James Bruce Baker was born on December 17, 1925, and has never lived it down.
He was born in a wee, little one-horse town by the name of Darrouzzuett [he wasn’t sure of the spelling], Texas. That’s up in the North-East corner of the Texas panhandle, just about where the Oklahoma panhandle begins across the State Line.
In his first six years of life he had typhoid fever, double pneumonia, and the red measles. They say he had to learn to walk twice. He doesn’t know, since he’s not sure he was there.
He started grade school in the town of Shamrock, Texas through the heart of which ran the once famous Highway 66 [now called I-40}.
When WWII started, he was just entering High School in Shamrock.
In 1943, he left home and went to Amarillo, Texas and got a job in a grain elevator of a 200,000 bushel capacity. He didn’t smoke in those days, and that was a good thing, because the chaff from grain such as wheat is highly flammable.
That year, he went home for Xmas and was late getting back to his grain elevator job. He was fired. He walked across the tracks and immediately got a job in the FT. WORTH AND DENVER Railroad roadhouse. He was there about six months when he was drafted, as had been many of the boys before him on that job. When the war was over, and he asked for his job back, they laughed at him.
He had one year of high school at the time, and with his G.I. privileges, he was able to start college as a freshman. He made up his lost high school years when he came out to California and started to college there. He received a Public School District certificate of High School completion.
He finished four years of college besides and went into Grad School, but S.F. State College at that time was strictly a teachers college, and he had to have a teaching credential to graduate with an MA, so he quit school at the age of 30 and went into real estate. He sold real estate in the bay area and in Sacramento for 31 years. At which time, in 1984, he was hospitalized with a perforated ulcer, and quit real estate, and he quit smoking. They cut his Vegas nerve, and he hasn’t gambled since [look it up, it’s real.]
He started writing his first novel when he was ten years old, and he had his own secret method of writing so that no one else could read it. He went from right to left, starting at the bottom of the page. When he was away to war, his younger sister threw it away. She couldn’t make heads or tails of it, of course…so he couldn’t blame her.
He had a love life of sorts, but nothing to write home or away from home about. He fought all his life to get ahead. He had complete, or bits of novels lying around of about 12 in number.
ProMart was his real estate office’s designation, so he took the name when he started being a small press editor and publisher in 1995, and he never looked back. He always imagined that he was too tard, considering he worked about 40 hours a week at a Taco Bell affiliate.
The rest of it is of public record.
James Bruce Baker died of complications from colon cancer on September 18, 2002
James Bruce Baker was best known as the editor and publisher of ProMart Publishing, but he was more than that. Jim was also a poet, a novelist, a short story writer, and an opinionated essayist.
Just Because is a collection of his stories, poems, and essays put together as a tribute to a man who did so much for the small press, and so much for many small press writers, poets, and artists.
Max checked out of reality years ago. When he comes back, he finds himself to be a bum dressed like a priest. He also finds himself to be the only potent man in an otherwise impotent America.
Max eventually reaches the west coast where he finds himself the host of an hour long TV show watched by billions. His adoring fans begin to call him The Poet, and they see him as the savior of the world.
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