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The Full Story of that Signed Copy of Blood Meridian

Hi folks, here, as promised, is a longer writeup of the events that led to me getting that signed Cormac McCarthy novel. It also includes a best friends collage. Enjoy!

Chaos! Or, How I Got A Signed Copy of Blood Meridian From Cormac McCarthy

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Book Review – The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

wolf-road-book-coverI’m a sucker for two things when it comes to books: cat and mouse games and western frontiers. Well, three things, because I love a good revenge story as well. The Wolf Road is one of the best cat and mouse books I’ve ever read, intense from start to finish, and elegantly colloquial in a way that never feels like stuntsmanship.

It’s a simple set up. In the aftermath of a tragedy, a young girl named Elka is taken by a man who calls himself Kreager Hallett. He raises her in the hills, teaching her to make jerky, hunt, joint animals, track, and more. It’s a harsh world, a wilderness that has drawn comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but the style, by design, is not elevated. We are given the story through the eyes of the illiterate Elka.  [click to continue…]

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I Accidentally Got A Signed Copy of Blood Meridian

blood-meridian-signedHi all, if you’ve read the blog for long, you know I have a Cormac McCarthy obsession, particularly with his novel Blood Meridian, which is both my favorite (and least favorite) book. It’s a long story, and beyond the scope of this post, but I’ll be talking about it more in a longer article soon.

However, I wanted to tell you all that when I got back from a family reunion a couple of weeks ago, Cormac had sent me an inscribed copy of Blood Meridian. They’re very tough to come by. Cormac isn’t a recluse, but he does his own thing and that rarely includes promoting or signing or talking about his books. His sister had visited the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, and my future mother-in-law just happened to give her a tour and told her what a fanatic I am about her brother’s books.

And that is pretty much the series of accidents that led to the book showing up. I’m not materialistic, but it is absolutely a treasure to me, and my favorite possession.

I hope you’re all having a great day.

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One Way To Reconnect With Reading

bookI’ve never lost the joy that reading gives me, but I realized in the last year or two that I had stopped reading with the same care that I used to. Curiously, I wasn’t sure why. It didn’t seem to matter whether I was reading weighty non-fiction like In The Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeanette–a book that assumes the reader is going to be invested enough to concentrate on dates, the fallibility of nineteenth century maritime cartography, nautical jargon, and the properties of various alloys used to reinforce ships whose job is to bust through glaciers–or the latest Lee Child thriller. (That link has a big list if you’re not sure where to start with Lee Child and Jack Reacher.)

Perhaps this is because I spend too much time in the click-happy online world which we’re sharing right now. Maybe my brain had in fact rewired itself in the way that Nicholas Carr talks about in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains. 

Sounds plausible. I scan instead of analyze. Seeing lots of information can feel like learning, even if nothing is retained. If I can tell you what a book was about, I can pat my back and say I read it, even if I didn’t pore over every sentence. [click to continue…]

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If you’re new to the site or haven’t heard me talk about Tourette’s, the How To Have Tourette’s series is a good place to start. thanks!

Hey gang,

Since it’s been so long since I’ve written regularly here, and since so many of you have asked about my health, I wanted to give you an update. I’m doing fine–great in many ways–but Tourette’s is one of the pieces of my life that continues to deteriorate.

In a nutshell, everything hurts, all the time. I’m almost 39 and all of the little (and big) things are taking an accumulative toll that I thought I’d be able to stay ahead of. But physical pain is much easier to deal with than emotional garbage and I’m doing fine on the inside.

I’m a little worn out and pretty low energy, but the things that have always sustained me continue to do so. Reading, writing, thinking, friends, family, and love. I’m getting married in October and couldn’t be happier about it. I have book projects coming that I hope to be able to tell you about soon. I have a wonderful son and a family I love dearly.  [click to continue…]

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Book Review – Sleeping Giants

Hi all, I’m happy to announce that the blog problems are all fixed and I’m jumping back into the swing of it for good. Since it’s been about a decade since I told you what I’d been reading, I wanted to start the routine with a book review:

sleeping giantsSleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. This is one of the nicest surprises I’ve had in a while. Jeff O’neal from Bookriot tweeted about it and I picked it up for a couple of bucks.

The setup is pretty irresistible. If you read World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, or books like Louder Than Hell, The Definitive Oral History Of Metal, you’re familiar with the oral history format. Basically it just means you get lots of first person accounts from people Who Were There to witness whatever the calamity was.  [click to continue…]

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An Unfortunate Typo

All, I have recently entered the world of freelance writing and editing, and have been loving it.

However, because nearly 100% of my communication with clients occurs online, mistakes can happen. Some are irrelevant, some are…like this.

It was a day just like today–actually, it was today–that I tried to type the very benign words “You got it!” to a freelance client. This was supposed to convey boyish enthusiasm and a passion for the work.

Instead, I hit enter and was suddenly looking at this phrase:

“You go tit.”

And now everything hangs in the balance.

I am recommitted to slowing down and breathing.

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The picture kind of says it all. I don’t remember what town the Colts were from. I really like how unprepared the other guy looks. He apparently was not expecting this level of intensity. I’m not sure what was going on. This picture might have captured the one intense moment of my life, and certainly one of the only moments when I wasn’t reading.

Also, I was 6’7″ in this picture and weighed 150 pounds. A delicate, snarling flower, covered in hair, with two twiggy legs.

josh-b-ball

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One Big Wish for 2016

If I could actually have one wish, it would be something grand like, “There’s no more unnecessary suffering and no one is cruel ever again or even a little bit mean.”

Since we’re never going to get world peace, and because the certainty of death is always going to force a certain amount of suffering into our lives, I’ve been thinking about what another big wish for 2016 might look like. Something that might actually be within reach.

I think I have it.

I think the world would improve immeasurably if everyone had something they were truly passionate about. That’s what I wish I could see.

And that is my fondest wish for you next year. I hope you’ll feel loved and have something that is an absolute, consuming passion for you, whether it’s your family, art, spouse, writing, music, job, activism, friends, pets, children, religion, fitness, chess prowess, travel, love of languages, etc and so on and amen.

I have so many passions, many of them bordering on obsessions. I don’t know who I would be without them, and I’m glad I don’t have to.

Here’s to a great year.

PS: I know a lot of people who confuse having a favorite show with living a passionate life. There’s a big difference.

 

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