Thursday, June 22, 2017

This week has been challenging.. I stayed up until 3 am one night getting paperwork organised for my sister. The next day I functioned pretty good on 3 hours of sleep. This past week has been continued paper work, meeting deadlines.

I made the mistake of mowing grass at my sister's house during the heat of the day. Although the yard is quite small, it played with my diabetes big time. I drank a half gallon of orange juice to get my sugar where it needed to be.

The worst of the week is I lost a dog to a rattle snake bite. I live in the country and snakes pass through. I did pay for her to have anti-venom but rattle snake venom is so potent.  I don't care how old you get; a dog can break your heart. Holly was the heartbreak kid. I've got to breakdown and buy myself a pair of snake boots.

Louise stole some cheese my sister had set out to warm to room temperature. I heard her sneaking in my room. Then my sister said someone had stole the cheese. She makes me think of myself. It was obvious she was the culprit. Guilt wears on us. Running to my sister, Louise apologized profusely, it was cheese and she loves cheese and most anything else. Louise likes to eat a slice of apple when you are eating an apple.

I read a book this weekend by a good local author, Charlotte Moore. It was a cozy mystery and the first one in the Hunter Jones mystery. Reading as a writer, the book had outstanding structure. It was set in central Georgia so I enjoyed the naming of people and exposition of Southern culture.

I'm not normally fond of "The South" topic. Many times it is made up caricatures of who we are. I've heard people who are young enough to be my daughter talking about chain gangs and other aspects of the Southern landscape that died out before World War II. Some things like the KKK straggled up until the seventies. It's depressing it is re-emerging today under different names.

 The hard scrabble farmer fought for their regionalism much like their great grand parents fought in the Revolutionary War.  Being descended from Simon Bennett and Big John McDuffie who fought for the Confederacy, I respect them as my ancestors. I remember what my dad told my older brother before he went to Vietnam. You don't want to be at the losing end of a war.

I've wondered what the men and women who lived through those times would have thought of the people today trying to explain their times. The Civil War was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight".

I grew up in a military town so I have considered myself "Southern Lite". I learned a military culture and attitude. I feel pride in my Southern roots. More so than my English roots in that I live in the South. I have first cousins who live in Minnesota and upstate New York. They don't identify with the South.

I talk and act like I stepped out of the swamp at times. I had my schoolteacher handwriting and my actual handwriting. Well I have my schoolteacher speech too. Since I have been writing, my speech has taken on a more country sound. The voice in Charlotte Moore's books is very accurate.

The temperaments of the people reflect the area. In the book by Charlotte Moore, I like where one character makes sure the husband of a woman killed does not hear about a plan to entrap the culprit. They are not afraid of the character spoiling the plans. They are afraid of that one character catching the culprit and exacting his own punishment on the killer.  Revenge is not exclusively a Southern thing.

Anyway, Charlotte Moore has created some good reading. It also shows our good side.

I always liked how this house set just before the land rolls to the East in Macon Georgia. It is located on High Street.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five Weird Things About Me

I've been invited by Barbara who writes the blog Life & Faith Caneyhead in a little grown-up but not Adult truth or dare. What makes me weird.

It is listing five things that are weird about me. After I list those five things, I'm supposed to challenge five more people.

1. I almost always have a dog in the car. Different dogs for different journeys.

2. I try to recycle everything. Every once in awhile I throw away glass or paper and say to myself, "I'll save the world tomorrow."

3. I will wash out pretty containers and save them for a good use until they hit critical mass and then I toss them.

4. I would rather work outside than inside.

5. My house on a good day is disheveled. Too little time and if I got extra time, it is not spent on housecleaning. I believe in feeling too good to go to work. The heck with sick days.

It didn't take me too long to create a list. That is not a good sign.

The five I challenge are on the honor system.  If you make a list, leave me a link or message in the comments. I'm not spending as much time on the internet. Sometimes I get up and stay busy with keeping my household going. It keeps the folks living here content.

And of course, share the fun and challenge five more.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

And when the bough breaks

I had a big limb break on an old Pecan tree last night. It was a healthy limb. Half of the tree is dead. It will take about twenty years for the tree to slowly die. Did you know Pecan trees can live 300 years. I have some volunteer trees that I plan to splice limbs of the old tree on. It has good nuts. My brother took the day to pop in for a visit and cleared the limb for me.

Today is just a scattered group of thoughts.

What is with all these gross pictures. One sign of a clickfarm are all the intestinal worms, a grossly obese Amish woman,  some sexy chicks with a salacious offer, unknown websites to visit. But on twitter, the one I find really gross are the blackheads. I've been muting and blocking these folks. I figure they are clickfarm baits. My question is why would they use these pictures?

Well I googled. I only found one article. The article was on a dubious site in that the ads had the following. How to fix crepey skin with a picture of very wrinkled skin on a woman's legs. Or How to keep your vagina young with a nubile young body and a disembodied hand pushing her panties down on one side.

Another had a woman and man in bed with the comment, who needs a man with these nine appliances. I hope some of those appliances would keep the yard mowed or the car gassed up or cut a limb up and remove from the driveway.

But the one that gave me pause was an ad on how to mail infectious agents. I've heard of mailing cookies and how to pack them. But I don't think I have ever needed to mail an infectious agent. It reminds me of when a child returned to school after having strept throat and hugged my neck. She was surprised I knew she had had strept throat. Strept throat has an odor.

A friend posed the question about what we did before Google. Well for one thing, we did not know as much. And we did not spend so much time reading about tangents. I do know when I see all those worms or blackheads to exit out. Not much information here folks, nothing you want to see for sure. I don't care if they say if is a safe thrill from a terror. I've seen a worm and popped a blackhead. I consider the worm in the garden good news.

According to the dubious website I visited, the psychology is similar to why we like to ride a roller coaster. The thrill and fear factor while in a safe environment is fun. So in a perverse way, unappetizing pictures are loathsome but a type of thrill that is safe.

But there are some good places on the web I saw today.

And these are some pictures from my iPhone I took with my dog's evening time stroll. The first set of pictures are lovely things. The second set which I will give a blank spot before are of one of the fly catcher's outside my house which is interesting and loathsome. I live next to a horse farm. Frankly, I feel some pity for the flies. It's a shame I can't catch and release them. Preferably at the horse farm's front porch. But down the road in a wooded area would also be a good location. Lot's of good food for what roams or flies wild there.

Blossoms all rolled up

Blossom unfurled

In the Midday Heat.

Just a bit Closer

Buds unfurling
Wild Trumpets Shouting

Morning Shot of Tractor in newly plowed field

Evening Sky on Fire

For a loathsome thrill..

The small flecks are gnats which are a type of  fly

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Good night Midnight Rider.

There is so much to learn about things by observation. Have you ever noticed someone post a profile picture of themselves sticking their tongue out. What are your impressions or expectations? Maybe the Rolling Stones...

There have been two funerals today. I attended neither but both men were a part of my life.

One is Gregg Allman of the Allman brother's fame. I never saw the band. Although I lived close enough to watch a free concert in the park; I was a little young to make it with friends there.  As his name became synonymous with drug use, I did not have that much interest in him.

I've been reading Gregg Allman's book "My Cross To Bear". It's a good read. I'm not surprised that he is an intelligent person. I have much more sympathy for drug and alcohol addictions as I have gotten older. I never drank in that I thought it was inherited. I read a statistic one time that if they treated alcoholics for depression, about 60 percent sobered up. I do think there is some self medication. Gregg Allman described the addiction as a wild cat let loose inside your body. With alcohol and the drugs, he could quieten the animal for awhile.

Gregg Allman clearly worshiped his older brother Duane who died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24 in 1971. Twenty two year old Gregg Allman had the wherewithal to pursue a career. That good judgement is evident where as a 20 year old kid he knew to return to California to fulfill a contract obligation for the band. His band mates were ready to ignore the consequences but Gregg obviously understood how badly it would have hurt them.

Autobiographies appeal to me. Sure no one tells what a creep they were or the more sensitive areas of their lives. I read Kitty Kelley's biography of Nancy Reagan. It was meant to be salacious. Although I was not a fan of the Reagan presidency at that time; I did sense it was so unfair. So the fact I purchased the book for a quarter at a yard sale gave me some satisfaction. I noticed so many of the books at yard sales and used book counters.

What I like about autobiographies is that they weave a story of a life but if you reflect, there is so much more they share.  Gregg battles shyness most of his life. This explains a distance I always noticed when he spoke to the media. You could hear his voice in the writing.

His book is an engrossing read. As an artist, he discusses how it took experience to sing well, play an instrument well or write a great song.

The other funeral was for a former teacher, James Franklin Stewart. He was Mr. Popularity at the high school I attended. For one year he taught school and he was my teacher. Later he went to law school and moved to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into the film industry. He was semi-successful but made his living as an attorney.

Besides having a huge crush on the man, he is probably a big reason I went to college. My senior year of high school, I wavered on going. It is one thing I have done in my life that seemed like a mistake at the time. But looking back, it improved my life immensely.  He was close in age to me and someone I admired. Although he was a Rhode's scholar; he was teaching school to support himself before his next big step in life.

For me, I taught school for the same reason. I was unable to take the next big step. My younger sister had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. My poor parents could not handle me floundering. So I took the safe route which actually has benefited me and my family.

The teacher was James Franklin Stewart. I would have gone to his funeral. I could have lined up in Macon to pay my respects to Gregg Allman. But I took care of the living today. Both had an affect on my life. Allman influenced the zeitgeist of my day. Mr. Stewart showed me a real person who had gone to college. I could see myself in that world.

I've always liked John Donne's poem, No Man is an Island. This is taken from

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Olde English Version
No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Doglady's 30 Odd Question Blogfest


This week's blog is in response to Debbie the Doglady's 30 Odd Question's Blogfest.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 

I really had no dreams. I wanted to have an education and get a job that would pay me well.  In elementary school I wanted my hair to grow a little redder so I could play on the All-American Redhead Basketball Team. Being a ballerina was the other consideration.

Which “Friends” character do you relate to the most?
I never watched the television show. 

Do you like your name?  Yes

Are you messy or neat? Messy. Unfortunately.

How tall are you? 

5'9" What no weight! I've got 138 on my driver's license.

How tall were you when you were 10?  

Maybe 4'8", I remember I was one of the three tallest girls in sixth grade. The other two girls stopped growing and I continued. I was one of the tallest people male or female in my high school graduating class.

What is your guilty pleasure? 

Driving back roads and dirt roads. 

What are you saving money for right now? Nothing.

How many Pringles can you eat at once? 
Probably the whole can. But I would stop at a fourth or third.

Tea or coffee?  Coffee

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Introvert

What will be your Halloween costume this year?

None, Halloween is fun but right up there with cat videos. I love laughing or looking at people's costumes. But, no I'm not that keen about Halloween.

Sweet or salty? Sweet. 

Favorite social media? 

Blogger. I enjoy reading other blogs which leads me to googling what I have never really heard of before.

Who is the last person you kissed? 

My mother. My mother has a very protective chihuahua. So I always announce in her room that I am kissing mama. She has to hurry to my mother and do the kissing. 

What is your favorite breakfast? Scrambled eggs

When is your birthday? May 13

When did you start your blog? December 2012

What is your opinion on the Kardashians? Boring

How would you describe your style? 

Getting older, not giving a damn but pretending I do. I'm not really that bad. I just have to remind myself to not be so outspoken. 

What color is your hair? A lot of salt with a wee bit of pepper left.

What color socks are you wearing? No socks.

What is your dream job?  traveler.

Dogs or cats? Can't choose. I love them both.

What makes you weird? I don't like waste.

Celebrity crush? 

A million years ago, Sean Connery. I also loved that man who played Professor Snape on Harry Potter.

Opinion on cigarettes? 

Terrible habit no one should start. 

That said, I am a former smoker. I think I quit because I was so disgusted with the habit. Now I understand why former smokers detest the habit so much. It takes that to quit cold turkey. 

The night before I quit I though about the fact I may be one of those gross old women you see smoking. The next morning, I just did not smoke. It was iffy a few times about my quitting. The big crossroads was when I could remind myself I no longer had a smoker's cough.  

Do you have children? No, I would have liked to have had children though.

Two favorite boy names? Stephen, David 

Favorite girl name? Elise

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Oh how I love my dog, let me count the ways.

I've  been in a blue funk for awhile. It's not depression. I certainly am glad I don't have a problem with anxiety.

My problem is what do I do next and stop procrastinating. I made the mistake of saying I was going to have a yard sale to help my sister get rid of items she will not need at her house. That stops me from unloading at a thrift store. Somehow I have created more work for myself.

Tag sales are iffy affairs. I have rarely made money. When I moved from another house about 15 years ago, I remember selling a cherry bedroom set for $50. I don't know who was happier me or the people who bought it. Mind you, I have always been an animal lover. So everything I own gets signed in a very special unique way.  The bedroom suit had a few special touches compliments of a cat named Puff.

Anyway, I'm back in the race again. It's a losing race. I guess that is why they call it the human race.

My sister worked for the civil service before her stroke in October.  Her disability application is in limbo. I was supposed to hear from someone about the next stage two months ago. I've made the appropriate phone calls. I know about, You oughta raise hell. Except, bad behavior gives someone overworked a reason to do yours last.

She meets with a social security doctor in June. Before each hospital would admit her, they all asked the same question. Would I take her home with me when her treatment was over? I thought the question was curious. Now I understand the gravity. No one wanted to assume responsibility. She has had no income for about a year. Bad health caused her to miss a lot of work before the stroke.

Meanwhile, my sister is making big progress. She is confined to a wheelchair due to balance and spatial issues. I have been making her do items that it kills me to not help her. But I know she will not reacquire skills if I help. It's hard to accept she is never going to be her old self or capable in ways she was before. I would grieve more but exasperation with dealing with everything takes over.

Like all you who write and create, this sort of environment makes your brain work overtime thinking of ideas for all your WIPs and future works.  But I have created a writing system that may help me. Although I am a night owl. I have been waking up at 5 am. Instead of turning over and sleeping that one last hour, I quietly go to my desk and write. It is just an hour and half. But it is progress.

All those signatures made by my dogs and cats do not bother me. These are my dog assistants Louise and Bo Duke.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Oh Those Handicapped Parking Spaces

After this blog post, I will retire this theme.

I have handicapped placards and tags for handicapped family members. I park in the back of the lot when it is me and when getting my sister out in her wheelchair. With the wheelchair it doesn't matter if you are near or far. You just need space for the wheelchair to come close to the seat with the door wide open. Plus no one accidentally scratches your car when they don't park next to it.

I think many who deal with handicapped people get a stronger view of not using a handicapped space if you don't need it. My pet peeve is the person who backs into a handicapped space without the appropriate tag or placard. You can't help but wonder if they really need the space or are cheating the system.

In the end, it takes a pretty self centered person to park there when they don't need to. And that is a handicap too. Just not one that needs the parking space.

There is a stink in the paper where a young woman got a cruel note accusing her of not needing the space and she has a heart condition. I see both sides. I have seen people hop out of a car with a spring in their step after parking in a handicapped space. You have to wonder. But not all handicaps are visible.

But I have made observations about how people treat the handicapped.

The first one is that black people do a better job training their children. African Americans are quicker to assist my elderly mother. If you look at a black male, they will come and ask if you need help. They step aside at doorways and don't rush past your mother to get in quicker.

I have noticed people pretend to read posts or examine the coke machines as my mother slowly enters. This is where I know it is training. I have always done this. My parents did it. My mom never said, "Pretend to look at the wall of the building or stare in the parking lot until the slower person crosses the threshold". Much like no one was taught to make a quick shove to get by. And yes, I have seen the shove and steadied my mother. If I had had time and position, I would have stuck my foot out to trip them and have a little instant Karma.

I'm not one to believe in Karma. A young man in Hawaii did not want to ride my mother's handicapped scooter off a lift. I had my hands full getting her up a staircase. Mom was afraid of the lift. His dad told him to not play with handicap equipment, you may need to use it one day as a result. I agree with his dad that handicap equipment is not a toy. But being lazy using a handicapped space you don't need does affect your physical fitness. So, you might need it because you lose the ability to move.

I've had an elderly woman honking her horn at me to hurry up. I was parked in a handicapped space and was assisting my sister from the wheelchair into the car. I was not getting the wheelchair and my rump back in the car fast enough. She was tired of waiting. I had two other people who were handicapped that needed to return. But I backed up and parked in the back of the lot. When I walked into the store to check on the other two in my car, the same lady was standing talking to another older woman.

Like that phrase, "Nothing is as queer as folks."

Old but no handicap tag!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

To the start of a new blog year.

I had no business, no business at all doing the A to Z challenge. It is just I did not want to be left out. I wanted to go to the party. The party was a grand affair.

Putting your post in the comments worked well for me in that I stopped posting on the A to Z site when I got overloaded. Taxes stepped in this year. I spent the 17th and 18th getting taxes done. With that load off, I kicked off being responsible for awhile.

My dad cautioned me that life got more involved as you get older and he was right. And that is why I did A to Z. If I could squeeze it in, I was going to do it. I found some great blogs. People outdo themselves with their themes.

My blog's title speaks a lot of how I feel about the world. There is a limit of what you can do. We all have our ebbs and flows with blogging. I do understand when people stop. I stand in that doorway periodically. I'm at a crossroads where I need to make a plan with my blog so that it is more manageable.

This year's takeaway for me is that I need to make a firm decision of what I want to accomplish with my writing. I don't worry about all the blogs I visit. It's my break in a busy day. The big change for me is that I use a timer and what is not read within an hour is not going to be read.

Fender Bender in front of the local Huddle House

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jack Zipes, Emile Zola

Jack Zipes translated the Brothers Grimm to English. He is an authority on fairy tales and well known with people interested in the study of fairy tales.

Most of you are not surprised that Disney has taken liberties with traditional stories. What is interesting about these stories is that they have long histories in preceding cultures that go back thousands of years. In the Grimm fairy tale, the little mermaid does become sea foam and is not
rewarded for her bravery and perseverance.

Steps to Indian Mound at Ocmulgee National Park

Emile Zola is an 19th Century French writer. He is listed here to impress you. His writing was more profitable in his lifetime than Victor Hugo. He was noted for defending Alfred Dreyfuss.

Rick Yancey

This post is dedicated to lucky pen names or names. It gets the Ian Ludlow award. In short, I have never read this writer's work. He just has a last name that ends with Y. I am sure after I finish this blog, good writers I know will pop up. But for now, I'll have to bandy about the name of Rick Yancey.

Rick Yancey stood out to me in that he wrote the screenplay for "The Fifth Wave". They did a great deal of filming in Macon, Georgia which is near me. One night during filming, there was such an explosion that it damaged buildings.

Local new's story

Local new's pictures

I looked over Rick Yancey's website. It is slick and polished much like Lee Goldberg who used the pen name for a book he wrote and published when he was nineteen. The pen name was chosen because it was likely to have the book placed next to Robert Ludlum and would hopefully capture some of Ludlum's audience.

Rick Yancey worked for the IRS which would probably have a certain amount of intrigue for the observant. He is a writer to be jealous of. He wrote a screenplay and was so successful, he quit his job to write full-time.

He certainly seems to be all that and a bag of chips. If you are looking for a good read, which is improbable in that you are reading a blogs, do check his books out. They do look like a good read.

Now, let's move on to Z. Yippee!
What downtown Macon looks like.

Friday, April 28, 2017

X - Qui Xiaolong - Khushwant Singh

To find an X in the English language was difficult.  I purchased the set of short stories written by Qui Xiaolong called "The Red Dirt Road".  Qui Xiaolong has written a series of crime novels based in China. He is an expat from China who lives in the United States. Publication of his selling spring rolls to donate money to students participating in the Tiannamin Square uprising caused him to obtain political asylum in the United States.

QIU Xiaolong à l'Uniersité Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - Centre de Ressources des Langues

Khustwant Singh wrote a series of essays called "Sahibs Who Loved India". I've always enjoyed reading about India since I read the books by M. M. Kaye based in India. It is a fascinating place. There are so many people from India that blog that paints an interesting picture of the country.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

W - E. B. White & Tennessee Williams

E. B. White wrote "Charlotte's Web", "The Trumpet of the Swan" and "Stuart Little". He is less known as the co-writer of "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. E. B. White had a long career as a writer and contributing editor of the New Yorker magazine.

Below is a link to an essay of E. B. White which was published in Harper's magazine in 1941 called "Into the Lake".


Tennessee Williams NYWTS 2
Tennessee Williams estate finances the Sewanee Writer's Conference. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not been exposed to two of his plays, "The Glass Managerie" and "A Streetcar named Desire". When I hear his name, I can hear Stanley yelling "Stella" in the background.

Tennessee Williams name was actually Thomas Lanier Williams III. He adapted the name Tennessee from the roots of his hard drinking shoe salesman father. Tennessee Williams life is one of great success, dysfunctional family, and alcoholism coupled with depression in later years.

I would think a biography would be better than most biographies. There are many aspects of his life that will touch you. His sister Rose suffered from schizophrenia. A lobotomy was used to treat this disorder to disastrous results. Tennessee Williams took care os this sister by paying for her treatment at a good New York treatment facility and visited her often. 

One anecdote I read about Tennessee Williams when I read the autobiography of Jordan Massee is that he was prone to start laughing uncontrollably for no reason.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

V - Kurt Vonnegut

In my early twenties, I read five or six of Vonnegut. I remember reading one of his short stories to a class of mine. The kids said the guy in the story was crazy. The character was a millionaire who pretended and lived the life of a poor piano player by choice.

Even though high school kids love sarcasm. Satire is another matter.

Kurt-Vonnegut-US-Army-portraitI have to confess, I don't remember what any of the books were about. I just remember they were a wild ride. Now I read so  I can learn to write. I've become an even bigger book snob and critic. But my taste for a little joyful fun in a book is keener than all that deep thought from my youth. I doubt I revisit Vonnegut. But you might enjoy the ride.

Slaughterhouse Five made Vonnegut financially secure. We should all be so lucky. The book was based on his experiences in World War II. He survived the bombing of Dresden by hiding in a metal locker of a slaughterhouse as prisoner of war.

Monday, April 24, 2017

U - Eudora Welty

I have the complete works of Eudora Welty. The idea of reading a bit of her writing with a portion of Flannery O'Conner's book "The Habit of Being" about an hour before sunrise and my house is quiet. And like a pianist playing an impassioned, loud piece of music, I start typing my masterpiece. You're never too old to dream or embellish in my case.

The reality is at 5 am, I call my brother on his cell phone and tell him to get up. Usually, I go back to sleep. My two dogs know we don't wake the house up until daylight comes. It gets light outside at about 6:30 am. But pandemonium happens when we get up. We have a pack of chihuahua mixes that can create a cacophony that I am sure startles the dead for their three mile run and my half mile stroll.

Upon return, all dogs go to their daytime beds in the house and I take my brother to the bus that will take him to the workshop he attends. Then I feed the hounds which concludes with another walk. I cook breakfast for the others in the house. I assist my sister with her morning rituals before she eats. Since I have energy in the morning, I do chores. Somehow during this time, I've taken the garbage out, tossed the scrap bowl in the front field, washed dishes, made coffee, and a couple of odds and ends like starting a load of clothes in the washer.

So the books sets primly on a bookcase. I have read several of Eudora Welty's short stories. Being a Southerner, so much written about the South seems a bit overdrawn and false. But the characters drawn by Welty probably existed somewhere besides Welty's mind.

Welty was known as well for her photography as for her writing. A sense of place tells part of her stories which melds with keen observations of how people relate to one another. Welty employs mythological symbolism in her work.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

T - Mark Twain/ Zora Neale Hurston

Louisa Mae Alcott spurred writers such as Helen Hooven Santmeyer to become writers.

File:Twain1909.jpgMark Twain was my original inspiration. Twain was part of my education. I read his books before they were assigned. I think the humbleness of his origins as well as the earthiness of his writing related to me as a child. It had that ring of truth that resonated. The shrewdness and mischievousness of Tom Sawyer convincing other children to whitewash a fence for him. I wished I was that smart.

When Samuel Clemens autobiography became available 100 years after his death, I ordered it and paid full price. I've yet to seriously read it. You have to make time for what is important. He postponed publishing his biography until 100 years after his death in 1910. Mark Twain's birth and death are famous in that both coincided with Haley's comet 75 year cycle swinging by the Earth.

Samuel Clemens spent a great deal of time touring and writing to cover debts due losses from bad investments in the technology of the day. He had a strong and enduring friendship with Nicoli Tesla. A friend, Henry Rogers, began to manage Twain's money and Twain became solvent as a result.

Twain's views on society changed and became increasingly cynical as he aged. Becoming more aged, I can understand that too. Life was cheerier when I understood less or was too busy to notice.

Hurston-Zora-Neale-LOC.jpgZora Neale Hurston wrote "And Their Eyes Were Watching God" in 8 days which is a remarkable feat when you look at the quality and merit of the book. One line that stood out to me was the comparison of a black woman having a white woman's hair like the string that bound a ham had ham qualities. The aspect of a woman's value with being attractive and that a black woman feeling like she had to look white to be attractive; two sides of a very ugly coin in our country's past and present.

Zora Neale Hurston was never paid in a comparable amount as her contemporaries. Hurston worked as a freelance writer, anthropologist and wrote short stories, plays. She was educated at Howard, Barnard and Columbia. During the later portion of her life, Thurston had to scrape by a living.

Her work was obscure in that her heavy use of dialect put some people off her folklore style. People living through difficult situations and a living history of that era is what appealed to me. Some of her opinions were not popular; but, considering the treatment of African Americans when she lived, criticism is a moot point. Hurston died in 1960 before the Civil Right's Movement brought significant changes for black Americans.

Hurston's work saw a revival in 1975, fifteen years after her death, due to writer Alice Walker writing an article in Ms. magazine.  Walker identified Hurston's unmarked grave and had a marker placed with the words, "A Genius of the South" there.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S - Judson Smith/Maris Soule/John Steinbeck/ Helen Hooven Santmeyer/Carl Sandburg

Decisions, decisions, oh heck I'll list them all.

Judson Smith was an instructor for the 2016 Southeastern Writer's Conference. Each instructor teaches you so much. Either from the mechanics of writing, how to deal with the business or better how to be a great storyteller.

Judson is the storyteller.

Learning by example is the best and almost as good as by experience. Plus less painful than experience. I thought of that myself folks.

No he did not say anything about the mechanics of writing. There was no Step one or Step three part b for c rules. Each presentation dealt with the adventure of writing each of his books. I bought all three. I usually only buy one from each writer if I do buy one. He joined us for open mic night. Once again, great writing spoken.

Judson Smith confirmed one of my beliefs. We aren't part-time people. We make decisions and maintain them for most of our lives until we make a conscious effort to change them. Judson was a storyteller and you can only teach being a storyteller by being a storyteller.  How else can you can be the original than by "following your bliss". And I got that phrase from Joseph Campbell.


I met Maris Soule at the first Writer's Police Academy I attended. That is when I learned there were a lot of published writers and a very business edge to writing that Great American Novel.

Maris has a great blog and a multitude of romances and romance crime drama novels you can check out on her blog.

Of Mice And Men Poster..............................................

John Steinbeck is a simple writer. I heard an English major say that.

I've read many books by John Steinbeck. Many poignant parts of his books stick with me much like some of the memorable writing of Charles Dickens. One that sticks with me is his description of a character as having no conscience as in like a birth defect like being born without an arm in "East of Eden".

My favorite Steinbeck novel was "East of Eden". He is most famously known for his book "Grapes of Wrath". "Of Mice and Men" is often compulsory reading in England. Ironically, it is periodically banned for the profanity it contains in the United States. Steinbeck was a very sensitive man to the misfortunes and hardships of people which shows in his writing.

Steinbeck won the Nobel prize for literature in 1962.


Helen Hooven Santmeyer published her novel "And Ladies of the Club" in 1982 when she was 87. The book is a saga that spans from 1868 until 1932. I have called it the Northern Gone With Wind. It gives so much information about that historical period.

Santmeyer desired to be a writer from a young age. She published two books in the 1930s and another one in the 1960s. "And Ladies of the Club' sold very few before it was picked up to become a book of the month club title and mass marketed in 1984. At that time, Santmeyer lived full time in a nursing home and passed two years later.

Sadly, there are no pictures of Santmeyer in public domain. So if you are a writer, put a few pictures of yourself you like in the public domain.


Carl Sandburg

This is my favorite poem. I made so many bulletin boards with this poem.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chris Qualls - Queen Elizabeth 1

This is the first of many stories of R. C. Qualls. I know him as Chris from the Macon Writer's group.

Half Moon Werewolves by [Qualls, R. C.]Half Moon Werewolves  is a graphic novel by R. C. Qualls.  It's a story of twins who were born to a werewolf during a government program which was designed to turn werewolves into soldiers. The program has been shutdown or has it?


Queen Elizabeth 1 was a writer of essays and poems. Remarkable in assuming a throne at 25 and running a country when women had little power and reigning for 45 years. Her father and mother were Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn. Being childless, she was the last ruler of the Tudors.

On Monsieur’s Departure

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I grieve and dare not show my discontent, 
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate, 
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, 
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate. 
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned, 
Since from myself another self I turned. 

My care is like my shadow in the sun, 
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it, 
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done. 
His too familiar care doth make me rue it. 
No means I find to rid him from my breast, 
Till by the end of things it be supprest. 

Some gentler passion slide into my mind, 
For I am soft and made of melting snow; 
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind. 
Let me or float or sink, be high or low. 
Or let me live with some more sweet content, 
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.

J. K. Rowling - Dana Ridenour

My first experience with J. K. Rowling's book, Harry Potter, was how enthusiastic children were to read it.

I had no intention of reading the book. Fantasy is so overdone that I had no interest. But a friend of mine's child wanted me to read the book. Her mom said it was a good read. I'm picky in that time flies. I have read all seven books.

I wanted to think that Rowling's stories weren't great literature when I read them. However, I was wrong, the stories endure. fascinate and illuminate a complex world that spawns much more thought and analysis. My sister is recuperating from a stroke. Her attention span was originally nil. She re-watched the movies. The stories have such a compelling power to engage.

Product Details
I met Dana Ridenour at the Southeastern Writer's Conference and purchased her book "Behind The Mask".   Dana had worked for the FBI and her knowledge she used to create the book is firsthand and accurate.

I enjoyed the fast paced book describing an undercover operation of investigation an underground world that an everyday person can be sucked into given the right circumstances and friends.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Flannery O'Conner

Flannery-O'Connor 1947Flannery O'Conner is a native daughter of Georgia. When I first read her work, I was not enamored by the grotesque characters. Southern Gothic was an acquired taste for me. Flannery O'Conner displayed a mastery of sharp irony with underlying religious themes in her work. Being a Roman Catholic in a largely Protestant South, her work reflects strong religious redemption themes.

Flannery O'Conner did not have much of an adulthood. She suffered from Lupus and died at 39. Her mind was quite lively although she spent much of her day convalescing. I read where she stated how much she loved to work the hour she was allowed to write each day. Her father died when she was 15 of Lupus.

Her home, Andalusia, is a tourist attraction in Milledgeville, GA. O'Conner was an anomaly in Baptist Georgia in that she was Catholic. She was born in Savannah. She moved with her parent's to Atlanta for her father's work. As he became ill, they moved to Milledgeville where Flannery O'Connor's maternal family lived. The descendents of Flannery O'Connor's peacocks walk the ground's today.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ogden Nash - Shel Silverstein

N - Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was known for his humor and play with rhyme and words to produce that humor.  Nashville was named after his great great great uncle.

I remember enjoying little ditties by Ogden Nash as a kid. But time changes our taste and humor. I had a bit of struggle finding one of his poems that held to the light of 2017.

To My Valentine by Ogden Nash
More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That's how you're love by me.


One of my favorite storyteller was Shel Silverstein. He had that comic edge in mirthful poems similar to Ogden Nash. 

When teacher's first got computers at the school we worked with, we all learned ways in which they could get us in trouble. A teacher who taught Gifted Language Arts had a student to send Shel Silverstein and email that said "You suck". It takes a gifted child to be that obnoxious. lol

She did write back and apologize. We were all stunned he replied. I hope the kid does not make the mistake of bragging of his exploit to his own children. Payback is never fun.

Down in Lou´siana where the black trees grow
Lives a voodoo lady named Marie Laveaux.
She got a black cat tooth and a mojo bone,
And anyone wouldn´t leave her alone.
Another man done gone.
She live in a swamp in a hollow log
With a one-eyed snake and a three-legged dog.
She got a bent bony body and stringy hair,
And if she ever seen you messin´ round there,
Another man done gone.

And then one night when the moon was black,
Into the swamp came Handsome Jack.
A no-good man like you all know,
And he was lookin´ around for Marie Laveaux .
He said, 'Marie Laveau, you lovely witch,
Why don´t you gimme a little charm that´ll make me rich.
Gimme million dollars, and I´ll tell you what I´ll do...
This very night I´m gonna marry you.'
It´ll be UMMMMMMMM...
Another man done gone.

So Marie did some magic and she shook a little sand,
Made a million dollars, and she put it in his hand.
Then she looked and she said , 'Hey hey,
I´m gettin´ ready for my wedding day.'
But ol´ Handsome Jack said 'Good-bye Marie.
You too damn ugly for a man like me.'
So Marie started shakin´, her fangs started gnashin´,
Her body started shakin´, and her eyes started flashin´.
Another man done gone.

So if you ever get down where the black tree grow
And meet a voodoo lady named Marie Laveaux,
And if she ever asks you to make her your wife,
Man, you better stay with her for the rest of your life
Another man done gone.