Archive for December, 2013

Let freedom ring! Again!

The idea is, every few months an author can sacrifice the revenue gusher of regular sales for an exposure to a wider audience. What harm could this possibly do?

So, I will be running a special Kindle promtional deal, from 2-6 January 2014, Thursday through Monday: both of these titles are free! For those five days only.

Penny savings for the pound foolish.

You must have to have a Kindle to play, either a Kindle device or a Kindle ap (also available free from Amazon for PC, Mac, IPhone, Android and most recent model toaster ovens).

Enjoy. And Happy New Year!




Far better to regret what you have done than what you have not done. Act now.

Judge Santa.

Dot calm, dark Santa.


Ho. Ho.

He sees you when you’re sweeping,

He knows when you eat cake,

So quit your silly creeping.

Don’t leave crumbs and don’t you take

More than half of that last piece.

It’s not rocket surgery,

You know that Santa sees you,

And bumble bees are Santa’s eyes,

They spot every foolery,

Doesn’t matter what you do.

And so you know, word to the wise

Sewn in the sleeves of Santa’s fleece,

The NSA has trackers;

And pays off nine elf hackers.

So keep your secrets in the cloud,

And don’t you ever think out loud.

Blame it all on Christmas fright

I’m wishing everyone good knight.






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Justify the ways.

The rest is your fault.

Go on now, have a wonderful time.

Milton wrote Paradise Lost, he said, to justify the ways of God to man.

I think the harder job would be to justify the ways of man to God.

Spare us, King of the Heavens, from the annihilation we deserve for all our murders and malice, because from time to time we do something truly cute and adorable.

Or: hey, maybe this is the best we can do with the tools we have, and who exactly was it that packed our tool box?

Please, give one more chance — just for what Quvenzhané Wallis does in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Nelson Mandela? Malala Yousafzai? Jimmy Carter? Come on, cut us a little slack. We try really hard, sometimes.

You’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers from my staff, pale old man, I’m not going quietly.

Lifetime member.

Moses on a stick.

Nothing at the end but our chariot wheel tracks limning the hard sand.

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Should be the easiest thing.

Just land the plane, already.

Book Three.


As revising goes, it’s so simple. Nothing much to carry in your head, not much by way of artistic issue. Just a press-your-butt-into-the-chair kind of job to do.

You set up a synchronized scroll, get the page widths right. Then all you have to do is roll to the next red mark, and accept or reject the edit. But there is something intensely and unavoidably personal at stake. An editor has the key to your sock drawer. She sees all, knows all. Consistency, Chicago style, agreement, continuity: all that is purely technical, semi-mechanical.

“Candlestick maker, so much more, Sarah Felicity?”
“No doubts, a clean machine.” Felicity picksed rice from the tight black curls of her hair.
“Can anyone say we should not continue?”
Danni coughsed. “The issues not addressed? Sliding on the easy?”
“We can only say,” Dulce speaokse calmly, with decision, “we have weighed what could be weighed and have elected to flop together into a shared future.”
“Baby come out white, ready for that?” Danni asksed.
“Every baby,” Carrie answersed, “is her own miracle.” It iwas easy to grab Harris under her arms, because her fists awere raised as she chargesd at Danni. Carrie liftsed her off the ground so her feet haved no purchase, though they scrambled against the air for a second. Carrie liftsed her sister high and locksed eyes. She turnsed slowly to the left, all the way around, and lowersed her into place. She bendst to kiss the top of Harris’s head and speaokse very softly. “It’s good, my wild one, really. It is all good.” She brushesd the back of her hand gently down the cheek of her other sister, standing rigid by Harris, hands clenched at her sides. “Dear Syd, it is love working. Trust!”
Savion’s voice boomsed. “Baker!”
Gene saysid, “Good as it can be, way better than most. I bless, with my full authority.” His sisters’ eyes awere wide;, they haved never heard him speak so many words at once.
Savion. “Butcher!”
Danni saysid, “I have proved the rule. I accede, stipulating there will be trials.”

      But the higher value, and the deeper fright, comes in the comments:

            What does this mean? I get the Star Wars reference, but I don’t know the second meaning.

A process you have chosen, engaged with, paid for. But can you bear it to the end, 350 pages more?



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Nutcracker, truck ready, last night.

There have already been months of rehearsals and practice runs, but this week the focus pulls tight for this year’s performances of Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker. Here’s how it came together, yesterday and today.

First thing, draw a line: this goes to the theater, this does not. You hope the does-not aisle hides no critical bits. You hope the goes heap does not include any unnecessary clutter. It’s a jig-saw puzzle with thousands of pieces.

Here we go again.

Nutcracker kit: just assemble and add dancers.

This morning: the load out from the studio and load into the theater. Hang the drops, build the tree and scenery, Mother Ginger and the teapot, distribute the costumes and props.

Final studio run-through, this afternoon.

Tomorrow: finish dressing the stage, spike crucial places and routes. Fit the gels, focus the lights, cable everything, coordinate cues for the tech crew and company, pass over the final version of the music for the first theater run-through. On Tuesday, tech; Wednesday, dress; Thursday, absurdly early, the school shows; Friday and Saturday and Sunday, performances. Strike, load out from theater, load back into studio.

Next year, repeat, except there will be a hundred differences, new dancers, new costumes, new dances.

It is an astonishingly complex cooperative endeavor: seventy-some dancers (supported by a couple hundred parents and siblings), dancing a hundred-sixty parts, wearing half a thousand costume pieces. There are a few four to five year-olds, a few sixty-somethings, everything between, peaking from pre- to late-teen. Many seasoned professionals, a few novices, several seasoned teens, some remarkably clever little kids.

We are not equal behind the curtain, a cluster of bossy adults tries to run things, but when the curtain is up, everybody’s on the same stage, everybody dances. We’ve done this for fifty years. If you lined up all the dancers who’ve appeared in our show, end to end, they’d stretch from Albuquerque to Boston. Probably. Something like that.

Tina Covelli's photo.


Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker opens this week, and there are two other Nuts in Asheville this year, one before and one after ours, plus a few thousand more around the country: classical, modern, burlesque, solemn, and silly. Some are exquisite, some kind of awful. Tchaikovsky rules American stages this month. Also TV ads and malls and elevators. Nothing else even comes close.

You’ll feel so foolish and so forlorn if you don’t come to the Diana Wortham Theatre this weekend for Nutcracker. Don’t do that to yourself.

(I know, we defeated the redcoats two hundred years ago so we didn’t have to keep on misspelling theater and colour; but in the provinces we pretend a sophistication we do not possess and, unforced, give Cornwallis back his sword.)

Joke: What is a city with three Nuts? Oh, probably not funny.

Do come.



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Kamikazi Cardinal.


Disheveled, crazed, incomplete. Someday a grand red adult.

Young, male, crazy.


The side mirrors on the Toyota are favorites, anytime, as well as the windshield. Bedroom window, at 7:30 in the morning: peck, peck, peck-peck, peck. Pause, repeat. Any window, when the light is right.

Here’s me. And, there, glassed in, is this other guy. A young stud, just like me, only backwards. He’s got to give. Or make me give. But he just sits and cocks his head and pecks, so close, but keeps somehow just out of reach. He is not responding correctly. This is so weird! Why won’t he answer, or go the hell away?

It’s Narcissus in feather-drag. Such a handsome fellow, the other side of the glass. But it isn’t how it seems. Good fences make good neighbors, says Robert Frost. But he doesn’t say that, the neighbor does, Frost disagrees. Narcissus is slandered for self-love, self-absorption. But Narcissus doesn’t know that he’s the image in the pond. He loves the guy he sees, not himself.

Narcissism: love for a handsome stranger. It’s not a disorder, it’s love, disinterested and pure.

Let’s not even start on Echo.



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