Tag Archives: Paul Baker


Bob’s Story:

I was born at home in a house surrounded by cotton fields.  A few miles to the east and we would would have been in an oil field.  A few miles west and we would have been on land good for nothing but running cows and chasing jackrabbits.  My grandfather had been tricked into buying the only place in twenty miles that would grow cotton.
It was in the cotton field that I first learned the power of the English language.  Those who chopped cotton with a hoe were not called hoers.  As my mother explained to me with a switch.  It occurred to me that if the wrong word like hoer had the power to move my mother to such action, just think what using the right word like hoe hand could accomplish.
That was when I first got the notion of being a writer.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  We didn’t go in much for writing at the country school I attended.  We studied penmanship.  But we knew what a writer was.  A writer was somebody who was dead.  And if he was any good he had been dead a long time. If he was real good, people killed him. They killed him with hemlock. Hemlock was the Greek word for Freshman Composition.
The country school I attended was closed, and we were bused to Chillicothe. Chillicothe, Texas is small. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence.  For a good coincidence, you have to go to Vernon.  Chillicothe was fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and my teacher encouraged me to write something that had an epiphany.  For an epiphany, you had to go all the way to Wichita Falls.
Real writers wrote about such things as I had never heard of.Damsels.  Splendor falling on castle walls.  For splendor, we had to go to the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show. Since I wasn’t overly familiar with damsels and  splendor, I tried reading what real writers wrote about rural life.  “Dear child of nature, let them rail.  There is a nest in a green vale.”  Which was pretty mystifying to me.  Didn’t writers get chiggers like everybody else?
It looked like for truth and beauty you had to cross Red River.  All I knew about was a little place called Chillicothe.  And it wasn’t even the Chillicothe that was on the map.  Truth in that mythical place was neither comic nor tragic, neither big nor eternal.  And it was revealed through the lives of common folk who belched and fornicated, and knew moments of courage, and saw beauty in their meager lives.  But I could not write about the people I knew without using the vocabulary they knew.  My father did not believe a cowboy said “golly bum” when a horse ran him through a bob wire fence.
Words are not casual things.  They are powerful.  Even explosive.  Words can start wars, or families.  Words can wound, they can shock and offend.  Words can also heal, and explain, and give hope and understanding.  Words have an intrinsic worth, and there is pride and delight in using the right word.  Anyone who chops cotton with an axe is a hoer.
(From “Truth and Beauty”)


In New Testament times, paper was expensive and writing laborious.  It is for that reason that some stories in the Gospels seem truncated.  Today you can learn The Rest of the Story:
The Good Deed, John 9:
Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes, and told him, “Go wash your face in the pool of Siloam.  So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing.  His neighbors then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”
The rest of the story:
The following day, the man came to Jesus again, and said, “You have ruined my life.  I can’t read or write.  I don’t recognize numbers.  I have no skills.  And now my neighbors know I’m not blind.  How can I beg?  Are you going to let me starve?”  And Jesus spat on the ground again.

email me
If you are unable to find any of Robert Flynn’s books,
See Robert’s page iWikipedia.com.
Tell a friend about this page
Add this page to your favorites.
Sign In View Entries

Author | Teacher
Robert Flynn is well known
 for his Western Novels,
which are infused with
his wry sense of humor, as well as for his sometimes controversial opinions on religion, politics, war 
and the world at large.
Take a look at his blog, his novels and his other books to get a taste of his unique perspective and his highly skilled narrative and style.
NOW AVAILABLE in the Apple App Store: a new multimedia adventure, from award-winning author and Texas Literary Hall of Fame member Robert Flynn. Antarctica – If angels had blubber instead of flutter; if they sang Holy Cow instead of Hosanna, Antarctica would be paradise.
Beautiful beyond description because there is nothing else like it, endlessly fascinating–an everlasting exhibit of iceberg sculptures as discrete as snowflakes, penguins porpoising like synchronized swimmers, the blowing of whales, the tympani of ice cracking and glaciers calving. It is seen only by the blessed and those who know it best fear the loss of it most.

Is doing the right thing the right thing to do? Riley O’Connor did what he was taught was right. When he told his story his listeners agreed he had done the right thing. But Riley was not convinced and became Jade, a feared and respected outlaw. Then he met a woman who could prove he did the right thing but she did what everyone knew was the wrong thing and refused to confess it.
Follow RobtFlynnAuthor on Twitter
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Flynn
Flynn in 2008

Flynn in 2008
Born April 12, 1932 (age 87)
Chillicothe, Texas
Occupation Novelist
Genre Texas literatureWestern fiction, satire
Subject Texas, war, religion
Notable works North To Yesterday

Robert Flynn (né Robert Lopez Flynn; born 12 April 1932 Chillicothe, Texas) is an author and professor emeritus at Trinity University.

Styles and themes[edit]

Flynn’s early fame came with the novel, North to Yesterday, which was a national bestseller. In Don Quixote fashion, it mocked the legend of the cowboy in Western novels while paying homage to it at the same time (anticipating Larry McMurtry‘s Lonesome Dove). Later works focused on more modern themes: rural life, going to war, religion in modern times and conflicts between “small town morality” and mass media/pop culture.

Novels like In the House of the Lord explored more religious/spiritual themes. Wanderer Springs adopted the gently satirical tone of his earlier works while also examining the interconnectedness between people and families in a small Texas town (inviting comparison to writers like Elmer Kelton or Garrison Keillor). The Last Klick touches upon themes of his service in the Vietnam War (reminiscent of novelist Tim O’Brien). In his latest novel Tie-Fast Country, Flynn returns to earlier themes, depicting a grandmother rancher with a checkered past who is out of sync with contemporary life. (The narrator, on the other hand, is a TV news producer who has to confront her).

Flynn’s short stories touch upon more serious themes and are written perhaps with a more lyrical style.

In 2010 and 2011, Flynn published two novels through JoSara MeDia, Jade:Outlaw and its sequel, Jade: the Law. Both novels portray the grim realities of living in west Texas in the late 19th century where settlers/Indians/Mexicans frequently clash. Jade, the protagonist, is hired as an escort for cattle, guarding property and chasing after rustlers. He quickly discovers that just to do his job means getting involved in brutal situations that trouble his conscience. Jade ends up falling in love with Crow Poison, an Indian woman whose husband he had killed. Eventually he realizes that both sides have culpability. His outrage translates into a desire to fight for the sake of justice (even if it results in tragedy). At the end of the novel, Jade (with the support of his wife) agrees to serve as sheriff for his town (which becomes the basis for the sequel, Jade: The Law). Of this ebook, San Antonio Express News book reviewer Ed Conroy writes:[1] “Flynn brilliantly employs a directly simple, subtle and at times sardonic narrative voice to tell this tale. It is alternately tough and tender, succinct and sweet, cadenced to the clip-clop of a horse trotting down Main Street, the hullabaloo of a steam locomotive triumphantly making its way into town amid a jubilant crowd’s hoopla, and, of course, to the shots of guns of many kinds fired in self-defense, anger, treachery and haste….Through chronicling Jade’s struggles to bring some ordinary order into what eventually becomes Jade Town, Flynn makes clear that the cost of many of our male ancestors’ genocidal policies toward Indians, systematic abuse of women and fears of the “mongrelization” of the “white race” was massive social trauma of immensely tragic proportions.”

Flynn was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame in October 2012.[2]

Flynn taught writing to college students over four decades. In a 2007 audio interview,[3] he said, “You can read any book on writing fiction for example, and they will tell you the same thing. Someone may say it in a different way that gives you better insight, but there are no secrets in writing; it’s just a matter of doing it.”



  • North To Yesterday
  • In the House of the Lord
  • The Sounds of Rescue, The Signs of Hope
  • Wanderer Springs
  • The Last Klick
  • The Devil’s Tiger, with Dan Klepper
  • Tie-Fast Country
  • Jade: The Outlaw (ebook + pb) JoSara MeDia (September 1, 2010)
  • Jade: The Law (ebook + pb) JoSara MeDia (October 2011)

Vietnam Memoir[edit]

  • A Personal War In Vietnam

Short story collections[edit]

  • Living with the Hyenas
  • Seasonal Rain
  • Slouching towards Zion


  • When I was Just Your Age, oral histories, edited with Susan Russell
  • Growing Up a Sullen Baptist
  • Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities

Religious/social essays[edit]


  1. ^ Reprinted in full on the Amazon.com Book page for this book
  2. ^ “Texas Literary Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Library”. Fortworthtexas.gov. Archived from the original on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  3. ^ “Texas author Robert Flynn Interview (2007)”Archive.org. Retrieved 3 April 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists featuring Robert Flynn. Edited by Nan Cuba and Riley Robinson (Trinity University Press, 2008).

External links[edit]

Leave a comment

Filed under Randy

Eugene McKinney Playwright- Died in San Antonio Dec. 1, 2010

Eugene McKinney

Eugene McKinney, professor emeritus of speech and drama, died in San Antonio Dec. 1, 2010. He was 88. McKinney, a well-regarded playwright who scripted several stage and television productions, was Trinity’s playwright-in-residence for 24 years. He left Baylor University in 1942 to join the U.S. Army during World War II. While a sergeant with the 3rd Army in Europe, McKinney received a battlefield commission and became a 2nd lieutenant. After the war, he rturned to Baylor, earned his bachelor’s in 1947 and his master’s in 1948; then joined the faculty there. In 1959, he became a professor of playwriting at the Dallas Theater Center. He became director of the Center’s graduate program in 1984. In 1963, McKinney was one of several faculty members who came to Trinity with Paul Baker after Baker resigned as chairman of Baylor’s drama department over artistic diferences. McKinney retired from Trinity in 1987. Twelve of McKinney’s plays were produced, including A DIFFERENT DRUMMER, CROSS-EYED BEAR, THE ANSWER IS TWO, and OF TIME AND THE RIVER. He also wrote for television, and his scripts included “A Different Drummer” for CBS, “So Deeply in the Well Known Heart Of” for NBC, and “I Came, I Saw, I Left” for ABC. His is survived by his wife, Treysa, and son, Michael.


Goodbye friend, teacher, and mentor: Eugene McKinney
Randy Ford

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Bloggers

Randy Ford Author- Thomas Wolfe, Angna Enters, and Me

      “He did not write nine-page reviews on ‘How Chaplin Uses Hands in Latest Picture’- how it really was not slap-stick, but the tragedy of Lear in modern clothes; or on how Enters enters; or how Crane’s poetry can only be defined, and generally exposited in terms of mathematical formulae- ahem! ahem, now!”- from YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN by Thomas Wolfe  p.485

      This week I have been reading Thomas Wolfe’s YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN and stumbled upon the quote about Angna Enters.  In 1962 I took her mime class at Baylor University, and it seems to me as if we spent the whole semester working on Entrances.  So I experienced Enters entering.  At the same time I was studying Laban’s Work Efforts with Rudolph Laban’s daughter Juana De Laban.  Imagine both women working at the Baylor Theater and the Dallas Theater Center at the same time.

      “In 1924, Enters borrowed $25 with which to present her first solo program at the Greenwich Village Theater.  Her solo program,”The Theatre of Angna Enters,” toured the United States and Europe until 1939 and was performed, though less often, until 1960.”

      “YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN is Thomas Wolfe’s final novel, published postimumously in 1940.  It is the sequel to THE WEB AND THE ROCK, and brings Wolfe’s hero George Webber back to the United states from a European sojourn on which he had learned that “you can’t go home again” but must go forward to a new future, not a dead past.” 

      “Thomas Wolfe remains as colorful and controversial a literary figure as modern America has produce.  Born in 1900, wolfe was educated in his home state of North Carolina and at Harvard.  Following a period abroad he taught at New York University until 1950, when his first novel, LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL, was published.  Thereafter he devoted his whole time to his writing OF TIME AND THE RIVER, the sequel, fulfilled the promise shown by the first book and established Wolfe as on of the major American novelists. 

       One of Paul Baker’s most memorial accomplishments at Baylor Theater and The Dallas Theater Center was the adaptation and production of OF TIME AND THE RIVER.

Leave a comment

Filed under Randy's Story

Paul Baker- “Prof” dies from complications of pneumonia, age 98

Paul Baker

       Paul Baker, the founding artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center and a legendary presence on the Texas theater scene, has died of complications of pneumonia.   He was 98. The former director of the drama departments at Baylor and Trinity universities died Sunday in a hospital near his Central Texas ranch near Waelder, about 70 miles southeast of Austin.   In the 1950s, Baker invented revolutionary arts training known as “integration of abilities,” which won the attention of theater artists around the world. “Irritating, arrogant, nuts — and a genius,” is how the late stage and film star Charles Laughton described director and teacher Baker.   The same man affected almost every theater hall built in Texas during the late 20th century by insisting that spectators share the theatrical space with the performers.   “In the long history of theater architecture, no single person has contributed more to its development than Paul Baker,” wrote Dallas architect Arthur Rogers. A minister’s son, Baker was born in Hereford in 1911.   His imaginative responses to the West Texas landscape deeply affected his later teaching on creativity. Baker attended Trinity University when it was still in Waxahachie and then earned his master’s degree in drama at Yale University. In 1934, Baker accepted a teaching position at Baylor, where he met and married Kitty Cardwell, a math teacher and artist who later translated his theories to children’s art and theater.   They had three children.   Two years later, Baker made a crucial voyage to England, Germany, Russia and Japan to observe theater.   Insights from this trip helped form a new Baylor theater, Studio One, which placed the audience in swivel chairs embraced by six stages.   Over the next decades, Baker would contribute to 10 other Texas theater designs that positioned the dramatic action around the halls, rather than on a 19th century-style picture frame stage. I  n 1959, Baker co-founded the Dallas Theater Center, which served as the Baylor drama department’s graduate school.   With Baker’s input, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the center, the great architect’s last building.   Baker was artistic director for 23 years, promoting many performers and playwrights along the way.   By the early 1980s, Baker was tangling with the Dallas theater group’s board of directors.   He wanted to retain the educational approach; they preferred an Equity union theater with well-known stars.   In 1982, he resigned, and that spelled the end of the Baker era in Texas.   His innovative Baylor theater was torn down, his Trinity theater severely altered. In Austin during the late 1980s, Baker directed Preston Jones’ “The Oldest Living Graduate” at the Paramount Theatre and his own adaptation “Hamlet ESP” at Hyde Park Theatre.   Austin philanthropists Ernest and Sarah Butler, for whom the University of Texas School of Music and Ballet Austin’s Eduction Center are named, were students of Baker’s.   His “integration of abilities” inspires them to this day.   Baker was awarded the Texas Medal of Arts in 2007 for his contributions to arts education.   Baker is survived by his wife, Kitty, and three children, Robyn, founder of Dallas Children’s Theater; Retta, a former executive with the American-Statesman; and Sallie, who teaches theater and writing in Denver.   A Dallas memorial will be held in early December at the Children’s Theater’s Rosewood Center for Family Arts.   Donations to the Children’s Theater or another charity are requested in lieu of flowers.Share E-mail Visit Guest Book

       Published in Austin American-Statesman from October 26 to November 13, 2009 Printprint


1 Comment

Filed under Guest Bloggers

Dallas Children’s Theater- out of Baker Idea Institute a World Premiere exploring learning differences

       Out of the Baker Idea Institute and renowned theater director Paul Baker’s multi-sensory strategies comes a powerful world premiere, hard 2 spel dad, penned by DCT’s award-winning resident playwright, Linda Daugherty, along with dyslexia expert, Mary Rohde Scudday.  This in-depth exploration of learning differences will continue DCT’s dedication to illuminating the challenges facing adolescents, offering enlightening post show discussions for students, educators and parents.

       You’ll find great prices, great plays, and great fun at YOUR children’s theater!

       For information call Dallas Children’s Theater at 214/740-0051 or email www.dct.org.

Dallas Children’s Theater establishes Baker Idea Institute


       The Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) recently announced the establishment of the Baker Idea Institute (BII), which will bring together individuals from the education, business and arts sectors to discuss and explore the value of “creative ideas” and their application to real-life and business scenarios.   Named after renowned theater director and Baylor and Trinity University professor Dr. Paul Baker, BII will draw upon Baker’s acclaimed multi-sensory teaching techniques to empower community members with problem solving skills and creativity-exploration exercises during a series of thematic symposia, led by international keynote speakers.

      Currently residing near Gonzales, Texas, 97-year-old Dr. Baker is the founder of the Dallas Theater Center (DTC) and founding principal of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.   His unique approach to learning has been in use at DCT and Booker T. Washington since the late 1970’s.   His daughter and protégé, Robyn Baker Flatt, later applied her father’s unique learning approach and began teaching it as part of the core curriculum in the Dallas public elementary school system 17 years ago.   Because Dr. Baker’s technique employs visual, auditory and kinetic interaction, rather than just passive listening, it has been used successfully to train business leaders, playwrights, architects, novelists and every discipline in between.   Dr. Baker’s methodologies work with the five senses, making it easy to translate the curriculum to groups with various skill levels and language abilities allowing them to come together to address global issues.

       According to Ms. Flatt, who currently serves as executive artistic director of DCT, “it’s an honor to create an institute recognizing my father’s legacy.   He always says, ‘there is genius in all of us and that genius must be discovered and exercised and given a chance to express itself.’   The Baker Idea Institute will do just that, while bringing together individuals from all areas of our community to focus their energies around central topics and issues.”
      As more and more businesses nationwide struggle with team-management issues, there is a greater push toward non-hierarchical, collaborative techniques.   Through avenues like BII, leaders in higher education, corporations and city government will have the opportunity to partner with artists to augment linear thinking with imaginative learning.   The hope is to get leaders to break free from “silo” thought process and to tap into imaginative solutions in both their individual and team decisions.
      All BII initiatives will be held at DCT’s Rosewood Center for Family Arts, with one special session in the newly opened Booker T. Washington Theater in the Dallas Arts District.   For current information visit www.bakeridea.org.

Source: Dallas Children’s Theater



 Paul Baker c.1994 


Leave a comment

Filed under Performances

Texas A & M University Press Consortium- PAUL BAKER AND THE INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES edited by Robert Flynn and Eugene McKinney

Edited by Robert Flynn and Eugene McKinney

“Irritating, arrogant, nuts—and a genius.” That’s what Charles
Laughton said of Paul Baker. He also said, “Paul Baker is one of
the most important minds in the world theater today. He seems to
have invented new ways of doing things, and I think something big
will come out of it.”

Something big did come out of it. Stage productions such as
Othello, Hamlet, and A Cloud of Witnesses brought critics
including Henry Hewes of Saturday Review and photographers
such as Eliot Eliosofon of Life magazine to Baylor Theater in

Baker’s production of Eugene McKinney’s A Different
Drummer received an invitation from CBS TV’s cultural program,
“Omnibus,” to present the play live from their New York studio.
Baker’s production of As I Lay Dying, Robert Flynn’s adaptation
of William Faulkner’s novel, brought an invitation to present the
play at the Theater of Nations in Paris, the first non-Broadway
production to compete there, where it won a Special Jury Award.

That was Paul Baker the theater director. Equally important was
Baker’s role as teacher and mentor in the arts. Architect Arthur
Rogers stated, “No single person has contributed more to (theater
architecture) development than Paul Baker.” Baker’s architectural
visions at Baylor Theater, the Dallas Theater Center, and Trinity
University’s Ruth Taylor Theater have inspired similar
constructions not only in the United States but in places such as
Manila and Seoul.

Baker’s teaching philosophy, based on his famous class “The
Integration of Abilities,” has been inspirational. In education Baker
has been founder, mentor, or director of children’s theaters where
children are the creators of the drama; of the Booker T.
Washington School of the Arts; of the Learning About Learning
Foundation, a retail line of interactive kits that included books and
toys; and dozens of creative programs for children, parents, and

In Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities Baker tells how a
summer in Paris gave him a new way of looking at theater. Eugene
McKinney describes Baker’s development of writers, and Glenn
Allen Smith demonstrates the use of the elements in creating a
play. In other chapters on acting, directing, speech, and design,
Baker’s ideas gave roots and wings to his students and colleagues.

Despite invitations from theaters in other places, including
Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia, and New Zealand, and offers of
positions at other universities, Baker chose to remain in Texas
where he was born and where he lives today.


ROBERT FLYNN is the author of twelve books including North to
Yesterday, Wanderer Springs, and Tie-Fast Country. Flynn’s stage
adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying premiered at Baylor
Theater and was presented by the Dallas Theater Center at the
Theater of Nations competition in Paris. EUGENE McKINNEY
was associated with Paul Baker for thirty-nine continuous years as
a playwriting professor and playwright-in-residence. He has
written and produced ten plays, four of which were published, and
eight television scripts that have been produced on major networks.
For twenty-four years McKinney and Flynn co-taught a fiction-writing
course at Trinity University.

To Order Please Call- 800-826-8911

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

Randy Ford Author-the beginning of a new work: on the draft and deferment

      While we flew west across the Pacific and lost a day, I dozed off and on and listened to the “Erotica.”   Classical music had been an acquired taste.

      My wife looked over at me without joy.   She wasn’t sure about this.   It had been her idea to join the Peace Corps, but now that we were in the air, and it came down to leaving behind all she knew except me, she wasn’t sure.

      But I hadn’t paid her much attention.   Did she really want to turn back?   Was I worth it?

      She wasn’t sure.   She grew up being overwhelmed about many things.

      And this wasn’t what I was tuned into as I dozed off and on and listened to the “Erotica.”   I was more interested in looking at the clouds as we followed the sun.   It would be a long flight.   I wasn’t interested in the in-flight movie, a silly flick I had already seen.


      We were being sent to Philippines instead of somewhere in Africa because my draft board had been in hot pursuit of me.   This was in 1969.   I had been deferred to allow me to complete graduate school.   I was working in a regional professional theater and going to school.   It had been a very busy time, and that was why I liked it.   My late nights meant my wife spent most of her nights alone in an apartment she never got use to, and she never felt safe there with all the comings and goings in the park in the neighborhood.   In a real way she was glad to get out of there.   There was never a better illustration of this than on the night she smelled cigarette smoke just outside our bedroom window.   She had to also commute to school.   This had been especially hard for her because she hadn’t been use to big-city traffic and had just learned to drive.   On her first day at a new university she took one wrong turn and it took her all day long to find her way home.   She never made it to school that day, and my first thought when she told me wasn’t that sympathetic.   This made her feel very stupid.   We knew we were different.   I didn’t say much.   I was too wrapped up in a production of one of my plays.   It was all about me and I had classes in the morning and rehearsals in the afternoon while she drove a hundred miles both ways; and my evenings were filled with shows, one beginning as soon as one ended; and after performances, there was always homework.

      That was how it was the first year of our marriage.   We hardly had time to speak to each other.   It’s hard to believe now; and that first year I don’t see how we made it as a couple.   The production of my play went very well and people seemed to like it, no doubt because of Paul Baker who directed it, an honor for me as his student because he was the Managing Director of the theater and only directed one or two plays a season.   That, believe me, was something else.  I have to tell you I appreciate it all more now than I did then.

      Now I want to go back to the plane ride.   You must believe I was excited.   But then how many times had I been out of the country?   None.   Or we may have walked across the border into Juarez on our hurried honeymoon.   Peg had never been on an airplane before stepping on the one in Dallas that took us on the first leg of this journey that would last five years and take us around the world.   There is a lot more about all this that I want to say, about the countries and the people, and the adventures we had, and the gifts from all of that we received.   It will be impossible to remember everything now, and some things I’ll get wrong.   Clearly I have my biases, good and bad, that a reader will have to put up with.   There are also things I’d rather forget that I may not write about.

Randy Ford


Filed under Randy's Story