Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The unexpected story

I love all book stores, online and bricks and mortar. I buy books online for convenience and because I can't help myself. It's so easy to see book, buy book. I love e-stores.  But I also love bricks and mortar book stores, especially the independents. You never know what could be on the shelves, books you wouldn't normally think to look for online, unexpected and wonderful stories. I just came back from visiting Wakefield Books in the Wakefield mall in South Kingstown, RI.  They have some copies of "Tiger Lily" and "A Changed World" there, which was my excuse. Not that I needed an excuse, of course.

Book stores at any time of year are a treat but in December, wow!  There are books, of course, books everywhere, but also calendars and bookmarks and wonderful things! You can hold books and admire them, in person, before you buy them. You can listen as the books whisper to you.  I couldn't stay as long as I wanted but I intend to go back, to wander and perhaps find an unexpected story that I must have.

So visit a book store, if you can. If you are passing through South Kingstown, stop in at Wakefield Books.  Yes, go ahead, buy a copy of "Tiger Lily" but also see if there's an unexpected story that you just must have.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembering: Veterans Day

I remember when my first grade teacher called it Armistice Day.  She explained why, that the fighting in the First World War had ended at this time.  At 11 AM she asked us to be silent and to remember that soldiers had died. Along with my classmates, I closed my eyes. My child's imagination showed me scenes of war and loss. When we opened our eyes I saw my teacher looking at me with concern  and I realized that I had been crying.

Every year since that time I have taken a few minutes at eleven in the morning on the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember those who have died in wars and those who served. Reading and research and personal stories have expanded my knowledge but have not altered the intensity I felt on that day in my childhood.  I always hope, as I did then, that some day there will be no war. I hope and I remember.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Tiger Lily" kindle sale for Halloween!

Get ready for Halloween! Beginning on October 29 there will be a kindle countdown sale of "Tiger Lily". Is it "the lady or the tiger", or in this case, "the lady and the tiger"? Who could resist?  If you don't have this kindle book yet, mark your calendar!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Print Edition of "Tiger Lily"

Yes, a print edition of "Tiger Lily", or as some people call it, a "real book", should be out by the end of the month.  There is an amazing amount of work involved in this: does this look okay, does that work and on and on.  I will be both excited and relieved when it finally happens.  Then, if all goes as planned, "Burning Bright" should be right behind it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

"You Do Not Exist"

Yesterday I called my local pharmacy for a refill.  There was something wrong with their phone system; it asked for my extension and password.  I hung up and tried again.  Same result, so I hit "zero" hoping it would default to a human. Instead, the automated system told me, in a pleasant female voice, "You do not exist.  Goodbye."  Then it hung up on me, precipitating a sudden flashback to a college French lit course.  Life is certainly absurd when automated systems become existentialist.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 again

It's 9/11 again.  Once again I'm remembering. I hadn't lived in the City for a long time when the attacks occurred, but I was and still am a New Yorker.  I guess you can take the girl out of the City but you can't take the City out of the girl.  And that day I think all Americans became New Yorkers. I just re-read my post on this blog from last year and decided to repost it.  No apologies.  I'm remembering.

Nine Eleven

The anniversary of the attack.  It is still vivid in my mind: where I was that day, how I heard the news, the student who ran out of class, screaming that her daughter was on a flight out of Boston.   I remember it all, but that's not what I want to write about today, on this anniversary.  I am remembering something else, something that happened a little later.

Two months after the attack on the Trade Towers, I was in Manhattan.  My mother was still alive back then, living in her beloved city but considering moving to assisted living.  Some of the family gathered to see her.  

Of course there was much discussion of the attack.  My mother said, "They tried to kill us all but look, we're still here."  Some of us thought the attack would draw the country together.  Others thought it was divisive, that we would all be suspicious of those who didn't look like us, dress like us.  Eventually, most of us grabbed cabs and went down to Ground Zero.

Ground Zero.  It was still burning.  The smell was incredible; my eyes burned for hours afterwards.  Much of it was fenced off but you could still climb some of the rubble for an overview of ruins and smoke.   I walked away from my family and began to climb.

There was an African-American woman already up there. She leaned over and extended a hand.  I grasped her hand and she pulled me up.  We looked at each other.  We said nothing, just nodded.  A few minutes later, an Asian-looking man started to climb up.  The other woman and I grabbed his hands, hers dark, mine pale, his golden, and pulled him up.  Again, there were no words.  We all looked at one another and then looked out over the pile.  The man wiped away a tear.  Then we heard something behind us.  A brown-skinned man was trying to climb.  We helped him up and we all stood there, shoulder to shoulder.

I said there were no words but that isn't really true.  No words were spoken but there were words.  After helping up the last man, the woman's jacket fell open, revealing her sweatshirt.  There were words on her sweatshirt.  The words were: "United We Stand".

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day is Monday, summer's last gasp as most people think.  I always tell myself that I won't let that change my outlook, but the fact is that classes start next week.  Am I ready?  I hope so, although there is still plenty for me to do first.  At least my syllabus is posted.

And what about writing?  What about books? I never stop, no matter the season.  I have a big book of poetry and photographs that is more than half finished.  And "Tiger Lily" and "Burning Bright" should be available in print before too long.

Perhaps this weekend is time for a break.  The crickets are already singing autumn songs.  Happy Labor Day.