Thanks is in Order

Thanks is in Order

Just about this time last year I found myself packed into the Carnegie Center to celebrate the inductees into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame. The main reason I was there was the fact that Hunter S. Thompson was being inducted. Damn, I was excited about that. Hunter was the reason I got into writing in the first place. I hold in him very high regard as an author and Kentuckian so I was zoned in that night. Hunter was all that I was thinking about. Which was justifiable, I was there to write an article about the event for a website called GonzoToday.com and Hunter was of course going to be my main topic. It was a tremendous experience and exciting opportunity for me at the time. Here I was, witnessing my literary idol being ushered into the literary history books of the home state I share with him. But the main inductee of the night was not who I was there to write a story about.

Mr. Wendell Berry was being inducted into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame as well. The only living author to do so. He was there mingling amongst the crowd and was even going to speak at the end of the night. But like I said, I was zoned in to one person being honored. I had Thompson tunnel vision. Hell, I even saw Wendell upstairs as he walked out of the latrine and didn’t even bother to go introduce myself or shake his hand before he went back to the maddening crowd below. Looking back, that is a huge regret of mine. There I was, within spittin’ distance of who could quite possibly be Kentucky’s greatest treasure. I had the chance to speak to the man one on one and I didn’t. Which really makes me feel like a horse’s ass the more I think about it. I won’t dwell on things that I should have done in the past. If I get started on that I’m liable to go on and on longer than either of us would wish to participate. We live and we learn, right? Time to move on.

I saw an article yesterday claiming that Wendell will be receiving the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award as picked by the National Book Critics Circle. The award is given annually to a person or institution who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Wendell joins other writers like Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison in winning the award. We as Kentuckians, hell better yet, we as Americans should really appreciate what we’ve got in Wendell Berry. His poetry, his stories (fiction and non-fiction), his essays, novels are all special. There’s a pretty good chance that in the 81 years he’s been alive, he’s written something that applies to or hits close to home with all of us in some way. Wendell Berry’s words will resonate through the minds, both young and old, in this world forever. His stories will always tell a story and the meaning and feeling behind the essays he so passionately writes will always remain.

The lifetime achievement ceremony will be taking place in New York. So, I will not be attending. But if I could, I would do things a bit differently than last time. If I were to somehow get the chance to grab just a moment of his time, whether he was leaving the john again and I had a moment or two to speak to him one on one or if it were just a second or two while I shook his hand as just another face in a crowd of outstretched arms, I think I would tell him, “Thank you.” If I had the time to say more I might but I feel like “thank you” means more than enough without saying too much.

I’m glad to see Wendell Berry getting the credit and recognition he deserves from not only his home state but on a national scene as well. He’s been an inspiration and thought provoker for me and many others and will continue to do so as long as words are read. Just do yourself a favor, if you ever get the chance to meet him, don’t do like I did. Because even though I said I’m not going to dwell on such things anymore, I am.

Congratulations, Wendell!

….thank you.

Cody S. Decker

(photo credit: here)

Mission Statement, If You Will

Mission Statement, If You Will

For those of you that may not know me, my name is Cody S. Decker. I’m from the small town of Monticello, KY down around the Lake Cumberland area. I’m a writer and poet and about as far away from being labeled a professional in either of those two fields as one could be. But I enjoy it so I keep on doing it. I live in Lexington now and work at a bookstore to pay the bills. Every morning before work I wake up and do the same thing. Drink coffee and watch the news. Then, once my eyes open all the way and my mind adjusts to being awake I scroll through Facebook on my phone to see what the buzz is. Every single morning I find myself choking down story after story of killings, accidents, disasters, political high praise and campaign lows. Every now and then there will be something good sprinkled throughout but not near enough. Bad news is never a good way to start a good day.

One morning, while sitting on my couch with a hot cup of Folgers in hand, I had an inkling of an idea to do something about this problem. That inkling has stayed around and festered now for about six months. It’s gotten to the point where I have to at least try to do something or it’ll bug me to death.

From that inkling “lexington underline” was born.

This little project of mine is going to start out small. It’s only a blog on WordPress right now but I hope to one day have some print copies floating around. I’m loosely modeling it after the underground newspapers that used to circulate here back in the 70s: Blue Tail Fly being one of them. It’s just me, myself and I as of right now but any help I can pick up along the way will be welcomed with open arms.

I’m going to strive to make this publication different than anything else we have here in Lexington. I will be attending as many events as I can (I have a full time job so availability will be the tricky part) that I feel deserve some sort of recognition and probably wouldn’t receive it elsewhere. Lexington is a growing city and so many cool things are happening around town. There are so many events and concerts and good times that fly under the radar of the other news outlets. Whether it’s due to their lack of knowing about them or just the fact that they may not be “exciting” enough to produce a lot of clicks on a page, I don’t know. But I’m not doing this for clicks. Or money. I’m doing this for fun, for Lexington and for the wonderful people that make up this city. I want to shine a light on the heart of where I call home.  There may be an off chance that I cover something that is covered by another news outlet from time to time but if that’s the case, I’m going to try my damnedest to do it better.

The articles you see posted on this site may not be the typical news story you’re used to reading. I’m going to write the majority of them from a first person point of view. I’m actually going to go places, see things and talk to people then write about my experience in a way that hopefully reads more like an entertaining story than news. If I do an interview with someone, I may write more about where we were and what we were doing at the time than what they actually said. If I go to some sort of function with an open bar or with booze available, I may not remember enough to write a whole story. So I may have to make a few things up, to spice it up a little and fill in the gaps. Who knows? That’s the beauty of what I’m trying to do. No rules, nothing regular, and make it up as I go. I would even like to feature poetry and fiction and any other kind of art. Written or visual. Not only from myself but from you or anyone you know here in town that’s been wanting to get their work out there.

I will be counting on the readers and people around Lexington to keep a sharp eye out for anything coming up. I’m open to any and all suggestions and will try my best to check out as many as I can. So, please, “like” and share lexington underline on Facebook and Twitter to try and get the word out.  Befriend me on social media if you wish.  The more ways I have to connect with everyone the better. I’m going to work on having some fliers made to post up in restaurants, breweries, bars and everywhere in between here soon.

This is going to be a step by step learning process for me but it’s also going to be a hell of a lot of fun. For everyone. I’m looking forward to getting out and about and meeting you folks. New people make for the best new stories.

Here’s to some good times,

Cody S. Decker