Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Comedians (1966)

Graham Greene's The Comedians (1966) opens as the Medea ship makes its way to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti with a rich assortment of passengers aboard, including a former presidential candidate, a military “expert,” and a hotelier named Brown who dubs all of them comedians—his rationale:
Now that I approached the end of life it was only my sense of humour that enabled me sometimes to believe in Him. Life was a comedy, not the tragedy for which I had been prepared, and it seemed to me that we were all, on this boat with a Greek name (why should a Dutch line name it’s boats in Greek?), driven by an authoritative practical joker towards the extreme point of comedy. How often, in the crowd on Shaftesbury Avenue or Broadway, after the theatres closed, have I heard the phrase—“I laughed till the tears came.”
Here's the link to the rest of my article.


I've been busy editing a book of poetry, having fun being dad which is the best job, right?, and continuing my trek to the Dark Tower. Here's my latest re-read at Macmillan's Criminal Element blog. As always, thank you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day: Alfred S. Cranmer

Thinking, on this Veteran's Day, of all those who have served our country like my great-great grandfather Alfred S. Cranmer (1838-1919). He served in the Civil War, was wounded in Antietam, MD, and later re-enlisted in the N.Y. Volunteer Cavalry.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Notes: Writing Prose in Pleasure of the Park

I’m hoping to get Notes: Writing Prose in Pleasure of the Park out in early December. Kyle was working on it just before his death in 2013, and it contains a new batch of poems with strong, and strange, imagery as well as several humorous short stories. Spending time on this project and hearing his unique voice is a wonderful, personal Christmas present.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Mathematician’s Writer

Jorge Luis Borges, 1951.
"He is a mathematician’s writer. His short stories are like mathematical proofs, delicately constructed and with ideas laced together effortlessly. Each step is taken with precision and water-tight logic, yet the narrative is full of surprising twists and turns." Marcus du Sautoy on Jorge Luis Borges, The Music of the Primes, 2003.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Christmas in the Lone Star State

A lawman past his prime and a prisoner past all hope . . .

Ten days before Christmas in the harsh winter of 1876, Texas Ranger Bill Sayles arrives at the prison in Huntsville to escort prisoner Jake Eddings on a furlough to his hometown, where his ten-year-old son is being laid to rest. The Ranger and his prisoner join forces to keep Eddings' wife from harm by the murderous Litchfield brothers, and maybe grab a last shot at redemption.

Happy Birthday, Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman would have turned 75 today. I think the best way I can honor him was by re-posting something I wrote about his work last year:
With Relentless, Gorman transcends the Western genre akin to what writer Jack Schaefer did with Monte Walsh and film director Robert Altman accomplished with McCabe and Mrs. Miller. No mythological posturing between these pages but real individuals on the edge with seemingly no way out. Ernest Hemingway said, “When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

Ed Gorman writes living people. Their hopes and dreams and the high costs of turning a blind eye to social justice. Relentless doesn’t have a lot of action per se but that makes sense in this noir Western that eschews fabled clich├ęs and instead builds strong, riveting passages in the formation of these desperate lives.
Happy birthday, Ed. Thank you for an incredible body of work and your kindness.