My Coffee Time Treat

There’s no treat I like better than a real man. A short while ago I sat down with my coffee and the audio track of  Stephen Woodfin’s short story “The Promiscuity Defense”. It was like being a girl again when my mother told us all to SHUT UP when the morning short story came on the radio. And what a treat it was!

Stories happen somewhere. People have accents and attitudes in their voices. These days there are writers who are writing about their real lives in real places. It is truly a joy to me. When I first read a story by Bert Carson about helicopter action in Vietnam I knew that this was a real new wave of literature. After years of life and making a living in the jingle jangle world, writers are now telling you what it was like out there, down there, in there and in their heads. Stephen Woodfin is an attorney. His is the inside story.

“The Promiscuity Defense” is an account of an allegation of sexual misconduct. I will not say more than that because you are going to read it for yourselves. The audio is spoken by the author. The voice is calm – unsurprised by human foibles. The accent (for a Franco-Brit) nails the story to Texas USA. The style conveys a certain world weariness of the law professional who has seen it all before and is letting you see his cynicism and doubts. This is the beauty of the audio – you know what the guy is saying. Somewhere in an office with a pile of legal files, there is a cigarette burning in an ashtray and a cold black coffee on a window ledge. At one point the lawyer makes an aside about “Ex alcoholic judges”. In that one little phrase you see a hidden world. The slurry of untruth and legal manipulation seep into the pure stream of justice. You get this in the writing and you get it in the audio. It’s so God damn real.

I am yet to read the whole collection, but I’m on the case. If you want a great coffee time story, here are the links:

Amazon USA

Amazon UK 

Emma thinx: Listen to your imagination.

Floatin’ My Boat

Fountain Rescue team

Now – England I love you. When you played France in the Euro footie I cheered you on against the vile foreigners who had raped our soil in 1066. When you rain day after day my summer away I love your verdant meadows, your joyful car floating monsoons. BUT – please can I go home now? Barbecue and sun lounger prices drown and you know that some CEO will face the axe because he misjudged the sun cream uptake profile. 

Emergency barbecue supplies must get through

But – do I complain? Well, actually yes – I bloody well do! I damn near floated my bus today and if it had got much worse I would have had them all singing “For those in Peril on the Sea”. Mind you it’s a great hymn. I often reflect on my own past and my innocent days in school assemblies singing with joy about pilgrims and swallowing the grim pills of sin. I do not believe a word of it now, but the songs sing themselves on in my atheist, hedonist wine drinking, soft kissing, longing soul. I’m a spiritual philosophical mess spilled out like a pack of pristine playing cards onto a cow cud pasture of sweet ripe dung. And to make it worse….I’ve been a very naughty girl…..

The guys at Digital Book Today offered me the chance of a feature interview. For an hour I lay in a bath of ego while probing questions all about ME massaged my back. I felt so relaxed, I told the truth. They asked me what I wanted to stress in my work and I explained that mainly it was the sexual expression of emotional love. Yes – I can’t believe I said that. Well, it’s too late now…. Probably no one will read it.

I’m a bit of a slow reader. A few days ago I finished Bert Carson’s book “Maddog and Miss Kitty”. Now, Bert is a guy and I think this is the first time he’s fought his way up the petticoat peninsula with a love story. I’ve posted a review on Amazon  but let me say here that this is a first class love story. It is not my own brand of bodice busting and lusting. It is a story of real life and its drifting misty sadness that eats our time. It is the triumph of love set against the tristesse of unexplored passion. It is not a Romance but the poignancy of its denial. I cried….and I know your heart will too. Enjoy your tears.  Here is my review:  

I first came across Bert Carson when I read “Fourth and Forever”. I like the clarity of his writing which relies on the characters and their context to create the narrative power. The last thing I want to do is is to provide a plot spoiler so I’m not going to give many details. Essentially it is love story, more in the sense of the constraints placed upon love. It is also a story of lives searching for love and acceptance. An agonizing poignancy is provided by the sense of missed opportunity and young lives denied their chance both by society and war. Once again Bert Carson opens up the subject of the psychology of stress and focuses on the joy and problems of relationships formed in extremis. Warriors returning from war can never find those bonds which fixed them to comrades yet at the same time alienated them from the rest of society and even close family. At the same time conflicting tides within society itself deepened the isolation of the Vietnam Veteran. Against all odds, the main male character Maddog finds a personal pathway back to success, helping many others on the way. Equally, Miss Kitty fights her own path until eventually after many setbacks, destiny provides justice. It is a story of a blighted love but the triumph of the human heart. The book also carries four bonus track short stories which should not be viewed as any kind of filler. They are all pertinent to the theme of the book. My favourite was “The Medic”. I am an admirer of Bert Carson’s style. His books are easy to read and the story flows like a good screenplay. I am hoping that one day someone will spot the opportunity.

Maddog and Miss Kitty – For Amazon USA click here, for Amazon UK click here

Emma thinx: Why lie when the truth is such delicious sin?

And Now – Here is The History Of The News

I ask this question rhetorically……When did the idea of “The News” first come up. There must have been a time before “News”. I guess when cave persons (see how PC I am) were sitting round their roasted dinosaur crumb roasted twizzler, they told tales of the day’s hunting and gathering. Maybe a tribe member had met his destiny under a mammoth foot or a French-cave-lady had discovered a new way to cook lizard gizzard in a wine and shallot sauce.( I bet some Madame de cuisine has already done it). Mainly I guess they told tales of recent history. Perhaps a smooth guy turned (stony faced) to camera and smiled “And now for the Olds”. 

Every day on my bus I drive out to my first pick up. I listen to BBC Radio 4. The “Today” programme brings me news and analysis of all those things that are just so important TODAY. I know that when I pick up the kids they’ll be yelling for moooosic. I really resent having to miss all the important NEWS about all those things that I hadn’t realised even existed or were possible. It’s a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous. You have to admit that you are a NEWS addict. Just imagine….the dramatic anticipatory communicatory music fades away – the grave presenter opens the bulletin and says “Today there is no news. Instead we are playing you the new recordings by Pixie Lott and Kelly Clarkson.” Bloody hell – if they are new recordings there is some news! Who produced it, who wrote the lyrics? There must be an expert somewhere to give me some informed analysis. No News…. Sheesh, they had me worried there.

Years ago there was an advertisement on TV for a product called 1001 ( They had a jingle-“A Thousand and one cleans a big big carpet for less than half a crown”. That’s about 13 pence-20 cents ).  All that was before I was born – but my father used to sing it when he used the vax. He never had much in life you know. But today the numbers of one thousand to one have jingled and jangled all day on the NEWS. There has been much discussion as to whether or not the release of ONE Israeli man equates to the release of ONE THOUSAND Palestinian men. Some correspondents have kinda viewed it as a deal like buying a car -“Hey, if you’d hung in there you coulda got some alloy wheels. If you’d have toughed it out you coulda got the car for free!” I say – measure the deal in the joy it brings to all those families. Then I say- tell me what joy any slaughter has ever brought to any man. Think of the thousands who cannot return from the dead. What would you pay to rescue one of them if you could? And I’ll tell you something else. The name of the Israeli soldier who was released was known to every soul in Israel and many folk beyond that. You cannot read out a thousand names and so it is a statistic and the deal sounds like betting odds. Mankind can do better. We can. We know we can. Let’s start tonight in the homes and hearts of everyone set free this day to write a future.

And so, to the point where I meant to start my blog. I have never been to war or been a soldier. I am a hedonist saved from debauchery because I can’t afford it. I have scrimped and saved to debauch as much as possible though. This afternoon I finished Bert Carson’s book “Fourth and Forever”. I will admit that I still don’t fully understand American football. What I do understand is that Bert’s breakdown and social analysis of the whole Vietnam War and its aftermath is more succinctly portrayed here than in any lengthy book on psychology/sociology. You see – the guy was there! He was there! Just think about that and the difference it makes. One day there won’t be anyone alive who was there. To a foreigner, the Vietnam War is like a kinda watershed in American political life that seemed to me as a kid to play out like a civil war that divided the USA far more than it divided communism from capitalism. In a few paragraphs Bert clarifies the whole experience of Vets returning to a homeland with no comprehension of what their warriors had been through. Soldiers suddenly lost the bonds of comradeship that had sustained them and returned to a job at the shopping mall with flash-backs of courage and horror to be kicked up the ass by bright shiny executives for day dreaming on the job. Actually it’s amazing that so many of them just got on with it, at least in public. “Fourth and Forever” is a book about coming of age in one sense and about coming to terms in another sense. It is an inspirational story written honestly in a plain word style that Hemingway could not have faulted. While I was reading it I kept thinking of a screenplay for a film…Come on Hollywood, catch this ball and run with it.

Emma thinx: Pin a label on your enemy. Pin a name on a fellow man.