Sunday, April 4, 2010

"On the Other Side"

I had the pleasure of meeting author Marianne Smith on Oak Island at the Senior Recreation Center.  She gave a wonderful talk about her life and the novel On the Other Side, which she wrote for her grandchildren. Marianne grew up in Germany during World War Two facing the dangers of war, bombings, hunger, and life without a father. The story is based on facts, events, and real life experiences. At the author talk Marianne Smith stated that “Everything in this book is real. I couldn’t write a book like this and imagine these things.”

Marianne admitted that it wasn’t easy putting on paper many of these painful teenage memories, but they defined the person that she became. And they show what it was like to come of age in Germany during war-torn times on the other side. Our teens need to text less and read more books like Marianne’s masterpiece.

After meeting and talking with Marianne, I felt like I made a new friend. As a poet and a essayist, I feel like I can't write about anything unless it's true. All of my poems, stories, and essays are brimming over with real life experiences. I have three books in the works, and whom did I write them for? My grandkids.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

“Excuse me, I am not fibbing!”

Sunset over the ocean
I am back from a vacation on Oak Island, North Carolina, with my wife, Marilyn.  We had a great time, even though it was colder than usual. We took lots of sunset shots. The one at the top was probably our best photo of all of them.  Once you step out of your comfort zone (as in your recliner or rocker), all sorts of wonderful and strange things can happen. Like what?

I attended a book signing where an author, Marianne Smith, shared some of her thoughts on “coming of age” during the Hitler Regime…At the local golf course I met up with a good number of mud turtles and three or four alligators that were about four feet in length. My golf balls seem to be attracted to ponds and sand traps. I visit them frequently. There were no warnings posted about alligators being loose on the course. Of course, the alligators were only interested in sunning themselves, not tasting a northerner…On the way home, we saw what looked like a collapsed tan box on the middle of the highway. As we came closer and closer to this brown miniature pyramid, we suddenly realized that it was a large deer sitting in the sun. I thought it was dead. It wasn’t moving. I couldn’t look at its face. As soon as we passed it, Marilyn screamed, “It’s alive!” I guess it was on Prozac because I never saw it move in my rearview mirror…I played 15 games of golf on four different courses…I ate more fish than usual. I think that I have developed a few scales on my legs…We made new friends, Phyllis and George, who live fulltime across from the beach house we rented. They became our tour guides for Oak Island and beyond. They taught us about photography, golf, and friendship…While we were down there, we had a snowstorm.  I have photos of the snowstorm… “Excuse me, I am not fibbing!” 
Photos can be seen here: