Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Seamus Heaney Center, Bellaghy, Northern Ireland

I grew up in Northern Ireland and now I'm giving all lovers of poetry, especially lovers of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a superb reason to visit the town of Bellaghy in County Derry, NI where he grew up if you're planning to visit Ireland. My connection to Bellaghy is that it's the town where I learned to ride a horse--unbeknownst to my father. As a 16-year-old high school student, I worked for Dad one summer when he had a contract to do road construction in Bellaghy and I used to sneak off and take lessons from a girl I'd befriended who practiced gymkhana at her home farm. All went well until Dad came back early from a meeting in Belfast (he'd warned me to show the men a good example by working hard) and caught them, including hsi foreman, watching me jumping on a gray mare very proudly. I got fired until Mum intervened but lost a day's wages as punishment. As an aside, my youngest brother was lucky enough to have been taught by the poet's wife while at primary school, though of course he was far too young to appreciate her connection to the poet. Behold the Seamus Heaney Centre

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The wisdom of author Robert D. Putnam set forth in his book Bowling Alone has never been truer. I read it years ago for a novel I was doing research for a novel I was writing and was astonished. He predicted that intolerance and hate would rise because of our growing disinterest in getting involved in civil institutions, local government, etc. We're too busy on our cell phones and other distracting toys to get involved. Until that changes, nothing will change. https://www.amazon.com/Bowling-Alone-Collapse-American-Community/dp/0743203046/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478967724&sr=1-1&keywords=bowling+alone

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Sexism and the different generations.

Pretty depressing reading. Donald Trump's rampant sexism is pervasive in every generation--babyboomers, Generation X, Millenials, and Harvard and other colleges are not immune. At least Harvard takes swift action. Will the electorate?

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

On Paying it Forward

Just came across this great 2013 post by Caroline Leavitt in author David Abrams great blog, The Quivering Pen. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest novel CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD is attracting critical acclaim and buzz. But more than a successful author who has a penchant for chocolate, Ms Leavitt hasn't forgotten her long climb to the top and goes out of her way via her own blog and social media to encourage other writers on the path. In this feature, she talks about her serpentine course toward success in which she showed determination and grit. It should serve as a beacon of hope to other authors, published and unpublished. Here's the link.