Harrison Scott Key: Cow Whisperer

Harrison Scott Key - Logan PictureOne writer of Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival 2016 who I cannot wait to meet is Harrison Scott Key. He has been published in an array of magazines, my personal favorite being McSweeney’s, and writes about what often feels like personal memories through a view of both nostalgia and hilarity. When studying hardcore literature, it is easy to forget the value of humor writing. Key’s work brings both literary value and laughs into the same world. For example, his piece “Fifty Shades of Greyhound” depicts the unsightly experience of riding a bus across the states in a way that is both creatively descriptive and hilarious. An example of this blend can be found in the following line:

“It was his hair, though, that was most worthy of note, for his large sunburned head was home to two quite opposing hairstyles: the front hemisphere shorn to stubble, the rear running wild in thick fields of ripe, silvery wheat, the two halves divided by a perfect prime meridian of barbering, as though he had jumped from the barber’s chair mid-haircut, having been alerted of more denim in the area.”

The word choice “alerted” is already enough to make me laugh pretty hard, but when combined with the preceding image, I felt like I was choking in a jovial fashion. I have shared the works of Mr. Key more than the works of any other writer, because while you normally have to match up someone’s personal interests with the works you recommend to them, everyone likes to laugh. I have even shared his works with some of my family. If you know me, you also know that I do not share anything with my family. The only work they see from me is the stuff that gets published, and even then I tend to stay quiet. But I couldn’t sleep on the works of Mr. Key. I immediately showed his piece “The Wishbone” to my father, who thought the piece was “pretty damn funny.” Still, the most instrumental thing toward my love of Mr. Key was my first impression of the writer.

The first thing that I saw pertaining to Mr. Key was his profile picture on the Writers’ Festival website. (Upon later inspection, I would realize that this picture also takes up a majority of the home screen on his personal website.) The picture shows him holding a book and whispering into the ear of a massive animal, which is mounted to a wall and wearing a cool hat. The animal could be some sort of mutated cow, pertaining to his account of cows in the piece “The Imaginary Farm.” Regardless of exactly what the each component of the picture refers to, the picture is what first made me fall in love with this writer. I can trust a man who talks to taxidermy projects.

-Logan Monds, Junior Social Media Editor