Ubi Sunt

Hello beloved friends and fellow Bloggers,

Please forgive my recent neglect.  I’ve had a very busy week and must return shortly to court.  I’ve missed keeping up with your lovely posts but resolve to be back at it soon.

While I have time, I’m responding, in my own rebellious way, to a recent “3 Days, 3 Quote” challenge and sharing a story, in the form of a poem, about my morning.  Thank you very much to Emily at A Writer’s Beginning for the challenge.  I urge y’all to visit Emily’s wonderful blog.

My quote today comes from a Lumineers song, “Stubborn Love” from their self-titled debut album.  The poem following it should serve to explain why I chose to quote from a band instead of an author and contains snippets of 2 additional songs of theirs.  Like I said, in my own rebellious way.

“She’ll tear a hole in you, the one you can’t repair
But I still love her, I don’t really care.”

I hope you enjoy my poem.  Whether you do or don’t, please let me know what you think.  Parents, you may want to reach for a facial tissue before you read.  I promise I’ll be checking your blogs and exchanging comments with y’all again soon.

12 Gone, 6 Left

This morning was bright and clear
as I drove my daughter to school
like I do most weekday mornings,
in fact, and traffic was light
for once.

We sang together along with the songs
on my Lumineers CDs, my eyes sneaking
peeks, in the rearview mirror, of course,
at my lovely girl every few moments.

“Won’t you stay” we sang, and my heart
clenched, throat tightened, tiny tears leaked
as I realized, for at least the 4,517th time,
she’ll be gone away from home too soon.

“Home at last” we sang, as she testified
“”Angela” and “Flowers In Your Hair”
are my favorite songs!”  And I thought
Every damn song you sing, girl, is mine.

I can’t even write this poem without crying.
If ever you catch me saying I’ll be happy
when she’s gone, or words to that effect,
you’ll have caught me lying.

via Daily Prompt: Infect

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Thoughts On 2 Books

I haven’t been reading as rapidly as I usually do.

Although I like to pretend my goal is to read one work of nonfiction for every work of fiction, I rarely meet that goal.  This year has proven an aberration.  To date, I’ve only read or audited 5 works of fiction and 2 of poetry, and I’ve managed 11 works of nonfiction with 2 more in progress.  My reading goal for 2018 is 65 books, and as Goodreads is so fond of reminding me, I’m 5 books behind schedule.

Here are my brief thoughts on 2 I’ve recently finished.  I already posted on Goodreads, and you can read the synopses there if you’re interested by clicking the titles.

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Bring Out the Dog: Stories by Will Mackin

Fiction.  I rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

A good collection of stories about elite American military units in training and in combat in the early 21st century.  Mackin does a nice job of conveying the malaise and ennui that seasoned combatants are at risk of experiencing.  I was disappointed at a few of the stories’ unsatisfactory endings.  It’s possible, of course, that I misinterpreted the book’s main theme, but it seems to me Mackin offers an indictment of endless war and combatants who have no clear sense of their ultimate objective in fighting.  If you liked Phil Klay’s Redeployment, you’ll probably like Bring Out the Dog as well.

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The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

Nonfiction.  I rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Warning: The Square and the Tower is doubly dense. Printed on fine, heavy paper, it weighs about as much as a cinderblock. Extremely well-researched, heavily footnoted, and with a separate extensive bibliography for each of the book’s 9 sections, it’s highly informative. Ferguson’s somewhat pessimistic conclusion paints a scary-as-hell portrait of our probable future, but knowing what I know about human nature, I don’t disagree with him.  This bad boy took me a month to read, but it was time well spent.

Now I’m going to re-read an old favorite:  34084

When I finish The Waste Lands, I’m going to burn through some more fiction, so I can get caught up.  What are y’all reading?

A Poem, A Challenge

Yesterday I posted my poem “The Immortals” and threatened to post its sequel today.  As I slept all unawares, Victoria, my friend in Sweden who blogs as raynotbradbury, among others, nominated me for her version of the “3 Days, 3 Quotes” Blogger challenge.  Vic’s a real rebel, she is, so please check out her very interesting blog to see what she’s done with the quotes challenge.

The more astute among you will recall that, in my response to yesterday’s Daily Post prompt, I protested that I’ve never been much of a rebel myself.  I find it amusing that Vic has provided me the perfect opportunity to rebel today and given me permission to do so by following her example.  To forestall y’all’s righteous indignation that I’m breaking the rules, I’ll kindly ask that you reflect upon how often you do the same.

First my poem; then, my response to the challenge.  If you missed part 1 and want to read it, it’s here.

The Immortals II

As long as there is one of you left alive,
I cannot die.  Loneliness I am, I assail you.
If you only believed you are never alone,
I would wither away.  You won’t, I’m here to stay.

Wherever there are two of you, one or both of us
may thrive.  Love the more cruel, his passions
sear your soul.  Indifference cool, she knows no shame.
Pray you both are beset by the same.

Let’s talk about three, jealousy’s favorite number.
Inalienable rule: one has what she wants, another
wants what she has, the third covets both.  Venomous,
green-eyed envy poisons the best of us.

And in your teeming billions, millions of us enjoy
eternal life.  In every community we are found;
positive, negative, both abound.  You know our names.
The instant we were freed we grew logarithmically.
Not even one of us could fit in Pandora’s box now.

Quotes Challenge

Vic challenged us to list our favorite 19th-century author, some of his or her work, and a few quotes as well as to provide some biographical details and to challenge other Bloggers.  She featured W. Somerset Maugham, of whom I’d heard but not read.  Vic’s post has me convinced I need to rectify that failure.

My 19th-century author is Thomas Hardy, 6/2/1840 – 1/11/1928, an English architect, poet, and author of novels and short stories.  He’s one of my favorites because his primary interest as an author was in showcasing and criticizing the inegalitarianism inherent in Victorian society’s class divisions.  My favorite novels of his are Tess of the D’urbervillesThe Mayor of Casterbridge, and Jude the Obscure.  He also wrote novels that have in recent years spawned movies and TV series; Far From the Madding Crowd and The Return of the Native.

Here are three good Hardy quotes:

  1. Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.
  2. It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.
  3. A man’s silence is wonderful to listen to.

That’s my take on the challenge.  Thank you, Victoria, for taking me back to the semester I took a Hardy seminar.  I’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Oh, I almost forgot:  I have to challenge other Bloggers, too.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to post about your favorite 19th-century author.  Other than that, feel free to make your own rules, but please do challenge a few of your own friends.

I challenge:

T at TShawwriter because like me she’s a Lit major;
Soph at Sophiaismaawrites because she made me think yesterday; and
Martha at I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am! because she’s convalescing and may benefit from the distraction.

I hope y’all have a lovely rest of the day and a wonderful weekend.  Don’t forget to drop me a line.

Take care, be well, and happy blogging!

via Daily Prompt: Forest

The Immortals

Except for a few brief periods in my life, I have never been much of a rebel, and even then it was mundane rebellion, the same kind, I reckon, that most American teens & 20-somethings go through on their way to real adulthood.

Of course, in my line of work, I deal with rebels every day, folks who have little to no respect for the law or the authorities.  I am grateful for them.  They’re job security for me.

Now I’m going to rebel against the demands of my job for a few minutes to share this poem with y’all.  This is one of my old poems, written long before my poetry writing style was irrevocably altered following exposure to the work of the awesome Billy Collins, American poet extraordinaire.  It’s the first of two, and one of its themes is rebellion.  I’ll share the second tomorrow if y’all like this one.  Hell, you know me, I’ll share it whether you like this one or not!  The language isn’t very poetic in either one, but I think the concept is.

I hope y’all enjoy.  Regardless, please let me know what you think.  Or, if we haven’t exchanged comments in a few days, just drop me a line to let me know how you’re doing.  I’ve been missing y’all.

The Immortals

We walk among you, as we have since the
dawn of history.  Exactly like you in appearance,
intellect, strength; our memory as long as
our lifespan, everlasting.

Despite what you saw in movies, we are not
lonely.  Not needing others, a solitary race.
We don’t wander the planet looking to lop
off each other’s heads, don’t drink blood to
live.  Although we cannot reproduce, neither
can we die.  We do not envy your
brief lives, do not pity either.

For centuries we were abusive.  Drunk on
knowledge, indestructibility, we ruled you as
gods, emperors, kings.  You learned to do it better,
greedier, more murderously.  Recognizing our
responsibility, we became priests, counselors,
healers, philosophers, working behind the scenes.

For millennia, we have striven to guide you.
Always you have been resistant.  Ravenous,
you are the cancer that will eat the Earth.

Unlike the various malignancies that plague
you, there is only one cure.  You will discover
it in due time, and it will be your death.

via Daily Prompt: Rebel

Updated “About” Page

via About Denny

Hey y’all!  I updated my “About” page in response to the Daily Post prompt “Laughter“.  If you’ve had enough interest in me to read it before and don’t want to slog through the whole thing again, the new addition is the penultimate paragraph.

I have suffered this week from the dual demons of lack of time to post and lack of inspiration.  I hope to waylay those two tomorrow or Friday long enough to throw something interesting up here.  I’ve been missing y’all this week and hope you’re all doing well.

Love,

Denny

Foo Fighters Friday

Tonight, at long last, my beloved Foo Fighters roar into Nashville like a riptide!

I go to great pains to expose my kiddos to a wide variety of popular music.  The Foos have been my #1 favorite rock band since shortly after the release of their second album, The Colour and the Shape, in May 1997, supplanting Rush, which had been my #1 favorite rock band (only slightly ahead of Queen & Styx) throughout the 80s and 90s.

Owing chiefly to their awesome music but also to their quirky, hilarious videos, the Foos are my kiddos’ #1 favorite rock band as well.  The Girl, who’s twelve & a half, and I have been waiting since Christmas for this night to arrive.  Actually, I’ve been waiting since October, when I bought the tickets.

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Rarely has a father been more excited than I was.  I have long wanted to take The Girl to her first rock concert, and we’ve always known it would have to be the Foo Fighters.  So when I first learned last spring that they were coming to Bridgestone Arena in October, I was freakin’ stoked!

I called The Boss (my wife & best friend) to ask if I could purchase tickets, and she gave me her blessing.  I was disheartened to learn they would be performing on a school night but undeterred.  I looked at all their dates within a 250-mile radius.  I was that determined to take my Girl to see them, not knowing if or when we’d get another chance.  Alas, none of those dates would work out either.  I had to cry on The Boss’s shoulder that night.

Then news came that the Foos had to postpone their Nashville concert due to unspecified personal reasons, and a tiny flame of hope sparked to life.  When they announced their rescheduled performance would be on May 4th, a Friday, I almost fainted.  I called The Boss again to make sure we still had enough money to purchase tickets.  She said yes.  I whipped out the card, got online, and started browsing available seats.

While I was looking, I got an email from The Girl’s school theater teacher.  I always open teacher emails immediately.  This one didn’t just break my heart, it shattered it and smothered my joy.  It was the performance schedule for the spring musical, in which The Girl has several roles.  And guess when the final performance was scheduled?  Yep, that’s right.  Friday, May 4th.

Y’all, I cried.  Not silent, manly tears.  No, these were giant, copious, snot-flowing-out-the-nose, choking sobs of utter despair.  Defeated, depressed, and wholly destroyed, I put the card back in the wallet and logged out of Ticketmaster.  It took The Boss’s tender ministrations as well as several generous glasses of Evan Williams on the rocks to console me that night.

Miracle of miracles, several weeks later, the theater teacher emailed again: the school band was already scheduled to perform on Friday, May 4th, so the play was rescheduled to the following week!  There’s no describing my elation.

I called The Boss again.  She said yes again.  I logged on.  There were still some tickets left.  They were in the nosebleeds, but I didn’t care.  Never in my life had I been or will I be so excited about a rock concert.  I got the tickets.  I announced my glee on Facebook and included an admonition not to tell The Girl, for the tickets were going to be a Christmas stocking stuffer.

On Christmas day, I recorded The Girl opening the envelope with the receipt for the ticket purchase.  It is a priceless, precious moment, and you can hear my voice crack when The Girl realizes what she’s holding.  Unfortunately, I’m on the Poor Blogger’s plan, so I can’t post the video clip here.  But for those of you who are interested in watching it, (and it’s truly worth watching, I still get choked up when I view it) here’s the URL you can copy & paste into your address bar:  https://www.facebook.com/100012567134827/videos/392258497869718/?l=7371300895873949783

The video is posted on Facebook.  I take a strong “separate spheres” approach to my few social media accounts.  I do not mix Facebook and WordPress, so if you send me a friend request when you view the video, please don’t be offended when I decline it.

Tonight’s the night, y’all, and I’m the giddiest Dad in Tennessee!  Happy Friday, and May the fourth be with you!

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via Daily Prompt: Tide

Gratuitous Pseudopun

via Daily Prompt: Sleeve

From the farthest corners of the globe, I hear the chorus of groans already, but I can’t help myself.  I beg y’all’s indulgence.  My quirky self demands momentary release.  This is crass and completely unnecessary, but since I’ve already posted a more serious response to today’s prompt, I feel liberated to indulge in some cheesy wordplay.  And my first-ever attempt at a six-word story.  I’m sorry, y’all, please forgive me:

“I hate this place!”

“Let’s leave!”

I know, I know, that was wholly unnecessary.  Can you agree not to think less of me if I promise to keep such silliness in check?

Love,

Denny

AWR Monthly Update #1

via A Writer’s Reliquary

Hello friends and fellow Bloggers,

I hope you’re all doing well on this fine Tuesday morning.

America was bathed in the lunatic light of a full moon last night.  I slept the poorer for it, and traffic on the way in to work this morning was ridiculous.  After going to bed at 10:00 PM, I awoke at 1:23 AM, 2:26 AM, and 3:30 AM (my alarm goes off at 4:30 AM weekdays), and when I wasn’t awake, I was plagued by vivid, freakishly weird dreams including one of those waking dreams in which the immediate environment intrudes on the dream and makes you feel as if you’re awake and experiencing something impossible.  I apologize for withholding specifics, but modesty constrains me.

All that to say I had intended to write a new poem today in honor of the first of May, but I’m so frazzled that I seem to have not the slightest shred of creativity hidden up my sleeve.

What I do have to offer are two new words I encountered in my April reading, batteau and helot.  If you don’t already know one or both of those words and are interested, they’re listed alphabetically on my page A Writer’s Reliquary.

I hope you all have a lovely day filled with joy and inspiration.

Take care, be well, and happy Blogging!

Denny

Owed to Mundanity

Bring it on, Monday, hit me with your best shot!  I am ready for you:

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Y’all like my Monday face?

I had hoped to astonish you today with a brilliant poem, a glittering monument to my stunning skill and my felicitous facility with words, but this is all I came up with.  I know you’ll love it anyway because y’all’re so awesome like that.

Did anyone catch the wordplay of this post’s title?  First one to call it in the comments wins the prize, and if you can explicate exactly how and why it’s wordplay (i.e., read my mind), you win double goodies!

Mondayne

Monday, please be kind to me.
Fly quickly as this year.
I can’t believe tomorrow’s May,
and summer’s drawing near.

NaPoWriMo far too soon
has reached its hasty end,
left me feeling rather blue
of poems I’ve written only two.

One of which is this poor rhyme,
mundane as it can be.
I beg the Muse in coming months:
rain down artful creativity.

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

A Poem, Some Pics

Given the schizophrenic weather we’ve been experiencing in recent months, I thought this poem appropriate for the occasion, and seeing as how it’s about the seasons, I reckoned I’d throw in a few pics from hikes I took in 2 different seasons.  Enjoy, and please do let me know what you think.

Changing Seasons

Snowflakes feather down,
gray frozen land a paler
shade of winter sky.

Crispèd leaves cascade,
blanketing sleepy ground with
motley red, gold, brown.

Silver raindrops slash,
sun-drenched sky, lamb-lion winds
waken vernal earth.

Molten sunbeams bathe,
hammering all with heat while
heavy eyelids droop.

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This first set is from the Stone Door Trail in the South Cumberland State Park, on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Tennessee, autumn 2008.  This is one of my favorite autumn hikes.  I’m sure you can see why.

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Me among the fallen leaves.  Isn’t that an interesting tree?

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My buddies at the bottom of the Stone Staircase…

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…and ascending it.

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Me looking pensive…

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…and quite picturesque.  I have this thing about taking pictures that make it look like I’m walking on air:

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But I failed to keep the evidence to the contrary out of this shot.

This set is from summer 2010, at Prentice Cooper State Forest, also on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, northwest of and overlooking the Tennessee River and the absolutely beautiful Chattanooga (hi Tony!), one of my favorite weekend getaway destinations.

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I was considerably shaggier then than I was in 2008!  Don’t worry, I’ve trimmed the hair and beard back quite a bit since then;  I no longer look like a scary wild man of the woods!

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This summer hike was uncomfortably hot, and we were plagued by prolific ticks all afternoon…

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…but the view and the sights along the trail made it worthwhile.  That’s part of Chattanooga in the distance.

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I was captivated by the notable fungal patterns scrawled onto this fallen log.

I bid you all a fond farewell and leave you with goodwill, hopes for a wonderful weekend, and all the love from the bottomless depths of my wat’ry heart…

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…as I tread up into the sky over the mighty river below:Signal Mountain 060510 086

via Daily Prompt: Notable