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Guest Blog Post

Guest blogged today over at Gay YA.

Thanks to Maria for your interest in Awake!

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Russia + Highway + Wolves

I've seen deer, squirrels, dogs, raccoons, and other beasties cross my path while driving, but this? Amazing.
  

  

. . . and then you stop.

The past 12+ months have been One of Those Years. Two moves, two drives across the USA, not enough time spent in foreign countries which I long to live in forever. Back again in the States, now going through "stuff." This move is winding down: new places and situations ache to be settled into while a million work, personal, professional, and real life responsibilities beckon.

How did I end up with so much stuff? Mostly books. But I also collect dog movie memorabilia and an array of research materials that cannot be cast aside. The first book victims to fall must be novels. Novels I've read and will never reread, no matter how much I love them. Novels I've had so long (many years) and haven't read that I need to skim and move them along. Getting rid of things is liberating when you move around a lot—even for someone who adores material possessions like books, movies, and 70-year-old movie posters. They make me happy. And I'm one of those people who does reread and does rewatch.

So you're there, sitting on the bed, churning through books, picking out what you can bring yourself to send away to be sold at Powell's City of Books (knowing, at least, they will go to good homes). You're reading backs and inside flaps and dozens of first pages, or only a few words. You open a book and start to read . . . and then you stop. Not stop reading. But stop doing anything else. You even stop breathing. You turn a page, read, another, you reach the end of a chapter you never meant to read in a book you never meant to keep. You can hardly get your breath, limbs tingling, mind racing. You're blown away.

You're so blown away you blog about it, although you rarely blog, and take more time to read, although you're almost having panic attacks about all you have to get done today—no time, no space left for reading.

The power of fiction. That's the book, the page, the single word, that makes me want to be a better writer. Makes me want to read another book. Makes me fall in love with the written word as though it's the first time I've ever experienced it in my life. After only the first chapter.

How often do we find a book like that? How ofter do we pick something up to toss in the Sell at Powell's pile, but lose our breath instead?

The book is The Kommandant's Mistress by Sherri Szeman. 1993, out of print. And my hands are still tingling.


WWI Postcard a Day - 19

A 1914 German card showing infantry engaged in a night battle from their trenches above the Aisne river.

There are elements about this painting that are unique among artwork I've seen from the time, including a large number of missing helmets. This makes me wonder if losing those early helmets in combat was common, or only artistic license. Then there are the spotlights. I've come across no other reference to spotlights in trench warfare at this time. Wouldn't even have been any aircraft involved in this.

If anyone knows where to find information about spotlights used by infantry on the Western Front in 1914, please let me know!

WWI Postcard a Day - 18

The crown prince with his staff.


WWI Postcard a Day - 17

A German card showing the transportation of French POWs through Thüringen (the Free State of Thuringia).


WWI Postcard a Day - 16

A German photo card of East Prussian refugees.


WWI Postcard a Day - 15

A British card for the folks back home.

Note the last line. Not apprehensive about what's in France besides the shells, are we? Also note the portrait is of an officer despite the Other Ranks of course representing the vast majority of men who went.



And the back.

WWI Postcard a Day - 14

A German card and I cannot read this one.

Anyone know what the third word is? (My own very sketchy German would be bad enough without the old style of lettering thrown in.) Something about the cathedral of Reims being in danger (from the French?), which is jeopardizing great or wonderful work.




WWI Postcard a Day - 13

A German card showing German and Austrian cavalry on the Eastern Front.


WWI Postcard a Day - 12

Last Bairnsfather card and second part in the "In and Out" series of two. So perfect. :)



WWI Postcard a Day - 11

Second Bairnsfather cartoon. Love this card.

Part one of two cards. Next one tomorrow. :)




This one also has a used back.

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