"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fifty Quintessential British Novels And Other Friday Things

Accredited Online Colleges has published their list of Fifty Quintessential British Novels.


It's an interesting collection, ranging from John Cleland's Fanny Hill (or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure), and I much prefer the subtitle, to Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I know many of you are fans of his. I found some surprising titles in their list and a few to add to my Must-Reads. This is also a great site to research if you are considering taking online college courses.

While we are on the subject of books, I'd like to plug what I'm currently reading, SOUND OF THE CROW, by Layne Maheu.

If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.

Told from a crow's point of view, this is a wildly imaginative journey across the land of the beastman, Noah, as he madly chops down the giants that the crows live in. I've just gotten to the Deluge and I wouldn't have believed that a novel about a bunch of raucaus crows could keep me in thrall. I think we all share an interest in the ancient world, and I'm finding it immensely fascinating, viewing the unsettled state of things through the unblinking eye of the crow. What must they think of us now, I wonder.

Thank Goodness It's Friday! Ya'll have a great weekend. I'm off to Columbus, Ohio to see my daughter graduate from The Ohio State University with a degree in English. Yay!! While there, I will raid her bookcase, which is always chock full of delicious college reading in paperback form. I'm jacked up on coffee and my fingers are tingling at the thought.

Until we meet again my online friends, I wish you all well in your creative endeavors.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From Bad To Worse

With the news out of Japan going from bad to worse, I'm thankful to see the sun rising this morning. I'm thankful for my cup of coffee and the electricity with which to brew it.

It seems no one is really in charge anymore as they frantically dump water from helicopters, of which four out of five completely miss the target. Now the U.S. government is offering the use of water cannons but five days and precious time has been lost and still a private company with a reputation for deception is in charge of the reactors. This reminds me of the oil spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico. Over and over again, around the world, we let the weasal guard the henhouse. It doesn't lend itself to good results here on the farm, and it doesn't lead to good results in the energy industry or in the world at large.

If there is a meltdown at this nuclear facility, scientists say a third of Japan could end up as a dead zone. I've never been there but I've heard it is a beautiful country. What does this mean for the rest of us? I fear for the future with weasels in charge. I fear for the earth. I wish somebody in charge was looking out for the common good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SOLDIER

They come home to cameras and flags,
balloons and poster boards.
They come home to old soldiers
in receiving lines with flags raised—
Hip Hip Hooray
old soldiers who form a gauntlet civilians hesitate to walk.
Like the mounds of dirt we skirt in a cemetery
(even after the soil settles),
we are not worthy to walk their gauntlet.
Don’t shake my hand; I only work here.
This receiving line is not for me.

And I wonder . . .
Are these new soldiers in it for the money?
Don’t hate me, I merely ask.
Serving merely for pay, says Webster,
is the definition of mercenary.
With the flag sewn backwards on their sleeves,
do they know what it means
to be in it for the money?

Sometimes they fly in alone to a girlfriend or a parent
and I wonder how they managed it.
There’s room for honest emotion
without the media attention and the old vets
who only want them to have what they didn’t have.

A mother and father wait outside the security checkpoint
with eyes fixed on the horizon of the terminal
for a glimpse of their boy.
They shyly hold two small flags,
like the ones sold on the 4th of July
that you’re supposed to—I guess—stick in the flowerbed
like an ornamental praying mantis
to show your support.
Thrust upon them like the recruiter’s handshake,
they aren’t sure what they’re supposed to do with them.

Their boy walks down the exit lane to meet them.
“Put those away,” he says. "I need a cigarette.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

PUBLISHED! Notes From Underground Anthology

Last year The Literary Lab ran a contest for which the prize was ten page in an anthology. This morning they have unveiled their cover for the NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND ANTHOLOGY.
Isn't it stunning? This beautiful paperback is now available on Amazon in print copy for $10 or for the E-book at $4.99, click here. You can also purchase a copy at the CreateSpace Store where a greater percentage of the proceeds will go to the American Society of Journalists and Authors Writers Emergency Assistance Fund. All profits from the sale of this literary collection will go to that charitable foundation. Check out the LitLab's post for details on how to get a discount code too.

I was one of twenty-five winners, and my short story, MAYBE, is included. Thank you, Literary Lab. I'm happy and humbled to be a part of this publication.

If you haven't already checked them out, you should. There are a lot of talented folks who hang out in the lab and you might find you don't want to leave.

Peace out. It's March!