Literature is a gift that can fire the imagination and propel the mind into new discoveries. Then again, literature sometimes contains filthy words that corrupt our young and foster anti-establishment thought processes.
Both the sentences above describe an actual position taken by educational leaders. Amazingly enough both of these positions once existed in the same time and in very nearly the same place. I know. I lived it. Lucky me.
You see, I spent my elementary school years in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was then and still is a lovely little suburban town known for Pratt and Whitney airplane engines and the ability to supply a nearly endless stream of office workers to the world headquarters of a mind-numbing number of insurance companies just across the river in Hartford.
Just as I was about to enter high school my family moved to the considerably more affluent, rural and intellectually liberal town of Glastonbury. The two towns share a border. Their inhabitants are almost indistinguishable from one another. Yet there was a stark contrast between the two that could be attributed to a young punk who was causing trouble. His name was, Holden Caulfield. That little bastard swore, and he swore a lot dammit. East Hartford wouldn’t stand for it. Glastonbury on the other hand, embraced him. Read More →
It’s been my great pleasure to write for a number of publications that fall under the umbrella of AOPA (the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). Most recently they’ve tapped me to write periodic columns that appear beside those of other industry professionals. The series is called, Opinion Leaders. The group I’m included with is a fairly heavy hitting collection of folks. I’m proud to be in their company, frankly.
My latest contribution can be found here. It’s a brief dissertation on the topic of Light Sport Aircraft and sport pilots. Within the general aviation industry these small, light, fuel efficient aircraft are often seen as pests, or lesser machinery. Worse, their pilots are often denigrated as being less than real pilots. I have a thing or two to say about that, and so I did – right here, in the Opinion Leaders forum at AOPA.
More than a few people have asked me why I chose to write a Sci Fi series. Well, the real reason I’ve been writing the Lifeboat Augusta series is included in the front matter of the books themselves. But the question intrigues me. It assumes that Sci Fi is somehow less important, or less serious than other forms of literature.
Let’s be realistic. In my case that means being fairly casual. You won’t find me sitting at my desk in a suit and tie unless it’s absolutely necessary. And it is rarely necessary, I assure you. Let’s dispense with serious terms like, “literature,” or “prose,” and even “author.” Let’s just simply take the position that I have chosen to tell a story. It might be a light-hearted romp, or it might be a dark murderous tale. Perhaps I would choose to tell a children’s story one night, and a sci-fi dramatic story the next. The point is, why would a writer intentionally limit their own imagination, or choose to self-censor the stories they choose to tell. The rationale for this escapes me. It’s inconceivable, really.
Imagine if we transferred that self imposed limitation to music or the visual arts. Would Picasso have been as exciting an artist if he stopped developing his style in his early 20s and simply repeated himself ad infinitum? I don’t think so. Would the Beatles have been more influential to the culture if they simply arrested their development in 1964, choosing to ride the wave of Beatlemania rather than innovate and experiment? No. Not hardly. Read More →
It’s titled, Isle of Safety. This third novella of the Lifeboat Augusta series advances the story of Randy Tagget, Keisha Miller, and the fewer than two thousand survivors of a global catastrophe. An extinction level event. With the earth horribly damaged the survivors preemptively relocated to earth orbit. The only safe zone that was close enough to offer the gift of survival, even if that gift comes with the substantial strings of considerable permanent risk.
First came, To the Lifeboats. That was followed by, Just About Armageddon. Isle of Safety continues to tale, to be followed by, Binary Choices, and conclude with, Survival of the Fittest. In all they complete the story. It’s the Lifeboat Augusta series. I hope you enjoy it.
Isle of Safety – Buy Now!
Robert Matzen’s latest book, Fireball – Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3, is a terrific read. Matzen details the life, times, and final days of a Hollywood icon. Carole Lombard wasn’t an “A” List star, but she was well known for her screwball comedies as well as for being the wife of the brightest star in Hollywood’s firmament, Clark Gable.
Sent on a War Bond tour within weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lombard embraced the role. She was under strict orders not to fly, and promised she wouldn’t. Yet the outcome of her final trip assures us she did indeed climb aboard a TWA DC-3 and depart the Las Vegas desert for Los Angeles where she hoped to be reunited with her husband. She didn’t get there. Instead, she and 21 others met their end on the face of Potosi Mountain, an 8,500 foot peak that’s only thirty miles from downtown Las Vegas. It’s clearly visible from the city.
Thanks to Robert for taking the time to talk with me and giving me permission to share that conversation with you. He’s a talented writer, a generous interview subject, and a truly interesting man.
Fireball – Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3, is published by GoodKnight Books. It’s available in brick and mortar bookstores and through Amazon.
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This episode kicks off the, Have I Got a Story for You, podcast.
Because writer’s like to talk, and especially like to talk to other writers, this podcast is dedicated to casual conversation between writers from diverse backgrounds who all have on thing in common – I like them. That’s pretty much the whole vetting process right there in a nutshell.
The guest for this episode is my good friend Kevin Garrison. With the ill-named polar vortex bearing down on his Kentucky horse ranch, Kevin is curled up inside with plenty of blankets, lots of hot cocoa, and a cell phone connection that’s suffering from the frigid temperatures as much as he is. Still, he’s as entertaining as ever, even
telling the story behind how his book, Clear Left – I’ll have the Chicken, came to carry that particular title – and why it’s not wrong, even if you heard the joke told differently by somebody else.
The episode opens and closes with a jaunty little ditty called, Intoxicated Rat by the Dixon Brothers (Dorsey and Howard). Recorded in the 1930s, the brothers have a great story to tell, which makes their 80 year old recording the perfect intro and outro for this inaugural episode of, Have I Got a Story for You!
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It’s difficult to suggest I’ve attained the status of being an opinion leader without sounding indelicate, or egocentric. But there it is. I am. It’s true. You can verify this for yourself by simply clicking this link and reading the blog post it leads you to. It appropriately enough falls under the title, “Opinion Leaders, GA leaders sharing their expert opinions.”
See, I told you I was one.
Welcome to, The Conundrum of Modern Life, hosted by AOPA.
Perhaps it’s best to define some terms for the benefit of the uninitiated. GA stands for General Aviation. The term refers to smaller airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, and the sort of flying done by people who aren’t wearing a uniform or drawing a paycheck from an airline because of their service on the flight. I’m a GA kind of guy. That’s not all that rare, though. There are hundreds of thousands of us in the U.S. It’s practically a club, for goodness sake.
AOPA is an acronym that stands for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. And while I am not an aircraft owner, I am a pilot. I’m also prone to sharing my opinion with pretty much anyone who asks. It’s almost a disease. Perhaps I should consult with my doctor about this tendency. Then again, we just spent some leisurely time at the local coffee shop swapping opinions on a wide variety of topics. So maybe he wouldn’t see it as a disease at all. Perhaps it’s just a social interaction thing that fuels debate and gets our morning off to an entertaining start. Either way, take a look at AOPA’s Opinion Leaders when you get the chance. A number of truly interesting people share their views in this space on a regular basis. With the variety built into the publication you almost have to find an affinity for at least one of them.
In the 1970s right around the time Bruce Springsteen made the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously, I was a high school student. I was in my junior year and limping miserably through an academic career that would make nobody proud – least of all me. My parents were beginning to have doubts too, I’m sure.
Into that intellectual void stepped a man who made a profound impression on me. I continue to rank him as the best and most valuable teacher I ever had. His name is Mark Cohan, and I use the word, “is” intentionally. He is not dead and gone and he is certainly not forgotten. He is alive, vibrant, and still making an impression on me all these years later. Read More →