Friday, February 22, 2013

Cat on the Threshold, a poem

Cat on the Threshold

Uncertainty of gray, you hover half-in, half-out,
fearful of the trap, of no-way-out,

eager to explore each mysterious corner,
each furniture cave and ledge.

Curiosity never killed in this house,
though it’s been known to get one shooed.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

It's not exactly a sijo but it's sort of in the shape of one.

Doing Things

It has been, as they say, nice weather for ducks. Which means it’s also nice weather to be planting and transplanting — I’ve been out putting in trees and bushes the past week and some. Also starting flats of veggies to set out next month.

I actually got around to sowing greens, mustard and turnip, through this winter so I pick enough for dinner about once a week. Just for me, as it would be difficult to get Mom to eat them, I reckon. She’s been mostly getting salad items that she can pick up with her fingers, rather than trying to use a fork. This has worked well enough for the past few months.

Unfortunately, she is losing that ability, too, and more and more I have to feed her myself. That will mean a change in the sort of food I serve, I suppose — more ‘sloppy’ stuff that I can spoon in rather than french fries and such that she has been willing to pick up herself. So it goes.

Also unfortunately, I kind of blew out my hip/back, probably due to overwork in the garden. It is difficult for me to lift Mom at the moment (though I’m healing somewhat), even at her negligible weight. An extra pair of hands would be nice but I can manage.

All this does mean less time to devote to anything creative. I do what I can, when I can. And someday maybe I can do more.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Starve, a poem


Death is at your shoulder.
He would take you, whisper you
away in a cold
exhalation. He would

take you on my watch,
starve your days
like the blank-eyed beggars
that reach toward me.

I place coins
in their hands but they
will not be fed.
Death is at your shoulder,

holding the prayers of memory.
Spread singing on the table,
you did not eat.
They only grow cold.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On 'Psychological Realism'

Perhaps the one thing I most dislike in fiction is an omniscient narrator who attempts to psychoanalyze the characters. Aside from being a blatant breaking of the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule (though all rules are made, of course, to be occasionally broken), it almost always seems simplistic and forced. Humans are far more complex than such narratives typically suggest.

This is one reason I am not very fond of many novels from the second half of the 19th Century. And why I love many novels from the first half of that same century — I’ll take Austen over Conrad anytime. I prefer an author show me his characters, let me see their actions, and form my own ideas about them.

Of course, the author does have to have well-formed ideas himself as to why his characters act as they do! He just doesn’t have to set them out for us.

Hemingway wrote of the importance of knowing things about ones characters that are not told in the story. Being able to discover the characters, to know there is depth and back-story, is an aspect of any good work of fiction.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dick Dale on Record Deals

The Father of Surf Music gives great advice to any creative musician:

I reckon this can apply to any other artist, including writers.

DD, of course, invented Surf in the late 50s when he melded California rockabilly guitar stylings with exotic scales and paved the way for the psychedelic sounds of a few years later.

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Circumstances here have led to less time to be online but I'm still around and will try to post when I can, as I can. Incidentally, a couple days ago I had my one day viewing of this blog go over a thousand visits for the first time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Once Upon a Time

Just popping in during my busy, busy day (still have to find time for my nap!) to mention that the rather long-delayed latest issue of Scarlet Literary Magazine (, 'Once Upon a Time,' has some of my pieces in it. Fairytale-and-magic-oriented stuff in this issue.