Friday, December 9, 2022 Dec 9, 2022
63° F Dallas, TX

Q&A With Texas Monthly‘s Esteemed Skip Hollandsworth

By Tim Rogers |

Dallas’ own Skip Hollandsworth is up for a National Magazine Award for a story that ran last year in Texas Monthly. The award ceremony is tonight in New York City. Yesterday I conducted a Gmail chat Q&A with him to find out what he thinks his chances are of winning. To do the Q&A, I had to set up a Gmail account for him because he couldn’t figure out how to do it (I chose his screen name). I don’t think he’d ever used instant messaging before. But once he got going, hilarity ensued:

6:10 PM me: You got your ears on?
6:11 PM texmoskippy: Aha. I’m here. This new technology is completely fascinating
6:12 PM me: Happy to bring you into the here and now. So you’re working on a story right now? What’s it about? Gonna win a National Magazine Award with it?
6:13 PM texmoskippy: Twelve hours to go to my flight to New York, and I’m re-writing a story that’s going to run in the June issue about my teenage years when I used to go out to the state hospital in Wichita Falls to stare at the patients.
6:14 PM me: For the June issue? If you guys are on a deadline schedule anywhere near ours, ain’t it late in the game to be rewriting a story?
texmoskippy: Precisely what my editor, the beloved Brian Sweany, is saying at this very moment.
6:16 PM me: He’s the one who should be going to NYC to pick up your award (if you win). You’re up for a story you (or probably Brian) wrote called “Still Life.” What was it about?
6:21 PM texmoskippy: Actually, Brian edited “Still Life” and all the good lines are his, dammit. It’s a story about this boy, John McClamrock, who got paralyzed during a Hillcrest High football game in Dallas in 1973, and the injury was so bad that he lost the use of everything below his neck, and couldn’t even lift his head without blacking out. He spent the next 33 years laying in his bed in his little room in this little house just a few blocks away from Hillcrest, cared for by his mother. I’ve been driving by that house, which looks lost in time compared to all the mansions around it, for twenty years. I had no idea who lived there until I read his obituary a couple of years ago. And I wondered, “How do you live a life where you never again move?”
6:22 PM me: Um. You mean he spent 33 years LYING in his bed. Good grief, man. Whatever they pay Brian, it’s not enough.
6:23 PM texmoskippy: My God, I hate instant messaging. I’m so embarrassed. I need to lay down.
6:24 PM me: I remember reading your story and going, “Hell, wish we’d had that in our magazine.” Most of your stuff (Brian’s stuff) strikes me that way.
So enough ass-kissing.
How many times have you been a National Magazine Award finalist?
6:25 PM texmoskippy: All right, I know where you’re going. Finalist four times before. Lost every time. I’m the Susan Lucci of these awards. And I’m going to lose this year too. But ladies and gentlemen, it’s such an honor to be nominated.
6:27 PM me: Right. Sure it is. You’re up against total nobodies this year, though. Some guy I’ve never heard of named Michael Lewis, for a story in this tiny magazine called Vanity Fair. Some crap from the NY Times Magazine. Esquire — as if anybody reads that rag anymore.
6:29 PM So you have to think this is your year, right?
6:32 PM texmoskippy: And don’t forget, another nominees is a remarkable piece in Wired about a writer who went off the grid, and then Wired brilliantly set up this contest offering $50,000 or something to the first reader who could find him. Superb marketing. Seriously. Remember years ago when D used to do this treasure hunt, giving a clue every single month about some fabulous treasure — like keys to a Mercedes, or a picture of Wick — and you had to read D all twelve months to find the treasure? Wait, of course you don’t remember. You were in elementary school. Have you turned 21 yet?
6:33 PM me: Sir, I will have you know that I turn 40 next month. And I have a mustache, dammit.
6:35 PM texmoskippy: Seen it in all those pictures you post of yourself on your D blog. (And speaking of great acts of narcissism, will you someday post again that video of you dancing at the D party? There’s 100 people at the party, and you’ve somehow persuaded the cameraman just to shoot you.)
me: I hate you.
I hope Michael Lewis kills you.
texmoskippy: I hate me too. This time tomorrow night, I’ll be a five time loser.
6:36 PM me: I hope you go to NYC and wind up alone, drunk, talking to a stripper at Cheetah’s, telling her all about how you’re a great magazine writer and everything. But she won’t care because you’re not Michael Lewis, and you’ve never won a National Magazine Award.
6:37 PM texmoskippy: And with that, will you let me return now to re-write my story about the state hospital so that Brian Sweany won’t kill me, too?
6:38 PM me: Yes, I will. Though next time I see you, you’ve got to tell me why the hell you used to drive to Wichita Falls to stare at crazy people when you were a teenager. That’s weird.
6:39 PM Good luck, friend.
texmoskippy: I grew up in Wichita Falls, you goof.
me: Knock em dead tomorrow.
texmoskippy: You still want me to give your resume to Graydon Carter?
6:40 PM me: That’s no explanation. They’ve got other forms of entertainment in Wichita Falls besides staring at crazy people.
texmoskippy: And do you still want Tina Brown’s cell number?
me: The internet tells me that there’s a topless club in Wichita Falls called Maximus.
6:41 PM I’m done with you. Don’t flaunt your high-profile connections.
texmoskippy: Good luck. Please tell everyone in Dallas to buy the June issue of Texas Monthly so it looks like I’m still relevant