From Radney's publisher, Shari Smith at Working Title Farm:
The Oxford Dictionary defines “working title” as “a temporary or provisional title given to a film, book, or other product or project." They’re pretty snooty, those Oxford people. All the Southern writers I know say, “It ain’t near done yet.”
I named my company and little piece of the world, Working Title Farm. It ain’t near done yet. The guest cabin needs rewiring and new curtains. I reckon interior walls would be good, too but it sits, surrounded by pines and hardwoods, on a North Carolina mountain, and was home to Radney Foster for a solid week of writing his book.
I didn’t see all that much of him during the day.
He’d come in first thing each morning for coffee, come, again for more coffee, and then sit in the chair I wrestled into the corner of the cabin. He opened wide the barn doors to hear the “kew-kew’kew” of the dark eyed juncos and pounding of a red-bellied woodpecker, and I suppose to watch the leaves and needles of the sugar maples and hemlocks dance in the winds of the Blue Ridge against the Carolina sky where he wrote of Adobe fireplaces and Southwestern art and cowboys and Lone Star beer.
This project, a new CD and book, a companion piece, a furthering of the storylines in his songs, was announced some months ago as Sycamore Creek but the Southern literary gods had different ideas and we tend to listen to them around here. I edited Radney’s book by listening to him read in the evenings after supper. Two lap tops, a German Shepherd Dog, and bourbon took their places in our ritual of going through each story. If a writer is good, really good, you can hear the words you’re reading. They speak to you. Radney is that good. His stories have rhythm and cadence and sing from the page. You could say that comes from being a songwriter but I don’t think so. I think that comes from being born to put words on paper.
As he read For You to See the Stars the gods that I pray to, plead with for favor and grace, spoke to me. “This is his title story. This is the flagship. This is his song.” I said, “Radney, I know we have a cover design, bought and paid for, and everyone who’s waiting on this book thinks they’re getting Sycamore Creek but I believe this is your lead. This is your title piece.” As publisher I didn’t really need his permission to throw a wrench in the gears but I wanted it. I wanted his Cyndi’s approval, too.
“Let’s do it.”
Working Title Farm reminds us that it aint done until it’s done and tells us what it wants to be. It’s our job to listen, to pay attention. Radney Foster’s book wants to be For You To See the Stars.
It’s almost done.