When August Rolled

WhenAugustRollsBlog

When August rolled, I waited for the heat, but it never came. I pressed my cheek against the sky and felt the cool commerce of change.

“In the summer we’ll swim in the ocean the way we used to.”

“But it is summer, silly,” a ghost of a moon said.

I nosed along the shore looking for pieces to our past. “Not the summer I remember.”

“Stop living in yesterday.”

“I’m not afraid of the moment, I’m afraid of the sky.”

That sky rumbled with no good reason. “He hears you.”

“I wrote a song about my suffering but not enough people have voted for it.”

“What a beautiful artist you are in your naked hope and lugubrious naiveté. You are Blowing Away because you are waiting for the world to change … for August to roll.”

I grew tired of talking and hummed a melody from yesterday.

“You’re still looking for recognition and validation,” the moon went on. “Apparently you haven’t learned the lesson August means to teach you.”

“Please, Moon, I am very tired.”

“Lost sleep from a lost you.”

“Your riddles are burdensome.”

The moon laughed and it was like the dawn yawned inside the approaching waves. “August will roll when you let it roll.”

I stopped and looked out to sea.

How I miss these simple lines, the utter ease of letting nouns, verbs, and adjectives billow the sail of one’s soul. How I miss August, too. I want the sea to carry me to yesterday. 

“Okay, I give up. How do I let August roll?”

“August rolls when you roll.”

“Oh, you are clever, Moon.”

“I know.”

“But must you leave so soon? I can barely see you anymore.”

“I leave once the lesson is learned.”

“Wait! I’m not sure I understand it all!”

“Sorry, I must go now.”

“Wait, I think I get it! Only we can recognize ourselves. Only we can validate ourselves. Only we can say no or yes to ourselves. We are always the ones that rolled, never August.”

“Just as you are the one that always rode the horizon, never me,” the moon said faintly.

“And if we all roll together, then we won’t blow away anymore. Moon? Are you still there?”

And summer came.

 

Yours in literature,

J.G.C.

 

 

 

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This Author has not Disappeared, Only Changed his Strategy

CaptainShelbyStillLives

Captain Shelby is still alive. I saw him a few days ago in Heiligenhafen (Holy Harbor). As I helped him hold his tried but stoic rope, it occurred to me that he still had some things to say. Currently working on a Titanic-based historical thriller in my peaceful artist studio in Luneburg, Germany, I have not disappeared, only changed my publishing strategy.

After I finished the Captain Shelby Trilogy, I just could not do it anymore. I just could not keep ebbing out my life like some doe-eyed donor volunteering his rare type O Negative blood until he collapsed. I have great respect for authors who choose to frequently publish novels, whether they be self-published or through non-traditional publishers. However, after yet another novel that failed to fully reach its readers, I realized that my publishing strategy was in need of major overhaul.

Sometimes I wish I wrote cozy mysteries or other commercial series books,  or was able to write non-fiction and still have energy for my own novels. I really do. Sometimes I wish I could perform some kind of literary lobotomy and cleanse Captain Shelby’s curse from my veins. But, just as Captain Shelby can never cease being Captain Shelby, I can never remove the literary soul from my voice. And, even if I could, insincerity simply would not sell, or be good enough for you; I could never let down those few of you who are reading this … who have read and enjoyed my books. After all, this blog is for you, first and foremost. It always has been.

Life is simply too short to accumulate more regrets; we all have enough of them already. In short, I realized that the traditional publishing route, though a long, winding road with no end in sight, is the only road for me. Shrouded in the beautiful tragedy of a literary voice, my only hope to find my readers is through the Gatekeepers (established literary agents and large publishers). Only they possess the ability to put wings on my novels and send them out to more readers like you everywhere. In short, I have learned that the Internet, while it may give launch wings to some writers, it will never give launch wings to me.

My current novel in progress, an historical thriller about an aspect of the Titanic tragedy upon which I deeply feel the world needs to be more educated, may come out by 2017-2018.

Here is where I ask for the greatest things a writer can ask of his readers: faith and patience. Faith, that I am doing the best thing for you and other readers like you, and patience, that when another novel comes out, whether it be my current one, or another one in future years, that something else will be published by me … something real and uncompromising.

For those of you who have supported my songwriting (I was a songwriter long before I wrote my first novel), I want you to know how deeply grateful I am that you are willing to support other canvasses by the same artist (e.g., your votes for the song, “Blowing Away” are moving it to the top ten in the World Wide Music Contest) as I write this.

Yours in future novels,

J.G.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What it Feels Like to Be in a Worldwide Music Contest: a Fishing Story

BuddySpotSketchSepia

I remember a flooded place, a sunken gazebo, a secret, forbidden spot, more like a dream than any place on a real map. I long to go back, but I cannot, so I am left to fish the intracoastal waterway of chance.

I see it so clearly in my mind, as if it were yesterday. I was just a boy, dark and shaggy and dreamy-eyed. The man with whom I fished was a young man … but also just a boy, too, in his own way.

The forbidden place was illegal because of a sign, half-sunken, that read, “Fishing Prohibited.” A precocious boy, my favorite thing was to say, “It’s okay, see? After all, it is pro-hibited.” The location, eventually coined “the Buddy Spot,” could only be sought out at night, as if we were on a reconnaissance mission sizing up a scaly, buggy-eyed enemy. During the day would be too cocky, too bold, too flamboyant.

The music of choice was the Doors, for my  also dark and shaggy, though much taller brother-in-law, would have had it no other way. And the choice of drink was Budweiser beer … and he would also have had that no other way. As the secret nights grew later, I could also count on some thrilling sips, always seeming as illicit as the spot itself, as if I were sipping from its murky, swishing intracoastal. I quickly came to love the Doors, not just for their bluesy, almost trans melodies, or their incomprehensible stream-of-consciousnes lyrics, but eventually, inevitably, for the memories that would ink like tattoos.

There was a seawall on which we would sit that separated the intracoastal waterway from the half-sunken residential community, a place festooned with pretty little bridges and cookie-cutter homes, but built too close to God. And across the swirling waterway, were mangroves, black, sinister, as far as the eye could see. And from the mangroves came mangrove snapper, as monstrous in size as they were in taste, if we could get them home for my sister to cook them the following day.

There was just something deeply eerie about the place, though. At first, I thought it was because the wee hours of Hallandale Beach mornings shrouded it with foggy mystery, or because of how the sunken gazebo stared at us like a nosy, ghostly, forgotten era poking its head out of the blackish sea. But, eventually, it occurred to me that it was the fish themselves that made everything so spooky.

Though we came for the snapper, that writhing intracoastal could have produced any kind of fish at any given moment … in the night. Perhaps a sail catfish, brutish fighters and impossible to unhook, or a snook, big enough to pull you down into its deep wake, or even a small shark. And they all fought hard, no matter their size, as if they, too, were as hard set on protecting their identity as we were. Sometimes, the fishing pole would almost jump out of my hands and I would hoot and holler and my brother-in-law would whisper-yell, “Keep it down! You’re going to get us thrown out!”

I haven’t thought of the Buddy Spot for many years, until I entered this songwriting contest, the WWMC (World Wide Music Contest). With about 9 weeks left, when I look at the artist list, I cannot help but feel as though I am back on that same seawall peering out at the crouching mangrove silhouetes, almost illuminating them like a lighthouse with my boyish enthusiasm, not knowing what I am going to drag up from its depths.

The variety of artists and their skills and talent levels are mind boggling. If you go there, be careful, for you could pull up a mangrove snapper, or a poisonous blowfish. And the gazebo remains sunken until the judges come and pump the seawater away during low tied. And thank God for the judges, because just as with American Idol, if it were just the world voting, a singer might rip his voice lessons and songwriting books into shreds and call it a day.

But the judges do not come into play unless I climb high enough (I believe top ten is not outlandish, as we are #30 right now). So, if you feel the world’s going a little wrong, and you like my song, please vote for me by clicking here.

One of the last nights at the Buddy Spot, before we were banned permanently, I caught the largest, most beautiful blue fish I have ever seen. It wiggled next to me for hours. It wiggled next to me all the way home. Eight hours later, I began yelling at the fish,”Why won’t you die? I want you to go to fish heaven.” I froze the fish to eat it later, and when I eventually thawed it out, I swear, that fish twitched one last time.

Make me the blue fish of the WWMC, please, but only after you have listened … and you think maybe I am worth catching.

J.G.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Feel the World’s Going Wrong, Please Vote for my Song

BlowingAwayBlog

Are you, like me, really worried about the world in which we’re currently living? Do you think twice about gathering in public places for special events or visiting popular cities? Do you feel frustrated that perhaps the right people everywhere may not be taking it seriously enough or working properly together to stop it?

Perhaps I’m just a naive artist, but I believe, with all my heart and soul, that just a song can make a difference, especially when it speaks out honestly about something in our world and it can help raise awareness about it. Have you ever wondered why “The Sound of Silence” is suddenly a big hit again?

Well, I’m not Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel, but I’ve given it my best shot. However, the song needs your vote! Please listen/vote here and help spread the word! This is a worldwide songwriting contest. There is no prize, just the spreading of songs with the hope that the right ones can make it farther. With 11 weeks to go in the contest, the leader has over 700 votes. To get in the top ten right now, we only need a few hundred votes.

Hint: you can vote again every 12 hours. Ironically, because of this rule, if you do the math, just 10 people who really believe could literally start changing my life, and perhaps even start influencing the world, in just a few days. Imagine that.

 

Blowing Away

If I wrote a song about the world going wrong,

Would you listen?

To what I have to say?

It’s blowin’ all away … hey, hey

 

Killing in the streets, to avenge broken deeds

Don’t you remember?

You can’t win the Devil’s game

He’ll blow us all away … hey, hey

 

(Pre-Chorus)

And I can feel a dark wind … coming down the avenue

 

(Chorus)

Hey, it’s blowin’ all away

Unless we come together, today

And think about our children

And the world that we live in

Only together can we stop the hate

But it’s blowin’ all away

 

Well, I’m tired of sitting hear, wallowing in fear

I can’t listen

To what they have to say

They’re blowin’ us away … hey, hey

 

There was a day, when we gathered without dismay

Can’t you remember?

It seems like only yesterday

But it’s blowin’ all away … hey, hey

 

(Pre-Chorus)

Oh, come on everybody … what are we gonna do?

 

(Chorus)

Repeat

 

Listen and vote here! Thanks! 

 

Yours in words, music, and peace,

JGC.

 

 

Anniversary Road

AnniversaryRoadBlog

I feel this gentle, warm breeze running its interminable fingers through my hair. There is a tingling that starts in my scalp then courses throughout my entire body like yellow lightning. Tears begin to fall. Of love? Of joy? From the wind? Why must there be an answer? On this road I walk now, everything is correct, and the lines ahead of me braid into a perfect path of unity.

A song is starting in my head now, lyrics sounding on the horizon from a great mountain … a mountain of trust.

Whatever you do, don’t drop me a line, I want to keep on falling till our love lights the way to Heaven. Can’t you see this ain’t no S.O.S? Be a good Samaritan and let me alone. I’m going home … down Anniversary Road. 

Now it occurs to me, like a tentacle of sunshine tickling me from the cottony clouds above, that I could be dreaming. What is this song that makes my bones tango with one another?

No rails, no brakes, no parachutes, we’re gonna catch Forever in his long white beard and white suit. And all you chasing cars with your sirens of doubt, we’re going to show you what true lovin’s all about. All the way … down Anniversary Road. 

Wait, I see something in distance. A cottage? Yes. A little cottage tickling the toes of Trust Mountain, just at the end of a newly cleared path wandering off of Anniversary Road. I can see a glowing yellow light inside, as if the yellow lightning that struck my head, my heart, also snuck down the chimney into the cottage.

Pretty soon I’ll be walking through that door and we’ll embrace like never before … yeah we’re walking … still walking. 

I want to run like an overgrown child! Oh, why not? Here I go!

And when I look into her eyes, it’s like flying high through azure skies … yeah I’m walking … still walking. 

“Hi, sweetie, what took you so long?”

“Oh … I … well …”

She laughs and hugs me with yellow lightning. “Look, silly, don’t you know what weekend this is?”

“Of course I do, but … where did you find this place? Are we awake?”

“Yes. Well, sort of. You see, this cottage at the foot of Trust Mountain is what we’ve built so far. But we’re going to expand, see?”

“Expand?”

“Oh, yeah! We’ve only been married a year. We have so much more to build together!”

“So true! Hey, why the red and yellow roses?”

“The red roses are the memories we’ve already made. The yellow roses are for the memories to come.”

“Just beautiful. You know, walking down this road, these lyrics kept jumping into my head.”

“Anniversary Road.”

“How did you …?”

“I’ve been hearing the lyrics, too.”

“Do you know what the best part of being married to you for a year is?”

“What?”

“That I’m still falling in love with you.”

 

J.G.C.

For Corinna

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Funniest 1-Star Reviews, Volume V

LaughingStar2

Here we go again!

10. “He must have come up with the idea and written the whole thing on a plane ride.” The Vanishing Game by William Boyd

9. “this was written so amateurishly that i couldn’t finish it(boo!). i was thrilled to delete it unfinished from my kindle(yay!). when i saw, the words “boo” and “yay” used to emphasize the lead character’s feelings on things, i was done. absolutely sophmoric writing. i know i am in the minority, but why is it so hard to write good literature? why am i the only one disturbed by this?” The Martian by Andy Wier

8. “I did not make this purchase. So I am not sure why it is showing up on my list of orders. I can’t seem to find a number or email to contact customer service.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

7. “This book is so poorly written. Very bad. It looks as if someone has tried to hard to write it. To much detail. Some stuff don’t make sense.” A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

6. “Another great one by Nora Roberts!” The Obsession by Nora Roberts

5. “Print was too small to read comfortably.” Don Quixote (Kindle edition) by Miguel De Cervantes

4. “I plan to throw this book into the fireplace at my next earliest opportunity.” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

3. “Not my kind of book…Good movie, though” Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

2. “I feel like Suzanne Collins bought me two puppies then killed them in front of me.” Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

1. “Every chapter is the same…Walking + warning + someone dies + someone gets an erection = end of chapter..” The Long Walk by Stephen King

 

 

Yours in literary chuckles,

JGC.

 

Going Home (Travel Blog Series, Day 33)

GoingHomeBlog

With all my heart, I assume we have three homes.

There is the place we come from, where our ancestors murmur in cogitating brooks and we flock now and then to cast our nets for hellos like fishermen returning to proven depths.

There are the places we roam, where moments cloak us like deliciously frightening dreams and we hang our coats and hats and surrender our mittens. We sit and pretend over coffee and feel our bodies shudder imperceptibly on their moors, something echoing inside.

And there is the home of homes, where our souls find rest. It is not a building or a body or a country, though the earthly fields where it temporarily resides bloom like a thousand yellow lighthouses anchored in seas of green. This home is where I go at the end of my trip in a few days, to you, knowing I shall see our name wherever we go along the way, like on that building in Cuxhaven with Christiansen hanging like a coat of arms upon the Strandhaus.

And we shall find rest once again.

 

Going Home

I traveled across the ocean,

in a whistling skiff built for one,

that the heart fashioned for two. 

I saw sinking cities poking out their heads,

like the blinding noses of giants.

I saw media worshiped as a god,

and people living in a dream.  

I remembered who I lost,

thought of who I gained,

and breathed for who I left. 

Now I am going home, 

where our name licks the salt,

and watches the tides;

where we lie and wait for nothing, 

as the hours become centuries. 

Yes, I am going home. 

 

JGC