THE GREY MOON by Timothy P. Callahan

Grey moonA sci fi roMANce.  I made that up.  It is a romance from a man’s point of view.  Written by a man.  Set on the moon.  Whatever was I thinking?  Oh, I know what I was thinking.  I was thinking that I couldn’t remember snagging this book and it must be a sci fi story.

Well, it was a sci fi story, but with the emphasis on the roMANce and less on the sci.  A mediocre Fred is married to a nice lady, but a real go-getter with lots of ambition.  She is qualified for a job with a mining operation on the moon, which will earn her mucho dinero and really push along her career.  But she won’t go without the hubs, who must qualify for some job there too.  Guess what his skill is.  Right.  Video gaming.  Whadda guy!  So these skills get him into training for remotely operating mining equipment in space, and they both get jobs on the moon.

Being as this is told from the man’s perspective, it will come as no shock to you whatsoever that as they arrive on the moon … on the MOON, people!!!! …. his first thought is getting laid because it is getting laid on the moon!  It will also come as no shock to learn that the wife is more concerned with just about everything else — the astounding fact that they are on the moon, getting settled into their quarters, getting a meal, and getting ready for their first shifts which start the next morning.

It pretty much goes downhill from there.  The wife is very busy with her job and responsibilities, he is working in a unit and being trained by … and I know this will surprise you from a plot point of view …. a woman, who eventually comes on to him, because this slub is just such a freaking catch!   Yeah.  I know.  I know.

The ideas that are the sci part of the fi which pertain to the technology and the moon are pretty interesting, and with a different story line that doesn’t have to do with him getting his moon rocks off every 16 seconds could actually be the basis for a good book, but alas, we are stuck with Slub Dude and his romance, tempted by the Evil Other Woman.  Not his fault, you understand.  It’s the age old story.  Woman the temptress, Man the poor pawn.

The writing is puerile, fresh out of Creative Writing 101, and frankly there is nothing to recommend this book.  I started it for the sci, and plowed on doggedly through the fi hoping against hope it would improve.   Oh well.





Daimonic realityThis book is nothing like you think it is going to be, based only onthe title.   Just wanted to get that out there from the get-go.  It is Harpur’s theory of what are those folkloric creatures,  strange phenomena, unusual events or the unexplained or downright ludicrous tales, collectively known as forteana, after the writer Charles Fort, who also did research into anomalous phenomena.

In the book, Harpur systematically examines such phenomena as fairies, UFOs, Men in Black, White Ladies, Black Dogs, lights in the sky, lake monsters, ghosts, mystery cats, kaptars, yowies, Yetis, etc.,   the BVM (blessed Virgin Mary) sightings, and crop circles, among other topics.

His basic premise is that our psyche extends beyond our physical human bodies.  He leans heavily on Jung’s Archetypes of the collective unconscious,  suggesting that visions and apparitions might well be the projection of those unconscious Archetypes.

He calls all these various paranormal phenomena collectively the daimonic reality, and tells us that although this stuff may have some physical reality, such as crop circles, or Yeti footprints or UFO landing traces, it is not literally real.  It is literally metaphor.  He believes that our modern society has no room for the irrational and the incomprehensible, and that instead of fairy folk myths, or origin tales, we are compelled to convert all that anomalous phenomena into scientificism – scientific and technical explanations.  He points out that even physics, with its ever diminishing size of the foundation of matter – molecules, atoms, quarks, down to claimed entities that have never actually been seen, only postulated, the dual nature of some particles as waves/particles, are really simply more daimonic reality covered over by quasi science.

He insists that this side of our nature, our unconsciousness, has been demonized by the Christian church, whereas other older beliefs, such as even the ancient Greeks, had gods in their pantheon of both good and evil, benevolent and mischievous.

He discusses shamanism, quests, and the division of spirit and soul, and says that as we push our daimonic side further and further away, these ‘daimons’ have to resort to more and more effort to get our attention.  Whereas in the past we had fairy rings, we now have crop circles.   Where we before had tales of fairies abducting people and children and leaving a log in the bed in place of them, we now have UFO alien abductions, with the abductees often exhibiting physical scars from the experience.

He calls these kinds of episodes ‘being enchanted’, and says that to understand it all, we need to believe and yet not believe.  We have to straddle both worlds in order to comprehend the unliteralness of the physical appearances.

It all brings to mind Julian Jaynes’ concept of the early not-quite-fully-developed mind as bicameral in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind ,and how he believes early Man heard voices which dictated his daily life, and that Man was not at one time fully conscious in the way we are now.   Harpur’s views of the forteana suggest that possibly the modern mind is not quite so fused as we might wish, and we still have vestiges of that early bicameral mind.

I found Daimonic Reality a brilliantly fascinating read, and while some of it might have been a smidge hard to follow, or to even agree with, or to depart into flights of ridiculous sublimity at the end, it definitely offers food for thought.




cover her faceThis is the first of the Inspector Detective (or is it Detective Inspector), police commander and poet Adam Dalgliesh novels, for which she is probably best known.   She also has another crime series, staring Cordelia Gray, plus several other novels, and a couple of non-fiction works.

In 1991, she was created a life peer as Baroness James of Holland Park.  I love how the British do that — create royalty on the run as it were.

But back to the story.  One of those British country house murders, with the usual suspects:  a bachelor son, a young widowed daughter, the aristocratic mother, the very ailing and bedridden father, the old loyal family retainer, and the deceased, a young single mother newly employed by the family as a maid. It is a locked room mystery, as the young woman was found dead in her bed in her locked room.  The son and another visitor had to fetch (do you love my Britishness there?) a ladder to climb in her window when it was clear something was wrong.

There is the usual cast of secondary characters – a shady young man from a farm nearby, a vicar, the town doctor, an eccentric rich guy, and a home for troubled (and preggers) young women, the spinster director of the home,  the yearly church fête on the grounds of the big house — all the elements which make up a satisfying British detective mystery.

Although Inspector Dalgliesh came to be quite famous on both sides of the Pond, in this book, he barely figures at all, being more overshadowed by his partner, Detective-Sergeant Martin, he of the shorthand note taking role.

So, frankly, not a great book.  Not even a great mystery.  I figured it out fairly early on, and you know I seldom can do that, being the oblivious chick I am.  Well, every at-bat can’t be a home run.

She also wrote Death Comes to Pemberly, which I hated.  OK, that’s two strikes.  One does so love one’s baseball metaphors.



MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews

magic bitesSometimes, in spite of my PollyAnna nature which leans toward running down daisy-filled hillsides in the glorious spring, gentle breezes wafting, puffy clouds floating overhead, the sun warm on the shoulders….. <pop> …. sorry, got carried away there, a girl yearns for something grittier, darker, involving, well, violence and gore.   She yearns for a female lead, a lady warrior, a chick with balls courage and tenacity.

Gotcher damsel-dealing-out-distress rightchere, bunky.  Mz. Andrews has written a series of knock-your-socks-off books starring a female mercenary in a meticulously complete alternate world in Atlanta, Georgia, where the city is in the hands of two warring factions:  necromancers who control the dead (they pilot zombie vampires), and the Pack, a group of shapechangers which are mostly cats of various types with a couple of rodents thrown in for variety.  The Pack is led by a totally gorgeous guy with the strength of ten or twenty or whatever.

Our gal, Kate Daniels, the mercenary, works for whoever pays her, and works part time for the Order, which is a group of knights.   So you know by the name Order and the fact that they have knights that they are the good guys trying to keep order and balance in the city and region.

When her guardian, a knight, is disgustingly murdered, she is hired by the Order to find out on the Q.T. who murdered him.  She gets involved with the Pack, and also with the folks of the necromancers group, the Master of the Dead, both groups having suffered unexplained losses themselves, as they work together in an uneasy collaboration to find the nasty creature/s.

Lots of fight scenes, violence, blood.  But lots of cool stuff too, if you are into the urban noir paranormal genre.  Werewolves (the Pack), drop dead gorgeous guys, vampires, interesting cast of secondary characters, magic, supernatural events, paranormal daily life, humor of a kind.  OK, not the LOL kind of humor, but if you are not taking the whole thing too seriously, the chuckle under your breath kind. Tough lady protagonist, almost mannish, but then, when you are slicing and dicing and decapitating and gutting enemies, just how girly-girl can one be?

So, aside from the mystery, which tends to feel almost incidental to the whole thing, it is clearly unapologetic genre fiction.  I rather liked how we are immersed immediately into the world there in Para-lanta with no scene setting, but are left to find out in bits, pieces, chunks and snippets all about the world and its inhabitants.

There are 13 offerings in the series, including a prequel and a short story or two.   I think I may have satisfied my blood lust with this one.  I mean, just how many zombie vampires can a person take, right?

No, you Philistines, this is not a photo of me.  It is a zombie vampire, just in case you were curious as to what one looked like.

No, you Philistines, this is not a photo of me. It is a zombie vampire, just in case you were curious as to what one looked like.



MountainWritten between 1912 and 1924, this doorstop of a novel by the German author Thomas Mann is considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature.  It is, among other things, an examination of European bourgeois society, and personal attitudes to life, health, illness, sexuality and mortality.

Doesn’t that sound erudite?  Stole it from Wikipedia.  What the book is, my Darling Readers, is a whole lotta yada yada.

The basic story stars Hans Castorp, a young shipbuilding engineer who travels to the high mountains in Germany to visit his cousin, Joachim, who is at a sanitarium trying to cure his tuberculosis.  Hans  is there for only a few weeks, but has never acclimated to the altitude or the cold climate, and experiences a continual burning of his face.   Right before leaving, he allows the sanitarium doctor to examine him, when they find he, too, has tuberculosis, and recommend he stay a while just to get it cleared up.

The story is set in the period before the First World War, and you will recall that antibiotics were not developed until the late 1920s, so basically the only cure for tuberculosis was a rest cure, usually in the clear, clean air of the mountains.

His stay there becomes a vehicle to meet other patients, a surprising number of which turn out to be philosophically-minded, including the doctors, and the book uses all this to examine all kinds of topics, from illness

Do not, for heaven’s sake, speak to me of the ennobling effects of physical suffering!

A human being who is first of all an invalid is all body;  therein lies his inhumanity.

If she was ill — and that she was, probably incurably, since she had been up here so often and so long — her illness was in good part, if not entirely, a moral one:  as Settembrini had said, neither the ground nor the consequence of her ‘slackness’ but precisely one and the same thing.

And an ongoing look at Time:

All the days are nothing but the same day repeating itself — or rather, since it is always the same day, it is incorrect to speak of repetition; a continuous present, an identity, an everlastingness — such words as these would better convey the idea.

And we have strange discussions of concepts like paradox:

Paradox is the poisonous flower of quietism, the iridescent surface of the rotting mind, the greatest depravity of all!

There are discussions and ruminations on love, on politics, Truth, art and life’s purpose.

Castorp’s departure from the sanatorium is repeatedly delayed by his failing health. He remains in the morbid atmosphere of the sanatorium for seven years. At the conclusion of the novel, the war begins, and he volunteers for the military, and we see his possible, or probable, demise upon the battlefield.

It is  very very long book, and my interest, to be frank, began to wane about halfway through it.  I can take just so much opining through the mouths of literary characters.  You know me — I am all about the story.  So here’s the story:  Hans visits his cousin in a tuberculosis sanitarium, is found to have tuberculosis himself and stays, has a lot of boring conversations to pass the time, imagines himself in love with one of the patients for a while, then she leaves, he continues having boring conversations to pass the time, then after 7 years,  WWI starts, and he leaves the institution to join the military.  The end.

TB_KILLER tb3 tb2

SNAKE AGENT by Liz Williams

Snake AgentWell!  THAT was fun!

Urban cyber punk; noir, alternate reality, sci fi, fantasy, Asian lore, thriller, Christian religious tropes, ghosts, demons, detective mystery, mixed marriages, goddesses.  Yep.  I think I got it all laid out for you.

Detective Inspector Chen Wei, is with the Paranormal Department of the Singapore Three Police.  In a near future world, the cities of China are franchised, and basically crowded and bleak.  Detective Chen works with Hell.  However,

much of Chen’s work was essentially bureaucratic with the occasional murder thrown in, and though Inari [his wife] knew that he conversed with spirits and demons on a daily basis, this was generally done by e-mail or over the phone.

His wife is a demon whom he rescued from Hell.  OK, part demon.  It turns out her father was a human, and she was betrothed to a truly disgusting lower  bureaucrat working for the Ministry of Epidemics.

Detective Chen meets up with Seneschal Zhu Irzh, a vice cop from Hell, with whom he teams up as they search for the spirit of a missing young girl.  At the moment, Zhu Irzh is on special assignment to Hell’s First Lord of Banking, head of the Ministry of Wealth.

There is absolutely wonderful world-building in this book.  We are thoroughly immersed in Singapore Three as Chen, his partner Ma (who is none too happy about the paranormal aspects and is basically afraid of Chen and his magic),  and the demon hunter brought in on special assignment, and then we learn all about Hell and its several environs.  One of the things that makes it Hell is the bureaucracy, which if anything is worse than in the World.  One thing Chen knew was that dealing with Hell was all about power games.  He had been there a number of times on assignment and had documents permitting him access and return.

Chen’s personal mentor is the goddess Kuan Yin, a manifestation of the Buddha.  Chen operates under her protection, and tries to live his life by her guiding precepts.

The plot revolves around the plan of Hell’s Ministry of Epidemics to devise a plague which will produce lots of blood and virgin young women in order for them to make a potion which will permit the residents of Hell access to Heaven.

Snake Agent  is the first of a multiple volume series.  It’s title comes from his decision to adopt a disguise in order to search through Hell for the missing girl.  Being undercover is called being a snake agent by the vice squad.  The author is a British sci fi writer, and her first two books, not part of the Detective Chen series, were nominated for the Philip K. Dick award.

snake agent2


A piece of yarn beach Street Knittingwalks into a bar and orders a beer, but the bartender snarls, “We don’t serve your kind here!”  The yarn is forced to leave.

While sitting on the curb feeling sorry for himself, the yarn is suddenly hit with a brilliant idea. Working quickly, he ties himself into a knot and unravels his ends. Taking a deep breath, the yarn marches back into the bar and orders a beer.

“Hey!” says the bartender. “Ain’t you that piece of yarn I just threw outta here?”

“Nope,” replies the yarn, “I’m a frayed knot.”

Bada bing, bada boom.

This charming novel for the ladies is about knitting, both the yarn kind and the life kind.  You know, knitting your life back together.  Jo Mackenzie gave up her career in media to raise her two young sons, while her husband, one of those investigative reporters who travel all over the world, travels all over the world.  On one home trip, he tells her he wants a divorce.  He has been boffing — I mean — seeing — in the biblical sense — his assistant for over a year.  Bummer!

And to add injury to insult, he is in a terrible car accident after he leaves Jo, in which he is killed.  Well, I guess that is actually adding ‘death to insult’, isn’t it.  Double bummer.  But at least this bummer includes life insurance.

Jo has the opportunity to take over her grandmother’s yarn shop in her seaside home town, so she packs up her two boys, little hellions they are, too, and moves into a old place at the shore and tackles the yarn store.

What I like about these kinds of ‘getting it together’ books is that the getting it together part is always so easy, with everything just falling into place.  Oh so like real life, right?   She has a bestie who is a newscaster on the telly,– sure, we all have a celebrity friend —  and then a famous movie star one day takes refuge from the paparazzi in her shop, gets a yen to knit, and hires our heroine to be her personal knitting coach.  Happens to me all the time.  Celebrities are always coming up to me and hiring me for something.

Snarking aside, it is a nice story about how she makes friends, and how her celebrity friends and acquaintances help out the town in saving the library.

What I especially liked was that the famous designer doing the famous movie star’s house is friendly with her without it becoming a big romantic thing.  I mean, I need a little reality in my unreality.  And she has just awful kids…. two young little boys who are always fighting and squabbling.  Horrid little beasts, but we are not supposed to think of them that way, I am sure.

So the wandering threads of the plot finally knit themselves together in the end.  See what I did there?

You’ll excuse me.  I am going to go read.

knit head


BLACK; THE HISTORY OF A COLOR by Michel Pastoureau

BlackWhat a fascinating read! Pastoureau has also written the history of blue, and green, and of stripes, among other interesting subjects.   He is a French professor of medieval history and an expert in Western symbology.

Consider our expressions:  black market, black sheep, blacklist, black book, blackball, black hole, black mass, Black Friday.  And the Little Black dress.  Oh, yeah.

Who would think that a color would actually have a history, but it turns out that it does, from the Paleolithic attempts to create a substance with which to paint their pictures, to the spiritual and metaphorical significance of the color through the ages.

Meticulously researched, the book is just packed with wonderful facts about the color and people’s attitudes toward it. He offers us some history on color in general (like “to juxtapose yellow and green, two neighboring colors in the spectrum, forms hardly a noticeable contrast for us. Yet in the Middle Ages it was the strongest contrast that could be created; lunatics and dressed in it and it served to indicate dangerous, transgressive, or diabolical behavior.”)  He tells us:

Color is defined first of all as a social phenomenon.  It is the society that ‘Makes” the color, that gives it its definitions and meanings, that constructs its codes and values, that organizes its customs and determines its stakes.

Here’s something about the ‘unmentionables’.

For centuries all clothing or fabrics touching the body had to be white or undyed.  This was true for both hygienic and practical reasons — they were boiled which decolored them — and especially for moral ones:  vivid colors were considered impure and immodest.  Then, between the end of the nineteenth and the middle of the twentieth centuries, the white of underclothes, towels, sheeets, napkins, bathrobes, and so on gradually became colored, as either pastels or stripes took over.  What was still unthinkable about 1850 became relatively routine three generations later:  wearing a blue petticoat, a green undershirt, pink underwear, using a red napkin, or sleeping on striped sheets.

I don’t know today just how much metaphysical import our modern society gives to colors, other than what is trendy and what is ‘so last season’, but at times, the color black was extremely important, important enough to have two aspects, a dark, deep profound black, referencing the negative and death and the afterlife, and a brighter version, having other significances. There were even two words for the two different blacks, but today, those differences have lost their significance, and the two word usage disappeared leaving us with only ‘black’ to have to do duty for all the blacks there are.

Did you know that black once had a very positive aspect, one connected with the earth? Egyptian divinities related to death were nearly always painted black, like Anubis, the jackal-god who accompanies the dead to the tomb; and Anubis the embalmer-god. However, black gradually lost its positive aspects, and became associated with evil and danger.

Oh, I could go on and on. What a quotable book. I was highlighting interesting bits, and when I realized that I had highlighted almost every other sentence, I knew I had to be a little more picky. Well, I’m off to go buy a little black dress.


THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman

the-magicians-lev-grossmanFormula for fantasy novel:   take a number of famous book plots, a handful of tried-and-true tropes, toss in some quasi-philosophical clapdoodle about magic, dump it all into a blender, set on low speed, chop and dice for 30 seconds, and ta-da!   There you have it, YA book about genius teens in a school for magic.

The book opens with angst-ridden Holden Caulfield, oops, I mean Quentin Coldwater, teen genius who is already jaded by life.  Oh, please.  Gimme a break.  He, along with two friends, are on their way to a private interview with someone for entrance to a prestigious university.  On arrival at the guy’s house, they find him dead.  Other than the angst, not a bad beginning.

One of the paramedics who come to the scene gives Quentin a notebook, and when he is walking home, a piece of paper flies out of the book and he hares off after it into a vacant lot which becomes more and more wild, until he finds himself in the grounds of a large mansion, and the weather has gone from his NYC winter to summer.  It turns out that this place is Hogwarts, oops I mean Brakebills, a secret school for magic, complete with British style prefects, eccentric professors and everything.   They even encounter an evil monster from another dimension one time in a classroom.

This Harry Potter wannabe plotline has Quentin turning into a fabulous magician, but not much of a human being.  He acquires friends and a love life.  After being turned into geese for a flight to a branch office of the school in Antarctica, (yeah, I know, but stay with me, it gets worse, or maybe better), the students study their little feathers off and at one point are turned into foxes and play in the snow and have sex.  [I know what the problem is — I am too old to take this stuff seriously].  Then after a trudge to the South Pole naked, using only his spells for survival, he is instantly transported back to Brakebills proper in upper New York State.

The gang graduates, and using magic money, they move to Manhattan where they embark on their F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned lifestyle of ennui and alcoholism.  Fitzgerald did it so much better.

One of their bunch who has moved up to Maine shows up with a magic button which can take them to another ….. dimension?  Place?  Universe?

A main thread throughout all of this is a children’s 5 book fantasy series written in the ’20s (I think) which they had all read and devoured as children.  It is about a family who get transported to the fantasy land of Fillory, where they have adventures and go on quests.  Well, this button, talked about in the last book of the series, and which is in the book hidden by one of the sisters, has apparently been found so the gang all hold hands and go blithely off to this other dimension, which, coincidentally enough turns out to be, gosh, Fillory, but a Fillory centuries after the time of the children’s visits there. It is filled with all kinds of fantasy creatures, which we meet when the gang finds — in the middle of an evil wood — a pub.  In the pub are the strangest collection of beings, all reminiscent of that bar in the first Star Wars movie.

However, they don’t go directly there, first they arrive at a transition point, a vacant deserted city, where all of the buildings are impregnable but seem to be libraries.  I remember a similarity to some such scene in Pullman’s His Dark Materials books.  Doesn’t this author have any original ideas?

In Fillory, they quest along trying to find the head honcho, Ember, and his tomb.  They find it with the help of a couple of marshal arts mercenaries, and the tomb becomes a labyrinth.  Indiana Whoosis, anyone?

After some truly horrendous bloody battles, the descriptions of which, along with the sex, probably takes this out of the YA category and puts it in the New Adult category, Quentin wakes up in the care of a group of monkish satyrs, you know – the half horse, half human creatures? – where he has been unconscious for six months.  One of the centaurs told him that they all considered humans to be inferior beings, with none of the sylvan values.  OK, now we are in the  Country of the Houyhnhnms, courtesy of Jonathan Swift.  Will this thing never end?

He recovers eventually and after chasing after the Questing Beast (get it?  questing after the Questing Beast?  Could we BE any more heavy-handed with the symbolism here?), he gets three wishes.  His first several are ungrantable, but the beast agrees he can have one more, and Quentin asks to be transported home.  He ends up back at the school.

He then eschews magic, works in a tall building in Manhattan, when one day, suddenly, his glass wall shatters.  Gasp.  I had a 9/11 flashback, but no, it was  his friends showing up  and they cajole him into accompanying them back to Fillory for more adventures.  The book ends with him stepping through the broken glass and off into thin air and flying.  Mary Poppins lives.

What a stupid book.

There is a sequel.  It is, in fact, a trilogy.  The next volume is The Magician King.  Am I going to read it?  Hell, yeah.

Opposite-of-FateWe lost the internet for a few days.  This being Mexico, we waited patiently a couple of days for it to return, then went to the cable office and pitched a fit.   The tech showed up that afternoon to set things right.  Guess the cable office didn’t want another appearance of the crazy Gringo in there ranting and raving again.

So here I am back with another interesting book for you.  A non-fiction offering by Amy Tan, she of The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife fame.

This is a book of ‘musings’, as the author calls them; a collection of essays and other forms culled from various sources; as she says

I call this a book of musings because the writings are mostly casual pieces rather than formal essays. Some are long, versions of conversational talks I gave at universities. Others are short, particular to the desperate hour in which I wrote them, for example, the eulogy for my editor, the incomparable Faith Sale; or the e-mail sent to friends after an unexpected disaster resulting in my near-demise made the national news. There is also a love poem to my husband, which counts as my most difficult exercise in brevity.

She has a longer piece about the making of the movie of The Joy Luck Club, and a lot stuff about her life and her relationship with her mother, a relationship which informs just about all her fiction.

She has had quite an interesting life, and since I know nothing at all about her other than her four novels, (one of which I read in a Spanish translation), I found her various ‘musings’ fascinating and intriguing. She is a lovely writer, and even her non-fiction has a story-telling feel to it – easy to read and causing the reader to want to know what comes next.

The title comes in part from the dichotomy of her part-time Christian minister father, whose spiritual stance was hope, and from her Chinese mother, whose attitude was always one of fate. So as she tells us, the opposite of fate is not randomness, but hope.

Want a couple of quotes?  OK, here’s one:

Whether seemingly simple or fancy, the prose I like is such that everything is there for a reason — every word, every image, every bit of dialogue is needed; it adds, builds, and its dexterity is also transparent.  And yet it has a generosity, there;s no skimpiness.  That’s the craft part for me.

And one more, about fiction:

I think the best of fiction is its nature and its virtues. It can enlarge us by helping us notice small details in life.  It can remind us to distrust absolute truths, to dismiss cliches, to both desire and fear stillness, to see the world freshly from closer up or farther away, with a sense of mystery or acceptance, discontent or hope, all while remembering that there are so many possibilities, and that this was only one.

She has experienced ghosts in her home, escaped death a couple of times, was part of a rock band along with Stephen King and some other big names, and been very ill with Lyme disease.  She has had a big life.