The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pear, in Blossom -- a poem

Pear, in Blossom

The pear, come to full glorious stench
of beauty, throws herself at spring

before all other trees. She blooms
into the sky. A promise hangs

upon her branches, to bow with
all green-gold homage in their season,

as ripeness comes to she who now
will stand so modest in her white.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

I jotted down a few words when the pear trees were blooming last month and went back to finish writing this short piece today. It is probably enough, as is --- I do hate to 'overwrite.'

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cold Again?

I’ve become a bit fixated on my music the last couple weeks, practicing, learning or relearning songs, even a little song writing. As a result, there is no progress on the novel or other fiction. Maybe a break was a good idea anyway.

Most of the winter I could barely play. My hands were stiff and swollen through the cold weather and they’re only now getting to where I can start sounding like my old usual inept self. I really don’t do well in the cold. Shoot, I had to leave the venue I visited on Sunday halfway through the show because the air conditioning was making it hard for me to breathe. I don’t like AC and it has bothered me more and more in recent years.

Oh well, I guess living on a sun-baked beach is out of reach for me. At least at the moment. But I reckon I can camp there some this summer.

Alas, we are dropping into the mid-thirties tonight. There was a horrendous thunderstorm last night, maybe the worst I've ever seen here, and loads of rain. Needless to say, the lunar eclipse was not visible. Now the front that was fueling it has passed through and cold winds are shaking the place.

* * *

With regards to my mention of maybe switching to Yahoo’s simpler, cookie-cutter, online website builder — ‘Site Solution’ — I checked it out and it is quite inadequate to my needs. So I needed to either try to get their SiteBuilder working properly or switch to editing html and just upload my pages. I like the flexibility of a designer-oriented software, rather than having to write html, but I need to be able to depend on whatever I use.

Fortunately, reinstalling (with a slightly updated version) and mucking about with Java got the program working again and the site is all updated (but needs work). Still, I’m seriously considering going to a simple html editor, even if it doesn’t let me design ‘on the fly’ like SiteBuilder. I hate to have to plan ahead!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Divides, a poem

Divides

The rocky divides of God
no longer fence us. We
grew our wings. We saw

that sky is but ocean turned
upside-down and any
deep-blue depth may be sailed.

On what tent-poles have
we hung the mountains, now?
What clouds sing onto

the valleys? We remain
unknown. We whisper across
the heights of each divide.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Okay, another poem completed (in an early draft sense). Fussed around with this one for a few days. I think this is supposed to be Poetry Month or some such nonsense...I just write them when I feel like writing them.

On the Road and On Line

So, I finally got out and about yesterday after not going further than twenty or so miles from my home for the past four years. Drove down to Roberts Hall in Lynn Haven for the weekly “Americana” concert and open mike hosted by Lucky Mud. It’s not too bad a drive, 53 miles from door to door, so I’ll probably visit from time to time. That’s less than I used to drive from my former home in Steinhatchee to the monthly coffeehouse at White Springs.

Although I didn’t play this time, I do intend to take an instrument in the future. Maybe this coming Sunday — with family visiting (‘Mean Mary’ and her mom are in Florida for a couple weeks) and my birthday the next day, I am quite unsure about my schedule. How old will I be? Not telling but the Beatles wrote a song about it.

* * *

In completely different news, I have been having a lot of trouble with Yahoo lately (like a month or so). Trouble connecting to my account there, my mail, my website. That, I know, is partly due to my satellite internet connection which becomes iffy in some weather and always has a slight lag which can throw things off. And, no doubt, some of it is the fault of Yahoo. Still, I like having my site at Yahoo and do not plan to change that. I am thinking it might be time to switch to their simpler site-building software and editing online instead of repeatedly failing to upload my updates.

That would also make it much easier to update any time, any place, which is a definite consideration if I travel. Shoot, I could just go for a bunch of embedded WordPress blogs. Whatever I choose, I should choose it soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

wasp nest poem

last year’s paper wasp
nest is a fragile platform
for this year’s wren nest

SB 2014

Not a very good haiku (if one at all) but it's been a while since I've written or posted any poetry at all. I'm mostly in prose mode at the moment.

Wrens have indeed settled in and built their nest atop an old paper wasp hive up in the corner of my window. The cat has been supervising construction through the glass.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Martin and Me

Inevitably, there have been comparisons of my “Donzalo’s Destiny” books to the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. This, I understand, but I have gone out of my way to not read any of Martin’s books nor watch the television series based on them. And I’ve been working on the Donzalo saga for quite a while anyway — I wrote the first draft of the first novella somewhere around fifteen years ago. The actual world in which it is set, however, goes back quite a bit further.

Martin seems to have used the War of the Roses as a partial template for his novels and I will admit to drawing inspiration from the Thirty Years War myself (or, more properly, the century that led up to it). I have also most certainly drawn inspiration from every author I’ve ever read but I would have to say the influences of Michael Moorcock and Roger Zelazny seem the most obvious.

Indeed, Moorcock’s ‘The Warhound and the World’s Pain’ is a pretty direct influence, being set in a similar place and time. And my voice, I think, is much more similar to the two authors I have named here — or so I would hope!

Anyway, there was a new chapter from Martin’s saga posted online this morning so I decided it was, perhaps, time to check out his work. I found it clumsily wordy and plodding and not at all my cup of fiction. The novels, I think, will remain unread.

Which is just as well. When there are so many extraordinary authors of fantasy from the past to whom I can look – Tolkien and Cabell and Dunsany and even E.R. Burroughs – I most certainly don’t need Martin.

I have started, after a short hiatus to clear my mind, to write on the third Donzalo book, tentatively titled ‘The Sign of the Arrow.’ I really should be on other projects (such as some much-postponed illustrated work) but young Donzalo and his large supporting cast are pushing their way to the front once more. We shall see if I keep at it!

Incidentally, my Donzalo ebooks have not yet shown up at Kobo or Amazon but remain available at iBooks and Barnes & Noble, along with some of my other titles. Just search for Stephen Brooke. And, of course, they are also at arachispress.com.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Emptiness, a poem

Emptiness

The great emptiness
visited me, whispering
wordless taunts.

Before shone the first
stars, the gods decided
you and I

would come and go,
live and die, be
and be not.

Their laughter is but
an echo, a shadow of
the big bang,

and they, too, have
gone into the empty
darkness between us.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Books at Amazon

So, Lulu has finally made distribution to Amazon and Kobo a part of their service. Apple and Barnes & Noble have been available all along, as well as selling directly, but now we can offer ebooks through these two markets as well. Just in time---I had done my own conversion of my 'Donzalo' novels to mobi (Kindle) format and was planning to offer them via Gumroad or Sellfy. I guess there is no need for that now (though I may do a 'bundle' through one or the other).

I  could, if I wished, also distribute my print editions through Amazon and other outlets, too. However, they take such a big chunk I would actually have to raise my prices to make any money! And you wouldn't want to pay more, would you? Even then, it would not be anywhere near as much as I can make selling through our Arachis Press site and/or Lulu. So, no thanks.

The first two novels of the 'Donzalo's Destiny' series should appear at Amazon and Kobo shortly, same price as elsewhere (2.99). That would be THE SONG OF THE SWORD and THE SHADOW OF ASAK. I'll see about getting some of the other books up, in time. The poetry books will probably be available soon but I do want to create a revised edition of THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE before re-releasing it.