posted April 3, 2015

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The Road and The Vaster Wilds: Anti-Odysseys (Part 3 in an ongoing series)

By happenstance, I read Cormac McCarthy’s 2007 apocalyptic novel The Road and followed it with Lauren Groff’s latest, The Vaster Wilds. It was September, technically still summer, but both of these novels take place in life-threateningly cold weather, and each author made me feel that cold, that terror of being consumed by the natural world, an awareness of the scarcity of essential resources, the distrust of other human beings–even our intimates. As I revisit these novels today, fittingly on Halloween, when the air in Massachusetts has grown chill and my body continues to fight against that novel corona virus, I find myself sharing some of these primal fears. When the terrain is unknown and the enemy invisible, who and what can we trust?

River Roads

Here’s the strange thing about me: I can completely forget I’m a musician until I arrive at the gig. It’s as though that part of me is a set of clothes for another season, kept in a moth-proof box in the attic, out of mind until the weather changes.

I Might Have to Hang a Flag (Rightside Up) Off My Porch

I might have to purchase an American flag and hang it on my porch. I come from a family of patriots. Every July 4 my mother dressed my sisters and…

Odyssey-Influenced Novels: Family and Ghosts (Part 2 of an ongoing series)

Although my Road Novel is nowhere near as dark (nor literary) as either of these books, it does share the theme of characters who are as dead set as the Bundrens on getting to their desired destination. Like both Faulkner’s and Ward’s stories, mine contains multiple narrators, characters who each have their own story arcs. Though they judge each other for their monomanias, they each have their own obsessions which blind them to the insanity of their quests. All this gives me a great sense of empathy for the characters in these novels who stand by helplessly as their Odysseus/Anse/Leonie plunges into their foolish journey which will lead to pain and family fracture. There is a reason we read these stories year after year, millennium after millennium. There is a reason why we keep writing them, too.

Scenes from “With A Little Help From My Friends” benefit at Appel Farm

Pete Kennedy using uke to play slide: Here are some images from the stage of Appel Farm Festival. I got to sit next to my favorite blues singer, Guy Davis….