Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking for Midnight

I'm having a difficult time getting into the new book. I've probably done way too much pre-planning. But another issue is that I don't have a playlist.

I listen to music when I write. Music keeps me in the story. Without a play list, I'm lost. The only song I can think of is Vanity Faire's EARLY IN THE MORNING. Which I will download when I have my desktop computer back up and running (thank you EJ!).

But I'm thinking that this book, THE HOME TEAM, requires midnight songs. I can think of only three . . . MIDNIGHT CONFESSION (The Grass Roots); WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT (Patsy Cline); MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA (Gladys Knight and the Pips).

So I'm putting the question out there: what other midnight songs are there?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stephen King's 11/22/63: A Review

I just finished reading Stephen King's newest novel, 11/22/63.

I feel as if I were misled.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good book, well-written and compelling. But it's not the story I thought I was going to read.

The review that made me interested in picking up the book led me to believe the premise was an alternate reality -- what the USA and the world would be like if President John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated in 1963.

Instead, I got a time travel novel.

The bulk of the story deals with the protagonist's life after he leaves 2011 and goes back in time to 1958. Most of the action takes place between 1958 and November 1963, detailing how the protagonist plans to stop the assassination. Pages 748 - 842 tell the immediate aftermath of the failed murder, give a brief, Cliff Notes version of what the world would be had JFK lived, and the protagonist's reaction to that world. Pages 801 to the middle of page 818 -- that's what there is of what happened because the President didn't die that day in Dallas.

I am keenly disappointed.

I wanted King's rich imagination and vivid prose to create the New Frontier promised to America by Kennedy. I wanted to know how things might have been had Johnson not been president. There was so much going on in the country then: Vietnam, Civil Rights, Women's Rights, The Space Race, the Cold War. Did Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love happen? Woodstock? Kent State?

Discussing this with TV Stevie, I learned he also thought the book was about what ifs. I doubt we read the same review.

I confess I haven't read a lot of King's newer works -- THE STAND or THE DEAD ZONE was probably one of the last ones I read. (Well, not counting his landmark ON WRITING. Every writer needs to read that book at least four times.) There were several places in 11/22/63 that seemed as if King were going to . . . be King (for lack of a better phrase) by tossing the reader into some horrible paranormal situation, but it never happened. Of course, there are those who will say the late 1950s/early 1960s fit that description perfectly.

 I don't blame King for my disappointment: He didn't misrepresent his book. He wrote a good book. It's just not the book I wanted to read.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


There's a new Creekwalk in town. Last weekend, TV Stevie and I walked from the Inner Harbor to the Armory Square district in downtown Syracuse. It was a nice walk. The city has done a wonderful job with this project.

Today, we walked the Inner Harbor to Onondaga Lake portion.
Onondaga Lake end of the new Creekwalk in Syracuse
That leg of the walk is about 10-minutes shorter (round trip) than Inner-Harbor-to-Armory-Square. We didn't particularly care for the part where we had to walk over the bridge on Hiawatha Boulevard (near THE Mall), but the rest of the walk was wonderful.

Each leg of the walk is different, going through different terrain, providing different views. Today felt very rural, with tall cat tails waving in the breeze, We enjoyed this as much as we did last weekend's excursion through Franklin Square and downtown Syracuse.

Both days, we ran into many other couples also talking advantage of  the unseasonably mild weather. It was good to see people taking advantage of what the area has to offer.