Sunday, September 26, 2010

As long as I live

Today my father died and I will miss him for as long as I live.

No words will ever be able to describe him and even if they could, now is not the time. Marking his passing is all that I can do.

He is alive forever in my heart, for his blood runs hot in my veins, pulsing with the song of life begun in 1925 and played pure and joyfully down through the years.

He's the night air now, blowing always through the memories of my life, stirring the trees with his spirit.

Tears fall gently in the Ironwoodwind.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


When I was a young boy I killed a turtle with a baseball bat for no reason other than to see what would happen when I hit it. I threw it up into the air out in the field that bordered the river, took aim as the hapless reptile fell and swung as hard as I could. My destiny sounded in the hollow crack that launched an innocent soul into whatever heaven awaits defenseless animals slaughtered by evil children. The effects of my action moved out into the universe and are moving still these many years later. In the short term ants feasted. Worms too, as well as flies and all manner of bacteria. Energy passed into new life forms, flesh and bone joined the earth and blood and lymph became clouds and rain. In the long term I was forever changed. I walked the hundred feet to where the shattered creature landed and looked down upon my doom. I knew then and there that I had crossed a line that could not be recrossed. There was no returning to the way things were before, for me or for the turtle whose life I had taken. I knew there would be a reckoning.

I have never forgotten what I did or the violent, senseless nature of my act and even though I tried to make up for it by being good, I approach the end of my life with resignation and a keen awareness. I know that when the end comes and I die and am reincarnated I will wake to find that I have returned to life as a turtle walking slowly through the grass in a field by a river.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mae B. strikes it rich.

The following is a journal entry from the wonderful blog Kadywords from a Hot Ozarks writer named Kathaleen McCrite and a letter I wrote in response. If you happen upon this please do yourself a favor and get to know Kathaleen through her blog and Twitter account @kdmccrite. You'll be glad you did. Reprinted with permission.

Kathaleen posted from the journal entries of Mae B., a most excellent writer. Here goes.

Several people have mentioned to me in the last few days about gaining wealth and fame as a writer, and what d’ya know, Mae B. wrote about that very subject.

Today I walked out of my job in the stock room of Cheap Stuff 4 U.

My foolish supervisor and all those silly co-workers tried to stop me. They said things like, “But Mae, how will you pay your bills?” “Mae, how will you buy food?” “Mae, your car has 226,975 miles on it. How will you be able afford to buy another if you have no job?” And the very worst remark of all: “Mae, you aren’t qualified to do anything else. Stocking sock monkeys and yo-yos is the perfect job for you!” That last bit was from the foolish supervisor. I believe he graduated from 6th grade last week. About the same time as my doctor, now that I think about it.

But, I brushed off their concerns and advice because, as I told them from the doorway leading to the outside world, I’m bound for great things. I will be rich and famous quite soon now.

On my way home in the middle of the day, I stopped at the Mercedes Benz dealership and test drove a white one, a tan one, a black one, and a red convertible. I’ll probably buy the black one, and the red convertible (so everyone can see my lovely hair as I drive and also see me and turn green with envy, saying “Oh, Mae. She’s gorgeous! And so rich and famous!”)

Then I went to Top Hat Real Estate and asked to see houses.

The agent, a blonde little wisp of a thing who also just graduated from 6th grade, had the nerve to get uppity with me when I told her I did not want to see those dinky houses on the south side of town. She said just because I’d written a story was no guarantee I would have enough assets to buy one of the houses on Upper Crust Hill. She kept throwing around the term “qualified buyer” and refused to take me up the hill. I’ll qualify her, if I ever catch her alone on a dark night in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly.

Money and fame. I can smell it now. Ahhhhh.

And a letter from me.

Dear Kady,

This one hit close to home. You told me once that Mae was a knothead and as I run my hand through my hair and feel the lumpy terrain of my skull I realize that she and I are related. Long ago I used to think I’d be a guest on David Letterman promoting my first novel. After a decade I realized that was not going to happen, and, because I couldn’t sing a lick or play any instruments, I kept on writing.

Three decades, several jobs, two unpublished novels and one screenplay later, I write for the pleasure of crafting a decent sentence and nailing a few of them into a passable paragraph. When there are enough paragraphs I try to arrange them into a chapter and then start a new one. In their own good time the stories inside of me come out and live on the page. I still want to be published but any illusions of fame and fortune are long gone.

My life and writing career are somewhere in the middle of the phrases, ‘You live and learn, or you don’t live long.’ and, ‘Nothing is said til the artist is dead.’ Jury’s still out. The good thing about sticking with it for this long is that I’m consistent in my delusion. I am a writer. For me that’s riches enough. I’m going to write some more tonight and in the morning drive home past the Mercede’s dealership without a sideways glance.

Keep tapping that vein with Mae B., Kady. She reminds me of me and at the same time shows me where I’ve grown. Thank you for that.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This will be the last excerpt posted from The Bones of the King. Your comments have helped refine the shape of the final draft and I appreciate the time and consideration you gave to the reading it and then commenting. Thank you.

This chapter is a taste of Kaiulani and her prince in better times and a farewell of sorts.



The Bones of the King - CHAPTER 54 Time and tides

Kaiulani listened to the crash of breakers echoing off the walls of the lover’s cave and pulled al Shar into her in time with the sound. Each thrust was deep and all consuming and she felt herself slowly building towards the inevitable, like a wave piling up on itself, moving powerfully inshore above the shelving sand of the coast.

She had not intended this when the limousine had pulled away from the hotel, but was intensely glad the moment had arrived. They had driven north for a few miles, the prince content to let her talk and give orders to the driver. She took him to Hapuna beach and made him leave the bodyguard and driver behind. They walked down the winding walkways that opened up onto a wide, flat stretch of some of the most beautiful sand and sea in the islands. They swam in the surf that rolled in from the west in an ageless rhythm and Kaiulani decided that there was something she could show the man who had everything. If he were not moved, she decided, she would know that he was not the one for her.

They walked north along the beach until the sand ended, then took a narrow but well used path along the coastline under huge kiawe trees whose gnarled roots had found purchase long ago in the dusty volcanic soil. They passed ugly scars of new house lots that had appeared like a plague on the land and walked across the black flows and basalt bones of the island. The place she took the prince was called, simply, the lover’s cave, for that was who used it most often, or at least, that’s what you heard most people talk about it being used for. If a young couple was seen leaving the north end of Hapuna, it was a fair bet they were headed to the cave. It was a fact of life, a given for those growing up in West Hawaii. The lover’s cave was a milestone in the rites of passage from teenager to adult, from virgin to vixen, for many a young woman she knew.

The sea had sculpted the cave out of blue stone over thousands of years, each stroke of nature’s chisel taken only when a storm drove the sea up the stony shingled beach and into the opening. Over time the relentless push of tons of water and loose stones had worn down the rock and exploited the weakness of each crack and crevice for more purchase and penetration. With the passing of eons a smooth passage had been created, carpeted with hundreds of tiny shells and glistening with salt crystals and the emerald glint of olivine deposits. During the days and nights when the sea was at normal levels the cave was dry and cool and a person looking out from the opening had a perfect view of the ocean and the distant horizon. The secluded and secret spot beckoned lovers. The siren’s song of the sea crashing on its doorstep and the encompassing darkness within its cool depths seemed to urge visitors to mimic its formation with their passion. By the time she reached it, following the almost invisible trail around a rock outcropping and down a wave eroded shelf, Kaiulani knew she was going to surrender to al Shar if he would have her.

She was not disappointed. The prince, lean and supple and well muscled, took her in his arms after they entered the cave. She had stared up into his eyes and tried to see her future mirrored there, but it was too dark. When he lowered his lips to hers she pulled him tight to her and felt his body stiffen against hers. He removed her bikini top as he kissed her and she felt the air caress her nipples and then his tongue warmed them as he nuzzled her breasts. Her pareu and suit bottom joined his on the floor of the cave and they stood naked for a moment, each taking the measure of the other before coming together in a rush.

Al Shar lifted her with powerful arms and entered her as she wrapped her strong legs around his hips and pressed her breasts to his searching lips. She leaned back, grasping his shoulders with both hands and pushed herself down onto him. She rode him until his knees buckled and he lowered her onto the shells and pounded into her. His love was like the sea, deep and mysterious, endlessly changing yet steady as a heartbeat. Kaiulani arrived at that special place that only women can visit and cried out in ecstasy. She was lost on the wind, riding the waves of pleasure as he slammed into her, meeting his thrusts with abandon, screaming when she felt him come, pulling him to her as his tide ebbed and hers ran wet and hot to meet the sea.