Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows Night


- Lizette Woodworth Reese


Two things I did on Hallows Night:—
Made my house April-clear;
Left open wide my door
To the ghosts of the year.

Then one came in. Across the room
It stood up long and fair—
The ghost that was myself—
And gave me stare for stare.

BOO!



BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.




A note about BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.:

These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews. They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book, and give my honest core impressions.

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful Stuff."



The Last Policeman (ebook) - Ben H. Winters

"LIES! LIES! IT'S ALL LIES!"

This book is a post apocalyptic, murder mystery, with touches of social commentary and conspiracy theory thrown in.

And it's the first in a series.

And it managed to throw me completely off the scent a couple of times!

The Last Detective (ebook) - Robert Crais

"It took him a moment to place me. A few years ago, his house had been damaged in the big earthquake. I didn't know him then or that he was with LAPD, but not long after I jogged past while he was clearing debris and saw that he had a small rat tattooed on his shoulder. The tat marked him as a tunnel rat in Vietnam. I stopped to give him a hand. Maybe because we had that connection."

This offering has the same smart ass P.I., and the same intense, fast pace plotting as those that came before. It also, however, has a brief cameo appearance by a another detective from another popular series.

Many authors insert allusions to the work of other writers into their work, but I have not seen one instance in which it was done better than here. It was really quite amusing.

L.A. Requiem (ebook) - Robert Crais

"A fine layer of ash had blown into the carport, showing a single set of cat prints going from the side of the house to the cat hatch built into my door. People in Minnesota see things like this with snow."

"Aimes had learned long ago, perhaps in an earlier life, that a poet would die for a rose."

"The devil takes his toll, even in this angel town."

I had a hard time choosing a quote this time. There were many good ones.

Now that I am reduced to reading them as I can get my hands on them, and way out of order, I expected it to be much more disconcerting than it has been. As long as I orient myself as to where the next book belongs in the series, before I start reading, the stories themselves are strong enough to ground me.

A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (audiobook) - Lawrence Block

"I looked from her to the man in the polka dot tie then back at her again. "They say that's one of the ways you know you're middle aged," I said. "When everybody you meet reminds you of somebody else."

After you've read deep into a series, you tend to create in your mind a pretty strong idea of what to expect from it's main characters.

This particular novel made me reevaluate some of my conclusions.

Unlucky 13 (audiobook) - James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

"Doctor, all your friends try to walk right over me."
Clair said, "That's them teaching you to push back. Thank you, Debbie."

I was on the library waiting list for thee months!

This time around the authors managed to keep three suspenseful plots in the air at one time. Two were resolved soundly, while the other I expect will be revisited some time in the future.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Evening Thought

- Jupiter Hammon

Salvation comes by Jesus Christ alone,
The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
That love his holy Word.
Dear Jesus we would fly to Thee,
And leave off every Sin,
Thy tender Mercy well agree;
Salvation from our King.
Salvation comes now from the Lord,
Our victorious King;
His holy Name be well ador'd,
Salvation surely bring.
Dear Jesus give thy Spirit now,
Thy Grace to every Nation,
That han't the Lord to whom we bow,
The Author of Salvation.
Dear Jesus unto Thee we cry,
Give us thy Preparation;
Turn not away thy tender Eye;
We seek thy true Salvation.
Salvation comes from God we know,
The true and only One;
It's well agreed and certain true,
He gave his only Son.
Lord hear our penetential Cry:
Salvation from above;
It is the Lord that doth supply,
With his Redeeming Love.
Dear Jesus by thy precious Blood,
The World Redemption have:
Salvation comes now from the Lord,
He being thy captive Slave.
Dear Jesus let the Nations cry,
And all the People say,
Salvation comes from Christ on high,
Haste on Tribunal Day.
We cry as Sinners to the Lord,
Salvation to obtain;
It is firmly fixt his holy Word,
Ye shall not cry in vain.
Dear Jesus unto Thee we cry,
And make our Lamentation:
O let our Prayers ascend on high;
We felt thy Salvation.
Lord turn our dark benighted Souls;
Give us a true Motion,
And let the Hearts of all the World,
Make Christ their Salvation.
Ten Thousand Angels cry to Thee,
Yea louder than the Ocean.
Thou art the Lord, we plainly see;
Thou art the true Salvation.
Now is the Day, excepted Time;
The Day of Salvation;
Increase your Faith, do not repine:
Awake ye every Nation.
Lord unto whom now shall we go,
Or seek a safe Abode;
Thou hast the Word Salvation too
The only Son of God.
Ho! every one that hunger hath,
Or pineth after me,
Salvation be thy leading Staff,
To set the Sinner free.
Dear Jesus unto Thee we fly;
Depart, depart from Sin,
Salvation doth at length supply,
The Glory of our King.
Come ye Blessed of the Lord,
Salvation gently given;
O turn your Hearts, accept the Word,
Your Souls are fit for Heaven.
Dear Jesus we now turn to Thee,
Salvation to obtain;
Our Hearts and Souls do meet again,
To magnify thy Name.
Come holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
The Object of our Care;
Salvation doth increase our Love;
Our Hearts hath felt thy fear.
Now Glory be to God on High,
Salvation high and low;
And thus the Soul on Christ rely,
To Heaven surely go.
Come Blessed Jesus, Heavenly Dove,
Accept Repentance here;
Salvation give, with tender Love;
Let us with Angels share.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Get Riches

- Benjamin Franklin
PRECEPT I.
In Things of moment, on thy self depend,
Nor trust too far thy Servant or thy Friend:
With private Views, thy Friend may promise fair,
And Servants very seldom prove sincere.
PRECEPT II.
What can be done, with Care perform to Day,
Dangers unthought-of will attend Delay;
Your distant Prospects all precarious are,
And Fortune is as fickle as she’s fair.
PRECEPT III.
Nor trivial Loss, nor trivial Gain despise;
Molehills, if often heap’d, to Mountains rise:
Weigh every small Expence, and nothing waste,
Farthings long sav’d, amount to Pounds at last.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of. (Poetry Edition)

 

A note about BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.:

These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews. They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book, and give my honest core impressions.

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful Stuff."



Why I Wake Early (ebook) - Mary Oliver

I borrowed this book from the library, but I will be purchasing it as a permanent addition to my own library.

The title poem struck me and still echoes in my mind. As a former night owl, I view the fact that I am now usually awake long before my alarm goes off in the morning as something of a mystery. When did this change happen? And why?

I have no regret, though, as the wonders of early mornings in the garden are soul nurturing.


Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.


I was captivated by the love of nature in this collection. It both soothed my heart and validated my own feelings. Sometimes the desire to cut ties and run with the deer is strong. (Well, we don't have deer where I am. Maybe I could run with the squirrels. No?)


The Poet Goes to Indiana

I'll tell you a half-dozen things
that happened to me
in Indiana
when I went that far west to teach.
You tell me if it was worth it.

I lived in the country
with my dog—
part of the bargain of coming.
And there was a pond
with fish from, I think, China.
I felt them sometimes against my feet.
Also, they crept out of the pond, along its edges,
to eat the grass.
I'm not lying.
And I saw coyotes,
two of them, at dawn, running over the seemingly
unenclosed fields.
And once a deer, but a buck, thick-necked, leaped
into the road just-oh, I mean just, in front of my car—
and we both made it home safe.
And once the blacksmith came to care for the four horses,
or the three horses that belonged to the owner of the house,
and I bargained with him, if I could catch the fourth,
he, too, would have hooves trimmed
for the Indiana winter,
and apples did it,
and a rope over the neck did it,
so I won something wonderful;
and there was, one morning,
an owl
flying, oh pale angel, into
the hay loft of a barn,
I see it still;
and there was once, oh wonderful,
a new horse in the pasture,
a tall, slim being-a neighbor was keeping her there—
and she put her face against my face,
put her muzzle, her nostrils, soft as violets,
against my mouth and my nose, and breathed me,
to see who I was,
a long quiet minute-minutes—
then she stamped feet and whisked tail
and danced deliciously into the grass away, and came back.
She was saying, so plainly, that I was good, or good enough.
Such a fine time I had teaching in Indiana.

Another poem grabbed my heart and doesn't seem inclined to let it go. (Sometimes it's easier to ache for broken land and lost flowers, than face the pain of lives crushed in the name of greed or political expediency.)


What Was Once the Largest Shopping Center in Northern Ohio
Was Built Where There Had Been a Pond 
I Used to Visit Every Summer Afternoon

Loving the earth, seeing what had been done to it,
I grow sharp, I grow cold.
Where will the trilliums go, and the coltsfoot?
Where will the pond lilies go to continue living
their simple, penniless lives, lifting
their faces of gold?
Impossible to believe we  need so much
as the world wants us to buy.
I have more clothes, lamps, dishes, paper clips
than I could possibly use before I die.
Oh, I would like to live in an empty house,
with vines for walls, and a carpet of grass.
No planks, no plastic, no fiberglass.

And I suppose sometime I will.
Old and cold I will lie apart
from all this buying and selling, with only
the beautiful earth in  my heart.


And I'm sure most everyone can relate to this last one.


The Old Poets of China

Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.


JOURNALS

And it's Poetry journal time! I finally had time to sit down and enjoy the two journals that came in the mail last month.

srpr (Spoon River Poetry Review)
Summer 2014 Vol. 39.1

This journal publishes a nice variety of poetry, essays, and interviews. There is sure to be something that appeals to just about everyone. There is an on line version, accessible by clicking the title above. In the meantime, here is a taste:

The Old House
- Patsy Kisner

The old house
Lies in a heap
They left everything
Of his inside
For trespassers
To ramble by
And see
Even his coat
Hangs on the parlor wall
With a bird nest
In the pocket

Asking Her Father Where Her Mother Went
- Christina Lutz

is she waiting for us in Ohio
is she waiting in these boxes
       cobwebbing around and around
all my things

       did you know there's a spider
who eats her babies        they call it a wolf

i bet it howls as it spins
       shifting its paws in the air


frogpond (Haiku Society of America)
2014 Volume 37 Number 2

This journal is dedicated to Haiku, Senryu and related forms. Since I have a soft spot in my heart for these little gems, I always enjoy reading the latest issue. Here, have a couple:

forgetting myself . . .
cherry blossoms
in the wind

Anna Cates, Wilmington. OH

origami birds
some of my childhood
in the folds

Stephen A. Peters, Bellingham, WA

Moonglow
the basso profundo
of bullfrogs

Ellen Compton, Washington, D.C.

spider's silk
the tensile strength
of dreams

Beverly Acuff Momoi, Mountain View, CA

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Farmer's Market - And the Garden Hangs On . . .



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.


The name of this lovely Rose is Strike it Rich.
(Wouldn't that be lovely?)


These are probably the most numerous Birds in my garden. 
This Lesser Goldfinch says, "Can I help you with something?"


This is the bed I always refer to as the Grass Bed
The original Grass didn't make it through last winter, but it didn't look bad so I left it in all Summer.
Big plant sales netted me a Bougainvillaea and some Iceland Poppies, so I finally pulled it out and replaced it.


The Lady Bugs are still working hard.
This little one is sitting on a Rose called Pillow Fight.


I have to say, "What is wrong with this picture?"
Irises and California Poppies - in the fall?



As I was watching out my front door, this Squirrel ran down the sidewalk and into the Crepe Myrtle,
where he sat watching the cat eat his breakfast.
(The cat was not the least bit interested.)







 Hens
















 &















 Chicks







 
A Mourning Ringneck Dove eating homegrown Sunflower Seeds out of the newly revamped feeders.

 

Where there is one Mourning Ringneck Dove there is usually another. 
They always visit me as a pair.

 






The Cape Honeysuckle
has more flowers every day.
 And finally, we have a Rose known as Camelot.


Darwin’s Finches
- Deborah Digges

1
My mother always called it a nest,
the multi-colored mass harvested

from her six daughters’ brushes,
and handed it to one of us

after she had shaped it, as we sat in front
of the fire drying our hair.

She said some birds steal anything, a strand
of spider’s web, or horse’s mane,

the residue of sheep’s wool in the grasses
near a fold

where every summer of her girlhood
hundreds nested.

Since then I’ve seen it for myself, their genius—
how they transform the useless.

I’ve seen plastics stripped and whittled
into a brilliant straw,

and newspapers—the dates, the years—
supporting the underweavings.


2
As tonight in our bed by the window
you brush my hair to help me sleep, and clean

the brush as my mother did, offering
the nest to the updraft.

I’d like to think it will be lifted as far
as the river, and catch in some white sycamore,

or drift, too light to sink, into the shaded inlets,
the bank-moss, where small fish, frogs, and insects

lay their eggs.
Would this constitute an afterlife?

The story goes that sailors, moored for weeks
off islands they called paradise,

stood in the early sunlight
cutting their hair. And the rare

birds there, nameless, almost extinct,
came down around them

and cleaned the decks
and disappeared into the trees above the sea.

Friday, October 24, 2014

To the Fair Clarinda

- Aphra Behn

Who made love to me, Imagin'd more than woman.

Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be
Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee,
Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth:
And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth.
This last will justifie my soft complaint,
While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
And without Blushes I the Youth persue,
When so much beauteous Woman is in view.
Against thy Charms we struggle but in vain
With thy deluding Form thou giv'st us pain,
While the bright Nymph betrays us to the Swain.
In pity to our Sex sure thou wer't sent,
That we might Love, and yet be Innocent:
For sure no Crime with thee we can commit;
Or if we shou'd - thy Form excuses it.
For who, that gathers fairest Flowers believes
A Snake lies hid beneath the Fragrant Leaves.
Though beauteous Wonder of a different kind,
Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis join'd;
When e'er the Manly part of thee, wou'd plead
Though tempts us with the Image of the Maid,
While we the noblest Passions do extend
The Love to Hermes, Aphrodite the Friend.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weave in, My Hardy Life

 - Walt Whitman

Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong and full for great campaigns to come,
Weave in red blood, weave sinews in like ropes, the senses, sight weave in,
Weave lasting sure, weave day and night the weft, the warp, incessant weave, tire not,
(We know not what the use O life, nor know the aim, the end, nor really aught we know,
But know the work, the need goes on and shall go on, the death-envelop’d march of peace as
       well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Series V - (Not Really) Guilty Pleasures



One of my series had a recent new addition!

Richard Castle's new Niki Heat book,


was released last month, and yes, I have ordered it.

I'll let you know how it is.

I enjoy the TV series and I think the novels, written by the title character, are a fun tie in.

I collect cookbooks written by characters from murder mysteries, so I guess I was already predisposed to like it. I have cookbooks 'written by' Kaye Scarpetta, Nero Wolfe, and Sneaky Pie Brown, From the kitchens of The Cat Who ... , and of course,  the world of Harry Potter (and always on the lookout for more).

I am in the middle of the Sister Mary Helen Series, Sister Carol Anne O'Marie, a nun who wrote murder mysteries about a nun who enjoys reading murder mysteries and ends up solving murders. It's been fun so far.

I am also a fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Series, from way back. As well as John Sandford's, The Prey Series and The Dismas Hardy Series , by John Lescroart.

I like the continuity of reading a series, old friends, familiar places . . . I'm sure that says something about the state of my psyche.

. . . And if I were really truthful, I don't really feel guilty about any of them.

Dr. Seuss on Writing

It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

And that's why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)
 

                            - Dr. Seuss

from: About Education.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kilt Monday!


'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote of the Day


The writer is either a practicing recluse 
or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one - or both.
Usually both. 
- Susan Sontag 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Farmer's Market - Nature & Poetry



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

It is believed that the "apple" from the Bible was actually a Pomegranate.
I can believe that.
Mine are about the size of softballs.


The Pomegranate
 - Khalil Gibran

Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed
saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in
my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be
strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”

Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I
too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things,
I see that my hopes were vain.”

And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so
great a future.”

And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without
a greater future!”

Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even
what we are.”

But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to
be.”

And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will
be, but I cannot put it into words.”

Then an eight spoke–and a ninth–and a tenth–and then many–until
all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many
voices.
And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the
seeds are few and almost silent.

The program I use to crop my photos updated recently, and as all too often happens, it has become far less user friendly. At this point I still can't even do a simple crop. 

The upshot of this is that I have some bird pictures to share with you that will not be very good. 

That being said, here goes . . .

We moved the Bird Bath to the house side of the Fortnight Lily, in the mailbox bed. The plant had grown high enough to obscure the it, and my hose was just barely long enough to fill it. 

There. All better.

When we moved it we found a big toad hunkering down beneath it. (Sorry, forgot to take a picture.) 

I fixed one of my broken pots over him and filled in around it with dirt. 

That should keep him safe until he decides what to do. 


There is plenty of loose dirt in the bed, near the fence and beneath the bird bath. And he has several choices of where to make his home. 

I hope he stays.

At first the birds were mystified. 

They kept going from the fence to the sidewalk and back like they were lost, and chattering among themselves as if to say, "Where'd it go? It was here a little while ago."

Birds aren't generally known for their intelligence. After all, the phrase 'you are such a bird brain' is not a compliment.

They finally figured it out, though, and picked up where they had left off in their revelry.


 



I added larger trays to my feeders to hold the bird seed. I just had to fill the smaller ones too often. 

Now they look like strange flowers in my garden. 

But the birds are very happy.

And after all, isn't that what really counts?


 






This little beauty is a Lesser Goldfinch
male, I believe.









In this (lucky) shot, a female Anna's Hummingbird is checking out the Tomatoes.


And here is another of the indigenous creatures, the Fuzzy Traveler, returning to his den.


Toad Dreams
- Marge Piercy

That afternoon the dream of the toads rang through the elms by Little River and affected the thoughts of men, though they were not conscious that they heard it. - Henry Thoreau

The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
abstracted. People sit nibbling
before television's flicker watching
ghosts chase balls and each other
while the skunk is out risking grisly
death to cross the highway to mate;
while the fox scales the wire fence
where it knows the shotgun lurks
to taste the sweet blood of a hen.
Birds are greedy little bombs
bursting to give voice to appetite.
I had a cat who died of love.
Dogs trail their masters across con-
tinents. We are far too busy
to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense
wet spring lust of the toads.

from: Stone Paper Knife. Copyright 1983.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry

- Pablo Neruda
 

And it was at that age...Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why, when searching for "African American Mystery Writers," does a click on "images" present you with a page full of white faces? [UPDATED]




















"I’ve heard many times from publishers that the 'buyers at B&N' believe multicultural books don’t sell. When they are not stocked in these bookstores, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."



I have been reading a lot about diversity (or the lack thereof) in publishing lately. Book Riot posted a list of good articles on the subject, entitled We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit. This, however, is the one quote that stuck with me throughout my reading on the subject:
There comes a point where we have to move beyond saying there is a problem and begin actively working towards the solutions.

We are all creatures of habit, to one extent or another, and I'm no different. When it comes to reading, I have long standing preferences, but to believe that those preferences have no connection with anything outside myself, is naive at best, and willful ignorance at worst.
The sooner you admit that you are part of the problem, the sooner you can start being part of the solution (or at the very least quit being an obstacle).  
I make a point of including writers of color when looking for new poetry, and I rely on the opinions of established poets I already read for many of those choices. But I realized recently that I do not have the same balance in the other literature, mainly murder mysteries, that I read. In fact, I couldn't think of one writer of color in the genre.

Why is that?

We make our choices from what is placed in front of us, and the more strenuously a book is promoted, the greater the chance it will become one of those choices.

And if it is not promoted, or it is never published in the first place . . .

Thousands of books are published each year, and if only a small percentage of them are by writers of color, how will I find them? Because I can only read what I can find.

Perhaps one day we will have the luxury of not actively thinking about the diversity of our choices, but today is not that day.
Another agent, when asked why less than 1% of her submissions were from people of color, captured what seems to be the publishing industry’s general attitude in just 10 words: “This seems like a question for an author to answer.”

This is the language of privilege – the audacity of standing at the top of a mountain you made on the backs of others and then yelling at people for being at the bottom. If it’s not the intangible Market that’s to blame, it’s the writers of color, who maybe don’t have what it takes and don’t submit enough anyway. Read the subtextual coding here – the agent first places the onus of change on the folks with the least institutional power to effect it, then suggests we probably won’t be able to find the time (i.e., lazy) to master the craft. ...

The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?"
After all the reading and hand ringing, I went to work looking to expand the diversity in my murder mysteries, and it was harder than I expected.

Don't search for "writers of color." That won't get you a thing. "African American murder mystery authors" turned up a good result. (Don't look at the images brought up by that search, though. That sea of white faces is joltingly out of sync with the key words.)  It seems you have to be explicit with your search terms. I also found "murder mysteries by Indian authors" (not the Native American kind), "Hispanic mystery writers" (which includes Spanish, Puerto Rican, and Latino), "Asian mystery writers" (not broken down any further).

Now I just have to sift through the new information for new books, then track down and gain access to my expanded choices. When you are not in a position to purchase, the difficulties expand exponentially.

I expect to have difficulties finding much diversity my local library. If the publishing industry doesn't think there will be enough demand to justify spending much of their budget to promote them, libraries will undoubtedly have to be convinced to spend any of their ever shrinking funds.

At times like this, I wish I had a card with a big city library so I'd have better access to the books I want to read, but perhaps my efforts will help expand access for others.








At this point, my library has a book of short stories entitled Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery stories by African American Writers, and it is now on my (virtual) bookshelf. The review (sort of) will be in my end of the month round up.







We can love a thing and still critique it. In fact, that’s the only way to really love a thing. Let’s be critical lovers and loving critics and open ourselves to the truth about where we are and where we’ve been. Instead of holding tight to the same old, failed patriarchies, let’s walk a new road, speak new languages. Today, let’s imagine a literature, a literary world, that carries this struggle for equity in its very essence, so that tomorrow it can cease to be necessary, and disappear.
Here are a a couple of other articles on the subject:

This is something I believe in strongly. Expecting people of color to read stories and identify with characters who bear no resemblance to them and their lives, while saying white people could never do such a thing, is the height of arrogance, privilege - and yes, racism.

I have made the commitment to actively search out and read literature (Murder mysteries do count as literature, honest.) by people of color. I don't expect to like everything I read, after all I don't like everything I read by white authors, but I can still learn a lot.


But seriously, why all the white faces?

[UPDATED to change the title of the post. After all, no sense burying the lead too deep. Right?]

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kilt Monday!




'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Farmer's Market - Mum's the Word



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.



This is just a small part of the Crepe Myrtle bed. We've expanded the bed twice so that most of the lawn is now gone, and I would like to replace what is left of it with some kind of paving. 

The plants are not all native to my area, but they are all drought tolerant. The Bees and Butterflies are happy with the plants, and the Birds are keeping the pests in check. 

My biggest complaint about the bed at this point is that the Lantana, as a tender perennial, dies to the ground over winter and that area it covers is empty. I need some ideas about what to add that will give me some interest in winter. Whatever I put there needs to be drought tolerant, disease and pest resistant, and easy care. That's not too much to ask, is it?


 
I have a new Garden Cat.

Say hello to George, a scrawny old cat with a snaggletooth.

He's calling loudly for breakfast every morning when I turn on the plant lights.

It's nice having company in the garden again, but his knowledge of horticulture is a bit lacking.




There don't seem to have as many Pomegranates as last year. I've read that it is very common for fruit trees to have a heavy year followed by a light one. This year's fruit is quite large, though. Most of them are at least as large as a softball, and some are larger.








The Budleia is growing nicely and very popular with the winged set.








This is my Mint. (It was hard to get a good angle on it.)

I have four different kinds, each in its own pot, even though it looks like one single hedge.

There is Peppermint, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint, and Orange Mint.

Harvest time!

I plan to make Mint Jelly so I'm looking for a good recipe. Does anyone have a family recipe that they'd like to share?


The Chrysanthemums are just a little bit closer to blooming this week.

The Last Chrysanthemum
- Thomas Hardy

Why should this flower delay so long
         To show its tremulous plumes?
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
         When flowers are in their tombs.

Through the slow summer, when the sun
         Called to each frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
         Why did it not uncurl?

It must have felt that fervid call
         Although it took no heed,
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
         And saps all retrocede.

Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
         The season's shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
         In tempests turbulent.

Had it a reason for delay,
         Dreaming in witlessness
That for a bloom so delicately gay
         Winter would stay its stress?

- I talk as if the thing were born
         With sense to work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
         By the Great Face behind.