Do not speak ill of the dead

In a new work in progress (WIP), a character of some many years—feisty and notorious for speaking his mind—becomes disenchanted, disappointed, and bitter.

He is asked to write a eulogy on the passing of a longtime friend. The friend was an active, loved church member, associate, and—unbeknownst to the small community where they retired to escape their less-than-virtuous lives—an arch criminal.

The result is a shocking, less-than-glowing list of evil deeds to be revealed at the funeral. He is urged to rewrite the scathing expose. He refuses, believing honesty more important than conventional good manners.

The following poem recorded in his personal diary captures his new belief.

 

Do not speak ill of the dead!

That having said, I shall

flap my lips, wag candid tongue,

hoist the verbiage black and read,

speak truth about the dead.

Outline all the right and wrong,

unblemished reputation splattered.

Far better now to say instead,

it’s only truth that matters, go ahead.

If it’s not lies, speak unpleasantness,

illuminated veracity,

impolite accuracy.

Thus having said, I shall

speak ill of the dead.

Upcoming National Poetry Month

I am pleased to announce that one of my poems, Do The Dead Call? from my novel, Mystery Of The Death Hearth, has been included in a special series organized by the University of Arkansas Press in celebration of National Poetry Month in April.

The selected poems will be read on KUAF Public Radio, part of the National Public Radio (NPR) digital network.

I’ll post the schedule for the reading when it’s released.

Learn more about KUAF radio, Fayetteville, Arkansas at http://kuaf.com/.

Poem And Plot

Succumbing to temptation, a small group of conspirators scheme to procure a sacred Celtic site by eliminating all obstacles—including the Celtic stewards. This is one of several twisting plot lines in The Corpsemakers, the WIP manuscript for the second book in the Runevision Mystery series.

Just as in the first book, The Mystery Of The Death Hearth, each chapter is preceded by a poem or short narrative setting the mood and tone. Here’s one:

Oh, Greed, so obvious your smile;

Want and Desire so blatant.

Reveal your Lust for material gain,

Of Profit and minted coin.

Omitting Oaths you have foresworn

As the pucker of your Aspirations

Lead you into Darker stations.

‘Tis The Season To Shop Local

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I will be signing copies of my books Mystery Of The Death Hearth and Storytellin’: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas Saturday, November 29, 2014 between the hours of 1:30 pm – 4 pm as part of Nightbird Books and the Local Author Day and Small Business Saturday.

“This is one of our best attended events each year so plan to make us part of your holiday shopping these days.” Nightbird Books, 205 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Looks like it will be beautiful weather and a great day to shop local.

Hope to see you there!

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Where do your poem ideas originate?

Easy answer: Any source that inspires a poem.

The writing process for me is the same be it poem, short story or novel. When ideas come, I scribble down a line or two capturing the essence of my initial thought then work it until complete. Capture the idea. Write the first draft. Rewrite and edit until satisfied.

In The Mystery Of The Death Hearth the poem ideas come from the story line. Each chapter opens with a poem or short narrative serving as a clue or mood-setter for not only that chapter but for the entire story.

In Chapter 24 for example, a key character—a hired assassin—reluctantly accepts a new target given by his employer. The opening poem sets the tone. After completing the chapter, the idea for the poem appeared and I jotted it down on my notepad. Here’s a rendition of the original idea.

 Death knocked upon the door.

The workman stood most weary;

Tired and spent without rest from labor dark and dreary.

Time he felt to quit this job, his muscles knotted, tired and sore.

Just one more thing he had to do:

Answer the knock upon his door.