It seems an apt statement for creative writing as well, no matter the form.
I wrote “Blue Notes” several years ago while living in Tucson, but was never really sure I’d finished it. It seemed to leave its subject unresolved, a town (and its people) in slow and silent decline into the dust from which it rose. I’ve felt the poem was missing either the spark of optimism or the mercy of certainty.
Yet sometimes the blues are not just a beat. Sometimes they just don’t end.
I’ve come across another observation about art which I hope applies to this poem. It’s from Paul Gardener (Strength to Love, 1963): “A painting is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places.”
The colors of this town, once vibrant and proud,
Have blanched toward white, tan and brown.
House paint and trim and storefront signs,
Once bright of hue are faded and rimed.
Even the tags of graffiti, once… Continue reading
Its synonyms include “spontaneous,” “extemporaneous,” “impromptu,” and “off-hand”. Have you come across another word whose sound seems so contrary to its meaning?
“On Saturday, we made an autoschediastic trip to the beach.”
“Don’t take offense, John. I’m sure it was just an autoschediastic remark.”
“I don’t have a prepared speech for you today. I’ll be making just a few autoschediastic remarks.”
Is there any other word whose structure and sound are so unlike its meaning?
Agony and antagony: The noun form of this word is agony, yet its direct antonym is antagonism. Seems to me the more symmetrical construction “antagony” should at least be an option. It’s more direct and more poignant. In this form, it is clear emotion. In the other, it’s once removed, a thing. Whatever happened to “antagony?”
And what about “minify”?
Several dictionaries define the word “magnify” as “to make greater in actual size.” For a word meaning the opposite, “to… Continue reading
The word “inquisition” has a Middle Ages ring to it, and a distinctly religious one. Its three best known episodes—the Medieval, the Roman and the Spanish (driven more by royalty than religion) have won a chilling place in Western cultural lore through stories of Catholic pursuit of heresy, machines of torture, and burnings at the stake. Ad extirpanda, issued in 1232 by Pope Gregory IV, was an awful call for the systematic elimination of heretics, and gave papal sanction for the use of torture.
The Catholic Church has not been the only one to use such measures in pursuit of doctrinal purity. John Calvin, the reform founder of what would become the Presbyterian Church, pursued much the same response when his own nascent denomination was affronted by other reformers. (See Out of the Flames, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone.) Many secular governments, even commercial interests have done the same. Moreover, inquisition is not only history, it is a horrifying but recurrent modern phenomenon as well.
The book God’s Jury, by Cullen Murphy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), makes this case convincingly. He cites some recent examples and predicts there will… Continue reading
I’m old-school when it comes to business relationships: I prefer to work with people I’ve actually met rather than some cleverly e-named but faceless entity online. So it was with pleasure that I came across Jude Harlan last summer under a Lucky Bat Books banner at the Northwest Book Festival in Portland, OR. It required repeated trips back to her booth to speak with her, for each time I went by she was deep in conversation with someone else. I bided my time; wisely, it turned out.
After an initial conversation in which we took each other’s measure, we both did some due diligence. She and her co-founder, Cindie Geddes, read a substantial portion of the manuscript. For my part, I contacted three Lucky Bat authors with several questions about the imprint. Jude and Cindie invited me to sign on, and having received prompt and enthusiastic references regarding their work, I was pleased to do so.
I’m glad I did. Lucky Bat Books provided coherence for me in the complex, arcane world of modern publishing, and has delivered a beautiful product.
For more information on Lucky Bat Books, click here: … Continue reading
In a new blog entitled “Authentic Voice”, Editor Peter Gelfan cites BOOK OF HOURS: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios as an example of an author with a “strong voice”. His comments are posted on the website of The Editorial Department, at the following link:
Gelfan states in part: “…By the time I was a few chapters into the book, I was convinced that the author had been a cloistered monk whose monastic duties included restoring the illuminations of antique manuscripts—just like his protagonist. This is what I mean by an authentic voice.”
Though considerable and detailed research was required in the preparation of BOOK OF HOURS, Gelfan notes: “Like Hemingway, Anderson doesn’t dwell on the tools of the trade but concentrates on his protagonist’s intent and how he plans meticulously to achieve it. Authenticity seems to have more to do with the characters’ involvement in the setting and props than with the author’s factual knowledge of them.”
Peter Gelfan is a freelance editor living and working in New York City, and author of Found Objects, a novel. When editing my work, he was direct, professional, and… Continue reading
BOOK OF HOURS: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios, published by Lucky Bat Books (luckybatbooks.com), is now available as an e-book from the following e-book retailers, priced at $6.99:
BARNES AND NOBLE
SMASHWORDS (Discounted to $4.99 as an introductory special, through December only.)
BOOK OF HOURS will be available shortly in paperback from these retailers, with a selling price of $16.95.
A severely damaged fifteenth century Book of Hours, a man starving to death in a sumptuous art deco flat, an architect searching for the unconventional, a demonic old man, the tragic death of an infant and her father, a stolen human heart—
When Brother Alphaios comes to a great American city to recreate the Book of Hours, he must discover its origins and the heresies that kept it hidden away for six hundred years.
Finding himself an unwelcome guest in a cold, dour monastery, he becomes beguiled both by the audacious fifteenth-century illuminator he calls Jeremiah and the characters he encounters in the vast, chaotic city. Reflective and experiential, Brother Alphaios is drawn to make his own bold statement—one final touch with his finest sable… Continue reading
If one has even a passing interest in architecture or history, one cannot ignore churches and cathedrals—monuments built to honor something greater than mankind itself. One such building is the Mission San Xavier del Bac, located just south of Tucson, Arizona.
I had photographed the mission a number of times, but was frustrated that my efforts only duplicated the many tourist postcards available throughout Tucson. That changed one evening when I set out on nothing more than an evening drive. It was early summer and already quite warm. The sky was cloudless, the light unusually soft. I had brought my camera. As the sun began its descent over the land of the Tohono O’Odham nation, the white mission church began to turn the golden colors you will see below.
This Catholic mission to local Indians was begun in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino (long beloved in Southern Arizona), but his order, the Jesuits, were expelled from what was then called New Spain. Their work was taken over by the Franciscan Order, which started building the present structure of clay bricks and stone in 1783. The church was beautifully conceived and constructed, European in style… Continue reading
In Out of the Flames, authors Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (Broadway Books, 2002) suggest that without the printing press, the Protestant Reformation could not have occurred. They provide for us some history.
Tens of thousands of books were printed in the decades following the mechanical marvel of the Gutenberg Bible in the mid-1450’s. They were large in size, cumbersome and costly (though less expensive by magnitudes than the hand-scribed and illustrated books which preceded them). But it was not until the early fifteen hundreds, the authors relate, that two concurrent developments made books truly portable, and thus nearly ubiquitous. They both seem simple enough, but they took almost fifty years after Gutenberg to accomplish. Aldus Manutius, an entreprenuerial printer in Venice developed (copied from a competitor, actually,) an alphabet typeface made of tiny, uniform letters that could easily be read. This made it possible for the second development to occur.
Until Aldus, books were printed on paper sizes referred to… Continue reading
Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios
The e-book is expected to be available on Amazon Books for all you e-readers before the beginning of the holiday season.
PAPERBACK COPIES TO FOLLOW! We are also on track to have the paperback version in hand and ready for purchas by the holidays.
In Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios, Alphaios visits a cardinal’s residence for the first time:
“They moved up a circular driveway in front of an expansive brick house with a green lawn and towering shade trees. For one house to occupy so much land in this city was astounding. Alphaios could see an abundance of beveled glass set into dark wood. The house and the neighborhood whispered age and enormous wealth. When the driver opened the door, Alphaios asked him where they were. “Cardinal Fleet’s residence. The maid will let you in.”
Inaki led the monk up the stairs and onto a wide veranda, where he rang the doorbell. As promised, a maid greeted them. She led them across glossy wooden floors into a large, sedate room… Continue reading
BOOK OF HOURS:The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios
The e-book is expected to be available on Amazon for all you e-readers before the beginning of the holiday season.
PAPERBACK COPIES TO FOLLOW!
We are also on track to have the paperback version in hand and ready for purchase during the holidays.
Thanks to LUCKY BAT BOOKS and especially Jud Harlan for their enthusiasm for the novel and the invitation to publish it on the Lucky Bat imprint.
If you haven’t already, be sure and download your free chapter.