Exploring the art of prose


Author: Bret Anthony Johnston

Author’s Note

I worked on Atlee Rouse for about ten years, and I always thought of it as The Weird Horse Story.  While writing other things—stories, essays, a documentary film, and a novel—I would sneak off and write a strange vignette based on something interesting about horses.  The story would go cold for months or a year, then I’d hear or see or read or remember something that would spur (ahem) me to trot (ahem) it out again.  With each new vignette, I would print the story and lay it out on my office floor, rearranging the sections in a way that seemed most likely to engage and reward the reader.  I never thought it would be finished, let alone published.  That it’s found such readership around the world feels as deeply gratifying as it does profoundly confusing.  Somewhere I have a bunch of vignettes that didn’t make the final version of the story.  Maybe I’ll eventually do a sequel and call it: Atlee Rouse: The Ponies Strike Back.

BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON is the author of Remember Me Like This and Corpus Christi: Stories, and the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer.  He is the Director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin.