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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for VINYL





"It was so exciting to go to the record shop,
buy a piece of vinyl
 and hold it,
read the liner notes,
look at the pictures.
Even the smell of the vinyl.”
Martin Gore
(founding member of Depeche Mode
and writer of the majority of their songs)

What Does The Comeback
of Vinyl Records
Tell Us About Ourselves?

Vinyl records are said to be an old and obsolete way of listening to music.  

But no one told the millenials who have bought more than 13 million vinyl records last year!

Vinyl records have a rawer sound than the digitized "perfect music" of CD's or digital downloads.

The grooves of the disc contain all the sounds recorded ...

 and the dust and scratches give the popping sound that somehow stirs us with evocative images of bygone times.

The comeback of vinyl is rooted in its distinctive lack of audio cleanness and perfection—

what fans call the “warmth” of the vinyl sound.

Life isn't perfect.  Life has flaws.  A perfect CD lacks the very life it seeks to exude. 

What does that say about us?

Perhaps, it says we yearn for the authentic, the pulsing pop and snap of real life in our entertainment.

What do you think?

Does this parlay to modern movies which seem so full of CGI 
that they lack any pulse at all?

       

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for Ulysses


"We define our identity always by our success against that which oppresses us."
- Ulysses

"One must be cunning indeed to survive 
the wicked of this world."
 - Sherlock Holmes

 "A society which most values intelligence 
will create men of knowledge. 
A society which most values money 
will create scoundrels." 
- Mark Twain


Does Today's Culture Value Fame More Than Brain?

When reading as a child, 

I was drawn not to Hercules but to Ulysses

not to Robin Hood but to Sherlock Holmes,

not to Gunda Din but to Kim,

not to Superman but to Batman.




You see, I could not be born on Krypton, 

but I could mold my mind and body to think my way out of troubles. 


So I guess it is no surprise that with my Urban Fantasies

I created a modern Ulysses/Kim 

to outwit and tweak the noses of those who prowled the shadows of the French Quarter. 


Did Your Favorite Kind of Hero/Heroine In Your Childhood

Shape The Sort of Protagonist of whom You Write?

*

What Do You Think Your Childhood Heroes Said Of You?

Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Twain



Is Mark Twain Still Relevant?


April 21, 1910 Mark Twain died.

In my historical fantasies, his death devastated his life-long friend, Samuel McCord.

The ghost of Mark Twain visits my blog so often that I should charge him rent.

Yet, does Mark Twain still 
speak to us today?


 Samuel Clemens is the great poet of America's longest river, 

while his quotes on politics and human nature enjoy a constant half-life as staples among speech-makers.

 "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1935.

Most humor does not travel well over time, 

Yet Mark Twain's humor goes to the root of human nature which never changes really. 


Mark Twain's observations on War still resonate with many of us.

  Twain’s words in the following passage have a surprisingly familiar ring 

 to what political pundits were saying in protest to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

 “We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, 

and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial,” wrote Twain. 

“It was not to be a government according to our ideas, 

but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. 
 
That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. 

But now — 

why, we have got into a mess, 

a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. 

I’m sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation.”


Mark Twain also wrote a chilling piece called The War Prayer, 

illustrating how people who oppose foreign wars and government intervention are shamed into silence:

 “It was indeed a glad and gracious time,” Twain wrote, 

“and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness 

straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.”


I have always been more fond of his newspaper articles, essays, lectures, and personal  letters than his fiction.


Do any of you still read Mark Twain?


Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for SEX


“My fear of abandonment is exceeded 
only by my terror of intimacy.”
 - Ethlie Ann Vare


Has Casual Sex Destroyed Our Ability 
To Think Beyond Ourselves ... 
To Love?

Our generation centers more and more on an ever-expanding growth of technology.

Once girls wore letterman jackets of their boyfriends, 

exchanged love letters, and took long walks in the park hand in hand.

Now, lonely souls search Tinder, Facebook, and 

stare starry-eyed at tiny images on their iPhones, mistaking texting for touching.

So many of the young people you see staring intently at their smartphones are slightly dead inside, 

hollowed out by a complete lack of  real human interaction.

 Sigh.

Even talking on the phone has become foreign and uncomfortable to so many.  

We do not have conversations anymore.  

Texting is remote, less threatening, but ultimately less fulfilling.

To say "Good Bye" via Instagram is easy in all the wrong ways.

When couples meet, it is easier to let the hormones take over, 

engage in passion without purpose, 

and avoid the threat of true communication and its inherent danger of rejection of who we are as a person.

So many of us have become obsessed with the casual.  We don't want strings.

We want to drift where the currents of passion take us.

But a ship without a rudder soon becomes lost at sea.

Look at the faces of the models in the magazines:

Cool, Distant, Unobtainable

Those faces are icy.  

You could not imagine them uttering "I love you" and risk having another having power over them.

Funny.  

In this age of free sex so many are in chains of loneliness.

When you think of another person 

merely as an object with which you engage in external masturbation, 

you place your own desire for animal satisfaction above their dignity and worth as a person.

When you fail to see the humanity of another person, 

you lose a bit of your own humanity as well.

Do it enough times, 

and you become so hollow you start to ache inside without knowing why.

What Do You Think?

Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for Roland


"How rare it is to know who you are
and 
how you got to be there." 
- Me

Who Is This Strange Man
Asking These Stranger Questions?

That's me daydreaming with Midnight wondering what the heck we are doing on my terrace.

Thomas Mallon wrote in the New York Times --

Novelists’ lives are considerably less interesting than they used to be. 
Longer, yes, but much drier in every sense.

He obviously has not lived my life!

* Abandoned at the age of six by my alcoholic father on the roughest street in Detroit, 

I learned over 6 weeks the true meaning of horror.

*My step-father later tried to kill me twice, jealous of the love my mother had for me.

* I ran afoul of a street gang in Lafayette, Louisiana, who were terrorizing the students from their lunch money.

Being more scared of my step-father than I was of them, 

I learned it sucked to crawl home with broken ribs, nose, and little fingers. 


* I have been forcibly evacuated twice from my city due to hurricanes destroying the town.


* I spent 3 fun-filled nights on the dark streets of New Orleans after Katrina.



*In the space of two years, I lost my last remaining childhood friend, my fiancee, my mother, and my business.

Oh, Boo Hoo, right?
  
Everyone has had and is having a harder time than they appear.

Still, current theory has it that adding an author bio helps 

to connect the reader in a real way to the author.

I think the author bio gives a hint to the reader what kind of prose 

is contained in the novel if the reader turns to it first.

So this is the bio I add at the end of all my novels to say HI and tip my Stetson to browsers:



Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan.   

But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.   

The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure. 

 Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names.  

And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.


He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology.   

He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.

Now, he runs the roads delivering rare blood to ill patients.

So far he has written forty books.   

You can find Roland at his web page: www.rolandyeomans.blogspot.com  

  or at his private table in Meilori’s.   

The web page is safer to visit.  But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.


For David -

Mark Twain died on this date in 
1910 

(though his true fate will be
revealed as something quite 
different in a future story of mine.)


For the ghosts of Romulus and Remus -

On this date in 753 B.C.
the brothers founded Rome on the site
where the orphaned twins
were suckled by a she-wolf. 

  

Just Wondering:

Do You Add An Author Bio
To Your Novels? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for Quotes


“He wrapped himself in quotations -
 as a beggar would enfold himself 
in the purple of Emperors.”
- Rudyard Kipling 

WHY ARE WE DRAWN TO
QUOTES?

My best friend, Sandra, is still battling cancer.

Reading a volume of quotations is perfect for her as her mind struggles with the pain and medication.

A quote is short enough to grasp, yet often insightful enough to provide her food for diverting thought.

No one quote is read and digested the same way by different readers.

Every reader, as she or he reads, is actually the reader of herself.

The writer's work is only a kind of mental lens he provides the reader 

so he or she can discern what she might never have seen in herself without the book. 

The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's or quote's truth. 

Take Ophelia in Hamlet:

"We know what we are but not what we may be."

What does that say to you?

  
Or listen to Emily Dickinson:

"The brain is wider than the sky."

In our minds we can travel instantly to anywhere in the universe without boarding the Enterprise.


Speaking from experience, Einstein wrote:

"Great spirits have often overcome 
the opposition of mediocre minds."

What helps you keep true to your vision in the face of opposition? 


Decades before Einstein, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

"I am not bound to succeed, 
but I am bound to live up 
to what light I have."
 
Do you agree?  Why?  Why not? 


Mark Twain echoed those thoughts with his:

"The two greatest days of your life are the day you were born -- 
and the day you discover why."


Thousands of years earlier, Heraclitus wrote:

"Much learning does not teach understanding."


Do you have any 
favorite quotes?  

What are they?