Here is a re-post of an informative blog post by writer, Mike Tuggle, on improving prose. As I read Mike’s post, I was reminded of one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, who presented an incredibly descriptive writing style much like that suggested.
Elizabeth Hardwick was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer. For a list of her available work visit Amazon.com: Elizabeth Hardwick.
Today marks my seventieth birthday. It’s been an interesting run through life at this point and I am hopeful there are more wonderful times yet to come. I think having a good sense of humor helps us get through the ups and downs of whatever the years throw at us thus the title I selected for this blog post.
I’m tempted to expound upon the humor of being seventy as the blog title illustrates. For instance, “I’m now eighteen with fifty-two years of experience”. Or, “I’m too young to be seventy.” And how about, “I’m 70 in years but 20 in spirit!”
Humor aside, I think author Victoria Erickson has a good take on aging for all of us, especially writers:
You may be in luck because nearly 200,000 images from the New York Public Library are now online and available for free use.
“The New York Public Library just released a treasure trove of digitized public domain images, featuring epic poetry from the 11th century to photographs of used car lots in Columbus, Ohio from the 1930s. Over 180,000 manuscripts, maps, photographs, sheet music, lithographs, postcards, and other images were released online Wednesday in incredibly high resolution, and are available to download…and images can be sorted by century, color, genre, or library collection.” – Andrew J . Hawkins, The Verge http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/6/10723680/nyc-library-public-domain-images-digital
View the public domain image collection here: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/01/05/share-public-domain-collections
It’s that time of year for special gift-giving around my neck of the woods (so to speak) and as it is in many other places. And what better gift than a book or two?
Here are two books for your perusal. I hope you’ll consider them for this holiday season or for any gift-giving occasion.
“Storytellin: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas”. A collection of mixed-genre stories set in Arkansas from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Each of the fictional stories is preceded by a Cotner family story or event that inspired the fictional tales. Set against the rugged backdrop of the Ouachita Mountains these stories bring ageless tales of hope, fear, laughter, retribution, and kindness.
“Mystery Of The Death Hearth”. A Celtic tale of murder, power, and intrigue. In a far-flung outpost of the Roman Empire, the Great Cross—made of Celtic gold and amber now claimed by the Roman church—goes missing along with a fortune in coins and precious gems. Murder soon follows, igniting tensions when church leaders maneuvering for political gain are implicated in the violent plot. When news reaches the Grand Prefect in Rome, Enforcers are sent to identify the thieves and recover the missing treasure. The trail leads to the Brendan Valley where it falls to deputy magistrate Weylyn de Gort to work with those whose ways are alien to his Elder Faith beliefs. Along the way, he must find an elusive young Celt girl and her missing grandfather, unravel the mystery of an Elder’s vision, and avoid death at the hands of an assassin as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.
Mystery Of The Death Hearth Prologue
June 21st in the Roman calendar
“This sacred site has been here longer than we can remember,” Elder Blaine the Slender told the small group of children clustered around him. They were surrounded by festival vendors in tents bearing colorful flags, all part of the crowd gathered there to celebrate the Solstice holiday. “Heed these stories well, so you may pass them to those who will come after you.”
He saw them nod, some smiling, many somber, all attentive.
“Learn your crafts well, listen to your elders, honor the gods, and respect the land. Enjoy the life you have been granted and help others do the same. No other goals should be attempted lest you fall into the evil snare of greed and dishonesty.”
A small voice whispered, “He means the Romans, right?”
“Not just Romans, young one. Celts, too, face dark temptations. The two worst enemies we all face are liars and thieves,” the Elder continued. “Take nothing that isn’t yours. Honor the code of doing what you will so long as you harm no one or their possessions. Have compassion for those less fortunate, help those in need. Follow the path of our Celtic Elder Faith, stay true to its teachings. You will be wise to–”
Blaine’s words were interrupted by heavy beating of drums and cheers from celebrants within the inner circle of the standing stones. Before Blaine could continue, a child spoke up.
“What about murderers, Elder? Aren’t they an enemy, too?”
Elder Blaine nodded. “Truly spoken young one. Murderers are the worst kind of thief. They steal your life.”
For instance, Stephen King books. I wouldn’t want to live in a Steven King book.
Poetry is a powerful medium especially when combined with music. Add visuals and it becomes exponentially more powerful, enveloping an array of human senses and emotions. Place all that in historical context, combine with current affairs, and it can become timeless.
In 1965 I became part of the United States military. The war in Vietnam was raging and people were dying by the thousands. Destruction, devastation, and despair abounded. I lost an uncle, a number of friends and high school classmates to that despicable endeavor. At home the race riots, peace demonstrations, and a less-than-honorable group of elected officials and military leaders laid bare the most vile elements of human nature.
The previous year, 1964, a nineteen-year-old songwriter named P. F. Sloan was inspired to compose and record a song as relevant today as it was then. That song is “Eve Of Destruction.” It has been covered by many artists, including Bob Dylan and The Turtles, but my favorite version was performed by Barry McGuire. I’ve included links to two video versions in this post—one covers current events, the second the Vietnam War Era.
One final thing. This post deviates in two ways from my normal presentations. First, it departs from my long-standing rule of not discussing politics; and two, you are welcome to comment as always but I may or may not respond and I may or may not allow your comments for this particular post. With those caveats, click here for Barry McGuire in the 2016 video version of “Eve Of Destruction.”
For historical context, click here to play the 1965 version.