PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – This month’s comic book, “The Instrument of Death”, reminds me fondly of my favorite musical, “The Phantom of the Opera”. This vid clip is taken from the Lon Chaney black and white version dated 1925. The musical and movie are based on the French novel entitled Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. Enjoy!


SUMMER SOLSTICE – Twice per year, the planet literally tilts on its axis, from one extreme to another. Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, important in terms of culture (Saturnalia, Christmas, Hogmanay, New Year’s). But, summer holds a special significance as the longest day of the year. I was born in summer, it’s a season of long lazy days, catching fireflies in a jar and running through sprinklers, under prismatic cascading water droplets. Imagine Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream–in the realm of Fairyland, prancing around the woodland at dusk–under the light of the moon. It’s something I’ve been told more than once about my writing. And, I love hearing it, because that’s what I strive for! I hope to create stories with a sense of magic, as if they were being told around a campfire, on the shortest night of the year. 


In Cold BloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

IN COLD BLOOD – Can you imagine the torrent of creativity, where two writers are confined to a Kansas motel room, penning what eventually became a sensation: “In Cold Blood”? All these years later, the vanguard non-fiction novel, endures not only for the story it tells. But, also for the creative process by which it was birthed. Many years earlier, Truman Capote and Harper Lee were next door neighbors, children that grew up side by side, in Monroeville Alabama. Truman stayed with cousins and “Nelle” had a father who was an attorney who owned the town’s newspaper. “In Cold Blood” details the murders of the Clutter family by killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith. Capote and Lee interviewed case investigators and locals taking thousands of pages of notes. Was the book as factual as Capote’s staunch assertions? Probably not, but who cares? The book is regarded even today as the definitive example of the true crime genre. However, Capote was bitterly disappointed that he did not win the Pulitzer. Soon thereafter, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (by Harper Lee), on the other hand, did win the Pulitzer. It was an overwhelming smash success. But, it’s said that was too much for her to handle. She never wrote another book. Which is yet another interesting facet to the mystery of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.

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