Bob Flynn is a friend, an old friend, who uses and abuses humor in writing. Also he isn’t afraid to admit that he is Southern Baptist. He pokes fun at his faith, and in his essays, Growing Up a Sullen Baptist he is reverent and irreverent. What? Yes, he’s that good. In his work you are never out of sight of who (or is it whom?) he is, and there’s a lot to him.
An impression of out of the way places in Texas: the landscape, landscapes of cotton fields, por dirt, funny people, from Vietnam to Texas, a landscape so hard and unforgiving that I don’t see how Bob keeps his sense of humor. In my view it is a land of narrow mindness and unforgiveness, and yet, with Bob’s perspective you’ll find humor there. Everyone will laugh. Everyone will cry. I can almost guarantee it. His view is down to earth, his perspective unique, and for that I envy him. He has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft. His style gives the impression that he hasn’t worked that hard at it. In this presentation of his, simplicity becomes sublime, and funny; it’s always worth seeing what he has to say? (Seeing something to hear it? English! Or am I wrong? English can be so difficult and funny. Go to the home page of Bob’s website and see what his mother taught him about the English language: http://www.robert-flynn.net/index.htm .) Bob is therefore defined by his west Texas roots, and he didn’t try to run away from his (roots) as I tried to do.
Here is Bob’s publicity blurb. “Robert Flynn is a native of Chillicothe, Texas; despite its size, the best known Chillicothe outside of Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. Chillicote is fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and at an early age Flynn set out to find it, discarding along the way seven novels (if he hasn’t finished his latest one): North To Yesterday; In the House of the Lord; The Sounds of Rescue, The Signs of Hope; Wanderer Springs; The Last Klick; The Devils Tiger, and co-authored with the late Dan Klepper Tie-Fast Country. (At Baylor University and Trinity University, I knew Bob as playwright/teacher and for his adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.) He is also known for a two-part documentary “A Cowboy Legacy,” shown on ABC-Television; a nonfiction narrative, A Personal War in Vietnam; an oral history When I Was Just Your Age; three story collections, Seasonal Rain, Living with The Hyenas, Slouching Toward Zion and a collection of essays, Growing Up a Sullen Baptist. He also contributes to The Door: The Word’s Pretty Much Only Magazine of Religious Satire.
“His life and work could be described as The Search for Morals, Ethics, Religion, or at least a good story in Texas and lesser known parts of the world.”
And let me repeat: I consider Bob to be a good friend.
Good night, Randy Ford