How Life Interrupts Life

I wanted to write two posts on my blog last week.

I couldn’t.

I wanted to work on a short story due by February 14th.

I couldn’t.

I wanted to work on my new e-mystery.

I couldn’t.

My brother went missing one night driving to the store a couple of miles away. Called police. My brother has dementia. Police sent a Need to Locate to three counties. Sleepless night. Brother found in town 18 miles away the next morning. He had slept in his car overnight in a gas station.

Life interrupted.

Brother was transported to hospital. They did usual tests, vital signs, checked for hypothermia. They told me he was ambulatory. I barely got him home. He fell in garage. He is dead weight. Two EMT’s got him up and into bed. He could not walk, tried but  fell getting out of bed. I got him into living room, but he fell again. Ambulatory?

Life interrupted.

I couldn’t get him off floor. I was not going to send him back to hospital. Why do that when they said he was ambulatory? They did not seem to want him. I called 911 and had them transport him to hospital 22 miles away.

A long week. He is now in an assisted living facility.

Life interrupted.

Now I can post a blog. Now I can work on my short story. Now I can work on my e-mystery. Not the same.

Life interrupted.




Why Bookworms Need An Advocacy Group

People who read and study a great deal are called bookworms. If you love books and reading as I do, one should think it a compliment, but it is considered to be derogatory. So try not to belt someone in their sour puss if they call you a BW (bookworm). defines bookworms as “insects or maggots; there is no single species known by this name, which is applied to the anolium beetle, silverfishes, and book lice. See book (n.) + worm (n.)” You see what I am talking about. We are considered lice and maggots.

Merriam-Webster dictionary mentions synonyms for bookworms as  nerd, dink, dork, geek, grind, weenie, wonk, and swot (British). It is also mentioned that bookworm was first used around 1580, but it does not cite by whom, not what context, nor if the term was for the lice/maggots/silverfish/ beetle that wormed their way through pages and bindings eating everything up, or if they meant it was used in derision of people who read a lot.

I don’t want to be referred to as a dork, but dink doesn’t sound so bad. The only time I have heard the word is in a Jimmy Durante song called I believe inka-dinka-doo” and that is another matter.

Back to worms, I just finished a novel Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd in which one of the characters, Charles Wychwood, a poet, does in fact eat pages of Dickens’ Great Expectations. Charles had other problems, writing block being one, or perhaps like Bartelby, he preferred not to. But Charles was a bookworm in the truest sense. Bon appetite!

I don’t know who first used the term in derogatory, mean-spirited, insulting, demeaning, bullying way, towards, I am sure, wonderful people, but it goes back a long time. We need not put up with this any longer. It is time to step out of the bookcase and announce to the world we are bookworms and proud of it.

We can have march to the Library of Congress to make the nation aware of us. We can form advocacy groups across the country. We should form support groups to not only discuss the slurs directed at us, but eat pages of books like Charles. Also a yearly Book Worm conference with guest speakers. We can write pamphlets about the joy of reading and create lists of good books to eat.

“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.”Virginia Woolf

My e-novels and short stories listed below you can not eat, but reading does bring it’s own reward. In the meantime I have a Heinrich Von Kleist short story to munch on.

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Making predictions by reading sortes virgilianae; Huh?

It started with Thomas Chatterton, a poet and forger, who committed suicide in 1770 at the age of 17. It was a short, but interesting life.

In Peter Ackroyd’s novel Chatterton, in which some intrepid souls belive they have discovered evidence suggesting Chatterton never committed suicide, but lived long and forged poems attributed to other famous poets, such as William Blake, I came across this phrase ‘sortes virgilianae.’ I am at once, both impressed by writers who use phrases and words that force me reach for my dictionary to discover the meaning, thus furthering my knowledge, and irritated by the writers flaunting their intellect by using words and phrases that impress critics and intelligentsia and make me fell stupid in the process. I can feel stupid on my own, thank you very much.

If you did not tap or click sortes virgilianae I quote from Wiki, ” The Sortes Vergilianae (Virgilian Lots) is a form of divination by bibliomancy in which advice or predictions of the future are sought by interpreting passages from the works of the Roman poet Virgil. The use of Virgil for divination may date as early as the second century AD, and is part of a wider tradition that associated the poet with magic.[1] The system seems to have been modeled on the ancient Roman sortes as seen in the Sortes Homericae, and later the Sortes Sanctorum.”

Romans consider poets as diviners and prophets. It was believed that by opening Virgil’s The Aeneid, written between 29-19 B.C. at random and running your finger down the page, then stopping at your pleasure, that reading the next sentence or few would tell your fortune. The emperor Hadrian used it among other Roman emperors.

Sounds better than reading tea leaves.

And in the Middle Ages, it was still though to be a prophetic book and that Virgil was a pagan prophet. And we thought Virgil was merely telling  a story of a Trojan named Aeneas who traveled to Italy and became, in essence, the ancestor of all Romans.

So I thought I would try it. This is the passage that my prophetic finger stopped at:

“Ere now the stout ship of Ilioneus, ere now of brave Achates, and she wherein [121-152]Abas rode, and she wherein aged Aletes, have yielded to the storm; through the shaken fastenings of their sides they all draw in the deadly water, and their opening seams give way.

Well that is an eye opener. Does it mean I should yield to the storm? Sounds like the ship might be sinking. So much, if true, for my writing career.

This is where reading leads you with a dictionary at hand. But what choice does one have?

“I don’t think writers should write about answers. I think writers should write about questions.”
Paul Haggis

Virgil would agree.

I don’t think you will need a dictionary for any of my e-novels and short stories; there is a built in dictionary with e-books.

Thanks for reading.
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Have You Read Any of These Banned Books

As both liberal readers and conservative church folks know, there are books that should not be read, indeed, should be banned. But liberal readers will ignore banned books and read them with great delight. So will many church folks, otherwise, they say, how can I truly know how evil the book is.

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was created by the Catholic church centuries ago to protect the flock from literary wolves. The books banned were considered heretical, or lascivious, or if it is really good, both. The list is a veiled way of pronouncing that you must agree with us on all things; we will think for you.  After all, we have your best interest at heart.

The list of authors and their books make quite a literary hall of fame. And many are surprising, such as Johannes Kepler (excluded from list 1835), because of his books on astronomy. God forbid Kepler could explain much about the universe and the heavens that conflicted with the church. Actually, neither God nor Church could forbid scientific explanations. Thank God.

Jean-Paul Sartre made the list, as did Victor Hugo (excluded in 1959), Spinoza, Kant, Copernicus, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Galileo, and David Hume among many.

Who did not make the list over time is more surprising. The works of Charles Darwin did not make the list, nor did D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and John Cleland. Dante was banned, but then reinstated like Kepler and Hugo. As was Justine and the Marquis de Sade. The Church was more considered, so it has been suggested, with blasphemy and heresy; less concerned with  sexuality or hate. Mein Kampf by Hitler, outlining his plans for power and hatred of the Jews was not banned.

The Index lasted over six centuries and was discontinued in 1966. But that has snot deterred other church organizations and even school districts from creating a banned book list. Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain comes under fire every year in more than one school district. Being considered a great work of fiction, and perhaps the great American novel means nothing to the righteous. 

“Forgive my asking you to use your mind. It is a thing which no novelist should expect of his reader…”
Owen Wister, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains   

Unfortunately none of my e-books are banned. But I remain hopeful.

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