Once again, author Calin presents us with a poignant short story of dreams and aspirations of the desperate and downtrodden. She has a grasp of colorful, working-class dialog like nobody I know. Oscar Sparrow's brilliant narration on the mp3 captures it perfectly with that lilting, dramatic voice of his!
She presents a wonderful array of vivid images in a day in the life of the protagonist, who hatches a scheme doomed to certain failure and clings way past prudence to his impossible hopes and dreams. His go-along partner is a perfect example of how unexpected opportunity turns the sheep into wolf.
One really can't get enough of these stories of Calin's, nor of her steamy, romantic novel, "Knockout". She has the strivings and foibles of humanity literally in the palm of her hand, and a profoundly intuitive finger on the pulse.
--Jo VonBargen 2012
The Chosen on Amazon UKOn TwitterOn Facebook
Much can be done with a voice - take
that witty, Wilde-ish Sparrow, Oscar...
a presence, a man of stature reading
his poems better than well - when
he says light, you see yon light, or peach,
it bursts juicy sweet upon your tongue,
or London Bridge, it looms grey
above you, shadowed of the ages
Not one poem is an old-time ode, but
more of earth, blood-full, strong
and not down any known poet's old,
known road, oh - he could be
a Shakespearean actor, knowing just
when to twinkle, when to pause,
and each new line is a brand new
wrinkle, oh, yes...yes, and maybe if
you listen hard - let the poems
touch you, you might, just might,
touch the soul of the poet,
all the poets within him,
his beloved old cars and oily rags,
the thousand fathoms of the man
--Jo VonBargen 2012
A View From the Bridge of My NoseI Threw a Stone (on Amazon.com)
A TRAGEDY by Theo Marzials. Read by @Oscar_Sparrow Oscar Sparrow reading Jo Vonbargen's HISSING LIKE FIRE
Something my brilliant friend, Christina Carson, said the other day in a comment on one of my blogs has really gotten me to thinking. Hard. "When are people going to get curious enough to begin to become aware of a higher order of awareness that waits only an invitation? We are capable of doing more than chasing our tails." wrote Christina. She hit it right out of the ballpark, into the stars and this wondrous universe we inhabit!
Let's talk about dimensions. This will be laughably brief, but will give us a floor to walk on. Humans are currently considered, for the most part, to be third-dimensional, some fourth. This refers to our level of awareness in general.
One-dimensional space can be seen as a line.
Two-dimensional space would be a flat surface.
Three-dimensional space is a cube that has height, length, width.
Fourth-dimensional space is the addition of a time continuum; picture us moving in time through three dimensional space. We perceive being at a particular location in physical space at a particular time. (But this is not an exact picture of how fourth dimensional joins space-time into one larger whole.) Let's just say it's complicated.
Fifth dimensional space is generally not something one can imagine from a three-dimensional perspective, until the evolving consciousness allows it. It's a layer which is not spatial, nor is it temporal. It's the dimension that brings space-time into oneness with the timeless and eternal. So we see that fifth dimensional awareness creates a movement of consciousness instead of movement on the physical plane. This allows us to begin to perceive the unity of life and matter because we are moving within that higher plane. From here, we have a wider view of what reality is. Things are not separate. I am you and you are me and we are the world...that type thing.
So, within each of these five dimensions, there is a boundary of perception. Not a real boundary, but one in which the inhabitant feels free to move in all directions because it is all they know. They do not even perceive a boundary. Like living inside a donut. The person has sealed himself inside that layer, unaware there is anything beyond it. From the point of view of someone outside that donut, however, that person is living within yet another donut which encircles the smaller one.
Back to the fifth-dimensional layer, it also exists within other layers that have even higher numbers of dimensions, each higher layer still penetrating the layers within it, yet is not perceived, since the ones living within the current three-dimensional, for example, think that this is all that can be seen and felt.
Fifth-dimensional awareness means loss. Loss of the sense of separateness...both from others and from the universe in which we live. There is an awe-inspiring presence of expanding light which creates an experience of the Absolute, the divine within all, where distinctions fade into the background. Individual consciousness remains, but that sense of estrangement and isolation from life recedes.
Here one no longer relies only on the physical mind and five senses to define one's reality, but will move into the perfect light linking all with a vibration of love. Unfortunately, the experience of unity has not yet been widely, directly felt by humans, but many millions are awakening to it. The need to protect 'me' from 'you' still dominates, as the greater shift has not yet occurred. When it does, all will be seen as connected to all, and the new morality will not be based on self-preservation, but on concern for the whole. Your interest and my interest will be the same, and will seek to serve the good of all, rather than the desires of the self.
Moving on, keep in mind that these are just very, very basic definitions and each could be expounded on ad infinitum. We can all explore them in our own time and inclination as we jump back and forth from a third-dimensional 'victim' mentality to our higher levels of awareness. No longer can we, nor should we, say,"if I can't see it, it doesn't exist."
Be a pioneer! Work on developing the skills to both recognize and harmonize with the subtle energies that make up our universe...energies that are birthed into material form by our physical thoughts and emotions. Interact with other people who are working on their own evolution. There is a 'way', a natural way (the Tao) to achieve these higher states and it is a very personal journey. Give rein to your own inner spirit, which is endowed from birth with the light; it will show you the path if you just have faith and trust it!
--Jo VonBargen 2012
A friend of mine from Calcutta once said in his thick Bengali accent, "America's a tough town." As hilarious as that is, it's certainly turned out to be.
Just as so many well-loved, well-knowns before me, I prefer sustainable peace. I loathe killing and rampant destruction, though I know war is sometimes said to be necessary. For some reason, that makes me anti-American. The same hands that wave a Bible and a flag will shoot me the finger for adhering to tenets of those very standards! (Before you accuse me of being a bleeding-heart liberal, please know that I am fiercely Independent and have always been. And I hate that the word "liberal" has been turned into a slur. I also hate that we are now so polarized we cannot even have this discussion.)
Of course I love my country! That is precisely why I have the right to find fault. Who would even think of raising their beloved children without loving criticism?
Why is it such a reprehensible thing to long for an Earth with no borders and one people called humanity? Before you call me a sadly naive idealist, take a look at the historical record. All progress has been achieved via our wildest dreams and...yes...heresies. Our own USA included. Just ask the monarchy that birthed us, the high church that condemned us. And besides, there's no law against wishing.
Can truth still save us? It have to believe it could. It should be pursued with a vengeance. We should all be restless, damned curious and have a healthy irreverence for those in high places.
I just shake my head when I see reporters converging on DC for a scheduled press conference...off to pick up news like a party tray already packaged and tied with a bow. Where did we get the idea that truth can be found in a set-up like that? Government officials call them all by their first names, not to mention little perks on the side, free junkets, inside gossip, yadda, yadda. You have to ask: Is a press release out of a power-funded public relations department going to be anything more than an opiate?
Wake up, little lambkins, and smell the foul air. Clear that pie-in-the-sky from your eyes and see for yourselves what the pols have indeed caked all over us. It ain't chocolate pudding.
Sadly, most reporters have lost their motivation to dig for the real nuggets. Their employers cater to whichever party makes it worth their while to skew the tone of their network and would never air the real truth even if a brave employee were to buck the system and dig anyway. We are soooo screwed.
In reality, there's nothing mysterious about ferreting out fact. Visit Government Documents online or in your library and read official accounts of congressional investigations or even documents from the General Accounting Office. Stay up late to watch C-Span and see what your lovely legislators do to you while you're sleeping. Read transcripts of what our ambassadors have said to theirs in foreign countries...like Iraq. That one will clear your sinuses.
Read some of the foreign newspapers; lots of them have English editions. Read the histories of countries and peoples in conflict; find out why people are hurting, why they are frustrated, why they lash out when no one will hear them. We can't just swallow every sound-byte officials toss us on the tube....we need to keep ourselves immune. We shouldn't blindly accept any leader's insistence on making last year's golden boy this year's despot, or vice versa, nor should we assume that everything out of a politician's mouth is gospel as long as he belongs to our own party. Nobody can hump a duck like another duck, dearies.
Bottom line, we should give as much attention to the motives of our leaders as we would to a prospective mate. We'll have to live together for a long time. If the hard evidence says, despite glib assurances to the contrary, that you're being lied to, placated, misrepresented, or used for a pleasure receptacle while you're asleep, scream like a banshee. If you don't, then you mustn't complain when you plunge off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.
--Jo VonBargen 2012
Now on Amazon.comThis Kindle short story is a parody of E L James's 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. It is entirely fictional, and the characters in no way represent, depict, or otherwise role-play anyone living, dead, or living with the dead. In point of fact, it has never happened, could never happen, and probably should not have been written.
Hmm. Just what is that mystifying, much-maligned character called a poet? Well, I is one, and answering the question is sort of like trying to nail Jello to a tree. But, being a Texan with a ten-gallon mouth, you know I'm gonna try (unless somebody knocks me down and steals my teeth!).
Marianne Moore famously described the poet's job as creating 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them'. Now there's a definition! Except with horned frogs and a sweat-slingin', bow-legged prince or two.
We could say a poet artistically renders words in such a way as to evoke intense emotion or an aha! experience from the reader. We could say poets use economy of language and are miserly and unrelentingly critical in the way they apply words to a page. But let's not do this. Don't shackle poetry with definitions. It can't be done. Poetry has enormous power, ya'll. Poetry is imagination and will break those chains faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind. And like grasping at that wind, once you catch it...it's no longer wind.
The wonderful and vastly prolific author, Paul Dorset, has posted an interview with me on his blog, Utterances Of An Overcrowded Mind, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. His publications include fantasy novels for ages 12-plus, how-to books for adults, and dark paranormal thrillers for ages 16+. I'd be grateful if you'd hop on over there and give it a read. Leave a comment for Paul if you have time, as he went to a lot of trouble...for which I give him a hearty, Texas-chick slap on the chaps and thanks! Just click the link to get there. Author Intervew: Jo VonBargen--Jo VonBargen 2012
When discussing my own work I often refer to it as "writings on human spirit". Just what is human spirit? We might say it is a component of philosophy, psychology or religion: the spiritual or mental part of humanity. While some might give it the same meaning as human soul, it really refers to to the impersonal, universal or higher component of human nature in contrast to psyche, which can refer to the ego or lower element. Awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers all play a role in identifying human spirit as well.
Take the Hebrew word ruach which originally meant "wind". The ruach belongs to the divine, to the above, to the light. Its effects on humanity when it descends include heroism, enlightenment, all kinds of divination and ecstasy...it is literally poured out. So the human spirit can be seen as the higher component of a human's non-material makeup - the part that is impersonal or universal, as opposed to the soul, which is a personal element of each unique individual.
All that said, I use the term broadly to identify the mechanism by which ordinary humans endure, survive and transcend extraordinary sufferings and circumstances. We see it displayed when there is a natural or man-made catastrophe of some sort...when a whole nation can come together to aid, rescue, heal and rebuild. We see it when a battered mother takes a leap of faith to escape dire home circumstances where her children are at risk. We see it in soldiers who put their lives on the line crawling through whizzing ak-ak and explosions to pull their wounded and dying to safety.
It goes without saying that we might have to come up with another term if and when we finally have proof positive that there are other souls in this unbounded universe! They would not necessarily come under the heading of human. But I think they would all have the spirit part, nevertheless. If we could regard God, the Great Spirit, the Absolute, etc. as a vast ocean, then each individual could be thought of as a cup of that ocean, and it would apply to all sentient souls of whatever planet. (Just had to throw ET in here to maintain my outlier reputation!)
Overall, I see my role as a poet and writer as one which illuminates to the best of my ability. Being fascinated with cause and effect, my mission is to take a situation apart, look at the details (where they say the devil is!) and shine a spotlight where no one can ordinarily see. In my latest book, which is a collection of prose and poetry on human spirit, several themes run throughout, not the least of which is love, albeit failed love. The importance of these writings is to illuminate the power of love, even when it is love spent without return or love bestowed beyond all prudence. That power manifests as strength, resilience, wisdom and a strong determination to overcome. As such, unconditional love is its own reward in a world where, sadly, millions of women are subjected to being used and abused because their naïveté or kindness is mistaken for weakness...or perhaps because cultural, religious or familial ties require that they endure it. Some of these poems and essays exist to shine a hard light on these unfortunate and dreadful circumstances, if only to light a candle in the shadowy places where truth often hides. The hope is that there is enough beauty, contemplation and #inyourface rant scattered throughout so that the reader's experience isn't rife with gloom, depression and scattered entrails!
--Jo VonBargen 2012
Golgotha Connection (Out of the Darkness)
(Amazon Book Description)
""Golgotha Connection," totally revised and re-written as a Christian thriller, was originally published as "Place of Skulls."
A man with no known past and no name as been dispatched to the deserts, ghost towns, and underbelly of drug-infested Mexico to uncover a secret that could forever change the scope and teachings of Christianity. If not, the quest and the discovery would forever change his life.
A DEA agent has written that he possesses the unmistakable and undeniable proof that Christ did indeed return to earth again and walk the land of the Aztecs almost fifteen hundred years after his crucifixion on the cross. But has the agent found a relic? An artifact? A long lost manuscript of the written Word? No one knows, and the agent dies before he can smuggle the secret out of an empty grave.
Andrews St. Aubin can’t dig past the charred fragments of his memory, but he must battle drug lords and a rogue CIA agent to unravel the legend of Quetzalcoatl, the white-skinned, blue-eyed, god figure whose sixteenth century ministry, death, resurrection, and mystical promise to return someday to gather up his people closely parallels the Biblical story of the man called Christ. Is Quetzalcoatl merely a myth, or was he Christ himself?"
I've been reading Caleb Pirtle short stories for some time now, enjoying them immensely, and was curious to see if his talent could survive the rigors of a long novel. Indeed, it has, and gloriously so!
I love a sharp dose of authenticity - when a story is told arrow-straight and fiction feels like reality, when you may have never been to a certain place or met someone like the character you're reading, and yet you feel the narrative's truth. Caleb Pirtle definitely has a gift for this...in spades. In GOLGOTHA CONNECTION the writing is tensile-taut, the story lines are interwoven seamlessly, and all the gory details are nicely intact.
You can't imagine a gentleman like this author ever knowing an earthly thing about the underbelly of life that this novel depicts, but his writing resounds with the tone of real people imbedding a real place in time. The story breathes you in and holds its breath as the tension mounts.
The language is both stark and deliciously detailed. Scorching heat and terror are the forest, and the wiles and emotions of humanity fill the spaces between the trees.
An intricate plot and fleshy, memorable characters, the expressive narrative and relentless pacing will no doubt cause GOLGOTHA CONNECTION to be remembered as indeed one of the best mysteries of the year.
--Jo VonBargen 2012
Here is where we found her in death, the little calico stray who would never, even after a year, let us get closer than ten feet away. How sad to be bound up in such fear that even the hand that so faithfully feeds is such an imminent threat.
It could have been a fox or coyote that surprised her, or perhaps a large raccoon with whom she had argued vehemently over the food dish of late. As with all homeless, death lingers ever near, ever near.
We couldn't move her to sleep with others we've loved, as vultures had already done their necessary work and she was clearly dissolving into her surrounds. Remains don't ever remain long here in these woods, neither theirs or ours.
She was elusive, that one, and changed her habits from day to day, with our never knowing from which direction she'd come, and so we thought she was far too smart to be caught in this gruesome way. But today, it all became clear.
Just twenty feet into the woods from where she lay, a surprise! A tiny black kitten sat high in the crook of a tree, mewing softly toward its mother's sad repose. Our other cats sat semi-circled below, mewing back, "Come down, little one, come down!"
All efforts to reach it have failed, as Rick's multiple scrapes, cuts, bruises and frustration will attest. Seeing as the vines and underbrush provide a formidable fortress, both for keeping out intruders and trapping the terrorized, it might just to be too young to know water and food are a necessity of life.
We've put a dish of each at the base of the tree, knowing it has never had the experience of crockery or other things human, and so we wait, hoping the little thing will smell the water and food way before the raccoons do, before we have to find its poor body in the brush, before it even has a chance to own us.
--Jo VonBargen 2012