Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Book

I meant to review KB Balletnine's new book by now, but some one borrowed my copy and has not returned it. Perhaps that is praise enough.

Fragments of Light
by K.B. Ballentine

Published by Celtic Cat Publishing
July 2009;
ISBN: 978-0-9819238-1-9

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Write?

Here are a couple of responses I received by email. There is also at least one posted on the facebook group, Feed Your Brain.

You already know why I write. I feel like I have a story that nobody else can tell. Also, because I see more than some people do ------ like the real fat lady hurrying toward Mckenzie Arena for UTC graduation on sandals with fragile looking French heels. I wondered how they held up her bulk.
She had on a red dress with a row of red roses across the top of her rump. They danced and jiggled as she hurried along. I haven't figured out how to tell this, but I will one day.
Nobody else in our car saw her.......Take care and BEware on Sat. night (Halloween)

Another reply read:
The young student character (in Shadowlands, I think) says, "We read to know we are not alone."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I Write

Author’s Statement
Passion is all that matters in writing. As a certain old Jazz singer said, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that zing.” The greatest issue I see with much of the writing I read is that it lacks fire. We write to combat the indignities thrust upon us by nature, our fellow man, and sometimes even by God. We write to make sense of a violent, harsh, and indifferent world. We write to make our lives count for something. Beside that, the trite and banal clich├ęs you hear in writing clinics, such as “Show, don’t tell,” are mere pabulum.

Now tell me why you write.

If you don't write, tell me why you read, paint, draw, or sing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Voices Poetry Reading

New Voices
Saturday November 21
7:00 to 8:30 PM
Pasha Coffee House
3914 St. Elmo Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Call (423) 315-0721 for full information

New Voices includes readings of poetry and short prose works, as well as musical interludes by Jim Woodford (keyboards), Bob Voigt (saxophone) and friends. Ray Zimmerman, former president of the Chattanooga Writers Guild hosts the event although it sometimes features a guest emcee.

Readers for the November edition of New Voices include
Pam West
Jane Starner
Ray Zimmerman
New Voices Schedule for Autumn, 2009
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Saturday, October 17
Saturday November 21
Saturday, December 19

New Voices Poetry Readings are presented by MusePaper Productions.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Voices

New Voices Poetry Reading

The Third Saturday of each Month
Pasha Coffee House
3914 St. Elmo Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Call (423) 315-0721 for full information

New Voices - October Lineup
Ninian Williams editor of
E. Smith Gilbert - Published in Great Brittan and the US .
Ray Zimmerman - Former Presidetn of the Chattanooga Writers Guild
Other Poets TBA

Saturday, October 10, 2009

book review

- Poachers by Tom Franklin

ISBN 0-688-16749-3

“…But I’ve never lost the need to tell of my Alabama , to reveal it, lush and green and full of death. So I return, knowing what I’ve learned. I come back where life is slow dying and I poach for stories. I poach because I want to recover the paths while there is still time, before the last logging trucks rumble through and the old dark ways are forever hewn.” (From the introduction)
Tell it, he does, with the power of one who knows the people and places first hand. The short story collection, Poachers, holds within its pages a host of characters that work in a chemical plant and a sewage treatment plant. One runs a mill that makes grist for sandblasting and one tends bar in a honky-tonk. The characters live lives of desperation as raw and jagged as a broken tooth. In the introduction to this unique book, Tom Franklin reveals a personal history that includes early years hunting deer and wild turkey in the land between the Tombigbee and the Alabama Rivers .
In the title novella “Poachers,” the reader meets the three Gates brothers, as wild and untamed as the creatures that they hunt for a living. When they kill a rookie lawman, the legendary and mysterious game warden, Frank David, comes out of retirement to track them down. Some people say that Frank David was an orphan boy raised by a Cajun woman on a bayou. Some say that he was a special services sniper in the Korean War. Others say that he is so good at catching poachers because he himself was once the best poacher in the state. All agree that he is a man of average build, able to catch any poacher that he tracks. When one of the Gates brothers dies, killed by dynamite in a “fishing accident,” the local sheriff begins to think that the legendary lawman has crossed the line.
The title novella was included in two anthologies, New Stories from the South, The Year’s Best, 1999, and Best American Mystery Stories, 1999. It is a splendid example of Tom Franklin’s masterful storytelling. The novella alone makes the book, Poachers, a must read.

- Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman

Ray Zimmerman’s poem “Glen Falls Trail,” won second place in the Tennessee Writer’s Alliance 2007 poetry contest.

If you see a writer on fire, fan the flames.

Review - The Canoist

The Canoeist
John Manuel
Jefferson Press
ISBN 0-97189-747-6
I remember rolling under the canoe; the way the water muffled the roar of the rapid and softened the sun’s glare. All around me were bubbles, millions and millions of them, rushing along at the same speed. We are like this – souls traveling through space. We are born in the tumult of the river, carried along by forces we cannot control. And we’re also beautiful in the way we hold the light, murmuring to one another on this journey toward the surface, our short spiraling lives.
–Page 208
The river in this passage was Tennessee’s Ocoee, portrayed as an ultimate challenge for canoeists, a river generally reserved for kayaks and white water rafts.
The author’s trip down the Ocoee is the climax to a journey that began on the peaceful waters of the Chagrin River near his parent’s home in Cleveland, Ohio. Along the way Manuel traversed such well known waterways as the Allagash (Maine), the Nantahala (North Carolina), and the Chattooga (Georgia). This last was the whitewater backdrop for the movie Deliverance based on James Dickey’s novel of the same title.
Manuel skillfully weaves in the story of his family and his career along the way. Within the pages he recounts emotional distance from his father, a hard nosed businessman who taught him canoeing skills but never understood his career path as a conservationist working for nonprofit organizations, or his later decision to become a writer.
Manuel also recounts the courtship of his wife Cathy, a strong canoeist in her own right. He tells the reader about his son and daughter, and about his determination to maintain a healthy relationship with them and not repeat the separation between him and his father.
Manuel’s ability to weave these many stories into a unified whole reveal his skill as a gifted writer. The canoeist is an enjoyable read.

- Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman