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99¢ BOOK OF THE WEEK
‘til Sept. 21st at
Have you ever wondered what dreams you might have fulfilled
if life hadn't got in the way?
What if you had an opportunity to try again?
At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960’s.
George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.
Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.
Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything. Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven.
Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life then he’d previously led.
Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.
Can dreams be resurrected? Can a live abandoned be taken up again?
Will they let him?
Is it worth it?
"Literary and artistic matters including the drive for fame and creativity, as well as cutting citicism, are refreshingly realistic and provide illuminating insights into the minds of writers and artists.”
Judge Number 54, The 26th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards
★★★★★ "A well told, fascinating and powerful story. Highly recommended."
★★★★★ Lovely premise, well-delivered
"...offers an unflinching look at how circumstance, both disastrous and mundane, can shove youthful ambitions aside...excellently insidious character development, where every individual springs from the page."
- Mary Keefer, Amazon Verified Purchase
The Seeker of Abandoned Dreams
He is not now, nor has he ever been
the person you think you know.
What you see is a complex compromise
of demons, dreams, desires,
the blunted spear of passion,
the dull edge of intellect,
an over-talked argument, the last guest
at a weary gathering.
Extraneous stuff slips away,
the affairs of friends hold little interest
and the lack of things in common
make conversation the killer
to his preferred silence.
The focus has narrowed, the journey closes,
the lack of purpose becomes
He’s going out there now
to slough off conventions,
become what wind, sun and rain would have him be
He’s taking with him
something vague and inarticulate,
less than a memory, tinged with warning.
He’ll travel with no expectations
only to be
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“Ah, so this is what the world looks like from the epicenter of grief–”
Songs for Solo Voice
By James R. Whitley
This quote from Here, one of the poems in James R. Whitley’s Songs for Solo Voice, sums up this entire book of thirty-five poems.
After a second reading, I realized the works reminded me of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. Though Whitley’s book only has four parts, with a little rearranging and a bit of imagination the poems began to take on a significance for me they didn’t have initially.
The entire collection appears to focus on a failed relationship, the death of love, and begins with works that address anger and bargaining. A stanza from Souvenir says it best, “If I take it all back—the jagged insults hurled like careless daggers, the failing stargazer lilies and their accusations of neglect, every unconscionably late anniversary gift—could there be room left for negotiation?”
In Quite Taken, the bargaining continues for a reprieve from the unrelenting pain: “Does it explain my pleas for mercy that continue long after the church has crumbled to dust around me?”
Depression that comes with loss is expressed in Sostenuto, “No matter how striking the tune, the sound after a song has been sung is no sound at all."
The suffering continues, but with a glimmer of acceptance with the realization in Here, “is not just where I am, but where I am meant to be.”
Gradually the poems convey a hint of optimism as in Here, Finally, “…there comes a point when you realize that, no matter how long or torturous, no road is your enemy.” By the end of Songs for Solo Voice, the impression is one of reconstruction and working through, “but know that, when it comes to loss, none of us is immune." (Trembling Deliciously) and “…a game played—however badly, however distressing the ultimate defeat— was an option to win something. (The Inside Story of It)
And finally, in She Hangs Brightly, a declaration of hope; “Trust me when I say you will survive this, despite the difficult music lurking in the background. This is just the music of never-forgetting-her, the score of the rest of your life.”
Whitley uses a number of musical terms, which this reviewer did not understand or initially appreciate. But after looking up their definition found them to be remarkably appropriate in subsequent readings.
When read individually, most of the poems in this collection are exceptional for their raw beauty and intensity. However, as a theme, the bitterness and disappointment, the self-flagellating, and accompanying insecurity become burdensome.
Regret, like worry, is unproductive and tedious