WALKER PERCY QUOTE: THE SUBJECT ISN’T PLEASANT BUT THE WRITING IS SUBLIME

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

Posted in Book quotes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I ALSO BLOG AT streamlinermemories.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

JOHNS HOPKINS MAGAZINE COVER, SPRING 2017: THE IMPORTANCE OF POINT OF VIEW

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.

Posted in current photos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

If we lived in London…

polishclublondon3

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
Posted in writer's life | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ode to Bank of America, Southern California Gas and, Most of All, Nationwide

rockislandfrightenedfac-abc-net

“We can’t acknowledge your sister’s death until we have a death certificate,” said the woman at the branch where my sister had done her banking. Meantime they would continue to honor automatic transfers, she assured me.

A mailing I received from the gas company complained that the bank didn’t pay their bill by automatic transfer and attached a non-payment fee. I wasn’t surprised, since many people work for large corporations and don’t know what they themselves are doing, much less what the corporation might do. Filling this gap in information seems to be modern man’s biggest challenge.

A previous letter I’d received from the gas company, in response to my request that they send statements to my address instead of to my late sister’s, said they were shutting off service in seven days.

To the gas company’s second mailing–the bill that the bank didn’t pay–I attached a check and a note: “I trust you turned off service, per your letter attached. With my sister’s death, and with the condo being all electric otherwise, only the stove will cause a new owner to have gas.”

Nationwide wins in the absurdity and insensitivity contest. Less than 60 days after my sister’s death I received from them a letter that said at top *****SECOND NOTICE****** and at bottom a threat to escheat the account to the state. Mind you, under the governing California law, an estate can’t claim property until 40 days after a death. Why a *****SECOND NOTICE*****? And when does property escheat to the state–they conveniently leave that information out. Surely not within a few months?

(Photo above Frightened Face, ABC.net. I didn’t look that good even when I was twenty.)

 

Posted in autobiographical memory, commentary | Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

valentinesdaytumblr_ofdrbocqux1qzedd1o1_500

Todd and I celebrate Valentine’s Day with manhattans, chocolate eclairs, and radio bars.

I’d never heard of radio bars till we moved to Annapolis and saw them in the baker’s case at Graul’s market. I assumed they were a Southern tradition, or possibly a Baltimore tradition, but the closest I’ve come to finding radio bars online is in an article about a Detroit tradition called “Bumpy Cake.”

radiobars3 radiobars4

 

Oh, and did I mention sex?

And, ladies, if you wonder whether your husband or boyfriend’s nipples are sexually sensitve, consider what Cosmo says in “Are Men’s Nipples Sensitive?

jamesdeangayrollgoogle

Here’s another Valentine’s Day treat, courtesy of M.U. Y.A. XL on Google Plus.

valentines-day-m-u-y-a-xl-on-g

 

(Photo at top from the tumblr shelovesitxo; left radio bar from derryx.com, right from sweets.seriouseats.com; gif from JamesDeangayrollGooglePlus.)

Posted in autobiographical memory | Tagged , | Leave a comment

An interesting review of THE MAN WHO ASKED TO BE KILLED

 

themanmodel2Normally I wouldn’t reproduce Amazon reviews here, but I found this recent one especially interesting.

Others have talked about the plot of this story and I’m not sure if I could recap all the connections if I tried, but I do know I enjoyed every page because of the world I was in when reading. Even though there are dozens of fatalities the tone of the story communicates that it’s okay, the world is still the world, you’re going to be okay because this is your world too and you know these people, just like you know this old dog you meet is going to be taken care of by someone who cares about him. Not that any of the suffering or cruelty is a joke. Gary McCann makes it clear that it isn’t possible to hate the bad guys without hating a little something in yourself. I laughed many times reading this story with the small gestures and observations that made the world of the book my world. The author knows this world well and you can tell he loves it the way it is. The book had to end and I know it had to be tough but I’d like to resuscitate the last woman killed and let her walk off. But I’m not going to hold that against this book.

Posted in book reviews, The Man Who Asked to Be Killed | Tagged | Leave a comment