Hyperion – gotta go


Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)Hyperion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I usually give a book a max of 100 pages to get me hooked. This one I gave ~150 pages to and it just wasn’t doing it. I had just finished Simmons’s Song of Kali, and that was great. His prose is very strong and I respect him very highly as an author. This just wasn’t something I was overly fond of. I’m not disregarding him as an author and I’m sure I will go to some of his other books, but this particular one has to go down now.

Reasons:
1. Plot wasn’t strong enough up front. The story was alluring. It did have appeal, but it just didn’t grab me. I know this book has a huge following and lots of people love it. I can only speak to myself.

2. Terrific prose, but no real direction: It was sort of like the way I felt about Snow Crash. The writing was a brick to the face – that good. But I just didn’t know where it was going.

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Socks in the Washer


Where in the gods have they gone?

I remember putting two socks in, but when it was time to pull them out. Poof! Gone. It’s like the spin cycle is so strong that it creates some sort of a sartorial black hole into which only certain AMAZING socks are somehow chosen to make a sacrificial trip.

What in Hades happens to the socks? Are there things living in my laundry system? Mini sock-gerbils that sneak in through laundry-machine trap doors and come into the middle of a cycle onto to steal my favorite pair of Space Invader dress socks? Uuuahhh! That’s annoying.

Are these them?

Nope. Oh great, wait, not only are these NOT the socks I”m looking for, but they’re two socks from another two pairs of fantastic dress-sock duos that I love. That’s three pairs of mismatched socks!

It’s Friday. I’m just gonna shake this off. Somehow.

Following Your Road


lpstribling:

Thank you to Theadora Goss on finding your purpose. Follow your own road.

Originally posted on Theodora Goss:

I keep seeing articles of various sorts about “Finding Your Purpose.” I think they’re about the wrong thing.

Nowadays, we’re all supposed to find our purpose in life: the fundamental reason we were born, the thing we are supposed to do. I think some people have a purpose, but most people don’t. If they had a purpose, they wouldn’t have to find it — a purpose isn’t something you find. It finds you.

I have a purpose: I don’t remember a time before I knew that I was a writer. My first published poems are from high school, in the high school literary magazine. I published poems and short stories in the college literary magazine. I was in a literary and debating society. I was an English major. In law school, I worked on a novel at night and published poems in a professional poetry journal for the first time…

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It’s Not My Birthday ’til Tomorrow – A Love Letter


 

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Dear birthday girl,

It’s funny, I think, that most times you turn to me and ask me what I’m thinking about I say ‘nothing.’ Your response is always the same logical jab back at me: “You can’t think about nothing.” It’s one I’ve come to find so endearing that I may have faked it a time or two just so I can hear you say those words. No, I guess you’re right; I can’t really think about absolutely nothing. I am a guy, so odds are I’m thinking about something stupid, which, in my language, by the way, is translated as cool.

But if you were to ask me what I was thinking about right now, I’d be empty of the words. Not that I can’t put words down on a page; anyone can do that. It’s about the right words, especially for you, especially here and now.

17 years   It’s been seventeen years for us, doll. Seventeen. And the amount of color you’ve blessed my life with is outside the realm of human expression. I want so very much to hold on to the days, the hours, the nano-slivers of time that I have at your side, listening to your laugh, watching your face when you’re thinking, or being next to you when you sleep. Yet the days continue to pass with an almost violent haste, and my feeble attempts at holding on, at slowing them, are a reminder that our physical time together is limited, and all I can do is cherish all that we have.

We get what we get, and nothing more.

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This day, on the surface, is one in which loved ones, friends and family alike, present you with gifts, honoring you. Yet, on this day, you give me again the finest gift of my waking life. You are all that I cherish with every climb of the morning sun, every fall of the moon, and every waking second. You are today, as you are all of my days, the ever-developing gift of my world, and the greatest chant of my life’s song.

The thing is, in the end, the words are all that’s left. And that’s I guess what scares me. In the end, what will I have to give you but my words?

Today, right now, as your eyes run over these lines, please know that I am thinking about you, I am honoring you, and I am smiling in the happiness you’ve given me in the gift of yourself.

So, back to what I’m thinking about (and maybe what I’m trying to say). I’m thinking about wishing you a Happy birthday, Kerrie Lynn. And I’m thinking about how thankful I am to you for today, tomorrow, and in all that comes after in all you give to me. Thank you now and always.

Your husband,

LeviThe Team

…Oh yeah, and you’re really hot.

 

Sunday Ticks Down


I’m looking out the window right now to an outside scene filled with sunshine, trees, and laughter.

The furniture isn’t anything notable, but it does fill the frame. There’s a worn glass table, dusty and in need of some love outside the sporadic barbecue, some ratty iron chairs with ratty faded cushioning, and a hornet’s next somewhere above, the occupants of which are trying to figure out their own lives than worry about the activity below. 

On the inside as well as the the out, this Sunday carries with it an energy that allows us to appreciate what we’re doing, and where we are. It tells us to slow down, refocus, and breathe. 

It’s beautiful out there, and the sounds of the acoustic guitar let’s me know that someone around here is paying attention to the suggestions of today, and allowing the heart to do the rest. 

As Sunday ticks down, let’s enjoy it. Get outside, throw on some pajamas. Stay away from a false energy that tells you you need to rush. Get done what you can, but let tomorrow work itself out. I’m going to do something along those lines as well. There’s a couch in front of me. A comfy one. 

The Books Around Us


    It’s the end of the working day and I find myself in a library. What a place. Books everywhere, shelves of them towering from the floor to the ceiling, and every rack is full. 

    Since I was a kid, books have been my friends, my very good friends. I was never the quickest reader in the class (even now it takes me some time to sit down and get to the end of a hefty book), but I always loved the idea of the story. I figured that anyone who knew a lot of words could create a story – could weave any tale she wanted. So I started writing. 

     In December of 2008 I started writing. Didn’t really know where to start; just picked a thought-train in my head and went along for the ride. Ended up with a short story which I ran past a few friends and family members. It never went anywhere, though I was proud of it at the time – still am, I suppose, it being the first story and all. 

    But let’s skip the details other than this crucial one – to write well, one must learn to read well. You have to read – a lot, and, I admittedly haven’t been doing my part on this. We can sit back and blame the I-NEVER-HAVE-TIME gods for as long as we wish, but one day our own time will run out, and somewhere around there we’ll have to ask ourselves what all those excuses were worth. 

  The library is a grand place to be. Worlds, events, and characters just sit there and wait for us. We just need a bit of focus and effort and the ready rhythm is ours. 

If you haven’t visited a library recently, it’d be a good idea, at least for a browse, maybe some nostalgia. Hell, you may even pick something off the shelf. 

Blue Dogs


It was a pack of blue dogs that tore down the doors to Pappy Dan’s barn – that I remember. I wasn’t but yay tall back then, what? five foot nothin’. Fifteen, sixteen years old? But I remember it clear as day. I remember it all, even the yellow of the flames that set the whole damned place afire.

Blue Devil Dogs

Billy was wearin’ his overalls that mornin’ – the dark blue ones, almost black. He come runnin in the bedroom hollerin’ som’n ‘bout “Grady, you gotta come! You gotta!” He come runnin’ up to the bed with his hands shakin’ all kinds a crazy like one a them salesmen who just gotta tell you somethin’ about what they’re sellin’, but they ain’t too sure you gonna like it, so they just sit there twiddlin’ their thumbs or scratchin’ their knees or somethin’.

“Come on, then!”

I moaned. “All right, then.” Course I was already transfixed on the smell of Mama’s pancakes from somewhere down in the kitchen. So, I get out a bed and dress myself in som’m I felt presentable enough for pancakes – them old worn out jeans from yesterday’s crop walk and my hat, the one I work in, and I go downstairs.

Mama was down there standin’ at the stove, flippin’ jacks like she never done before in her life. The smoke come from that stove was white as any quick-movin’ cloud you ever seen, and just as quick. Mama had on her white-and-pink farm apron, the only one she ever did like. She wore it like she wore her own hair atop her head.

“Siddown Suga’ Boy; these flapjacks almost done.” Billy come down the steps like a damn elephant just when I get to my seat. Still he sat there all kinds of fidgety, and babblin’ on about this and that.

“Grady, I ain’t lyin’,” he said. “You NEED to get on out there with me. You have got to see these damn things!”

“Billy Dean Gansey!” We both looked up and seen Mama turned starin’ at Billy with her black-tar spatula up in the air and the white smoke of the fryin’ pan still skippin’ on up into nowhere behind her. Cursin’ was considered an O-ffense in Mama’s eyes and he know he was guilty. His eyes were two white saucers when I turned and got a glance of ‘em.

“Sorry mama,” he said. He seemed sincere enough, bowin’ his head. Seemed like it was good enough. Mama always taught us to be polite and respectful. When she turned back around, he lifted his head up and looked at me. He started raisin’ his dark brown eyebrows up at me in funny ways and jerkin’ his head back toward the porch screen door. I wish I was good at secret languages, ‘cause then I sure as hell wouldn’t be sittin’ there lookin’ like I was tryin’ to put together one o’ them puzzles with a lot of pieces.

“Now,” Mama came back to the table. “You boys go on ‘n eat up. It’s another God-given-gift of a day outside. Sun shinin’ ‘n all. Y’all need to be out there soakin’ it up ‘n whatnot.” She dropped a pile of jacks right down in front of us and let two long silver forks fall from her hand and clank on the smooth oak of the kitchen table. Righ next to that she set a hot glass bowl of maple syrup with a big spoon for spreadin’. The table rarely had anything on it that wasn’t supposed to be there. Mama was real good about keepin’ it clean. Said it wasn’t good to live in squalor, unless we wanted to fashion ourselves a house of swine, which I found out was another word for pig, and not a kind of drink grown-ups had a dinner parties.

Breakfast filled me up and I was still thinking ‘bout it as Billy was draggin’ me out through the screen door and haulin’ me across the front drive space to the barn.

“Billy, you remember to keep that barn door locked; you hear me!?” We stopped and turned to see Mama’s stern form full in the open doorway of the porch we had just left. That white and pink apron seemed to be a part of her – a part of her that I still remember. They were hues of the colors that seemed to blur and resonate at the same time, shouting through the air and growing stronger the longer one’s eyes held onto them.

“You ain’t never gonna believe this, Grady. These things ain’t nothin’ that belong to this earth.” We walked up to the rusty red of the barn and he stopped to turn back to me as his hand rested on the door.

“You ready?” He asked.

“Just open the damn things,” I said, waved his hand away and pulled the door open, even against the creaks which told me better.

They were a deep and sick yellow – the eyes of the damn things, and I’ve never known my body to react in the way it did next. I slammed the door shut and yanked on Billy’s overalls. “Run you idiot!”

“Grady, dammit!” Billy yelled, running, I know now, ‘cause I caught him off guard. “I’m supposed to lock the damn –“

And the dogs didn’t wait for him to finish. There was a shotgun blast behind us as they tor from the barn, and I was startled into shock. The rest of it all happened so damn fast, I ain’t even sure I can tell it right.

There were just streaks, lines, of blue, I guess is the best way to say it. Dust and flame is what I remember, and in one half blink of my eyes, my house, my family, my room, went up in a hay bale of fire. There were two streaks of blue blazing straight into the side of my house, the white and green house I had known since, well the house that had been there since my granddaddy, and splinters and chunks of wood exploded from the side as these blue-blazzin’ sons o’ bitches blew right past everything. They were in and out of the house walls leaving nothing but an instant yellow flame.

The barn was next. The place I never shouldda opened. The chicken coop, Daddy’s two Cadillacs, and the John Deere…every bush, every tree in a 100-foot span, all went up.

And the blue devil dogs burned their way out of there, and left me and Billy starin’ behind our open house, and the barn I should have kept closed.

In the Quiet Hours


Quiet Hours

The lights are on, 

Dining room, living room, down the hall, 

It seems like there should be life in this place, 

But it’s empty, and no one’s home, 

And no one’s been home at all in two weeks, three, maybe more,

People walk through here, of course; there are bodies,

You see them, pretty sure they see you, 

But the concrete and wooden flooring of their world is nothing you can see

You lose count of the days, and the hours, 

You can visualize or look at photographs, but

You miss the real smell of real flowers.

It’s dark; that’s a certainty. Check the clock – 9:43

People are home, but the house is empty. 

And you think maybe you should move,

Because these hours have become quiet on you. 

 

TOP 21 LONGEST FANTASY SERIES


lpstribling:

Something I thought was worthy of a reblog for all my fantasy nerds out there.

Originally posted on :

Every one of you has done it: fallen in love with an epic, fantasy series that goes on and on forever. The ones that begin so grandly then morph into a multi-volume nightmare that never seem to end. Even the authors know they are bloated beasts, for example take Tad Williams, writer of the “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” series, who labeled that trilogy “The Bloated Epic.”

Having gone through this horror myself more than once, I wondered what fantasy series in my life (I was born in 1970) were the longest and most bloated. Not “bloated” in the sense that they were terrible reads (though there are some that were horrid) but rather that the author had contracted “Herbert’s Syndrome,” in which he/she gets overwhelmed by the temptation to keep expanding his/her popular universe. (I’ve read that the Fantasy Review came up with the label “Herbert’s Syndrome” when Dune creator…

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