Amazon.com interviews author Brett Dufur
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Amazon.com: Where are you from? How--if at
all--has your sense of place colored your writing?
B.D.: I'm from Kansas City, Missouri. Grew up a mile from the mall, and a
mile from the country. Guess I chose the country. Now I live in Mid-Missouri, in
a tiny rivertown called Rocheport. It's right on the Katy Trail, on the Missouri
River--the handsomest stretch with towering bluffs and wide sandbars. It's a great place to call home. I love small
rivertowns, in Missouri, and around the world. There's a slower pace of life
here, and it seems the perfect perch.
Amazon.com: When and why did you begin writing? When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
B.D.: I've written my whole life. With my active imagination, it came
easy, really. I've seen how writing can have such a good effect, effusing
knowledge, good will, better understanding, better relationships between
travelers and residents, and can lead to an increase in stewardship and
appreciation of our history and outdoors. What more could I ask for in a job and
Amazon.com: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
What books have most influenced your life?
B.D.: Many influences include Hemingway, Thoreau and many lesser known,
but just as profound recorders of history, like those old letters you find in
historical archives that appear so simple, poetic, passionate, truthful and
sincere. I received a degree in journalism from the University of
Missouri-Columbia, and that has had an effect on my style as well. I have the
pleasure of knowing some of the most amazing people in the world, and I find
that often my greatest teachers are those that talk simply, or those who offer
great lessons in few words, allowing the imagination to fill in the gaps. That
goads me towards writing simply, clearly, and with a minimum of grandiose
digressions or elevated, irrelevant use of vocabulary for vocabulary's sake.
Amazon.com: What is the most romantic book you've ever read?
B.D.: Romantic: Gary Moulton's multi-volume set of Lewis and Clark's
journal entries. To hear Clark's raw awe of the natural wonders of this country
is true poetry. On July 4, 1804, Clark writes "...The
Plains of this countrey are covered with a Leek Green Grass, well calculated for
the sweetest and most norushing hay—interspersed with... trees, Spreding ther
lofty branchs over Pools Springs or Brooks of fine water. Groops of Shrubs
covered with the most delicious froot is to be seen in every direction, and
nature appears to have exerted herself to butify the Senery by the variety of
[flowers] raiseing Delicately… above the Grass, which Strikes & profumes the
Sensation, and amuses the mind… throws it into Conjecturing the cause of So
magnificent a Senery in a Country thus Situated far removed from the Sivilised
world to be enjoyed by nothing but the Buffalo Elk Deer & Bear in which it
Amazon.com: What music, if any, most inspires you to write? What do
you like to listen to while writing?
B.D.: I'm a huge Bob Dylan fan. The best music to listen to while I write
is silence. Outdoor silence is best, peppered with rustling leaves, bird chirps
and occasional whispers of wind. Being in the Midwest, most trips begin and end
with hours and hours of highway driving or backcountry curving roads. This is a
great time to think and really "write" in your head -- preparing for a
later time of putting pen to paper. I think this distance on the road, or
distance of travel, allows your thoughts to distill, and I believe it is one of the
leading reasons that the Midwest has developed so many great leaders and
visionaries. That simple time to let your mind wander for hours or days, on a
repetitive basis, is like meditation really.
Amazon.com: What are you reading now? What CD is currently in your
B.D.: The Heritage of Missouri. I'm alternating between, yes, Jewel and
about 5 Bob Dylan CDs!
Amazon.com: What are you working on?
B.D.: Working on distractions! No, really, I am working on updating
several of our more popular guidebooks -- we just finished the third edition of
Wine Country. WHEW! Missouri went from 30 to 60 wineries in 6 years! I'm
working on a few assignments for Missouri Life Magazine, and rounding the bend
on a few projects that I have wanted to get started on for a long time.... Anything to get me outside and enjoy this
glorious weather! There's a
great quote: You can't write poetry and live it too. I think of that often, and
try to make sure there's as much poetry in my day to day as there is on paper.
Outside of work, I'm keeping busy working on a new Rocheport Biodiesel Co-op,
guiding river floats with
Mighty Mo Canoes and helping my wife with her
Katy Trail Bed &
Amazon.com: Why do you do what you do? What would you like to say to
B.D.: I like to write about Missouri and the beauty and history waiting
for explorers here. I would encourage everyone to get out and explore! Take a
different way home from work, or take a backroad to visit your parents next
time. Take the long way, the slow way, the circuitous way, and stop to read the
signs and interpretive displays. Once I saw a kid sitting on top of a "STOP"
sign! Take the time to stop and see what's cooking. Dare to drive to the end of
dead ends! Dare to drive off the beaten path. Dare to ruin your ETA, your
average miles per hour on a long trip! Be sure and talk to strangers, ask
directions, stop at the mom and pop stores, even do the increasingly un-American
thing of asking for help! --
Just get out there and expose yourself to the great heritage of our state. It
will be contagious for you, and will instill some great qualities in your kids
too. John Lennon said "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making
Don't get so busy making plans that you skip over some important parts of
life -- those little trips and experiences that many years from now, you will
come to realize compose a much greater portion of your memories than those
countless repetitive days of work and planning. See you out there!