Reformer columnist Richard Davis to read from collection of short stories

BRATTLEBORO — Long-time Reformer columnist Richard Davis will be reading from his new book, "Well Traveled Roads," today at noon at the River Garden on Main Street and on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Everyone's Books on Elliot Street.

Davis — who recently received an award from the Vermont Press Association for "Who you gonna call?" a column published in the Reformer on Sept. 29, 2016 — said he wrote the collection of short stories nearly two decades ago during a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Every day I chipped away at them," Davis told the Reformer. "In a month, I had them all written, but when I read them, I thought they were terrible."

So, Davis filed them away until about a year ago, when he dug them out of an old file cabinet. "After all that time, I thought the stories were not all that bad. Time was irrelevant and the topics of the stories have nothing to do with current events. The world hasn't changed that much."

Davis submitted a couple of the stories to magazines, but he got rejection letters, which was really OK with him.

"I didn't want to deal with the establishment," said Davis. "I didn't want to deal with agents and editors."

So, like many other writers, Davis turned to the option of self-publishing.

"I polished the stories, worked on them a little bit," he said, before opting for the self publishing services available through Amazon, which takes 70 percent of the sales price. "I'm not looking for fame or money," said Davis. He just wanted to share his collection.

He said the stories are "informed by his years of experience as a nurse and observer of the human condition that tell stories about life changing issues that all of us eventually face."

Davis said he didn't attempt to change the "voice" he uses when writing his weekly column for the Reformer. "That's my voice. I treated the stories as if what was in my head was a news event or an opinion piece. I've been writing that way all my life."

The stories are linked together by what Davis calls "the human experience" and places people have traveled, whether physically or in their heads.

In one story, Davis writes about how music can free a mind suffering from dementia. In another, he writes about a man who, in his 40s, has to take care of his own father. In one story, Davis imagines he is in the head of a cashier at a supermarket who sizes up men by what they are buying.

"What ties them together are these are the roads that people travel in their lives," said Davis. "If someone connects with one of the stories, then the effort was worth it."

Bob Audette can be contacted at


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