I am an emerging fiction writer living in Chicago. While I am a Luddite, I am using the forum because I love to meet new people, especially fellow artists, and learn new things.

Anyone interested in reading my published work can access it through the link under the My Web Site header on this blog. My short story "Life Goes on Without Me" recently won an honorable mention from Conclave: A Journal of Chracter's 2009 Fiction Contest. I am currently working on a novel, new short stories, and a creative non-fiction essay. My friend T.E. Russell has encouraged me to write a screenplay.

And as always, I am still submitting, submitting, submitting.

I look forward to meeting and reading from you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Literacy Begins at Home and During Childhood

I never thought I would follow a web site by Gwenyth Paltrow (though I do respect her as an actress), but a friend of mine encouraged me to check out .  I did and was impressed.  Now I receive updates from  her postings.  Today's was about reading to children.

While in my neighborhood I do see children playing in the park across from my condo, it seems most children these days do not play and prefer staying inside to watch television, play video games, and sit at the computer.  Bad enough they are not getting exercise, but they are not reading, which is a bigger tragedy.

Having taught college-level freshman composition for the past eleven years, I am sad to say that it is a minority of my students who are bookworms.  Yet in my Anne Sexton seminar this past winter quarter, I felt I was in paradise because the majority of my students were readers, writers, and/or English majors.  Instilling a love of reading is the greatest gift a parent can bestow on a child.  Even if a child does not become involved in the literary arts, reading has such power in our lives.  It stretches our critical-thinking skills as well as our imaginations and knowledge.

My fondest memories are of my grandmother reading to me and my father and godmother offering me books during my birthdays, holidays, and sometimes just because.  Even in childhood my room was filled with books.

Bill and I want our babe's room and childhood filled with books and music.  Our baby registries feature books and CDs.  We also know that babies and young children are ripe for learning a foreign language.  The first one I plan to share with the babe after she arrives in August is Italian.  I am by no means fluent, but it will expose her to a language outside of English and help her when she is exposed to other foreign languages later on.  Neurons are making connections in infancy and early childhood, these connections need constant stimulation.

Parents and society needs to encourage literacy before kindergarten and keep encouraging it throughout childhood and the teen years.  The foundation is invaluable.  But even I can admit that while I love to read, my spelling in English still remains terrible.

The Daily Show on the Catholic Church's Failure with Pedophilia Cases

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sinead O'Connor on Child Abuse and on the Catholic Church Pedophilia Scandal

The woman can sing and is a genius.  She was given hell in the Nineties for calling the Catholic Church out on how she did and did not handle pedophila cases even though it seemed no one fully understood why she spoke out against the Church and later ripped up a picture of the pope.

A victim of child abuse herself, O'Connor is now a  Cathlolic priest herself in a schismatic offshoot the the traditional Church. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rereading Beloved

At Harold Washington Library a few weeks ago and looking for a new book to read.  The one I wanted was checked out.  As I headed to the desk to request for it to be transfered to my branch library once it arrived, I passed the fiction section housing Toni Morrison's novel Beloved caught my eye again.  I had read it twice before, but like baby ghost, it haunted me.  I checked it out while I waited for my latest book to arrive.

Each time I read Beloved, Morrison's prose style and narrative structure awes me.  The first novel of hers I read was The Bluest Eye, and the main term my classmates and I used to describe her writing was "poetic."  Beloved takes the poetry in her prose a step further.

Beloved is not a linear novel, and when one reads it, one has to carefully read it to keep track of all the shifts in time, yet Morrison does this so fluidly none of it is jarring.  Her dialogue and description are memorable:  thin love is not worth the same as thick love; the baby ghost hurling HereBoy with such force across 124 to the point where Sethe has to push his eye back into his head.  Good writing is loaded not just with good storytelling but solid and vivid imagery and insight.

Though I am of Western European descent and can never fully understand the African American experience, Morrison is such a remarkable writer that I feel Sethe's, Denver's, Paul D's, Baby Suggs, and Beloved's pain and want; I cry each time.  For a mother to choose killing her children over returning them to life of slavery is a choice not many want to understand but it is one ripe with truth.