Big Rhino Glitz

I work in the slow, quiet glow of recognition, cloaked by the effort, and with a long shadow of waiting.

Have just come across the Fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss ( He’s written a High Fantasy book called The Name of the Wind that has been widely praised by Le Guin, Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, and all the other old masters of the genre and he’s even been blessed by the autarch of Fantasy Jeff VanderMeer. It’s a wonderful sounding book, telling the tale of  “a magically gifted young man and his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king.”

And now some literary mazipan.

Our man Joyce…. Better than Old Papa Hemingway? I think so. Thing with Old Papa is he killed himself. And then I have to ask, well what was all his literary outpourings all about if he couldn’t keep the flame alight? His work is more weltschmerz than the existentialists because its nihilism. The kiss of Thanatos. Leaves me, anyway, wondering why bother, why attempt anything if it all in the end is meaningless, even the work.

Old Papa’s like a titanic Greek Chorus bleeding into an empty cup and with maudlin curses of Beware! Beware! Life will kill you if you don’t kill it. And he had no humor. Not like Joyce who was a marvelous comic writer. And it’s not like Joyce didn’t suffer. Jesus, he was half blind by the end of his life, struggling to see to write.

Old Papa’s overrated. Big rhino covered in literary jewels but missing the horn of life.

Joyce is a monkey with mites and seeing, hearing, laughing at life. And people don’t finish his books because it’s a lifelong commitment and most of us have our own lives to lead and can’t take on another.

But then I favour a maxamilist writer over a minimalist. You just have to look at the atomic level to understand this. Minimalism is a kind of sham if you just practice that. As maximalism is, too. Mix the two, however, and you have mutability.

Sometimes I amazed at writers. And you can take this as everything or nothing, with salt, a dash of pickle, and a whole lot of infinite jest. But there’s no profession harder than a writer’s. Let me explain. How many people get to imagine and create another world in a book and then populate it with characters and situations? It’s like living numerous lives. And most people have a hard time living the one they have. Writers are living the one they have but all the others they create. Plus they have to know everything down to the colour of the wine stain in the glass. It all has to be plotted out and realized and filled with honest dialogue and action and twists and then it has to entertain or challenge or do whatever a book does without the certainty of ever being read. If that’s not hard work, I don’t know what is.

If you are scoffing at this, remember I am, too. But there’s also a certain truth in it. There has to be because otherwise what is this life we live, counterfeit, fake, a perpetual march to oblivion?

I married literature so long ago but I’m still in the honeymoon phase.

“Nothing is so perfectly amusing as a total change of ideas.” Laurence Sterne.


The Golden Grip

I have written a YA Fantasy novel THE GOLDEN GRIP. It’s online at Authonomy is the creation of UK book publishers HarperCollins. It’s a site for aspiring writers to develop their books and connect with the literary community. The top 5 rated books every month win a critique from the Harper Collins editing staff. This from its site: “Authonomy is on a mission to flush out the brightest, freshest new writing talent around.”

Blake's Ancient of Days


Please visit this site and read my novel THE GOLDEN GRIP, book one of THE CHILD ENTHRONED trilogy. And review it if you please. Feather your nest with it by placing the book on your bookshelf. I appreciate your help in this process on the road to publishing THE GOLDEN GRIP.

Here’s a synopsis for THE GOLDEN GRIP, book one of THE CHILD ENTHRONED trilogy:

Ordinary London boy Dylan Sloane has no idea he is the Sun god’s heir, chosen to rule the sun realm Albion. On an outing to the Tate museum, he is warned by Professor Gideon Spurne to keep away from the Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece The Child Enthroned. But the moment Dylan locks eyes with the mysterious girl in the portrait he is snatched into Brim Umbra and into the centre of a usurper king’s deadly plot to overthrow the Sun god.

Trapped in the Electric Body Cages by the Brotherhood, a band of wolf alchemists, Dylan is rescued by Nessa Icon, the king’s exiled daughter. Fleeing Brim Umbra, the children steal the Golden Grip, a powerful amulet shaped like a child’s clenched fist, and capture a Helios, a fallen star and legendary solar vehicle to the sun realm.

Pursued by an alchemical Golem and a Dream Hunter, the children trust unexpected new friends: the Moon god and his feisty albatross, pirates of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Skellig Solitaries, awakened marble statues, an ex-highwayman, and a serendipitous winged woman.

Can Dylan and Nessa save the Golden Dawn before the Black Beast devours it and the Sun and Moon gods fall from their celestial thrones?

Fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Winterson’s Tanglewreck, Mervyn Peake, Frances Hardinge, and Alan Garner should enjoy THE GOLDEN GRIP!

The turn of the screw

Life is a contradictory business. A major and global insurance company goes bankrupt and Damien Hirst’s artwork sells for millions at Sotheby’s.

I wonder if anyone at AIG has given that any thought?

Invest in art? Not such a bad idea. And I’m not talking about a monetary investment. I’m talking about an emotional, intellectual, creative, time-spent-wisely investment. If we as a society invest more time and energy and imagination to art, then such failures Like AIG become the failures of us all. It’s time we all started reshaping the world around us before others destroy it for us.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

And the news about AIG is shocking, especially since, without so much as a Limerick, the land of capitalism has set a new precedent: it is practicing the art of soft socialism. If the present government can bail out a bankrupt insurance company, then it raises the question: Why can’t  it do the same thing for a healthcare program that’s crippling a nation?

And why have there been no editorials from major news sources on the business practices of AIG?  How is it that no one has commented on the insurance company’s business failure in the light of morality? Instead of the Feds bailing them out — can the American taxpayers money actually go towards saving a private company? — there should be a Wittgenstein discourse on moral philosophy.

Impoverished minds is what we have. All the blanket coverage by the media of AIG is verbal signage. And language is not a signal to arbitrarily pick up on the information wavelength. Language is the conviction to see eternity in a word. It is not a shortcut to understanding as the media would have us believe.

Language needs to be placed back at the heart of human life. Right now, it’s pickled in a jar on the shelf of human motives.

The lotus eater moving onto figments of his imagination

Sometimes I imagine myself as a football team, but with me as the only player. I’d dribble the ball back and forth between two limp goalposts, muttering inchoate rubrics to myself. Then at half time, there’d be me again, this time reading a chapter from my latest work: The Eroticism of an Untouched Goose. Followed by me fouling myself, giving myself the red card, and replacing myself with me. Then it would all end with me losing to me and winning the nets for a chance to make them into fishnet stockings. And if that wasn’t enough, there’d be the after-the-game drink with me.

Does this kind of thinking hinge on the flap of solipsism, I wonder?

It reminds me of the tale of a man who desperately wants to screw in the filament of himself so as to shine in a strong arc only to realize that he holds the bulb in his own hands.

Oh, hell, my back-door philosophy will only get me into the pantry not the living room.

Dear Edna. Meet me on the ferry. I’ll bring fish from Rockland. Can’t we have just one more poetry slam on the breakwater? Oh, how I miss your funny little melody. Like a boat forever rocking on slaps and swells. I think I hitched up your skirt one night on the top of Mt Battie, but the stars were out and a shooting one made us both gasp, so I can’t be sure if it was me or the meteor that aroused you. And I’ve been very, very poor and very, very merry, drunk on elderberry wine but not enough to write about anything that any editor was willing to accept. But that’s because I’m not half as talented as you when you butter the toast and serve the tea hot well before I’ve even stirred in bed.

The Great Gatsby. I weep with gin. I rail with lemon. I go to the grocery store with a blank list. For I am the Great Gap. See how they all pass over me. And I could weave a strong rope bridge. But they’ll have none of my wit. Nor will they take my trousers to be dry cleaned.

Guts for garters and bronchiole for fishnets

Today I found something unusual in my post office box. It was neither fish nor fowl. Neither was it a girlie mag. Or a bill. It was an invitation to Gladys Limerod’s 211th birthday party out back of the mill.

A couple — two — battered trucks have been towed from a neighbor’s front yard and set up as trestles. Being a lifelong Mainer, even though she is still alive and spends two weeks every year in New Hampshire hording stockpiles of firecrackers, beer, and rifles, she has never left the state. (Unless you consider the time she was abducted by her cousin Rolf “Big Eater, Small Scrapper” Lungfish for a day-trip to the big city Portland.)

The celebration is supposed to be big. Heads of rival families have been invited and they will attend with coolers full of Dale Limerod’s hacked-up relatives from away who foolishly wandered down the dirt roads with the more than conspicuous signs reading: “No Trespassing. Private Property.” When a delegation of Limerods approached the offending families, they were met with  “No Hunting” signs. Being unable to read well, the Limerods mistook the “Hunting” for “Hugging” and went on to slay the entire Appletons.

I haven’t decided if I shall be attending. And if I do, I don’t know in what capacity. Should I go as an ambassador or as an elder of rake?

Fiddle music is promised. And since one of my legs actually belonged to Dai “Foxtrot” Shibboleth, the last Welshman to do the rumba before Cuba became Communist and Tom Jones stole flashy underwear, I might just hobble in.

Here’s a bit of advice I once received from Beckham’s woman, Posh Spice Girl: “Never marry a footballer. If he’s not playing with his own balls, he’s playing with another’s. And his foreplay is always foul. Plus I’m constantly catching him off-sides when it comes to oral sex. Not to mention his fumbling with my tits! It’s not as if he’s been given the red card!”

The advice, I must confess, did come via another popster who got it via a tabloid who got it via a phone tap who got it via BT who got it via a bird on the wire. So take it or leave it.

La pluie omniprésente

I am wallowing in the apercus of September, drowsy in the clear blue of perspicacity, sober in the bosom of a low-cut, end of summer day exposing my own foibles. At last, I want to sing, the hills are alive with lecherous cries and summer has returned from the days of Brideshead Revisited and entered the Alexandria Quartet.

At  Rockport Harbor, where I trawl my deviant and waylaid mind in the shuck of perverse thinking, I was approached by a stranger. It wasn’t enough that the monstrous quiddity of a genteel New England harbor, with its liberal cilia, all danced in the rarified air of the big snout of freedom, but  a stranger wanted to know if I would like a schooner ride followed by a sponge bath and a tasty sea cucumber. Looking down the bridge of my medium-sized sniffer, that also likes the freedom to inhale, I replied, “Afraid not, I’m here on an extramarital affair.”

“Life is a very contradictory business and anyone who thinks otherwise is a priest.”

But I want to see a cloud.  Or a flocculent sward of clouds drifting way up high or a cumulus sunk low but peaked with radiating light.

Every swashbuckler has some scuttlebutt

My penchant is that I have predilections. I could do nothing all day but write; take a long walk over cloud-swept hills; dance with satyrs in sunlit glades; tip my porkpie hat to passing strangers; drink a leisurely pint at the Raven and Spoon; and then end the afternoon in a woman’s bedroom, my finger dipping into that little dell in her throat where a drop of wine neatly fits.

I’ve never liked doing work. Even my gestation period was longer than usual and the sperm that begot me had a flat tyre, stopped at a bookstore, looked at the other frantic sperm and thought, for a long, long time, why do they hurry?  It’s my genes. Ring-spun on a low setting.

As a child, I used to take hellishly long baths. Once I was even confused for a walnut tree. My dad actually planted me in the back garden until he realized the pollywog I was holding was quickly turning into a frog.

Even now I stay in the shower well past midnight.

I love summer — and it is still summer until the trees are bare. But it irks me, too. The door’s open, but I’m chained to a chair in a office. Tons of happy pond skaters, while I prey on dead matter like some dragonfly larvae. It’s hard to see the cars passing with kayaks strapped to roofs or bikes snugly bound to back ends. All those tourists slurping up summer’s tonic while I lap at the dregs. Still, I go home to an empty beach. A daughter who comes running to me as though I was a famous writer in possession of all her narratives.

So maybe I drive back and forth to work, but it’s what happens between the uneventful that counts.

Stay in the saddle, but be cautious of the pommel, cautioned a relative of mine during Gallipoli, who ventured up the Dardanelles only to discover that what he’d thought was a pommel was in fact an Aussie’s stump and his mount was in fact the chaplain.

He didn’t even bother to investigate what he imagined was his long line of mules. But from the uproar, he was certain the mule at the front bore a striking resemblance to an ex-lover.