Sometime during the afternoon of my visit to his home along the Sandy River, Father Palladino asked if I knew he’d been in a movie.
After his other startling revelations, this was just one more teaser.
Well, he qualified, his name had been in a movie.
While teaching calligraphy at Reed College, he said, he’d had a student in one of his classes–a young man who’d subsequently dropped out, though not before he’d returned for a second term studying and practicing the craft.
It was clear he wanted me to ask who the student was, and I did.
Steve Jobs, he replied.
Steve Jobs? Studying calligraphy?
Father Palladino did not philosophize about the matter with me then and there, though he’d likely often done so with others. He left me to wonder alone what it was about Steve Jobs, the great technological innovator of global consequence, which drew him to calligraphy–and not for just one college term but two.
It seemed to me this must provide a window in to the mind and motivation of the man, the titan. Was it as simple as the elegance of the artform?
How would elegance fit into a mind of… Continue reading
On Sundays and too many special occasions to count, my aunt Marian Partner Cornish was for many years–decades–the principal alto soloist at the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California. It is a vast and grand venue with a great pipe organ at its front, conceived and built for the performance of great and aspirational music. On Friday evenings and Saturdays, she sang in the same capacity for the Congregation Sherith Israel, a Jewish synagogue in nearby San Francisco. She was a consummate vocalist. (A recording of her singing Mendelssohn’s For the Mountains Shall Depart, is attached below.)
Most often when I think of Marian Gloria Partner Cornish, it is accompanied by a surprisingly vivid image. It is of Marian and her six sisters and one brother growing up in an impossibly small house set alongside an irrigation ditch in far-away Aberdeen, Idaho. It is with Marian and her sister Gayle Partner Hungerford in mind (whom I dearly loved as well), her sister Margaret Lacy, my own mother Florence and my Uncle Bob. I don’t have much memory of sisters Ethel and Josephine and Louise, but… Continue reading
At the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., there is an impossibly long wall of bronze stars—an abstract but instantly recognizable representation of the heroes of war, the horrors of war, soldiers lost at war.
Each one of the four thousand palm-sized stars standing at attention represents one hundred lives lost. One star, one hundred fathers, sons, brothers, and yes, mothers, daughters and sisters lost at war.
Four thousand stars.
It is overwhelming.
I’d say inconceivable, were it only so.
Up on their wall, the stars are fixed in place. Below, in reflection, they stir about, stretch, converse with each other. They reach toward their comrades and withdraw, reach toward the captivated visitor and withdraw.
Up on their wall, the stars are flotillas, regiments, squadrons.
In reflection, they are souls.
J. S. Anderson
Photos by J. S. Anderson: Field of Stars, World War II Memorial, Washington, D. C.
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 is now available in print (paperback) as well as e-book format.
Print copies are available from Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.com. The list price is $16.95, but is being discounted on both sites.
As an e-book, it is available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo for $6.95. It is also available from Smashwords at a discounted price of $4.95 for the remainder of this month.
Check it out! Sign up on this website and get a free chapter.
Published by Lucky Bat Books. Check out its site at luckybatbooks.com
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… Continue reading
It is near the end of the Northern War of Aggression, and General Sherman’s troops have begun their fiery sweep toward Atlanta. Virtually all able white Southern men and boys have been pressed into the Confederate cause. Any certainty about Southern social order, about the relationship between master and slave, slave and master is slipping away into social and economic chaos.
Rumors of freedom, of a coming Emancipation Proclamation, circle in the eddies of this maelstrom. Freedom—an impossible hope—is forever pushed back out of the consciousness of slaves born of slaves born of slaves, for hope breeds greater hope, which is certain to be crushed like a butterfly under a boot. Crushed with malice, carelessness, or complete indifference, but crushed. It is better not to hope. Now, though, there is the real possibility of freedom, whatever that might mean, but it is to be born in a world of nearly complete social, moral and economic breakdown.
It is a terrible, sobering story told wonderfully by author C.D. Harper.
Seth Harper, Jr., is the owner of a vast Kentucky plantation pulled from the wilderness by his grandfather and completed by his father. He… Continue reading
When one turns to the Photos page on this site, one can be forgiven for first believing the pictures are representational of Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios. They are not, at least not in a literal sense. But Brother Alphaios, the book’s protagonist, not only is drawn to colors and a student of them (and I think he would enjoy these) but master of them as well. Master I’m not, but drawn I am.
Gallery One is an assortment of images harvested mostly in and around Arizona, Portland (Oregon) and two museums in Washington, D.C.: The Corcoran, and the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. They are not grand landscapes or themes, but mostly of details noticed, arrangements of color and pattern. One might say that these shapes and their play of color and light were conscious byproducts by the creators of the buildings and bridges and objects, but perhaps not quite from this minimal perspective. What is here is not the whole, but the careful detail from the making of the whole. That, plus light and shadow and the curious eye. Something that Brother Alphaios might appreciate.
Elsewhere on this website is a word game I invite you to play and submit your best efforts to me. I will post them, barring vulgarity, etc., and give credit where credit is due. I call it “Warped Words”. (Origin and attribution are posted.)
The best of my own? Gracism: An entirely positive approach to others in the world who are of different races, religions and circumstances, based upon mercy, generosity and goodwill.
It was this impulse, I suppose, which led me to create the character of a sentient monk experiencing life outside the cloister for the first time, and write the twelve short stories and more that I’ve weaved into Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios. I found myself wanting to write a good-natured story in a market where there seem so few, and where, if there is violence it is not deliberate or gratuitous. Where the worst, most vulgar of the modern vocabulary does not have a pedestal upon which simply to shout, shock or sound hip. Where experience is paired with reflection. Where there is recognition of the base instincts of humankind, but also… Continue reading
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