So you can read my books

Monday, September 23, 2019


Do you have a song that tugs and tears 
at your heart whenever you hear it?

Or a melody that sweeps you
 back into the past?

Long ago, it was joked by my friends that no matter how pretty a passing girl was, 

I only had eyes for Kathryn, my fiancée.

The song of that name became Our Song.  

The version by The Flamingos became the one we danced to.

 You see we took part in dance competitions, not for the pursuit of winning 

but simply for the thrill of dancing
in one another's arms.

Until that chilling day when 
Kathryn's right foot began to drag.

A brain tumor.  

The night before the surgery, 

Kathryn insisted, despite her weakness and dragging foot, to dance to Our Song.

For the last time as it turned out.

I haven't danced since, 
whenever I heard Our Song
I went dark inside.

But tonight, the song came on my computer via Pandora, and it no longer wounded but, in a sense, healed.

It came to me then, that what I had recently written in my WIP was true ... at least for me:

"One day, you will be driven to your knees 

not by the weight of your loss but by gratitude for what came before that loss.

 I will not lie to you. The ache will always be there, but not the emptiness, 

because to cling to the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of the love you were given.”

I believe our ability to create 
and appreciate music
 is at the center of 
what it means to be human.

What do you think? 

Saturday, September 21, 2019


I am William Faulkner. I am dead.

Yet I did not die.

I, like so many who did not believe in an afterlife,

live here in the jazz club, Meilori’s.

Meilori’s :

the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the French Quarter’s circumference like a single cloud in its ring of horizon,

laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and imponderable, tall as clouds, solid as rock,

dominating all: protector of the weak, judge and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes of the helpless.

Here, I find myself standing outside the window of the storefront of humanity, still observing as a writer but unable to reach out and touch with fingers of new prose.

Except through Roland’s kindness.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained that by now we can almost bear it. Of course there are still problems of the spirit. Yet one question looms above all:

When will I be harshly killed?

By terrorist plot,

by Nature’s increasingly hostile hand,

or by the cruel strangulation of mishandled economics.

Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing

because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.

You must learn them again.

You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.

And teaching yourself that,

forget it forever,

leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart,

the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.

Until you do so, you labor under a curse.

You write not of love but of lust,

of defeats in which no one loses anything of value,

of victories without hope and,

worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars.

You write not of the heart but of the sex glands.

I remember that night in Meilori’s when McCord and I talked.

How words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly living goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other.

That sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they have forgotten the words.

Forgotten the words by being too busy living them.

So write those words in your prose.

Write them so that others may prove their truth by living them,

And in so doing, forgetting them as they forget they are breathing.
*Photo 1954 by Carl Van Vechten

As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain.

However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.

Such has been respectfully done. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2019


is found in 


No, really.

Why people read is linked to why people take selfies.

The readers project themselves into the life of the protagonist.  

They see themselves through the eyes of their thoughts and actions.

Like they choose to post the selfies that project the image by which they wished to be seen,

 they pick the characters whose lives they wish to vicariously live.

If Kim asks herself really honestly why she takes her selfies,

 she’d say it’s part of showing everyone Brand Kardashian. 

'This is what I look like (after a bit of photoshopping) 

and this is how I spend my time (obviously I’ll have chosen the coolest thing I’ve done all week).'

 Dr Terri Apter, psychology lecturer at Cambridge University, 

says taking selfies is all about people trying to figure out who they are and project this to other people. 

“It’s a kind of self-definition,” says Dr Apter.  

“We all like the idea of being sort of in control of our image and getting attention, 

being noticed, being part of the culture.” 

Reading fiction draws people who wish to live vicariously through the characters' lives ...

to be as witty, as charming, as brave, as capable as those characters or 

endure struggles, becoming as successful and triumphant in the end as the heroes.

It is much like why audiences are drawn to apocalyptic dramas, 

imagining they could survive like the actors.

We often read to lose ourselves in the lives of people we wish we could become.  

Many lifelong readers read simply because reading makes them feel good, or because it's familiar. 

Many famous novelists confess to being steered towards books 

by a single transformative reading experience during adolescence.

When writing our book, we should ask ourselves where do our prospective readers want to go and why ...

and get them there in the most entertaining way possible.


Friday, September 13, 2019


I heard sobbing at work today.

Not crying. 

To me, crying is surface pain. 

Sobbing is heart-deep.

A dying friend.  No one at work seemingly understanding.  I understood.

I had been there.


Yes, that's the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn't hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.”
- Stephen King

What happens when we lose a close friend?

Sadly, this form of loss is not always acknowledged or understood. 

What did Mark Twain write?

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size.”


Realize you've taken quite a hit.

Healing from it will take time.  Day by day the wound will close. 

Let yourself grieve. 

The emptiness will stay with you for awhile. 

Nights are long, but

Realize there are no
"7 Easy Steps To Healing"

You hurt. Period. How long? 

Each of us heals at a different rate.

Society just does not get it that the loss of a friend is like an invisible amputation. 

Many people suck and are so self-focused that your worth to them is what you can do FOR them .

Not the other way around.

Others may not acknowledge the depth of your relationship, 

but it is important you remember that you have every right to the grief and devastation you feel.


Remember that emptiness I talked about earlier? 

It slowly gets filled with memories of your friend, your friend's words, jokes, and advice.

Sometimes you will almost feel their presence by your side, chiding or talking with you.

It will get so that when you come upon a confounding situation,

you will hear your friend's advice or critique of it.

Close friends become
a part of you. 

You know how they felt about life. 

Their remembered laughter in the night will make it not so dark.

It will take a while to get there ... but you will.

I know.  I did.