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When South Dakota and the beginning of a new era flow together


It’s been a good many years since you and I have spoken. I hope you are well.

Through the miracle of the Internet, I’ve looked in on your career from time to time. From this side of the computer, it seems you have done well. My wish is that your career has been as successful as it looks to me. Painting! Movies!

Back in 2005, I was in Vermillion to do some research at the university. I had started my Ph.D. work in history and needed to look into the archives at the Native American Research Center. While I was there, I visited the club where you and I first met. (You were good enough to pick me up at the riverfront park take me there.) Believe it or not, there was a woman there who remembered me from that time. She seemed very happy to see me again.

Imagine that.

While I was Yankton, I called your dad, who had wonderful things to report about him and about you. I was glad to hear it. You made a deep impression on me and I’m much richer for having stopped into Yankton with a sort of psychic weight I did.

Since I was first in Yankton, I’ve written many hundreds of newspaper stories, won a few awards for my investigative work, and through the miracle of corporate acquisition was driven from my newspaper—by irritation and my inability to conform to corporate control. There’s more but it’s not that interesting. The point is that the river trip allowed me to fulfill my need and ambition to be a writer.

The University of Nebraska Press published my first book in 2009 and it was well received. That book was my apprenticeship in book writing.

The reason I write is that I am just now finishing my second book. I hope this one is much better than the first—it’s been ten years of starts, stops, hand wringing, heartache, rejection…all those things writers go through because they have such low self-esteem. I’m nearly ready to send it to the publisher, which means a long process of peer review, proofreading, etc., that will one day, we hope, lead to publication.

Just tonight, I finished revising the chapter about my time in Yankton. Of course, you will remember things differently. While a work of nonfiction, the circumstances of our meeting are completely fabricated. (In both books, I’m able to talk about having drank too much and ruining my life. But I have kept AA in it only by implication. You put too much of that in a book and it becomes another kind of tale. Other than that, I have tried to remain as true to my journal as I could. I thought I’d send it to you. It is attached to this note.

Please let me hear of you. I would enjoy that very much.

Patrick Dobson
1717 Jaboe St.
Kansas City, MO 64108

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