Happy Day of the Dead!

I’ve always loved this holiday’s artwork, but I recently found out that many folks write satirical epitaphs for the living called calaveras or “skulls.” Here’s mine:

Here Lies McClurg

He had but only one wish,
To play in his native English,
But his eyes, they teared,
As he sniffed and feared,
“They’ll only remember the beard!”

Happy Halloween

Of course, it was an English teacher. We’ll call her Ms. G. Oh, what a crush I had on her in sixth grade. All it took was for her to talk about a book in class and I would go read it. One day she happened to mention a book by Stephen King. I knew who he was, but I had never read any of his books. I would read them all, if for no other reason than to impress Ms. G. I don’t think I ever impressed her, but I did get hooked on King’s books. I already had a mind full of Godzilla and drive-in movies, but now I would look for more thrills in words rather than rubber suits and sound effects.

That same year was also the first time I got censored as a writer. I wrote, among other articles,  movie reviews for the October edition of our school paper. I even drew out pumpkins for my rating system. I remember reviewing Halloween and The Shining. These two and every other film I reviewed were rated “R” and so the paper couldn’t print them.

As my interest in King grew, I looked for interviews with him and his interests.  He mentioned music a lot, with the Ramones and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as favorites and they have been the same for me ever since. They aren’t too bad for a Halloween soundtrack. So Happy Halloween! And even if it is a little early for giving “thanks” (although it never is too early)–Thank you Ms. G for being a cool teacher and introducing me to Stephen King! Thank you Mr. King for some great stories and introducing me to some cool music! Thanks to the Ramones and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins for being the originals they were!

 

Thoughts While Dogwalking and Elsewhere

  • Woke up early. Before my regular work time. Went straight to a book. Went to breakfast when one of my favorite diner’s in town opened. The first customer. Vegetable omelet, biscuits, hash browns, bacon. The whole time reading a book on reading. For school and for me to improve my teaching.
  • Making chicken stock for a soup of white beans and sausage. Beans soaked all night. I soaked in the tub last night. The last bath I remember was when I had a fever in high school.
  • Even the little that you do for other people counts big every day. Even if they don’t care or respond.
  • Work with love, but don’t shy away from questioning everything and acknowledging evil/negativity/nihilism.
  • “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  • Don’t shy away from challenge. I can’t imagine a simple or easy life.

Summertime is past and gone

Even though my “to-do” list grows by the minute, I needed to take some time to write and hopefully get back into a weekly rhythm. Summer has been busy, mainly music, music, music. I played on two very different recordings and will be excited to hear what happens with them. And, I had a little time for writing and  I’m happy to say a short story was accepted for publication and will be out in a few months. It’s a tribute to one of my favorite filmmakers, Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer.

And with school prep reaching a full roar, I’m part of a group of writers working on a script for a director and production company. I’ll reveal more details when I can. Right now, I’m scheduling time to sleep!

Towards a complete thought.

Chase two wombats, catch none.

I told him that it’s pretty messed up that his reference for country music was the Dire Straits.

It’s hard to muster school spirit when I can’t even cheer for myself.

He was right when he said you don’t have to write to please some old, dead author. I would add to that those living.

Maybe try some new recipes.

I don’t normally think in narratives–mostly images.

This morning, upon waking, I could taste the fried chicken of my dream.

He looks broken and bent, but I wonder if he’s still crooked?

Good teeth make good neighbors.

Summer Reading Project

All year I’ve been planning to read a giant novel or two that I’ve missed. So far, top spots went to War and Peace and Infinite Jest. After an intense year and a thoroughly mushy brain, I’ve decided to dig through our library for novels that I haven’t read, but are the shortest. If we like them, we’ll keep them. If not, we won’t. I’ve never picked books based on length for personal reading, but I think this summer will be the perfect time to experiment and maybe free up some shelf space. Of course, I’ll be reading some other titles in other genres.

Right now the list is as follows:

Novel

Invisible Cities: Italo Calvino

Short Stories

Various H.P. Lovecraft collections

Essays/Nonfiction

What Great Teachers Do Differently: Todd Whitaker

Poetry

The Iliad

The Facts of a Doorframe: Adrienne Rich