The Library d’Seave

The Library d’Seave

                Molly and Eric looked both ways before crossing the deserted street. Before them the Library d’Seave stood, stately and stoic, its greying stone pillars supporting its massive slab of a roof. They dashed up the steps, flung open the doors, and rushed inside nearly toppling a stack of dusty volumes. A small, old lady with huge watery eyes and golden-rimmed glasses peered around the tower of books. Molly and Eric paused, blinking in the musty dimness as the door shut with a soft swoosh behind them.

“Welcome to the Library d’Seave,” said the old lady, slowly and deliberately. “Can I help you?”

Molly grabbed Eric’s arm, skirting around the old woman’s stack. “No, um, we’ll be fine. C’mon Eric.”

“If you need anything, I can help.”

Eric managed a short, “Thanks,” as the two kids quickly backed away. They darted down a dingy isle of books and rounded a corner, trying to distance themselves from the old woman.

“This place gives me the creeps,” Eric whispered to Molly.

“Yeah, let’s find that story as quickly as possible. What was it called?”

Eric pulled a crumpled slip of paper out of his jean pocket. “Mrs. Readings said it was called “The Purloined Letter” by some guy named ‘Poe’.”

“Let’s find it and get out of here. I need to get home soon. It’s getting dark outside.” Eric shoved the slip back in his pocket and looked up. Molly’s blonde braid was already bobbing away down another row of books.

“Hey! Wait up!” he called, trying to keep his voice down.

The silence pressed in as the duo wound here and there scanning shelves and stacks of books, new and old, with only the occasional squeak of their sneakers on the dark tile to keep them company. After a few minutes of frantic scanning, Eric broke the silence. “Shouldn’t we try to figure out how these books are organized? That might speed this process up a bit.”

“I was just thinking that,” sighed Molly, “but look- the books aren’t in order by author.” She ran her finger along one row of dusty books and began listing the authors’ names. “Connell, London, Conan, Lee, Goldman- these names are definitely not in alphabetical order.”

“Are they arranged alphabetically by title?”

“Only if The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn comes after Falling Up and before The Witches.”     Eric tried again. “How about the subject?”

Molly gave Eric a half-incredulous side glance. “Do you really think Frankenstein would be next to The Cat in the Hat and The Fellowship of the Ring?”

“Well then, how are they arranged? By color? By length? By height? This makes no sense. Maybe we should go back to that weird lady and ask.”

“No!” whispered Molly emphatically, “Mrs. Readings said we needed to do our own work.”

“I don’t think she was talking about finding our homework when she said that.”

“C’mon Molly. Please.”

“Let’s keep looking for a few more minutes. It has to be in here somewhere.”

Twelve minutes passed. Faintly, the town clock tolled the hour.  Molly finally gave up. “Ok. Let’s find that creepy lady.”

“Which way?” Eric looked around, panic slowly rising in his chest.

“I thought you were. . .” Molly rubber her palms together. “This is not good. Not good at all. Let’s stop and think. How did we get here? That way right? Or was it down that row?”

“Looking for something?” Molly and Eric nearly jumped out of their sneakers. The tiny old lady appeared, like an unwelcome ghost, from around yet another stack of books.

Molly gulped and Eric took a deep breath. “We were, um, looking for  this story.” He jammed his hand into his pocket and held out the crumpled sheet.

The woman adjusted her spectacles and held the paper close to her nose. “Ahhh. Poe. Yes, yes. That is a good one. Mrs. Reading sent you? She was a favorite visitor of mine a few years back.” On tip-toe, the woman reached and snagged the top book from a nearby shelf. “This is what you are looking for, yes?” She held the unassuming black book out to Molly.

“But this says The Book Thief. This can’t be the right-” The old woman raised her hand in silence.

“Do not judge by the outward appearance of the thing, for diamonds may be taken for pebbles if coated in mud.”

Molly flipped it open and to her astonishment, printed in bold letters along the top of the first page were the words, “The Purloined Letter by E. A. Poe”.

Then Eric stammered, “But how did-, but it says-” He trailed off as the old woman again raised her hand. “Long ago, I switched the covers of all the books in the library to introduce people to new literature they would never have discovered on their own. I always intended to switch them back, but you know,” she waved her hand in the air, “It was too much fun. Now I am the only one who knows where the stories actually are.”

Eric and Molly didn’t know what to think. Clearly, the old woman was a loony. Molly spoke next, “Thanks, Ms. um,” Molly faltered.

“Veda” The old woman finished for her. “Follow me, and I’ll get that book checked out for you.”

Soon enough, Molly and Eric were hurrying back down the steps of the Library d’Seave, heading home through the ever deepening dusk.


*Photo courtesy of


Sync and Sank


I was having some ipod trouble today,
So I asked my brother if there was a way,
To make it sync quicker,
Run faster and slicker,
He took it, and winked, and he said, “Ok.”

After some bangs and some crashes next door,
And many more noises I tried to ignore.
He brought back my ipod and told me quite frank:
“The more holes it had, the faster it sank.”



A Wicked Review

I waited  four years to see Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked.

It was well worth the wait.

I sat in the gallery, high, high up in the air above the stage. Looking over the edge was truly terrifying; I could see myself tumbling through empty air to meet my end on the cushioned seats below. The set was very intricate. The stage was framed in gears and cogs, rusted and industrial. At the very top, scowling down at the audience perched a giant, metallic dragon. Throughout the production, the set was referred to as “the great dragon clock”, serving as a constant reminder of the impending passage of time.

The music was great. No. Not great. More like superb, or exquisite, or (as one prominently featured character might say) “Wonderful.” The music was powerful, whimsical, enthusiastic, dark, and altogether captivating. Of course it helps that the two female leads (Glinda and Elphaba) sang with so much commitment to perfection that I could have sworn there were angels in the room. Although, when I looked around for the angles, all I found were flying monkeys.

The most remarkable aspect of Wicked‘s music was it’s ability to reveal hidden contrasts. For those of you who don’t know, one of the major themes in the production is what makes someone ‘wicked’. Does being different make you wicked? How about going against the norm? Is the majority or the minority in society the ‘wicked’ factor? The play seems to point toward the greater society as the true force for evil in the world. The music underlines this thought. The celebration of the townspeople in the opening number is shrouded in diminished, minor, ‘scary sounding’ music that completely contrasts with the  joyous, ‘ding-dong the witch is dead’ lyrics. So, although the words say one thing, the music is able to portray a completely opposite idea. The audience finds itself rooting for the underdog and outcast, Elphaba, as she tries to do what she feels is morally correct. Everyone is thrilled when she finally decides:

“I’m through excepting limits, ‘Cause someone says there so.”

in “Defying Gravity”, the final piece in Act I. She decides that she would rather follow her moral thoughts and be labeled ‘wicked’ rather than forsake her values and follow the ‘righteous’ society. There is some part in all of us that yearns to have the courage to break away from others and live by our own beliefs regardless of consequences.

Then, there is the theme of friendship. The unlikely making of Galinda and Elphaba’s friendship, in the middle of “Dancing Through Life” is an especially poignant, human moment. The ‘popular’, do-no-wrong, bubble-gum Galinda reaching out to lift up the awkward, unaccepted, Elphaba. The bond between the two characters is profound and real. What good is a play without a little “friends are forever” theme?

I can’t put into words exactly how I feel about Wicked. It was a masterpiece. A work of deliberate genius.

It wasn’t just good. It wasn’t just great.

It was





Short and Sweet Reprise (Two More Limericks)

One of these is a true story. The true one isn’t the first one.


Have a Seat


A limerick’s usually witty,

And happy and playful and pretty.

Hear me out once,

And call me a dunce,

But please do not sit on my kitty.



Going Nowhere


My luck took a downward dive,

My car just would not come alive.

I popped up the hood,

And saw all was good,

Then I saw that I had it in drive.

Short and Sweet

A poem or two about life.



The Circle of Life


 Laundry, Laundry, Laundry.

A Quandary, Quandary, Quandary.

Just when I’m finished,

I find you replenished.

Laundry, Laundry, Laundry.




The Irony of Picture Day


She woke up early to start her day,

To fix her hair in a perfect way.

She plastered her face,

With masterful grace,

But it rained on picture day.



May your day be full of small instances of humor.



Tips for the Lonely Free Verse Poet

Free Verse is a tricky.

Many people think that free verse poetry is a collection of random phrases. You can write emotional sounding sentences and expect that others will feel that your free verse is genius. This is not the case. There must be some definitive, connecting element. Structure is a must. In the following poems I use alliteration to create my structure. Other ways to create structure include: syllable matching (think iambic pentameter), graphic design (using space and shaping words into pictures or designs), ending each line with a similar characteristic (a letter or punctuation), or even using italics or bold or various fonts and colors to separate elements. A near rhyme every once in a while won’t hurt anyone either.

I recommend using alliteration to further the imagery in your poetry. Show how slick, slippery, and slimy, something is with a repetitious sound. The “sl sl sl” combination makes the poetry come alive when it is read aloud.

And now for my own, simple poems.


Day Reborn

Below, Beyond, Beneath the Cloud,

A glow, a glimmer, a glimpse of warmth.

Mighty, Majestic, Merging Mountains,

Underline the Unborn Sky.

Slowly, swelling, steadily,

The warmth takes on visible form.

Soon a circle shall be seen.

At dawn- the day reborn.

(Photo from an early morning hike I went on.) 


On Spindly Spokes

Time turns slowly on spindly spokes

Laced in gossamer threads.

Rocking chairs on porches sway in ticking time.

Creaking on the stairwell

– hush –

Footfall treads.

Thickness in the shadows.

Dust obscures the air.

The dirges of the midnight hour

Summoned of nowhere.




Blame it on the Cats

In reading the first quarter of Pride and Prejudice this week, I came across a myriad of rich words. Some are old friends long forgotten, others are new friends not to be discarded. I have attempted to properly incorporate a majority of the following words into a mini story, which can found towards the bottom of this post. How many of these words do you know off the top of your head?

caprice-     a sudden, unpredictable change, as of one’s mind or the weather

ostentation-     pretentious or conspicuous show, as of wealth or importance; display                          intended to impress others

candor-     the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or   expression

supercilious-     haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression

piqued-     to affect with sharp irritation and resentment, especially some wound to pride

insipidity-     without distinctive, interesting, or stimulating qualities; vapid

effusion-     the act or effusing or pouring forth

tete-a-tete-     a private conversation or interview, usually between two people

indolent-     having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful

witticism-     a witty remark or sentence

piquet-     a card game played by two persons with a pack of 32 cards, the cards from deuces to sixes being excluded.

panegyric-     a lofty oration or writing in praise of a person or thing; eulogy

celerity-     swiftness; speed

expostulation-     remonstrance; earnest and kind protest

alacrity-     cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness

approbation-     approval; commendation

propitious-     presenting favorable conditions; favorable

laconic-     using few words; expressing much in few words; concise

filial-     of, pertaining to, or befitting a son or daughter

obsequiousness-     characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning


Blame it on the Cats

                 Mrs. Harmon was just dusting off an old grandfather clock in the hall which read one o’clock when she heard a rap on the front door.  Mrs. Calder, a life-long friend of Mrs. Harmon’s, had arrived on the doorstep of number 8, Ashwood Park, dressed in a multicolored, light cotton dresses. Though prone to occasional effusions of thought, Mrs. Calder was generally an amiable woman whose general insipidity allowed her to fade into the humdrum background of life. At least that was what most people who knew her thought. Not Mrs. Harmon. Mrs. Harmon knew that Mrs. Calder secretly led a very interesting life.

                Mrs. Harmon invited Mrs. Calder inside and led her to the backyard where a table with a yellow, striped umbrella was set for four. Would she like some lemonade? Of course she would- lemonade was a favorite. Why must she even think of asking? How was her health? Same as ever- healthy and uneventful. The tete-a-tete continued until Mrs. Harmon nearly choked on her glass of lemonade.

“You can’t be serious.”

“Oh! but I am,” replied Mrs. Calder knowingly, taking a slow sip from her glass, “and it’s all my fault.”

“Mr. Bronston! In the hospital of all places! By your actions! I always considered him with general approbation. He seemed such a fine, healthy salesman. What can have happened?”

“That is precisely what I hoped you would ask.” Mrs. Calder’s chair creaked as she leaned back and began her story.

“As you know well, I have had the propitious privilege of taking care of my mother’s seven cats this past week. She has a filial bond with them, and the cats respond with alacrity to any whim of my mother’s. However, I have observed that they have no such love of me. They are full of caprice. They stalk my home indolently; I have never observed a more supercilious display of ostentation in my life. They lounge wherever they choose- on the sofa, on the table, in the closet- and glare at me as I walk by.”

“After breakfast today, I decided to try to make amends with the little scoundrels. I procured seven leashes, left by my mother for the sole purpose of walking the cats, a notion I found utterly ridiculous. I told my mother so when she gave them to me, but she started in on one of her panegyric lectures, extolling the health benefits of ‘cat-walking’.”

Here, Mrs. Harmon interjected. “That is ridiculous! I’ve heard of walking a dog, but walking a cat! The thought! Let alone seven of them!”

“Yes, I couldn’t agree more.” Mrs. Calder adjusted herself in the chair. “The leashes immediately piqued the cats’ interests. Before long, all seven of them were gathered around my legs, purring and rubbing against my ankles with obsequiousness. I harnessed each one, and as soon as I opened the front door, the cats bounded outside with such celerity that I nearly lost my grip. We zipped out onto Sheffield Street and rounded the corner onto Carrol Road.”

Mrs. Calder paused, squinting in the afternoon sun. “Would you be a darling and adjust the umbrella for me? Thank you, Helen.”

As Mrs. Harmon stood to adjust the umbrella Mrs. Calder continued. “The cats seemed to know exactly where they wanted to go. They made a bee-line for several ragged heaps of old blue carpet on the curb. The cats scratched and clawed and stretched and meowed all over the heap. I chided them with gentle expostulation, but the cats were obliviously blissful by that point. Since the carpets were clearly trash, I didn’t mind much.”

“Once the cats were done basking in the glory of those ratty carpets- a good fifteen minutes mind you- the cats seemed completely satisfied to follow me home, and they have been most kind to me ever since. As I locked the front door of my house I heard the distant siren of an ambulance, but thought nothing of it at the time.”

“And…” prompted Mrs. Harmon.

“And it was all my fault!” Mrs. Calder looked sheepish. “It turns out that Mr. Bronston is a very successful carpet salesman who happens to be deathly allergic to cats.”

Mrs. Harmon shook her head. “Poor Mr. Bronston. Will he be well soon?

“Of course he will. I called the hospital and they assured me that he is going to be fine and probably home, safe and sound, in an hour or two.”

“Are you going to tell him what happened?”

Mrs. Calder shrugged and answered with a final witicism. “I do not intend to, but if he does ask, well … I’ll blame it on the cats.”




*Photo courtesy of the WordPress Blog “Eco-Mentalism”

Long Distance Love and a Ukulele

“Get to You” is a song I wrote on the ukulele. As with all songs, the words are rather lifeless without the music. Music has the ability to portray emotions and subtle nuances that the spoken word cannot. Due to the fact that this was the first song I ever wrote of any merit on the ukulele, it uses simple chords. (CM, GM, FM, and Am with melody or sub-melody finger picking added in.) Each song I write goes through a different creative process. This one started as a desire to write a short, folksy, cheerful song, and ended up that way. This is highly uncommon. Usually, a song starts one way and ends up another. I once wrote a piano song attempting to recreate the mood of the music in a Sherlock Holmes movie I watched and it ended up sounding like something out of Carmen. Go figure. Now I present to you my short ukulele song “Get to You.”

Get to You


Jimmy was a young boy down in Minnesota,

Wonderin’ if she’d gotten all the letters that he wrote her.

‘Cause just last May,

She moved away,

To a city on the sunshine coast.

But that’s just life-

It cuts in like a knife,

When it hurts the most.



When the goin’ gets tough the tough get a-goin’

When it seems love’s away.

And when the road gets rough the rough keep a-rollin’

Lovin’ on anyway.

Love so bright

-A shining light-

Will find you through the darkest night.

Love true.

Will get to you.


Annie Marie in her house by the sea,

Painting pictures of the seaside scenery.

Her thoughts wander back,

To the envelope stack,

And Jimmy’s “Happy Birthday” card.

She sings their song,

And tries to stay strong,

‘Cause leavin’ love behind is hard.




A letter arrived in the mail today,

Jimmy just smiled at what it had to say.

“Though I miss you a ton,

I know you’re the one,

That can understand and see,

That though we’re apart

You’ll be in my heart.

I love you. Love, Annie Marie.”




Love true.

Will get to you.




(painting by Richard C. Moore,  The Clipper Ship)


The Pirate stood on the Black Fear’s deck,

A spyglass to his eye,

High above, Her sails billowed

Boisterous to the sky.

His boots clacked as he paced the deck,

His sword upon his hip,

He ordered the skull and crossbones flown,

But he never loosed his grip,

Upon the map he held so dear,

A treasure to his heart,

Oh how the captain dearly loved

That weathered wrinkled chart!

Soon enough the anchor dove

To seek a sandy hold,

This island was the place alright,

It smelled of richest gold.

Through the jungle, on they trekked,

Hacking through the lush,

Until the jungle swallowed them whole,

With hungry vines and brush.

Soon enough they reached the cave,

And with their torches bright,

Ventured on into the dark,

Their fiery pitch cast light.

And then ahead- It couldn’t be!

There sat an ancient chest,

Locked with chains all rusted o’er,

The cave’s own lonely guest.

The captain kneeled reverently

And then his hand stretched out

The secrets that reside within

He could only dream about.

He broke the chains quite easily

With a creaky, cracking crunch,

And. . .

Jimmy, please stop playing now,

Come down and eat your lunch.


An Opening Sentence to Remember

I am beginning reading Jane Austen’s masterpiece Pride and Prejudice this week. I plan on posting my commentary and thoughts about the book, as time and occasion permit. If you would like to join me in my reading adventure, I am reading chapters one through nineteen this week. Today, I have decided to focus on the novel’s opening line.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (page 1, chapter 1)

The opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice is quite an attention grabber. It introduces the idea of marriage and the part money can play in the process of marriage. The reader knows from the start that the story will probably involve one or more women vying for the hand of a rich man. The speaker of the first sentence seems to have an underlying motive. The speaker is most likely a woman, eager to marry off her daughter to some rich gentleman. Thus, the speaker attempts to convey her words as “a truth universally acknowledged” to either motivate the man to seek a wife or to motivate the daughter to seek a rich husband. Either way, the first sentence introduces the reader to Austin’s witty style and also to a central idea of the novel.

What do you think of the opening line? Is it successful and meaningful?