Author, Ann Nocenti
and David Aja
by Roy Peak
The Earth is dying, perhaps on its last dark days. Humanity goes on, as it does, fractured, tenuous, some grasping at hope, many ignoring the inevitable. A city is divided physically by a wall patrolled by armed guards who are easily bribed to look the other way. Across the wall is a vast wasteland where dwell those who have thrown their tech away—no phones, no cameras, no electricity—in anticipation of the coming world's end.
by Roy Peak
Vanessa Peters latest endeavor is an album of fun rock songs played by an ace crack band recorded in four countries during a worldwide pandemic. And for being recorded in such a haphazard manner, it sounds clear and fantastic. This warm and punchy recording leapt out of the new Pioneer speakers I recently installed in my old work van. I felt like a teenager again, blasting the songs while flying down the highway! If that ain't praise, well...
I first heard Peters with her album Foxhole Prayers, which was jangly and rocking, but it was her all covers album, Mixtape, which set the bar a bit higher in that she took a few chances and it paid off well. So what about the songs on this new album? I'll say that so far I like this album better than her last two, so there is that.
Safe and Sound
Brian Walker of A Day Without Love
by Roy Peak
"If we can't breathe in our art and expression, then how the hell are we ever going to breathe?” is a question that Philadelphia musician Brian Walker explores in the upcoming documentary Safe + Sound being released July 23rd, 2021.
English Majors Are
by Jarad Johnson
*Note- Before we begin, you may be wondering, "Why is there a random picture of a cat stuck here? Well, allow me to explain. Cats are, by nature, rather irritable and, shall we say, ornery. In this post, I am rather crotchety myself, and since cats and I share a kinship in that regard, I felt it was appropriate. You may commence with reading this post now!*
On the days that I’m not working my regular job, I sometimes drive for DoorDash. Every single time, I feel like I’m taking my life into my own hands. I’ve scantily avoided multiple wrecks, most of them caused by some plebeian texting instead of driving. And every time this happens, I think, “Astonishing, isn’t it, that you aren’t the only person on the road?” This is a problem, that in my view, stems from pedestrians walking down the street looking at their phone. I know a story of someone my age who was holding their phone facetiming someone and then was shocked when they found themselves wrapped around a pole. Hope that conversation was worth it for them! Before I was terrified of them given me a viral plague, I sometimes let random people run into me. Just to make a point to them that there are other people around, you self absorbed twits!
Desire to Die
The full moon rises over the metropolitan
It reminds me of the head of the combatant
He was formerly surrounded, his people and
his enemy, whom they sentenced him to death
by hanging, he died his people became candles.
When your heart stops beating, you will think
that your last wounds will burn your weak breath
My logical sense said that “go brighter then burst”.
Nobody but you and my mental health knows that
I composed my happiness and autumn sang my grief.
An Interview with Julie Carpenter
Author Naomi Ulsted recently interviewed Julie, and they talked about writing, Things Get Weird in Whistlestop, and juggling Life, the Universe, and Everything it throws at you. Uncle Morty interjected a few opinions of his own.
Here's a snippet of the interview, but click on over to Naomi's site. It's easy to get lost in all the great content but Uncle Morty and Julie give you their permission to sit down, grab a cup of tea, and settle in. All that stuff you have to do will still be waiting on you to do it when you get back. Trust us.
Here's a little of the interview to get you started:
I think your sense of humor is one of the defining traits of your writing; however, there is a more serious tone below the humor as well. Can you describe what you consider to be the major themes of your work?
I think one theme is that just because something seems ordinary or normal, you can’t assume that it’s righteous or just. St. Bartholomew’s church in Whistlestop is a good example. Of course, everyone assumes that the church is a safe and spiritual place, but what’s behind that door in the choir room? Why did it choose the church and not the basement of the Pop-a-Top Bar? Other than the fact that I’m not sure the Pop-a-Top has a basement. The fact that you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. The fact that you’ve always trusted some person, or institution doesn’t mean that they are, in fact, trustworthy....
You also work full-time outside of the literary field. How do you balance your work, your website, and your own writing?
I balance my work, website, and writing like a novice juggler on a drunken binge, which is to say, ummm, not very well. I also have a garden, two cats, and chickens who need my attention every day. And family. So, my system is simple triage. I stamp out whichever fire is burning hottest at any given time, frequently going up in flames in the process....
Reed College Recording
Review by Julie Carpenter
The cool cats over at The Rocking Magpie, where they collect all sort of music and music adjacent reviews for your listening pleasure, asked Julie to review Allen Ginsberg's The Howl, Reed College Recording. Here are a couple snippets, but please head on over to the site and hang out for a while when you get there! There's plenty to see and hear.
Midnight in the Garden
of Good and Evil
Author, Jon Berendt
Review by Jarad Johnson
Many of you will know the title of this book, a very popular book in the nineties. It was also made into a movie with John Cusack and Kevin Spacey - he adds a layer – but that’s not the point of this post.
I was born at the end of the nineties and believe it or not I’d never heard of this book. Given that it’s an LGBTQ book, I’m surprised I missed it, but somehow, I did. I’m also not the most clued in about pop culture or the vile cesspools of social media. Although I consider myself very liberal and culturally aware, I also distance myself from certain things, which may be radical for someone my age. I just want you to understand that I had no, I repeat, no idea whatsoever what this book was about. No preconceptions. To tell you the truth, I recognized Bonaventure Cemetery from the cover; it’s one of the cemeteries I have always wanted to visit. That’s why I picked it up. I don’t know what I thought it would be about, but a murder trial was not it.
We thought this would be a good time to focus on friend of the chickens, Naomi Ulsted, since she has a brand new website and author page Naomi specializes in young adult fiction, memoir, and also writes screenplays. She is a master of writing about late teen/early twenties giddiness and angst. Her writing lends grace and humor to one of the most difficult and occasionally magical learning periods in human development. Her work sparks memory and acceptance, a look back through the hard times to find growth and beauty.
Me, the Moon, and Brutus the Cat
By Julie Carpenter
I didn't find Brutus. Brutus found me. I had stopped at the end of the drive to get the mail, when I saw him running across the street from our neighbor's meadow, racing straight towards me with all the focus of John Cleese's Sir Lancelot in Monty Python's Holy Grail. I was somewhat shocked when an unknown cat jumped into my arms. I petted him, set him down, and drove to the house to unload some groceries. When I came back to the car to get some more bags, I found him sitting in my back seat desperately trying to open a pack of hot dogs. I tried to find out where he came from , but in the end it turned out the universe had given me another cat.