John Fayhee is known for telling stories around the campfire.
Hence, the title of his new book containing most of his campfire stories is apropos. He’s now on a book tour promoting “Smoke Signals: Wayward Journeys through the Old Heart of the New West”.
Fayhee helped resurrect the monthly magazine “Mountain Gazette” in 1989.
“I didn’t do much writing,” he said of his time at the helm of “Mountain Gazette”. “I spent too much time running a business and yelling at employees for showing up drunk.”
Tired of shoveling snow in Summit County, Colo, Fayhee sold the “Mountain Gazette” 2006 and moved to his hometown of Silver City, New Mexico.
And he began writing a column for the “Mountain Gazette”.
The column’s name “Smoke Signals” was borrowed from an anonymous scribbler who penned a caption under a photo of Fayhee: “Wish we could figure out what Fayhee’s trying to convey, but we don’t understand smoke signals.”
Fayhee is sharing his stories with readers at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12 at the Grand County Public Library.
He’s not sure which stories he will share.
“I look out in the audience to see if they can handle what I have to read,” Fayhee said.
Most of his readings are at bars or pubs with a mature audience. He’s planning on keeping it safe with an audience at a library, unless he gets a cue.
“If I get the feeling that people want some wilder stuff, that’s what I’ll do. The raunchy isn’t as raunchy as the stuff before I got married. It’s mainly bad language and there’s a lot of material that reference drug and alcohol use,” Fayhee said. “My mother-in-law is still alive. That’s where I draw the line ‘will it mortify my mother-in-law.’”
Fayhee said that the first few years of writing the column he was “all over the place”. Then while sharing stories at a bar a friend asked if he got the stories on paper.
“At that point I started making a repository of stories I’ve been telling at bars and around campfires,” he said.
Andy Nettell, owner of Back of Beyond Books, is looking forward to Fayhee’s return to Moab. This is Fayhee’s third time to share stories with Moab audiences.
“Fayhee’s crazy! He is the voice of the mountain west written through the fog of a life well-lived,” Nettell said. “Funny, irreverent and spot-on, his ‘Mountain Gazette’ essays have a following as wacky as he is. His new book is the best of his writing.”
In the end, Fayhee doesn’t want to be the only storyteller.
“I am a champion of just storytelling,” Fayhee said. “I really want people to live interesting lives. We had the ability to tell stories. And lead interesting lives.”