Left Out

My newest story is available in the Fall Issue of So to Speak, a publication of George Mason University. I’d love to know what you think. http://sotospeakjournal.org/left-out/

Novel in Progress

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging and thought I should explain myself. Due to an urge beyond my control, I’m working on a novel considered long, complex and labor intensive. Hopefully, that complexity will pay off and reveal a story so unique, heart-warming and thought-provoking I’ll be posting the accolades here in say six or seven years. If not, I’ll be back, looking for cry buddies.

My Death

MyDeath

My friend Phil Braen posted the lyrics of a cover, My DeathBowie released in 1972. It was written by Jacque Brel. Bowie made the song his own, of course, changing the lyrics as it suited him. We would expect nothing less. May we all learn from his fearlessness.

My death is like

A swinging door

A patient girl who knows the score

Whistle for her

And the passing time

My death waits like

A bible truth

At the funeral of my youth

Weep loud for that

And the passing time

My death waits like

A witch at night

And surely as our love is bright

Let’s laugh for us

And the passing time

But whatever is behind the door

There is nothing much to do

Angel or devil I don’t care

For in front of that door

There is you

My death waits like

A beggar blind

Who sees the world with an unlit mind

Throw him a dime

For the passing time

My death waits

To allow my friends

A few good times before it ends

Let’s drink to that

And the passing time

My death waits in

Your arms, your thighs

Your cool fingers will close my eyes

Let’s not talk about

The passing time

But whatever is behind the door

There is nothing much to do

Angel or devil I don’t care

For in front of that door

There is you

My death waits

Among the falling leaves

In magicians, mysterious sleeves

Rabbits, dogs

And the passing times

My death waits

Among the flowers

Where the blackish shadow cowers

Let’s pick lilacs

For the passing time

My death waits in

A double bed

Sails of oblivion at my head

Pull up the sheets

Against the passing time

But whatever is behind the door

There is nothing much to do

Angel or devil I don’t care

For in front of that door

There is you

Best Book Cover Ever

The Circle Cover

The New York Times just published The Best Book Covers of 2015I haven’t seen this particular list in the past but it hoisted me out of my chair to look through every bookcase in the house (five to date) for my favorite cover. There were so many contenders. Colorless by Haruki Murakami for the peek-a-boo inserts? Collier’s Encyclopedia Yearbook Covering the Year 1968 for its foddy simplicity? In the end, I went with the The Circle by Dave Eggers because, well, it can’t be ignored, and there is a sort of imperial command, “Read it. Read it now.” What’s yours?

#donnatartt

Donna Tartt

On Instagram, I put in the hashtag #donnatartt not expecting the famously reclusive author herself but curious to see what came up. Almost 12,000 posts were tagged with her name. That’s something to shoot for.

Fiction Fashion

Mimi in Berlin

 

Today my look is Hazel from Fault in Our Stars, only because I wasn’t planning on leaving the house, not even to collect the FedEx package from the porch. Tomorrow I’m aiming for Kitsey from The Goldfinch. How about you?

OR, WHY YOU CAN’T BE NEIL GAIMAN

American Gods

A good perspective from Flash Fiction. Or as a dear friend used to say, “There’s always someone richer than you.”

NOTE: If you like writing one thing (novels in particular), woot. Don’t read this piece, even though it might help. You don’t want what I’m selling.

Envy is rife amongst writers. It’s the first stage of jealousy and rooted in daydreams. Few daydream about labor. We daydream about success as reward out of thin air. Example:

How awesome it is to be Neil Gaiman? Rock star of genre fiction, with more success than a dozen mid­listers combined and multiplied by his current stock of awards and accolades. He is rich, famous, does what he likes, and makes fun commencement speeches.

The trouble is, you can’t be Neil Gaiman…

Read more

A Beautiful Listen

Podcasts are the savior of all commutes, even to the grocery store. Here are a few from Raymond Carver, one of the best in my estimation. Carver Podcasts

Raymond Carver (Picture: Bob Adelman)

Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf

garden

 

We compared favorite first lines. This one needed a whole paragraph. Who else but Virginia Woolf could make leaves sound so sensual?

 

From the oval shaped flower-bed there rose perhaps a hundred stalks spreading into heart-shaped or tongue-shaped leaves half way up and unfurling at the tip red or blue or yellow petals marked with spots of colour raised upon the surface; and from the red, blue or yellow gloom of the throat emerged a straight bar, rough with gold dust and slightly clubbed at the end. The petals were voluminous enough to be stirred by the summer breeze, and when they moved, the red, blue and yellow lights passed one over the other, staining an inch of the brown earth beneath with a spot of the most intricate colour. The light fell either upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble, or, the shell of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or falling into a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected them to burst and disappear. Instead, the drop was left in a second silver grey once more, and the light now settled upon the flesh of a leaf, revealing the branching thread of fibre beneath the surface, and again it moved on and spread its illumination in the vast green spaces beneath the dome of the heart-shaped and tongue-shaped leaves. Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead and the colour was flashed into the air above, into the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew Gardens in July.

The Scratch

Handsml

By Raymond Carver

It’s a day for contemplating our self-destructive habits, as humans. Here’s a thought from the best.

 

I woke up with a spot of blood

over my eye.

A scratch

halfway across my forehead.

But I’m sleeping alone these days.

Why on earth would a man raise his hand

against himself, even in sleep?

It’s this and similar questions

I’m trying to answer this morning.

As I study my face in the window.