A VERY OLD BOOK

Riffing off an Amazon review title, I so propitiously encountered.

A VERY OLD BOOK

Reader beware, herein lie
Monsters of dastardly mien,
You may be captured, captivated,
Made prisoner for the space
Of these many pages.
I would not read it were I you,
I did not, in truth, finding its words
Many syllabic, poetic, strange
To my modern eyes and sensibility.
It seemed akin to Dickens, Emerson,
Perhaps Poe and Thoreau, whom
I thought all left in the distant past
When what I read was for lessons,
Not for pleasurable entertainment
Initiated on my fancy whim or choice.
No, dear reader, hear, hear,
This tome is best left shoved
To the back of the shelf, covered
In ages, layers of sooty dust,
Let it be, let it lie, you have no need
Of it, nor would ever I, it is a burden
To be left without perusal alone.
Do not open the covers, do not see,
What treasures I could not ascertain,
Join me in my startling refrain
This is a VERY OLD BOOK,
Herein lie dastardly monsters
Of highly developed vocabulary,
Read At Your Own Dire Risk.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Reading List

Wild Lands (Book 2 of Savage Lands) by Stacey Marie Brown, 297 pages, Five Stars.

The Art of Prompt by Camerson Monhagan, uncertain page count, 2500 prompts, Five Stars.

The above are my final reads in March.

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April 2021 – 12 Books

Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, 460 pages, Five Stars; I have read several books by this author, and all are wonderful.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, 390 pages, Five Stars; I like stories about books, libraries, and strange things.

Darke by Rick Gekoski, 321 pages, Four Stars, deals with grief and isolation and is well done, a bit dark and depressing.

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore, 376 pages, Five Stars, you should read this; it is a romp.

A Witch In Time by Constance Sayers, 449 pages, Five Stars, is a story that invites deep thought.

The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole, 239 pages, Five Stars, explores how books mean more than just what they say.

Tears of Amber by Sofia Segovia, Kindle First Read, 487 pages, Five Stars; is a story of how a family survives a war.

D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber, 304 pages, Five Stars, a story of what might happen if someone made a letter of the alphabet disappear.

Unexpected by Jozua van Otterloo, 100 pages, Four Stars, an inspirational book, I would give Three Stars because it has many errors and I copy edit. However, the stories and references are very appropriate.

The Abundance by Annie Dillard, 288 pages, Five Stars, everything I have read by her is grand.

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, 298 pages, Five Stars, is another story about grief, how we blame ourselves and involve others in attempted resolution. Booker Prize Winner

Ilium by Dan Simmons, 752 pages, Ten Stars, I mean, Five Stars, I love this author. I read Drood, Flashback, Black Hills, and I will read others. I think he is not as well recognized as he should be. His Horror is bone-chilling, his Syfy is riveting, his writing is literary and superb.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Literary Games

I became a reader and writer simultaneously at age three. I quickly began to employ color and text and illustration together. I found in poetry a heart like unto my own and have written it continuously. I guess my hope to be a publisher was born on my mother’s knees or perhaps in the floorboard of the Buick with the dash lighting shining down on my pages.

The dreams persist.

Reading is my favorite form of entertainment, with my rarely watching television. I usually steer away from series, but I have been drawn into a few lately. The idea is commendable, but the execution leaves much to be desired. I am one who becomes immersed in a book or books. It is most disappointing to be prepared for the continuation of a tale and find that it will be a year before you can learn the rest of the story. Not an easy acceptance for a poet who must complete a whole composition in the space of a page or a bit more.

Sometimes I will circumvent the imposition by waiting until all the volumes are complete to read them, but with current works, that is hardly possible. I lately did this with Tolkien’s masterpieces again. Someday I will open the shrink-wrap and dive into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, I suppose. I begin to wonder about it because I have had those books over a decade. There is also The Game of Thrones, which I have in series and read two volumes from the library, but have yet to break the shrink-wrap on the collector’s edition.

Bibliophiles can be characters. My family tries to encourage me to dispense with some of my literary collection, and I blatantly refuse. I find my books are comforting, and the possibilities they contain, make me feel life is still an adventure. The missives from other minds are great consolation when the world becomes difficult.

I should think with fifty-four years at the vocation, I would have some idea of how to relate to readers, but I often wonder that others must be so unlike myself. Even so, I continue. I write every day and read a wide variety. I have thought l should make some provision to get out into the world and find some worthy subjects for photographic composition. I tend to be dull and remain close to home, which may not be the worst thing with a worldwide pandemic. My dogs and I are company and family.

The Vine Witch and The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith have me wishing The Conjurer was not to be released next year. The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith is another I am considering following up.

I wonder, those of you who are readers, what do you like? Are you a series person? Writers, have you been at the craft for years, or are you new with beginner mind?

World symmetry
Captured in quaint syllables,
An eagle on wing.

***************

Sheltering in place
The world no more freedom’s space,
Dreams are not contained.

***************

I see you, a smile,
Broad as day, deeper than night,
Come join in delight.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Unspecific Thoughts*

There are days when writing feels like the first day in a new school, dressed in homemade clothes, and being beaten up when we arrived at the bus stop. It is not easy to walk into the big crowded room and have a tallish stranger direct us to a seat, sometimes with the warmth of a December snowfall.

We take out our notebook, the same one we used two years running already, but the paper is new, even if our Moms tell us that we should more often erase instead of beginning new pages. Some of the kids make signs at us like we are monkeys at the zoo, and others just smirk and focus on their desks.

We settle in to learn, knowing it is why we must be humiliated like this again and again.

Ah, forward, today we approach the page, and we grovel humbly seeking a word, subject, name, anything to give us a start. We know we can do it because we have written countless times before, but nerves may set in reminding us, no one has to like it. We try to smile, it does not matter, but who does not love adulation? Do not all of us want our spot in the bright lights with waves of applause?

Maybe we dart outside the lines and try to go out of bounds, to preserve the effort, to stop the clock. The clock that often yells, “Time is running down. Will we busy ourselves figuring out all the things we must?” New methods, forms, addresses, compatriots, styles, genres, and we are so overwhelmed, the words hide in the mental caverns and will not show up.

Today, we would skip, paint, cook, vacuum, scrub tile, anything to avoid writing because even when we leave it, running away, the work is us. We cannot divorce ourselves because we were born to it. It is as real as our birthday and will follow us to the moment of death. Writing is inside, outside, besides, over, under, around, everywhere, everyone, how, what, when, who, where, if, but, and by now, it should be known, writing never lets us go. It may be unwilling to care for us, but it is inevitable, we shall care for it, and there will be no escape.

Celebrate, celebrate those lines we drew out of the well, ones we harnessed that they mean our meaning and present our thought. It is hard, words are obscure, can be obnoxious in their games of hide-&-seek. Every line, sentence, is a victory, a hard-fought battle won.

Never Give Up! Allow no gags around our thoughts. Never drown our heads in buckets of apathy. Show up, dig deep, overcome obstacles, persist, because the world needs the words of the thinkers, poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists, journalists, artists, those who are attentive beyond the surface and dance with the indivisible invisible. Conscious thought is in high demand throughout the world, in our land. We must be courageous and keep going even when our hearts become frosted with feelings of cold. Light the fire and go, go, be the ones who experience, hear, know, see, and stand forever for freedom for even the least. Lift love a banner of work, over every land, and all peoples. Be a voice, authentic and meaningful, in this and all times.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

20170214_Lady with Cancer Tattoo_Pastels

Creativity Now

If you are fortunate enough to have some extra time in your schedule now, I want to encourage you to spend a portion of your day engaged in a type of creativity:

You might want to write your observations of this time in a journal or create poetry and stories that are entirely unrelated. If you have ever had the ambition to write a book, perhaps this is your ideal time.

Photographers might enthuse themselves with taking photos of a scene over some interval of days, and look at the changes, or use them in layers combined for an HDR effect.

Artists might find ordinary items in the household and anthropomorphize those objects, even working them into a cartoon or short animated movie.

For those who have culinary desires, now might be the perfect time to delve into grandma’s recipes or that book you never opened and do some food magic.

Those musicians who need some practice could try something they have never gotten around to, or write some new songs that would surely receive a warm welcome the first time they are performed.

Computer programmers and other computer geeks, this is your time to code your own project until your heart is content.

Readers, this is the time to explore everything you choose. Go everywhere, everywhen, everyhow, you wish all within the covers of books or the pages of eBooks.

Of course, any of the above could engage children or pets as subjects in work, also involving children so they better understand what can be done creatively is a valuable learning activity.

I am confident if you look at this time from the perspective of opportunity that you will find inspiration and things to explore creatively. Time is only wasted when we fail to recognize its value. These are a few ideas, I am sure you have more if you allow.

Take care, be well, God Bless You!

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan