November 13, 2009
Good Bumper Sticker: “Just because I’m paranoid does not mean that people are not out to get me.”
Bad Bumper Sticker: “Life is too short to drink old coffee.”
Commentary: Okay, fresh coffee better. Yes. But is this significant enough for a bumper sticker? We have limited space on our cars’ asses–use that space wisely.
September 24, 2009
A former student of mine (one of my all-time favorite students), who now teaches fifth grade, heard about my book. She wrote to tell me that she was going to share part of my book with her fifth graders. I felt I had to immediately warn her that many of my stories are R rated. However, she managed to find an excerpt at my publisher’s page — www.mainstreetrag.com — that is child friendly.
Today I received in the mail a 10 X 12 manilla envelope that contained letters from her class, not only praising my writing (which was good to see) but also thanking me for teaching their teacher, whom they clearly adore. The latter was even more satisfying.
Teachers rarely get to know that they reached a student in a certain way, and even less often do they find out that their former students are reaching students of their own.I plan to write the class back, and I think I will save their letters to me forever.
September 8, 2009
Today my son turns six. Last night, before he went to sleep, he told his mom, “I don’t think there’s really a tooth fairy. I think darkness and light meet in the night and turn the tooth into money.” All kids are born with imagination. I’m glad we haven’t killed his.
The first two years of his life, I was such a neurotic parent that my only goal was KEEP HIM ALIVE! DON”T LET HIM DIE. After he turned two, my goal was not to break his spirit, but rather keep him in love with life. He seems happy, so now I guess I should extend my parental ambitions. I think my new goal is to keep his imagination alive. So far so good.
At church Sunday, our new interim minister said something paricularly poignant, and tears welled in my eyes. Jed looked at me and studied me, the way I’ve studied him so many times. He looked to be trying to figure out what was going on in my mind. This made me aware that he is now a person–a thinking, wondering, imagining, analyzing person. I felt at once a joy in welcoming him to a thoughtful life, but also melancholy that his innocence is now vulnerable.
At any rate, I’m glad I’ve spent much good time with him these six years.
September 5, 2009
“To live outside the law you must be honest.”
It seems to me Dylan’s succinct line captures the essence of Kohlberg’s highest level of moral development, but I’m going on what I vaguely remember about Kohlberg from an education course about fifteen years ago.
August 31, 2009
Grant me the Xanax to accept the things I cannot change
The Adderall to change the things I can
And the Paxil to know the difference
August 24, 2009
When I first read the following words in the June 2009 issue of The Mensa Bulletin, I almost dismissed them as pop psychology, self-help BS. However, reading the therapist’s thoughts about the ranking of the three items helped me to understand that the real value is the prioritization. Here they are:
There are only three things to remember:
1. I will be happy
2. I will make some money
3. I will make other people happy
One hundred percent of the people I saw agreed with the three, but not one of them had the order right! Get them out of order an it will fail, ultimately.
–Bernard Kitt, Ph.D on a psychotherapist’s solution to personal problems
August 19, 2009
With unexpected things happening this summer, some of them pretty significant, I was not able to read as much as I’d planned. I’m currently reading Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, which all of our incoming freshmen are reading. I have to say that so far I’ve found that “Mildly Amusing in Farsi” would have been a more apt title, but it wouldn’t have sold many copies. I will say the book is educational for anyone such as I, who is fairly ignorant of Middle Eastern culture and how different it is from American culture.
I also read the timeless gem The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. She is up there with Faulkner and Flannery O. I read a very interesting quirky book called Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe. I recommend it for anyone who wants something a little different. As usual, I’ve read many short stories. I highly recommend Kevin Winchester’s Everybody’s Gotta Eat. Winchester’s ear has perfect pitch for southern dialects. I’m just starting to check out Cut Men by Steve Taylor. Very strong so far. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell is a nonfiction book that validates some things I believed to be true via my own anecdotal evidence.
I’ve talked to several poets this summer and I hope to read their work soon.
Hope others had good summer reading. Please share any titles you found particularly valuable in some way.
August 18, 2009
Welcome to my blog, which I plan to use for many purposes, including random rants and rambling, but my primary purpose here is to introduce myself as a writer and showcase (a euphemism for “shamelessly promote”) my writing.
My first book of short stories, Rapture Practice, has just been released. Copies are available at http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/MSRFiction.php The book is also available through Barnes & Noble Online and Amazon.com, and at select bookstores nationwide.
I will be announcing public readings and book signings as their dates approach One of these will be a reading and signing on September 28, 2009 at 7:30 at the Hub-Bub Showroom in Spartanburg, South Carolina. You can check out the Showroom and its “Hub Culture” at http://www.hub-bub.com
By the way, I was at The Showroom last night for a fiction reading by Brian Ray, whose new novel Through the Pale Door won the South Carolina First Novel Prize. I was so impressed I bought a copy with money I don’t really have (good literature does that to me–otherwise I’m pretty frugal) and I can’t wait to read it.
If you love good literature as much as I do, please help it survive by supporting emerging writers. Thanks for reading. More soon,