Archive for November 2015

Home, home on the... page

Home, home on the... page
(Tune: “Home on the Range.” Timing: When I want to be writing these posts and/or my novel rather than what I need to do.)   O, give me a tome to which my mind can roam when I’m forced to do dull stuff all day; so when I have heard a discouraging word, with the... Read more »

A thought for Thanksgiving Day

A thought for Thanksgiving Day
“There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to… . Thanksgiving Day… is the one day that is purely... Read more »

How'd you do that, Mr. Herriot? (said a reader of 'All Creatures Great and Small')

How'd you do that, Mr. Herriot? (said a reader of 'All Creatures Great and Small')
Do you ever read something special, some Sustaining Book, and wonder how the author did that? (Seriously, do you need to be a writer to think that way? Or do you need to think that way in order to be a writer?) One of the first books that ever made me wonder “How’d he DO... Read more »
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Thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks

Thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks
“I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.” — from Act III of “Twelfth-Night” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) It’s going to be a while before we read those year-in-review collections, those various “best things about 2015” columns. I’m glad about that, because they’re always about the best new things in... Read more »

'All Creatures Great and Small,' a Sustaining Book (and series)

'All Creatures Great and Small,' a Sustaining Book (and series)
One of the fancier-looking books in my personal library looks a bit frayed at its red leather edges. That’s the badge of a Sustaining Book. The book is “All Creatures Great and Small,” published in 1972 by James Herriott. Whether you’re looking for sustenance during snowy weather, relief from tensions around your holiday preparations, or... Read more »

Paris, Chicago and national anthems: O say, can we sing?

Paris, Chicago and national anthems: O say, can we sing?
The terrifying events on Friday, Nov. 13, in Paris have brought me one consolation: the sight, in photos or videos, of crowds of Parisians singing “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem. Even the crowd at the national stadium after the France-Germany football (soccer) game left singing it. They knew the words. They had the tune.... Read more »
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Is Thanksgiving embarrassing?

Is Thanksgiving embarrassing?
In the headlong rush (at least among stores) to get Christmas decorations out — or, if you prefer, to “get the holiday season started” — it seems to me that we’re forgetting a major holiday. Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? I remember multi-colored “Indian” corn on doors, Pilgrim figures on wreaths and signs, and plenty of... Read more »

Variations on Serious questions

Variations on Serious questions
On the subject of variations, let’s try a varied format — questions and small answers, as far as I have them. Here goes! Why do people think that “Variations on a Theme” is a synonym for dull and/or boring? Musically, it’s not the same old theme played the same old way — it’s a way... Read more »