Some words that shouldn’t be hidden on FB

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Facebook is part of my life, and although to survive I am attempting to move from FB to this blog, I am now moving between two online worlds. I have a lot of friends, and I get along with people well, for they—you—drive my life. Only Marissa knows the hell of loneliness that is my life, for I don’t share this.

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Pardon the vanity … but I use images taken of me to create art that I sell. Money moves my world, but only because I enjoy eating. (Art © Louis Kraft 2013)

Not often, but perhaps today i need to open up for my sanity.

I hope someone sees the following FB posting, but she won’t for she isn’t on FB. By posting it on the website I am making it available to her. If she sees it, and if it offends her, I hope that when next she sees me, she belts me, for I deserve it.

The words are totally out of line. … I’m a gutsy fellow, but when it comes to what I want–really want–I’m not very good at doing what I need to do. … Not good at doing what I need to do for me. I can pitch a story idea and if it isn’t wanted I can walk away without a whimper, without feeling rejection. However, I don’t do well in life and often walk away without the other person ever knowing that I’m interested in her. I can’t tell you how often someone has said to me, “If you had just let me know … ” years later. This is not a lesson I have learned, not lesson I have moved beyond. What was true when I was young is true today. I just posted something on FB … and it is part of who I am. This blog lives because I need to discover who I am. What follows is from a FB posting, and hopefully if the lady in question sees it she isn’t offended:

“I haven’t heard a good song in a long time. Weeks back I heard Rihanna and some of her friends perform “Stay,” and whoa, this is a song that hits me dead center. A lot of changes are going on in my life, and this lady’s music has caught me in a place I haven’t been in a long time. “Stay,” … and let me tell you it’s about time someone I want stays in my life. I’m not dead. Hell, I’m not close to being dead. I can’t guess how many people I’m going to piss off in the next 40 years. Need a lady to join this walk into the future. Need a lady to hold me tight. There’s only one person who fits the above words. Need to step outside of my safe zone and risk upsetting a small friend, I need to risk ending a friendship to create something I want. Hard decision, but it is time to go after what I want.”

Dear lady, if you see this and are offended, please hit me with your best swing.

Flynn, Wynkoop, good friends, & reality

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Errol Flynn and Ned Wynkoop … I linked them for all time in Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek. That linking will continue, for even though they lived in different centuries, racial equality has joined them for all time. These are important words, and to know me, you must understand that this is what I write about. Racial equality. People … just people, for that is all we are—people. Without us, people, we do not exist.

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lk in Layton & Vicki Hooper’s back yard (April 19, 2013). This image, which has been cropped, shows the view from the back of the Hooper home looking toward the First Range (need to check on this). You are also able to see one of the houses behind the Hooper home. On this day, Layton and I will drive to Centennial for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium on the 20th. All we had to do was get out of Layton’s driveway and onto city streets to I-25. Clear sailing after that. … Oh, I’m wearing my cold weather gear: A hat, sport coat, sweater, scarf, pants, and beaded moccasins. I’ve always wanted to run around naked in the snow, but didn’t want to shock anyone. Perhaps next time. Photo by Layton Hooper (Image © Louis Kraft 2013)

This ol’ boy enjoyed being “snowed in” for the first time in his life in Fort Collins, Colorado. Layton & Vicki Hooper opened their gorgeous home to me. I wasn’t going, “Oh s–t, I can’t research in Denver.” No, sir! Instead I was enjoying their company, enjoying life. My regret? This snow wasn’t the kind you make into snowballs.

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Layton Hooper at John Monnett’s home in Lafayette on April 16, 2013. (Photo © Layton Hooper & Louis Kraft 2013)

On April 16, a fellow had cleaned Layton’s driveway so we could get out, and the freeway was scraped. Layton drove me to Indian wars historian John Monnett’s home in Lafayette, for a planned meeting. John and I are linked with much of our subject matter, and this has gotten us together and allowed us to become friends. On this day we not only talked about my upcoming book on Sand Creek and my desire that John become one of my key go-to-people but also the upcoming Wynkoop talk for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium in Centennial, Co., on April 20. John’s research, which he shared with me on this day, changed the direction of my talk. No big deal, for this is what talks are about—change and adaptation.

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John Monnett at his home in Lafayette, Co., during a great conversation wherein we discussed Sand Creek and him working with me and reviewing for me, but also discussing information that would add value to my upcoming Wynkoop talk. (Image © John Monnett & Louis Kraft @ 2013)

John had some important information that I needed to work into the talk. Hell, I don’t know what I’m going to say until I say it. Everything depends upon my concentration and my preparation. I’m always open to adding new and important info to my talks. Sharing details of events and hopefully turning people on. If one person hears a talk and decides to dig into the subject, I’ve had one hell of a successful day.

Learning about people, reaching out to people, accepting people is one day at a time.

Unfortunately the press/publishing houses that print most of what is published for general consumption has a narrow view, a view that is dictated by sales. Can’t blame them, for if they don’t hit their sales numbers they are out of business. … I hate to say it, but much of what they sell is pure crap.

I have a choice, … sell crap or what I believe to be the truth. As the “X Files” constantly told us, “the truth is out there.”

We all have decisions to make in our lives. I have made mine. …

I met Mr. Flynn first, not meeting Mr. Wynkoop until the late 1970s. I already knew who I was, but it took awhile to realize what was important in my world. These two gentlemen, that is, their lives, made me realize what was really important in our world, … people. People of every race, color, religion, political belief. People—you, me, the men and women who control what happens in the world, … people, just people control our future. Our future is before us, and it will continue on and on or it will end. People will decide the future of mankind. What is more important? Accepting people from all walks of life or destroying our world? The reality stands before us …

300 days of sunshine, OIW talk, & an LK ramble

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Dear friends,

In December 2011 I spoke about Ned Wynkoop at the Tattered Cover bookstore in LoDo (downtown Denver). I love LoDo, but you won’t believe that when you read what follows. There are two Hyatt hotels in LoDo, and if I were rich I would make either one of them my permanent residence. That sounds positive, doesn’t it. Hell, go back a few years and I almost accepted a writing position in Boulder. That also sounds positive.

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Layton Hooper is cleaning the snow from my rental car (a Chevy Cruz) in his front yard. Layton and his pretty wife, Vicki, were perfect hosts, and I had a great time being snowbound with them in Fort Collins. Layton is doing the work as he was fearful that I’d fall on my ass and be hospital bound on April 20 during the OIW symposium. ‘Course I didn’t ease his fears when I slipped all over the place in my cold-weather moccasins. (Photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

You realize that I had bought into Colorado’s sales pitch of 300 days of sunshine. Hell, I live in SoCal. We have sunshine! I don’t know what the hell Colorado is selling, but it ain’t what this ol’ boy enjoys in Los Angeles.

Back to the story. That sunny 2011 December morn I arrived in Denver. All looked good, but I had heard rumors that cut into the sunshine publicity. The next morning, the day of the Wynkoop talk, the first thing I did was yank open the curtains and look south into LoDo. Everything was white and there was enough glare/backlight that I could see the snow falling. It proved to be a good trip: I saw Jerry Greene, an Indian wars writer/historian/pal (I don’t mean to name drop, but I want to pitch my friends), talk went well, Barnes & Noble stocked the Wynkoop book, … Best yet it took an hour and a half for the ice defroster to clean the plane before takeoff that Sunday evening (a neat and safe experience).

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Marissa at Tujunga House on Christmas day. (Photo © Marissa & Louis Kraft 2012)

I spent a wonderful Christmas with Marissa, my daughter, last December. Actually, all my days with her are to die for—I’m lucky.

This month I returned to Colorado to again speak about Wynkoop. The fellow who hired me, Layton Hooper, and I had become long-distance friends. When the Order of Indian Wars symposium wasn’t putting me up at a hotel in Centennial, where the event took place at a great National Guard post, he opened his house to me. Layton and his pretty wife, Vicki, made me feel at home. (A lot will follow on Layton & Vicki, but not in this post). This post, if you haven’t realized it by now, deals with Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine.

Again I had landed in sunny Colorado (April 14, 2013), and again on the following morning disaster struck. Only now, I wasn’t snug and secure in a Hyatt in LoDo, nor was I in Centennial within walking distance of the National Guard post. Hell no, for I was staying w/Layton & Vicki in their gorgeous home in Fort Collins (some 80 miles from where I was going to do Sand Creek research in Denver and even farther from Centennial). I shot a roll of film (yep, I have an antique camera) dealing with the “winter wonderland” that the U.S. calls Colorado. Do you realize that I have actually considered moving to Denver? There are two people in my life and one object: Marissa, my girlfriend (when I have one, but this is an open slot for a VIP in my life), and my car.

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The Vette at first light at Tujunga House. As you’ll see, it talks to me and plays a big role in what I do and don’t do. (Photo © Louis Kraft 2011)

After returning home in December 2011, I told my car about the horror of what I lived through: That I had slipped and almost fell, and had whacked my big toe so badly on the curb that I almost crashed to the frozen ground (but luckily didn’t do a back flop), and it made it clear to me that it had no intention of living in the land of 300 days of sunshine. It told me that if I moved to Colorado, that at the first opportunity when we were cruising on a mountain road, that it would lock the brakes, and then when I accelerated it would hold the pedal down until the speed reached 240 mph. It implied that it would smile as we flew into the wild blue yonder in the land of 300 days of sunshine.

Look at the bright side, the Vette hasn’t complained about hurricanes yet. ‘Course I haven’t mentioned living in the Southeast yet. Am sure that it will then remind me what happened to Dorothy (and that was in Kansas and just a mild tornado).

I need to return to Colorado and its 300 days of sunshine one more time for I need to share my favorite image from the April 2012 trip to the land I really thought I eventually would call home. On the plus side, Colorado has great historians, great restaurants, great theater, gorgeous women (I could mention one I try to visit every time I’m in Denver and can walk more than 10 yards without falling on my rear end in the white stuff that I thought only came when Santa Claus paid a visit), … a very pretty lady (alas, with a boyfriend) who works at the Evans/Byers house. If she sees this post, I’m certain she’ll bash me when next I say hello. … But as they say, “All’s fair in love and war.”

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This view is from the glass door at the rear of Layton & Vicki’s home in Fort Collins. This is from their kitchen/dining area/family room that we spent many (and I mean “many”) happy hours in during my visit. I took many photos from the exact same location during my visit. They got progressively worse and worse. On the right of this image you should see two houses. Looking back (west) you should see the western and lower region of what is the Rocky Mountains. Like I’ve been talking about–300 days of sunshine. ‘Course all my pals disagree with what I’ve seen with my own eyes.And of course they’re Cheyenne Indian wars historians, so what can one expect? Layton, on the other side, is an Apache wars historian, … he should be able to recognize the truth when it has him surrounded. I’m certain if Geronimo saw this white stuff that is useless (it isn’t even any good for throwing snowballs), he’d be heading south for old Mexico as fast as he could run. … Mr. Mike Koury, another thought for you; it’s time you joined the program. (Photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

 

Gatewood & Geronimo live

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Recently a good friend of mine, Erik Wright, who is writing about Charles Gatewood, asked if it bothered me that he had begun to write about him. Absolutely not, I had told Erik. Actually, I was thrilled that he had taken up where I had left off. I truly believe, as I had told actress Olivia de Havilland, two books are better than one, and three are better than two. The more that Erik, and hopefully others, write about Charles Gatewood is much better than just one writer bringing his life to light.gatewood_portrait2_fb

Erik has already written at least two articles about Gatewood, and I hope he writes many more.

I owe Wild West a couple of Geronimo/Apache articles (as always, I’m late). But Greg L., if you see this blog, patience is the key, for they are almost complete.

Better yet, I spent a terrific day with Mike Koury, whom I met in 1987 (when I delivered my first talk—believe it or not at an Order of the Indian Wars event in SoCal, and more surprisingly the talk dealt with Ned Wynkoop) while surviving Colorado’s four-month delay of a white Christmas (pictures promised by Sunday).

Mike has been a good friend since that time long gone, but all too often we don’t have enough time to hang out when at the same location at the same time. This changed on this wintery Colorado day when we hung out together at his home in Johnstown (a major plus for me on this trip was getting to know Dee, his pretty wife).

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lk at the ongoing Geronimo exhibit in Tucson (a disappointment) in 2012. (Photo by Glen Williams)

The Order of the Indian Wars is going to track the Apaches and the Apache wars this coming September. I pitched Mike on me speaking about Gatewood finding Geronimo, Naiche, and the remnants of their people still free, and talking them into surrendering to the U.S. before either the U.S. Army or the Mexicans killed them. What Gatewood pulled off is, in my opinion, the greatest feat of the Indian wars. I told Mike that the only reason I wanted to give this talk was because he needed to stuff his Plains Indian wars bias and realize that the Apache people and their struggle to retain their freedom was/is as exciting as the Cheyenne and Sioux fight to retain their freedom.

It is a done deal, and come late September I’ll be in Tucson to talk about two of my favorite people, Mr. G and Mr. G. Details to come as they become available.

Snow, a beautiful woman, and Sand Creek

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


I’m going to link this post to Sand Creek POV for Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway is now front and center in my life. More at the end of this post.

Dear friends, this ol’ boy is home in sunny SoCal, and he has had enough of the “winter wonderland” they call Colorado to last a lifetime. A wimp? No way, … actually it was just the opposite (will attempt to detail what turns out to be a successful trip to Colorado in the coming days, successful in many ways except for money which I may discuss once I confirm my notes).

I flew into Denver, drove to Fort Collins where new/long distance friend Layton Hooper (who had hired me to speak at an Order of the Indian Wars symposium in Centennial, Co.) lives w/his pretty wife. After my arrival I was snowed in for three of four days. Boy, did I get lucky. Layton & Vicki are cool people, and I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed getting to know them. More at a later date.

People often accuse me of name dropping, and I don’t mean to do this. Actually, when I name people, they are usually friends of mine for I usually ignore people that rub me the wrong way. More in another post.

Quick change of subject … tonight at the Denver airport I watched a slender woman with long dark hair eat half a sandwich. She was gorgeous. A white top, dark pants, and tennis shoes. As luck would have it, she and I didn’t hear the boarding announcement for our flight. She asked, and I delightedly replied. A short conversation. I learned a little, mainly that she was from Austria and would be visiting SoCal. Her English was as good as mine (no joke, for her pronunciation was masterful). I am usually very passive toward the opposite sex. Usually they have to hit me over the head before I realize they have any interest. Alas, this lady didn’t hit me over the head (read, most likely, no interest). I enjoyed watching her eat, hope she visits this blog/website, reads these words, and contacts me (this a reach for me, and it doesn’t happen often). I enjoyed our few minutes talking. Will I see her again? Hope always burns eternal. If she does contact me, you can bet I’ll enjoy whatever the future holds. If not, I enjoyed a few minutes with a very pretty lady I wish would enter my life.

Back to Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway. Research has begun (in Denver), I will complete the proposal for editor Chuck Rankin at OU Press by the end of the month, he’ll pitch it, we’ll sign the contract, and I will deliver the manuscript in three years. For those of you who read and enjoy my writing, this will be a people book (as always) but it will be different. I will walk with my leading players in ways I haven’t in the past. Chuck has bought into free-flowing prose that is close to fiction (for the attack on the Cheyenne-Arapaho village) that if I can maintain it, it will become the most page-turning nonfiction prose since the Custer book. If I can pull this off, it will be the best book I have written to date. The challenge is front and center, and it is for me to deliver.

Kraft’s luck & Mr. Wynkoop

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Dear friends, you are not going to believe my sojourn to Colorado (which began yesterday) …

(Yes, Ned Wynkoop finally gets some space in a post, but you’ll have to read to the end of the post.)

Yesterday, I had lost my cell phone before going through security at the Burbank Airport, the flight was delayed because the crew needed extra sleep as they had flown into Burbank too late the night before (the last flight into Burbank is supposedly 10:00 PM), circling above Denver, and after finally getting onto terra firma missed a turn and took the long and not-so-scenic route to Fort Collins where Apache wars historian/friend Layton Hooper and his pretty wife Vicki are putting me up until I move into the hotel for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium later this week.

Today I’m supposed to be researching at the Western History Collection at the Denver Public Library (a great place for writers interested in western and Indian wars history). The internet had led me to believe I would see a few days of “snow flurries.” I was up early this morning, but didn’t climb the stairs until 6:30. The first thing I did was peek out the front door. Layton walked up behind me and said, “I guess you won’t be doing any research today.” Everything was white, and the snow hasn’t stopped falling (supposedly it is going to continue through tomorrow, which may kill a key meeting w/Indian wars writer supreme John Monnett …. Grrrr!), and I’ve heard that perhaps 25 inches of snow has covered the ground north of Fort Collins (?). It looks like about a foot outside right now, and Layton thinks about 3 feet by tomorrow. My rental car looks like it’s dead and buried.

Now for the bright side, … I get to hang out with Layton & Vicki, work on the “Wynkoop’s Last Stand” talk (hope I get out of Denver without being tarred and feathered). Yep, I think the talk will be lively. On the plus side, this snow storm might be similar to what Indian agent Ned Wynkoop faced when he traveled to Fort Cobb in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to gather the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahos in November 1868. Wynkoop never reached his destination, for thoughts of Sand Creek (1864) and the Pawnee Fork (1867) fiascos haunted him. He halted his journey and in protest to the 1868 Indian war resigned his commission, stating in part “… but I most certainly refuse to again be the instrument of the murder of innocent women and children.” Oh yes, it will be lively.

Western novelist/writer supreme Johnny Boggs, upon reading Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek and realizing that Wynkoop had suggested that American Indians should be given U.S. citizenship, wrote in a review something like “No wonder Wynkoop carried a gun.”

‘Wynkoop’s Last Stand’ kick-starts the future

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


With the Wynkoop talk* now almost upon me, I have entered survival mode as I try to figure out what I’m going to say. Nothing new here; usually the last one or two nights before a talk I burn the midnight oil.
* See the Events page for details.

Unprepared? Nope, just the way I like to work. The goal is to find life in the story. If there’s an edge to it, better yet. If one person, just one person, walks away from a talk determined to dig into the subject I’m one happy fellow.

As the talk begins to dominate my time, I play with juicy tidbits and wonder if I can add one or more to the talk’s flow. If so, will they break it? Worse (or rather better), I’m toying with using a few words I’ve never used before in a talk. These words have been swirling around in my mind for days now. They belong, and yet I know they’ll jerk a few people awake. Certainly someone will walk out the door mumbling, “I’m not going to read any of his bullshit!” They’re in luck, I hate selling my writing (you notice I didn’t call it that nasty word).

Do I risk using these words? I’ll know the answer when it’s time to say them.

The talk kick-starts me on getting back to research, for Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway is about to dominate half of every week for the next three years (that is, if there is no interference from that other life that I sometimes live). It also gives me quality time w/two writer-historian friends, cementing a friendship that has grown long distance, seeing old friends and meeting new ones (perhaps even talking about Olivia de Havilland), and finally a radio interview w/Irene Rawlings on her Focus show for Clear Channel radio in Denver.

When I return to sunny SoCal, it will be time to hit the pavement running.

Welcome to my writing world

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


Chases, crashes, guns, knives, screams, even a surprise package with “SHAME” written in bold red letters on it. Excitement of an unsavory kind that should remain tucked firmly in the closet. “Say, it ain’t so, Joe!”* Is the above real? Did it happen? Are these stories that can be told? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” there’s a little more to my life than the nice fellow you think you know.
(*This quote by a little boy to premier baseball player Joe Jackson in September 1920 when Jackson was indicted for his participation in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal is oft repeated but inaccurate.)

How’s that for a teaser?

When I’m lucky enough to have a lady in my life, she is the only one I have eyes for, … but alas, she has to share me with the writing world and with my love for my daughter. In the past this hasn’t been a winning combination. If loving and being with someone for all time is the most important thing in life (other than respecting and accepting mankind), and it is in mine, it must also include acceptance of both lives. I walk my own road and refuse to be caged. (By the way, my daughter isn’t included in this view, for we are linked for all time.)

Obviously there are ups and downs.

Before even beginning to write the next comments I’m chuckling. … I’m not going to tell you how to be successful (I’m the last person on earth to give advice here). Nor am I going to tell you how to write, how to research, or anything else the so-called experts pitch over and over again.

My world is a swirling mix of survival, creativity, physicality, and romanticism, and I have no intention of ignoring it. Sometimes you’ll cringe at my vagueness (for example, I might mention a small friend), but realize that when I’m vague it is out of necessity. Although I have every intention of opening my writing world to you, the goal is to entice, excite, entertain, and if I get lucky gain insight into my research. Beyond that, I’m looking for a chuckle, a tear, an interest in people long gone or still living.

Certainly I’ll talk about writing projects—past and present. I’ll update you with writing status and upcoming events. I’ll also talk about people and happenings that are special, at least to me. Additionally, I hope to invite you into my world, a world that at times seems to be yanked every-which-a-way.

Those of you who have “befriended” me elsewhere know that often I mix and match subject matter. For example, an Errol Flynn discovery, a comment about the mixed-blood Cheyenne Edmund Guerrier, a Navajo Blood teaser, and perhaps a pretty woman saying, “Kraft, you could [… you fill in the blanks].” With the introduction of a blog, there’ll also be invitations to join me as we explore an aspect of Dog Man chief Tall Bull or that special actress named Olivia de Havilland. What am I looking for here? Everything from congratulations to information to sympathy (but not necessarily in that order). Better yet, the fore-mentioned chuckle. Anything you feel like shooting my way. Every day is new, every day is different, every day has a learning curve. The best way to face it is with a smile and with the intention to enjoy each and every minute of the here and now.

Dear people, join me as I open up with hopefully a lively stream of consciousness about my world, a world of my own creation, a world that at times has followed a lonely trail, and finally a world that I have every intention of seeing published in book form. Oh yes, be very careful with what you say for I’m good at documenting information.