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From my size 6 1/2’s (A selfie), 2010


It’s another winter coming to a close, and I’m still editing my novel Drinking from the Fishbowl, it seems to be taking forever to accomplish this feat, but I’m taking my time (as I should) to make this book into what I have envisioned—I love the process of writing and I love to read. I’m constantly reading and I cannot stress it enough, that reading is very important—books are important—especially for a writer (or anyone wanting to become a writer.)
Reading is a transformational experience, what makes it a special experience is it’s very personal, the reader becomes immersed into another world—the writer’s construct. People who are avid readers are passionate about books—and when you’re a writer, that’s another story—it’s more personal. It was through reading that I knew that I wanted to be a writer—early on, I read books that transformed my life, my way of thinking and seeing the world. I became interested in observing nature and what made people tick. I had a lot to learn, more than the mechanics of it taught in school. I had the desire to write and the aptitude to do it, but it seemed as if I did not know what I wanted to write about—I did but I didn’t—it was frustrating; there were lots of false starts. For years, I carried around lots of nonsense bits and pieces—ideas that were mere fragments, I never wrote them down because whenever I did write these things down they made no sense on their own. For the most part, they were just there in my head, as if they were waiting for me to find a use for them.  I wanted to write something that was mine—something more than “write what you know”. I wanted to write books that mattered—books with a deeper meaning. I wanted to write what I call “human documents”, novels with complex relationships, communities of people with overlapping histories, books about the conflict with dreams and realities. Books about ghosts of the past and the ghosts that haunt us now, and a broad spectrum of cause and effect—what the soul is supposed to be—what it could be—Free will and Determinism—psychology and philosophy. It took a long time to get there—it was a natural progression to commit myself to writing, I just knew when I was ready to start, once I started, there was no turning back. Those fragments of ideas and bits of this and that fit perfectly in the places where I used them—even the ones I thought were impossible made sense once they were applied. At first, I was upset that it took me so long to come to this, being a “late bloomer”, but no, it was the right time, I had a few things to experience first, before I could write. I’m glad I waited.
It’s so strange how the things I write about conflict with who I am. It’s always a mystery to me how my characters develop and then have the audacity to do the things they do or say the things they say. I always find it odd when it’s assumed that they’re about me in some thinly veiled convolution—no, not I, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes at all. Of course, writing is a very personal experience, naturally, personal experiences and observations are taken from the toolbox and become part of the construct, but for the most part, I’m just making it up as I go along—it’s just a story.  Goodness knows I feared that I bit off more than I could chew on more than one occasion once I committed myself to writing novels. I’ve experienced what I call a creative “sweet spot”, writing with the emotional spigots on full blast is an immersion unlike anything I’ve experienced creatively, it is a strange sort of mix of misery and ecstasy. It’s a worthwhile experience,  but just when I begin to doubt myself, I read what I’ve written and then I know I’ve done a good thing—I’ve followed my bliss. Writing a book is difficult, but it is probably one of my happiest times. I have muddled my way through as best as I can with no pedigree on paper or an affluent background with names of people who could pave my way—I’m truly on my own with this. I like it that way. I will stand and fall on my own merits. I write my books much in the same way that I make art as a painter—it’s intuitive. It’s such a rush to sit down with a few notes, character studies, phrases, and brief conversations written down on scraps of paper or in a notebook and then start filling in the blanks, letting the story happen—I’m always in awe of the creative process. 
Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart, it’s a given that not everyone is going to be receptive to what I’ve done, and I’m always grateful to those who are kind enough to read one of my books and tell me they enjoyed reading it.  It’s a solitary process and very lonely at times, I think I enjoy editing my books almost as much as writing them, the fine-tuning process can take a very long time, but I know when I’m done with it, I am satisfied with what I’ve done. If anything, I’ve learned that writing requires patience, practice, and persistence—and I will always read. 
That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.

From my size 6 1/2’s (A selfie), 2010

It’s another winter coming to a close, and I’m still editing my novel Drinking from the Fishbowl, it seems to be taking forever to accomplish this feat, but I’m taking my time (as I should) to make this book into what I have envisionedI love the process of writing and I love to read. I’m constantly reading and I cannot stress it enough, that reading is very importantbooks are important—especially for a writer (or anyone wanting to become a writer.)

Reading is a transformational experience, what makes it a special experience is it’s very personal, the reader becomes immersed into another world—the writer’s construct. People who are avid readers are passionate about books—and when you’re a writer, that’s another story—it’s more personal. It was through reading that I knew that I wanted to be a writer—early on, I read books that transformed my life, my way of thinking and seeing the world. I became interested in observing nature and what made people tick. I had a lot to learn, more than the mechanics of it taught in school. I had the desire to write and the aptitude to do it, but it seemed as if I did not know what I wanted to write about—I did but I didn’t—it was frustrating; there were lots of false starts. For years, I carried around lots of nonsense bits and pieces—ideas that were mere fragments, I never wrote them down because whenever I did write these things down they made no sense on their own. For the most part, they were just there in my head, as if they were waiting for me to find a use for them.

I wanted to write something that was mine—something more than “write what you know”. I wanted to write books that mattered—books with a deeper meaning. I wanted to write what I call “human documents”, novels with complex relationships, communities of people with overlapping histories, books about the conflict with dreams and realities. Books about ghosts of the past and the ghosts that haunt us now, and a broad spectrum of cause and effect—what the soul is supposed to be—what it could be—Free will and Determinism—psychology and philosophy. It took a long time to get there—it was a natural progression to commit myself to writing, I just knew when I was ready to start, once I started, there was no turning back. Those fragments of ideas and bits of this and that fit perfectly in the places where I used them—even the ones I thought were impossible made sense once they were applied. At first, I was upset that it took me so long to come to this, being a “late bloomer”, but no, it was the right time, I had a few things to experience first, before I could write. I’m glad I waited.

It’s so strange how the things I write about conflict with who I am. It’s always a mystery to me how my characters develop and then have the audacity to do the things they do or say the things they say. I always find it odd when it’s assumed that they’re about me in some thinly veiled convolution—no, not I, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes at all. Of course, writing is a very personal experience, naturally, personal experiences and observations are taken from the toolbox and become part of the construct, but for the most part, I’m just making it up as I go along—it’s just a story.

Goodness knows I feared that I bit off more than I could chew on more than one occasion once I committed myself to writing novels. I’ve experienced what I call a creative “sweet spot”, writing with the emotional spigots on full blast is an immersion unlike anything I’ve experienced creatively, it is a strange sort of mix of misery and ecstasy. It’s a worthwhile experience,  but just when I begin to doubt myself, I read what I’ve written and then I know I’ve done a good thing—I’ve followed my bliss.

Writing a book is difficult, but it is probably one of my happiest times. I have muddled my way through as best as I can with no pedigree on paper or an affluent background with names of people who could pave my way—I’m truly on my own with this. I like it that way. I will stand and fall on my own merits. I write my books much in the same way that I make art as a painter—it’s intuitive. It’s such a rush to sit down with a few notes, character studies, phrases, and brief conversations written down on scraps of paper or in a notebook and then start filling in the blanks, letting the story happen—I’m always in awe of the creative process.

Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart, it’s a given that not everyone is going to be receptive to what I’ve done, and I’m always grateful to those who are kind enough to read one of my books and tell me they enjoyed reading it.  It’s a solitary process and very lonely at times, I think I enjoy editing my books almost as much as writing them, the fine-tuning process can take a very long time, but I know when I’m done with it, I am satisfied with what I’ve done. If anything, I’ve learned that writing requires patience, practice, and persistence—and I will always read. 

That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.

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BELLEFLEUR  by Joyce Carol Oates is ranked as one of my most favorite novels of all time…I love this book! I savored this Gothic tale cover to cover and didn’t want it to end. It possesses a life of its own, the characters became ghosts that would haunt me after setting it aside after a short reading and I would look forward to picking it up again. After I finished it, I felt homesick in a peculiar way that no book has ever done to me before; it is very likely that I will revisit the pages of Bellefleur again. Each chapter is an opulent sliver of time that peers into the lives and thoughts of the residents of Bellefleur Manor, an American family of notorious distinction. Their history is rife with joys and sorrows deftly exposed by the astounding craft that is signature in JCO’s prolific literary career. The mesmerizing shifts of time, like historical memories, travel from the heights of the imposing Mount Blanc, wind through the decadent rooms of Bellefleur Manor, and plunge into the depths of mysterious Lake Noir where disconcerting spirits dwell. The fanciful characters endear themselves because of their human vitality and cause despair because of their human flaws; they are very tangible and seductive in spite of the brief glimpses into their lives. This is not a book for the faint of heart for it isn’t a serene walk in the walled garden of Bellefleur Manor. JCO reveals the grotesque that exists within the soul of the American dream, and with abrupt grace, she divulges the unforeseen twists of fate that arise with incredible violence that will leave you reeling with astonishment. It is a unique and contemplative tale, not to be consumed in a few sittings; however, the temptation of the eloquent prose begs to be gorged until the reader is sated. Open this book and open your mind, and give your imagination a workout. If you read this book with a rigid, black and white mind-set you will come away frustrated by it. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for something out of the ordinary to read.

BELLEFLEUR by Joyce Carol Oates is ranked as one of my most favorite novels of all time…I love this book! I savored this Gothic tale cover to cover and didn’t want it to end. It possesses a life of its own, the characters became ghosts that would haunt me after setting it aside after a short reading and I would look forward to picking it up again. After I finished it, I felt homesick in a peculiar way that no book has ever done to me before; it is very likely that I will revisit the pages of Bellefleur again. Each chapter is an opulent sliver of time that peers into the lives and thoughts of the residents of Bellefleur Manor, an American family of notorious distinction. Their history is rife with joys and sorrows deftly exposed by the astounding craft that is signature in JCO’s prolific literary career. The mesmerizing shifts of time, like historical memories, travel from the heights of the imposing Mount Blanc, wind through the decadent rooms of Bellefleur Manor, and plunge into the depths of mysterious Lake Noir where disconcerting spirits dwell. The fanciful characters endear themselves because of their human vitality and cause despair because of their human flaws; they are very tangible and seductive in spite of the brief glimpses into their lives. This is not a book for the faint of heart for it isn’t a serene walk in the walled garden of Bellefleur Manor. JCO reveals the grotesque that exists within the soul of the American dream, and with abrupt grace, she divulges the unforeseen twists of fate that arise with incredible violence that will leave you reeling with astonishment. It is a unique and contemplative tale, not to be consumed in a few sittings; however, the temptation of the eloquent prose begs to be gorged until the reader is sated. Open this book and open your mind, and give your imagination a workout. If you read this book with a rigid, black and white mind-set you will come away frustrated by it. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for something out of the ordinary to read.

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…an Unthinkable Thing happened: Rashid Khalifa, the legendary Ocean of Notions, the fabled Shah of Blah, stood up in front of a huge audience, opened his mouth, and found he had run out of stories to tell. – from page 22, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie
I came to this book via my Fred, who is taking a class in which this book happens to be on the textbook list—he passed it on to me when he finished it. From the first paragraph, I loved it—let me tell you what I discovered during my journey to there and back again. This is a book to be read with a light heart and with no set parameters—the delightful wordplay and singsong rhythm of the prose made me laugh a good deal. It reminded me of Dr. Seuss stories so much that in my mind I was able to construct a fantastical landscape, populate it with the wonderful creatures and people described, brightly colored as traditional Indian Folk Art (just Google “Mithila Painting” to see what I mean.) It is a story about storytelling. It is a fairy tale in the tradition of all fairy tales, an allegory full of the tallest of stories that hit home so true—ideas, freedom, the importance of storytelling and imagination. As it was written during the time Rushdie spent in hiding, it is a very revealing narrative about freedom of expression. A father losing his ability to tell stories due to upsetting personal circumstances and because of this temporary lapse in his ability and desire to do so, someone official decided to turn off his “subscription” to the Story Water supply from the Great Story Sea—my goodness, that’s worse than writer’s block.
What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?
This peculiar question is raised by an outside character of dubious intentions and is the initial cause of this situation for the storyteller. It’s always odd when I run up against someone who thinks that way—it makes my heart hurt because that’s a person who is missing a valuable resource in life—imagination—the ability to suspend belief for just a little while to enjoy a story. I could never figure out why it was such a crime to ‘make up’ a story—lying to get out of trouble is a different thing entirely, telling a story for its entertainment value is completely different, but somehow it’s believed by some to be dishonest. There have been many books over the years that have caused a fuss for one reason or another, sometimes they strike a chord in people so sharply that it pisses them off to no end—some of our greatest stories are smuggled out of places where they are forbidden. The way I see it from my size 6 ½’s, that’s somethin’ special when a story causes a ruckus—oh, well, you can’t please everybody. (Every writer, artist, musician, etc should understand this from the beginning or they’re only in for a huge disappointment!)
When writing fiction, pen to paper, from the first word onward, out there beyond the fringe of the known world is the place labeled “here, there be dragons!” It is a magical experience to make up stories—it is a gift that an author is fortunate to have, and a gift for the reader who is fortunate to receive it.
Having some knowledge of Indian mythology and culture might be to the reader’s advantage coming into this story, but it’s not a necessary requirement to read this book, it’s accessible language has an endearing quality that is as comfortable as a bedtime story for a child—magical and surreal—exotic and dream-like. It is comprised of a good many familiar elements, classic literary references to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, One Thousand and One Nights, it also reminded me of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a little bit. Then there is a Beatles song I Am the Walrus happily tucked into the mix with the characters the Eggheads and the Walrus who are the inventors of the Processes too Complicated to Explain (P2C2E)—and of course, Dr. Seuss.
It’s loads of fun, it’s priceless and timeless, I adore it.

…an Unthinkable Thing happened: Rashid Khalifa, the legendary Ocean of Notions, the fabled Shah of Blah, stood up in front of a huge audience, opened his mouth, and found he had run out of stories to tell. – from page 22, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie

I came to this book via my Fred, who is taking a class in which this book happens to be on the textbook list—he passed it on to me when he finished it. From the first paragraph, I loved it—let me tell you what I discovered during my journey to there and back again. This is a book to be read with a light heart and with no set parameters—the delightful wordplay and singsong rhythm of the prose made me laugh a good deal. It reminded me of Dr. Seuss stories so much that in my mind I was able to construct a fantastical landscape, populate it with the wonderful creatures and people described, brightly colored as traditional Indian Folk Art (just Google “Mithila Painting” to see what I mean.) It is a story about storytelling. It is a fairy tale in the tradition of all fairy tales, an allegory full of the tallest of stories that hit home so true—ideas, freedom, the importance of storytelling and imagination. As it was written during the time Rushdie spent in hiding, it is a very revealing narrative about freedom of expression. A father losing his ability to tell stories due to upsetting personal circumstances and because of this temporary lapse in his ability and desire to do so, someone official decided to turn off his “subscription” to the Story Water supply from the Great Story Sea—my goodness, that’s worse than writer’s block.

What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?

This peculiar question is raised by an outside character of dubious intentions and is the initial cause of this situation for the storyteller. It’s always odd when I run up against someone who thinks that way—it makes my heart hurt because that’s a person who is missing a valuable resource in life—imagination—the ability to suspend belief for just a little while to enjoy a story. I could never figure out why it was such a crime to ‘make up’ a story—lying to get out of trouble is a different thing entirely, telling a story for its entertainment value is completely different, but somehow it’s believed by some to be dishonest. There have been many books over the years that have caused a fuss for one reason or another, sometimes they strike a chord in people so sharply that it pisses them off to no end—some of our greatest stories are smuggled out of places where they are forbidden. The way I see it from my size 6 ½’s, that’s somethin’ special when a story causes a ruckus—oh, well, you can’t please everybody. (Every writer, artist, musician, etc should understand this from the beginning or they’re only in for a huge disappointment!)

When writing fiction, pen to paper, from the first word onward, out there beyond the fringe of the known world is the place labeled “here, there be dragons!” It is a magical experience to make up stories—it is a gift that an author is fortunate to have, and a gift for the reader who is fortunate to receive it.

Having some knowledge of Indian mythology and culture might be to the reader’s advantage coming into this story, but it’s not a necessary requirement to read this book, it’s accessible language has an endearing quality that is as comfortable as a bedtime story for a child—magical and surreal—exotic and dream-like. It is comprised of a good many familiar elements, classic literary references to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, One Thousand and One Nights, it also reminded me of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a little bit. Then there is a Beatles song I Am the Walrus happily tucked into the mix with the characters the Eggheads and the Walrus who are the inventors of the Processes too Complicated to Explain (P2C2E)—and of course, Dr. Seuss.

It’s loads of fun, it’s priceless and timeless, I adore it.

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I can’t really call this a book review, it’s more like my gut reaction to the book A Gate at the Stairs byLorrie Moore. I loved it..
“…in general my face had the kind of smooth, round stupidity that did not prompt the world’s study. I had always felt hidden as the hull in a berry, as secret and fetal as the curled fortune in a cookie, and such hiddenness was not without its advantages, its egotisms, its grief-fed grandiosities.” Tassie Keltjin, page 11
A Gate at the Stairs is funny and sad—philosophical and psychological—a very robust and random human experience. What a beauty, I wished for more, yet I was satisfied with the morsel I received—there was sprawling epic potential, but the hand of the writer kept to a path of her making. There is so much life in a book like this—sometimes it’s overwhelming, sometimes it’s subtle.  The human sense of humor can thankfully buoy us through awkward moments, disarming, charming—yet deceiving. The crushing, emotional trauma of loss—it’s survivable; people are resilient creatures, even the damaged ones go listing along in the twilight between hope and hopeless. Life has that way of moving on whether you like it or not—time takes the edge off pain if you let it. Sometimes, it makes me wonder how people manage to survive the tragic events that life presents to us—the road behind us rutted and potholed with grievous mistakes and profound sorrows, much of which overshadow our successes and happiness. Humans are so brutal to each other—even when we have the best intentions—our negligence while in the thick of life is appalling and our self-made ignorance inexcusable. Lorrie Moore has expressed this through reviewing a span of time crammed with the experiences of twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin; with this character, the author created a palpable innocence that is sweet—nostalgic.
Tassie, at times (not all the time, just once in a while a little bit) reminded me of me when I was that age—I was once the wide-eyed girl from a small Upstate New York town along the Erie Canal that rests quietly between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse—in essence, it might as well be the mid-west. Predictable simplicity, winter started in mid-November in time for sledding by Thanksgiving break and melted away for muddy walks in the woods by mid-March on schedule for Easter—the sweet smell of damp earth warmed by the sun deliciously welcomed after months of deep snow and bitter cold. There’s comfort in predictability, but at times, it was maddening and boring.
It made me flinch to watch Tassie get hurt by other people, by events, by life because she was much too trusting even when she played at caution. When you’re twenty (some of us, not all of us, no two people are alike) there is that subtle disconnect that has nothing to do with GPA or if you’re from a good family or not—inexperience and longing are weaknesses that are unfortunate handicaps during those tender years of finding oneself. Good grief, I’ve done and seen my share of friends doing dumb things, usually because of some damn boy or a chronically troubled friend who just happens to be that bad influence who makes life extra interesting. It’s a lesson in natural selection if one survives—to emerge unscathed a minor miracle.
Part of the pain of growing up is coming home from college for holidays and realizing that you have nothing in common with anyone there any more (it seems that way.) That taste of independence and a head full of new ideas has robbed you of who you once were, you are hungry for more, and more wasn’t happening at home with the folks and old friends from high school. It becomes hard to understand how the people we’ve left behind have become so content to stay there, stagnating with nowhere to go, but home. Not everyone can fit a socially engineered mold—and that’s a good thing. It’s easily overlooked that not everyone is cut out for college, not everyone wants to be a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer. Not everyone wants to be a banker or a stockbroker gambling wealth on Wall Street or a politician who wants to impose an ideology on a population that thinks he’s wrong (this can go both ways, left or right.) Tassie’s younger brother didn’t know who he was or wanted to be and struggled to graduate from high school—he was not cut out for college, and didn’t know where he could fit in except the military—which in the early post 9/11 period seemed to be ideal. Tassie never read her brother’s email asking for her opinion and he slipped through the cracks of her inbox—that is something that she has to live with for the rest of her life—we all have those balls that we’ve dropped.
When looking at the big picture of life, some folks just want to live quietly—simply—they want to have a good job, a nice home, streetlights that work, sidewalks and schools, and to hear the sound of the snowplow on the night of the first big snowstorm and feel good about it. This big picture has little to do with Chaucer or Sylvia Plath, Nietzsche or Rumi, racism or religion, Evolution or the Big Bang, war or peace, but it is the sort of knowledge that comes later, when life settles in like winter snows—it feeds nostalgia.

I can’t really call this a book review, it’s more like my gut reaction to the book A Gate at the Stairs byLorrie Moore. I loved it..

“…in general my face had the kind of smooth, round stupidity that did not prompt the world’s study. I had always felt hidden as the hull in a berry, as secret and fetal as the curled fortune in a cookie, and such hiddenness was not without its advantages, its egotisms, its grief-fed grandiosities.” Tassie Keltjin, page 11

A Gate at the Stairs is funny and sad—philosophical and psychological—a very robust and random human experience. What a beauty, I wished for more, yet I was satisfied with the morsel I received—there was sprawling epic potential, but the hand of the writer kept to a path of her making. There is so much life in a book like this—sometimes it’s overwhelming, sometimes it’s subtle.  The human sense of humor can thankfully buoy us through awkward moments, disarming, charming—yet deceiving. The crushing, emotional trauma of loss—it’s survivable; people are resilient creatures, even the damaged ones go listing along in the twilight between hope and hopeless. Life has that way of moving on whether you like it or not—time takes the edge off pain if you let it. Sometimes, it makes me wonder how people manage to survive the tragic events that life presents to us—the road behind us rutted and potholed with grievous mistakes and profound sorrows, much of which overshadow our successes and happiness. Humans are so brutal to each other—even when we have the best intentions—our negligence while in the thick of life is appalling and our self-made ignorance inexcusable. Lorrie Moore has expressed this through reviewing a span of time crammed with the experiences of twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin; with this character, the author created a palpable innocence that is sweet—nostalgic.

Tassie, at times (not all the time, just once in a while a little bit) reminded me of me when I was that age—I was once the wide-eyed girl from a small Upstate New York town along the Erie Canal that rests quietly between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse—in essence, it might as well be the mid-west. Predictable simplicity, winter started in mid-November in time for sledding by Thanksgiving break and melted away for muddy walks in the woods by mid-March on schedule for Easter—the sweet smell of damp earth warmed by the sun deliciously welcomed after months of deep snow and bitter cold. There’s comfort in predictability, but at times, it was maddening and boring.

It made me flinch to watch Tassie get hurt by other people, by events, by life because she was much too trusting even when she played at caution. When you’re twenty (some of us, not all of us, no two people are alike) there is that subtle disconnect that has nothing to do with GPA or if you’re from a good family or not—inexperience and longing are weaknesses that are unfortunate handicaps during those tender years of finding oneself. Good grief, I’ve done and seen my share of friends doing dumb things, usually because of some damn boy or a chronically troubled friend who just happens to be that bad influence who makes life extra interesting. It’s a lesson in natural selection if one survives—to emerge unscathed a minor miracle.

Part of the pain of growing up is coming home from college for holidays and realizing that you have nothing in common with anyone there any more (it seems that way.) That taste of independence and a head full of new ideas has robbed you of who you once were, you are hungry for more, and more wasn’t happening at home with the folks and old friends from high school. It becomes hard to understand how the people we’ve left behind have become so content to stay there, stagnating with nowhere to go, but home. Not everyone can fit a socially engineered mold—and that’s a good thing. It’s easily overlooked that not everyone is cut out for college, not everyone wants to be a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer. Not everyone wants to be a banker or a stockbroker gambling wealth on Wall Street or a politician who wants to impose an ideology on a population that thinks he’s wrong (this can go both ways, left or right.) Tassie’s younger brother didn’t know who he was or wanted to be and struggled to graduate from high school—he was not cut out for college, and didn’t know where he could fit in except the military—which in the early post 9/11 period seemed to be ideal. Tassie never read her brother’s email asking for her opinion and he slipped through the cracks of her inbox—that is something that she has to live with for the rest of her life—we all have those balls that we’ve dropped.

When looking at the big picture of life, some folks just want to live quietly—simply—they want to have a good job, a nice home, streetlights that work, sidewalks and schools, and to hear the sound of the snowplow on the night of the first big snowstorm and feel good about it. This big picture has little to do with Chaucer or Sylvia Plath, Nietzsche or Rumi, racism or religion, Evolution or the Big Bang, war or peace, but it is the sort of knowledge that comes later, when life settles in like winter snows—it feeds nostalgia.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“—if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you.” Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Books can have this effect on a reader too, they get into your head and under your skin—make you itch in a pleasant way and they haunt you—yup, I’m joining the five star pile for The Goldfinch, okay? Donna Tartt has produced three novels in thirty years, which doesn’t sound like much, but damn they are BIG ONES. Books (in general) are like Dr. Who’s Tardis, small on the outside, big as the outdoors on the inside, then there are Donna Tartt’s books—OMG they are ginormous on the inside—more than just another world or a construct—holy crap, they’re big gorgeous monsters! You approach them not to conquer, but to understand, appreciate, to identify with—this is literature—a human document. To offer up my gut reaction about it—I loved The Goldfinch, plain and simple. Why do I love it? That’s not so simple, but I’ll try to explain it.
I read the first fifty pages at bedtime that first night and my eyes were as wide open as peeled onions from thinking about it long after I turned out the lights. The following nights, I took it in smaller bites to savor it—yes, I could’ve easily blasted through it, gobbled it up gone and done in no time, but I didn’t because I needed my sleep. In a way, I was glad that the book slowed down after those first fifty pages, I went with the flow and enjoyed the view. Indeed, there is so much detail and so much going on, it would be too easy to blink and miss something, but I didn’t miss a thing.
As an artist and a museum worker, I enjoyed the book on the professional level as well as the writer/reader part of me. As a reader of Russian Literature, I found the references made to Theo’s friend, Boris, reading Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot were appropriate in spirit (yet another multilayered psychological and philosophical study of the human condition.) I was glad that I had read The Idiot fairly recently (2008) so it was still fresh enough for me to recall it (loved it.) I’ve read reviews that compare The Goldfinch to various Dickens novels (David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and The Old Curiosity Shop.) It is, but it isn’t, more isn’t than it is—it’s Donna Tartt writing Donna Tartt, of her time and place—Dickens makes a good literary lighthouse to point to, I guess.
One potential pothole I watched for was how she handled the technology of cell phones and the Internet, because the gadgets and the access changed so much from the time she first started writing the book to its publication. She was wise enough to keep the use of these devices forgivably ambiguous enough to make it work for the span of time during Theo’s journey. (It’s a small detail, and writers do fret about these details, trust me on this.)
The Goldfinch is different from her two previous works, The Secret History and The Little Friend (If I hear one more whiner crying that it’s not like The Secret History, I’ll scream. Of course not! Idgit.)—The Goldfinch has a personality of its own— a sibling of the other two. Like children, the first-born will be different from the second, and the third—or the last in a long line of children forming a new generation, each one different as much as they are related. They may look alike or sound alike; they are clearly from the same parents because of the color of their eyes or the curl of their hair, short or tall, blah-blah-blah. I love The Goldfinch for what it is—a long, complicated tome, intense, tragic, brutal, and heartbreaking—an unhappy tale; it’s just how things are for Theo Decker. It has an unsettling atmosphere, so finding lighter moments became restful—these were the gems of forgetfulness that arrived to make things feel “okay” and “safe” for a little while (anyone who has lost a loved one, will relate to that temporary amnesia, trust me on that too.) Yet, the nagging anxiety was always within reach, hidden in a shopping bag, or a pillowcase taped to the back of the bed, or tucked away somewhere locked. The repetitive nature of the narrative, in my mind, shed light on the mental state of Theo as he attempted to cope—obsessive and compulsive, dangerously so—the book truly had very unpleasant moments. A young man whose life was forever altered in an instant, there is no being “normal” after that sort of experience—the psychological damage is done—the kid is broken, and becomes a broken adult wearing a veneer of normality; he’s always hiding something. I admire the work, the research, the years put into it. It has everything including the kitchen sink in it—it’s well-crafted and every word accounted for—it all mattered. Tightly wound, molded, modeled, constructed—polished, polished again, and then polished some more. (The Secret History as the “first born” possesses that magical raw beauty of being the first of its kind—The Goldfinch in comparison may have been “spoiled” with too much love, but turned out just fine in spite of it—it is a work by a mature author, that’s the difference.) It is gutsy and classic—not too many write like this anymore, dang, the depth of description at times was dense—lovely. At times, I was truly amazed that it was let through at such a stunning size and as verbally extravagant as Dostoyevsky (or Dickens), yet, I could not find reason to cut it to pieces. The digressive philosophical ending at first glance felt a bit off when I waded into it, but the water was temperate, I understood it as being an epilogue, returning to the beginning—Theo looking back from a safe distance of time to review and absorb—to purge it one more time. I found it satisfying.
Books like these don’t come around often enough, I took my time with this one—treating myself to a story that I have waited a very long time to read. I was not disappointed—only that it ended, and who knows when the next one will come into being…LJWR, 2/1/2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“—if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you.” Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Books can have this effect on a reader too, they get into your head and under your skin—make you itch in a pleasant way and they haunt you—yup, I’m joining the five star pile for The Goldfinch, okay? Donna Tartt has produced three novels in thirty years, which doesn’t sound like much, but damn they are BIG ONES. Books (in general) are like Dr. Who’s Tardis, small on the outside, big as the outdoors on the inside, then there are Donna Tartt’s books—OMG they are ginormous on the inside—more than just another world or a construct—holy crap, they’re big gorgeous monsters! You approach them not to conquer, but to understand, appreciate, to identify with—this is literature—a human document. To offer up my gut reaction about it—I loved The Goldfinch, plain and simple. Why do I love it? That’s not so simple, but I’ll try to explain it.

I read the first fifty pages at bedtime that first night and my eyes were as wide open as peeled onions from thinking about it long after I turned out the lights. The following nights, I took it in smaller bites to savor it—yes, I could’ve easily blasted through it, gobbled it up gone and done in no time, but I didn’t because I needed my sleep. In a way, I was glad that the book slowed down after those first fifty pages, I went with the flow and enjoyed the view. Indeed, there is so much detail and so much going on, it would be too easy to blink and miss something, but I didn’t miss a thing.

As an artist and a museum worker, I enjoyed the book on the professional level as well as the writer/reader part of me. As a reader of Russian Literature, I found the references made to Theo’s friend, Boris, reading Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot were appropriate in spirit (yet another multilayered psychological and philosophical study of the human condition.) I was glad that I had read The Idiot fairly recently (2008) so it was still fresh enough for me to recall it (loved it.) I’ve read reviews that compare The Goldfinch to various Dickens novels (David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and The Old Curiosity Shop.) It is, but it isn’t, more isn’t than it is—it’s Donna Tartt writing Donna Tartt, of her time and place—Dickens makes a good literary lighthouse to point to, I guess.

One potential pothole I watched for was how she handled the technology of cell phones and the Internet, because the gadgets and the access changed so much from the time she first started writing the book to its publication. She was wise enough to keep the use of these devices forgivably ambiguous enough to make it work for the span of time during Theo’s journey. (It’s a small detail, and writers do fret about these details, trust me on this.)

The Goldfinch is different from her two previous works, The Secret History and The Little Friend (If I hear one more whiner crying that it’s not like The Secret History, I’ll scream. Of course not! Idgit.)—The Goldfinch has a personality of its own— a sibling of the other two. Like children, the first-born will be different from the second, and the third—or the last in a long line of children forming a new generation, each one different as much as they are related. They may look alike or sound alike; they are clearly from the same parents because of the color of their eyes or the curl of their hair, short or tall, blah-blah-blah. I love The Goldfinch for what it is—a long, complicated tome, intense, tragic, brutal, and heartbreaking—an unhappy tale; it’s just how things are for Theo Decker. It has an unsettling atmosphere, so finding lighter moments became restful—these were the gems of forgetfulness that arrived to make things feel “okay” and “safe” for a little while (anyone who has lost a loved one, will relate to that temporary amnesia, trust me on that too.) Yet, the nagging anxiety was always within reach, hidden in a shopping bag, or a pillowcase taped to the back of the bed, or tucked away somewhere locked. The repetitive nature of the narrative, in my mind, shed light on the mental state of Theo as he attempted to cope—obsessive and compulsive, dangerously so—the book truly had very unpleasant moments. A young man whose life was forever altered in an instant, there is no being “normal” after that sort of experience—the psychological damage is done—the kid is broken, and becomes a broken adult wearing a veneer of normality; he’s always hiding something. I admire the work, the research, the years put into it. It has everything including the kitchen sink in it—it’s well-crafted and every word accounted for—it all mattered. Tightly wound, molded, modeled, constructed—polished, polished again, and then polished some more. (The Secret History as the “first born” possesses that magical raw beauty of being the first of its kind—The Goldfinch in comparison may have been “spoiled” with too much love, but turned out just fine in spite of it—it is a work by a mature author, that’s the difference.) It is gutsy and classic—not too many write like this anymore, dang, the depth of description at times was dense—lovely. At times, I was truly amazed that it was let through at such a stunning size and as verbally extravagant as Dostoyevsky (or Dickens), yet, I could not find reason to cut it to pieces. The digressive philosophical ending at first glance felt a bit off when I waded into it, but the water was temperate, I understood it as being an epilogue, returning to the beginning—Theo looking back from a safe distance of time to review and absorb—to purge it one more time. I found it satisfying.

Books like these don’t come around often enough, I took my time with this one—treating myself to a story that I have waited a very long time to read. I was not disappointed—only that it ended, and who knows when the next one will come into being…LJWR, 2/1/2014

Photo
The Words Disappear, 1/12/2014



He kept old crossword puzzle dictionaries—
binding their broken spines with duct tape.
He said that words disappeared 
from one edition to the next. “You never know 
when you might need that one clue to finish a puzzle—” 
some he had laid aside quite awhile ago, forgotten or
fallen behind—“You never know if 
it will ever come back.” New words come 
into being within new editions. Our language changes—
whatever’s popular; old words no longer needed—used.
As I flipped through, marveling over the pages,
I never actually looked to see—to compare—
he would know, why should I question it.
Now that he no longer needs them,
I’ve kept these tattered old books, the 
front covers long gone, eroded away
from years of handling—he made new ones, but
now those are  just as torn, creased, and grimy;
the collected pages aged and mellowed,
the oldest tomes discolored and torn—
even the duct tape 
has seen better days—imagine that if you can.
It’s been suggested that I should throw them away,
but I won’t—I rescued them from the trash
once already—to be honest,
I don’t much like the idea of words
disappearing either.
LJWR 1/5/2014

The Words Disappear, 1/12/2014

He kept old crossword puzzle dictionaries—

binding their broken spines with duct tape.

He said that words disappeared

from one edition to the next. “You never know

when you might need that one clue to finish a puzzle—”

some he had laid aside quite awhile ago, forgotten or

fallen behind—“You never know if

it will ever come back.” New words come

into being within new editions. Our language changes—

whatever’s popular; old words no longer needed—used.

As I flipped through, marveling over the pages,

I never actually looked to see—to compare—

he would know, why should I question it.

Now that he no longer needs them,

I’ve kept these tattered old books, the

front covers long gone, eroded away

from years of handling—he made new ones, but

now those are  just as torn, creased, and grimy;

the collected pages aged and mellowed,

the oldest tomes discolored and torn—

even the duct tape

has seen better days—imagine that if you can.

It’s been suggested that I should throw them away,

but I won’t—I rescued them from the trash

once already—to be honest,

I don’t much like the idea of words

disappearing either.

LJWR 1/5/2014

Photo
My thoughts about Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen…I just finished reading it last night… 
Although Strong Motion (1992) was not a critical or financial success, it is an early indication that Jonathan Franzen is a gifted writer in the stratum of literary fiction. He’s had the good fortune to have the support that allows him to focus on his work, not every writer has that luxury, but for certain, this doesn’t mean I think he goes through life unscathed—no one does. While reading, I could see the set up for the ambitious tome, The Corrections in between the pages of Strong Motion. I thoroughly enjoyed my journey back to the time before he became well known; he has a distinctive style that carries the reader within its currents and eddies, rapids and waterfalls, and the places of still water where it runs deep. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down—it threaded its trembling anxiety through my day-to-day thoughts until I picked it up again—it went by much too fast.
Seismic shifts of earth, seismic shifts of spirit—of self. I always enjoy JF’s layering of ordinary humans and their extraordinary individuality—human uniqueness, no matter how fucked up is a beautiful thing. I’m always grateful that we humans are not all direct from the cookie cutter, although I’m sure some folks would prefer that we were all “just like them” to fit within their comfort zone—it’s just disconcerting how we appall one another on a daily basis and are so damn judgmental. Strong Motion hits close to home how much we don’t like ourselves—which most people don’t, our perceived imperfections and self-doubts make us an uncomfortable lot—our upbringing, our religions, and our private thoughts tie us up in knots full of conflict—dreams and realities. We itch in our own skin with the restless need to belong, to be, to believe, to live—afraid to die, afraid to be alone, afraid of the dark—outside and inside. Human disasters; love and greed; strong motion/strong emotion—humanity’s aftershocks from which none of us can pass through life unscathed. There is no cookie cutter life, no one is perfect, no one is above it because they have lots of money and no one is beneath it because they have nothing—it’s one big beautiful mess that is difficult to define. Are there such things as happy endings? Life goes on…

My thoughts about Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen…I just finished reading it last night…

Although Strong Motion (1992) was not a critical or financial success, it is an early indication that Jonathan Franzen is a gifted writer in the stratum of literary fiction. He’s had the good fortune to have the support that allows him to focus on his work, not every writer has that luxury, but for certain, this doesn’t mean I think he goes through life unscathed—no one does. While reading, I could see the set up for the ambitious tome, The Corrections in between the pages of Strong Motion. I thoroughly enjoyed my journey back to the time before he became well known; he has a distinctive style that carries the reader within its currents and eddies, rapids and waterfalls, and the places of still water where it runs deep. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down—it threaded its trembling anxiety through my day-to-day thoughts until I picked it up again—it went by much too fast.

Seismic shifts of earth, seismic shifts of spirit—of self. I always enjoy JF’s layering of ordinary humans and their extraordinary individuality—human uniqueness, no matter how fucked up is a beautiful thing. I’m always grateful that we humans are not all direct from the cookie cutter, although I’m sure some folks would prefer that we were all “just like them” to fit within their comfort zone—it’s just disconcerting how we appall one another on a daily basis and are so damn judgmental. Strong Motion hits close to home how much we don’t like ourselves—which most people don’t, our perceived imperfections and self-doubts make us an uncomfortable lot—our upbringing, our religions, and our private thoughts tie us up in knots full of conflict—dreams and realities. We itch in our own skin with the restless need to belong, to be, to believe, to live—afraid to die, afraid to be alone, afraid of the dark—outside and inside. Human disasters; love and greed; strong motion/strong emotion—humanity’s aftershocks from which none of us can pass through life unscathed. There is no cookie cutter life, no one is perfect, no one is above it because they have lots of money and no one is beneath it because they have nothing—it’s one big beautiful mess that is difficult to define. Are there such things as happy endings? Life goes on…

Photoset

These are the books that have stuck with me…I’ve divided them into two stacks of ten…

The stack at the right are the ten pre-1999, all of them I read before I graduated from high school, and re-read several times since, and before I started writing my first novel…from top to bottom they are:

Mikhail Bulgakov, the Master and Margarita

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

E. M. Forster, The Celestial Omnibus

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

The stack at the left are the ten that I’ve read since 1999, after I started writing my first novel and the ones that followed that one…they are from top to bottom

Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa and Shadows in the Grass

Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban

Paula Fox, Desperate Characters

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Gustaf Sobin, The Fly-Truffler

Joyce Carol Oates, Bellefleur

Wedged in the middle of these two stacks I have my two published books (so far)…the two book ends are Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages by John Cowper Powys and The Voice of England by Charles Grosvenor Osgood.

These are all very powerful books…I am the writer I am because they inspired me…

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My thoughts about Going Out by Scarlett Thomas
I found out about this book when it first came out in 2002 while I was browsing the awesome books coming out of HarperCollins and Random House and their assorted satellite divisions—it seems you could spit and hit one at any given time. Shoot, just the idea that it’s a story about a dude allergic to EVERYTHING, including the sun, and is stuck in his mother’s house for 25 years is crazy. The television, the internet, and his friends are his only points of reference to the outside world—it’s quite pitiful when you think about formulating oneself based on the characters from Friends. He is dying to go outside, but might die if he sets foot outside is a dichotomy that smells of dysfunction, internal (body, mind, soul) and external (family dynamics, society, environment). I found it highly hilarious that his friends want to help him go out by making a spacesuit for him—the absurdity of the idea is outrageous; the trip to Wales to see a Taoist healer is a journey to Oz. Well, after reading a sample of the first chapter, it was definitely my kind of book and Scarlett herself, my kind of author. So I put it on the mental want to read list, but lost track of the all-important Post-It along the way (I hate when that happens.) Thankfully, I kept remembering that Scarlett was out there and I did the typical thing that always drives me nuts when other people do it (being a former book-slinger, I can’t even begin to tell you how annoying it is to play “guess what book I’m looking for” based on the color of the book cover.) Forgetting the author’s last name (who can forget a first name like Scarlett? I didn’t.) The name of the book eluded me too. Whatever, I’m only human. The overall idea of the book and her writing style stuck with me. Then finally—while recently browsing around for something new to read (even tho’ my stack of TO READ is like a mile high, I just have to be in the right frame of mind to read what’s there, dig?) So anyway, drawing on my Google Kung-fu skills, I was able to find Going Out, and started reading it practically out of the box. What a fun little book! Books about journeys and misfits can be hysterically funny and heartwarming, there is always the potential to tip into frustration and wallowing in the dark side of things, especially when the characters are crippled by their fears, but this one didn’t go to that grim place, it didn’t need to—Scarlett kept it light-hearted with the right amount of tension at the right points of time to allow the reader to enjoy the ride and absorb what’s going on without becoming punch drunk from chronic stunning events. I loved the overall dry humor, subtle and endearing, accessible—perfect pitch, reflecting on ourselves as humans and where we are at a point of time—and over ten years later the story still resonates. Beware, there are a few things that will make me drop an F-bomb before 8 AM and this is one of them. Society as a whole just can’t get it together, not everyone pours into the mold of perfection. Seriously, we human’s fuck ourselves up so much, we should laugh at ourselves for being so dang stupid. It’s whatever that’s inside us that does the crippling—our parents, siblings, a spouse, a friend, a teacher, or someone else who has power over us, or the strict parameters of ideology often give a hand to enable our weaknesses and fears, and the expectations of society is a pressure that manipulates us into believing we’re not right or no damn good unless we conform, and we (the individual) willingly tether ourselves to the convoluted notions that we can’t do something, rather than trying to do something we want to do, and wasting much of our time failing miserably at the stuff expected of us—what the fuck, right? It makes my head hurt. I know that I’ve done my fair share of crippling myself and that’s my own damn fault no one else’s—sometimes it takes years for a person to realize this (if they ever do), but once you do it’s very liberating. You have to be brave to do the things you gotta do for yourself, say ‘fuck you’ to the standardized cookie cutter life—go out there and be happy, damn it.
Going out. Getting out.
Run out screaming into the sunshine…
Going Out is an appealing, approachable book, I’m so happy to have found it (I understand it’s been hard to find until recently.) It could’ve been a much darker story, but it was treated with a compassionate hand, which makes it right—with that said, readers should mind their expectations, trust the author to guide them through the tale, Scarlett Thomas is a very capable guide through the reading journey. I’m glad to have another prolific writer to collect.

My thoughts about Going Out by Scarlett Thomas

I found out about this book when it first came out in 2002 while I was browsing the awesome books coming out of HarperCollins and Random House and their assorted satellite divisions—it seems you could spit and hit one at any given time. Shoot, just the idea that it’s a story about a dude allergic to EVERYTHING, including the sun, and is stuck in his mother’s house for 25 years is crazy. The television, the internet, and his friends are his only points of reference to the outside world—it’s quite pitiful when you think about formulating oneself based on the characters from Friends. He is dying to go outside, but might die if he sets foot outside is a dichotomy that smells of dysfunction, internal (body, mind, soul) and external (family dynamics, society, environment). I found it highly hilarious that his friends want to help him go out by making a spacesuit for him—the absurdity of the idea is outrageous; the trip to Wales to see a Taoist healer is a journey to Oz. Well, after reading a sample of the first chapter, it was definitely my kind of book and Scarlett herself, my kind of author. So I put it on the mental want to read list, but lost track of the all-important Post-It along the way (I hate when that happens.) Thankfully, I kept remembering that Scarlett was out there and I did the typical thing that always drives me nuts when other people do it (being a former book-slinger, I can’t even begin to tell you how annoying it is to play “guess what book I’m looking for” based on the color of the book cover.) Forgetting the author’s last name (who can forget a first name like Scarlett? I didn’t.) The name of the book eluded me too. Whatever, I’m only human. The overall idea of the book and her writing style stuck with me. Then finally—while recently browsing around for something new to read (even tho’ my stack of TO READ is like a mile high, I just have to be in the right frame of mind to read what’s there, dig?) So anyway, drawing on my Google Kung-fu skills, I was able to find Going Out, and started reading it practically out of the box. What a fun little book! Books about journeys and misfits can be hysterically funny and heartwarming, there is always the potential to tip into frustration and wallowing in the dark side of things, especially when the characters are crippled by their fears, but this one didn’t go to that grim place, it didn’t need to—Scarlett kept it light-hearted with the right amount of tension at the right points of time to allow the reader to enjoy the ride and absorb what’s going on without becoming punch drunk from chronic stunning events. I loved the overall dry humor, subtle and endearing, accessible—perfect pitch, reflecting on ourselves as humans and where we are at a point of time—and over ten years later the story still resonates. Beware, there are a few things that will make me drop an F-bomb before 8 AM and this is one of them. Society as a whole just can’t get it together, not everyone pours into the mold of perfection. Seriously, we human’s fuck ourselves up so much, we should laugh at ourselves for being so dang stupid. It’s whatever that’s inside us that does the crippling—our parents, siblings, a spouse, a friend, a teacher, or someone else who has power over us, or the strict parameters of ideology often give a hand to enable our weaknesses and fears, and the expectations of society is a pressure that manipulates us into believing we’re not right or no damn good unless we conform, and we (the individual) willingly tether ourselves to the convoluted notions that we can’t do something, rather than trying to do something we want to do, and wasting much of our time failing miserably at the stuff expected of us—what the fuck, right? It makes my head hurt. I know that I’ve done my fair share of crippling myself and that’s my own damn fault no one else’s—sometimes it takes years for a person to realize this (if they ever do), but once you do it’s very liberating. You have to be brave to do the things you gotta do for yourself, say ‘fuck you’ to the standardized cookie cutter life—go out there and be happy, damn it.

Going out. Getting out.

Run out screaming into the sunshine…

Going Out is an appealing, approachable book, I’m so happy to have found it (I understand it’s been hard to find until recently.) It could’ve been a much darker story, but it was treated with a compassionate hand, which makes it right—with that said, readers should mind their expectations, trust the author to guide them through the tale, Scarlett Thomas is a very capable guide through the reading journey. I’m glad to have another prolific writer to collect.

Photo
The photo has nothing to do with the poem below…it’s a detail from one of my moon paintings, it just caught my eye tonight…This poe-em is just a ratty work in progress that I felt like posting…eventually, I’ll pull it together…Sometimes I see things on the way home…this was one of them.

Aww-www, no—is it what I think it is?
We were caught in a line of traffic,
going home; looking ahead in the near distance
I took note of the cream-colored shape, a
furry body lying in the right hand lane of the turnpike—
I thought to myself that it looked just like the soft
belly of a yellow tabby, sprawled and dead.
Cars avoided it—
pulling off onto the shoulder to go around it.
I thought this must be, only because I
knew the blue house over there had
cats that lingered in the driveway—
often crouching in front of the garage,
watching the traffic go by—or
staring one another down—
ready to fight or fuck. Who knows what they’re up to,
slinking around like shadows—
slipping under the gap of the garage door.
I never saw one of them go near the road,
as if they knew the danger—
the wee kittens taught by their mamma to
BEWARE—
Ah, but thankfully no, this was not the case—
when we drew up near to it,
from the left lane I saw that it was
(to my relief),
a dead bathmat.
“Shit, someone killed a bathmat—
I hate when that happens.”
It was the perfect end of a crappy day,
we were on the way home
where I felt safe.

12/22/2013 LJWR

The photo has nothing to do with the poem below…it’s a detail from one of my moon paintings, it just caught my eye tonight…This poe-em is just a ratty work in progress that I felt like posting…eventually, I’ll pull it together…Sometimes I see things on the way home…this was one of them.

Aww-www, no—is it what I think it is?

We were caught in a line of traffic,

going home; looking ahead in the near distance

I took note of the cream-colored shape, a

furry body lying in the right hand lane of the turnpike—

I thought to myself that it looked just like the soft

belly of a yellow tabby, sprawled and dead.

Cars avoided it—

pulling off onto the shoulder to go around it.

I thought this must be, only because I

knew the blue house over there had

cats that lingered in the driveway—

often crouching in front of the garage,

watching the traffic go by—or

staring one another down—

ready to fight or fuck. Who knows what they’re up to,

slinking around like shadows—

slipping under the gap of the garage door.

I never saw one of them go near the road,

as if they knew the danger—

the wee kittens taught by their mamma to

BEWARE—

Ah, but thankfully no, this was not the case—

when we drew up near to it,

from the left lane I saw that it was

(to my relief),

a dead bathmat.

“Shit, someone killed a bathmat—

I hate when that happens.”

It was the perfect end of a crappy day,

we were on the way home

where I felt safe.

12/22/2013 LJWR