As I made a large batch of peanut curry one morning, Liz Taylor laughed and talked on the kitchen TV in Reflections in a Golden Eye. I wasn’t paying much attention, although her screen presence drew me to glance at the picture more than a person slicing vegetables should. As she and movie husband Marlon Brando — a Captain at a Southern military base on which they lived — rode horseback in a forest, they stopped in surprise upon seeing a young naked soldier, unaware of them, riding a horse in circles through the trees.

Ah, a young naked soldier riding a horse — there’s so much to think about in that idea.

Later, I looked for the scene on Youtube. I found a snippet of it in the movie trailer, along with a delightful interview with Robert Forster, the actor who played the part and rode the horse.


I also found a video of a nude equestrian jumping.


After all this, I had to read the 1941 novel, written by Carson McCullers (who also wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, published in 1944). I especially had to read Reflections in a Golden Eye after I’d read about the movie on Wikipedia: “His [the Captain’s] secret interest in the free-spirited Williams [the soldier who rides naked] is clear.”

Not a portrayal of a happy homosexual man, nonetheless the book fascinated me. I find it to be a plausible and acceptable portrayal of a particular homosexual career military officer of the 1930s. Once the Captain becomes fixated on an enlisted young soldier, the Captain’s daydreams, always before ones of advancing as an officer, become daydreams of being an enlisted man, living in the barracks with its male camaraderie, rather than being an officer living with a wife in a house alongside other married officers. Continue reading

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As managing editor of Late Last Night Books online magazine, soon to begin its fifth year, I’m honored to welcome five new columnists: Ron Cooper, author of The Gospel of the Twin, Purple Jesus, Hume’s Fork and philosophy professor, University of Central Florida; Joseph D Haske, author of North Dixie Highway and professor of English, South Texas College; Joshua Braff, author of The Daddy Diaries, Peep Show, The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green, MFA Columbia: Sybil Baker, author of Immigration Essays, Into this World, Talismans, The Life Plan and professor of English and creative writing at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga; and Lily Iona MacKenzie, author of Fling! and adjunct professor of creative writing, University of San Francisco.

LATE LAST NIGHT BOOKS  “because so much reading, writing, and living happens after-hours”

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This spectacular photo in an ad in Lufthansa Magazin captures a wonderful feel for summer. Todd and I were on our way to Italy.

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The quote below, from The Moviegoer  is among the most quietly visceral Every Man passages I’ve ever read. So accurate, so clinical, so very human.  The protagonist, a young New Orleans investment counselor, is standing on the library steps talking to a woman friend he happened to run into.

“…To our utter amazement we discovered that we both have the same life-goal. Do you know what it is?” “No.” “To make a contribution, however small, and leave the world just a little better off.” “That’s very good,” I say somewhat uneasily and shift about on the library steps. I can talk to Nell as long as I don’t look at her. Looking into her eyes is an embarrassment. “—we gave the television to the kids and last night we turned on the hi-fi and sat by the fire and read The Prophet aloud. I don’t find life gloomy!” she cries. “To me, books and people and things are endlessly fascinating. Don’t you think so?” “Yes.” A rumble has commenced in my descending bowel, heralding a tremendous defecation. Nell goes on talking and there is nothing to do but shift around as best one can, take care not to fart, and watch her in a general sort of way: a forty-year-old woman with a good open American face and another forty years left in her; and eager, above all, eager, with that plaintive lost eagerness American college women get at a certain age.

Photo of Walker Percy is from encyclopediaofalabama.org

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I ALSO BLOG AT streamlinermemories.com.

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Point of view–how a story is told–is all important, as illustrated by this Marshall Clarke photograph, in which either the photographer (or perhaps the cover editor?) got the POV just right for this action shot to herald the article “Fast Company” about the Hopkins championship cross-country runners.

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If we lived in London…


As a writer, one receives many more rejections than acceptances or prizes. I say this as an author with five published stories and with first prizes for short fiction and mystery from the Maryland Writers’ Association, as well as with a small-press debut novel favorably reviewed in a respected source (in the Washington Independent Review of Books, here, in case you haven’t read it). But one of my favorite accolades as a writer came in the form of the email invitation below to an event last September. If we lived in London, we certainly would have attended. (Even living on this side of the ocean, we might have attended but for Todd’s teaching schedule and my sister’s nearness to death.) Clearly, the crew at the London-based Erotic Review Magazine are fun people.

If you haven’t read my humorous story “Incorrigible” in their magazine, you may do so here.

(Photo of the Polish Club, above, from suggest-keywords.com)

Dear Contributor and/or Friend of the Erotic Review,

We’re celebrating our 21st Birthday at ThePolish Club, 55 Prince’s Gate, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PG.
The party starts at 7pm on Wednesday 21st September and there’ll be a few short speeches, a burlesque performance, canapés and plenty of vodka cocktails. And dancing later on if we can still stand up.
We really hope you’ll be able to come: if you can, please RSVP to editorial@ermagazine.org (just put ‘ACCEPT’ in the subject box) and we’ll put you on the list. Please either print out the invitation attached (or have it on your mobile) to bring along on the night.
Looking forward very much to seeing you then,
Jamie & Lisa
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