These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Kindle edition

there is
no railway to Cloisterham
the city 
of lost souls

Travellers Twopenny
is warped
like the morals
of the travellers

stonemason Durdles leads
a hazy gyspy life

is a huntress with
the presence of a gypsy
her brother is
a hunter

Mr Tartar is
a roving sailor

knows of 
no relation in the world

but Jasper
her thoughts

there is no railway to Cloisterham

and Mr Sapsea says
there never should be

Linking to;
The Tuesday Platform - Real Toads

The Mystery of Edwin DroodThe Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ancient cathedral town of Cloisterham shivers on the brink of yesterday's darkness with little impulse to move out into the light of a future. Crypts and monuments seem to set this town's people in some Druidic ring of judgment. Edwin Drood's imminent arranged marriage to Rosebud dissolves into his strange disappearance and possible, but never confirmed, murder. Brother and sister Neville and Helen Landless seem to be burdened with some shady tragic pressures from past lives in Ceylon and John Jasper, the choirmaster seems to be burying pain - physical or mental? - in opium time. Even the small characters seem to carry seedy secrets. The Deputy is a wild young boy a drunken Jasper pays to stone him home. And then there are the caricatures - an immovable waiter and a flying waiter??? Dickens' mystery probes unsettling extracts of humanity. The narrative is incomplete, but then, do we ever know all there is to know about the crevasses of humanity? This must be an example of a dark and timeless drama.

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Mysteries Within Mysteries
The old cathedral town of Cloisterham stages many covert dramas. Edwin Drood's possible murder may be the drive of Dickens' last narrative, but there are other parallel mysteries. Mr Honeythunder is the guardian of brother and sister, Helena and Neville. They come from Ceylon, but are not Ceylonese? Neville claims that he knows little of his guardian? Mr John Jasper, guardian of Edwin Drood is "a dark man"? And why does Jasper, as choirmaster, need to depend so heavily on opium? Why is Mr Sapsea, the auctioneer, described as a jackass? At times, even the names and brief descriptions of the characters seem to suggest some extra, unexplained elements. Dickens' Drood mystery may not be resolved, but it seems that many other threads in this narrative have not been developed and resolved either. An intriguing piece of writing, cut short by Dickens' death. The incompleteness is all part of the dramatic charm.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Roger Ascham...

flaming torches
grizzly spikes
a dark dungeon
in an old castle
for university

I love to know the inner workings of things

for personal

I love to know the inner workings of things

Roger Ascham and the King's Lost GirlRoger Ascham and the King's Lost Girl by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A flash of nightmare from the wells of the 16th century.
Sulphurous dirt leads Roger Ascham on a trail of murderous intrigue. Strangely, Henry VIII selected his daughter Elizabeth's teacher for this mission. But then, Henry claims that Roger has a logic in his madness and sees beyond the normal. Who would believe how so much tense, tantalising drama could be packed into so few pages.

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Almost Gothic 
The future Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII are characters in this narrative, but the spotlight is on professor Roger Ascham. In detective mode, he seeks Isabella, the love interest of the king. In an old castle dungeon area, Roger crosses paths with spikes, hanging cages and a scythe blade - all courtesy of the Earl of Cumberland's bastard son. A dark, fast dive into a seamy side of 16th century court life.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lady Chatterley's Lover...

Lady Chatterley's Lover - Kindle edition


living a vague life
at privileged

privileged for some

but not 
for Connie

in the humble world
of the gamekeeper
Connie breathed


Lady Chatterley's LoverLady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lady Connie Chatterley is locked in a plain, privileged life that should be led but longs for another life that fires the senses. She makes choices. For awhile, she pleases her disabled, wealthy, upper class, cerebral husband Clifford. But her own needs scream to be satisfied, to run wild in woods and feel the joys of love in a humble hut with her husband's game-keeper. Society frowns, but perhaps society is blind to natural connections.
The narrative is weighted to a love affair, but it stirs questions. Is society losing the value of feelings, of small things in the name of power and upper class attitudes. Is money evil?

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For Love or Money...
Even though the fleshy scenes are here, somehow that is not what rears up for 21st century readers. There is the insistent reference to the evils of money. Money drives minds and hearts. Money is a curse on the future. All sense of physical pleasures are demoted, beholden to the language and lifestyle generated by money. So says Lady Chatterley's lover in between bed romps and lacing wildflowers in wet hair. The lady feels a prisoner in her privileged lifestyle with Clifford while her lover is not of the moneyed class...he tempts her wild senses...Perhaps Lawrence felt that the industrial worlds of the early 20th century were headed for a loss of physical, natural values. Interesting that Clifford and Connie had given names, like society's labels for each other. The lovers imagined their own names...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Visionary

Kindle edition on Amazon

A little random Moonshot

a monumental something

ungrounded Trevor

passed on to Sean

someone's colours
someone else's eyes

and ultimately

he became

the eye
in the sky

We are all walking museums, housing our small portion of the epic human story.

 The VisionaryThe Visionary by James Hawthorne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sean was looking out through someone else's eyes... many times... At first an intriguing perspective, but the tumbling of clipped scenarios became an exhausting parade of peaked drama that begged for some kind of resolution. The idea of psychic energy in action born of Moonshot became tired and frustratingly warped. Interesting fractures of 911 and Taliban tensions, but no special connection. They whipped by. Sanity was lost long before the final page. Sighhhhhhhhh

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An interesting idea that stumbles...
Sean lives many pieces of life. Those pieces belong to others. At first, this special ability intrigues, but the welter of mind and life shifts that gather at the novel's climax become an irritation. From cheetah to alien? But I was determined to finish the book, just so I could say I finished it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Kindle edition on Amazon

he glittered
like a jewel of humanity



he painted a picture
of beauty

he WAS
the picture

toyed with his mind
his soul

passed him by

a black future


The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sparkling epigrammatic wit frames this dark plunge into the abyss of an errant young soul, a soul doomed to be forever young. The narrative could be labelled a thriller - there's murder afoot, a sci-fi journey - a painting becomes the dark journey of the human mind and spirit. And yet there are the settings locked in 19th century fashions and sophistications and devious games. Cast the labels aside, and perhaps there is the raw confessional, the secret, the private mirror, the picture of any age.

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A brilliant dive into the darkness of the soul...
A long time ago, I read this tale. I remember the dark tensions, but not the myriad dark signposts along the way to hell. Oscar Wilde has created a thriller streaked with wit and mayhem. A picture is worth a thousand, timeless words. It has the strength to be daring and the fragility to shatter like glass into millions of meaningless pieces.
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