Book release: This frightening world being built around us

Refuse to be Afraid 2020 BREFUSE TO BE AFRAID Tenth Anniversary Edition on sale now in print and at a special introductory price from Kobo and Kindle.

I’ve wondered about the kids who were born around 2001, the ones who have now graduated from high school and whose impression of Sept. 11, 2001, is like mine of the Korean War, which entered a permanent truce around the time I was born: A relic of history of which they have no direct memory.

They have never lived in a world where you could enter an airport or a large public building without being screened and searched, their personal property and selves treated as if they may be planning a crime, guilty until proved innocent. They have never lived in a world not cluttered with cameras and other surveillance devices. They don’t know what it’s like to walk free wherever you go. Continue reading “Book release: This frightening world being built around us”

How to sell a Blue Guitar (or not)

Blue Guitar author web

This is an interesting time in my writing/publishing career. I’m making old stuff new again while reviewing my goals and passions to see what still really trips my trigger and where I should focus.

Through the last month, since I unleashed How to Play a Blue Guitar on an unsuspecting world, I’ve struggled to explain what this book actually is.

It’s a standalone book. I deliberately put no self-marketing material inside, not a list of other books I’ve written or edited, not a link to find my blog or join a mailing list, only a reference to which currently gets you an “Under Construction” image. (You tried anyway, didn’t ya?) Continue reading “How to sell a Blue Guitar (or not)”

So what is How to Play a Blue Guitar anyway

How to Play A Blue GuitarUPDATE: If you were waiting for the hardcover, wait no more. Click this link.

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So far I will not be able to retire on the sales revenues from my newly published book, How to Play a Blue Guitar. I confess that I have not been especially helpful explaining what this book is.

Is it a manifesto about how to live a life of peace in a turbulent world? a cry for sanity in an insane world? a chuckle among friends? an oddball collection of diverse thoughts and fables around more or less a common theme? a serious attempt to step up and say something even if no one cares to listen? a frivolous jumble published on a sudden whim? a ponderous, jubilant shout from a man trapped in a world he never made?

Why, yes. Yes, it is. Continue reading “So what is How to Play a Blue Guitar anyway”

Book launch: How to Play a Blue Guitar

How to Play A Blue GuitarThis is an odd book.

Stories and poems and reflections. Fragments of thought and bursts of creativity, carefully curated to fit together. Oh yes, it fits together. There’s another clue for you all.

Sometimes I craft an essay with great care and toss it fretfully out there, and no one reacts. Sometimes I dash something off and am praised for my brilliance. Mostly I galumph along, so this little road trip may feel a little galumphy from time to time.

Thanks for coming along.

Kobo  – Kindle  – Paperback

A cat in a room tapestried with catnip

dreamstime_s_135711522 books

“Living in a bookshop is like living in a warehouse of explosives. Those shelves are ranked with the most furious combustibles in the world — the brains of men. I can spend a rainy afternoon reading, and my mind works itself up to such a passion and anxiety over mortal problems as almost unmans me. It is terribly nerve-racking. Surround a man with Carlyle, Emerson, Thoreau, Chesterton, Shaw, Nietzsche, and George Ade — would you wonder at his getting excited? What would happen to a cat if she had to live in a room tapestried with catnip? She would go crazy!”

— Roger Mifflin, proprietor of The Haunted Bookshop, a novel by Christopher Morley

He was a cat trapped in a room tapestried with catnip. All of his needs were there — Bradbury, Dickens, Montgomery — Lennon, McCartney, Monroe, Cash — Sebastian and Mraz, McEuen and Crowell — they called to his madness, they called to his heart, they assimilated his mind, and he sang with delight.

“He’s a crazy old coot,” said his neighbor. “Sits in his room all day with a weird smile on his face.”

“How do you know he’s smiling if he’s in there all alone?”

“Never seen him not smiling.”

Refuse to be Afraid


Everybody’s pretty anxious right now because of COVID-19, which is newly christened as a pandemic.

The TV lady was talking this morning about how normal life is coming to an end – the virus is coming, the virus is coming, flee for your lives, flee for your lives – in fact, she added, the sky is falling, the sky is falling, I have a piece of it right here in my hands. Continue reading “Refuse to be Afraid”

Why I keep books, and why you should

Bradbury tyranny quote

I was interested in a quote I encountered that the text said came from an article Ray Bradbury had written for the May 2, 1953, edition of The Nation. I wanted to read this article and see the quote in its original context.

Google The Great And Powerful brought me directly to that article, where the magazine’s electronic gatekeeper informed me it was still under copyright protection and not available to the public, go away, kid, you bother us. (Aside: Under the copyright laws that existed when I was younger, the article would have been in the public record and free to read and share for these past 11 years. Who exactly is protected and from what?) Down the list of search results, I found excerpts and references, but, of course, not the entire article. Continue reading “Why I keep books, and why you should”