Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Guns and Roses

Been thinking a lot recently about the entire gun controversy. It mystifies me how so many people cling so to guns and hide behind the Second Amendment in fear that their guns might be taken … no matter how horrific the evidence of gun violence or the atrocities. For the life of me, I do not understand the need to own at the assault rifles and the handguns with enormous clips of ammo. I am not anti gun but to me there is a difference in sport and arming for military. Fear, for sure, triggers much of the need. Whether it stems from the fear of the Great Uprising of the Blacks or the attack of the Muslim Hoards is a question. Perhaps, it is whomever we have demonized at the moment. Perhaps it is big boys stuck in the past playing cowboys and Indians or GI Joe … seeing themselves as the great avenger … protector … today's hero. Don't know.

Was talking to a close friend just yesterday and was stunned by the level to which the gun paranoia has progressed.  She told a story of visiting a local church and entering through the back door of the church to avoid the rain. She was met by an unknown, disheveled man in dirty shorts and legs wrapped inn bandages that opened the door for her and greeted her pleasantly. She was immediately concerned at both appearance and because she did not know the man, but went into the chapel anyway and was seated. The strange man also came in and seated himself and listened, sang and prayed just like the rest of the congregation. Afterwards, the church members were abuzz about who that strange guy was. A lady seated behind my friend indicated that as a precaution, she had reached into her purse and eased out the pink pistol that she always carried. Joining the conversation, the preacher himself added "not to worry", that he was packing too. When I questioned my friend's response to this behavior, her husband explained to me that this was perfectly natural since people had been known to rob church congregations (not exactly sure where or when this was supposed to have happened) and not to forget the church shooting in Charleston.

What is wrong with us?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reading 2015

Reading 2015
Number Title Author Category
40 Outliners Gladwell, Malcolm audio
1 Virginia Woolf Lehmann, John biography
2 Eye of the Witch Donovan, Dana detective
62 Amelia Butterworth Mysteries :That Affair Next Door Green, Anna Katherine detective
61 Chief Inspector Gamache Series: Still Life Penny, Louise detective
56 Secret Adversary Christie, Agatha detective
66 The Adventure of the Devil's Foot Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan detective
3 Book of the Dead Budge, Sir E. A. Wallis historical
55 The Princess of Mars Burroughs, Edgar Rice novel
39 One of Ours Catha, Willa novel
4 The Moonstone Collins, Wilkie novel
24 The Prairie  Cooper, James Fennimore novel
23 Great Expectations Dickens, Charles novel
30 The Mill on the Floss Eliot, George novel
5 The Round House Erldrich, Louise novel
67 The Longest Journey Forster, E. M. novel
59 Where Angels Fear to Tread Forster, E. M. novel
31 People of the Mist Hagood, Henry Rider novel
33 Return of the Native Hardy, Thomas novel
6 The House on the Borderland Hodgson, William Hope novel
44 The Rainbow Lawrence, D.H. novel
7 Women in Love Lawrence, D.H. novel
60 Phantom of the Opera - reread Leroux, Gaston novel
8 Free Air Lewis, Sinclair novel
32 The Book of Tea Okakura, Kakuzo novel
64 The Warden Trollope, Anthony novel
9 Ethan Frome Wharton, Edith novel
11 Summer  Wharton, Edith novel
10 The Custom of the Country Wharton, Edith novel
27 The Touchstone Wharton, Edith novel
49 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - reread Winterson, Jeanette novel
46 The Passion - Reread Winterson, Jeanette novel
47 The Passion - Reread Winterson, Jeanette novel
51 Waiting For Godot Beckett, Samuel play
53 The Lamp and the Bell Millet, Edna St Vincent play
36 Death and the King's Horseman Soyinka, Wolfe play
34 An Ideal Husband Wilde, Oscar play
12 Carolina Chansons Legends of the Low Country Allen, Harvey & Heywood, Dubose poetry
13 The Enemy of Joy Belitt, Ben poetry
14 Desire Bidart, Frank poetry
52 Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump Bottoms, Dav id poetry
45 drift Connolly, Kevin poetry
38 Madame Deluxe Darlington, Tenaya poetry
22 Rancho Notorious Garcia, Richard poetry met him at a reading
15 The Wild Iris Gluck, Louise poetry
57 Apocaliptic Narrative Jones, Rodney poetry
50 Scattered Poems Kerouac, Jack poetry
63 Mortal Acts Mortal Words Kinnell, Galway poetry
16 Ain't I A Woman! Linthwaite, Illona  poetry
37 The Kingdom of Possibilities Mayo, Tim poetry
35 Keep and give away Meyers, Susan poetry
17 Fully Empowered Neruda, Pablo poetry
29 The Dead and the Living Olds, Sharon poetry
48 The Unswept Room Olds, Sharon poetry
18 Long Life Oliver, Mary poetry
42 The Leaf and the Cloud Oliver, Mary poetry
28 Thirst Oliver, Mary poetry
19 House of Days Parini, Jay poetry
41 The Curiosities Perham, Brittany poetry
54 shake loose my skin Sanchez, Sonia poetry
43 living must bury Sigler, Josie poetry
65 The Darkness round Us Is Deep Stafford, William poetry
20 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Warren, Robert Penn poetry
25 Ghost in a Red Hat Warren, Rosanna poetry
21 Song of Myself Whitman, Walt poetry
26 Wild Swans at Coole Yeatts, William Butler poetry
58 The Story of a Panic Forster, E. M. Short Story
67 read

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reading 2014

1. Carnival Evening - Linda Pastan (poetry)

2. Daniel Deronda - George  Eliot

3. Niagara Falls Travel Guide - Thomas Austin

4. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

5. Rumi: A Soul on Fire - Lecture by Dartmouth Professor, Nancy Crumbine (poetry)

6. The Violent Bear It Away - Flannery O'Connor

7. Like This - Rumi (poetry)

8. The Colossus and Other Poems - Sylvia Plath (poetry)

9. Sons and Lovers - D. H. Lawrence

10. can't stop the beat - ruth weiss (poetry)

11. Poems for Women's History Month
The Academy of American Poets was founded eighty years ago by a visionary woman, twenty-three year old Marie Bullock. In honor of her and all women, here's a roundup of poems to celebrate Women's History Month.

"Duality" by Tina Chang
"won't you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton
"Fifty-Three" by Eileen Myles 
"Diving into the Wreck" by Adrienne Rich
"Duende" by Tracy K. Smith
"Stanzas in Meditation" by Gertrude Stein 
"Lady Tactics" by Anne Waldman 

12. Body Rags - Galway Kinnell (poetry)

13. Mortal Acts, Mortal Words - Galway Kinnell (poetry)

14.  The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

15.  The Past - Galway Kinnell (poetry)

16. Foucault:Philosophy in an Hour - Paul Strathern

17. the Waves - Virginia Woolf

18. Nightmare Abbey - Thomas Love Peacock

19. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

20. The Philosopher's Club - Kim Addonizio (poetry)

21. Some Ether - Nick Flynn (poetry)

22. Behind My Eyes - Li-Young Lee (poetry)

23.  Queen of a Rainy Country - Linda Pastan (poetry)

24.  Summer Poems
Vacation by Rita Dove
In Summer by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Let Birds by Linda Gregg 
Summer Holiday by Robinson Jeffers 
The White Room by Charles Simic
Summer Night, Riverside by Sara Teasdale 
Miracles by Walt Whitman
June Light by Richard Wilbur 
Summer Song by William Carlos Williams

25. A Thousand Mornings - Mary Oliver (poetry)

26. Vice - Ai (poetry)

27. August Poems - Be Calm as Water
“The Moose” by Elizabeth Bishop
Vacation by Rita Dove
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Travelling by William Wordsworth

28. morning in the burned house - Margaret Atwood (poetry)

29. a Night without Armor - Jewel Kilcher (poetry)

30. Night Mowing - Chard DeNiord (poetry)

31. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

32. Blood, Tin, Straw - Sharon Olds (poetry)

33. Shahid Reads His Own Palm - Reginald Betts (poetry)

34. Nine Horses - Billy Collins (poetry)

35.  Howl - Allen Ginsberg (poetry)

36. Red Shoes - Honor Moore  (poetry)

37. Old Heart - Stanley Plumly (poetry)

38. Renascence and other Poems - Edna St Vincent Millay (poetry)

39. Selected Poems of Oscar Widle - Oscar Wilde (poetry)

40. A Few Figs From Thistles - Edna St Vincent Millay (poetry)

41. Second April - Edna St Vincent Millay (poetry)

42. Savage Beauty - Nancy Milford (poetry)

43. The Round House - Louise Erdrich

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Luck Less Monster

My name is William Wallace and my specialty is Freedom.  The story that I am about to tell is not for the meek and mild of ye. Be ye Brave at Heart and listen to my vastly tale. Listen closely laddie and I will tell you the real story of the lake before you can draw and quarter a highlander.

The story begins in the Shire of Spartansburg ,but a league from the lazy hamlet of Simpsonville.

Come down from the highland is but hisself, The Laddie of the Lake, Sir Quinn of the Noisy Rear and his sidekick,

NoSir the Pointed Head also known as Old Slant Eyes.

Recently returned from quest to find Bubba's BBQ, Old Slant eyes had an amazing tale to tell … a tale of fossils of ancient birds … a tale of a lake and a monster. For proof, he held in his hands the fossilized head of the giant blue heron.

A giant fossil head of a bird who lived a million years ago along the shores of what is today, Lake Johnson. But legend is that another creature …  fiercer … more terrifying still roams those shores. The very creature that Sir Quinn would seek,

The Luck Less Monster

But how to find the monster … how to proceed?  Sir Quinn knew that he must consult the Master for the help he would need  and he journeyed to the House of the Fou Dog and bestower of all-you-can eat fried food and noodle palace.

He hid his face … for the forests are full of many eyes, and noses are in search of businesses not of their own making.

He balanced the sacred thread of truth upon his lips for all to see.

His reward … embedded inside the sacred folded cookie of wisdom was the Masters answer.

Don't Take Wooden Nickels

Sir Quinn and NoSir Bruce set forth.

There was no path but the One … the straight and narrow one.

And soon there were signs of he, the one they sought. He had laid the forest to waste.

And then , he made a startling discover about the Luck Less Monster.

First, Sir Quinn found that the monster loves to poop inside of hollow trees. And it, the poop that is, is white!


Secondly, it, the poop that is, is actually marshmallow poop … a tell-tail sign that the Luck Less Monster had been there.

Sir Quinn decided to seek the Oracle of the Beech Tree concerning how to defeat the monster. However, the Oracle was in Scotland.


There was not enough time to go there. Sir Quinn was hot on the trail - those marshmallows were toasted. Luckily, he was still under the protection of the wisdom of the folded cookie and a soft, strong voice spoke from above in a poor Scottish accent:

"All will be revealed if you seek the Son of the Beech that bears your name".

 Sir Quinn's reply, "we seek the sacred tree".

He looked high ….

He opened the door to Wonderland.

The Son of a Beech was found … but it would not give up its secrets. That is until Sir Quinn pulled his trusty knife and began to carve …

and the Beech screamed, "Don't be a sap, Read the sign".

That was the answer. He would set a trap for the monster just outside the sign, lure him out, and let him have it.

First, to cut sweet boughs of sassafras … The Luck Less Monster loves the smell.


I shall tie some food for the beast on the spike along the river … something he cannot resist. NoSir Bruce of the Pointed Head, where are you?

I shall close the portal to Wonderland. The monster shall not flee down the rabbit hole.

I shall fell great oaks to cage the monster in.

I shall tame the beast, ride him like a pony, and he shall sleep in my stables.

Be not deceived. I smile the smile of determination. The Monster shall be mine.

And when he is gone, I shall fish,safe and secure,  for my supper. 

And taste sweets and the sweetness of life.

It shall be  …

for I am Sir Quinn,

the Laddie of the Lake.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Let’s see … where to begin. Oh yes, January! And it has been a very good year. The big picture is that the house in Vermont finally sold and we are now officially South Carolinians  … and still a little dazed!

We kicked off the year in Simpsonville for a New Year’s visit with the Smokey Hughes. Great progress this year in that none of the neighbors’ cars were damaged by the fireworks and only one child was burned. 

Thanks to James and Lynn’s hospitality, we spent a few extra days after NY at Folly Beach. We didn’t exactly improve our tans and though we thought the water pipes freezing and bursting might be a bit unusual for the beach, it was nevertheless the beach and we loved it.

February brought with it Anne’ Medicare card and legitimate senior citizen discounts and a visit from the Hughes clan to VT.  VT responded with plenty of snow and we filled in the gaps with serious playing in the snow and more serious eating.

The travel bug hit us in March … time for a road trip … off to Memphis and all things Elvis. And then, it was Spring … at least, it was Vermont’s version of Spring which included a mixture of sun, ice and snow, and plenty of muddy roads. It also brought kayaking, fishing , hiking, and at least the thoughts of gardening. We hit the road again … this time to VA and NC for a brief family visits and to warm up … along the way we found galleries, museums and gardens galore … and of course the Pink Cadillac Diner. We even managed to catch one of Ivy’s baseball games in Midlothian.

With summer came more fishing and picnicking and explorations around Boston, Ogunquit, the lakes region of NH., and the Hudson River Valley and the mansions there.

So much to see. Louis, Susan and Peyton joined us to play in Vermont and dangle our feet in the Rock River. This year, the five of us headed to NH to drive to the top of Mount Washington, swim in Squam Lake, and visit Castle-in-the-Clouds. Summer also brought serious lookers at the house and we rode that roller coaster all summer long.  And then it happened … the house sold and our world turned upside down.

The operative word has been crazy, but somehow we have managed to work through contracts, closings, house searching, movers and a million “to do’s”.  We squeezed in sightseeing on the Hudson, exploring in VA, a visit to WVA,  a stopover in Eden, touching down in Grenville, Chattanooga, and fishing at Nags Head just in case things got boring and now we are here … sucking the marrow out of Charleston’s bones … and we love it.  That is, when we not going crazy. But, it is falling into place and 2015 is set to be another great year.





Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dream: Sightseeing in Vermont

It has been quite a while since I had a remembered dream.  I love it when I am dreaming and during the dream I realize that I am aware of the dream … and in the next instant, that I am awake. There is something about that moment that is somehow comforting. For me, maybe it is the knowledge that my mind is fully capable of weaving innumerable random thoughts into a surreal, inexplicable dream.  Last night’s dream did not disappoint. It went something like this …

The dream occurred in Vermont. Louis and Susan were visiting and we were on one of our excursions … a typical sightseeing day.  We were coming down either an escalator or some steps and for some reason, Susan was very close behind me and was hanging on to my shoulders. I recall being uncomfortable because I felt out of balance and was afraid I would fall down the steps. Sure enough, something happened behind me and Susan pitched forward causing me to stumble. 

I did not fall, but I was irritated. Suddenly, we were no longer on the steps. Rather, we were in a large field. Even though, we had had a close call on the steps, Susan refused to let go of my shoulders. In order to break her grip, I had to do a forward roll in the field and was able to get loose.

Having done so, I walked towards a large building across the field. Although I did not know where we were, it appeared to be somewhere in Mexico. Behind the building was a bus and Susan and Louis indicated that we needed to get on and we did. As the bus pulled away, I realized it was more like a van than a bus, but that it had lots of people on it  … more people than a van could hold … more like a bus. I asked Louis and Susan where we were going but they just shrugged and said they did not know.

Behind Louis and Susan, my friend from school, Paula Starkweather was seated. I know she saw us, but for some reason, it was evident that she did not want us to know she was there and avoided eye contact.

Before long, we arrived in a small town. The driver slowed to a stop, but as she did, she hit a signpost on the side of the street. The driver burst into tears and told me that she did exactly the same thing last time … except last time, the bus blew up and her husband was killed.

Everyone was hungry and we headed into a small store nearby that sold sandwiches and stuff. I asked the storeowner where we were, but did not recognize the name of the town. He indicated that it was near Barre, VT. Meanwhile, outside the store, people were wandering all over the place. Most of them were dressed in rather plain, print dresses, fairly short and looked like they had been taking off makeup from their faces. Most had black circles around their eyes. They had nylon stockings over their hair. All of them were embracing someone or some thing.

I noticed a waitress in the back of the store that looked familiar and went over to talk to her. I asked her questions about herself, but she seemed reluctant to answer. I finally just came out and asked her if she had left Garland. She was my cousin Mary Jean. She told me a rambling story and finally introduced me to her new husband who was sitting at the table with her. He shook hand with me and proceeded to show me his muscles. It was not really clear whether or not Mary Jean’s dad was aware or not that she had left Garland. I thought this to be a bit odd because she clearly knew that her dad was dead. I knew she had left Garland because she appeared to have aged backward to age nineteen.

Suddenly she went berserk, as did everyone outside. She merely screamed and yelled. Those embracing people outside however were a different situation all together. They were screaming and yelling too, and at the same time were laying on top of whoever or whatever they had been embracing. They were all squeezing and crushing their partners or objects. It wasn’t exactly sexual or molesting or even inappropriate other than they were killing them with the over-zealous embraces. We had to physically pry them apart. Mary Jean somehow ended up embracing some little girl. One old woman was embracing a small dog … I think a dachshund.

That is when I woke up. I remember wondering how Mary Jean met the guy from Vermont.

Wow … do I ever love to dream.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dream: Last Night I Dreamed of Fire


Last night, I dreamed of Fire. It simmered all night and burst into flames numerous times. I was up about five times writing down thoughts. This morning .. this is what I know of fire.

1. With fire ... illumination comes first, 
then warmth.

2. With fire … it can be "white hot" or "red hot". 
It is only a matter of the artist's pallete. 

3. With fire ... the burn from the oven 
is just as painful as the burn from the flame.

4. With fire … domesticated animals should be roasted with vegetables in the oven. 
A wild animal is a meal in and of itself without the need for side dishes. 
Wild animals should be roasted over the open flame 
and devoured without utensils ... with the hands.

5.With fire … the slightest kiss of a gentle wind 
and the embers again glow red.

6. With fire … the flames can be doused with cold water, 
but the embers still smolder.

It was never about fire.