I have a new book coming out…..
Here’s a hint….
More info to come!
I have a new book coming out…..
Here’s a hint….
More info to come!
Motivation has been hard to come by of late.
I’ve taking out my frustration in other ways – painting, drawing, and creating new and exciting things. But I am getting back to writing – I swear!
So – some updates:
I found this great review for Harvey Levin Can’t Die.
The story was originally titled, Harvey Levin Must Die, but I couldn’t get it published! Then someone mentioned the title was less than desirable. Ahhhh!!!
So.. presto, chango, accepted and published. And, although people like to email me their kudos and tell me their reviews, I have a hard time getting people to post them. Soooo… here’s one from a gentlemen in Germany. Whoever you are – thank you! I’m glad you liked it!
Other exciting new things is ReadLipsSwag.com – some of our titles and literary inspired shirts and accessories. I find this quite exciting.
It’s on sale too… through fathers’ day. Use code DAD101 if you find anything you like.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re read any of my work – please review, review, review. It helps – even with just my motivation!!
I’ve been reading and writing novel length works lately. I belong to a few online book groups and people are always posting great reviews of this book or that. Sometimes I pick them up, sometimes I like them. It’s hard for me to find that book that hits the sweet spot – the perfect mix of good writing and a good story.
I love the exceptional use of language. That’s a talent.
In my literature and writing classes, I use Best American Short Stories. I chanced upon an old copy the other day. I read half of the first story and felt engaged, awakened!
Picking up the book of short stories immediately energized me with ideas for short fiction.
The joy of reading a short story happens because they’re tight, no nonsense needed, straight to the point, well written and excellently executed niblets of fiction.
The joy of writing a short story is the challenge. The point, the characters, the setting all expertly set up in concise wording in a small period of time. The use of language is easier to control, the beauty and rhythm easier to accomplish.
I once belonged to a short story group. It was so gratifying to read the short fiction. If you didn’t like what someone chose, you could still read the ten or twenty pages and talk about it. It’s not 300 pages of silently cursing your book group.
So… I’m going to recommend some books of short fiction. Of course, I recommend the Best American Short Story Series. Wonderful writing by newbies and scholars alike!
I am four, standing in the doorway of a pawn broker’s shop at the corner of E.152nd and St. Clair Avenue. My brother is kicking the door frame while my mother throws words over her shoulder. There’s a younger sister in the stroller next to my mother, and another in her belly. My mother is young, younger than I will ever remember.
She’s pawning her wedding ring – again – because we are out of milk and bread – again – .
I am giddy. Standing in front of my refrigerator. Grateful for a life in which my children will never go hungry.
Memories are said to play favorites. The more you think of one thing, the better you’ll remember it. The less you think of another thing, you’re likely to forget.
I rarely visit the past. Maybe I’m trying to forget. But there’s enough snippets left to keep me basking in gratitude for the life I have.
Do you remember who you were so many years ago when you began this journey so full of dreams? MTV was novel and the world was wide open.
The first pinch might be the hardest. It’s such a small, small thing. A tiny piece of flesh in exchange for what seemed like so much.
What’s another pinch?
Because the world is so big.
The city is made of blocks and on those blocks are neighborhoods, and somewhere in those neighborhoods you stopped feeling the pain,
around the corner is where you began to buy in. You didn’t even realized you had wandered so far from the home of your soul.
The world is four walls with an internet connection. We travel so far without going anywhere at all. It’s safe and warm and full proof. The commercialism of promise. The bindings of success.
Within, that child waits for second life.
The long covid winter has has taken so much. Our days languish. Our nights persist.
And I have adopted men’s pajamas.
The need for attractive shoes disappeared within weeks of the lock-down; the stylish pants and dresses went soon after. By summer, we donned our yoga pants and tennies. When the first chill of autumn blew the leaves from the trees, we switched to sweats where we have lived quietly, but not quieted, through the holidays – unveiling pretty sweaters in our above the waist zoom camera-shots.
January sprung confidence in the new year. But February rolled in, hope stilled in the cold snow, and it happened. The wind chill dropped and the dryer broke. Sitting on the coffee table, a forgotten gift, still wrapped – I tugged the ribbon and unpacked the thermal flannels. I studied them begrudgingly for a single moment before I slipped them on.
The lust for spring freedom is shackled. It can waste away in dreams now.
I have donned men’s pajamas and may never leave my writing desk ever again.
I love when story, seemingly already written on an ephemeral cloud, comes to us. The words pour down and we lay them on the page. They are marshaled in divine design.
It feels like magic, like power. This is genius and, we, the mere conduits.
There are those stories that drag us pathetically across the calloused black top, burn our fingers and crook our spines, harboring a shadowed threat of what it might become – one day.
We are not magic or power or even conduit, we are witch and warlock and cursed all at once, damned to live an obscure existence sucking on green m-n-m’s and cold coffee.
One moment sailing the skies, the next scouring gutters for unredeemed inspiration.
It’s a writer’s life.
Not for the weakened soul.
Some years ago, a lovely new writer appeared one Saturday at the wooden kitchen table of our host’s home where we met regularly for critique group. A woman with long, blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, who shared that she’d almost drowned.
Being washed into the Pacific undercurrent and sinking down, down, down, in this near death experience, she began to relive certain events in her life, but not from her point of view. She became her mother dealing with a rebellious teenage daughter; she landed in her lover torn to shreds and heartbroken.
She relived the emotions of those whom she had caused pain.
What a gift! Or, maybe, a curse.
This inspired me to wonder if we die the way we live. Death and karma. Was that lovely woman a selfish, thoughtless human, and her experience was to feel that pain she’d caused others?
If you’re a horrible human being, do you die a slow painful death? If you allowed kittens to suffocate, do you die gasping for breath?
I know someone who caused a lot of pain to others and he developed a disorder, later in life, in which every little bump would bruise and swell in painful edemas. A callous could glow into an infection. He spent the last years of his life in more pain that he might of caused.
However, I know plenty of lovely humans who have died in unfavorable circumstances. Certainly, that wasn’t karma.
I choose to move through this life causing as little pain and unhappiness as possible.
But it’s not because of the fear of death. It’s not even the fear of karma. There is so much pain and vexation in this world already – I don’t need to add any more to anyone’s life. I’d rather add laughter, happiness, joy. Not that I always succeed. This still is life.
I remember that woman from our critique group, her story, her presence because she yelled at me. Upon reading my story, the group began to respond. She became outraged and began gesticulating wildly. “You can’t write this. This will hurt people. You will pay for this. You can’t write this.”
I reflected on this and asked the group – after she was removed by our host – does my story lack empathy?
I attempt to create characters and stories that express the range of human emotions, the best of which teeter on the axis of sympathy and empathy. My writing partners and my readers believe I’ve achieved that.
I believe in karma in some sense. I believe what we put out there, we receive back in one way or another. Maybe death is random. Maybe not.
Thank you for reading. Be well.
For many years, I have walked confidently on the stones in the stream, believing the fall not that deep, won’t hurt that much.
The truth is that the fall might not be very deep, might not hurt at all – it’s the fear of the fall that worms it’s way into the squirmy regions of my brain. That’s where all fear starts – somewhere deep inside the brain which is supposed to warn us of danger. We begin to feel it all though our bodies.
I come from a legacy of anxiety.
I, however, have never subscribed to the fear. I’ve never allowed it to control me or my life. In fact, I pushed back by crashing through obstacles of all sorts, by caving, and diving with sharks, traveling to far away places, and teetering on the edge of canyons for selfies. Yes, I’m one of those!
This past year, however, those rocks seem far more precarious than I ever noticed. The water rushes past so quickly, loosening the stones, unsteadying the path.
When I take one step at a time, I’m okay. If I look at the other side, if I concern myself with two or three stones ahead, I begin to panic.
Walk steady. Walk slowly. Head high. Believe it will all be okay. The other side is nearer than it seems.