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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tell Us About Your Book
Dead Beat has discovered AuthorHouse. It is a tonic - listen: Your Search for a Poetry Publisher is Over.
Since 1997, AuthorHouse has helped more poets reach their publishing goals than any other company in the world. Publishing your poetry book with AuthorHouse means you'll have all the services and support you need to publish, promote and sell your poetry book.
Publish!Choosing AuthorHouse to be your poetry book publisher means you retain all rights, control decisions regarding the design, distribution, promotion, royalty amount and sales of your book
Promote!No other book publisher offers you more services to help you promote your book in newspapers, book stores and on the internet.
Sell!When your book is finished, it’s available for order at more than 25,000 retail outlets worldwide, on the Internet at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and through the AuthorHouse online publishing company book store.
To learn more, request a free copy of our Publishing Guide by completing the form on this page. Let us help you get your poetry in print today. Get started now!
Dead Beat is over the moon. He is requesting and completing - stay with me...
End of the year - and everyone is counting up the best of the year. Best Book, Best Film, Best Concert, Best Album, Best Absentee Underwear... Best Who Cares?
Dead Beat is Stuck in Stuckism. Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, Billy Childish - Ow, they all exclaim. I'm not a Medway Poet. I did not sleep in Tracy's tent (well what the heck, who did sleep - nudge nudge!) Fact is everyone slept. Hirst should be dropped in formaldehyde and exhibited. Emin should be poured over a Christmas Pudding and lit. And as for Billy Childish... let's just expel him from college and admit the Brit Pack is lack-ing. When Kylie Minogue name checks you in her ...album title...it's time to knit yourself out of a relationship...
One purl, one plain, one purl, one plain.
Ceremonies for Christmas
Robert Herrick (1648)
Come, bring with a noise,
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Auctioneers Sotheby's had thought "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" would fetch up to 50,000 pounds, but amid frantic bidding between a handful of buyers in London, it eventually sold for around 40 times that amount.
"The price achieved today stands as the highest price ever achieved at auction for a modern literary manuscript, an auction record for a work by J.K. Rowling, and an auction record for a children's book," a Sotheby's spokeswoman said in a statement...."
Friday, December 07, 2007
The Natural Burial Ground of Literature
So your book has died a natural death. You have considered embalming but feel it is environmentally unsound. Let Dead Beat recommend an eco-cemetery. In this natural burial ground the body of your work returns to nature in a biodegradeable fashion. A memorial tree is planted above the grave. The decomposition of the body provides the nutrients the tree needs to survive.
This then is the secret to great writing: writing which participates in the natural cycle of life. Watch it live, guide it to its death, and encourage its decomposition.
Write on fellow Dead Beaters. There is nothing to fear from death.
Posted by Dead Beat at 10:37 PM
Hi Gerard - I love this photo - I remember taking it two years ago at Usk Castle Chase natural burial ground - we would appreciate a credit for your use of the photo and a link to our website www.nativewoodland.co.uk. ThanksJames Leedamjames@nativewoodland.co.uk
Dear Dead Beat:I am fascinated by your blog. I haven't a clue what you are talking about most of the time. Actually, I don't know at all what you are talking about any of the time. Maybe it is a language problem, or maybe it is a class discrepancy, a cultural dissimilarity, or just intellectual poverty on my part, but I do love Leonard Cohen. So, I come back to Dead Beat again and again always hoping there will be a breakthrough for me. Well, not today, but Leonard was lovely as usual. Where are you?
Thank you so much for this wonderful visit with Leonard Cohen. Sorry to say, I've only discovered him lately, thanks to the DVD "I'm your man." But now I listen to him all the time, and slowly making my way though the Book of Mercies, day by day, each page a kind of prayer.I am very glad to know that he is a happy man now. (in his own way of course)Thank you again for letting me feel as if I were there too, being welcomed in his little house. He seems to be just the way I have imagined him.
Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).
Kelly Joyce Neff said...
Graham Irving took pupils to the Alps, beginning with George, Guy Bullock and Eddie Marsh, because his climbing partner had died.Have you read George's book 'Boswell the Biographer'? (1912) It's wonderful, as is his MS 'Geoffrey'- various climbing articles and the Expedition books go without saying.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Dead Beat learned just about everything he knows from Damon Runyon (and maybe even a little more...) So seeing as it is Christmas almost, how better to start the season than the opening to Dancing Dan's Christmas. Word to the wise. Get your hands on everything D.R. ever wrote, read and then re-read.
"NOW one time it comes on Christmas, and in fact it is the evening before Christmas, and I am in Good Time Charley Bernstein's little speakeasy in West Forty-seventh Street, wishing Charley a Merry Christmas and having a few hot Tom and Jerrys with him. This hot Tom and Jerry is an old time drink that is once used by one and all in this country to celebrate Christmas with, and in fact it is once so popular that many people think Christmas is invented only to furnish an excuse for hot Tom and Jerry, although of course this is by no means true. But anybody will tell you that there is nothing that brings out the true holiday spirit like hot Tom and Jerry, and I hear that since Tom and Jerry goes out of style in the United States, the holiday spirit is never quite the same. The reason hot Tom and Jerry goes out of style is because it is necessary to use rum and one thing and another in making Tom and Jerry, and naturally when rum becomes illegal in this country Tom and Jerry is also against the law, because rum is something that is very hard to get around town these days. For a while some people try making Tom and Jerry without putting rum in it, but somehow it never has the same old holiday spirit, so nearly everybody finally gives up in disgust, and this is not suprising, as making Tom and Jerry is by no means child's play. In fact, it takes quite an expert to make good Tom and Jerry, and in the days when it is not illegal a good hot Tom and Jerry maker commands good wages and many friends. Now of course Good Time Charley and I are not using rum in the Tom and Jerry we are making, as we do not wish to do anything illegal. What we are using is rye whisky that Good Time Charley gets on a doctor's prescription from a drug store, as we are personally drinking this hot Tom and Jerry and naturally we are not foolish enough to use any of Good Time Charley's own rye in it. The prescription for the rye whisky comes from old Doc Moggs, who prescribes it for Good Time Charley's rheumatism in case Charley happens to get rheumatism, as Doc Moggs says there is nothing better for rheumatism than rye whisky, especially if it is made up in a hot Tom and Jerry. In fact, old Doc Moggs comes around and has a few seidels of hot Tom and Jerry with us for his own rheumatism...
Dead Beat has an interest in American foreign policy. You knew that. Now take heed:
The starkly different view of Iran's nuclear program that emerged from U.S. spy agencies this week was the product of a surge in clandestine intelligence-gathering in Iran as well as radical changes in the way the intelligence community analyzes information. Drawing lessons from the intelligence debacle over supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Director of National Intelligence required agencies to consult more sources and to say to a larger intelligence community audience precisely what they know and how they know it -- and to acknowledge, to a degree previously unheard of, what they do not know.
" 'Do not know' is a new technical term for an NIE."
"It's not getting it wrong, it's that [the intelligence] collection may have been insufficient," said Laipson, now president of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a defense think tank. "It takes years to know the truth."
It takes years to know the truth.
Claire Keegan. Irish writer. Richard Ford's pick for book of the year. It doesn't get any better than that.
Anyway D.B. remembers Claire swanning around Waterstones in Dublin when D.B. and C.K. were both included in the Phoenix Book of Irish Short Stories AllThoseYearsAgo.
"I grew up on a farm, the youngest of six children. Three boys and three girls on a mixed farm. We had tillage and cattle and horses and sheep and pigs and fowl. I was raised on fowl money when I was young."
Well the world moved on, the earth tried to shift on its axis. Listen to this. Words of advice from Ms. Keegan.
"If you're a writer you write. If you're a fisherman, you put your hook into the Atlantic Ocean."
Monday, December 03, 2007
Dead Beat has moments when he thinks he may well be Evel Kneivel. In fact he knows he is. I did not die this week. I simply put my respiratory system on hold.
Evel, you brought me through a doubtful filled childhood.
You have ridden over that Great Canyon In The Sky
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 9:33 pm
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
So Dead Beat is on a roll with podcasts. Listen to this:
Richard Ford Reads John Cheever’s Reunion
Okay, Dead Beat is in Pod Cast Heaven.
Listen up: Grammar Girl
Go to her deal on prepositions.
For now here are the comments:
Amy Says:11/2/2007 5:11:58 PM We have a joke here in Boston about this: Harvard freshman: Where's the Library at? Harvard senior: Here at Hahvahd we don't end our sentences with a preposition. Harvard freshman: OK, then, where's the library at, asshole?
richard Says:11/2/2007 3:23:04 PM i like double negatives i noticed that there are no comments with no responces!! there one ha ! ha! see ya
John Says:11/2/2007 3:00:50 PM That is the sort of English up with which I shall not put!
Paul Says:11/1/2007 6:58:12 PM Great show -- I just started listening. To prove I was paying attention, I spotted your illicit use of "so" (which you critique in another episode) in this episode, as in "I'm so sorry—the horror—because that is one of the instances where it's not OK to end a sentence with a preposition!" :)
Lauren Hightower Says:10/16/2007 9:34:13 AM Great episode!
Mark Says:9/25/2007 2:50:39 PM The important point here is that grammarians are pretty much irrelevant to everyday life - they're pretty much like archaeologists, they like to think they're doing something important but really they're only commenting on things which have already passed their sell by date.
William Says:9/21/2007 8:36:14 PM `Grammatical' is improper English. The correct adjective form of `grammar' is `grammatic'. `Grammatically' is the correct adjective form.
ligneus Says:9/20/2007 8:22:29 AM "What did you bring that book I didn't want to be read to out of up for?"
Doug Rosbury Says:9/18/2007 9:50:19 PM grammatical rules Are only a guide. In my opinion, people should not be held responsible for carrying the torch of grammatical correctness. There is a certain charm in colloquialisms which Give the language color and humor. Don't put me in a prison of correctness. Doug Rosbury
B_allW@yz_unKn0wn Says:9/18/2007 2:51:04 PM i understand what everyone else is saying but i didnt even read it but if i did i would leave you saying its always important to read what you talk about...
My old friend Douglas Hofstadter is chuckling away.
Dead Beat, as you know, has that old streak of engineering in him, and so has for years wondered how e-books or e-magazines or e-papers should work. About eight years ago he decided that it would require a flexible screen. Imagine the cover of a magazine - two sheets/four pages. Each page would be an individual screen which could download a single page of the book/mag/paper. In this way the reader could still turn pages, have the flexibility of paper, in other words the emotional expreience. Then he wondered would a single flexible sheet do: one leaf/two pages. Then he wondered would one page do AS LONG AS IT WAS FLEXIBLE.
So what's with the flexible?
Well, he knows reading a newspaer off a screen while you are sitting at a desk is not a relaxing experience always. Nor is it necessary relaxing to read it from a laptop. Hence the flexibility. Well, like all Dead Beat's great inventions (e.g. French Fry vending machine) someone else got up off their ar#e and created it.
But now let us add this into the frey:
Amazon.com , the world's largest Web retailer, said Monday it will begin selling an electronic book reader with wireless access, the latest attempt to build consumer interest in portable reading devices.
Wireless access, based on the cellphone broadband technology EVDO, is built into the 10-ounce, thin white device. Downloading content does not require a computer and takes less than a minute for a full-length book. The $399 electronic book device will allow downloads of more than 90,000 book titles, blogs, magazines and newspapers.
"The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?," Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said at a press conference in New York.
There it is. That's Dead Beat's point, thank you J.B.
The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book?
Dead Beat took part recently in The 4th Annual World's Most Disorganised Poetry Festival (their words not mine). This all happened in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Dead Beat extends his gratitude to the chief Disorganiser and very fine poet to boot, Ross Leckie.
Dead Beat knows you all wish you were there to have cheered him on. Well all is not lost. Thanks to Zach Wells there is a recording of the Saturday night program featuring that well known scoundral D.B. himself. Feel free to take a listen, D.B. is second up. Your cheers and applause precede you.
Click for chaos and mayhem
Friday, November 16, 2007
So The Weird Guy gets onto Dead Beat.
"Thanks for the plug yesterday."
"No prob, Denny boy, you need all the help you can get. So what's with the sprawling book?"
"My opus, you know."
"That's where fiction leads you."
"Tell me more."
"You're working with facts in journalism, but you're under all kinds of formal constraints; there are expectations. Their influence is subtle, but it's there; it's perpetual. Imagine the reader, imagine the readership. That's the pressure I always felt. When I'm writing for Esquire, my conscious thought is, I'm not writing for American Scholar. Because you're always allowing something to go to work on material that is factual, you're going to end up with a lie, it seems to me. Now if you take a lie and allow your desire for the truth, your duty to work on it, you'll end up with some truth—not fact, but something that gets you closer to the truth."
"So one big fat lie."
"You got it."
"So how come I haven't written my opus? I've told a few lies in my lifetime."
"Who would have believed it."
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 10:37 am
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Dead Beat, as you know, always listen keenly to Al. But Dead Beat upped and left and forgot to tell his Al his whereabouts. So when Al finally tracks him down Dead Beat is all ears.
"Hey Dead Beat,
let me tell ya a story; a friend of mine calls me up and says "Al I've started back at writing poetry and I'm on a tear, I need a little advice, can you help me out?" I says "Digger (his last job before retiring was cemetery attendent) I don't read or write poetry, but the Guild should be able to assist you. Are you still writing using a rhyming scheme?" He says "Ya, you know I read some verse libre, but I found it vague, lacking substance, more metiphor than meat." I says "Digger, I think there is someone who can help, he says what he means and means what he says. Where you grew up in Northern Ontario and toiled in the shield as a hard rock-miner, this guy worked the mills of the Northwest Pacific." So I gave Digger a couple of books, one of prose,poetry and essays; the other a collection of stories that a friend gave me. It's been a while since Digger called and I made some inquiries into his whereabouts. I hear he loaded up his pack and left to camp out in Carver Country. `Tis a beautiful thing."
Dead Beat says to Al, "There could be worse places. There are no better."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
While Peter Greenaways's away, David Lynch comes to play.
Sorry Dead Beaters, I couldn't stop him.
Well okay. I did put my hand up and say, 'halt.' But maybe I was too meek.
"Dead Beat," he says, "don't get so stressed out. Greenaway's my pal. He likes my work - no story - you know how it goes."
"I'm just edgy these days, D.L. You know how that goes."
"Me and Donovan both."
"Isn't he dead?"
"So what's the deal?"
"We've been traipsing around Ireland promoting consciousness-based education and world peace. We aim to bring transcendental meditation to millions of pupils."
"Why not? You've got peace on your mind."
"Oh yeah, that. They haven't gone away you know."
"So T.M. for kids?"
"Yeah. There is a treasury inside each one of us human beings... it's pure bliss, pure consciousness. It's a simple, easy, effortless technique. A 10-year-old child could do it. Dive within, transcend and ... experience this pure bliss, pure creativity, infinite intelligence, love, energy, power ... the engine that runs the universe."
"Er, we don't really do 'bliss' here very often I'm afraid".
"You should do bliss D.B., you should do bliss. It will change your life, man."
"Are you promoting a book or something?"
"Eh, seen any good films recently?"
"You are. You're promoting a book."
"Greenaway's working on a good project."
"You're promoting a book. What's it called Lynch?"
"The book, what's it called?"
"Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity."
"Donovan fell for that? Mellow Yellow."
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Greenaway swings by. "A few more things to say about text."
"I like text."
"I know you do. That's why you are a writer and I am a film maker. We all know that literature is superior to cinema as a form of storytelling. It empowers the imagination like no other. If you want to be a storyteller, be an author, be a novelist, be a writer, don't be a film director."
"We all do know that, don't we?"
" Cinema is not the greatest medium for telling stories. It is too specific, leaves so little room for the imagination to take wing other than in the strict directions indicated by the director. Read "he entered the room" and imagine a thousand scenarios. See "he entered the room" in cinema-as-we-know-it, and you are going to be limited to one scenario only. The cinema is about other things than storytelling."
"I think I'm getting the point now."
"What you remember from a good film-and let's only talk about good films-is not the story, but a particular and hopefully unique experience that is about atmosphere, ambience, performance, style, an emotional attitude, gestures, singular events, a particular audio-visual experience that does not rely on the story. Besides, nine times out of ten, you will not remember the story. And if you do, and you tell it, and you are talking in words, then you are back to literature, and the cinematic experience is not communicated that way. "
"You're right. You're right."
"For the moment we have not found anything better, and because we are lazy, the narrative is the glue we use to hold the whole apparatus of cinema together. There is much to say that D.W. Griffith, proud manufacturer of Intolerance, took us all in the wrong direction. He enslaved cinema to the nineteenth-century novel. And it is going to take a hell of a lot of convincing to go back, right the wrong, and then go forward again. But I have hopes. I do really believe that we are now developing the new tools to make that happen. Tools, as Picasso said of painting, that will allow you to make images of what you think, not merely of what you see, and certainly not of what you read."
So Greenaway makes his departure - exit stage left. And Dead Beat is left with his words. So too are you.
The distinction between cinema and writing. He has a lot to teach us, listen well.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Christy Moore was crooning away to Dead Beat the other night, and Dead Beat swooned:
"Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work.
Oh don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work.
Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work
Or you'll end up where you came from like the rest of us
Diggin', diggin', diggin'...
And don't forget your shoes and socks and shirt and tie and all.
Don't forget your shoes and socks and shirt and tie and all.
Mr murphy's afraid you'll make a claim if you take a fall.
("how's it goin'" "not too bad")
And we want to go to heaven but we're always diggin' holes.
We want to go to heaven but we're always diggin' holes.
Yeah we want to go to heaven but we're always diggin' holes.
Well there's one thing you can say...we know where we are goin'...
("any chance of a start?" "no" "okay")
And if you want to do it...don't you do it against the wall.
If you want to do it...don't you do it against the wall.
Never seen a toilet on a building site at all.
There's a shed up in the corner where they won't see you at all.
("mind your sandwiches")
Enoch powell will give us a job, diggin' our way to annascaul.
Enoch Powell will give us a job, diggin' our way to annascaul.
Enoch Powell will give us a job, diggin' our way to annascaul.
And when we're finished diggin' there they'll close the hole and all.
Now there's six thousand five hundred and fifty-nine paddies
Over there in london all trying to dig their way back to annascaul
And very few of them boys is going to get back at all...
I think that's terrible.
Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work.
Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work.
Oh, don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work.
Or you'll end up where you came from like the rest of us
Diggin', diggin', diggin."
"All I know is that if it's in good taste, if it's funny and stems from honesty, that's the best I can do. My rule is: To thine own self be true."
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Unfortunately, circumstances as they are at this present time don't allow us to do that, and I proselytize for an autonomous cinema, which is essentially image-based, not text-based. So my search all the time, and not just for this film, but other films as well, is to find alternative systems for organizing the material."
Friday, October 05, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
"Okay, okay. I won't let them forget about your poetry. Really..."
On The Road
Those dutiful dogtrots down airport corridors
while gnawing at a Dunkin' Donuts cruller,
those hotel rooms where the TV remote
waits by the bed like a suicide pistol,
those hours in the air amid white shirts
whose wearers sleep-read through thick staid thrillers,
those breakfast buffets in prairie Marriotts—
such venues of transit grow dearer than home.
The tricycle in the hall, the wife's hasty kiss,
the dripping faucet and uncut lawn—this is life?
No, vita thrives via the road, in the laptop
whose silky screen shimmers like a dark queen's mirror,
in the polished shoe that signifies killer intent,
and in the solitary mission, a bumpy glide
down through the cloud cover to a single runway
at whose end a man just like you guards the Grail.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Dead Beat was recently bemoaning the death of language. His buddies meanwhile over at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University, got on the blower.
"All is not lost, Dead Beat."
"Oh, now you're talking my language."
"See we developed a simple model of language competition that explains historical data on the
decline of Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Quechua (the most common surviving indigenous
language in the Americas) and other endangered languages. A linguistic parameter that
quantifies the threat of language extinction can be derived from the model and may
be useful in the design and evaluation of language-preservation programmes."
"Previous models of language dynamics have focused on the transmission and evolution
of syntax, grammar or other structural properties of a language itself. In contrast,
the model we describe here idealizes languages as fixed, and as competing with each
other for speakers."
"Consider a system of two competing languages, X and Y,in which the attractiveness of
a language increases with both its number of speakers and its perceived status (a parameter
that reflects the social or economic opportunities afforded to its speakers). Suppose
an individual converts from Y to X with a probability, per unit of time, of Pyx(x,s),
where x is the fraction of the population speaking X, and 0 less than or equal to 1 is a measure of X’s relative status. A minimal model for language change is therefore dx/dt=yPyx(x,s)-xPxy(x,s)."
"Gosh darn, of course it is."
"Contrary to the model’s stark prediction, bilingual societies do, in fact, exist. But the
histories of countries where two languages coexist today generally involve split populations
that lived without significant interaction, effectively in separate, monolingual
societies. Only recently have these communities begun to mix, allowing language
competition to begin. So what can be done to prevent the rapid
disintegration of our world’s linguistic heritage? The example of Quebec French
demonstrates that language decline can be slowed by strategies such as policy-making,
education and advertising, in essence increasing an endangered language’s status."
"Speaking of Bingo Dead Beat. I did a mathematical analysis........
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Dead Beat notes that the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and the National Geographic Society have reported that while there are an estimated 7,000 languages spoken around the world today, one of them dies out about every two weeks.
"In addition to northern Australia, eastern Siberia and Oklahoma and the U.S. Southwest, many native languages are endangered in South America — Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia — as well as the area including British Columbia, and the states of Washington and Oregon."
K. David Harrison, an assistant professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and associate director of the Living Tongues Institute stated: "When we lose a language, we lose centuries of human thinking about time, seasons, sea creatures, reindeer, edible flowers, mathematics, landscapes, myths, music, the unknown and the everyday."
"As many as half of the current languages have never been written down," he estimated.
That means, if the last speaker of many of these vanished tomorrow, the language would be lost because there is no dictionary, no literature, no text of any kind."
Dead Beat remembers well the chant when he was learning Latin - "Latin is a language as dead as dead can be. It killed the ancient Romans, and now it's killing me."
Well we got it right in a manner of speaking. Allowing a language to die is a sure way of killing ourselves.
Centuries of human thinking about time... the unknown and the everyday...
Monday, September 17, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Now, nothing particularly nice about this legend, I suppose.
Black Jack Ketchum.
A legend, nevertheless.
Before becoming Black Jack Ketchum of course, he was simply Thomas Edward Ketchum.
For us writers, all of this is paramount.
Homework for today: What is the difference between a myth and a legend?
How does a person assume legendary status?
How does all of this affect your writing?
Twenty lashes of the birch for all who do not complete this assignment.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
So Casey Jones blows his lonesome whistle in the dark of night outside Dead Beat's window. Dead Beat sits up in bed. A half-moon shines its light through the curtains making the shadow of a train derailing.
"Is that you Case?" I whisper.
"The one and only."
"What you doing up this late?"
"Why Dead Beat I'm here to thank you for keeping the legend alive."
"Gee shucks, C.J. but you're my hero."
"Not everyone agrees anymore."
"Problem Case is that they don't know their myths from their hisses."
"Thanks again D.B. Now I gotta go. I gotta run a No. 638 all the way back to Water Valley."
And with the low call of a whippoorwill Casey was on his way.
Now Old D.B. lay his head back down on his pillow, but he couldn't get back to sleep. You see folks, the low call of Casey's whistle, the pounding of John Henry's hammer, they're too insistent.
There is a notion that myth equates to something that is untrue whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
A myth is but a framework which allows us to interpret, make meaning, from something else. In our case fiction, poetry. The myth itself is not intended to be interpreted. A myth creates a rich array of metaphor. It utilises imagery and symbolism. From these we make meaning of the real world.
Our stories are not in themselves real - however they represent reality. Our characters are as far removed from the the individuals peopling our world as is possible, but when we are successful they are believed in as being real. At that moment in time they are mythologised.
As writers our raw material is the stuff of myth - is indeed myth itself.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Suspended 10 days February 14, 1891, for collision Water Valley Yard;
Suspended 5 days January 17, 1893, running through switch, Carbondale;
Suspended 5 days for running through switch at Villa Ridge:
Suspended 10 days December 6, 1893, for striking flat car in siding;
Suspended 15 days January 4, 1896, rear end collision extra north and No. 92 at Toone, December 20, 1895;
Suspended 30 days June 16, 1896, for gross carelessness in handling orders at Jackson, Tenn., train 2/52, June 3rd, in violation of rules 509, 509-a and 519;
Suspended 30 days September 3, 1896, sectional collision near Hickory Valley August 27, 1896, train extra north, engine 618;
Suspended 10 days September 22, 1897, for not recognizing flagman who was protecting work train extra, engine 106, as required by train rules;
Suspended 30 days for having left switch open at cross over in north yard, resulting in train No. 21 running in on siding May 22, 1899;
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 8:44 pm
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 7:33 am
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Dead Beat has moved into Ross Leckie country - D.B. thinks you would want to read this poem by the man himself - even if you have better things you think you should be doing - because you haven't.
THINKING THE DAY
Now is a time of thinness, the treetops
bare like the parts of speech diagrammed.
This the substratum of the way we speak
the keener edges of longer nights,
of livid greens blanched to paler
orange and yellows. The remnants
of a cow in a stockyard drained of blood,
maple leaves holding to the memory.
The way the day was fat with sunlight,
gone like a cloud of summer gnats.
A shriveled pear has leaked its juice
upon a paving stone and the buzz
of a late wasp is below the threshold
of hearing, the wings slower as if its
battery were wearing down. Autumn
rains have settled in to a smother of
low-lying thoughtfulness unmoving
in the sky, the street a matte of charcoal.
When the fire engine scuttled past,
it seemed it could not control the blaze,
the siren screamed of the urgent trees
bursting everywhere with saintliness.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Now that his internet is up and running I guess he can start riding the cyber rails for a while instead.
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 6:51 pm
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I know, I know. You think Dead Beat has upped and left you all - gone onto bigger and better things - deserted his minions. Nothing could be further than the truth (Don't say it, Hudson!). I've been busy - manual labour - painting, wood work, general repairs you name it. No time for words.
But you know Dead Beat - all this labour can only serve to improve his knowledge of writing - the craft of house-painting/the craft of writintg etc. etc. More on this anon.
For now I want to hone my poetic skills, so I am heading out to tend to my garden - all this to ready my home for sale - all this in preparation of a journey East.
Friday, July 06, 2007
A writer says he will write a novel and share it with a multitude of characters. Then one of the characters has a drug problem and another has a mouth problem. One thinks they are already famous and one dies of exhaustion. The writer meanwhile develops a form of mould on their body and begins to shrink.
He ( and he turns out to be a she) wins an award (not necessarily for writing) and learns how to turn the camera off.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
So Dead Beat goes to Fredericton and meets Ross Leckie and Mark Jarmon. They treat him well. Mark has a book out about Ireland called Ireland's Eye. A memoir of sorts, he says. Mark is married to Sharon a very fine poet. They have gone to Iowa in the past and studied with Barry Hannah, Drool.
Their fellow students included Charlie Smith and Denis Johnson.
Die and drool!
Music retailers have lashed out at musician Prince who is giving away his latest CD in a British newspaper, weeks before its official release on July 24.
"It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," said Paul Quirk of the Entertainment Retailers Association in Britain. "It is yet another example of the damaging … culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music."
"They are living in the old days and haven't developed their businesses sufficiently. We can enhance their business. They are being incredibly insular and need to move their business on," Miron told BBC News.
What do you Dead Beater's think? Free books in the neswpapers? That already happened in Ireland over the last few years.
Books to sell newspapers?
CDs to sell newspapers?
Newspapers to sell books?
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 12:02 am
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Contrary to rumours Dead Beat is not dead. He is alive and well and heading for Fredericton.
Yes Dead Beat has been busy readying his house for sale i.e. removing 10,000 books supporting the foundations and roof.
Hudson barks his approval.
So bear with him. All will soon come back to life. Dead Beat will have a resurrection of sorts.
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 11:58 pm
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So Hudson comes back with his Power Point.
"Watch the screen, Big Boy," he growls. "Dogs and cats age much more quickly in their early life than in their later life relative to humans. For example, the human equivalent of a one-year-old cat or dog is actually between about 10 and 15 years—a one-year-old dog or cat has generally reached its full growth and is sexually mature, although it might still be lanky and need to fill in a more mature musculature, similar to human teenagers. The second year is equivalent to about another 3 to 8 years in terms of physical and mental maturity, and each year thereafter is equivalent to only about 4 or 5 human years.
Because of this, one alternate, more accurate calculation for "dog years" is for the first two years to count as 10 "dog years", and for every year after that to count as 5 "dog years". The average dog life expectancy of about 13 years would translate to 75 under this system (20 + 5*11), as opposed to 91 under the "traditional" system... Got it yet?"
"Hud Pup, yuou're talking to a mathematician here. I understand graphs. I know my Xs from my Ys."
"Not as Ys as you thought though Dad, are you now?"
Monday, June 11, 2007
Posted by Gerard Beirne at 11:38 pm