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Burns Ellison Bio

Someday I’m gonna write… the story of my life….’ I never learned the rest of the words to that old Marty Robbins song, but I didn’t need to—those words said it all. Only it wasn’t just the one story I was going to write. Oh no, I envisioned my life’s stories eventually taking up a whole shelf full of books. Years later, however, and the shelf still bare, I figure if I can just get one book on it, then I'll be able to enter my house justified.

When I was in the world-famous Iowa Writers Workshop, I dreamed of getting published and being invited to New York literary cocktail parties where I’d meet impassioned beautiful women, who loved what I had written and wanted to sleep with me. Now, half a century later, I’ve scaled things down. I’ve got this one book to show for myself, and if I can just get it published—why, first thing I’ll do is hop a bus to Branson, Missouri, and get me a ringside seat to see and hear Patti Paige sing Tennessee Waltz.

 ‘Chasing Rabbits’ and "Caribou Mountain" are excerpts from my book, which explains, in some measure, how the rest of got written.My book as a novel written in the form of a ‘false’ memoir. Everybody’s writing memoirs nowadays probably because it seems everybody’s reading them. Some writers of so-called memoirs, though, have gotten themselves into big heaps of trouble when it was found out they were making things up. That’s why I call my memoir a ‘false’ one. Some stories happened, some are fiction, while most fall somewhere in between.

 Leslie Marmon Silko once had this to say about stories:

             ‘They are all we have, you see,
             All we have to fight off illness and death
             You don’t have anything
              if you don’t have the stories….’

As to whether or not the stories are true, I don't think as far as she was concerned that made any difference. 


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