Why It Works for Me – Loren Eiseley’s “The Dance of the Frogs”

This is the first in a series I’m doing wherein I discuss why a particular piece of writing works for me, aka, this author’s work taught me something about writing, encouraged me to be a better writer, engaged me, captivated me, educated me, et cetera.

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s one thing to know something is good, it’s a better thing (in my opinion) to know why it’s good and then be able to copy what’s good about it, to learn from it so you can be as good and (hopefully) better.

This time out, Loren Eiseley’s “The Dance of the Frogs” (in his anthology, The Star Thrower.



I’m Thriving Globally (thanks to Roshan Bhondekar)!

Brother Roshan Bhondekar, an internationally recognized activist, author (of Love – The Key to Optimism: Path Towards Happiness), and award-winning film maker asked if he could write a piece about me. The result is His Vision Made Him Unique.

When he reached out to me I said sure. Why not?

To be honest, I thought it might be a simple blurb (he’s busy with his many projects). Instead I learn he’s done an amazing job connecting the dots of my life into an interesting story.

I mean, I found it interesting. And I think I’m boring and dull. Sometime we forget what we’ve done in our lives.

And I’m still boring and dull.

Anyway, big thanks to Roshan Bhondekar for writing His Vision Made Him Unique

Enjoying Scotch and Cigars with @FireRenaissance, @FromGreenhills, and @GGGenge

It is warm today. Bright sunshine. Buds on the maples and elms. Crocus are pushing their little yellow and purple noses up through garden soils. Chickadees and grackles, bluejays and cardinals flock to our birdfeeders. Squirrels and chipmunks race along the ground for falling seed and suet. Beetles chirp on the trees. A golden butterfly hovers, says hello, seeks out a flower. A small, brown rabbit lifts its head from a patch of still greening grass. It’s a day you can sit outside and not feel Winter even though Spring is still a few days away.

I get a lawnchair and folding table out of the shed and sit near the feeders – close enough to hear the birds flutter and far enough to let them dine – and face our woods, away from the street. Turning my back on the world, so to speak. Back inside, I get the last half of The Inheritors, a current work-in-progress, and a red pen from my desk. Back in again for two-fingers of #CaolIla in a @GlencairnWhisky glass and separately a tall #Pelligrino (both neat, as taught me by aon a’ mo meantiorreann, Calum), grab a @Drewestatecigar Kuba from my shelf along with cutter and wooden matches (always use wooden matches. Lighters spoil the taste), music, and go back out.

The sun warms my back, pulls the day’s anxieties, worries, and woes from me. The cigar is delicious. I bring the #CaolIla to my nose, close my eyes, relax, inhale deeply, and feel the peat rise in the scent of the #scotch, the heat of it. The music on low, background, so I can hear the birds, the insects, the squirrels and, deeper in the woods, turkey and opossum, coyote and raccoon. Alex de Grassi, Peter Grabriel, Al Di Meola, Peter Frampton, and Chris de Burgh are cradlesongs in the afternoon air.

It would be grand to share this with some friends.

And I’m an author. I make things up for a living.

Suddenly @FireRenaissance, @FromGreenhills, and @GGGenge are with me. We raise our glasses to each other. We tell lies about our pasts and laugh. We share our present passions. We wax on possible futures. @FromGreenhills I’ve read and @GGGenge is on my list. @FireRenaissance sips his #Scotch and smiles. We talk about where our ideas come from.

@FireRenaissance listens to my music and asks, “Is that one of your Thanks (D’s-G’s)?” We laugh, sip our scotches, enjoy our cigars.

We play a game I remember from childhood: telephone. I make up a line. @FromGreenhills adds the next, then @FireRenaissance and onto @GGGenge and back to me. The story evolves with each go-round. The #Scotch and the warm sun work their magic, the cigar smoke gathers us in its cauldron.
The game’s tone shifts until we’re laughing so hard we can’t get our lines out. @GGGenge‘s lines are bawdy (did you know he does a riotous Tom Jones impression?). @FireRenaissance delivers his lines straight-faced and we practically fall out of our chairs laughing. He looks at us with a “What?” expression then can’t hold it and collapses himself. @FromGreenhills starts his lines in a Windsor Castle English and ends in pure Liverpool slang, the Queen interviewed by a gang member.

We can’t catch our breaths from laughing.

And then the #Scotch is gone, the cigars go out. My Brothers return to the mist.

But the music remains, as does a small part of each of them in my heart.

I make a note to bring out the bottle next time. And my humidor. Let the good times last.

I got P.D. Allevanated!

One of the joys of authoring is the ability to vernaculate at will.

For example, I am a Carrabinoid, a member of the Carrabises. When I do something, I Carrabinate it. Unless I did it in the past, in which case I carrabinated it.

I’ve studied languages from all over this world (and a few others) and as functional as English is, it is also extremely limiting. For example, actions (verbs) have a tense (time component) but people don’t, an indication that our linguistic forebears thought identity superceded action. It doesn’t. If you want to know who/what someone is (identity) observe how they act and what they do (action). Their actions reveal their internal processes far better than their words ever would.

Some languages I’ve studied are from cultures that understand people change. Identity has tenses, actions do not. There is only “present tense”. If you want to talk about something that happened yesterday, last week, month, or year, you change the tense of the people involved because those people aren’t here, another version of them is. A kind of “Joseph does this” (I’m doing it now) and “Jaseph does this” (I did it yesterday) and “Jaeseph does this” (I did it a long time ago).

Anyway, P.D. Allevanated me and it goes live today.

We talked about amazing stuff, and I always enjoy a good interview, whether my own or someone else’s. My favorite question in this interview was “If you could only take three books with you through an interstellar portal, what would they be?”

Bet you can’t guess what I answered.

Guess you’ll have to go and find out.

And please do!

Meet Me Off-Planet

The good folks at Federal Street Books in Greenfield, MA, invited me to take part in their sci-fi/fantasy book fair on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020, 7-9pmET.

There’ll be lots of folks there and I’ll have lots of books and a ready pen.

They say it so much better
“Join us Thursday, Feb 13, next door at 12 Federal Street for an out-of-this-world book fair! Participants include Far Cry Zine, @organdonorstudios, The Imaginary Bookshop, local author Joseph Carrabis, and more. Preview over 500 new (to us) sci-fi and fantasy titles: paperbacks for just $3.50. Meet other readers and enjoy light refreshments. Free to browse, items for purchase.”

And if that’s not enough…
“Our bookstore will be open until 7pm so if you’d like to browse our shelves beyond the book fair titles, come a little early! This will be a sober event — but The People’s Pint has great brews, and food, just two doors down from us.”

Come on! Have some fun!

See you there!