"Footprints" begins with forty pages of poems, several of which date back to the 1960s and 1970s when I lived in Michigan, San Francisco and New York City. The majority are of more recent vintage. Fourteen song lyrics follow the poetry, and twelve pages of humor complete this work. Here are samples of each:
Water wants to run,
gaining speed times speed
on crazy cobblestone mountain twistways,
laugh, tickled by the tingle of coldness
and playful fingers of breeze,
feel the frightening freedom of falling,
shatter into fine jewelry mist,
break sunlight to play in the colors,
lick the smooth taste of shiny rock,
stop to rest in deep, sleepy pools
When I first heard her
voice blew through me
like wind through a whistle,
she hit me
rolling eighteen wheeler fast
and I was road pizza.
(to my wife, Susanna)
Novelists spew gallons of ink
over oceans of paper
the way ruptured tankers spill crude.
Poets are ecological.
"A Blaze A Glory" is a book of ten short stories. Below is the book's epilogue, which tells a bit about each story. The beginning of the first story in the book follows
ABOUT "A BLAZE A GLORY"
"Personal Ad" originated as the chorus of a song penned in New York City in the 1970s. I was delighted with it as a chorus, but never satisfied with the verses. When I assembled material for "Footprints", a book of poetry, songs and humor several years ago, I included it in the poetry section because I consider it quite strong enough to stand as poetry.
As I gathered writings for this book, "Personal Ad" again came to mind. I'm uncertain how many folks will agree, but I also consider it an excellent short story. With newspapers rapidly declining, I suspect that younger readers may soon be unaware of what a personal ad is.
Many of my songs are considered story songs. "Mr. Tom Jackson" appeared in the song section of my "Footprints" book. It's very much a story song and every inch a country song.
I included "The Wayward Hubcap" and "Sherlock Schindler" in the humor section of my book "Footprints". I think everyone has a few surprising occurrences in their life. These are two of mine. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
"Great Speckled Banana's Great Quest" is the story in a drawing book I've published for "children from 3 to 103". The story is for all children, but some of the humor goes over younger heads and hits us older "children".
Likewise "Timmy And The Hotdog Song" and "What A Way Ta Go" are likely to be enjoyed by kids of all ages, though the latter may not be appropriate for the youngest children. "Timmy And The Hotdog Song" is available on Amazon as a drawing book similar to "Great Speckled Banana's Great Quest". "The Mugging" is the first chapter of my science fiction book "Shrugg, 1 Mile". I think it works quite well as a short story, though if I had written it as a short story, I may have done it at least a bit differently.
"Leaving Flowerville" is also the first chapter of a book which is as yet unnamed. I have several thousand more words of it on paper, but it's currently a shelved project. It rests on a fairly convenient shelf in my computer, though. I expect to pull it out, blow off the dust, and resume work on it someday.
DON'T LET ME DOWN
Last week my telephone rang while I was in the shower.
Got so mad I pulled it off the wall.
But if this new one doesn't ring in the next half hour,
It'll be the second phone to fall.
So I'd appreciate it kindly
If you don't let me down this whole damned bottle
An' you don't let me down that old highway all alone
Cause that's where I'm goin' if you let me down.
I called you yesterday an' I know you got the message
I'm sorry for the stupid things I've done.
But if you don't call an' tell me all's forgiven
It's time for this old boy to cut an' run.
So I'd appreciate it kindly...(repeat chorus)
Yeah that's where I'm goin' if you let me down,
So I'd appreciate it kindly.
I hear a major airline is planning a new promotion. They're going to introduce flights with gourmet cooks aboard. Passengers will be served all the gourmet food they want while flying from New York to L. A. and from L. A. to New York.
Can you guess what they've named this amazing promotion? It's to be appropriately called "When Pigs Fly", which, coincidentally, is precisely when it's is scheduled to begin.
Why did the bully refuse to cross the road?
He was afraid they'd think he was a chicken
Speaking of chickens, did you hear about the hen that laid a five-pound egg?
She was quite surprised and so was everyone else. But she sat on it for a while and sure enough, it hatched.
Well, that chick was about the size of a bowling ball and nearly as heavy. And right away it started growing. In just a few months it grew to nearly fifty pounds with legs about three feet long.
But it had a very sad life, you see. It really was a chicken and it always tried to fit in, but it was ostrich sized all its life.
Little is known about the great Count of Monti Crisco except that he was quite rotund and his sword was as dull as a butter knife.
9,461 words, 122 pages, published 12/12/14, cover design G.A.Schindler, available at amazon--$9.99
What A Way Ta Go
Boredom was the enemy for us kids of course. Especially in the summer. News, good or bad, was a good thing. News had the word new in it. News had the four directions in it, North, East, West and South. Every day at six o'clock you could be reminded of that by Walter Cronkite--small, in black and white. News meant something was happening, something loud to kick the cobwebs out of your head and push back the morning fog, some excitement.
Like the glorious time old Will Hardy drove into the fire. Now that was excitement. Of course it didn't seem so glorious to old Will, but it made him the biggest hero of all time around those parts and who wouldn't want to go out a hero? It happened long before my time, but I'd heard the story dozens of times from Gramps before I was knee high to a cricket. Gramps said nobody for miles around needed that tin plaque on the rickety wood stand out front of the Hardy Theater to remind them how it got its name
Gramps would start in after dinner on the porch swing between puffs on his corn cob pipe. "According to my Dad, Will was a pretty average Joe. I was a few years younger than you are now when I saw it happen, but back then I never knew anything about Will. Can't remember ever seeing his face before I caught that last glimpse of it, eyes bigger 'n saucers.
"But Dad said he was pretty average in most ways. Not too smart nor too dumb, too tall nor particularly short. But he was honest. Dad swore to that. Honest as the day was long. A course that wasn't particularly unusual. Most folks round those parts were. But the one thing Will did have was the braggin' rights to bein' the best watermelon seed spitter in the county. When that man spat a seed it stayed spat a long time, my Daddy used to say." Gramps would shake his head.
"Come to think of it I might of seen him spit seeds at the county fair the year before he burned up, but I was caught up in the fair and too young to take notice of him like I would of, if I knew how famous he'd get ta be."
Gramps always put most of the blame on Hardy's Hill, which didn't have that name 'til it was named after Will. "There were plenty a hills west of town and lots of 'em were pretty steep. The land was good, but in them days it was easy ta wear out a team of mules or horses farmin' them hills. Later on, tractors were known ta roll down 'em sideways once in awhile. Good luck ta the driver. Ya gotta jump quick an' in the right direction. Hardest thing in the world though I suspect, ta not go jumpin' west when she's a goin' west. Roll bars are a true blessing. An' seat belts, too.
"Anyway, Hardy's Hill is as big and steep as any of 'em and the closest ta town. It's so danged close. When you walk out the Hardy theater and look straight up Lawrence Boulevard, that hill looks like old Will coulda hit it with a well spat seed.
"So, that's the way the town was set up. An' still is, far as I know. Boulevard shoots right down the hill, into town and stops at Main--the smack dab center a town. But strictly speakin', Lawrence ain't no boulevard with grass down the middle--just named that--and Will didn't.....Stop that is. (Gramps always said it that way, taking a solemn puff on his pipe in the pause.)
"I sure don't know what dumb fella thought ta plop the town down right next ta a hill that big. Dumber 'n a bag a hammers," Gramps would guffaw. "An' whoever decided ta put a road straight down that hill into town must of been his brother--even dumber. Two bags a hammers. Course the road was likely there first. Oh well.
"Anyway that Saturday, 'bout noon, old Will come out from workin' in his barn ta get hisself some lunch and spied a big old cloud a smoke just a billerin' up from behind the hill. His bein' the first farm over the hill on the....
16,285 words, 105 pages, published 1/29/15, cover design G.A.Schindler, available at amazon $7.99. also available on kindle