Paulelmo's Blog

At the beginning

My name is Paul Elmo Keenan, and I am a writer living just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I’m originally from the little town of Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, which sits about 40 miles east of Charleston, the state capital. I’ve been in Pennsylvania for almost two years, and Gettysburg was the weekend side of a weekly commute from Charleston, West Virginia that I embarked on for almost a year before that.

I work as a bartender for Chili’s to make the bills. All told, I have been with the company for more than ten years, my first stint lasting from Sept. ’97 to June ’03 and my second running from March ’05 to present.

If memory serves, I began writing sometime in the fall of ’94, and I’ve been at it pretty decently ever since. I went back to school at 32, and, at 37, I earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English, focusing on Professional Writing, from West Virginia State University. I graduated with a 3.74 GPA, which is more impressive given that I compiled a 1.59 in the three semesters that I went to college after high school, when I clearly wasn’t ready. Looking at just the State numbers, I graduated with a 3.83 in 143 hours. I came to believe that, across the board, I learned more from the classes in which I received Bs than the ones that I got As in.

To date, I have written three books, and I have completed the first draft of a fourth.

The first book I completed is titled pulse. It is a collection of poems and slams, which I self-published in 2005. I pressed 1000 copies of pulse, and I have fewer than 15 left. I don’t mean to give the impression that I sold 980-some books–I actually sold about 200–but that many have made it into circulation. I’m thinking of doing a second printing of the book at some point, possibly a hardback version; if I do, I might have “Over 999 books in print” written on the cover.

I have also completed a second poetry book, which is titled Just Not Feeling It Tonight. This book tries to encompass all of the verse I’ve written about drinking and drugs and the dark underbelly of the bar and restaurant world that I’ve been a part of for so long. Unlike pulseJust Not Feeling It includes prose expositions of many of the pieces. It is a book that is still growing, as I recently found a big stack of longhand work that I’ve done over the years but have never transferred to computer.

The third book I have written–and the one I’m currently seeking agent representation for–is called The Little House of the Devil. It is a nonfiction memoir, the first draft of which I wrote in Oaxaca, Mexico is the summer of ’06. I see Little House as the first of the Searching for Johnny Real trilogy.

I have written the first draft of Other Good Reasons To Fish, the second of the nonfiction Johnny Real books. The third one is tentatively titled Life Behind Bars, and I hope to be ready to begin work on it in the spring of ’10.

That’s good enough for a start.

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