Story Time Friday…About Fences

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Yesterday, on my Facebook page, I posted that I’m sharing coupons to grab both From Where I Stand and Winter’s Homecoming for free over on Smashwords. They don’t expire until Sunday (21st), so I’d like to leave a link to that HERE. While this isn’t a post to help promote my work (even though I’m prefacing it with this), I’d just like to make sure those who need/want something to read can grab something. I know I needed something to escape into yesterday, even if it was hard to leave the real world for even a little bit.fancy lineresize


He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

These are only a few lines from one of Robert Frost’s more well-read poems. The poem is called Mending Wall (click the name to read it in full).

I sat at my desk for some time yesterday debating whether or not I could writing something for this post. If you haven’t turned on the TV, gone on Facebook or Twitter, or if you just stared at a wall this year, you may not know that shit’s going down in this country (I’m in the US) and the world (which has never ceased since civilization began, really) at increasing frequency…and it’s pretty damn depressing.

Yesterday it really hit me after reading everything about the nine people killed in a CHURCH in South Carolina. I normally stay quiet about most things, and I didn’t speak out even with this. But it stayed with me and I wanted to attempt something meaningful to post today. Instead, because I couldn’t get words down, I’m just asking everyone to reflect on recent events, history, and your own world views. Race, religion, nationality, gender, etc. These things don’t matter to me. If you show me you’re a good person I can get along with, I have no problem with you. I might not like to interact with people, if I can avoid it, but I’m a pretty non-judgmental guy. Sadly, not everyone’s like that (not holding myself above other people, but there are many people worse than I am). Let’s all think about that, and help change the way things are going.

This is a blog mostly about books, and there are ways to bring change through the book world. Maybe you can make a more conscious effort to read more diversely. Support more diverse authors and get the word out about them to fellow readers. It only takes a few people to start doing this to help get things in motion.

I know that Robert Frost is a dead white guy poet. The book world is filled with them, back then and today. But when thinking about what to write today, I though about his poem Mending Wall and put it in a different context than I’ve read it before. Frost might not have been directly talking about race in the poem, but I feel, for example, race could be worked into the poem and the questioning of why some people are against equality is then apparent. The neighbor, while not being aggressively against the speaker and him being friends still doesn’t want to take down the wall, the barrier between their land. Tradition says “Good fences make good neighbors” and it’s here that today’s issues are. It’s these fences, walls, barriers, the hurdles for an “other” to get past to be accepted by “the norm” group.

This is just one reading of the poem. And with any poem, or written work for that matter, it can be read in a variety of ways. Am I “right”? Probably not. But I’m not wrong, either. Maybe you won’t get the same thing I did from this poem, and that’s ok. But try to go out into the world being a better person each day. I’ll do the same.

I’ll end my rambling bit of something that that was here. And I hope some of it was coherent enough. I’m no authority on any of this, but as I said, I try.

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I’d just like to leave something else here to close out this post. I’ve been trying to get some readers’/authors’ lists of more diverse reading recommendations together to post for everyone. So far, I’ve only been able to get Marcia Carrington and Christina Lee to give some M/M recommendation. I want to do my part to help people change up their reading. So if there’s anyone else who’d like to send in a list of diverse reads (any theme, category, etc) please do so. For now, I’ll link you to a few places where I get informed about reading more diversely.

Book Riot

definitely check them out, and their contributors. Many of them are very active on Twitter and they’re the main reason I found out about yesterday’s tragedy.

We Need Diverse Books

the main powerhouse behind the diverse reading movement.

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

One response to “Story Time Friday…About Fences

  1. I did a quick hop over to Book Riot. Wow! what a variety of…stuff over there! Too late tonight to take it all in, but I am excited to explore the blog posts and quirky topics. Thank you for that suggestion, and curse you for that suggestion. The site looks so cool that I think I could spend days wandering around there. Where will I find time to write now?? 🙂

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