A collection of things

The trade winds have roughened since yesterday. There’s a cinnamon whiff of Carolina allspice in the air, another thing that’s blown in from the south. It doesn’t remind me of home, but it does remind me where I came from.

Each thing in this room is balanced by another thing, and each of them falls, eventually. Do you remember telling me that?

I smell the rain, hear it erase the miles between rest stops and parking lots. There’s a suitcase in the back I haven’t touched since Cincinnati, or maybe Youngstown. Things I packed for you, things I can’t bear to lose. I keep my things in a duffle bag, something I have to remind myself is still mine. Your hand-drawn map is still on the dashboard, yellowed from old sunshine. The miles, dear, the miles, all contained in the briefest of thoughts.

“Do you know where you are now?” she asks.


“Yes, silly, but where?”

“Mecca? I think that’s what the sign said. I drove through a covered bridge.”

And she is silent, and I wonder where  I am.

All the flags were at half-staff as I drove north through Kentucky. “You still don’t like to drive, do you?” she asks.

“The drivers try to drive me off the road.”

“Of course they don’t. Follow the map I drew for you. You’ll find your way.”

“Way where?”

And she is silent, and I wonder where I am.

I have become a brief collection of things to her, of aching bones and tired griefs and driving tantrums. “Way where?” I ask again.

“Way Ward.”

“My name isn’t Ward,” I say, an old joke of which I have forgotten its origin. “Am I That Easy to Forget?” is on the radio. The Jim Reeves version, I think.

The westerlies  have roughened since yesterday. There’s an industrial whiff of cabbage in the air, another thing that’s blown in from the north. It doesn’t remind me of home, but it does remind me where I am going.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

Romantic ideas

“I love her, you know.”

“Everyone loves her.”

“But, yeah. I mean really.”


“No, really.”

“She’s a nice girl. But c’mon. You’re too young. She’s too young.”

“Doesn’t mean it isn’t real, Efrim.”

“Well don’t tell her. She’ll get all upset.”


“Just because. You don’t know, David. She’s… flighty. She gets these big romantic ideas and she doesn’t know what to do with them. She cries at the end of movies. She keeps a diary and draws hearts on the cover. She thinks the Partridge Family is real. If she thought things like that were real… well, I dunno. She’d take it too serious. She’d imagine wedding cakes and sparkly placemats. She’s not old enough to know that those things aren’t ready for her yet. If she knew that you loved her, she’d think bad things could never happen. And bad things always happen, especially to kids.”

“Maybe not this time?”

“Just wait, David. Please.”

“But I love her.”

“Then you should wait. Okay? You wanna shoot off some firecrackers?”

“Hey, yeah!”

Faith in innocence

Things changed. Big changes, the kind that could challenge their faith. There was ignorance in childhood, but also innocence. It was their shield.

Even cruelties abided by faith. You could be struck, but it did not break you. You could cry, but it would not ruin you. You could be bullied, but it did not stop your heart. Their innocence kept them from the hard thoughts, issues of their own esteem. The hard thoughts were for later, when they were older and smarter and well-equipped. There were no real hard things in their lives, nothing that could permanently impair. There were the ragged emotions, the unwanted corrections, the politics of the school yard. But their faith was solid, in their friends and in their family. It was a rough code, but it worked.

Innocence was an easy thing to believe in.


Elani was the most gifted of us, but it was hard to watch her subtract herself from happiness. She was the good girl, the kind girl, the quiet girl who leaned into the shade of a river birch while others swung from ropes and imprinted the water with their thrashing bodies.

She was not destined for great things, and she did not pursue them. The current ran deep, and she found comfort in her aloneness and sandpapered memories. She had no quarrel with pain. She reconciled it as the great truth of life, and saw strength as a punch in the belly, holding back the yelps, damming the tears behind waxwork eyes.

She took his hand and kissed Efrim on the cheek. It was a quick kiss, a nervous kiss. She showed her affection hardest when she was afraid.

The Martian: Self-published to Book and Movie Deal

One can hope…

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Andy Weir’s The Martian is one of those success stories that indie authors love to hear about, or rather, would love to happen to them.

You see, Andy Weir started out by posting chapters of The Martian on his blog for anyone to read for free.  He then decided to sell it for $0.99 on Amazon. Then things got crazy. It was so popular that it got picked up by a traditional publisher, and then within a week, he had a movie deal. And now that the movie’s coming out, it appears that critics are saying this may be one of the best movies of the year.


Read about the whole story here. What I wrote above is just a highly condensed version. And here’s the movie trailer.

This should give hope to a lot of indie authors who want to make it big. It can happen. But…

View original post 96 more words

Ordinary Handsome Review – A Stunning Read

A wonderful review for “Ordinary Handsome”. I’m speechless. A huge thank you to D. Wallace Peach for taking the time to read my work and then write about it. Please check out her blog mythsofthemirror.com

Myths of the Mirror


I just finished this book and sit here collecting my thoughts. From the first page, I knew I had happened on something special, something that would sweep me into the otherworld offered by a talented author and his beautifully written book.

The story is grim, about the dying lives that labor on in the dying town of Handsome, Oklahoma. Ghosts in a ghost town. The book follows ordinary men dealing with the epic struggles that shape human experience: love and death, failure, fathering, poverty, murder and lost hope. It revolves around a young man, Euart Monroe Wasson, and the men who participate in the tragedy made of his life.

The narrative isn’t one to speed through. Baird writes with a style that requires one to pay attention. He slowly draws aside the veils that reveal the interconnection of each man’s story. I had the impression that I was piecing together a mosaic, the…

View original post 178 more words