There are far too many people to thank for a wonderful 12 months. The interviews on air and in magazines and newspapers and the invitations to read and teach made an indelible impact in my trajectory as an author. An extra big thank you goes all to many, including:
Clifford Brooks III, Damon Poirier, Celeste Duckworth, Marsha Cornelius, Sarah Trowbridge, David Hirsch, Everett Catts, Adam Miller and everyone with The Southern Collective Experience.
Here is a quick peak back at some of the highlights from this year.
ALEXANDRIA REDEEMED RELEASED, TRLOGY COMPLETE
The first trilogy of The Alexandria Rising Chronicles was completed this spring when Alexandria Redeemed was published in March. It marks the final book in this part of the Alexandria Rising Chronicles. It was bittersweet, but I really enjoyed wrapping this one up, weaving things together and incorporating the timeless themes of revenge and
redemption. Thanks to you all for being part of the journey. I crammed a ton of easter eggs into this third book including Shakespeare, Keats, Explorer Percy Fawcett, C.S. Lewis and, of course, T.S. Eliot. What’s next for the story? Prequels on Winston Worsley 1983 and Patrick O’Neal circa 1900 are in the works….
ALEXANDRIA RISING RYTHMS
A musical companion to the book? Recorded in four different locations remotely by four different musicians them bounced, edited and mastered that way? Yes. We did it. Major ups to my dogs on this project and much love, including Clint J. Meador, producer and studio wiz, drummer and synth player, Bassist and Low End Theory scion Glen Denig and consultate and contributor Allen D. Bell on piano. I played guitars and bass, but these chaps did the real work. Recorded in Ellijay, Ga., N. Muskeon, Michigan, Smyrna, Ga. and Fayette County, Ga. Check it out here.
COUSIN CLIFFORD AND MAD DAWG MAGUIRE ON THE ROAD
Big ups and much love to my friend and poet Clifford Brooks III for rolling with me and inviting me to roll with him in 2018. I met Clifford in late ’17 and we worked together on many a journey this year, including teaching two classes together and multiple readings with others, including Atlanta’s meter master Peter Junker and American export of contemporary life Jon Tribble.
I was extremely honored – no hyperbole. my friends – in April when I was invited to be a guest on ‘Dante’s Old South,’ a program broadcast on NPR. The show is broadcast out of WUTC in Chattanooga and hosted by Brooks. I gave a short reading from Alexandria Redeemed, shared some laughs and insights and talked about the glory of wearing a wizard hat. The show aired in April and features many other outstanding writers and musicians and is available via youtube here.
GODRIC, HEANEY AND IN PURSUIT OF THE PALE PRINCE
Sometime in the spring, I re-read, ‘Godric’ by Frederick Buechner.
I love Buechner’s work. He is one of my top five authors. His book, ‘Godric’ is told from the first person point from Saint Godric, a 12th century monk in England. In the book, Buechner uses unique style and word choice to evoke a sense of speaking and place in the world he inhabits. The book is strange to read during the first five chapters, but once you immerse yourself in the narrative and realize context it is beyond beautiful. (Nominated for Pulitzer, it was). Here he describes a river:
“Here are the sounds of Wear. It rattles stone on stone. It sucks its teeth. It sings. It hisses like the rain. It roars. It laughs. It claps its hands. Sometimes I think it prays.”
I believe it was re-reading Godric mixed with my love of Seamus Heaney’s use of language that helped give birth to some of the language and phrasing in, ‘Pursuit of The Pale Prince.’ The sheer freedom in creating one’s own words and phrases is liberating, especially to one who has been under the rules and mechanics of MLA and AP style for 40 years. The book took form in the Deep Woodth of The Ridge as I let my imagination grow with the old growth trees sipping from big black puddles where I discovered the riddles of the herons. Words like,
coolth. blueth. windth. waring. weir-bent. thung. falloweth
sprung from the sallow marshes and my imagination.
I have a sequel underway to, ‘In Pursuit of The Pale Prince,’ but am taking it slowly as I work on a few more books. (Did someone say experimental fiction and poetry? Please Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em)
We’ll see what drops in 2019.
KINDLE BEST SELLER!
This summer Alexandria Rising hit Number One Best Seller in three categories for roughly a week. It was a grand promo. By November, Alexandria Rising had been read in over 16 nations on all continents except Antarctica – of which I am working on by the way.
I am always seeking new books to read and appreciate any input from you all. This year, I read, “The Archer’s Tale” by Bernard Cornwell along with several of his other books all of which I highly recommend. He is outstanding and was an inspiration for “In Pursuit of The Pale Prince.”
Roddy Doyle. Please. Thank you.
I re-read ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison this year courtesy of audible. Ellison’s work is painfully gorgeous. His prose and authenticity is on the untouchable level of American literature with luminaries such as Pat Conroy.
I always enjoy re-reading old Foxfire books, old magazines, The Chronicles of Narnia, Helmut Thielke and Henri Nouwen.
Suggestions? Questions? Recommendations? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a Merry New Year,