Thursday, October 22, 2015

November 2015. A month of transformation.

October 22, 2015

There will be a great deal of work done around here in November of 2015. Each day’s progress will be tracked in this document. All truths will be reported; no falsehoods are allowed.

November has 30 days. I plan to follow my low-carb regimen for the entire month (yes, including Thanksgiving). I plan to compete in NaNoWriMo, writing an average of 1600 words per day for 30 days so that I can have a novel nearly complete by the end of the month. I also plan to grow my beard and not shave while I work on the book, a la Neil Gaiman. 

Will I be a new man on December 1st? Of course not. But I will have achieved a number of things that have been on my mind for awhile now. 

There will be a minimum of blogging and social media interaction during November, as well. Instead of wasting time on Facebook, I plan to spend my free time -- time not at work and not writing -- with my kids and wife and working around our house.


Monday, October 19, 2015

A short list of interests of mine...

Communication. Crime. Music of many kinds: jazz, ambient, classical, the blues, pop, rock. Cryptids. Books, reading, writers & writing. Art. Offbeat films. Crime writing. Violence. Fringe culture. Addiction. Body modification. The occult. The internet. Altered states of consciousness. Surrealism. Shamanism. Astronomy. Autism. Fantasy. Horror & weird fiction. String theory. Serial murder. Madness. History. Pornography. Tribalism. Mythology, Spirituality. Neo-paganism. Conspiracy theories. Mind control. Urban legends. Zines. Samizdat.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


We share our small Dayton house with a menagerie. At this moment, under our roof you'll find me and Beth, as well as our two children, three dogs, two cats, and a yellow-collared macaw named Gabby.

My wife the wildlife rehabber, the Racoon Mama, God bless her, has no wild animals she's caring for right now, so she's decided to foster dogs through a local rescue. Meaning we'll have dogs coming into the house from shelters, and we'll keep them until a suitable "forever home" can be found for them.

It boggles the mind.

This would be foster #1 -- Savannah, who is just as sweet as can be, even though she has few teeth and her tongue hangs out of her mouth occasionally. Very cool dog, and I'm sure there will be no problems finding a good home for her.

Actually, I love animals, just as my wife and kids do. I give her a hard time, but I wouldn't want her or our house to be any other way.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Early Morning Rainy Friday

I'm writing this a bit earlier than usual, as we have a busy day planned. Beth has been looking forward to us taking the kids camping tonight, and now it's raining, which won't dissuade her, but leaves me less than thrilled with the plan. So we'll see where this goes.

Much love and best wishes to anyone out there who reads this -- especially to my friend William J. Grabowski, currently residing in my native West Virginia; he's a writer, a novelist, a lover of fiery foods. His wife just returned home from the hospital after undergoing a very difficult procedure. You and your family are in my prayers, my friend.

Have a good day.

reading: latest issue of Thuglit
listening: relaxing ambient music
watching: Dr. Phil

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Beauty and the Beast

What in the world could have possessed this beautiful woman, to make her want to spend the last 21 years of her life with me?

"The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With the Sun"

(I'm rereading Thomas Harris's RED DRAGON, as if you couldn't guess.)

I got very little done yesterday other than talking on the phone with Sarah Sidlow and Wanda Esken, the Editor and Associate Publisher, respectively, at the Dayton City Paper. Both wanted to discuss the Debate Forum, which is a weekly section of the newspaper for which I am now partly responsible.

We ask a question each week to introduce the debate, which is then picked up by two writers: one taking a liberal slant, the other a more conservative one. My job is to take the week's topic (chosen by our staff at a weekly meeting) and write a 600-word unbiased introduction to the topic for our readers. According to our Publisher, the Debate Forum is one of the more popular sections of our paper.

My wife's mother lost her dog in an accident Tuesday night. Her chihuahua was hit by a car as she watched, right in front of her house. She's very upset, as are we. (8-year-old Hendrix, however, was less than upset -- the dog had, in the past, enjoyed nipping the ankles of our children.)

Watched the Republican debates last night, featuring the top 11 candidates for the GOP nomination. If you look closely, you can almost see Donald Trump's campaign beginning to fold.

reading; RED DRAGON, by Thomas Harris
watching: Stallone in "First Blood".
listening: Miles Davis, "In a Silent Way" on Spotify

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kill Your Darlings -- a paragraph from "Road Kills"

"The water stank. The muddy ground never seemed to dry out, even in the dog days of summer, and the sky was a constant shade of gray, hazy and dirty as if from a perpetual forest fire. The people looked stunted, shriveled, their faces as dry and withered as raisins left too long in the sun. Power plants dotted the riverbanks, their smokestacks impossibly tall, spewing god knows what into the already-poisoned atmosphere. It was like staring straight down the throat of Hell. How could anyone actually miss such a place?"
     from "Road Kills", a short story by Timothy Walker  

reading: Reel Terror, an anthology edited by Sebastian Wolfe
listening: Herbie Hancock
watching: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic        

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rare James Joyce Letters Sold At Auction

Anchor Babies

Today is Thursday, August 27, 2015.  Kept our son home from school today, and he is playing with our daughter while I type these words.

I've written for the Dayton City Paper on and off for several years, and before that I wrote for the paper in it's earlier incarnations -- as the Impact Weekly, and before that, the Dayton Voice.

When my wife Elizabeth (girlfriend at the time) and I moved to Dayton in August of 1995, I sought out the offices of the Dayton Voice and presented them with some writing samples. The paper's editor Marianne McMullen, and publisher, her husband Jeff Epton, both liked my writing and they put me to work reviewing books, writing features, and judging and helping to organize the Voice's annual short story and poetry competition, which I remember attracting over 100 short stories and 700 poems one year. My columns and articles garnered several letters from New York magazine's John Simon, and also a phone call from Harlan Ellison thanking me for a review and dispensing some advice on being (and staying) a writer. 

I always enjoyed writing for the paper, and I learned a lot.

At this point in my life, I write for Sarah Sidlow, editor, and Paul Noah, publisher and owner of the Dayton City Paper. I very much enjoy still being associated with the paper, which is the local arts and entertainment weekly for the area. I feel it's a quality publication, and that the staff and writers strive to deliver an interesting product week in and week out. It isn't perfect, and I'm sure we have our share of local detractors, but I defend it and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Each week our newspaper features a section called Debate Forum, in which a newsworthy topic is introduced, and then written about by two writers, one taking a liberal slant on the topic, the other a more conservative viewpoint. I was asked recently to act as "moderator" of the section each week, helping to select the topic and writing the introductory material before handing it over to the two writers who will face off and argue their sides. This week presented my first opportunity to introduce the topic for the next Debate Forum, which is on the subject of "anchor babies" -- currently in the news due to the presidential campaigns.

I present that short (650 words), unedited piece to you here for your amusement.

Are U.S. Babies Born to Illegal Aliens Really Americans?


Tim Walker

What makes you an American citizen?

The Constitution, for one thing. If you were born in this country then
you are automatically, by definition, a citizen of the United States,
with all the rights and privileges that status entails – regardless of
your race, sex, religion, or ethnic background, and regardless of
whether or not anyone else in your family is a citizen.

Immigration, illegal and otherwise, promises to be a hot-button issue
during the upcoming Presidential campaigns. Which means, if you've
been following the news, that the term “anchor babies” is coming up
more and more often. Tossed around by Donald Trump, drawing criticism
of Jeb Bush like a lightning rod, the term has become a sound bite, a
meme in the political climate.

What exactly is an anchor baby? In the current political parlance, an 

anchor baby – an often derogatory term which many are equating with an
ethnic slur –  is a child born in this country to parents who are not
U.S. citizens, possibly with the hopes that the child may some day
make it easier for the parents to become citizens themselves.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 147 years ago
by a Congress who were desperately trying to define exactly what an
American was. In their desire to undo the damage years of slavery had
done to this country, damage which the five bloody years of the Civil
War had just recently brought to an end, Congress amended the
Constitution to say this, in part: “All persons born or naturalized in
the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are
citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No
state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges
or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process
of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws.”

Which means, those of you who are running for office, that short of a
major change to the U.S. Constitution – a difficult process which
involves a two-thirds majority vote in congress and ratification by
three-quarters of the states – then children of illegal immigrants, so
called anchor babies, are going to remain citizens of the United

Which means, Arizona, that you cannot suddenly define as an “illegal
alien” any child born within the borders of your state to parents who
are themselves illegal aliens.

Do anchor babies have the right to be citizens? Is it fair for us, as
a nation, to embrace the children of people who never should have been
here in the first place, and make them citizens of this great nation,
when this nation so obviously already has trouble taking care of its
own? Won't that just encourage illegal ready-to-deliver parents to
desperately find some way to get across the border, then look for the
nearest hospital? Isn't this whole concept economic suicide?

Or do we continue on the path that made this nation the world's
shining example of freedom that we are? Do we continue to honor those
words at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “give me your tired, your
poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Can we really
justify changing the Constitution to exclude so many children born
here within our borders? What then – do we adopt the Nazi policy of
saying that the estimated four million anchor babies already residing
in this country are, retroactively, never citizens in the first place?

Anchor babies – free U.S. Citizens at birth? Or nothing but newborn
burdens on taxpayers? 

reading: Thomas Harris's HANNIBAL (the "Florence" chapters)
listening: the Jackie Brown soundtrack
watching: old NOVA episodes

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The late E.L. Doctorow, from The Paris Review, Winter 1986, "The Art of Fiction #94"

Do you have any idea how a project is going to end?

Not at that point, no. It’s not a terribly rational way to work. It’s hard to explain. I have found one explanation that seems to satisfy people. I tell them it’s like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

How many times do you come to a dead end?

Well if it’s a dead end, there’s no book. That happens too. You start again. But if you’re truly underway you may wander into culverts, through fences into fields, and so on. When you’re off the road you don’t always know it immediately. If you feel a bump on page one hundred, it may be you went off on page fifty. So you have to trace your way back, you see. It sounds like a hazardous way of working—and it is—but there is one terrific advantage to it: Each book tends to have its own identity rather than the author’s. It speaks from itself rather than you. Each book is unlike the others because you are not bringing the same voice to every book. I think that keeps you alive as a writer. I’ve just read the latest Ernest Hemingway publication, The Garden of Eden—it’s actually a fragment of a work he never completed—and in this as in the others he spoke with the Hemingway voice. He applied the same strategies to every book, strategies as it happens that he came upon and invented quite early on in his career. They were his triumph in the early days. But by the last decade or two of his working life they trapped him, restricted him, and defeated him. He was always Hemingway writing, you see. Of course at his best that wasn’t such a bad thing, was it? But if we’re speaking of entry to the larger mind, his was not the way to find it.

"Look out Mama, there's a white boat comin' up the river"

I turned 50 on Saturday, 3 days ago.

I've been trying to make some changes in my life. Cutting way back on my drinking, trying to get our house and finances in order, trying to concentrate more on my writing and wife and family. The opposite of the mid-life crisis, maybe -- instead of trying to act like I'm in my twenties, I'm trying to be a grown-up for once.

I miss my friend Mike South, who is still semi-laid-up in Georgia from his motorcycle accident 9 weeks ago. I would like to visit him but making time for the trip is difficult.

I started working on a new short story today, a crime story called "Schooling Damien".

reading: Lucky at Cards by Lawrence Block
hearing: Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis
seeing: Peter Jackson's "King Kong"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the Lovecraft Museum

Just got the new hardcover novella from Steve Rasnic Tem today... came all the way from PS Publishing in England. Can't wait to read it -- I am a madman for Steve's work and cannot recommend his books highly enough.

"Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry"

Spent the day with my two youngest while Beth worked. Did some minor yard work: trimmed the hedges out front, cut some plants that were growing around the back porch, cut some grass in the backyard. Getting ready for a show tomorrow with the band -- we're playing Oddbody's, a concert venue here in Dayton where we played last August and did very well. Looking forward to the show, which will be our first "real" show since Kent Martin left the band and moved to Colorado in January.

Woke up and weighed 198 today, which is a step in the right direction, but still far from 185, which is my goal weight. I plan on stay on the low-carb regimen for another week until my wife takes me to Spaghetti Warehouse to celebrate my 50th birthday. 

Music: Ozzy & Sabbath
Reading: Steve Rasnic Tem, "In the Lovecraft Museum"
Watching: Jackie Brown

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

By Your Side, Brother

Beth is working today. I read for a bit, then got the kids into the Pontiac and headed up to Troy to visit Animal.

Animal is in his early 40's, and he worked for me at Flamingo Showclub when I was the manager there. At various times, he cleaned the club, bounced and also worked as a D.J. He left before I quit, and since then we've stayed in touch and remained friends. He's been through a few relationships which have resulted in 2 small kids, 3 major strokes and several minor ones, and (I think) 3 heart attacks.

He's currently in a rehab center recovering from a recent stroke and heart attack, and I wanted to take the kids to see him. We brought him one of the band's posters to hang in his room, some books to read and a bottle of Coke (which he'd asked for).

The kids were good. He gave my daughter Stormy a drawing of Winnie the Pooh he had done. We couldn't stay as long as I wanted to, but it was nice to visit with my friend and wish him a speedy recovery.

I plan to dedicate "Sweet Leaf" to him at my band's show this Friday.

Music: Herbie Hancock
Reading: Steve Rasnic Tem
Watching: Cartoons

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rules For Writers, Part One

Caitlin R. Kiernan is the award-winning writer of such great books as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, The Red Tree, and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. She keeps a blog which you can read at Dear Sweet Filthy World, and on March 22, 2005 she posted the following:

"I have to write. I have to write regardless. I does not matter if I've had a bad day. It does not matter if I am depressed or in some other sort of mood not conducive to writing. I still have to write. I does not matter if the weather is crappy or if there's trouble in my family. It does not matter if I'd rather do something else. It does not matter if, in some objective, cosmic sense, I've earned the right to do something else. It does not matter if it's not my fault. It does not matter. I have to write. Nothing else matters, ever. Nothing else matters more. Them's the rules. I knew them when I signed on, and now I'm stuck with them. I have to find a way to write in spite of chaos. That's the only option, because clearly things have no intention of becoming any less chaotic."

Good Advice.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

His Inner Poe: Rare Tennessee Williams Horror Story Published For First Time


As she takes in the despair of her in-laws' one-room apartment in "A Streetcar Named Desire," Blanche Dubois exclaims, "Only Poe! Only Mr. Edgar Allan Poe could do it justice!"

Years earlier, Tennessee Williams channeled Poe for an entire story.

Williams' "The Eye That Saw Death," appearing in the spring issue of The Strand Magazine, is a feverish, 4,800-word horror tale clearly inspired by the patron of the genre. Recently unearthed by Strand managing editor Andrew F. Gulli, "The Eye That Saw Death" is narrated by an unnamed man who has suffered from a seemingly incurable disease that has left him nearly blind. At age 30, he receives an eye transplant that restores his sight, but leaves him with ghoulish side effects. The narrator is afflicted with visions that begin as a "chaotic blur," then become more focused and traumatizing, whether "huge, black, bulging eyes" or "terrible, tusk-like teeth."

The new eye, it turns out, belonged to a convicted killer. The narrator begs to have the surgery reversed.

"It is true that the pleasures of the blind are few and frugal," Williams writes. "They live apart from the world and participate little in its affairs. But I do not regret that choice I made the day I fell, raving mad with horror, to the floor of the oculist's office. Oh, never! Far, far better to be blind than to see with the eye that saw death!"

Gulli, who has previously published little-known works by Graham Greene and John Steinbeck among others, found "The Eye That Saw Death" at one of the country's leading literary archives, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Williams scholar George Crandell says the undated work is a "pretty good story" and surprisingly polished for a piece never published before. Crandell is especially impressed because he thinks Williams was likely in high school when he completed it.

"The story has a similar feel to 'The Vengeance of Nitocris,' kind of a horror story that was published in Weird Tales in 1928 (when Williams was 16)," says Crandell, the associate dean of Auburn University's graduate school and a member of the editorial board of the literary journal the Tennessee Williams Annual Review.

"The Eye That Saw Death" has a fable-like quality even as its plot recalls Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." It reads like an inversion of Greek mythology, in which the blind are not prophets or wise men, but those who truly will not see — or like an allegory for creative expression, when the artist is almost literally tortured by his vision.

Williams had good reason to be preoccupied with eyesight. He had poor vision in his left eye and would undergo four cataract operations, one of which he describes in "Memoirs," published in 1975. In a humorous but unsettling scenario that his early short story seemed to anticipate, Williams remembers agreeing to a procedure for which the doctor waived his fee in return for Williams allowing the operation to be the basis of a lecture to observing student ophthalmologists.

"The patient is now in position, apply the straps," Williams remembers, roughly, the doctor saying.
"Tighter, tighter, he has a history of vomiting during the surgery. Eyelids secured against blinking, pupil anesthetized now. The needle is now about to penetrate the iris. It is now into the iris. It has now penetrated the lens. Oh, oh, vomiting, nurse, choking, tube in esophagus. My God, what a patient. I mean very good, of course, but an unusual case."

Ohio Woman Held Captive a Decade Overcoming Fears, Loves Stephen King


A young woman held captive and tortured for more than a decade in a Cleveland home says she is conquering fears these days.

Michelle Knight said she now likes reading Stephen King novels.

"I like a little scare in my life," she explained at a Cleveland Main Library public discussion on Saturday.

She also said she plans to go skydiving to overcome a fear of heights and because "I'm adventurous."
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported, though, that she hasn't decided whether to watch an upcoming TV movie about the ordeal she, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus survived.
"I prefer not to put myself in a backwards spiral," Knight, now 33, explained. "You've got to take the bad in life and replace it with something good."

She said her main goal is "to keep hope alive for the missing and the voiceless."

Knight was kidnapped at age 21 by Ariel Castro. The women escaped his house in May 2013 and Castro committed suicide in prison that September after pleading guilty to a long list of charges.
Knight was the first taken captive by Castro, in August 2002.

"When I first was outside, it felt like my eyes were being fried like eggs in a frying pan," she said, telling the audience she needed special sunglasses after being freed.

"I don't have pity for him," she said of Castro. "He has hurt me for years, and now I am over that."
The Plain Dealer reported repeated applause and cheering for Knight, whose book "Finding Me" is now in paperback.

"How could you not be moved?" asked Cleveland resident Karen Sroka, one of the many who lined up to have books signed by Knight, be photographed with her or just chat briefly. Sroka gave Knight her sweatshirt from Alaska after Knight complimented her on it.

She didn't want to discuss her son, who was adopted while she was still missing and "locked away in hell." She also described her relationship with Berry and DeJesus as "kind of hectic ... It's best to deal with it in our own way.

Knight legally changed her name to Lily Rose Lee, but still goes by Michelle Knight in public appearances.

She said she recently moved into her own house and has named a puppy she adopted "Sky," because the pattern on her fur "reminds of the sky I didn't get to see for years."

"She's an inspiration," said Cindy Spiegler of Willoughby. "We've all had hardships, but hers is beyond anything."

Saturday, March 21, 2015


"Of all liars, the smoothest and most convincing is memory."

Olin Miller

Molly Campbell Keeps The Ends Loose

Dayton, Ohio author Molly D. Campbell's new YA novel “Keep the Ends Loose” has drawn widespread interest since its February 24th release. Well-known writers such as Beth Hoffman, Robin Black and Anita Hughes have lavished praise on the work, bestowing terms like “brilliant”, “charming”, and “insightful” on both the book and its writer. For Molly Campbell herself however, the novel, a coming-of-age story, about a quirky fifteen-year-old named Miranda Heath, is simply the end result of her interest in unusual names.

“I'm a humor blogger,” the two-time Erma Bombeck Writing Award winner said at a local coffee shop recently. “And I've been blogging for a long, long time. I was writing my blog and very active on social media, and apparently my mind works in strange ways. I've always been interested in names, particularly unusual names. Your own name, 'Tim Walker',” she continued, ”is a perfectly normal name – but if you were walking around with a name like 'Reginald Arbithnot', how would that affect you and your life? How would that change things?”

“So,” she said, “I started a Twitter account called “Characters in Search of a Novel”, where every day – and this was just for my own entertainment; I had no followers at first – I would post a person's name and a one-sentence description of that person. And I did this every day for a year, and I wound up with a few hundred followers. I was just doing it for the heck of it. Then a very gifted writer named Robin Black contacted me and said 'You know, you're throwing these away. You need to hire an illustrator, and write a book, with a story written around each one of these characters.”

“So I did that,” Molly said. “And that became my first book, “Characters in Search of a Novel”, with local artist Randy Palmer illustrating the stories for me. And then one day while online I came across The Story Plant, who is the publisher of the new book – I thought it was a literary magazine, and I submitted one of my little character sketches to them. And they wrote back and said 'We're not a literary magazine, we're a publisher – but have you written anything longer?' I said no, and they said 'Well you really need to consider doing that.' At that point I thought they were crazy. I'm a blogger, so I said no. But they kept dogging me, and for a period of probably five years we had this ongoing conversation. So finally they convinced me to try and write a novel.”

Their persistence paid off, it seems. The five-year effort on the part of The Story Plant has been rewarded with an excellent Young Adult crossover novel, “Keep the Ends Loose”. Miranda Heath, the teenage protagonist, is just one of the many interesting characters - and yes, many of them do have unusual names – in Campbell's second book. “It's about a teenage girl, she's fifteen,” Molly outlined when asked about the book. “Her mom recruits her to find this guy who's her long-lost uncle, and all sorts of things happen. Family secrets are revealed, and chaos ensues.”

Written in a stream of consciousness style which immediately puts one in mind of Holden Caulfield, the book is a charming, poignant, and and often very funny slice of teenage life from a girl who views life through cinematic terms – every time she gets into a difficult situation, she imagines that it's actually the plot of a movie.

Her older brother, her best friend, her father Roy Heath, her mother and her aunt Iris Fletcher all combine in Miranda's eyes to make the novel a story of family, love and loss that will have you alternately tearing up and then laughing out loud. The familiar skyline of Dayton, Ohio makes an appearance as well.

“I've been in this area for a long, long time. I graduated from Miami, and taught English at Miami-Jacobs. Dayton is in the book – the family doesn't live in Dayton, but they come to Dayton on one of their quests. The town they live in is totally fictitious, because I didn't want to be tied down to anything factual where she lives. I had a bunch of information in the book that the publishers asked me to take out, but I asked them 'Please let me leave the Dayton stuff in, because we're from Dayton and it's kind of a tribute', so there is a lot of local stuff in there.”

Fiction lovers from all walks of life are sure to get a kick out of Miranda Heath's quest and pithy observations on teenage life. And for those who read the book and wonder if there might be a sequel someday?

When asked if she has any other novels in the works, Campbell responds “Yes, because now that I know I can do it, why not?”

Letter from Thomas Pynchon

Friday, March 20, 2015

Joseph Campbell on the Meaning of Life

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

Joseph Campbell 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jessica Amanda Salmonson Once Wrote Me a Letter

 Jessica Amanda Salmonson, discussing transcendent fantasy in a 1994 letter to the blogger:

"Many other writers 'in the field' look pretty damned good compared to the field as a whole. But it's like comparing a healthy compost to fresh shit. All too often, the most highly prized of 'genre' fantasy pales alongside work that is transcendent. It seems no one really wants to make their intended goal anything as extraordinary as Gogol's "The Overcoat" or Fuentes' "Aura" or Vernon Lee's "Legend of Saint Julian" or Yorucenar's legend of "Our Lady of Swallows" or Cynthia Ozick's "The Shawl", and such like tales and authors. Who can deny that it is unfair to contrast f/sf's "best" writers to the world's actual works of genius? 'Not as good as The Overcoat' would indeed be unfair; for all owe our existence as short story writers to "The Overcoat" and are embraced in its fabric. Yet too many critics, having decided to overlook true greatness, go one step farther and begin to find greatness where mere goodness barely exists."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello All

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
                                                                                                            Mark Twain

Books. It doesn't matter how you read them... old dusty tomes with missing dust jackets, Kindle e-books, tattered garage sale paperbacks or brand new crisp hardbacks straight from the bookstore... books speak to us. I've been a book lover and a writer my entire life, and if you enjoy reading as much as I do, I hope you enjoy the time you spend with this blog. Together I'm sure we'll discover some interesting stories.  

‘Altogether,’ Kafka wrote in 1904 to his friend Oskar Pollak, ‘I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, at a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.’ -From The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka by Ernst Pawel

Friday, January 2, 2015

In an Octopus's Garden...

A new year. 

Beth and I are taking the kids to the Newport Aquarium today, and her mother is coming with us. Should be a fun day -- the kids are really into fish right now, so we're looking forward to it.

Didn't get much work done yesterday. Beth wasn't feeling well and slept in. We took the kids to Waffle House once she was up, and then I ran to Dollar Tree for a minute. Did some laundry. Domestic duties.

[Watching "History of the Eagles" on Netflix. Reading parts of "The Pale King" by David Foster Wallace. Listening to "A Stack of the Blues" compilation.]