Reference

Books that made America

The key to this take on the well trodden premise is a simple fact not usually assayed: America is still being made and is not a static thing which was done at some historical point in time. The nation is not a baked cake that can be left out in the rain, but a salmagundi, a jambalaya, a gallimaufry, and a slumgullion, if not a farrago. The first America, the one at the time of the Declaration of Independence was not exactly the one that wrote the Constitution a mere twelve years later. The America of 1860 was certainly not the America of 1865. The general self-awareness of this nation has been shaped and reshaped–mostly by events, not by books. Events are hard facts to ignore. Books are interpretations. A national catastrophe like the Civil War defined us far more than Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for instance. The hubris of the author is that their words are important to the process—yet that is a determination that can only be made by the reading citizen.

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On Country and Music

My first awareness of what music was, was a cousin sitting on the front porch of my grandparents house in Spartanburg, South Carolina, playing away on an enormous guitar and singing in a voice which was not pretty, but made you listen.

I might have been all of seven years old, but I remember that his voice was not pretty, as well as I remember the realization at that moment–an early epiphany you might say–that music was made this way. Somehow this had escaped me until an age well after Mozart had written his first symphony. Before that, music was something that emitted from the radio.

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Latest Blog Posts

A guest at the feast of memory

What we all must learn, I suppose, or else loose ourselves completely, is that very little in the world is really about us. My experience fifty years ago at Mark Hopkins College in Brattleboro Vermont was peripheral to that time and place—not secondary or marginal or...

Masha and the Bear

I have been a fairly consistent purveyor of doom for most of my adult life. It has been a regular theme in my daily discourse as well as in much of my work (As my children can attest), coupled with a theme that this catastrophe has been impeding for generations,...

That’s great! Against banality in it’s prime

I should be ashamed of myself, but I will probably use the word carelessly again this very day. But still, I am ashamed of myself for it. There is not an easier word to use for both what is in fact the best and what is simply terrific, or momentarily special, or even...

Looking for the sur-prize

Sunday morning: dawn. An article in the UK Guardian concerning the tawdry descent of the Nobel Prize ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/17/the-ugly-scandal-that-cancelled-the-nobel-prize-in-literature ) only makes me think of the corresponding degeneration of...

Stories

A friend was recently reading the revised version of John Finn that appears to be making its way into print sooner than later and suggested that a particular chapter might stand on its own. It happens to be one of those I posted first about eight years ago when John...

Rejoice! (if not, read Joyce)

I am told by my betters that I am too negative. Not for the first time, of course. So I have looked again at this ongoing collapse of Western Civilization that surrounds me in the rubble of all that I hold dear—other than family and friends—in the hope of finding some...

In our lost time

  [A portion of the novel A Young Man From Mars, currently being re-written and somewhat available elsewhere in this ethereal site] Recalling any given lecture I am impressed by the fact that Professor Tripp himself was not nearly as kind as his classroom manner...

The bright side is pretty dim

Trying to see the bright side of the current cultural malaise is difficult in the glare of modernity. Over one hundred years on, that is since the infamous Armory Show, the squandering of Western culture has reached its nadir with a wallowing in wantonness and a...

In Grand Delusia

In the land of Grand Delusia, I roam again. It is true enough that an author of fiction must persuade a reader to come along for the ride, but first the author must cajole himself. It is not a simple thing. The Lesser Existentials crowd at every side. There are shores...

A Young Man From Mars: the future retold

  “Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it. The past can never be repaired or reclaimed. The future may be reimagined at any moment, possessed at any time, and thus easily known.”   Joe Trees   This is the journal of Griffon Macdonald, his...

A Republic of Books, et tu?

The original story idea for A Republic of Books was conceived shortly after I was forced to close my own bookshop, Avenue Victor Hugo Books, on Newbury Street in Boston after 29 years. The tale was imagined as a means of relieving some of the pain while grasping the...

Act 4: Scene 2 ; the problem with fire

[A revised morsel from A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.]     Act 4: Scene 2 the problem with fire     The bookshop is closed. The lights are low. Deirdre and Michael are sitting down stage, center right, on two...

Novels & Novellas Available for Purchase

I Am William McGuire

I Am William McGuire

It’s a bloody Cro-Magnon world.
What’s a Neanderthal to do?

 

A Slepyng Hound to Wake

A Slepyng Hound to Wake

Leaving well enough alone is not good enough at all—not if the reason for a death is to be found in the life that was lost.
Hound

Hound

Henry Sullivan has made a simpler life for himself, finding and selling books. There is little room in it for either love or murder.

 

About

I have been informed by trusted authority that the short quip which I have placed here for the last year or so, by way of biography, lacks gravitas. “Over-paid by others for hyphenated jobs such as lawn-work, snow-shoveling, house-painting, office-boy, dish-washer, warehouse-grunt, table-waiter and hotel night-clerk–I’ve since chosen to be a writer, editor, publisher, and for most of my life, a bookseller, and even managed to occasionally pay myself. Houndis my first published novel.” And so it does. It is hard to be serious about so unserious a subject as oneself. But herewith, and keeping the ‘nasty bits’ (Brit expressions are so brilliant) to myself, I offer then, this ongoing post begun as posts at Small Beer Press. If anyone is interested, from time to time I will add something at the end to bring the epic closer to the present moment.

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