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jb hogan

Guest Blog by J.B. Hogan

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Cheryl and I have known each other for a long time. We met in the early spring of 1970 in Warrensburg, Missouri where we were going to college at Central Missouri State, now the University of Central Missouri. We were good friends for two active, complex and fun years back in the heady latter days of the 1960s movement. Then we went our separate ways—for 40 years.

Cheryl found me on Facebook and now we are friends again, both old and new. And we’re both writers—writers whose work has different aims but taps the same resource for much of its material: the age of the Baby Boomers. I’m older than Cheryl and not technically a Boomer but I grew up with and was still a part of that noted generation.

Because of this connection and because we lived in the heart of the 1960s and early 1970s counter-culture, our work speaks directly to those of you from that time. Maybe you weren’t as deep into that world as we were, or maybe you were more so, but you’ll see that our work rings true—with the unquestioned veracity of those who have been there and done that. We lived through the things we write about and we are writing our books for you.

But—we do not live in the past. Far from it. We use the past and our memories to fashion stories for today. Stories that we hope resonate with you and with your children and their children. Understanding the past—yours, ours, our country’s—tells us not just who we’ve been but who we are and who we are becoming.

It’s been a long journey for all of us and for our nation as well. Please join Cheryl and I as we plumb the depths of personal and public experience to create fiction that reflects our shared past, and influences our present and the future.

 

J. B. Hogan

 

Read more by J.B. Hogan by visiting his Facebook page here.

 

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It was the spring of 1970.  Women were demanding equal rights, blacks were pressing for equal representation, young people were calling for an end to the Vietnam War and peaceful protests were giving way to riots across college campuses following the deaths of four students at Kent State.

Colliding philosophies of the times played out at the box office as military films, “Patton” and “M*A*S*H”surrendered to the peace and love of “Woodstock’s”half a million strong.

Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” Derek and The Dominos’ “Layla,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” and James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” filled our hearts and heads with music and ideas.

Freedom. It was all about freedom. Freedom to wear what you wanted, grow your hair as long as you wanted, listen to the music you wanted, think what you wanted, freedom to choose, freedom to say “no.”

That was where we all were in history the morning I walked into the student union at Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, Missouri…“Out In The Country,” by Three Dog Night was playing on the jukebox. Fraternity and sorority members sat at tables on the left hand side. That wasn’t me. I turned to the right and saw a table filled with what was referred to back then as hippies and freaks and Vietnam vets. How fortunate for me. Among that group was Jerry Hogan…a bearded, long-haired vet with a notepad and pencil tucked inside his plaid flannel shirt pocket.

Jerry and I and the others in that group became fast friends. Over the next two years we shared unique experiences and lived through times that shaped our values, our viewpoints and gave us the tenacity to realize our dreams. Jerry jotted observations of those times down in notepads as poems and stories. I logged my memories of those days in my mind and my heart for future reference.

Facebook brought us together again. We used a lot of LOLs as we both recalled high school guidance counselors—advising Jerry Hogan, Ph. D. that he was definitely not college material and encouraging me to pursue a career in secretarial or beautician fields.

Although we write from different perspectives, we both write from our heart about times we experienced, things we know about…because we were there. And with this in mind, we bridge the past with the present and hope the words, the poems, the stories, the novels we write strike a familiar chord with those who were there…or who want to merely experience that unique time in history.

C. L. Gillmore