Zephyr pollinating snowflakes in filament’s fire.

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Last night I dreamt of my grandmother. She was sitting next to my dad toasting champagne in a luncheonette on Broad Street. You know, the kind with leather stools spinning around a counter and formica tables? I knew she’d be waiting, but the front door was locked, so I found a back entrance, pushed past the steel workers having lunch and ran to her. My heart was so full it felt like I was drowning, swallowing air and love; racing towards that hug that almost knocked us off our feet, her arms as tight as mine, holding on ‘til morning.


©2022, Jen Payne.  Photo: John’s Cafe in Portland, Oregon

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One challenge from 2022 that I wish to carry over into 2023 is the Classic Club Challenge. In 2022, I decided to read a classic every other month through December 31st. This year I will do the same.

January/ February I decided to read Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here because it was our January book for our Tuesday Night Readers Book Club at the Alvin Library.

I read this classic as an e-book on Hoopla, and although I can’t honestly say I liked it, it certainly made me think. What follows are some of the things that came up at the discussion of the book club.

One of the members commented on the interesting characters’ names. Buzz Winthrop, for example created quite a buzz, and Winthrop is definitely a WASP name. A former history teacher added that Buzz was based on a real person, Huey Long who “took over” the government of Lousiana.

Sinclair Lewis was married to a foreign journalist, who at one point, interviewed Hitler, and she alerted Lewis to the situation in Germany, and even earlier in Italy with Mussolini, where the masses were so fed up with their situations that they bought into the promises made by both of these dictators.

We agreed that it COULD happen here–in America; it could happen anywhere. We also agreed that the book was NOT an easy read . There were so many characters to keep straight, for one thing. One member said the novel was a treatise on how to take down a government, and another referred to the quote, “All that’s necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” This is what happens in Lewis’s story. People are often willing to go along with evil because evil seems to prosper. This novel is a cautionary tale and our takeaway was “It CAN happen here.”

RAE 1/24/23

Artistically Starved

Random Specific Thoughts

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
― Pablo Picasso

This absent determination
Watches over time that simply refuses to halt
In the face of a starved, diminishing soul.
Such creative impoverishment is this
Where words flee and stick figures reign
Breeding an utter lack of books –
The kind with sweet, homely pages.

Caught in this prophetic rattrap*,
With all its glorified noise and chases,
Where must one go to simply live?
Pray, show us the way to
Where paint blinds our sight,
Music paves the way
And words let us speak – truly.

“Literature, Art, and Fashion possess the power to transform the very essence of what we consider to be reality.”
― Prometheus Worley

*Rattrap refers to The Rattrap by Selma Lagerloff (excerpt given below). I don’t entirely agree with it but it’s the kind of thought that makes sense…

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Easy reading is hard writing –  why hard writing is worth it and how to do it

Nail Your Novel

I have a friend on Facebook who posts thoughtful quotes about writing. This, from literary agent Jonny Geller, struck a chord. ‘One thing you learn working with good writers: the easier it was for you to read their story, the harder it was for them to write it.’

My last novel took 23 drafts, and people find this surprising. Why would you rewrite that number of times? But you get seized with love, a love for what the book could be.

And that love can be hard won. A creative person thrives on a mission. If the mission hasn’t arrived when we’re ready to work, we have to somehow find it, which can be thoroughly dispiriting. Nick Cave has just written about trying to start his next album. He talks about a profound feeling of inadequacy, ‘the familiar feeling of lack.’

Every time you listen to a complex and…

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