Goodbye, Uncle

While sitting here in Pennsylvania, going back and forth to the hospital, trying somehow to deal with my mother’s deteriorating condition, we received another devastating blow: my uncle (my mother’s older brother), the novelist, died yesterday in Rhode Island.

Free Stock Photo: A cross before a cloudy sunset sky.
Free Stock Photo: A cross before a cloudy sunset sky.

He was 75. He was also my godfather. (Although, as I learned only in my early twenties, organized religion was not exactly his thing.) He had been in declining health for some time, yet somehow also seemed “indestructible.” His end came quickly and unexpectedly.

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In Shock

On Wednesday, it was discovered that my mother, who had recently developed hypothyroidism that was being treated, had something far worse that had gone totally undetected: what appears almost certainly to be cancer, likely lymphoma.

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Catskills “Frontiers”

As I’ve noted before, I will always remember, in the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene ripping through the Catskills in August 2011 – and us, with a generator, so we could actually watch some news and have internet – hearing CNN’s Anderson Cooper actually say, “Prattsville, New York,” several times to a worldwide audience. It was surreal. We always see disasters played out in media “elsewhere,” but it never happens to “us,” right?:

That nearby town had been virtually destroyed when waters from the massively overflowing Schoharie Creek tore through it. Four years on, the scars are still there, yet it has rebuilt wonderfully – there are new stores and refurbished homes. (We venture in there primarily to shop at the well-stocked “Great American” supermarket.) It looks almost like another place now.

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“I cannot live without books”

Hello! Made it! Woke up in the dark here in the Catskills – still feeling on U.K. time.

Just had a coffee in my favorite mug, which sat in the cupboard waiting all these months….

A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]
A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]

“I cannot live without books.” That is an actual Thomas Jefferson quote. Yes, a real one.

We flew into Newark airport yesterday afternoon.

Boarding at Heathrow, in our row sat – of all things – a 60ish Australian lawyer who’d been to the Australia dismantlement of England at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. He was heading to New York, he’d said, because Australia wasn’t playing again for a while. He had decided to “hop over” to the U.S. for a week before flying back to England for the next match.

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Those Facebook “Slips”

Ah, trying to keep a secret when there’s Facebook…. and novelist uncles who forget and post things to your wall that you had made absolutely clear to him you didn’t want all of your family and close friends to know.

“How’s the writing going?”

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Available From November 29

….on paperback and for Kindle:

The back and front covers for "Distances" - the print version.
The back and front covers for “Distances” – the print version. Click the photo to go to for Kindle.

And available for pre-order now for Kindle at….

….and at other Amazons worldwide.

This “sticky post” will be up until shortly after that 29th. Unless I decide to take it down before, of course. The reason for it is I just wanted to prominently reshare the full cover and the publication date.

I do that despite also being aware that novelists are not really supposed to talk about what they do. I know. Shush. ;-)

And You’re Sure The Minitel Could’ve Gone Global

R. J. Nello:

It’s interesting, and pleasing, when an “old” post suddenly re-attracts attention briefly – usually thanks to visitors coming in via searches such as Google.

You may not really know why they have exactly. However, that renewed attention may lead you to wonder if it could use a “repost.” Those work best, really, if the original was not “timely” and based on some particularly current issue, and especially if newer followers may have missed it the first time.

So why not? I posted this lighthearted piece back on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Now, as for today, October 2, 2015, have a good Friday…. wherever you are in the world. :-)

Originally posted on R. J. Nello:

Intriguing web page that was shared with me yesterday:

17 signs your soul belongs in France

As with most such lists, some observations – even if trite – should ring a bell:

4. You can spot Americans in France from a mile away. They’re wearing a t-shirt, and probably speaking English loudly, as if the reason they’re not being understood isn’t the language barrier but that they’ve yet to make themselves sufficiently audible. Also, they’re likely smiling. Who does that?

It’s Saturday, so whether you are American, or not, let’s, uh, risk a smile.

* * *

Reading that paragraph, Woody Allen films immediately jump to mind; but noting Americans’ distinctive national attire while traveling abroad is not all that new. That said, another giveaway, on men over “age 55,” is they are wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, and a baseball cap (sometimes with the name of a…

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We The “Peeple”

If you despise Facebook and don’t use it because you consider it too intrusive and even at times a bit, uh, creepy, well, brace yourself…. because as the Washington Post tells us:

Screen capture of the Washington Post.
Screen capture of the Washington Post.

I have no idea how many of you read me and never make yourself known. And that’s fine. That’s entirely your right, of course.

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Talking With The Cast

The other night Sir Bruce Forsyth was a guest on the BBC’s One Show. He has been best known most recently as host of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The U.S. version is Dancing With The Stars.

Within moments, it became clear why he was on the program. He has a book out about his life and career:

Screen capture of the BBC web site.
Screen capture of the BBC web site.

His life has been “lived” largely before an audience. He was a performer who grew into a celebrity. In comparison, I suspect most authors instinctively feel uncomfortable with celebrity.

Most being the most important word there. There are always exceptions. Some clearly do revel in being the center of attention:

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Having Sat Out That War Is Not A Badge Of Celtic Honor (So Shut Up And Hope Everyone Else Forgets)

A very serious post to start the week. At a U.K. family get-together over the weekend, I witnessed (yet again) an ugly Irish chauvinism and excuse-making for Ireland’s “neutrality” during the Second World War. It had come up amidst chatter in “taking sides” during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and England, which was playing on the TV in the background.

Rooting for Wales, the London-born person of Irish descent declared snidely, “We’ve always fought the English.” That is the core position that underscores everything. If that was all, I could have lived with it.

It wasn’t. What followed was a descent into a Celtic supremacist blathering that drifted into bordering on pro-Nazi – in terms of Irish residents in England having been drafted to fight the Nazis when they were Irish not British…. and the British had been horrible to the Irish over the centuries (like no one knows that?), but the Germans, well….

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