Ashcom, Robert L. 1940–
ASHCOM, Robert L. 1940–
Born June 13, 1940, in Pittsburgh, PA; son of Robert C. (an executive) and Mary (a real estate broker) Ashcom; married Susan Smith Wilson (a real estate broker), July 10, 1964; children: Susan R. Ashcom Ricks, Robert L., Jr. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Brown University, A.B., 1962, M.A.T., 1969. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Anglican. Hobbies and other interests: Farming, foxhunting, music.
Home—Jeffersonton, VA. Agent—Jacques de Spoelberch, J. de S. Associates, Shagbark Rd., Norwalk, CT 06854. E-mail—[email protected]
Teacher of English and assistant director of admissions at a middle school in Kansas City, MO, 1964-68; Wheeler School, Providence, RI, director of admissions, 1969-71; self-employed owner of a thoroughbred horse breeding business, Albemarle County, VA, 1974-82; Tryon Hounds, Tryon, NC, huntsman and joint-master, 1983-94; Lord Fairfax Community College, Warrenton, VA, assistant professor of English, 1995-2003.
Authors Guild, Authors League of America.
New writing award for fiction, Fellowship of Southern Writers, 2003, for Winter Run.
Lost Hound and Other Hunting Stories and Poems, Derrydale Press (Lanham, MD), 2000.
Winter Run (short stories), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2002.
Contributor of poetry, articles, and short stories to magazines.
Robert L. Ashcom told once CA: "I was raised in the village of Ivy, Virginia (six miles west of Charlottesville) in the forties and fifties. The people of the village, black and white, existed side by side in close proximity and often in blood kinship. Although all the deep inequities of the south were present, there was a certain surface harmony in the community and—for a surprising number of us—love. The rhythms of the farming year informed every aspect of my life as a child: from summers of honeysuckle and new-cut hay to the winter ritual of hog killing, when we had scrapple to eat.
"The language patterns which I hear in my mind to this day came from the speech of the people around me in those years. In addition, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church and the sounds of the King James Bible, read by people of profound understanding, still resonate in my head, often in unexpected and surprising ways.
"College in New England taught me that I was by no means alone in my concerns, interests, and enthusiasms, but the pull of horses and hounds and foxhunting persisted and persisted. While I taught English in a boys' preparatory school in Kansas City after marrying, returned to my alma mater, Brown University, took a master's degree, and taught briefly at a preparatory school in Providence, my passions remained focused on a world far from the academy. So, in the seventies, together with my wife, I operated a thoroughbred horse farm and was generally engaged in the race horse business, while pursuing my first love, foxhunting, on the side. In the eighties we left central Virginia to pursue foxhunting full-time, which I did for eleven years as huntsman and joint-master to the Tryon Hounds. (What this means is that I was a sort of executive director of a mounted foxhunting club. I raised and trained the hounds, took care of landowner relations, and generally oversaw the operation of the club.)
"My wife and I returned to Virginia in 1995 for another career change. I am now an assistant professor of English at Lord Fairfax Community College. During all these years, my wife Susie has pursued a successful career as a real estate broker of farms and farming estates. Our two children are grown and married. Our daughter has two children, so we have entered the next stage of parenting—grandparenting.
"After publishing a poem and several articles in Brown University's undergraduate literary magazine, I did not publish again until 1978. Since that time I have produced at least one or two poems a year for publication. In the early nineties I began to publish sketches of hunting experiences and fiction. In May of 2000 my first book, Lost Hound and Other Hunting Stories and Poems, a collection of hunting stories and poems, was published. I am hard at work on a second book to be titled Winter Run. This collection will begin with the last story in Lost Hound and continue the 'growing up' of the character Charlie Lewis to the time he is fifteen.
"As I have gotten older, I have felt more and more compelled to tell my 'story.' The success I have had with my first book spurs me on. At nearly sixty, I am not getting any younger. I have started late. I am in a hurry."
More recently Ashcom wrote: "I have always thought of myself as a writer, although heaven knows a late bloomer."