Today we are welcoming our first Wednesday Writer Spotlight guest Stan Hampton Sr. who is touring his eBook Better than a Rabbit’s Foot, published by Muse It Up Publishing. Here is a bit about Stan and the cover of the book, before we move on to an interview with him and an
excerpt from his book.
“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot.” Ed. Joelle Walker. MuseItUp Publishing, June 2012.
Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather of thirteen, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He continues to serve as a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and as part of various anthologies. As of December 2011, he became the latest homeless Iraq war veteran in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stan welcome to Gloria’s Corner and thank you for your service to our country.
I’m honored to have you here as my first guest on this new spotlight series. So
if I may let’s move on to the interview.
GO: Stan, if you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
SH: Go to law school. The world needs fewer attorneys and of those remaining,
more attorneys with a sense of decency and common sense rather than the desire
to get rich. Attorneys should remember that “zealous representation” of your
client does not always have to mean threaten people and trample people into the
GO: Do you do any volunteer work?
SH: I have volunteered for the American Red Cross; when a few personal issues
are out of the way I hope to realize that goal. I believe that what they do is
important which is why I would like to contribute.
GO: If you were president, what is the first thing you would do?
SH: Pair off the Republicans with Democrats and put them in two-man rooms in
barracks on a military base, and tell them, “You people are going to stay there
until you learn to negotiate and compromise. The more you people fail to do that,
the more your antics hurt the “little people,” the citizens who you are supposed to
serve. Citizens like the men and women around you who serve their country. Face
facts—we can’t keep spending money without raising revenue, such as taxes, nor
can we willy-nilly make spending cuts, so come up with a solution.”
GO: Are there any authors whose success mystifies you?
GO: Do you read more fiction or non-fiction? Why?
SH: I read more non-fiction because I’m either reading college textbooks, military
publications, or I am researching background information for my stories. I do enjoy
reading fiction, especially those of favorite authors, but I have little time to spare
for that these days. Unfortunately.
GO: Do you think television is responsible for illiteracy?
SH: Not responsible, but I am sure it has not helped—the causes of illiteracy are many.
You have to admit, the allure of being told a story through “moving pictures” enables
a person to sit back and relax without having to give too much thought to what is
happening. Many times, but not always, television is filled with so-called “reality
shows” and mindless babble—due to the ratings of successful shows it appears that is
what many people want these days.
GO: Banned books and schools, where should the line be drawn?
SH: If a book must truly be banned, I believe it should be based on whether it is age-
appropriate subject matter. Certainly there are books of value at the college/university
level that might not be suitable for a high school audience, though these children are
adults. And there are almost certainly high school level books that are not suitable for
an elementary school audience. But the idea of banning some books in their entirety?
I fail to see the necessity for such an extreme action unless the books deliberately
incite hate, intolerance, and bigotry, or worse.
GO: How would you feel if a publisher wanted to condense your work?
SH: I am not sure. To me “condense” brings to mind Reader’s Digest condensed
versions of books—not a bad idea, but you don’t have the entire book. So, I suppose
it would depend on the reasoning behind such a proposed action.
GO: When in doubt, who or what do you reference?
SH: For writing, I prefer the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus or Merriam-Webster
GO: What are your thoughts about eBooks?
SH: I do not care for them myself. I believe eBooks will dominate the literary
world sometime in the future, but I do not believe they will absolutely replace
print books. I hope not. There is just something magical about holding a book
in your hands, leafing through the pages, underlining passages, or even scribbling
notes in the margins. Plus, the variety of books that a person has on display in
bookcases in their home says something about the individual. You can start to
gain a sense of who that person is and what interests them.
And here is an excerpt from this book:
“People like a happy ending.”
Sergeant Jerry Stanton, an M4 Carbine slung across his chest, glanced at
the dark form that trudged alongside him in the hot, early morning darkness. It
was all the darker for the dust storm howling across the small camp, a dusty and
sandy convoy support center, CSC, a mile south of the Iraqi border. He placed his
hand over the tall styrofoam coffee cup from the messhall that was open at all
hours to serve those about to head out on a mission. He felt the itchy dust filtering
down his back, along his arms, and coating his fingers.
In spite of his short time deployed to Kuwait, he had learned that dust
storms were worse than sand storms; they were hot and itchy while the sand
storms stung exposed skin and chilled the air. Breakfast was good but tasted flat,
more due to the question of whether their mission would be a go or no-go because
of the storm that roared out of the midnight darkness hours before.
“People like a happy ending,” the soldier repeated. He was a gunner from
another gun truck as the squat, venerable M1114 HMMWVs, which were never
meant to be combat vehicles, were called. He held up a rabbit foot that spun
frantically in the wind and added, “I like a happy ending. Especially now.” They
rounded the corner of a small building, actually a renovated mobile home trailer
with a covered wooden porch lit by a bare electric bulb. The gunner pointed to a
small black flag, suspended from a log overhang, flapping furiously in the wind.
“Oh shit.” Jerry sighed as a cold chill raced through him.
“It’s been there for an hour or so,” the soldier said as he enclosed the
rabbit’s foot within both hands and brought it up to his lips as if to kiss it. He
glanced at Jerry. “I’m not superstitious, but still, I mean, there’s nothing wrong
with having a lucky charm. You know?”
“Yeah.” Jerry nodded as he watched the twisting flag. “I know.”
The soldier looked once more at the black flag and then walked toward the
shower and restroom trailers beyond which were the air-conditioned sleeping tents
they called home…
To purchase a copy of this book go to the Muse It Up Publishing bookstore.
Stan, thanks for stopping by today. What ideas can you come up with to help our
men returning from missions abroad so they don’t end up known as a homeless
veteran? Leave your comments below. The best response will win a packet of
Dead Sea mineral bath salts. Winner will be chosen March 27th.