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Showing posts from August, 2009

Writer's Block, NYC

We spent two nights in New York City during our road trip.

I’d been hoping to stay at the Algonquin Hotel, that haven for writers from the 1920s on, who met as part of the Algonquin Round Table, which also features a resident cat named Matilda.

The Algonquin also offers a Writer’s Block special, offering 25 per cent off their best rate if you present a work in progress or a published work. Unfortunately, we were told that this rate was for prior reservations only, and not offered on the spot, though we both showed up with manuscripts in hand.

We ended up at the Clarion Park Avenue. This hotel may not have as storied a history, boast a pet or offer the chance to meet other writers. What it did do for me, however, was provide an intense bout of inspiration.

I woke up the next morning directly out of a dream of a brand new murder mystery, a story whose bare bones were all laid out for me – all I had to do was take notes.

The only catch is that the detective in the story is Hercule Poirot. I’l…

Help! Can You Identify This Item?

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A number of posts and photographs on our travels, as well as a post on "Writer's Block, Algonquin Hotel, NYC" will come soon.



For now, though, I and the good people at the Talbott Tavern, Bardstown, Kentucky, need your help.

What is this thing?

The Fallstars

More songs added, here!

And an Australian take on The Hobbit, here.

Meanwhile, I'd like to post a clip of Homer Simpson in New York City, as part of my travel series (details to come!), but the copyright restrictions seem to be strictly enforced. Here's a description.

Singing Springsteen's A Good Man Is Hard to Find

"It's cloudy out in Pittsburgh
It's raining in Saigon
Snow's fallin' all across the Michigan line
Well she sits by the lights of the Christmas tree
With the radio softly on
Thinkin' how a good man is so hard to find..."

I was going to put up a page for Country Roads Take Me Home (about West Virginia) but we're just driving through.

Singing Blue Moon of Kentucky

I think the Carter Family did a version of this:

"Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and proved untrue
Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue

It was on a moonlight night the stars were shining bright
When they whispered from on high your love has said good-bye
Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and said good-bye."

Singing Roy Acuff's Pan American

While in Nashville...

"I have heard your stories about your fast trains
But now I'll tell you bout one all the southern folks have seen
She's the beauty of the southland listen to that whistle scream
It's that Pan American on her way to New Orleans

She leaves Cincinnati headin' down that Dixon Line
When she passes that Nashville Tower you can hear that whistle whine
Stick your hand right out the window and feel that southern breeze
You're on that Pan American on her way to New Orleans..."

Singing Johnny Cash's Jackson

"I'm goin' to Jackson, and that's a fact.
Yeah, we're goin' to Jackson, ain't never comin' back."

Singing Paul Simon's Graceland

"The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar,
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war,

I'm going to Graceland
Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland..."

Party Time!

We've been having another house party over on the writer's forum, this one hosted by Jill in New Zealand. Mischief and mayhem abound!

200 Years - Tennyson

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"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more."

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of erstwhile Poet Laureate of England, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a position to which he succeeded upon the death of William Wordsworth. Tennyson was Poet Laureate nearly as long as Victoria was Queen. One of his most famous poems is The Charge of the Light Brigade, a tribute to the British cavalrymen involved in a charge at the Battle of Balaclava, during the Crimean War (1850s). Here is the last stanza:

"When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred."

Others of his poems drew inspiration from the tales of King Arthur, or from even older sagas, though I believe Tolkien's recreations of Norse poetry are much mor…

Children's Books Are...

A little while ago, Jen asked:

"Which of these represents your view about children's books?

Childhood is a sweet and innocent time, and children's books should be about fluffy bunnies and other comforting subjects.
Childhood is a mean and dangerous time, and children's books should represent reality with all its obstacles and troubles.
Childhood is a mean and dangerous time, and therefore kids need comforting fluffy-bunny stories because that's the way life ought to be.
Children's literature should be prescriptive, describing the world kids should aspire to.
Children's literature should be descriptive, describing the world as it is and kids as they really are, for better or worse."

I don't disagree with the latter two, and there's nothing wrong with some children's books representing reality with all its obstacles and troubles, either. Jen goes on to note that we need all types of books, "humor and adventure, realism and fantasy, poetry and …