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The Endurance of Love

Posted by on 5:39 pm in Featured, Pat Conroy, Words | 0 comments

The Endurance of Love

“For a long time, I thought I was born into a mythology instead of a family.” –Pat Conroy

For a long time, I thought I was born into a family, instead of a living mythology.

Pat Conroy was my father’s best friend. He was always a teacher at heart and an imp by nature. He was with me, influencing me, holding me up, challenging me, pissing me off, inspiring me, helping me, disappointing me, making me laugh, and quick to tell me how it’s done (at least his way), and instructing me how it’s not done “kid,” at pretty much each formative transition of my life: birth (mine), childhood, adolescence, career changes, marriage, and, of course, death (his). It is no wonder I find it challenging to answer prompts like, “How did Pat influence you most?” or “What is your strongest memory of Pat?” Pat is as natural a part of my life as my fingernails—and sometimes as ratty. He is an extension of my family fabric. That remains true after his death.

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The Symptoms of Hatred

Posted by on 9:36 pm in Featured, Temporal, Words | 1 comment

With my Ethicist hat on (because I am upset, and being analytical is a defense of mine that I choose right now):

What happened in Charleston there are no direct words for. We all agree. I’m not going to try to say anything acutely about that out of respect for the families, the survivors, and those who were killed. I am praying for them, that is all I can do. From the reports, those who the tragedy most intimately wounded, and who have spoken to the media, have done so with pure hearts. With reflections of their spirituality and the deepness of their care for their God and for peace. This is theirs to respond directly about. Would that we were all motivated by such compassion. It is the one of the most powerful antidotes for cruel hatred. They are heartening, brave, enlightened examples of that. May their love ripple cross oceans and be rushed back to them with the incoming tides.

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South Carolina Honors College Talk 3/14/2015

Posted by on 5:01 pm in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

South Carolina Honors College Talk  3/14/2015

My publisher at USC Press, Story River Books, asked me to put this up as a blog.

So, ok. But I have to couch it with this little PSA:

The following talk was presented to a gaggle of seriously diverse and delightful aspiring writers (high-school age) at the University of South Carolina’s Honor’s College Writing Competition. Holy bananas were they adorable! As a teacher, you would kind of want to eat them like bon bons. We crave desire, the difficulty of being earnest, seriousness that borders on crazy, but teeters right between crazy-awareness and crazy-as-super-fun. As both teacher and artist, this gathering of students is the secret spice in inspiration, in motivation, and hope. They are fragile enough to care, still.

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Wabi-Sabi

Posted by on 4:51 pm in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

A dear friend of mine from college days (we won’t detail how many years ago that was) emailed me nearly out of the blue. He didn’t ask “How’s life?” He asked, “What’s good with you?” And I can see his dreads bouncing in nuanced rhythm to what he’s asking. This is a deep fellow. A smart fellow. The kind of fellow you can cut to the chase with, whether or not he agrees with you; the kind of fellow who naturally speaks like his words rhyme, even if they don’t. The sway of intonation creates syllabic resonance. He’s a smooth dude. A cool, but severely deep, cat. His heart beats poetic.

So when he asks me, “What’s good?” I take that question, and its discreteness from “How is life?” seriously.

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Married #2

Posted by on 9:00 pm in Temporal, Words | 0 comments

Married #2

As I said in Married blog #1, things did unexpectedly change after the ritual. And no, it’s not just because people keep asking “How is married life?” Though I do find that question slightly annoying. Ask me something specific. Do I have doubts? Am I happy? Do I love him? Do I now, after all these years, pine for the possibility of other options for a mate? Do I have secretes to partnered bliss? No, for the first one and last two. There you have it. I find the question annoying because, well, there IS something that changed…and those leaves of change continue to steep, revealing different aromas as the time goes on.

And I don’t quite know how to describe the new fragrances. I don’t have words yet for them.

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The Literary Apothecary

Posted by on 2:03 am in Featured, Lost Cantos, Words | 0 comments

The Literary Apothecary

I will write nearly anything for anyone for money or for dog food, for cat vetting, for folks who I think are fabulous in their arts and labors, but who are not writers themselves—and sometimes, just because I can. I have been trained to forge out of letters strung together the emotions, thoughts, and shapes that I see or that some people need (hence why I like the term “literary apothecary”). Sometimes, I am actually successful at it. It’s always shocking when that happens because really, and to break a totally rigid writing rule, I will now deploy a rabid cliché (and then I will mix some metaphors), it takes two to tango: I can write my heart out, but if the reader doesn’t sync with the rhythm of the dance, doesn’t like the hook, finds the orchestration either too plush or too thin, I might as well be painting by numbers or sunning myself by the pool. Without a wiling reader, it really is just a foolish and indulgent past time.

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Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 1

Posted by on 8:00 am in Featured, Words | 1 comment

Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 1

Warning: This will be a long post. My blog isn’t set up yet, but I wanted to share with those of you who have asked some of my experiences this week in LA recording the audio version of my book with Janis Ian and Stefan Rudnicki of Skyboat Media.

I learned more and experienced more than I can share in one post. So, this one will be dedicated to the “behind the scenes” part. The second will be about my experience of Janis reading my book.

I walked in, and I was nervous. And though Stefan and Janis put me at ease, I did not feel exactly welcome. Took me a few hours to understand why. They weren’t being “unwelcoming”; they were working, and they were working on a level and at something that I was not just a novice at –they were working on something at a level and in a world
that was entirely foreign to me. You don’t have decades long careers, awards to fill a whole room, and trust and respect of your fellow artists without traveling very high and different roads.

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Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 2

Posted by on 7:15 am in Featured, Words | 0 comments

Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 2

Honestly, I’m still a little inarticulate about this, so pardon me if I trip over my own tongue a bit, and do expect revisions and additions in the near future.

First, the experience was so surreal I wish I had come home with a snippet of the recording so I could remind myself of the enormity of the experience (it is THAT surreal, so much so that it is hard for me to recover the memory accurately, like trying to remember a dream). Alas, I was advised that it’s not wise for the author to hear the unedited version, so they did not let me take any samples home. And I understand why.

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Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 3

Posted by on 6:24 am in Featured, Words | 0 comments

Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 3

Little story from my first moment arriving at Skyboat Media for the recording:

I walk in. I’ve been traveling for 12 hours. I had one cup of thin hotel coffee. When I arrive, Stefan and Janis are already engaged in a conversation about audio books and narration, some of which I understand, and much of which is over my head and then, they go on to talk about different narration styles. Character, or narrative or whatever.

And Stefan says, “This is a mind book. A book of the mind.” And he gestures to me, saying, “And look, we have the mind right here!”

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Sweet Dreams

Posted by on 1:47 am in Visions, Words | 0 comments

Sweet Dreams

Roy Orbison “In Dreams”.

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