A Poem for Fall . . . and two free books

Dear Readers,

Happy Fall!  To celebrate, I’m giving away digital versions of two of my children’s books this weekend (Oct. 24 & 25) . . .

Yogabets: An Acrobatic Alphabet

Cover 1200 dpi YOGA single pp for CS - 9 22 15_Page_01
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=yogabets
&

One Charming Cat (Un Chat Charmant).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016B0F6PG?keywords=one%20charming%20cat&qid=1445615776&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

I’d love to know what you think of them!

For Richer or Poorer

A spare red ring
can mean
many things—
from a bedbug bite
to a life-saving buoy,
from the hatband
mark on an old
man’s head
to the salty rose
of a child’s
mouth,
from the
first full chomp
of a ripe red
fruit
to the mulberry
groove on
a widow’s hand—
yes, a deep
red ring can
mean many
things.

Review of The Girl on the Train

Review of The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train has much to recommend it, not least of which is its best- seller status. But I wonder about the recent flurry of “Girl” books, starting with Gillian Flynn’s truly admirable Gone Girl.

I loved GG. It was slick, interesting, surprising. Good plot (excellent plot, actually. I remember thinking you’d have to be a mastermind to plot something as complicated as this.), well-drawn characters, plausible motivations (the minor exception being Nick Dunne’s final dubitable decision).

But then along came Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on a Train, followed shortly by Renne Knight’s Disclaimer, another in kind (though one lacking the eponymous “Girl” title).

Let’s take GT. Similar in style to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train is told from multiple points of view—four, in fact: three women and one man, all of whom, sounded alike. This was my first problem with the book, which, in the end, had a decent plot. But when all of a novel’s characters sound the same, it’s difficult to distinguish one from another, a cardinal rule in novel-writing being that each character have its own “voice.” So I had trouble navigating GT because I could never be quite sure who was speaking (unless I went back to the chapter heads to double-check), which greatly disrupted the flow of the narrative.

A second confusing issue was the time frame. Like GG and so many other contemporary novels (reaching back as far as Michael Cunningham’s The Hours—which was excellent and warranted the shifts in time—as well as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife and Sara Gruen’s Like Water for Elephants, for example) GT moves forward and back in time, a technique which has become less ‘novel’ than de rigueur. So de rigueur, in fact, it’s become tiresome, mainly because it’s difficult to follow.

A lifelong reader, I propose a return to the days of straightforward narrative—unless different time periods are truly warranted by the story. Let the story stand on its own merit. Let the characters absorb us. Let their voices seduce us. Let go of the gimmickry of multiple points of view and shifts in time—or at least use them judiciously. Currently they’re so over-used as to become parodies of themselves, serving no other purpose than to confuse the reader—which, sadly, seems to be the sole point of many of the Gone Girl clones.

Rainy Day Blues

Two weeks of rain have come and gone–hurrah!

My head is wet,
my nose is cold,
my feet are
lumps of clay.
A chill wind’s blown
the starlight out
and chased
the moon away.
Fog steeps me
like a bag
of tea
in drizzle, dew
and mist—
so I lift
me up and
squeeze me out
and plunk myself back
in the house.