« April 2017 | Main | June 2017 »


Colm Toibin, on a common narrative device.

"We are living in the most terrible age. I know people are worried about Brexit and I know people worry about Donald Trump. But I worry about the flashback. You can’t read any book now – any book – without suddenly, on chapter 2, [the writer] taking you back to where everybody was 20 years ago. How their parents met, how their grandparents met.”

Without having ever read Toibin, I'll just have to guess that he's used flashback in the past. Which would make his current adamancy completely invalid. As is his bemoaning that every book written by kids nowadays - get off my lawn! - abuses flashback.

May 30, 2017 in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)


"Culture does not consist in acquiring opinions, but in getting rid of them." - William Butler Yeats

May 30, 2017 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)


“Folks ask what kind of bass player I am. My answer is ‘I’m D. Boon’s bass player.’” - Mike Watt

May 25, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)


“No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument of the Incorporated National Will. When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.” - Dorothy Thompson

May 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, History | Permalink | Comments (0)


"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying." - Studs Terkel

Yesterday was the 105th anniversary of Studs' birth. I've long been a great admirer of his, and wish he was still with us - I can only imagine what his take would be on the current political situation. Maybe we should honor him by commemorating May 16 as Studsday - we could each take aside one person (someone we don't know well, or even a complete stranger) and simply ask them to talk about their life. 

May 17, 2017 in Books, History | Permalink | Comments (0)

First draft


The photo is the typed first draft of my new novella, which is (very tentatively) named Good Advices. The longhand draft was finished about a month ago, but that version (jammed into a composition book in my scrawled handwriting) is all but impossible to edit, so now that it's typed and printed, the editing can finally begin. (Or conversely, the excuses for not editing have ended.)

I'm going to read it through once or twice (without a pen) to  really get a sense of what I have here, before I start to edit. I'm pretty happy with the storyline so far, but it still needs a lot of work, both for itself and for the interconnections with the two other related books I'm contemplating, which I'm collectively calling the Reckoning Trio. Publication is years away.  

May 17, 2017 in Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0)

"...everyone eventually gets buried..."

"Not a living creature in this place would choose to be without pastor Jon for a single day. The whole community would be grief-stricken if a hair of his noble head were harmed. To be sure it is sometimes suggested that our pastor is not overhasty regarding his parish duties, but I venture to assert upon my conscience as parish clerk that everyone eventually gets buried with all due propriety and honor, just as in other places in the country." - Halldor Laxness, Under the Glacier

Thanks, Paul, for passing this book along. The narrative does seem a bit odd so far, but I hope I'll enjoy it more than you did.

May 17, 2017 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)


"With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste." - from an Icelandic saga, quoted by Nancy Marie Brown in Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

May 4, 2017 in Books, History | Permalink | Comments (0)