And the Wall Came a Tumblin’ Down

Twenty-five years ago today, November 9, the first brave souls crossed the Berlin Wall openly from east to west without dying in the attempt. I remember watching it on TV with a sense of wonder and a little fear, fear because I’d never known a world without the closed borders of the Iron Curtain. Everyone knew that something had changed, and I for one don’t like major changes to my world. After all, there had always been a Soviet Union, and two Germanies, and an Iron Curtain behind which everything was grey unless it had a red star on it. And Yugoslavia was odd, and Albania? It and the Shining Path were the only Maoists left in the world. But the Wall was forever. Or so I thought. Continue reading

Pulling Teeth: The WWI Novel

OK, I confess, I’ve been writing the fantasy novel because I don’t want to do the research for the next phase of the WWI novel. Which I have no excuse for. But I have a few reasons why I’ve been covering my eyes whenever I walk past the stack of research books and singing “la-la-la I can’t see you.” Continue reading

Gateway Music

So, over at the Passive Guy’s blog, PG posted a story about someone worrying that a fondness for Rick Riordan’s books might lead young readers down the path of reading only popular fiction and not real literature. (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/10/2014/the-percy-jackson-problem/ and the rebuttal: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/10/2014/young-adult-fiction-doesnt-need-to-be-a-gateway-to-the-classics/  ) The original articles were both in major publications with large audiences, and the discussions got spritely, although (as you would suspect) most writers sided with the “Hey, if the kids are reading get out of the way” side of the argument. I mention this because I listened to Saint-saens’s “Danse Macabre” last night, and woke up with “Carnival of the Animals” running on my mental playlist. We talk about gateway drugs and gateway books, so what about gateway music? Does it even exist anymore? Continue reading