Monday, October 16, 2017

...for as much.

We thought the butternut squash had done their do, but after Nate's rain and a few days of summerish temperatures, the vines are all abloom again. Maybe too late for any squash before frost, but the flowers are lovely. We'll enjoy and be grateful for as much as we're given.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


The big re-write of Slick Rock Creek is complete now, and I can still recognize my novel. Yes, it is a better story now, and no, I still don't think it will please Editor. It hasn't gone at all the way she wanted or I anticipated. At any rate, I'm in no hurry to send it out again. I'll live with it until winter, and if it still looks good to me after Christmas, maybe...

Meanwhile, I might read a little snippet to the young'ns down at Polk County High School if I get invited back. I'm curious to see how real readers might cotton on to Wilma Longshadow and Martin Youngblood.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Writer's pitfall #1...

Mediocre praise kills good writing. Hearing how good you are doesn't teach you anything about your craft.

Friday, October 13, 2017

In this last chapter...

I give thanks for my good life,
though often I have fallen short
of good deeds and good intentions.
I have many times been wounded,
but never broken beyond mending,

My way, not always easy,
but never too hard to bear.
I have sometimes been sad,
but never crushed by sorrow.
I have often been surprised by joy.

In spite of me, my life has brought
me to this last good place
among good friends. I am happy in it.
I have not been deserving of it, ever,
but I am grateful for it, always.

We are not called to be perfect,
but simply to be human.
If you cannot be blameless, you can be kind.
If you cannot be cheerful, you can still comfort,
If you cannot be great, you can be true.

Look close, listen deep
pay attention to silence.
Be all you can be. It will be enough.
Pray always, not for justice,
but for mercy.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Decline in fall...

Photo by David Longley

According to the Washington Post, the U. S. restaurant industry is in decline. That is hard to believe, when you look around our town of a few more than 700 residents and see a half-dozen restaurants, that seem to be full of customers whenever I walk past one. Perhaps we can thank the tourists and summerfolk for that.

But at our house, we do dine out much less than we did a couple of years ago. It is not just a matter of economics, but I'm married to a skillful and adventuresome cook. It doesn't make sense to pay somebody else to cook for us when we can make better-tasting, more imaginative meals at home. And as our little vegetable garden, now in its second year, comes into its own, we have more from our own dirt to work with as time goes by.

We still eat out on special occasions, or when the cook-for-the-day needs a break from the kitchen. Yes, I do cook occasionally, when Jane Ella will let me. I can do pretty well for field grub. My brother-in-law Bruce, who could qualify as a five-star chef, says I'm a fair “rustic cook.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

...a bright blue-eyed day.

Photo by David Longley

On a bright, blue-eyed October day last week, I read a short excerpt from my first novel, The Summer Boy, to an advanced placement economics class at Polk County High School. The instructor had invited me to read to the students, although I know nothing at all about making money. No doubt the invitation came to me because I was there and I talk for free.

The story I read from was set among a society pretty much without money, where folks met their needs by trading goods and services directly. That is an impossible world, according to our twenty-first century mindset, but it is not a world that has never existed. The details of my novel were derived from tales I heard from my grandparents and my first father-in-law, Bruce Robert Holt, who grew up in what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Shaconage, as those mountains were called in the Old Tongue.

Up until after the Great Depression of the nineteen-thirties, that lingered in the Southern Appalachians right up to the second world war, many ordinary highlanders had little or no access to cash. They made do and got by with what they could craft or grow for themselves, and traded with neighbors who lacked what they had and had what they lacked. Nobody would want to go back to such times. We probably no longer possess the skills or fortitude to endure and survive them. But those who could and did, laid the foundations for all the blessings we squander today.

Before we're ready, time and circumstance may teach us again all the lessons we forgot along the way from past to future.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stoned again...

It's no big deal. I've been stoned before, on more than a few occasions but this time my urologist seems mildly excited about it. He's more excited than I am, certainly. At any rate, there's a CT scan scheduled for me at Pardee Hospital Monday morning to find out what kind of rocks may be lurking in my plumbing.

Meanwhile, the world turns, the leaves fall, and the stream runs freely on, and I press forward with the current novel re-write, praying to get it done without interruptions, medical or otherwise.

I hope your days flow along unimpeded, as well.