Storm, Part 2

“Get a real job, a**hole!” I told the scam
man with the not-from-around-here accent
who woke us up from a midday nap
but maybe this is his real job
and he hung up on me because
I obviously would not earn him any commission
And Not because I hurt his feelings.
If I had to take a job calling people
in other countries and trying to steal their
money, my self-esteem would not be high.
I perhaps shall be nicer
to the next charlatan who
wakes me up.

Here’s what I’m doing

OK, let’s be honest. This is a filler blog post. Or is it?

I’m working on a five-part series that will start Monday, emerging from the phrase, “Thank you, Lord, for this most amazing day.” I have a poem already locked and loaded for Sunday. So what do I write for Saturday? (As I type this, it’s 9:30 a.m. Friday and I need to leave the keyboard shortly.)

The post office tells me my first copy of The Man Who Was Thursday will be in the mail today, and I’m looking forward to that. Our story thus far: I have become a huge fan of Christopher Morley’s 1919 classic The Haunted Bookshop, and one of its features is that bookshop owner Roger Mifflin keeps spouting names of great books he recommends. After sampling a few of those books, I realized Mifflin/Morley had great taste and took it upon myself to launch “The Roger Mifflin Collection,” new editions of those early 20th century gems.

After publishing the first three, the pandemic reared up (yeah, that’s the ticket, it had nothing to do with procrastination or inertia) and it has taken me awhile to get to the fourth. G.K. Chesterton’s bizarre “nightmare” is probably the best-known of the Mifflin books so far, judging by the number of other public-domain editions I found when I DuckDuckGo’d it, but those other versions won’t have three 1908 reviews or my sterling book design along with the Roger Mifflin seal of approval. So if you want to read a very intriguing stand-alone by the creator of the Father Brown mysteries, the Mifflin edition is the one for you.

Next up is The Demi-Gods, another quirky book, by James Stephens, along with a little piece by me about how the book was almost lost when Stephens left his hand-written manuscript behind at the early 20th century equivalent of his local Starbucks. Look for it next month.

As for books with my name on the front cover, it’s just occurred to me that my expanded versions of the 2010 book Refuse to be Afraid left the little 96-page original behind, so I’m dusting off that manuscript and reproducing the edition that started it all, for folks who have even less time to read but need to hear the message.

And I promised Jeep Thompson and the Lost Prince of Venus would come out in 2021, so I have four months left to keep that promise. My goal is to have it in time for you to include it on your Christmas list, or sooner.

(It has occurred to me on multiple occasions that maybe I should promise a date more precise than “in 2021.” Let me get back to you on that.)

OK, that’s 450-ish words, and it’s time to go. What should I use for a photo for this thing? (Looks up) I know!


There is a rhythm to a life, a day, a moment, a year — find the rhythm, the timing, the beat, and you are on your way to a poem, a song, a story, a book — find the rhythm and you unlock a certain something that cannot be described in words but many words will likely flow anyway, enough that the reader says, “I think I understand,” or better, “I understand.”

The understanding will be different from the intent, but it will be close enough.

Life is a series of random events, and so awareness is a series of random scenes, all in a row, and we constantly try to make sense and order of it, reaching certain conclusions that seem less certain every day.

I don’t know if I have any answers, except to say precise answers may not exist to the point of certainty, and maybe the purpose of our lives is to keep asking the questions, in order to stay fresh and inquiring and curious.

‘I saw that the state was half-witted’

Resistance to Civil Government: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience has proven over the years to be the most consistent seller among the books in my little stable of tomes. Perhaps because its message is a timeless one that resonates through the centuries.

I heartily accept the motto, “that government is best which governs least,” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe: “That government is best which governs not at all.”

Boom. There it is.

W.B. at the Movies: Yesterday

I love the idea of Yesterday: Something unexplained happens and Jack Malek discovers he’s the only one in the world who remembers The Beatles and all their songs. (Or is he?!)

We finally got to see the film thanks to the library book sale that also included a bunch of DVDs that they were trying to move out. For a buck we can watch the film over and over and over – such a deal!

It’s the valentine to the music that I thought it would be, with a sweet love story (Lily James is always terrific) and a wonderful surprise cameo at the pivotal moment. I shan’t say more about that delightful scene.

This is a sweet, gentle film about the love of music, well, about love in general. I’m a big fan.

The Roger Mifflin Collection finally resumes

The Man Who Was Thursday is a delightfully weird nightmare. A detective is recruited to infiltrate a mysterious star chamber of seven anarchists, each identified by a different day of the week. The council needs a new Thursday; hence the title.

Syme, the detective, slowly learns there’s more to the mystery than he bargained for, and before long the adventure is careening in unexpected directions. Roger Mifflin said this book is for when your mind needs “a good rough-and-tumbling,” and he’s not wrong.

The Roger Mifflin Collection debuted during the pandemic and stalled after the first three editions, but those books are now starting to gain traction and here is the fourth installment. James Stephens is waiting in the wings with his amazing fantasy The Demi-Gods.

These gems of the early 20th century are each amazing in their own right; That Mifflin fellow knew what he was talking about!

The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton

A perfect Carly Simon playlist

Carly Simon is one of those artists who makes you feel like you know her from listening to her songs. I have been captivated from the moment back in 1971 (!) that I heard her first hit single, “That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be.” It was intimate, it was painful, it was real.

The Wikipedia article about her quotes a former fiancee as saying she was “the answer to any sane man’s prayers: funny, quick, erotic, extravagantly talented.” And her best songs pull you deeper below that surface.

I found myself looking at the description of her 1995 box set Clouds in My Coffee, and my brain started playing the track list of Disc 1, and I thought, “Holy cow, that is just about the perfect Carly Simon playlist.”

A few days and an eBay Buy It Now later, and the CDs are in my possession and I can now attest yes, if you want a perfectly curated set of Carly Simon hits, you could try this list first:

  1. Let The River Run
  2. You Belong To Me
  3. Nobody Does It Better
  4. Coming Around Again
  5. Jesse
  6. The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
  7. You’re So Vain
  8. Touched By The Sun
  9. Haven’t Got Time For The Pain
  10. Better Not Tell Her
  11. Legend In Your Own Time
  12. Mockingbird (with James Taylor)
  13. That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be
  14. All I Want Is You
  15. The Right Thing To Do
  16. Like A River
  17. Anticipation
  18. Give Me All Night