Category Archives: Books

Literary Reference

Need to borrow a good book?  If so, click on any photo to enlarge all and read titles. Something for everyone.

 

For Nancy’s A Photo A Week Challenge.  on the topic “Literary Reference.”

Veils, Halos and Shackles : International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women,

veils halos shackles cover

It has been pointed out to me that although I mentioned this anthology when I had work accepted by the editors, Charles Fishman and Smita Sahay, that I haven’t posted anything about it since it has been published.

Below is a link to an article about it from “The Hindu,” an English-language Indian daily newspaper. Headquartered at Chennai,  It is the second most circulated English-language newspaper in India, with average qualifying sales of 1.45 million copies as of Jan−Jun 2016. A friend sent me this link to The Hindu article, pointing out that the review mentions my poem, “Zauditu,” which appears in the anthology.

You can see the Goodreads page about it HERE, which contains some reader reviews and links to online booksellers.

She Reads Me!

The Prompt: Your book is about to be recorded as an audiobook. If you could choose anyone  to narrate it, who would it be?

prairie moths cover 8.5_ (1)
She Reads Me!

When ever I go off to sleep
there is some company I keep.
No Teddy bear or other furry––
the thing I use to stave off worry
of that proverbial smoking gun–
the unkind deeds I might have done–
is a simple bedtime rite–
an audio book to stave off night.

Instead of wandering my mind,
mental ramblings of another kind
fill my thoughts before I slumber,
for fiction does less to encumber
my dreams with guilts of past misdeeds.
Entertainment rarely breeds
nightmares of a shocking sort.
The words of others just abort
somnambulant wanderings through the vast
savannas of my distant past.

So–short story long, if you’re the same––
using sleep to sort through blame
for all your guilty pleasures past,
and if you seek a way to cast
off all these worries of the night,
and choose my words to soothe your plight,
When I lay you down to sleep,
I hope I’m read by Meryl Streep.

Here’s what I wrote the first time I answered this prompt:   https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/09/11/3307/

 

Night Fantasies and Other Reading Pleasures

Night Fantasies and Other Reading Pleasures

 In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.” What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

IMG_3312 IMG_3313

For his entire life, my dad was the storyteller in the house, but at night time, it was my mom who climbed into bed with me and talked me to sleep.  At first, she would make up the stories, perhaps fitting me into them, or weaving fantastic tales of everyday life that grew as I asked question after question.  (Present day bloggers may notice this same tendency in my comments! Sound familiar, “Relax”?)

One story would end, and of course, I demanded another.  Finally, she found a book of one-page stories to read to me, and when she got to the end of the first page, most nights she could be prevailed upon to read one or two more. To this day, I usually listen to a recorded book from Audible as I fall asleep.  As I’ve noted before, sometimes I wake up in the morning with the book still running and I wonder how it affects my dreams.

What a relief to learn to read in the first grade, so I could experience a new story whenever I wished.  From Dick and Jane to The Little Red Hen, I loved those simple plots that somehow grew so involved in my imagination.

Many of my favorite childhood books were lost in a tornado, but a few years ago, I found a number of others in my older sister’s library.  “A Walk in the City,” several Dr. Seuss books and my favorite of all times, “The Teenie Weenies” now reside on my own bookshelves.

It was in second or third grade that I became addicted to Nancy Drew.  Go HERE for that story.

IMG_1316

Books

The fresh bookstore smell of them,
bending the pages to crack the spine,
notes scribbled in the margins,
underlines,
hearts with initials on the flyleaf,
something to loan or to wrap for a gift,
something propped up on the bathtub edge,
it’s paper sprinkled with drops–
pages wrinkled into a Braille memory–
that rainstorm run through,
how he put it in his back pocket.

Poetry touched by fingers.
Single words met by lips.
Words pored over by candlelight or flashlight
in a sleeping bag or in a hut with no electricity.
Books pushed into backpacks
and under table legs for leveling.

Paper that soaked up
the oil from fingers
of the reader
consuming popcorn
or chocolate chip cookies
in lieu of the romance on the pages–
finger food served with brain food.
Passions wrapped in paper and ink–
the allure of a book and the tactile comfort.
The soul of a book you could touch, fold, bend.

Books are the gravestones of trees
but also the journals of our hearts.
Cities of words,
boards and bricks of letters,
insulated by hard covers or the curling skins
of paperbacks.
Something solid to transfer the dreams
of one person to another in a concrete telepathy
of fingers and eyes.
Books are the roads we build between us,
solid and substantial–
their paper the roadbed,
the words the center lines directing us.

What will fill the bookcases of a modern world?
Google replacing dictionaries,
Wikipedia already an invisible bank of Encyclopaedia Britannicas.
What will we use our boards and bricks for,
if not to hold up whole tenements of books?
How will we furnish our walls?
What will boys carry to school for girls?
What will we balance on heads
to practice walking with perfect posture?
What will we throw in the direction of the horrible pun?

Will there be graveyards for books, or cities built of them?
Quaint materials for easy chairs or headboards for beds?
Will we hollow them out for cigar boxes
or grind them up for packing material?
Where do books belong in the era of Kindle and Audible?
These dinosaurs that soon will not produce more eggs.
Perhaps they’ll grow as precious as antiques.
Perhaps the grandchildren of our grandchildren
will ponder how to open them. Will wonder at their quaintness,
collecting them like mustache cups or carnival glass,
wondering about the use of them–as unfathomable as hieroglyphics.
That last book closing its pages–one more obsolete mystery
fueling the curiosity of a bygone era that has vanished
into a wireless universe.

search search-1
Yes, you are right.  These are chairs made out of books.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Going Obsolete.” Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?

IMG_1314

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Kindness of Strangers.” When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!

I was about to tell a story and then had a fleeting memory that I’d already written about this occasion, so I searched backwards in my blog and although I couldn’t find that story, I did find a poetry version of two kindnesses by strangers that changed my entire life.  If you’ve read it before, I apologize, but since I don’t even remember my own poems and stories, perhaps you’ll read this with new eyes as well. It’s a bit long.  Sorry, Ann and Audrey. I’m trying for more brevity lately and I have shortened this by one stanza. Hope you enjoy this or get something from it, be it new for you or a repeat:

Unsolicited Kindness

The stranger on an airplane in the seat right next to me
never said a single word, and so I let her be
until our arrival, when I prepared to stand
and she produced a paperback—put it in my hand.

“I think it’s time for you to read this,” she said, then went away.
I didn’t say a word to her. Didn’t know what to say.
That book, however, changed my life and attitude and choices—
encouraged me to listen close to interior voices.

Buscaglia, Jampolsky and all of Carl Jung’s books
drew my mind away from appearances and looks
and into that finer world of instinct and of mind;
then drew me westward to the sea and others of my kind.

After a writer’s function, a stranger sent to me
“The Process of Intuition,” which I read from A to Z.
I read it twenty times or so, then sent it to a friend.
Then bought up every copy left to give as gifts and lend.

I don’t remember talking to the one who sent it to me,
but if I need a proof of faith, I guess that this will do me.
For if I follow instincts that hint and prod and clue me,
I believe there is some force that draws the next thing through me

I don’t believe in any faith that has a name or church.
I do believe, however, that I’m guided in my search
by something that unites us and sets our pathways right
so long as we listen to our own interior sight

that urges us to follow the right side of our brain
even though those choices are logically inane.
I know that it takes many types of brains to run the world,
but for me it’s intuition that when carefully unfurled

guides me best—towards art and words and unplanned days and oceans
and prompts me make a Bible of what others may call notions.
And so to simplify I’d say it’s vital to have faith in
that voice we’re all a part of that leads us from within.

NaYesWriMo

DSC08906The day before yesterday, I decided to let my novel of three chapters die a quiet death.  My plans to go to the beach to finish it already firmed up and rents paid, I decided I’d devote the time to my other books, already written, getting them illustrated and formatted.  Then yesterday, my dear friends Betty and Larry showed up at our monthly reading at La Rueda with this gift for me.  Looks like that novel (or a different one?) is back in the works.  Who can reject a gift from a friend?