John R. Erickson

John provides commentary and short fiction to WORLD. His Hank the Cowdog series for children has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide, and in addition to publishing 74 books, his work has appeared in news outlets such as The Dallas Morning News. John and his wife, Kris, reside near Perryton, Texas.

Illustration by Gerald L. Holmes

Straight from the horse’s mouth

Essay | Reining in rebellion against discipline and wisdom
by John R. Erickson
Posted 4/01/17, 09:51 am

Below is a story Hank the Cowdog author John R. Erickson wrote 28 years ago. Western Horseman magazine ran it then and it will eventually come out in a new Erickson book, Cowboy Tales, published by Maverick Books. You’ll recognize certain Biblical echoes that John wasn’t aware of as he wrote it, and he asks whether that makes “Diary of a Bronc” a Christian story: “How can a story narrated by a horse be regarded as ‘Christian?’ Come to think of it, what is a Christian story—or movie or song or work of art?” Good question—please read on and see if you can answer it.

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Writing and bartending

Essay | Can the study of human nature in a saloon lead to proficient prose?
by John R. Erickson
Posted 3/11/17, 09:57 am

In 1967, during my second-year at Harvard Divinity School, I was heading toward a ministerial degree but also dabbling with the idea of becoming a famous novelist. I decided to apply for a spot in a two-semester course on fiction writing offered at Harvard College.

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Lights, camera … word bomb!

Movie | Hollywood continues to litter its films with violent language
by John R. Erickson
Posted 2/25/17, 09:30 am

I don’t get it. From the time The Gilgamesh Epic was written on clay tablets 5,000 years ago, until recent times, world literature got along fine without word bombs, and so did the movie business in its first five decades.

So on this weekend of the 89th Academy Awards, I have to ask: Why do filmmakers keep using those words? You know the ones. WORLD Magazine doesn’t print them. My wife and I have a strong negative reaction to them. When Kris and I were growing up, we never heard them in our homes. We never heard them in movies or saw them in books.

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