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Life should fulfill me. I never ask what life expects from me. Do you?
Here I am stopped in my tracks by our town’s “Before I die…” public art installation. I am impressed, as you can tell. Seriously. Young people would appear to have dug deep to chalk up their hopes and dreams.
Walk the Camino
Travel the world
Conquer all my fears
Take care of someone who doesn’t have a home
Ignore “BBQ a cat” and “Have a light-sabre duel”, for the most part this anonymous wish list reveals the yearning for meaning.
“Before I die…” originated in New Orleans. It has since spread around the world, but the aspirations are similar:
Be completely myself
Understand why I’m here
Live for today
Some of these dreams could be bumper stickers, but so what? I see no reason to believe that the responses are insincere. In fact, I feel as if I’m peering into the open heart of a generation.
Sigmund Freud would have us believe that we are victims of our instincts, trapped in orbits of sex, power, and survival. But look again—most of these confessions aren’t subject to that gravity field at all.
Expand my mind
Find my purpose
Viktor Frankl (another Vienna psychiatrist) became convinced that the most human among us are concerned with something or someone beyond our conventional desires. He should know. He survived Auschwitz. Says Frankl:
By: Jennifer Weiner,
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So, what if you were a novelist, hoping and praying for your new book to take off?
Why, you'd don Jeffrey Eugenides' billboard-famous vest...
And then you'd make your own billboards....
You'd buy ads on literary websites
And hope that people would notice
! And that it would go viral -- or, as your mother says, "virile!"
By golly, it's The Next Vest Thing!
When a smart reader suggested showing up in a vest to one of my readings, I thought, well, that deserves a prize!
Like, perhaps, a cute tote bag!
Or an adorable beach towel!
My tour dates are all right here
...and, of course, you can pre-order your copy
of THE NEXT BEST THING!
counting the minutes until i leave for a week of family fun at the lake and in the sun!! maybe i will see my elusive elephant mermaid...
Read the rest of this post
I'm actually a few days ahead on a writing project I'd assigned myself for the month of June, so I'm chipping away at the mess that is my desk. This included finishing typing up some notes from a marketing conference I attended several months ago. I was very intrigued to see that I had written "Long Tail Theory--Amazon may be selling more in backlist than up front." I have no idea if that bit about Amazon is true, but I looked up "Long Tail Theory." It actually applies to something I'm planning to do later this year with Saving the Planet & Stuff.
Long Tail refers to a theory first described eight years ago in an article by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired, and later in a book. He describes the theory, complete with a nice graphic that visually explains how it got its name. His graph shows the relationship between popularity and products--that a few products are extremely popular (profitable) and many more are less so.
This relates to publishing in a big way. A very few books are big sellers. They would fall in the "head" of Anderson's chart. These books are stocked in stores because they're likely to sell. However, far more books don't sell a lot. They're in the tail of the chart, and they don't get stocked because they don't generate enough sales to make it possible for booksellers to do so.
However, the tail is long. There are a lot of books in there. Taken together, they could generate a lot of sales, if buyers could buy them.Years ago, books in the long tail would have made up publishers' backlists, and buyers could, indeed, buy them. They could at least order them through booksellers. Backlists aren't very large anymore because of the expense of warehousing and paying tax on stored books. (How Thor Hammered Publishing, O'Donnell, 1993) Thus, between the economic issues for both booksellers and publishers, buyers often can't buy backlist books.
Anderson contends in his theory that if consumers could get many of these books--and with POD publishing and Internet sellers who don't have the same expenses as a traditional bookstore they can--they will purchase out of the long tail.
This brings us to--e-books! They require no storage. No warehouse taxes. No shipping. E-books can become the books in the long tail, available always. They can become an eternal backlist.
Publishers must agree, because their contracts now include e-rights. My publisher has three of my titles available as e-books now--Happy Kid!, A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat, and A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers. Yes! I have a backlist!
We hope to expand the list with an e-book for Saving the Planet & Stuff. We have an illustrator working on a new cover for this edition, my computer guy is working on some techie stuff, and I'll be working on marketing over the summer. And now I have this Long Tail Theory business to talk about in relation to the whole project.
So, I have a huge group of folks who support me in all aspects of my life. One member of that group just happens to be my sweet sister, Rachel Welch. She has always been one of my biggest fans… and I am one of hers! That being said, I am unbiased when I say that she [...]
By: Sue Bursztynski,
Several things! I have my first post for the Light Touch Paper Stand Back series of guest posts, from Ripley Patton, author of "Mary Had A Little Unicorn". It will be up tomorrow, all going well.
The lovely History Girl and historical novelist Louise Berridge has emailed to tell me I have won a signed copy of her new novel Into The Valley of Death. It was totally unexpected and out of the blue, as you had to live in the UK to qualify, but she liked my comment so much she wanted me to have it, despite postage costs. Her publisher does have a distributor here but she wants it to be personal. I'm very much looking forward to that parcel.
Incidentally, if you haven't yet discovered this fabulous web site, I do heartily recommend it. There is a post daily. One of the latest is about what the author discovered while researching executions in the eighteenth century. Did you know that at one stage, if you were being burned at the stake your family had to pay for the wood? I knew people had to tip the headsman if they didn't want to have their execution deliberately botched, but not this! Anyway,check it out here.There's also a fascinating post about travelling with a baby in 1645, and how you'd feed them if you had no milk of your own. This web site is pure gold for anyone writing history-based fiction, including fantasy, as Jordyn Redwood's site is for anyone wanting to hurt their hero. At some stage I may do a post about useful web sites like these.
I have some more reading to look forward to, including the Carolyn Morwood mystery, Death And The Spanish Lady, I bought the other night at the Sisters In Crime event at the Atheneum. In fact, I have two weeks to enjoy reading without having to put it aside for the day to work... A charming Year Seven boy asked me the other day, as a librarian, how much was I reading. I told him, at work nothing, though quite a lot in my own time. He was impressed when I said a dozen books, though the figure was plucked out of the air. It's far more than that.
Stand by for plenty of action here in the next few days!
No blogging for at least a week until I beat a deadline into submission, literally. So ’til then . . .
I’ve concocted an imaginary soundtrack that plays during the imaginary movie that’s based on my (real!) upcoming Young Adult novel, Before You Go (July 17, 2012) I didn’t sweat the details, such as, oh, there’s no movie and even if there was, we couldn’t afford many of these bands. Not going to worry about that. These are the songs I hear in my head as I move through the book, the songs that helped me as a writer.
Setup: For those who don’t know, the story opens with four unnamed teenagers driving on a dark road. The car spins out of control, hits a tree. One passenger dies. Next page, we rewind six weeks into the past, and gradually meet all the characters. The reader does not know who is going to be in the car, or who will die. The book catches up to the accident about 2/3 of the way through. So the book is in two sections: “Before” and “After.”
For purposes of length, and to avoid disclosing any key spoilers, I’ve limited today’s post to Part One, “Before.”
And away we go, chapter to chapter . . .
Tom Petty, “Here Comes My Girl”
Probably not the hippest selection in the world, and surely classic rock isn’t the right note to start off with, but I always heard this Tom Petty tune blasting from the radio as the car races through the fogged, misty night. Anyway. Key lyric: “You know, sometimes, I don’t know why, but this old town just seems so hopeless.”
PART ONE: BEFORE
The Cure, “Pictures of You”
This is Jude’s recent obsession as a guitar player, this exact tune, and the music plays when he shoves in the ear buds while riding the bus to his first-ever summer job. I see him staring out the bus window, crossing the bridges, the summer morning, the traffic and the water and the gulls.
TWO & THREE
The Head and the Heart, “Lost In My Mind”
This doesn’t precisely connect to the material, but somehow reflects interior Jude, going through the motions at his new job, punching the clock, meeting the new boss, putting on the paper hat. It’s a mood thing. Key lyric: “‘Cause there are stars/Up above/We can start/Moving forward.” And also, “Put your dreams away for now/I won’t see you for some time/I am lost in my mind/I get lost in my mind.”
Toro Y Moi, “Still Sound”
The Cottage Bookshop
To celebrate Independent Booksellers week (30th June to 7th July) I’m going to tell you about a little bookshop I used to go to when I was a teenager. It was a second-hand bookshop, which was perfect for me as I couldn’t afford to buy new books. The library was my second home, but this particular bookshop wasn’t far behind it. My dad used to take me there – I don’t know how he found it, because it was set off the beaten track, and if you drove too fast along the main road, you’d miss it. I spent hours in there – you would too if you’re lucky enough to come across it. It is packed from floor to rafters with books, fiction, non-fiction, old, ancient, contemporary, soft-backed, hard-backed, and so many gems it’ll take your breath away. It always did mine.
After I left home to go to Uni, I never went back. That was exactly thirty years ago. Recently I googled the bookshop, hoping against hope that it had survived the last thirty years, and imagine my sheer delight when I found it. Of course I had to go and visit it for old times' sake. I had no idea whether it was actually the same bookshop, but the location seemed to be right – I remembered it was near Penn, in Buckinghamshire, and very close to High Wycombe where I grew up.
I found it tucked away in the lovely village of Penn, tucked in amongst the cottages, off the beaten track, and it was the same bookshop. Not only was it still there, it was exactly the same. Books overflowing from floor to rafters, little nooks and niches full of books, up the old staircase to another floor of more books. 65,000 books are crammed in at any given time.
0 Comments on The Cottage Bookshop.... Savita Kalhan as of 1/1/1900
Pell Shade and The Mysterious Paper
written by Christy Condoleo
~Reviewed by JD Holiday
~ The socially awkward Pell Shade
liked nothing more than staying in her darken room nursing her allergies, asthma, reading, and longing for a pet she could not have. Her Aunt Syne
is about to change all that. She knew just the place to find the prefect gift for Pell.
The mysterious Rare Finds Shoppe
is overstuffed with odd treasures like a large rock from the road less traveled and other weird things that are only sold to the right person. It’s guarded by trolls and mischievous spirits and all patrons are welcomed by their own musical bird chimes. And to add to it, is its strange guardian, Gampi Raido
who knew just what Aunt Syne
was looking for before she did.
When Pell’s Aunt Syne
brings her the thick stack of colored paper it looks like nothing more than a boring gift! It isn’t long before she learns that with the right book, one that tells more than you read in it, and some special words she has an extraordinary present no ordinary child should play with.
It’s not long before a man known as Awl Blott
comes for Pell’s
gift that he said is his and the unbelievable happens. With the questionable aid of a rude and infuriating boy, and his vulnerable sister, who has a fear of water yet pledges to help Pell
as a spellbinding adventure begins.
For young teens, Pell Shade And The Mysterious Paper
is a clever and imaginative tale. Along with Pell’s mystery the story is charming and a fascinating read for most everyone. Christy Condoleo
’s next installment will be eagerly awaited! That's Pell Shade And The M
We had such a lovely time on Wednesday with author Karen Harper. Thanks to everyone who braved the hot weather and joined us for a delicious dinner and a fascinating chat. Check out these pictures of the evening, thanks to Thurber photographer extraordinaire Leslie Miller:
Author Karen Harper and her husband enjoy a picnic dinner while chatting with fans.
Children’s Writer-in-Residence Donna Gephart attended the picnic and was able to meet Thurber House fans and friends.
Board member Steve Miller warmed up the crowd before Karen took the podium.
Karen chatted about researching her novels, how a book gets published, working with editors, and gave us a preview of her newest book.
Karen talked with her fans and signed their books.
So I like Art Set but to be honest, it falls a little flat when it comes to adding layers and such. I like sketchbook but to be honest, Art Set is so much more fun with the way you can just click on a crayon and a marker and such.. So...
So, I came up with a method that uses the best of both iPad app worlds!
How very REFRESHING!
First, I create the image in Årt Set. I take it as far as it can go. Then, when I feel I just can't take the image any further, I open it in Sketchbook Pro. I add layers and stamps and bring even more life into the Art Set version.
In the heat of the summer, after a night of hail and thunder clashes, a white package arrives on my stoop. It's a book that I've been longing for—an early copy of Out of the Easy
by the tremendously talented, radiantly successful, and I-know-it-for-a-fact-good-hearted Ruta Sepetys.
This book will, I'm sure, be as beloved as Ruta's first, the New York Times
bestselling, multiple-award winning, translated-into-every-conceivable-language Between Shades of Gray
. I just have a feeling, and besides, this is a Tamra Tuller Philomel book. We know that that's a formula that works.
I'm all done with my complicated sentences. I'm going to spend the weekend reading this book. I'll let you know how great it is, so that you can look for it eagerly in February 2013, when it officially debuts.
I Tweeted a link to this yesterday, but wanted to post it here too!
Happy Friday! :)
How can something pre-exist?
It either does or doesn’t. If I were stricken with disease, When anything exists, it is; To travel back in time, it seems Is out-of-reach and distant. If health care will not cover me Then I must try to cure myself And I should do so quick; But even if I’m cured, I’m told My problem’s “pre-existing.” Insurance will not cover me, Some people are insisting. I find it quite confusing And at times I could have sworn That I’ve somehow pre-existed,
By: Melissa Wiley
Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen
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When the big ones were little, we got the Child’s Garden of Songs CD (like every other Charlotte Masonish homeschooler in the country), and oh how those small girls of mine adored it. For years it was their most frequently requested music, especially at bedtime–especially in summer. We got the beloved Tasha Tudor-illustrated picture-book-sized edition of Child’s Garden of Verses, too, of course: another CM requisite. My girls liked the book well enough, but it was the CD they cherished, and it’s the CD they still recall with affection, and hum around the house from time to time. Those lovely Celtic-flavored melodies got into my blood, too; that’s the kind of music I love best; it stirs my heart, gives me the shivers.
Now and then I’ll realize suddenly that there are these books and songs that meant the world to us ten, twelve years ago (Amazon informs me I purchased the Tasha Tudor book on April 14, 2000—six years to the day before Rilla was born; gosh, even before Beanie was born; and now I’m a little whelmed by the thought that in some respects, Amazon has a better record of my family history than I do)—important to us years ago, I was saying, but my younger trio don’t know them at all. It happened with Miss Rumphius (heresy!) and it happened with Child’s Garden of Songs.
I realized this a week or two ago and tracked down the CD, and we’ve listened to it every couple of days since. Rilla and Wonderboy are as enchanted by its melodies as their big sisters were. Huck remains somewhat indifferent, but then there aren’t any songs about trucks, are there?
The large book with the Tasha Tudor illustrations has failed to jump out from any of the shelves on which I’d expect it to be residing. All I found was the little Dover paperback edition, print only, no pictures; but Rilla doesn’t care. She sprawled on my bed today, frantically hunting each of the poems during the opening measures of its corresponding song on the CD—pause, Mommy, I can’t find it! oh here it is—and then calmly, almost serenely, singing along, kicking her feet, looking up to identify various instruments in the musical arrangement. Guitar, piano, violin, a fluty thing, those little round things you wear on your fingers, more violin, maracas. It was supposed to be my quiet reading time but I gave up on my book and watched her instead. It was a fancy dress day; she likes her sash tied in a fastidious bow, but she scorns anything that binds or tames her hair. The ragged locks fell over her face as she peered down at the book. Amazon says I purchased the Garden of Songs CD on July 19, 2002. Jane was seven that June. You know, last week.
The other book Rilla wanted today—wanted fiercely, rejecting my offer of the next Brambly Hedge story—was hist whist, the li
Wow, the Pop Up Festival site looks AMAZING! I went today for the schools and press launch, and got to see how our COMICS BIG-TOP OF AWESOME is coming along! It's all happening this weekend, and the comics festival-within-a-festival is just Saturday, so do come along! And did I mention that it's all FREE? Details on the Pop Up Festival website. And click here for our fabulous comics creator lineup and the day's comics event schedule!
The three Central Saint Martins art students are working their tails off to turn it into a fun comic space, and I was so thrilled when I walked in. Here's the fabulous team: Isa Caruncho, Maddy Rita Faye and Chiahui Liao.
Look at these critters, aren't they brilliant?! I was trying not to get in the way of their work, but I couldn't help running around examining everything.
And check out these Story Wheels! There will be three of them, and people can spin them (like fruit machines) and combine the words to get ideas for their stories, such as a deep-sea diver giraffe in a prehistoric swamp or a mermaid London sweet shop owner. (Candy Gourlay reminded me that this was her idea when we had the first brainstorming session! And I know Emma Vieceli and Jim Medway both do similar things when they lead comics workshops.)
Here's Chiahui Liao working on the big panel you'll see when you first walk up to the Comics Big-Top of Awesome.
Maddy Rita Faye is working on the monkey logo image here.
And Isa Caruncho is painting a big interior panel.
A back story: Isa's from the Philippines and Candy Gourlay is featuring a Filipino-style fiesta, so Candy and I had a huge fight at the first meeting over who would get to work with Isa. I loved her illustrative work and she was wearing a Kate Beaton comics t-shirt and I claimed her for comics and I'm so glad I won, ha ha. (Apologies, Candy!)
Here's Production Coordinator Jessica Hudsley checking our our robot.
Writer Marcus Sedgwick has been hugely ambitious in organising a whole vampire-themed theatrical production based on his young adult novel, My Swordhand is Singing.
Rehearsals have been going for awhile, and I think it's going to be quite scary, so probably not for the younger children. But should be pretty amazing.
Great audiobooks for guys & gals. Booklist magazine’s dynamic duo – David Wright, Reader Services’ Librarian, Seattle (WA) Public Library and Kaite Mediatore Stover, Director, Readers’ Services, Kansas City (MO) Public Library – shared their favorite listens in the June Audiobook Showcase issue. Together, they team up to provide their fans with quirky, always interesting selections for literature lovers – this time focusing on reading with your ears.
Check out David’s “He Reads” column for his favorite male audiobook readers and Kaite’s “She Listens” column for her top voices. I discovered some new narrators to add to my listening list – hope you do, too!
Are you on the verge of waving the white flag with our writing?
Perhaps you feel like these writers:
“We’ve done everything right – we’ve thought positively, we’ve battled through rejection, we’ve honed our craft, we’ve attended conferences, we’ve networked…but we still can’t get published. What about us?”
Does that sound like you? If so, several very accomplished children’s writers have put together a free e-book dealing with this very issue. They’ve each battled through the ups and downs of children’s writing and have come out on top. What do they have to say to writers who are still in the thick of the battle to get published?
They had lots to say, and it’s all captured in a F*R*E*E e-book called “Don’t Quit! What To Do When You’ve Done Everything Right — And Still Can’t Get Published.”
Thi is an e-book from Children’s Book Insider. It won’t cost you a cent. They just ask one thing: Send out a Tweet or a Facebook Like about it, so that other writers can benefit from this inspirational e-book. Don’t worry — the Twitter and Facebook buttons are right there on the page for you. Just click, send and download your free e-book!
Here’s the link:
Enjoy….and keep writing!
A guest post from the author of the wonderful Silent Retreats, Philip. F. Deaver:
For the Love of Writing Long by Philip F. Deaver
Novellas are in my personal journey as a writer, so this is as much about the journey as that “intermediate” literary form. A few years ago I spent 10 years writing my Skidmore novel, and the design was a novel in five novellas, with an introductory chapter and a capstone that were normal “chapter” length, whatever that is. Each of the five novellas, though in third person limited, was in a different character’s voice and point of view. They were written to stand alone. But they were written so that, taken together, they formed a continuous narrative, a novel of some length. In it, Mr. Skidmore went on a journey to catch up to many of his old friends to apologize and make amends for things he’d done to them in the past (see my story collection Silent Retreats). Only one of the novella-length chapters is from his point of view, the first one, as he embarks on the journey. The other novellas join the “injured parties” from Skidmore’s past in their semi-settled later lives so that we get to know where they’ve gone after their tumultuous twenties and how things have turned out. In each novella, after we settle in to its story, Skidmore shoots through that world on his supposed mission, like Kahoutek, large and looming, but also neurotic and still mean. As we’d expect from him, his motives for going on the journey aren’t quite as pure as seeking reconciliation. In fact, someone is chasing him.
By the time I wrote this book, titled Past Tense (unpublished), the theme I was interested in had changed from the days of Silent Retreats. I always articulated my theme in the old days as: What happened to men after what happened to women (very 1970s-‘80s). While I don’t think that theme ever made its point, now I’m writing something more akin to: What men do to themselves and each other. It’s quite timely. I’ve come to believe that somewhere in the chemical and genetic scripts of testosterone is written the end of the world.
Bill Clinton is a great example. When he found himself in the White House in the early ‘90s, rumors, theories, and investigations began and chased him his whole presidency. His activities in Arkansas, in elected office, in business and shall we say ‘social,’ were grist for big expensive ruthless investigations by his enemies, and, as time went on, his life in Washington got pretty interesting, too. Republicans (his enemies), still bristling from the humiliation of the humiliation of Richard Nixon, were looking to even the score, and the Clinton presidency seemed to be their opportunity because Clinton was the first Democratic president since the Nixon crater had cooled. Millions of dollars of investigations of both Bill and Hillary, all while the President and First Lady themselves were quite popular in the country, surfaced not much of anything but successfully interfered as much as possible with Clinton’s effective governing. The opposition wanted him to go down even if it was to the detriment of the whole nation. Perhaps this will sound familiar. Anyway, he shoulde
What an opening!!!!!
The talented, gifted, amazing illustrations of Australia and New Zealand’s children’s book illustrators took publishers and agents’ hearts and minds.
View the showcase:-
Hundreds of people poured into the Hughenden to open this celebration of the community of children’s writers and illustrators.
I've been working on my bio to go on the flap of my picture book coming out next year, PENGUIN CHA-CHA.
Do you read author and illustrator bios on books? I sure do. I especially love to see where the author and illustrator live. I don't know why that's so interesting to me. Maybe because I plan children's book conferences and if someone happens to live near here, I go, "Ooooo... I should totally keep them in mind to speak at an event."
Bios on book flaps are usually short - most seem to be 3 to 6 sentences plus websites - but I find them hard to write. I've been reading dozens of them this past week to see what works best and what is the most important info to list. Here's what I've found:
1. First, I want to relate my flap bio to the story somehow. Say something witty about why I wrote the book or how I'm connected to the characters or theme of the story.
2. Then I want to share a bit about my other books.
3. Optional pieces of my bio might include my education (does anyone care?) and my leadership role in SCBWI.
4. Then finish up my bio with where I grew up and where I currently live with my family and my room full of hippos, monkeys, and sneaky penguins.
I like to see a photo of the author and illustrator on the bio flap; it helps me feel like I know them. I especially like it when the photo relates to the story. In BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER, the author/illustrator, LeUyen Pham, shows us a photo of herself with her big sister when they were kids. I guess that means I should include a photo or illustration of me dancing or playing with penguins or dancing with penguins. Oh, that'd be fun.
Chase Small Business Grant - I Applied
I’m sure you’ve been contacted by friends and acquaintances about this Chase, savvy marketing, small business grant.
Well, add me to the list. I know it’s short notice, since the process of garnering 250 votes to be eligible for the grant ends today, June 30th. But, as I always say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.So, if you don’t mind, please click on the link: https://www.missionsmallbusiness.comThen click on "Login and Support
." They make it easy to use your Facebook account to log in.Then,
please put: Karen Cioffi Writing Services
in the SEARCH BOX and click search.Next, simply scroll down just a bit and VOTE for my business.Just a note
: You can vote for as many businesses as you like and I voted for those who asked my help.
I know it’s a long shot, since it’s late, but . . . I’d really appreciate your help. The grant is for $250,000.
And, I’m sorry for all the non-informational emails and posts lately. It seems one thing has been coming after another.
I thought about using Linkedin and other social media mass emails, but I already did that once this week. That’s enough.If you’d be so kind to SHARE this post, I’d sure appreciate it.
I'm really not crazy about companies making a grant process into a popularity contest, but it is a good marketing strategy on their part to get visitors to their site. Each applicant has to get 250 votes, that's a lot of people visiting Chase through Facebook.
If you’d like to know more about me before voting, please go to:http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com/about-karen-cioffi/
Thanks so much,
My family likes to write, as may be evidenced by my literary obsession. My little brother, Matt, is most notably a talented lyricist and musician (he’s the lead singer and mad dancer in this video). But he has been known to hit a few short stories out of the park, as well. Here’s one of my personal favorites, written in 2008 when “Little Dobes” was the innocent (maybe not innocent) age of twenty-two. We’ll call it “Dog Track.”
By Matt Dobie, my little bro
The sun peaked through the clouds, illuminating the brilliant green grass that thrived in the center of the track. It had been trimmed to perfection. The brown dirt on the raceway, recently raked, looked like powder. The bleachers, half-full, were ripe with characters. From the refined to the rusticated, all were accounted for. Another Saturday afternoon at the track for Ed Hummel, only this time he brought another guest with him. He fidgeted in his seat, constantly shifting positions. He let out a deep, wavering sigh as he scraped the metal seat with his fingernails.
“Thanks for letting me come along, dear.”
“Oh, sure honey. Anything to make you happy,” said Ed, forcing a smile onto his face.
“I just feel like if going to the dog track every Saturday is that important to you, I should experience it too. We should experience it together. Right?”
Ed slowly nodded and began compulsively chewing on his lower lip. He glanced over the bleachers, searching for a savior. “Hey look, honey. That’s my buddy, Thatcher. We always watch the races together.”
“That’s your buddy?” A large, burly man was sifting through the crowd, approaching their row. His t-shirt, completely sweat-stained, barely stretched over his flabby upper body. In his hands, he carried three giant plastic cups of beer. They demanded his absolute attention if they were to remain unspilled. He stepped delicately, trying to save every last drop, but he inevitably dribbled some on his pants and shoes.
“Honey, this is Thatcher. Thatcher this is my wife, Margaret.”
The sweaty brute gingerly set the beers down on the seat next to Margaret. “Hey there. How the hell are you?” he said, throwing his fat hand out to be shaken. Margaret froze, watching the beer slowly drip form Thatcher’s hand, then gently approached and shook the tip of his index finger.
“Hey, I got us all some brews to keep us hydrated while we watch the races,” said Thatcher. He grabbed a beer in each hand and held them in front of his fellow race watchers.
“Umm, it’s one o’clock in the afternoon,” said Margaret. “I think that’s too early for me, thank you very much.”
“Oh, that’s cool. Here ya go, Ed—”
“Edward won’t be having one either. We are not alcoholics.” Margaret pushed Ed’s outstretched hand down to his side. His blank face drooped into a grimace.
“Oh … well, I guess I’ll drink it all myself then.” Thatcher began gulping the beer in his right hand and plopped next to Margaret. “I tell ya what, you should uh been here last week, Miss Hummel. There was this one bastard, in the fifth race, I tell ya, I tell ya, he was the fastest son of a bitch you ever seen, I picked him. I picked that son of a bitch to win.”
Margaret loudly cleared her throat and raised her eyebrows to Ed. He reacted promptly and said, “Thatcher, could you please not use such colorful language in front of my wife? Thank you.”
“I’m going to use the lady’s room. Excuse me gentlemen.”
“Oh, I’ll show you where it is, dear.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I can find i
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I don't need anybody to lead the way
I got a dream to follow
I don't need anybody to save today
Because I’ve got tomorrow
I don't need anybody to break my fall
Because I know that if my journey leaves me weary at all
I got a voice that carries
- from the song A Voice That Carries by Bonnie McKee
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