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A Celebration of The Life & Work of Paul Hemphill

A Celebration of The Life & Work of Paul Hemphill
By James Calemine

"I was ridin' number nine
Headin' south from Caroline
I heard that lonesome whistle blow."

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Bill Cochran says...

Great work...now, I've got to track down as much Paul Hemphill as I can get my hands on. Thanks for the words you put out there James.

garejoyce says...

James, Thanks for this piece. I became a fan of Paul Hemphill's sports work when I was a high-schooler and I read everything I could get my hands on (not so easy in Canada). I exchanged emails with him, starting in 2005. Up until last September I was corresponded with him, always trying to figure out a way that I could get to Atlanta on business so I could meet him. I didn't realize that he had a stroke nor that he was battling cancer. I just never pictured him that way. I think one thing should be clear after your article: The Ballad of Little River is not a novel, though it reads like one. Here's the NYT review. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/08/books/books-of-the-times-facing-life-with-a-six-pack-in-the-rural-south.html I'm probably a minority--it ranks as my favorite PH work, though The Heart of the Game is right up there as well. And then there are all the columns he wrote for Sport. I wrote this to him in 2005: "I always make it a point, when possible, to pay my respects to great writers, especially those who influenced me--or should take the blame for getting me into the business I love." Thanks again for this piece.

Intownwriter says...

James, this piece made me cry. I grew up in southwest Georgia, reading Paul's Atlanta Journal columns and wondering if I could write for a living (and if I could, would I ever be able to write like him?). He was great friends with my step-father and step-brother Bobby Dews Sr. and Jr., respectively -- they were baseball players/managers - so I was able to meet him in person. He was always so kind. Three years ago, I lost all of my books in a fire, but reading all of these remembrances makes me realize that I *have* to replace - and re-read - all of Paul's. Thank you for your beautiful tribute.

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