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.
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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.

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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.  http://marissoule.com/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.


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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.

http://www.ohioana-authors.org/santmyer/highlights.php

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Carl Sandburg

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



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?











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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

Related Poem Content Details

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.

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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.

http://andalusiafarm.org

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/flannery-oconnor-1925-1964




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.

 
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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.
She go GREEEEEEEEEEEE...
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,
She go GREEEEEEEEEEEE...
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´.
She went GREEEEEEEEEEEE...
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
Or it´ll be GREEEEEEEEEEEE...
Another man done gone. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

M - Margaret Mitchell/ Jordan Massee



Margaret Mitchell is famous for her book "Gone With The Wind". Some of her reasoning behind the book is she wanted people to see the lack of glamour associated with the antebellum period and boom Hollywood undid that portion of her book.  When it comes to slave owning, it was the 1 percent who owned slaves and it was not unusual for the slave owners to live in Philadelphia or New York.

I used to have a copy of the novel and would read portions late at night. That is when I came to the conclusion that great pieces of literature could be read out of order and the scenes themselves were entertainment in themselves. This is my opinion of course.

Product DetailsThere is a Northern "Gone With The Wind" and it is called "And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmeyer. The book is a very good historical novel. The hardcover is 1176 pages which is 200 pages longer than the hardcover "Gone With The Wind".

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If you are a cultural history buff, I recommend "Accepted Fables" by Jordan Massee.

The topic are the people and life of Jordan Massee which occurred in central Georgia. Being from a wealthy family, his book goes to New York and Europe. It's interesting reading a first hand account of his relationship with Tennessee Williams.

I paid between $20 and $30 for the book. I actually have two copies. In my search for where it is on sale, the cost starts around $71. So you may read "Gone With The Wind" or "And Ladies of the Club" for a more reasonable cost.


Lee Lofland/Katherine Lance/Harper Lee/Jack London

Lee Lofland is the lead organizer of Writer's Police Academy which is currently being held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com This conference has helped me immensely in developing antagonist and people in general for my stories.

Just being aware of what I have learned leads to further study. I am convinced, in addition to the wheel of fortune, a good understanding of the craft of writing and the psychology of people makes the difference between a mediocre received book and a potential best seller. Although 50 shades of grey made the author 98 million dollars; it will be a footnote in about ten years to fade later. There will be another book just as lurid to capture the popular fiction market to replace it.

Lee Lofland's blog is http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress . His book Police Procedure and Investigations: A Guide for Writers can be found on Amazon.
The Pandora's Trilogy: Complete Box Set by [Lance, Kathryn]

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Katheryn Lance is a rockstar. Besides writing a great Science Fiction Series (Pandora), she has written a multitude of books on various subjects. Her latest book is a memoir of her father's experiences as a World War II pilot. All of these are a great read.

B-24 Co-Pilot

The Pandora Trilogy

Website - http://www.klance.com


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Harper Lee is a historical icon in that she wrote "To Kill A Mockingbird".  A novel clearly part of zeitgeist of the times it was written. A book which described the innate unfairness of Jim Crow society and the complexities of justice and courage.

Being a standard book for schools, I've read the text many times as a teacher. I have a copy of her book Go Tell the Watchman. Whether they took advantage of Harper Lee or not, we will never know. But the book was preserved for a reason.

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Jack London wrote "Call of the Wild". I loved his books. It was on the reading list for 8th grade. The students weren't that interested. But, I was. So interesting to read the book followed by the teacher's guide. I could become a professional student. By the way I was a science teacher. But I did teach the odd English, Reading and History class. One year as punishment, the principal made me teach history. lol, I taught it like a science class with lots of activities.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Susan Kelley/Gourley/ Diedre Knight

Susan Kelley/Gourley and Diedre Knight are two great blogging friends.

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The Marine's QueenSusan Kelley/Gourley was nice enough to let me assist her the first year I did A to Z. The bloghop A to Z allowed me to meet people who were going to be around awhile. Blogging makes me a better writer. It flexes that writing muscle. More importantly, it allows me to see opinions from other people. I think that is the attraction for so many other bloggers. 

Susan is a terrific writer. I read her space opera "The Marine's Queen". I am not a romance reader. I read a small amount of science fiction. I enjoyed the book immensely. I plan to read the rest of the series. Susan writes fantasy under her real name, Susan Gourley and romance under her pen name Susan Kelley.

https://susangourley.blogspot.com


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Diedre Knight writes a terrific blog called Pensive Pens.

 http://pensivepenspost.blogspot.com

Her blog is a good read and you learn some interesting points. One was a surprising read that revealed a realistic view of Thomas Edison being deeply competitive in his achievements and his place in history.

Diedre writes children's books. I need to order one. I have a TBR list that is unreal. When I taught school, I purchased books for children to read. I left all of those books at schools I worked at. I don't read as many children's books as I did back then.

Now on Amazon!Beanie's Backyard

https://www.amazon.com/Diedre-Knight/e/B009W25K84

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What I like about both of these gals is that they take me serious as a writer. They are both quite accomplished. My goals are to write what I can and be satisfied with having read widely and learned more. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gary P. Jones -

I met Gary at the Southeastern Writer's Conference. He has written two books about his experiences as a police officer. One is "Badge 149: Shots Fired" and the other is "Saints, Sinners, and Survivors".

I've purchased both books but have only read Badge 149. The books are a revelation of an honest man doing a difficult job. In my opinion, if you are a writer writing about law enforcement, his books are good in creating a more accurate world in perspective to law enforcement.

I have gone to  Writer's Police Academy which is great. I highly recommend it. I'm still a book snob; so , a thriller has got to go a long way to move up in my tbr pile. But it is quite an event to create people and worlds.

I originally created a law enforcement character in a book that was not realistic and will disappear with the computer hard drive that stored it. I was glad to attend this conference. It broadened my view of law enforcement. Gary's book gave me a view of a regular cop doing his job and going home alive. Gary is very close to my original character. Except that character has some big hang-ups Gary does not have. lol

Anyway, I love non-fiction and this was great.

https://www.amazon.com/Saints-Sinners-Survivors-Gary-Jones/dp/0741472848

Gary's website is http://www.badge149.com

John Irving - Irwin Shaw

John Irving by Kubik 04
John Irving
John Irving is most famously know for writing "The World According to Garp" which was made in a well known, well received movie by the same name in 1978. John Irving is one of the few writers who became wealthy. This movie pushed his writing in front of a much larger audience.

I read the book in that being in my early twenties, I was keen on popular culture. I jogged, I worked out, I went to night clubs, and tried to experience it all in my Southern Baptist mindset which didn't include the sex, drugs but did include the rock and roll. So my left eyebrow goes up a little when I read how defiant people claim they were.

John Irving would not normally be in my list of favorite authors. But I did enjoy his book called the "Cider House Rules" which was made into a movie. The two books I read by John Irving were unusual in that I watched the movie first which is always preferable. Movie quality declines after you've read a book, think the movie Dune.

I plan to read one of John Irving's more recent books. "The Cider House Rules" dealt with the morally complex topic of abortion. Ironically, fifty years after the historic Roe vs. Wade ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion, abortion is more controversial than 1985 when the book was written.
Irwin Shaw (1948)
Irwin Shaw - 1948


Irwin Shaw wrote the Rich Man, Poor Man series. His stories are exceptional if you want a good read. Known more for his short stories and as a playwright, his commercial work sometimes shadows what a great literary writer he was.

Irwin Shaw, a World War II veteran, was blacklisted during the McCarthy era by the House Committee of Un-American Activity for signing a petition asking the Supreme Court to review "Contempt of Congress" convictions of John Howard Lawson and  Dalton Trumbo. Irwin Shaw lived in Europe from 1951 until 1976 due to being branded a Communist. He was a World War II hero and a hero for standing up for someone and paying the price for it.

His book Rich Man, Poor Man was published in 1970 and made into a mini-series in 1976.






Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sheila Hudson/John House/Patrick Hempfing/Nathanial Hawthorne/Pat Hatt

Pat Hatt and a couple of cats
Can make you laugh
With whimsical tales
A bit of truth never fails
This rhyming troup
With big tails flicking aboot
(You can see I speak Canadian!)

Pat is known for the friendliest blog, Rhymetime, and a bunch and bunch of books. Some of the books are mysteries, some are fantastical romps and then there is profanity granny. Whew doggy, she can cut to the bone real quick.

http://rhymetime24.blogspot.com/

I have a big crush on Pat. But my cat don't know. She is the only cat that matters in the universe. So I don't think we will ever meet. All because of two fat cats with videos replete. But you visit his blog and comment, and Pat will give you a greet.

Nathanial Hawthorne figures into my growth as a reader. We were assigned his book "The Scarlet Letter" in high school. I fake read the book for the classroom. Friends tipped me off to questions on the test and I took good notes. I made an A and read as little of "The Scarlet Letter" as I could.

Then there was dinnertime at home. My dad's favorite book apparently was "The Scarlet Letter". My seventeen year old self flat out lied and agreed it was a good book. Dad re-read the book. He talked about that stinking book. My older brother agreed with what a good book it was. He wasn't at the dinner table to save me from that conversation. He was probably in Vietnam which in my thoughts at the time might have been easier than talking about that awful book.

I went to college. No one asked me to read it there. My dad would still talk about that book. If you brought a college book home. He would read it when I was done.

I started working. A love affair did not work out. Work life wasn't going so good. I read "The Scarlet Letter". It was a very good book. I took time to discuss the book with my dad. He was right.

I can still see my dad sitting at the dining room table reading every evening. He read books twice. To get all the details right. He would read the Reader's digest condensed version and the original. Then he would say which writer wrote it best in his opinion.

So Hawthorne is an extraordinary writer. My father was extraordinary dad and reader. One of the reasons I love Pat Hatt so much is the rhyme. My father could casually bust into rhyme to entertain all of us children. I miss him.

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I met Sheila Hudson, John House and Patrick Hempfing at the Southeastern Writer's Conference. As I have said in earlier blogs, they are the friendliest people. What makes the conference good besides a good program is that everyone sits down for three meals each day. I've enjoyed the camaraderie and information I've learned each time.

Sheila Hudson writes cozy mysteries and inspirational texts.
http://www.13decisions.com

John House is a native Georgia, physician and novelist. His books reflect these aspects of the man. http://www.johnhouseauthor.com/ 

Patrick Hempfing has written a book called MoMents about his life as a full-time father. https://patrickhempfing.com/

Friday, April 7, 2017

John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy 2

I read "The Forsyth Saga" in my twenties. I guess I had some connection to Edwardian and Victorian English literature. I enjoyed the inner thoughts of the characters. More importantly the nuances of society was fascinating. It was a mileau I would never be a part of in being born in the wrong country at the wrong time in history in addition to the fact I would have been the fish monger's wife in all probability. Galsworthy won the Nobel prize for "The Forsyth Saga" in 1932.

Galsworthy was also a playwright and is known for his quotes.

Famous quotes of Galsworthy.

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem. 

It isn't enough to love people because they're good to you, or because in some way or other you're going to get something by it. We have to love because we love loving.


I don't know much about morality and that, but there is this: It's always worth while before you do anything to consider whether it's going to hurt another person more than is absolutely necessary.


The value of a sentiment is the amount of sacrifice you are prepared to make for it.



The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.
If you do not think about your future, you cannot have one.

Use this Link to get John Galsworthy's complete works on Gutenberg

What is your favorite quote?


Frank Herbert/Robert Frost/Alice Friman/William Faulkner

File:Frank Herbert - 1984.jpg
Uli Kaiser photographer

Frank Herbert's Dune is classic science fiction and one of highest sold science fiction books.

Why would I be so absorbed with Paul Atreides and everything else created by Frank Herbert in his novel Dune and the five sequels to Dune? The fascinating world's and complexities would be one. Then there is a hero and underdog to root for. Frank Herbert wrote soft science fiction in that he took a lot of the technology out of his storytelling. The emphasis was on political intrigue, ecology and human relationships.

I've read everything I mean everything that Frank Herbert wrote.  Imagine my surprise that four books had been posthumously published 2012, 2013 and 2014. I never saw the movie Dune. Why would I ruin a good book with a sniveling abbreviation of the story in a movie?   http://www.dunenovels.com/author/frank-herbert

Robert Frost is my favorite poet. Well I like him as much as Carl Sandberg. Well have you noticed it is hard to pick your favorite poet. It is sort of like deciding who your favorite child is. I like the fact I get his poems. There is a lot of symbolism and small touches that I will read to deepen my appreciation. But the gist is there. My favorite poem, Come In, by Robert Frost helped me decide to leave a job I enjoyed to take a job back in my hometown.

Come In

As I came to the edge of the woods, 
Thrush music -- hark! 
Now if it was dusk outside, 
Inside it was dark. 

Too dark in the woods for a bird 
By sleight of wing 
To better its perch for the night, 
Though it still could sing. 

The last of the light of the sun 
That had died in the west 
Still lived for one song more 
In a thrush's breast. 

Far in the pillared dark 
Thrush music went -- 
Almost like a call to come in 
To the dark and lament. 

But no, I was out for stars; 
I would not come in. 
I meant not even if asked; 
And I hadn't been. 


I first encountered Alice Friman at a writer's conference. What made me a huge fan was a poem of hers published Georgia Review about why an aged aunt could be sassy with a walker. Poetic license taken liberally with that last statement. It is just that this blog post is getting long. Buy a book of Alice Friman's poetry. You will not be sorry.

William Faulkner  His work speaks for itself.  The in-depth confidence in the multitude of characters woven together for some of the finest literature of the English language.

Thanks for visiting.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

George Eliot

There are few stories as touching as Silas Marner which is the story of a man afflicted with seizures who finds a foundling. The child saves his soul and when her true birth comes out, Silas and the adult child are in a dilemma of fate and love.
George Eliot at 30 by François D'Albert Durade

Such a sensitive story had to be written by a woman. And it was, George Eliot was actually
Mary Anne Evans. The Bronte sisters also used male names when their books were published.

Mary Anne Evans chose a male pen name in that she did not want her books to be considered a silly romance of a woman writer. Her novel Middlemarch  is considered one of the best novels of the English language.

Mary Anne Evans lived independently barely within social convention. Although affairs were not considered bad at the time, her living twenty years monogamously with a married man followed by marrying a man twenty years younger than herself was considered scandalous.

One facet of Mary Anne Evans that is repeated is that she was considered unattractive. But when she spoke, it transformed her into a beautiful person, her charm was so great.



Free Ebook of Silas Marner

Free Ebook of Middlemarch

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/george-eliot

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/george-eliots-ugly-beauty

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Dickens you say

The Dickens you say has nothing to do with Charles Dickens. Dickens is an older euphemism for the devil. Makes sense when someone says something scared the dickens out of you.

Charles Dickens sketch 1842
1842 sketch of Dickens
 before tour of the United States.
I've read most of Charles Dickens" books. I read most of them in my twenties. As I entered young adulthood with all of it challenges, Dickens was there to give me comfort in his tales. Dickens clearly exposed the injustices of society of his day. Pearl Buck was said to read his novels throughout her life.

An interesting tidbit of Dickens life is that he would go on speaking tours and was immensely popular. Before becoming a writer, Charles Dickens wanted to be an entertainer.  His tours would be compared to going to a Rock star concert today. Audiences looked forward to going. His concern for social inequities of the day helped the poor and downtrodden.

Criticism of Dickens work was that it was filled with sentimentality and overdrawn characters in critiques of Virginia Wolfe or Oscar Wilde. Clearly there is a tremendous difference in style between Charles Dickens and these contemporaries. Most writers and the audience of his generation recognized the genius of his writing.

Dickensian refers to the writing of Charles Dickens with humorously drawn unattractive characters or the deep poverty of the lower classes.

Charles Dickens' website   http://www.dickens-online.info/

You can get free downloads of his books with the Gutenberg Project. Charles Dickens books  http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/37




Monday, April 3, 2017

C - Pat Conroy/Alex Cavanaugh/ Sandra Cox/Alexandra Christie

Pat Conroy certainly wrote the Great American novel. I've read most of his books. When his mother was dying, she reluctantly let him come to her bedside. She loved him but not the idea her death would be in one of his books.

Pat Conroy - Robert C. Clark photographer
found on Wikimedia Commons
The more I know writers, this is a very real. I casually chatted with a woman at a writer's conference. I bought her book several years later. I creepily saw elements of our conversation in the main character's thoughts. It would not have been so bad if the book was the Great American novel. But it was a grade C
romance/mystery. But the sex in the book was great.

I remember watching the movie "The Great Santini" which was based on Pat Conroy's father and his childhood. Growing up in a military town with a father who was a World War II veteran, I understood the loudness and violence families could experience from their military parents. PTSD was not acknowledged much less treated. I was lucky in having a good father; but, I remember the raw power my dad had.

Another movie titled "Conrack" was based on his novel "The Water Was Wide" which described Pat Conroy's experience teaching on Daufuskie Island.

http://patconroyliterarycenter.org/       http://www.patconroy.com/about.php




Blogging friends can become very real. In reading blogs and comments you learn about people's personalities and beliefs. The following two writers I met through blogging.

Alex Cavanaugh is known by many bloggers through the Insecure Writer's Support Group that he founded. If Alex can personally give you help, he will. I wrote a blog post where I got a warning from Twitter about my churning to gain followers. Alex told me an app that would help.

Alex has a super blog, http://www.alexjcavanaugh.com. He gives updates about new movies, features writers who have recently released a book, blogger news, and a lot of pop culture updates. If you want to be up to date, Alex is your man. His ebook Cassa Star is currently free. This is a link to a blog page where you can find a link to get the book.

Alex is a Sci Fi kind of guy. Pardon the rhyme. The doggeral got to me. Cassa Star is the prequel to the Cassa series. Science fiction with military action combining to create a thrilling adventure.

Cassa Star Link





Product DetailsSandra Cox is another blogger I have met. I took the bait and bought some of her books. They are a quick escape from the everyday. I was surprised with myself when I spent an afternoon reading about a young woman's love affair with a ghost that was doomed. There was a happily ever after which all romances and fairy tales deliver.


Ghost For Sale




I've met many who feel like close friends at the Southeastern Writer's conference. One of them is Alexandra Christie who writes women's fiction. My mind filed that under romance. But when I came across the book's title and description, I bought the book.

Christie's book is "between nowhere and lost". It is the story of Helen Hodges, a Catholic in the South. Torn between her marital vows and the attraction to a mill owner, Helen's story navigates between the racial and union tensions of the 1960's.



http://www.southeasternwriters.org/swa-workshop

Pearl S. Buck, Bronte sisters, Buzz Bernard

My mom read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. My dad read The Good Earth. I was in junior high and read The Good Earth.

The Good Earth begins with a young Chinese peasant preparing for his wedding to a young servant girl he has never met who is not too pretty but doesn't have pox scars. The novel details their lives when the farm becomes prosperous, when they endure a famine, their children and love for a disabled child, wealth found during a revolution, sons being educated, with aspects of Chinese culture woven through. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1938.
Pearl S. Buck cph.3a12720
Pearl S. Buck

The classics are classics for a reason in that they endure and champion the human spirit. Pearl Sydenstricker Buck was born to Presbyterian missionaries Absalom Sydenstricker and Caroline Stulting of West Virginia. Pearl Buck grew up in China and returned to China after marrying and graduating from college. A hallmark of her childhood was that her parents never allowed her to refer to the Chinese as heathens. They considered them their equals.

Born in 1892, Pearl Buck left China in 1934 at 42 believing she would eventually return. But she did not. She was not allowed to return to China with President Richard Nixon in 1972.

Pearl S. Buck advocated for women's rights, Asian rights, and the adoption of Asian and multiracial children resulting from American troops stationed in Asian countries. She wrote many books, short stories and essays and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1938/buck-bio.html   

http://www.biography.com/people/pearl-s-buck-9230389

PBS is currently showcasing a film titled "To Walk Invisible" about the lives of the Bronte sisters who lived in the shadow of a ne'er do well brother yet wrote some of the most controversial fiction of 1840's England. Anne Bronte died at 29 in 1849 and wrote The Tenant at Wildfeld Hall and Agnes Gray. Emily died in 1848 at the age of 30 and wrote Wuthering Heights. Charlotte died just before her 39th birthday in 1855 and wrote Jane Eyre.

https://www.bronte.org.uk/the-brontes-and-haworth/novels

Buzz Bernard is a former meteorologist who writes thrillers gleaned from natural phenomena such as hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes. Buzz worked for the weather channel for 13 years as a senior meteorologist and is a retired Air Force Colonel who served as a weather officer for over thirty years.

Buzz is the President of the Southeastern Writer's Conference and this is where I met him.

http://buzzbernard.com/

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Maya Angelou, Isabel Allende

Writers I've loved, known or met will be my A to Z theme. The list could have had many more and should have had only one for each letter. But writer's are my rock stars. What can I say.



Maya Angelou Disc2000
Maya Angelou in 2000
Maya Angelou has an incredible body of work. In college I remember reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in my freshman English class. I wanted to be deep and have perspective. Some of the story was shocking to me. I did not know that servants often have keen insight to their employers or that being given a different name at work is degrading.

The professor would explain points. My young 18 year old self would think, "It sounds good but maybe." In the adult world, maybe became yes. After teaching many students over the years, point of view became relevant.

Poetry and quotes of Maya Angelou is what I like most. My favorite quote attributed to Maya Angelou is "People may not remember what you said; but, they will remember how you made them feel." However, I discovered this quote was  originally by Carl W. Buchener.    http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/04/06/they-feel/

This is a good source to read more about Maya Angelou.  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/maya-angelou

Isabel Allende - 001
Isabel Allende
"Daughter of Fortune" by Isabel Allende was a wonderful read. Such rich description of life in Chile and California of the 1800's fascinated me. I feel a twinge of sorrow for the young woman who died in childbirth. The characters were so real.

Allende's latest book "Japanese Lover" will be a treat for me to read in May for writing and reading blogs in April. 😁

Isabel Allende's website
https://www.isabelallende.com/en/home