To Live Forever – A Novel By Andra Watkins

Finally, finally, finally. The book To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by my buddy Andra Watkins is now available. I have watched the creation of this book, the work of getting it published, and now the wonder of the final product.

To Live Forever by Andra WatkinsTo Live Forever is a journey into a little girl’s future that also explores the past of not only Meriwether Lewis, but the historic Natchez Trace as well. Following the none-to-friendly divorce of her parents, young Emmaline Cagney must run away from a situation at home that has gone from bad to worse. Along the way she picks up the help of the wandering spirit of Meriwether Lewis – of Lewis and Clarke fame – and a host of other characters both modern and folkloric. From the sultry sway of New Orleans to the icon country of Nashville, the reader is taken on their own journey of exploration into some of the most interesting characters in America’s past. Told from the few points of Lewis, Emmaline, and “the Judge” (one of those unsavory characters you will love to hate), the story unfolds at a quickening rate to an explosive climax.

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Blame It On Andra

I stared upward at the motionless ceiling fan. A faint glow filtered in the open bedroom door from the nightlight in the hall and reflected down off the still blades. It was four in the morning, my head was pounding, and there was a dull throb in my ear meaning that almost assuredly my infection was back. Great. To top it all off I was trying to come to grips with the dream I just woke from which involved performer Amanda Palmer, her husband and writer Neil Gaiman, a mysterious collection of architectural ruins in a coast line not far from a train station, and a small mysterious decaying skull.

Andra WatkinsThat was how I woke up this morning. I blame it all on the far ranging discussions of the previous evening. Well maybe not the earache, but who really knows.

So let’s go with the previous evening. If I lay the blame there, I can transfer a good amount of it to my friend Andra Watkins. Whenever we get together the discussions take unusual turns, and last night was no different. Her first book, “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis”, is about to be published and so our conversations naturally centered on that. Topics ranged from author interview questions to publishing formats to the effect paper quality has on the reading experience. The most lively discussion though was around the premise of her book in general, shall we say a post-death do-over.
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Stillness by Rick Bragg

Night train through the SouthOk, this is kind of cheating to post this on my train site, but it is a great essay and really brings back the memory of trains from my youth, and my feeling for them now. A great way to head into the NRMA convention in Atlanta.

Then, sometime around midnight, I would hear it. The whistle came first, a warning, followed by a distant roar, and then a bump, bump, bumping, as a hundred boxcars lurched past some distant crossing. They were probably just hauling pig iron, but in my mind they were taking people to places I wanted to be. A braver boy would have run it down and flung himself aboard.

From Stillness by Rick Bragg, published in the July 2013 issue of Southern Living.

31 Days of Crap – Post #2

OK, so this is day #2 of a 31 day exercise that started yesterday. If you want to start at the beginning you can read part #1 here. Unfortunately today’s exercise is explicating “20 Facts About You.” With that “You” being “Me”. Here we go. Some maybe interesting, some may be boring, but there will be twenty.Cigar Cat

  1. I am a Southern boy. I was born in the South, raised in the South, and have always lived in the South. But most people would say my day to day viewpoints don’t match up to the stereotype of the “Southern Male”. I don’t like NASCAR, hunting, fishing or football. I do like Le Mans, theater, model railroading and soccer.
  2. And to continue that thought,  I don’t like sweet tea, watermelon or pecan pie.
  3. My ears are different shapes. Well and so are my legs but that is my fault for breaking my right leg twice and then dropping a motorcycle on it.
  4. I am an alumni of the College of Charleston.
  5. I am definitely Mac person, though Window 7 isn’t too bad.
  6. iOS is superior to Android in my opinion. And Windows mobile and Blackberry are just pathetic.
  7. I have never seen Titanic. I hope never to do so.
  8. I have seen most all of Gone with The Wind, but not at one time.
  9. I was raised a Baptist but am now a Unitarian Universalist.
  10. I love cilantro, but I hate almost all green veggies – like lettuce.
  11. Cigars are a passion – though I honest don’t smoke that many.
  12. My first car was an MG, and there has rarely been a time since when I haven’t had a British car.
  13. Yes, I usually sleep with my iPhone. I know it is a sickness.
  14. My daughter is partially named after English poet Christina Rossetti. Did I say I was an English lit major?
  15. My son has the same initials as me, my father, and my grandfather – “C.M.C.”.
  16. I was the “tech” part of the web development partnership DesignTechWeb that is no more.
  17. Yes, I have eaten a 54oz prime rib in one sitting. Complete with sides, rum, and a cigar.
  18. Three favorite books: Neverwhere, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife
  19. Among others, I have met and talked to Jimmy Buffett, Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Conroy, and Michael Rutherford.
  20. I don’t watch much television, but when I do I prefer Doctor Who, Top Gear and  The Big Bang Theory.

Ok, that was an awful lof of odd stuff that you probably don’t care about!


Emergency Shutoff For The Brain

Jumbled DrawersBrains should come with an off switch so that when you don’t want to dwell on something any longer you can turn off and quit thinking about it. Instead, the worst most troubling visions imbed themselves in your head and won’t get out. Closing your eyes and trying to shut the visions out just blocks off everything else so those horrifying sights and ideas have even more of your thoughts to dwell in.

Like the jumbled drawer when you are only wanting a sock. Or a tie-tack. And the damned drawer full of sentimental items you have kept to long smacks you full on. Pulling your attention to the old picture of a long lost pet, or the gift from your mom who passed away over 20 years ago, or the friendship that you thought was forever and turned out to be only for worse. And heartache. Aches and stirrings that you though were long gone, healed over by time, surface again and grab you emotions. Need to clean out that draw. And turn off the brain. And learn to just let things go. But they all seem to have threads attached …