I want to share this interview again in honor of James Caskey who died today. I met Mr Caskey through my dear friend and client Boyd Lemon. We interviewed together a few times and spoke on the phone– it was always a pleasure and his interviews were always top notch.
This interview was featured in the last issue of “Novel Reads By Novel Ideas.” Mr Caskey saw the interview and was excited to be in the “zine.” The world of computers was new to him– but he was giving it a go. Enjoy this interview with a man who really had a story to tell.
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to meet a friend of his. Sure—why not? Well, that friend turned out to be the very talented James Caskey and what a friend he turned out to be! Great book, and great writing that will keep you laughing until the early, early mornings.
This is a hilarious memoir of humorous stories and anecdotes that the author accumulated during 51 years of marriage. They include:
• Burying the family dog after rigor mortise had set in.
• Talking to a bank officer about acquiring a loan to build an ark.
• Shopping with the wife and the pitfalls involved, such as when the saleslady called him a tasteless idiot.
• Avoiding any word that might be construed by the wife as a comment on her weight.
How would you describe your writing style in two sentences?
I go to the computer, look out at the river, mess with the dog and think back many years ago, and some amusing happening will pop into my mind. I will type up that memory as accurately as I can.
How long does it take for you to write a chapter?
Depends on how quickly the thoughts find their way into my mind. If I have several humorous thoughts, I can type like a house afire. My book in not in chapters but in circumstances
What is the best part of the writing process for you?
Putting the thoughts down on paper so they will be saved for future generations for the amusement of my kids and grandkids. Those situations should be remembered.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a lot of people, what would that message be?
Hell, that’s easy. Live your life to the fullest. Explore every avenue, talk to people, do things you are not comfortable with. Laugh a lot, tease a lot, love a lot.
Do you ask yourself questions or do you settle for what you know?
If there is a topic I am unfamiliar with I will research it and see how it pertains to me. Other than that, I rely on the experience of living life and what I have learned.
When it’s all said and done, will you have said more or done more?
Everybody looks back and examines their lives, and we all could have done more and said more. I could have worked harder, but then I would have less opportunity to be with my family. If you are on the road a lot you learn how to really schedule tightly.
As far as saying more, I think I always said what was appropriate at the time to help with problems.
Which activities make you lose track of time?
Playing with the kids and grandkids. I lose track of time when we are talking and teasing and laughing. Laughing with the whole family during holidays. Playing tennis with the grandsons. Playing poker with the kids and bluffing an 8-year-old out of a 15 cent pot.
What’s your single greatest moment of personal failure? Looking back on it now, did it make you weaker or stronger? What did you learn?
Dropping out of my freshman year of college because I partied too much. It made me stronger as my dad made me pay him back for that semester. I did graduate with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Nothing is a free ride in this world.
Joy is found with simple awareness. What does your joy look like today?
It’s packed jam full. Kids are all well and happy. Grandkids and doing well in school and are happy as larks. They all still enjoy coming to see grandpa and grandma. Always lots of laughs when we are at the beach picking and steaming crabs.
Life is very, very good.
If your life were a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
“It’s your life..LIVE IT!!”
It would end with me sitting on the screen porch looking at the river late one evening and a voice whispers in my year and says, “You ready?”
I would look back on many wonderful years, the family all well and happy, and whisper, “Yes.”
Get your copy of “The Gentle War and Other Idle Thoughts” by James Caskey here.
Thank you for the tribute. We knew Jim and spent many summers at Nags Head, North Carolina having a wonderful time. Was there an obituary anywhere?