Volume 1 Issue 2
The first newsletter was a raging success. Kinda sorta. When I run out of puppy pictures this will become way harder.
“You think it’s easy?” M. Straus
“Black grief kept flooding up in him, changing to anger when it reached the air.” The Chill by Ross MacDonald
Seeing as I’m writing this thriller-mystery novel, I decided to go back to school and study the masters. One author I like a lot is Ross MacDonald, who wrote his Lew Archer series in the 60s. What fascinates me is how clearly he wrote about California back in the day without making a big deal about it. His writing is lean and understated. Reading The Zebra-Striped Hearse, at times I imagined him facing his Smith Corona pounding it out. If you want to know, the novel’s title comes from a band of hippies and their vehicle they drove to the beach to surf–written in 1962. The one liners in this issue of Evans’ Rag are quotes in his honor.
When I find a sentence that crackles with meaning, it makes me smile. Every now and then one of my own lands on a page, and that’s like crack to a writer. Yes ma’am.
So why the hell didn’t I write a fantasy? Seeing as I spent my college days and then some reading all the fantasy and science fiction I could get my hands on. In truth, I did write a fantasy. Started it in high school right after I finished reading Lord of the Rings (which took all of a week, since I was reading it day and night). First I needed to draw a map of my world. See, you need a map if you’re going to create a fictional world with names of places and rivers and mountains and oceans and stuff like that. I still have the map upstairs in the attic rolled with with my student design drawings. Eagles of the Gilwraith was the story’s name. I recently found the opening chapter and smiled reading it. Drugs and sex and rock and roll was what the world of the late 60s was like, and the drugs and sex fell into the story. The country was falling apart over Vietnam and segregation, so my fantasy world was falling apart even faster.
My former wife drew a salacious cartoon of my main character. Not sure I could ever publish it. But she can attest to the hours I spent and the number of legal pads I filled. Didn’t even stop after our apartment caught fire and I lost the first manuscript. Lost my favorite cat in that fire, which was a much larger tragedy. Miss DC (the cat) is buried in an open field inside the Miami International’s flight path. Figured that way she’d rest undisturbed.
I read George Martin’s fantasies in the 90s, beginning with A Game of Thrones. Martin has a keen eye for political machinations, and the books reflect it, particularly the early ones. More politic than fantasy, but I was sucked straight into his gloomy world. Kept waiting for winter to come, but it never did. The HBO series was built well, even with the heavy emphasis on abrupt, violent endings. The acting on the show is top notch as are the scenes. Here’s hoping the dragons win.
So why the hell didn’t I write a fantasy?
My first adult novel was something called The Tractor Driver, written after a young woman broke my heart, about a farmer falling for a college girl who was focused elsewhere. OK, the title needs work… but it has a few good scenes in it, and I keep thinking about going back to it someday. But first I need to finish Kill Devil.
Seeing as I needed to read a thriller-mystery author writing in this century, I picked up Swan Peak by James Lee Burke. Strong writing. I get the impression Burke is still working out the Vietnam War. His main characters are in any case. The setup is two PI’s from the Big Easy on a fly fishing vacation in big sky country. Burke’s descriptions of Montana feel like he loves that country. My only beef is his grim view on life in America today. I’m not saying he doesn’t have cause, but jeez, those poor characters. “Despite the story’s length and complexity, Burke’s view of the world is more explicit than ever: noble intentions baffled by long-festering damage from war and alcoholism, and beneath it all the determination of the rich and powerful to keep their perks.” Kirkus Review. It was a good read, even with that caveat.
This week’s blog is a piece about waiting for spring to arrive. Spring’s coming, swear to god. No animals were harmed in this production.
Sign on a Trail
“Be alert and predictable.” That’s what the sign says. Seems like a good piece of advice, on or off the trail.
The Shoren-in Temple, the first temple we visited in Kyoto was built in the 1600s. Immediately stepping inside I said a silent prayer for Ryan. He’d said he expected to visit Kyoto one day.
“Pour alcohol on a bundle of nerves and it generally turns into a can of worms.” The Chill by Ross MacDonald
KIll devil come the storm
“Around five that morning, like an old bull being led to the slaughter, the Happy Crabber made its tired way through the narrow channel, towed by the black zodiac. Despite wind and surging seas, the ancient boat crossed under the highway bridge with full running lights. For anyone on the highway, it was odd to see a boat at this hour. The crabber was so old, whoever had built it was retired or in his dotage. The crew ran it out a good fifty miles. They gently wrapped the bodies in canvas, weighted and rolled them overboard. No one saw If they said a prayer, but no doubt they cried.
“A moment later the boat’s pump hoses were disconnected from the seacocks and water poured into the hull. The men climbed into the zodiac and withdrew to watch it slide under. The wrecks from World War II littered the seabed like huge horseshoe crabs. The odds were slim that a recreational diver would be interested with the crabber resting amongst the rusting hulls. The possibility was slimmer still that the sharks would leave more than bones.”
Coming next: Digressions will be honored
The new age word “blog” lands in the dictionary between blot and flog.
“Some men spend their lives looking for ways to punish themselves for having been born…” The Chill by Ross MacDonald
You are my witness quietly I walk away repeatedly to silence, never meaning
more than when breathing binds my chest, this pain is better held than shared.
Light withdrawing each day sun is leaving, leaving these cold winds blowing down the cove
where water touches shore the ache of living sadly near where heaven comes to ground.
I cannot see beyond the dusk to more than folding into it flinching or withdrawing
neither feels like bravery nor solace before winter please still love me when it comes.
Post to the World, LLC is the publisher of the books found on GoPosted. The logo depicts paw prints trotting over a stamp like a seal of approval. Dogs have always shown a better sense of humor than their humans.