitiously text them to myself.

    The church connection is a good source of ideas, but there are many others.


    Sometimes it’s talking to a friend or acquaintance that sends me down a rabbit hole to learn more about what they’re speaking about, and then generating a column from it.

    As I often say to people who ask me how I learned about something clandestine, I’m quick to respond, “People tell me things.” Thank goodness they do. My circle is rife with smart, engaging people who present all types of interesting stories and relate experiences that few others can offer. I’m always thankful when a casual conversation blooms into a thousand or more words on my computer screen.

    My own past experiences are a great source, especially stories of my interaction with my dad, and my two grandfathers. Boys need those kinds of interactions, and in today’s world where men are marginalized, and treated as pariahs by the mainstream media, it is still a grounding influence to have an older male take you under his wing, show you a few things, discipline you when you need it and just do “guy stuff.”


    Schools are so feminized now that boys enter kindergarten with two strikes against them and any that show the slightest sort of male aggression are quickly relegated to Ritalin or some other behavioral control drug. We can’t have those little boys growing up to be toxic men, heaven forbid.

    But I digress. That was just an example of how something as simple as remembering my dad and grandpas can send me down a path of consciousness and end up with schools drugging boys into submission. The train of thought is a key to weekly column writing, and getting that train derailed is all part of the process.

    Thankfully I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. Friends who also write frequently tell me it is a real thing and utterly frustrating when it hits. But at least in my corner of the literary world, it is something I know is there, but something I don’t ever want to experience.

    The final source of inspiration is the written work of other authors, especially historians. By last count, I’ve read over 2,500 books, and almost all of them are history, geography, or travel. There was a smattering of science fiction as a pre-teen and through high school. Those memorable works come to mind at times, and they too can become an inspiration.

    Sometimes the inspiration comes purely on a whim.

    A couple of weeks ago, Sue and I were in Lusk to attend the Wyoming Wild Mustang Show and to catch “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” at the Post Playhouse at Ft. Robinson State Park in Nebraska.

    Saturday afternoon after we left the fairgrounds, we took a tour of Lusk just to chronicle the subtle changes my wife’s hometown makes with each passing year. There wasn’t much new in the largest city in Niobrara County. As we drove south on US 85, also known as Main Street, we noticed the Stagecoach Museum was open.

    Entering the solid brick building we were greeted by an ancient host who explained what the various rooms contained and pointed towards a bookstore.

    The museum is a great trip through time in Wyoming’s smallest county. The relics of when Lusk was called Silver Cliff, and even before when it was just called the Niobrara Stage Stop on the Cheyenne to Black Hills Route were intriguing.

    On the way out I spotted a couple of self-published works, one called “Homesteading on the Cheyenne River,” and the other, “Cheyenne to Deadwood Stageline, A Lasting Legacy.”

    I’m halfway through the action-packed collection of stories centered on the Hat Creek Stage Station chronicled by the late Edmond Cook.

    On the pages Crazy Horse came to life, Cheyenne, Oglala, and Hunkpapa raiding parties share space with US Cavalry units operating in the dimly defined borders of Wyoming and Dakota Territory from 1875 to 1883. The northern section of what was then Laramie County in Wyoming Territory was the wild west incarnate.

    Among the most riveting tales are the highwaymen who robbed and pillaged the trail. Outlaws who were almost always caught, some lynched and others rotting away in the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie or killed outright by lawmen, soldiers, and most often by fellow gang members in arguments over stolen loot.

    You can expect a story or two about an especially rancorous criminal who nicknamed himself “Persimmon Bill.” Persimmons are the tartest of fruit before a frost, and sweet thereafter, but there was nothing appetizing about William Chambers, the real person behind the name.

    Cruel, cunning, and always trying to pin his latest capital crime on the nearest group of Sioux, Arapaho, or Cheyenne, he had all the worst qualities people possess.

    He’ll be great to write about. Now that’s inspiration, and it comes without a deadline, though this piece is less than 24 hours from publication, so I’m ahead of the game.


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