Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Ice Cream Social

Andy Van Dyke was there.
   As well as Otto Auschwhype and Peter Jones, the latter owing Van Dyke a certain small amount of American tender as the result of a lost wager on a recent American athletic sporting event. Jones still hadn't produced and Van Dyke was speculating on the proper tact to broach the subject, if at all, for he knew well that this was supposed to be a relaxed occasion - indeed, a social one.
   "Good thing the ice cream is free, huh?" Van Dyke queried in a general (and he thought harmless) way to no one in particular, but his eyes did linger upon Peter Jones for longer than what might seem normal... or socially acceptable.
   "Yes, very much so," Auschwhype merrily chimed in, smacking his lips as he inserted the little wooden paddle smeared with ice cream back into his snug spout that was wedged between two fat cheeks. "And it's quite good," he was so moved as to add.
   Peter Jones glared at Van Dyke for just a moment, taken slightly aback by his own paranoia, but then in an instant decided that surely the guy could not be inferring anything more than the simple delight in being able to partake in free ice cream on such a mild spring evening.
   "What kind of ice cream do they got over there?" Van Dyke inquired and Auschwhype quickly responded, "Ooh, they're down to only vanilla I'm afraid."
   "Vanilla!" Van Dyke roared, not exactly outraged but clearly irritated, and he followed up with, "Ya mean they don't got any chocolate?"
   Peter Jones quickly tightened his lips around his own just-inserted spoon.
   "I'm afraid our friend here snatched up the last one," Auschwhype said with an affable grin gazing at the guilty culprit as brown iced milk dribbled out of one corner of Peter Jones' mouth, a sight which was amazingly akin to that of a naughty cat getting caught with a mouse tail sticking out of it's closed jaws.
   Damn you Jones Van Dyke thought to himself but before he could conjure a physical response there came a tap upon his shoulder. It was none other than Felicia Abercrombie, head of the PTA and reeking of a flowery perfume in which she had recently fumigated herself in a covert effort to overwhelm all other senses in hopes of deflecting judgmental eyes away from her burgeoning ass. 
   "Are we all enjoying the free ice cream?" she innocently inquired, and Auschwhype of course eagerly volunteered, "Oh yes, quite so, delicious and very much appreciated."
   Peter Jones just nodded as he licked away the remains of the lingering evidence.
   Van Dyke glared and Auschwhype continued.
   "Are seconds allowed?"
   "Why of course, help yourself while it lasts, because once it's gone, like they always say, it's gone," and now she chuckled the deep fat lady's chuckle, “and please be sure to stop off at the donation booth if you get the chance. The kids would all appreciate it."
   She was giving them her best I-gotcha-smile but the mighty Auschwhype's own smile had been wiped clear away.
   But come on Auschwhype, this is America, you should know by now that nothing comes completely for free.

So what is the true purpose of an Ice Cream Social anyway?
   Is it only to summon all good people together at the end of the school year in hopes of celebrating their children's accomplishments and the inevitable passage into a new grade? (It should be mentioned however that three children had failed to advance, but those particular identities shall not be revealed until June when Felicia Abercrombie and her burgeoning ass will be sequestered far away on some remote beach).
   Is it simply to allow folks a frosted dairy treat as suitable reward for their direct participation all year long, for their tireless efforts and determination in helping a local public institution maintain at least the bare minimum of necessities for a proper a public education? Pencils, books, chalk, plenty of erasers and one big-ass paddle with which to swat naughty tails?
   Is it to offer the chance for older uninvited boys to be loud and unruly if only to ensure that their former teachers fully understand that they are still very much alive? At this very moment there is a lit cherry bomb in the public restroom urinal where Auschwhype has recently gravitated towards in hopes that his sudden urgent cramping shall soon be relieved.
   Is it to give Ted Wilkerson the opportunity to pull up to the scheduled event in his shiny new red Corvette or perhaps allow the freshly divorced Charlene Thacker first dibs at claiming a new husband (and hopefully not yours)? She’s the buxom gal standing over there with Becky Willow underneath the glow of the late afternoon sun and in her short shorts those long firm legs remind Van Dyke that pure and smooth vanilla isn't such a bad thing after all.
   Is it to get total strangers to become acquaintances, acquaintances to become friends, and friends to become jealous rivals? Are there debts to be paid, underhanded compliments to be extended, pointy inferences to be received?
   After the cherry bomb blew there came a strange bellow from deep within the urinal bowels. Shortly thereafter a bored Peter Jones scurried off to the badminton court and a dark cloud blotted out the sun.
   Or is the true purpose of an Ice Cream Social simply to allow the school district to spend a small sum of money in hopes of attracting larger sums of money somewhere down the rocky road?
   Only this is for certain: in front of a handful of the assembled, Andy Van Dyke chose to turn to Felicia Abercrombie, nod toward a figure retiring to the badminton court, and suggest rather loudly “Please fetch my donation from Peter Jones... the guy owes me FIFTY."
   Whatever the true purpose of the ice cream social, the local Dairy Mart vendor surely appreciates the business. 

Friday, December 09, 2016

Available Now in Paperback: CHRISTMAS STORIES VOLUME 1

A collection of stories that takes the reader from the beginning of the holiday season in late November until the bitter beginning of another New Year. Ranging from the sweetly sentimental to the bitingly cynical, from the blatantly outrageous to the solemnly poignant. Two troubled men stranded in an airport during a blizzard, a son trying to make sense of his father’s recent passing, an artist seeking inspiration on a lonely Christmas Eve, a bum hoping to just make it through another day, an old lighthouse keeper struggling to find a purpose, a doubting songwriter in need of a little love, a memorable Christmas Eve in old Medicine Park, a nephew contemplating the legacy of his famous (or infamous?) relative, a man looking back on a memory from his youth, and an elf on a mission to occupy your sweet ass – they all seem to be seeking the light or suggesting rather strongly that the reader seek it for themselves.

              Table of Contents:

1 - Arbuckle Hereford Toad
2 -  Aquene
3 -  Merry Christmas
4 -  Two Hills and a Mountain
5 -  Here We Come!
6 - A Solitary Lighthouse
7 - Splendid Isolation
8 - Mercy Pie
9 - An Atheist Christmas
10 - Reflections
11 - Christmas Eve Medicine Park 1907
12 - Levitation
13 - North Woods Bliss
14 - Frank Hagney
15 - Beyond
16 - Happy New Year

Cover Photo: The Christmas Tree Nebula - courtesy of NASA

WARNING: Not intended for the spiritually rigid or easily offended.

Paperback: $12.95 - purchase here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Block That Kick

September in Albuquerque, New Mexico is quite different than September back home in the old country. Yes, there is a slightly different feel in the air these days, the ghastly summer is at long last over, but out here on the high desert the splendor of the autumn change is less pronounced. Now up in the mountains he was certain that the maples and the other leafy trees changed their color, that their leaves withered and blew away, and down there along the Rio Grande he could see for himself the change in the cottonwoods. But where he spent most of his time, uptown closer to the sloping foothills, his own apartment building was a concrete island surrounded by a sea of rock and the landscaping was sparse, bereft of color, and anything living was prone to die slowly unless tended to with an enthusiastic zeal. The only green things around there were the stubborn weeds that always seem to find a way, to squeeze through some crack, to bust on out and stretch toward the beckoning light.

It was a Saturday. Earlier he had taken a bus to Old Town where he enjoyed strolling among the tourists and sitting on a park bench in the plaza feeding the birds, whatever few that actually managed to wander by. On certain occasions he would hear that familiar sound, the thick daggered jolt of his native tongue, and he would straighten up and bend an ear. In fact, many times he’d fallen in line just behind those who spoke while trying to act inconspicuous but all the while eavesdropping and relishing the tasty crumbs of what they thought was a private conversation. But he never spoke it. It was better to be seen, not heard. In fact, it was better to not be seen either, and he was good at projecting a kind of innocuous invisibility, to no longer matter in this world, only living the sad life of a lonely old man who no one knew or cared about.

But not too sad, not too lonely.

Just sad and lonely enough to subsist but not officially exist.

For the most part he steered clear of crowds, kept his mouth shut, and wore the dark sunglasses that shielded his cold blue eyes, the color of ancient Arctic Sea ice, from all that intrusive light.

There weren’t many tourists milling about on this particular day, at least not for a typical Saturday. Odd that because the weather was wonderful, another deep turquoise sky yet not too hot, just about right. A nice breeze that kept the clouds moving and kept the sky interesting and ever-changing while soothing any burn from a waning sun. A whiskered man walked up and asked him for money, for any change he could spare, but he ignored the bum and didn’t even look up, he just kept digging into his coat pocket for seed and continued feeding his winged congregation, his faithful hungry flock. This angered the whiskered man and he screeched loudly and kicked his way across the circle of tossed seed sending the poor birds scattering.

“You got time and money for those stupid birds but not for me! Real human of you! Thanks, my man.”

The whiskered man steadied himself, thought about something, and then leaned back in.

“So what are you, deaf and dumb… or just plain dumb? You got bird shit for brains?” The man cursed loudly while shaking his head in mock befuddlement, then stormed away, highly agitated yet already scanning the environs for his next victim.

Directly across the sidewalk from him sat a couple of tired old Indians who up to this point had been minding their own business, which by the looks of it consisted primarily of simply continuing to breathe, but now one looked over at him and grinned with his four brown peg teeth.

“I guess you told him, huh?”

And now Wilhelm did choose to look up, to amiably respond out of a sense of geniality, out of deference to a member of an ancient, abused tribe. But he only offered the slightest of nods and a fleeting smile to the old Indian and went back to his returning birds and the last remnants of seed that were tucked away in the deepest crevices of his pockets. He respected these natives and in fact felt some kind of kinship toward them. They had been conquered, vanquished, marginalized and forgotten. And so had he but he could only hope that he was truly as forgotten.


When he first arrived here all those years ago he had immediately hated the culture but loved the dry air and sunshine. He had acquired an appropriate identity, a proper name and the mandatory nine-digit number, which understandably can be a tricky business. Not only the clandestine nature of the task but also the actual choice of picking the right name. A name like Sam Jones can actually be too mundane, too common, for a man such as he while the one he actually chose, Samuel Terwilliger, was (he later deduced) one that nobody in their right mind would ever choose by their own volition – it was the kind of name that had to be foisted upon the poor soul at birth. So in a way it was perfect – he had just become the odd man with the odd name who kept to himself.

       He had worked various small jobs earning small pay and yet even now he’d been retired for many years. A solitary life has its benefits, namely the lack of all those expenditures that a family man is required to make. Thus he’d had the opportunity to save aggressively which he had done but only by hoarding cash and hiding it in his tiny apartment – no interest earned, no dividends received, and no capital gains that might elicit outside scrutiny – no, he’d done just fine avoiding the American capital markets altogether while quietly pursuing his frugal existence.

       There had been few friends, mainly just acquaintances, and he’d grown accustomed to that. It felt comfortable to him now. But he had plenty of visitors, both familiar faces and total strangers, who came calling late at night once his eyes finally closed.

        And there had been one woman. Ten years younger, attractive, intelligent – a local native who had naturally altered his opinion of the region and its culture. But he had run her off with his paranoid fear that so easily turned to anger whenever the light shone too bright or her questions probed too deep. Although he had wanted to love her he couldn’t allow himself to ever be loved.


The seed was all gone now but some of the birds still lingered, either those well-fed and contented to hang out for a spell or those extremely optimistic, and they hopped around and pecked at the ground, they fluttered their wings as if in bold threat. Go ahead he thought, fly away and be free, you are all too foolish to comprehend your own good fortune.

It was late afternoon by now, time for perhaps a cold refreshment, and both knees cracked as he pushed himself up and off of that bench and now all the birds took flight, they evacuated with not one more chirp, their loud flapping leaving behind only silence and the fresh modern artwork of oiseaux de merde sur le b├ęton chaud, or as known to the locals, bird shit on hot concrete.

He strolled down a little side alley toward a favorite watering hole, a dark tavern where they actually offered stout European beers, not this lightweight American piss most others get away with peddling. The place was crowded but it was so dark that he paid the cramped conditions little mind, all he desired was one polished stool to slide his weary backside upon and an attentive barkeep who knew how to pour a decent draw. He was lucky, there was one seat still open at the far end of the bar, and he squeezed his way past the many boisterous revelers and announced his official short-term residency with a hard-earned plop and a relieved sigh.

He was old and tired but pleased to be right here right now.

What is all this fuss about he wondered now that he had settled in allowing other matters to garner his attention. Some of the patrons were yelling, hooting, carrying on like at Oktoberfest, and he saw that a great many of them were straining to get a view of the televisions scattered all about the place. In fact there was one just across from him and he could see that there was some kind of athletic contest being broadcasted upon it, one of those college football games that these Americans are so crazy about. Over the decades he’d learned a great deal about their game, about scoring touchdowns and gaining first downs and committing fumbles and such, but he still didn’t really get it. Where’s the grace, where’s the beauty? And all those pads and helmets – the players seem to want to perform in some kind of protected anonymity. Where he came from real men played their games wearing hardly anything at all beyond the scowl smeared across their face and openly boasted of their rugged reputation and identity. Oh well, it’s the modern world, let these modern men behave like sissies.

He quietly ordered a pint of Becks and now his cohabitants were almost worked into a frenzy – out of sheer curiosity, out of wondering what could possibly be so enthralling as to cause grown men to behave so foolishly, he squinted his eyes and looked at the television set. It appeared to be a contest pitting the Ohio State Buckeyes (whatever a buckeye is?) against the Oklahoma Sooners (again, and for the final time hopefully, whatever a sooner is?). The current score read the Ohio boys 28 and the gang from Oklahoma only 26.

Yet there was still some time left on the clock and, unlike the game he grew up loving and playing, he knew there could be no extra time.

The bartender slid over to the set and turned up the volume.

Block that kick! Block that kick! Block that kick!

The assembled crowd was chanting in the stadium with their arms in synchronized motion and their anthem tumbled out of the television reminding him of other long ago chants, of agitated crowds, of faraway pomp and ceremony.

Block that kick! Block that kick!

Yes, he understood, the Ohio supporters were chanting their demand, their ardent wish that somehow a buckeye might break through and bat away the upcoming kick goal attempt, but then he viewed the Oklahoma kicker and saw that he had a German name printed across the top of his jersey. His heart surged. And now that kicker was standing off to the side as the crowd continued to roar. Block that kick! Block that kick! And what is this? Now, and this even he could hardly believe, the young lad was actually orchestrating their chant with his own arms, he had become their spontaneous maestro, this sooner lad keeping their rhythmic beat to calm his own nerves.

That’s a smart boy he thought… a smart German boy.

Wilhelm’s interest was magnified.

The moment was almost at hand.

He took off his sunglasses for a better look as the boy named von Schamann studied the coming placement of the ball and his projected trajectory. The other team’s players were jumping up and down, waving their hands, trying to distract him as the chant grew even louder.

The ball was hiked back to the player who held it down in its proper place.

Wilhelm wiped his mouth.

The ball was pivoted, steadied, as the young, smart German boy approached it.

Wilhelm leaned toward the television set.

The ball was now airborne, twisting end over end, heading straight down the middle… and then Wilhelm sees him.

Over there on the other side of the bar.

Those eyes – he could never forget those big brown sad eyes – are staring right back into his own.

There were cheers in the tavern, a few groans and somewhere a fist banged into some flimsy wood partition, and everybody was bouncing all around him. Utter mayhem ensued – the world shook.

And there is a deeper quake down inside his soul.

With the rest of his family dead that young man, a much older man now, had stopped begging for mercy. So Wilhelm’s superior, field officer Schnauz, had decided to let him go, not as an act of mercy but one of endless torture.

 And yet... and yet...

A thousand miles away in Ohio the crowd falls silent, they are beyond help, they feel instant disappointment and what seems like infinite sorrow. While the Oklahoma Sooners and their brethren celebrate those poor Ohioans collapse into a heap of collected despair.

And right here not more than thirty feet away, the distance of one American football first down, the older man with the big brown eyes, but not so sad anymore, lifts his mug and nods as if in toast.

To survival.

To life.

To weeds fighting their way through tiny cracks in search of the light.

Back outside the world has changed. The sun now hides behind the church steeple and there is a sudden chill in the air. Winter is really not that far away, and once it comes, this time it will never leave. Far across the Atlantic there is a forest near Dachau where the leaves have already fallen, they collect in gold and crimson heaps covering the cold ground as if trying to conceal something buried not that deep beneath it.

But the wind blows, it knows, and the gash remains... and it is so obvious. Wilhelm understands that this man has spent his entire lifetime running toward the light whereas he’d spent that same time running away from it. And then... bang, the end times hit you, you are discovered, you are revealed, and once and for all you find yourself exposed in the most unlikely of places.

He takes off his sunglasses and gives them to the old Indian.

“Aw, just what I needed – thanks, my friend.”

Finally, a friend. And he has a sudden odd thought – those glasses never sat upon a more dignified nose as the one they rest upon now.

Then Wilhelm turns and walks away into the expanding shadows of the eternal winter.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Meg Simmons was running late. And the truth was that there was really no good reason for it – no late night celebrating this or that, no screaming baby waking the dead at the witching hour, not even a short bout with prolonged consciousness at some unknown juncture during the long night – it was nothing but a case of old-fashioned can’t-seem-to-crawl-outa-these-sheets laziness.
   And the gal had a spin class to lead at 7 a.m. – imagine that, a sluggish and occasionally lazy fitness instructor!
   Still, once she was present and suitably loosened up, please stand back and watch the girl go!
   One cup of coffee while she primped, another sucked down en route, and by 6:57 she’d managed to screech her way into the parking lot only to be met there with the unexpected sight of a brood of ducklings loitering across the most conveniently-located parking space. A quick toot of the horn, a polite warning, and yet the oblivious creatures hardly seemed to notice and barely moved. Mother duck was right there staring back at the rude interloper and with a coolish fluttering hopped up onto the curb and finally began to lead those ducklings safely away.
   But there were a couple of stragglers, be them defiant or only dumb it matters not, and an irked Meg leaned on that horn a little more purposely and then slowly inched forward in her vehicle. The little guys just stood there hugging the right side of the space so that Meg eventually found herself parking upon that left white-painted line, but no worries – there were plenty of other spaces available for all other arriving vehicles to park. The rest of the lot was still empty, at least for now.
   6:58 – she slammed it into park and fled inside.

By the time April Fleming turned into the parking lot Meg had already disappeared. But there sat Meg’s green Forrester, for some odd reason parked slightly askew to the left and for all intents and purposes taking up two coveted parking spaces. Now how the hell could anybody pull in right there next to that Forrester and then expect Meg to clamber back inside without first depositing a righteous ding as delivered by her affronting car? Typical selfish entitled bullshit from good old Meg, April thought.
   But she let it go and parked smack dead center in her own chosen space. Because that’s good karma, bitches!

And so on it went with other gym enthusiasts coming and going all morning long, and it should be noted that parking at this new facility was at a premium, especially nearby parking on cool windy days such as this one, and so what unfolded was somewhat of a domino effect, all future parking being affected by that original and obviously self-interested wrongdoer. Everybody was blaming everybody else who in turn was actually wronged by someone else altogether. And if you thought that you were the victim then how you parked (because you had to, what other choice did you really have?) couldn’t help but victimize the very next guy or gal who thought you must be some kind of egocentric idiot. Oh the looks that were exchanged in that parking lot! By 10:37 when Meg sauntered back out into the blustery day she saw that she would need to suck it in and shimmy sideways into the driver side door, and she wasn’t happy, not one bit, because by now she was physically spent and emotionally drained (dealing with a handful of smartass slackers like April Fleming will do that to you). But suck it in and shimmy she did because there was nothing else she could do and she even took what she considered excessive care not to push her door into the black paint job of the vehicle squeezed in next to her (and btw, she did notice that the driver of this black Hummer, no friend of hers she assumed, had plenty of room to get out on his or her own driver’s side), and she landed in a heap with a sigh and it didn’t bother her too much that despite all efforts when she did so her left knee accidentally pushed her door in an outwardly direction where it came to rest firmly stuck into that offending shiny black symbol of mindless excess.
   Oh well, she had tried to play nice.
   Meg had already backed out and been absorbed into our paved tributarial world when the next vehicle in queue whipped around the corner already ogling for the coveted just-vacated spot. Could I really be that lucky thought Oliver Johnson, fiftyish local real estate guy with the shiny red Jag (you MUST play the part of successful dealer in this town), and he was royally pissed to see that black Hummer spilling over into his space!
   The nerve of that fucker!
   It hadn’t been a good day. It hadn’t been a good week. The month was almost over and he’d only sold one ratty little two bedroom dump on the other side of the tracks. He really wasn’t in the mood for this. With all that said, with all that felt deeply in his gut all the way down to his manly gonads, it wasn’t that difficult a decision to allow his own precious car door to swing wide permitting that pointed red corner to make contact with virgin black paint.
   Screw it!
   Fate only exists in retrospect and the rational man can’t blame God either. But the fact of the matter is that Billy Ray Thompson had completed his Wednesday mid-morning routine (consisting of thirty minutes on the treadmill plus a complete upper body weight-lifting regimen) and had just emerged from those swinging doors in perfect time to witness the just-described transgression perpetrated on his brand new Hummer. 
   Barbed words shouted loudly as launched by bursting adrenaline and pumped-up hormones escalated into two grown men circling one another only a couple of feet apart. One of them puffed out their chest, the other tried to push it back in, and what ensued was an unfortunate episode highlighted by Thompson whirling around and kicking the door of the little red sports car followed by an extremely short round of pathetic old-white-guy put-up-your-dukes fisticuffs exquisitely topped off with an even shorter round of some really weird wrestling.
   The result: two grown men left panting on the pavement as the amused crowd slowly began to disperse.
   Well lookee over there, here come those baby ducklings again. They are so cuddling cute, so doggone sweet, absolutely oblivious to the machinations of our foolish world, but one thing they are not my fellow car-parking brethren is innocent.

~ ~ ~

(and now, for your listening pleasure, something not entirely different but actually in the same vein... Emperor of the Highway)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Music of Christmasage

Suggested listening in chronological order available from your favorite online source or stream for free at Spotify (search: Christmasage)

Winter Garden – Eraldo Bernocchi, Harold Budd, Robin Guthrie
Monsters of the Id – Stan Ridgway
Dust My BroomTodd Rundgren
Empty Hearted TownWarren Zevon 
Time To Move On Tom Petty
Lunar SymphonyCoyote Oldman
StarboySalvatore Baglio
What Am I Here For?Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Nature BoyJon Hassell
Never Let GoTom Waits
Psychedelic ShackThe Temptations
This Is Where I Get OffRobbie Robertson
A Higher PlaceTom Petty
Neighborhood Dog Salvatore Baglio
In Dulci JublioMichael Hedges
Santa FeDeuter  
Dog DoorTom Waits
As With GladnessThe Players
It Came Upon a Midnight ClearCarla Bley
Who Am I?Lou Reed
Living – Todd Rundgren
Coming HomeVincent Russo
Silent NightAlexi Murdoch
landscape with snowTakahiro Kido
Silent Nocturnethe DB’s

Click HERE for the exclusive Elgin Oliver interview.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Christmasage: the Elgin Oliver Interview

NOTE: Local scribe/philosopher Elgin Oliver recently cornered the author of Christmasage at a local Panera and tossed out a few questions...

First off, let’s get this out of the way... bear claw or pecan braid?

Did someone mention pecans? Then I’ll have to go with the braid.

What is the genesis of this Christmasage?

Travel stories have always intrigued me. Fun to read, fun to write, but probably not so much fun to actually do. One day I’d at least like to try to find out. On my own terms, of course. But just the idea of someone coming back home during that time of year when emotions are running high. There’s a sense of mystical grace and the kindness of charitable folks along the way. Plus this is a particular stretch of road that I’ve covered many a time. In automobile I should add.

The story evolves from a rather stolid beginning where sex, drugs and rock and roll are prevalent but then evolves into a tale of deeper spiritual awakening along with a dash of the metaphysical.

Well, the story certainly does start out that way and I hope readers are not put off by some of those earlier decadent moments and stick with it. You know, it’s funny. I actually sent a few queries off to some literary agents and they only wanted to see the first fifteen pages – in this case what they were reading in those fifteen pages is not really reflective of the larger vibe of the story. I guess they might be more interested in a short sample to judge the quality of the writing more than the trajectory of the story but I can’t help but wonder if that’s kind of a lousy way to judge the merits of an entire novel. Maybe the last fifteen pages would be better. Maybe the last page would be best.

The title Christmasage is a little difficult to grasp at first take.

No doubt about it, yes, it’s a little clunky. But the idea of a pilgrimage during the holiday season led me to that word, my very own sniglet if you will. And now I’ve become fond of it. At the very least it’s unique which might make it memorable.

What’s the deal with the Suggested Soundtrack listing?

As a music aficionado I find it motivational and fun to create a soundtrack that relates to a project which I can to listen to while in my car or when working out that keeps me on track. That keeps me inspired. The songs here are listed in chronological order and for the most part follow the text and can be pretty easily associated with specific scenes from the book. In fact, they may actually enhance the scene or add a different twist. For instance, Psychedelic Shack by the Temptations is my take on Matt’s perception of the Wayward Boys’ performance in that bowling alley bar after partaking in a little pre-show mind alteration and the somewhat comical intro to Carl Bley’s It Came Upon a Midnight Clear fits quite nicely with Matt’s memorable entrance into the Speckled Egg tavern on that icy west Texas evening. And Dog Door by Tom Waits is fairly self-explanatory. But really for me the one song that supplies the underlying theme for the entire story is landscape with snow by Japanese musician Takahiro Kido. In my mind I imagine the music advancing deeper into the song as Matt’s mystic dream similarly unwinds. But a song like Lou Reed’s Who Am I? - well, that’s more of a general idea tune included to further reveal the mood and Matt’s thoughts much like you’d hear in a movie.

Why self-publish?

I enjoy the writing. At my age I don’t want to waste time with all the marketing and promotion. It’s more important for me to just get it out there and then move on to the next thing. I know one thing, it sure aint for the money.

Ever since I was a young boy I was told that I should write. It’s natural for me and I’m most at peace in the world when I’m riding that creative wave. It’s therapeutic. I haven’t really had much published but I made the novelist T.C. Boyle crack up (see Contest #2 that’s gotta count for something, right?

This novel is self-edited as well. So there may be some minor goofs included but I hope I’ve kept them at a minimum. If you find something amiss please don’t send it to me. Just kidding – feel free to fire away. You know, I’ve read several works published by titans of literature that have missing words or typos so I’ve decided not to let that get me too down. I even recall reading a kindle version of a Stephen King novella and being amazed that there were a few problems in that text. If he can live with them then I guess I can as well.

In summary, if ten people were to read this book I figure that 3 or 4 of them won’t like it much at all. Then maybe 3 or 4 of them will think, hey, it’s no masterpiece but a few passages in there made me smile or think, and anyway that’s a cool soundtrack. Then maybe only 2 or 3 out of that original ten will end up really liking it. If so, then I’d be satisfied.

What’s your philosophy regarding the use of profanity?

Well, yes, I do use it but I try to not use bad words just for the hell of it. I believe it was Kurt Vonnegut who once said if you want to give your reader a reason not to read your book then use profanity in it which is generally good advice. To be honest there will be times when I’ll go back and re-read a passage and ask myself do I really need that particular word right there? And maybe I’ll try to soften it a little by using a less provocative synonym or maybe even tweak a particular scene. And then if I go back later I’ll think, no, that just doesn’t sound real, and I’ll change it right back. The bottom line is I don’t want to pull any punches. Besides, someone else might use perfectly good English and say something that is far more profane like there is no such thing as global warming so feel free to pursue profit at any cost. No bad words included there but to me unforgivably repugnant.

So what’s really going on here?

Well, of course I can’t spell it out for you or the reader, maybe it’s even possible that I don’t even know what’s going on here. Or maybe I do. Maybe it’s some sort of spirit quest, an examination of a life, a cry for help, and a method to rid one’s self of excess poundage. Is Matt running away or is he facing the music? Like everything else in this world it comes down to how one chooses to spin it. I guess the bottom line is that in these days when folks so often feel helpless to affect positive change in their lives we can always just get up and walk, repent of our own volition, sweat a little bit and hopefully set ourselves free. It can be as easy as making your mind up and heading out that door.

Just don’t forget to visit the Arizona Meteor Crater when you do!

Anything upcoming?

I’ve just about completed the first draft of another novel. The working title is God Bless America (But Screw Jerry Sparks). About a guy around my age who played football at OU and the NFL. Now he’s got brain damage from all his concussions among other issues. Another black comedy I suppose. Toss in The Lost Child and I guess this completes my Oklahoma Trilogy.

How was that pecan braid?

What pecan braid? 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Space + Time

I've always been intrigued by the change in perspective with the passing of time. Different vantage points in Space + Time offer their own unique beauty and atmospheres:

October 31, 2013

November 27, 2013

December 23, 2013

February 17, 2014
Easter 2014
Memorial Day 2014

4th of July 2014
Labor Day 2014