November 11, 2011
Lucid Style and Creative 2 a T, Inc. now announce the countdown to the official launch of Darin M. Preston’s Sequence 77.
Official Release Begins…
…7 hours, 77 minutes from now
Visit our countdown page before it’s too late
Sequence will soon be initiated!
Exclusive! Join us for our official Sequence 77 release event beginning when the timer reaches 0:00. At that time, the book will be available for purchase at our Web site. All orders that are placed during our official release will earn a free gift along with the purchase!
Have you entered our contest? There’s still time to win a free, autographed copy of the book if you enter our prerelease Caption Contest. Just enter your name and email contact in the form and submit it along with your caption. This is your chance to be have fun and be creative!
Revisit our Countdown Page to keep track of the countdown: This offer is available during the release event only, and may end at any time thereafter!
Steinbeck does wonders at creating real, vivid, introspective characters who feel so strongly and live so ardently their lives, one cannot help but feel a part of the tapestry of human emotion and drama he weaves.
The Winter of Our Discontent was published in 1961 and, except for some technological advances that we appreciate today, fits right into the lives of today’s audiences. Steinbeck said himself as introduction to the tale:
Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search their own hearts, for this book is about a large part of America today.
Steinbeck is as well a master of ending a story. Never anticipated, always heart wrenching. I reread the last several paragraphs over and over….I still get goosebumps.
Steinbeck, John. The Winter of Our Discontent. New York: Penguin Books, 1961.
June 17, 2011
This book gave me a lot to think about: the same things that I always come back to thinking about: people. The main character is a representation of evil in society in the 50s Deep South. Where, and in whom, does he still exist today? Is fear so strong that our society has continued to turn a blind eye to this hiding monster?
This book began with darkness clashing with innocence and black versus white. It was gripping in its characters and their motivations…but its ending I thought was too easy, too predictable; dare I say “too Hollywood”? Todd Snider’s 1996 anthem “Tension” claims that “In American we like our bad guys dead.” Pete Dexter, in this book, caved to the perceived needs of the masses.
Had he continued to dissect the monster, we would perhaps find out at what cost we might maintain our individual rights. At the very least, Pete Dexter shows us that those costs, for each individual, are highly subjective.
Dexter, Pete. Paris Trout. London: Flamingo, 1988.
Snider, Todd. Step Right Up. MCA compact disc, 1996.
May 17, 2011
I wish, I wish this book had been about the band…
Here’s what I was expecting:
“Cook richly develops characters, allowing us to share their most personal thoughts and professional concerns.” – USA Today
What I got was:
- Surface characters that flit in and out of the action; no developed characters. I heard a lot of their thoughts, but wondered frequently why they were thinking them!
- Goddess-complex female heroine and God-complex male, her husband. Tell me, who can relate to perfect people?
- Action that begins with one general theme (biotech) and tries to interweave it into another couple of themes (mafia, medical examiner/morgue). Lots of repeated information. Though the plot is interesting, questions are left unanswered at the end. Characters were created as plot devices and never touched on again.
- Funny, the “professional concern” mentioned by USA Today was a comment that the heroine made at the summation of the book (the author’s narrative ending) in regard to the ObamaCare Health bill. Timely, I suppose, since the book was written last year…?
Overall, this book felt like a circus juggling act.
Cook, Robin. Cure. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010.
October 28, 2010
There is no time like the present—to begin a discussion about time…
The question of time has been much on my mind. Judging from the usual mass media sources, time is an issue for the vast majority of us. As consumers we are looking for products and services that save us time. Where did the time go?
Our time is up—we have none left, at least, none left for ourselves. As a person who must juggle family and business, and all the daily chaos and crises that those entail, it is easy to say that I seem to always be running out of it. While I once felt I had time on my hands, I now tend to feel that I am always arriving at the last minute. Yet doesn’t the question of time always boil down to ourselves and how we choose to prioritize? Just how do we determine what comes first—deadline or lost tooth? (I mean really lost tooth, because the cat ate it before the Tooth Fairy arrived.) Once that’s chosen, how much time do we allot for it? Or, can we handle multiple tasks via multitasking? (Though I suspect multitasking is a niced-up word for doing many different things at once but none of them with adequate focus; modernity’s take on, though a far cry from, the idea of the “renaissance man.”) Is there even enough time to do everything, and to expect to be able to do everything well?
James Gleick considers the assertion of time in his 1999 book entitled Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. He explains that as technology grants us the capability of doing anything faster, there remains an obligation that we must do things as fast as possible. If a task can be completed quickly, why take longer? So society seems to be speeding, racing forward in a frenzy of fast-paced fervor. Our lives are afloat on a rapid river of perceived advancement, where we must constantly navigate new technological gadgets and applications. They appear out of inconspicuousness, like the rocks and hydraulics on a whitewater course. We are pressured, for the sake of saving time, to put these new conveniences into, and add efficiency to, the tumult of our world in this information and electronic age.
With the acceleration of life as discussed by Gleick, contemplation, with its required dose of time, is lost—it is cast away, along with a dimension of self. Contemplation is a reasoning process for thought, research, association and comparison, and evaluation. This process is key to the development of self. Like a coral reef builds new lives on old skeletal structures, our self is created out of experiences of contemplation. How we interpret these experiences is an identification of who we are as individuals. To enact the contemplation process without adequate time puts us in jeopardy of losing this very basic facet of self.
Viktor Frankl was forced to endure a heavy dose of time in a World War II Nazi concentration camp. In those countless hours of pain and horror—his past and future impudently stolen—there was nothing left but present time. Time he used for contemplation; out of which he discovered life’s true value. Frankl chronicled his experiences and his resultant Logotherapy methods in Man’s Search for Meaning, which he began writing while sustaining the torturous existence in the prisoner camp. His time, though horrendous, enabled him to contemplate life with an exceptional perspective. His book and therapy are thus his bequest to generations of people who live after, and metaphysically far from, the Third Reich.
Gleick and Frankl’s respective discussions of time reflect the dissimilarity among people’s perceptions of time. This may be a demonstration of how our perceptions shape our individual realities. Therefore it is perceived time that is epicenter of that elusive value of life. How we interpret and experience it in its most pure and perfect form, is paramount. It is each person’s personal obligation to redefine the purpose of every moment they experience—to contemplate, to discover, the true value of life.
An extra minute or two to comfort a distraught child with a hug holds priceless value: a lifted spirit, brighter eyes, and that winning smile. (And the Tooth Fairy did come after receiving my child’s note about that darn cat!)
“The Rosy Hearth, the Lamplight’s Narrow Beam” from The Good Song by Paul Verlaine
The rosy hearth, the lamplight’s narrow beam,
The meditation that is rather dream,
With looks that lose themselves in cherished looks;
The hour of steaming tea and banished books;
The sweetness of the evening at an end,
The dear fatigue, and right to rest attained,
And worshipped expectation of the night, –
Oh, all these things, in unrelenting flight,
My dream pursues through all the vain delays,
Impatient of the weeks, mad at the days!
“Le foyer, la lueur étroite de la lampe” de La bonne chanson par Paul Verlaine
Le foyer, la lueur étroite de la lampe ;
La rêverie avec le doigt contre la tempe
Et les yeux se perdant parmi les yeux aimés ;
L’heure du thé fumant et des livres fermés ;
La douceur de sentir la fin de la soirée ;
La fatigue charmante et l’attente adorée ;
De l’ombre nuptiale et de la douce nuit,
Oh ! tout cela, mon rêve attendri le poursuit
Sans relâche, à travers toutes remises vaines,
Impatient mes mois, furieux des semaines !
Gleick, James. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. New York: Pantheon Books, 1999.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Pocket Books, 1984.
February 9, 2010
Mars. The red planet, Earth’s neighbor in the solar system.
Before the Roman Empire’s expansion throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, Mars was a god of fertility and agriculture. In due course Mars became the Romans’ god of war, symbol of power and potency. Power over the land leads to power over the people…
But what about a different view, in which people have power over themselves, and this is looked on to be of immense value? In our time Gandhi and Guevara, among countless others before and since, expressed their desire for such; it is indeed the heart of humanity’s pursuit toward the ultimate civilization.
This is the most powerful theme within the Mars trilogy by visionary author Kim Stanley Robinson. Packed with scientific plausibilities, believable characters, and amazing events, the Mars trilogy takes humanity away from where we are stuck today behind invisible borderlines on Earth, and on to Mars, the future, and beyond. Mars presents scenarios that to the layperson seem absolutely achievable, provided that technology be allowed to rise beyond its current military and governmental confines. The author encourages his readers to consider the state of a world in which all individual peoples’ true passions and talents drive the progress of their communities and civilization, as opposed to one driven by money belonging to the rich and powerful few. Imagine the freedom, in its purest sense, that would be attained.
Mars is roughly 35 million miles away. But how long will it take us to get to the Mars of Robinson’s mind? I’m on my way…
Join me! Read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, and let me know what you think…
Red Mars. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
Green Mars. New York: Bantam Books, 1994.
Blue Mars. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.
October 11, 2009
Change is in the autumn air. It suffuses all of our senses. You can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, and feel it. Yet while autumn provides a plethora of sensations to absorb, we can still allow ourselves to encompass each captivating spectacle in a way that is emotionally fulfilling and humanly rich.
The lush greens and bright citrus shades of summer transform into rusty reds and vivid oranges. The stifling heat of summer’s long days floats away on the last of its warm, humid breezes. It is replaced by brisk air and the crackle of dry grasses underfoot. Our mouths delight in the crisp crunch of an apple just picked from the orchard.
The new freshness in the air punctuates the aroma of ripened produce. The bounty of the growing season is harvested, producing even more scents and flavors that invite and entice. Fluffy bread and juicy pies baking in a warm oven, and simmering stews on the stovetop all play their role in warming our stomachs and our souls.
The evening arrives early, and we head inside to our heated homes. We look for physical warmth and find it in our snuggly flannel sheets and thick pajamas, fleecy sweatshirts, hats and mittens; and the emotional warmth of kinship that comes with the holidays.
Just as the trees go dormant and refrain from growth during this cold season, I allow my soul to enter an interior of warmth and tranquility. In order to be revitalized for the next season, I now take stock of my life, my treasures, my true thanksgiving. I can recognize these supports in place around me that, like a strong and durable trunk, serve to protect me through each season of life.
I look forward to the autumn and winter seasons, the holidays and the closeness with friends and family—that time when we make an extra effort to share our homes, meals, and our lives. After all, there is nothing like snuggling with your special someone under a most precious handmade quilt or afghan.
When I’m under that blanket of physical and emotional warmth, I feel my stress fall away like the leaves of the autumn trees. This winter, I will rest and regenerate my strength for the coming spring.
Mutability by Percy Bysshe Shelley
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!―yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest.―A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.―One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond foe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same!―For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
October 7, 2009
New post coming soon!