Adventures in time and imagination

time and imagination

I watched the series finale of Jessica Jones the other day, and it was as satisfying as any series finale I’ve ever seen. After three seasons of angst and despair, our hero had come to terms with her demons and was ready to take on the world. It would be nice to see what happens next, but that might be redundant: The story of her triumph over those demons was complete.

A day later in another venue (my car versus my living room), I finished listening to the audiobook of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. After 135 chapters and an epilogue, Ishmael’s journey also was complete. And in a third venue (my favorite blue chair by the window), I am slightly more than halfway through a book called Fractured Stars by Lindsay Buroker.

The three experiences are similar, in terms of an investment of time. Continue reading “Adventures in time and imagination”


My next book is out

bridge crop

A Bridge at Crossroads

When you are sad – for there will come a time when you are sad – remember a time you were so happy you wished this moment would last forever – because it does last forever as long as you remember.

When you are afraid – for there will come a time when you are afraid – remember a time when you felt so safe and comfortable you knew nothing could shake your world. Continue reading “My next book is out”

Which 30 books would you keep?

Vintage library with shelves of old books.

There was quite a stir earlier this year when the demons of social media got hold of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up and now the host of a Netflix series. She was quoted as saying that nobody needs to own more than 30 books.

To book lovers like me, such a statement is madness. And, in fact, if you dig a little deeper, you find that what Kondo actually said is that her personal preference is to have no more than 30 books – in part because books deteriorate more quickly in the humid air of Japan – but she is not about imposing her personal preference on other people. Continue reading “Which 30 books would you keep?”

W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief

book thief

[While combing the catacombs, I came across this review from five years ago. I can’t change a word, except that I loved the book so much, I bought a permanent copy. – wpb]

And there it was, as the Kindle told me I was passing 95%, a rare and welcome surge of sadness, not because the book is coming to a sad ending, but simply because it is coming to an ending. The author earns the tears with his characters and storytelling, but the tears are also from the ache of a beloved journey reaching its destination. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief”

Be a gardener

be a gardener

The delight in this quote comes, to me, not from what it says, although it is delightful, and not from who wrote it, for he wrote many delightful things, but from the totally unexpected place where he wrote it. Delight can be found even in the darkest places and times.

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

W.B.’s Book Report: Big Magic

big magic

There’s a guy in northern Door County making Big Magic at a coffee bar. His name is Ryan Castelaz, and he fairly bursts with the excitement he gets from making coffee in new but familiar ways.

He told me his shop, Discourse: a Liquid Workshop, “offers a familiar and yet totally unfamiliar experience … You’re getting a lot of flavors and aromas and presentations that you’re not unused to, but you’re unused to seeing it in coffee.”

I had the pleasure of spending an hour and a half with Ryan for an article that appears in the newly released summer edition of Edible Door magazine. We got to talking about the creative process, because he is an artist, standing joyously at the intersection of art and science, using the principles he’s learned through an impassioned study of coffee to create experiences akin to discovering a movie or a painting or a poem that surprises and delights. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: Big Magic”

In which I tell you what’s next

A bridge at Crossroads crop

There’s a science to launching a new book. It’s a science that does not include promoting your next – utterly unrelated – book on the day the current book is released to the public.

So sue me.

However, before you do that, let me remind you that today is the first day you can purchase Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, a book literally 30 years in the making.

But about that next book: Continue reading “In which I tell you what’s next”