John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Don't be afraid, just believe



NYCPlaywrights October 24, 2015

Greetings NYCPlaywrights


A presentation of EDUCATION.

EDUCATION is Brian Dykstra’s edgy, thought-provoking new play about two young people who fight for their right to express themselves in a society hostile to any change in the status quo.
Directed by Margraett Perry, with Matthew Boston, Bruce Faulk, Xavier Pacheco, Elizabeth Meadows Rouse, and Cotton Wright.  Friday November 6th at 7pm. The Kraine Theater, 85 E 4th St. (between 2nd Ave. and Bowery.)


On Monday, October 26, The Arts Integrity Initiative at The New School College of Performing Arts, School of Drama is honored to present the first public reading of David Adjmi's 3C, following the play's landmark copyright victory in April of 2015. Directed by Jackson Gay, this is the first public performance of 3C following the important legal decision. After its premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in June 2012, the play was unable to be performed or published due to a claim of copyright interference which lasted for nearly three years. The Guild and the DLDF were both involved in the legal proceedings that led to Adjmi's vindication in court. 

Playwright Jon Robin Baitz, who first spoke out to rally support for Adjmi and the play, will host the evening. The event will include a panel discussion about 3C's legal odyssey and the underlying implications for creative freedom and artists' rights. Panelists will include playwright and Guild member David Adjmi, attorney Bruce Johnson of David Wright Tremaine and Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs for the Guild; Arts Integrity Initiative director Howard Sherman moderates.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Reservations are recommended. Please click on the link below for more information and to make reservations.


The Araca Project presents
A new play by Sofya Weitz
Directed by Will Arbery
LADY is about the most prolific serial killer in history and explores about the lengths we go to for beauty, sex and power. Read interviews with the playwright here and here. 
Starring Lola Kelly, Sasha Diamond*, Eli Gelb*, and Jack Plowe
Lights by Oona Curley
Set by Kimie Nishikawa
Sound by Kevin Novinsky
Costumes by Spencer John Olson
Stage managed by Tom Nieboer
October 28 - October 31 @ 8 pm, October 31 & November 1 @ 2 pm
The American Theater of Actors
314 W 54th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

We're excited to offer NYCPlaywrights members discounted $13 tickets when they use the offer code "FBLADY." 


November 18 and 20, 2015
at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, 
303 West 42nd St. (at 8th Ave) NYC
We are looking for passionate playwright/producers and choreographers from the Tri-State area who wish to participate and try out a new short play or dance piece in front of a live audience. We are looking for NEW short plays and dance pieces, never produced before, cast, directed, choreographed, off book, put on their feet and manifested for the first time from playwright/producers in the Tri-State area. 


We are now accepting submissions for Lama Theater Company’s Monthly Question! The Monthly Question is a reading series of new and bold writing (short plays/ Monologues/ poems/ Songs) around Lama’s monthly question that will be performed at The Kraine Theater, NYC.
Our Mission: Lama means WHY in Hebrew. The Lama Theater Company is a writer/director-driven company that continually raises questions and fearlessly searches for artistic exploration. 


The Owl and Cat Theatre seeking provocative new plays
One of Melbourne’s leading independent theatres in Melbourne (Australia) is seeking new provocative plays to produce.
MUST be in pdf format ONLY
Plays should be 50min-120min in length
Should explore contemporary themes
Should be thought-provoking/confronting in nature.
Should be professionally formatted (e.g. using scriptwriting software such as celtx)
Not accepting musicals.

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION on these and other opportunities see the web site athttp://www.nycplaywrights.org ***

*** 3C ***

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innuendoes

Just about everyone who grew up with a rabbit-eared television set in the 1970s harbors an abiding, possibly mortifying affection for one of the era’s signature sitcoms. On a down day I might even be persuaded to spend an hour with “Laverne & Shirley.” But I never thought I’d feel any residual nostalgia for “Three’s Company,” the fluff-brained sitcom that kick-started the careers of John Ritter, Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt.
Ding-dong. Someone’s at the door, Chrissy!
Along comes “3C,” a flat-footed black comedy by David Adjmi that tries to excavate the grime lurking underneath the sitcom’s perky, glossy veneer. Presented at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, this co-production with Piece by Piece Productions and Rising Phoenix Repertory — three’s company, too-oo! — had me scurrying from the theater with the television show’s saccharine theme song ringing in my head, recalling a happier era when even bad sitcoms were not allowed to descend below a certain level of harmless tastelessness.



Theater review: Off-Broadway's ‘3C’  at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater  

Tragedy plus time equals comedy.

The 1977 sitcom “Three’s Company” plus time equals David Adjmi’s new play “3C,” a work that wants to be biting parody but ends up a gummy stunt.

The set echoes the series note for note: stuccoed apartment, sunken living room, plant stand, doors made for farce. Ditto the tube socks and short shorts.

Characters are carbon copies as well, except with name changes. Connie (Anna Chlumsky, of “My Girl” fame) is the busty dumb blonde. Linda (Hannah Cabell) is the husky-voiced and pragmatic brunette who works in a flower shop. Brad (Jake Silbermann) is the shaggy-haired military vet and cooking-school student who ends up rooming with them.

But unlike the prime time show, Brad makes his entrance fullyfrontally naked. And he’s not just pretending to be gay, he really is. Irony, you know.

Faithful to its source, the play pours on innuendo and includes a womanizing neighbor, Terry (Eddie Cahill, of “CSI: NY”), and a wacky landlord couple, the Wickers (Bill Buell and Kate Buddeke). Only in this instance, Mr. Wicker is an icky perv who gropes a willing Linda. He also blithely uses the gay slurt” a lot. Everyone does. So it goes, as the characters, all anguished, endure with dead-eyed stares.

Showing the dark side of easy sitcom laughs and casual bigotry and hate has merit, so one sees why co-producers piece by piece, Rising Phoenix Repertory and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater got behind the play.



Time Out NY

Although I was just a country lad at the height of the ’70s, the era exists in received cultural memory as a Neverland of disco tunes, bell-bottoms, porn ’staches and a general air of cheerful, post-hippie licentiousness. Elements not as likely to intrude on this groovy, pseudo-nostalgic mythos are Vietnam vets, homophobic backlash and a hungover, fucked-out generation staring into the maw of the ’80s. Playwright David Adjmi has kindly filled in the blanks with his bitterly funny and inventive 3C, which appropriates the sitcom structure of iconic Three’s Company and pumps it full of sexual panic and existential horror. Don’t worry; there are also plenty of convulsive, wacky laughs—more, in fact, than you’d find over in TV Land.



3C Playwright David Adjmi Comes Under Fire From "Three's Company" Lawyers

Playwright David Adjmi's dark comedy 3C, which takes a page from the 1970s sitcom "Three's Company," has come under fire from lawyers representing DLT Entertainment, the company that owns the popular television series.

According to a report in the New York Times, Adjmi was contacted by Kenyon & Kenyon, the lawyers representing DLT Entertainment, who sent a cease-and-desist letter citing copyright infringement, listing 17 points of similarity between the play and the sitcom. 3C uses a scenario similar to "Three's Company," but explores darker implications of American culture in that time. The now-closed production ran June 6-July 14 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

A stage adaptation of "Three's Company" is in the works and DLT felt Adjmi's play was damaging to the property. The series also has a life in syndicated reruns.

The correspondence from the lawyers also stated that the production could not be extended past its July 14 closing date, that no future productions could be performed and the script could not be published. Box office figures were also requested in addition to a written agreement from Adjmi that he would comply with their demands.



A Letter from the Theater Community Regarding David Adjmi's "3-C"
by Jon Robin Baitz July 18, 2012

On June 6th, David Adjmi’s play 3-C opened Off-Broadway, and the same day, he received a cease-and-desist letter. Without legal counsel, he felt compelled to agree that the run of the play could not be extended—and that it would never be performed again. In this open letter, a group of playwrights, theater professionals and performers explain why this is so wrong.

Playwright David Adjmi, whose play 3-C just closed a run at Rattlestick Theatre, has received a threatening “Protest Letter” from the law firm of Kenyon & Kenyon, which represents DLT Entertainment, the owners of the long defunct TV sitcom “Three’s Company.” The letter accuses him of copyright infringement, and demands that he cease further performances of the play, provide them with an accounting of all revenues from the play to date, and furnish them with his written assurance that he will comply with these demands. The letter claims that 3-C damages their client’s property, which is being developed for the stage. In comparing the works, the lawyers note that “Connie is sexy and jiggles just like Chrissy,” Mr. Wicker makes gay jokes, as did Mr. Roper, and notes further that the play features slapstick comedy, which apparently is the sole property of “Three’s Company.” It goes on listing the similarities between the works. Yes, David’s play satirically invokes the sitcom in question as a template upon which to de-construct the mores and tropes of that time. It is clearly and patently and unremittingly parody, to the extent that it depends on Three’s Company‘s 1970s attitudes towards sexual relations, etc., in order to slyly examine the underlying brutality and bigotry attendant to American popular culture of that era.



Three’s Company and Four Fair Use Factors

The European Court of Justice just released today its Deckmyn judgment, where it defines what a parody is under European Union law. I wrote about it a while ago, and will come back to it. Meanwhile, there is an interesting parody case just here in New York, David Adjmi v. Dlt Entertainment Ltd., 14 cv.0568.
Plaintiff David Adjmi is a playwright, and his plays have been performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, Lincoln Center, and the American Repertory Theather among others. He wrote 3C, an original play parodying the television show Three’s Company, which ran from 1977 to 1984. Defendant DLT Entertainment holds the copyright to Three’s Company. It sent Plaintiff a cease and desist letter in June 2012, asking that the production of 3C, which played Off Broadway in 2012, to be stopped. After the production ended as scheduled in July 2012, a publisher expressed interest in publishing 3C in a book of Plaintiff’s plays, and an another publisher want to prepare an acting edition of 3C, and also license its future productions on behalf of the playwright.
Plaintiff then filed suit in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on January 30, 2014, seeking a declaration that his play does not infringe DLT’s copyright, and filed an amended complaint in February 25. Defendants filed a counterclaim for copyright infringement against both the playwright and the producers of 3C, claiming that the play is not fair use, but rather is an unauthorized derivative work. The playwright moved for judgment on the pleading, and, on August 25, filed a memorandum of law to support this motion, addressing the four fair use factors.



Dramatists Use Shakespeare in Effort to Protect 'Three's Company' Parody

The owner of the John Ritter sitcom tells a judge that "3C" is a "poor adaptation" of "one of the first television shows to say that there was nothing wrong with being gay"
King Lear is to William Shakespeare as Jack Tripper is to ________?

As a federal judge in New York is set to decide whether playwright David Adjmi's 3C violates the copyright authority of DLT Entertainment, owner of the late '70s sitcom Three's Company, the legal defense fund of the Dramatists Guild of America has submitted an amicus brief that argues that "a ruling that 3C is not a fair use would have negative reverberations throughout the theater industry."

The play, which ran for two months last year off-Broadway, doesn't feature "Jack Tripper," but rather "Brad," a guy who says he's gay so a Santa Monica, California landlord will let him live with two women. Unlike the television version, which featured John Ritter in the lead, Brad actually is gay and the work takes a darker look at the set-up. In suing for declaratory relief that 3C is not a copyright infringement, Adjmi said his work comments on the "ways the television show presented and reinforced stereotypes about gender, age and sexual orientation."

The line between what's fair, free speech and what's an impermissible violation of someone else's rights is a topic that hits the courts again and again. A quarter century ago, the rap group 2 Live Crew came out with a parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," and in 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower appellate court by deciding the rap song was in-bounds (at least in terms of purpose and character). On Monday, the high court examines in a non-copyright context whether a threatening rap song posted on Facebook is tolerated by the First Amendment, but two decades ago, it was Luther Campbell's come-ons that attracted legal heat. And it was Justice David Souter who wrote, "whether... parody is in good taste or bad does not and should not matter to fair use. As Justice [Oliver Wendell] Holmes explained, ‘[i]t would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of [a work], outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits.'"



Citing ‘Greatest American Hero’ Case, Judge Rules ‘Three’s Company’ Parody Doesn’t Violate Copyright: Media

In a significant free-speech victory, Loretta A. Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled Tuesday that 3C, a play that parodies the 1970s sitcom Three’s Company, does not infringe on that copyrighted program. The ruling ends nearly three years of court tennis during which playwright David Adjmi was prohibited from publishing the script of his black comedy and pursuing new productions. And in her ruling, Judge Preska cites the famous Superman v. Greatest American Hero case still discussed today.

After the original off-Broadway show at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater shut down, DLT Entertainment claimed copyright infringement. Judge Preska upheld Adjmi’s claim that his use of the plot, premise, characters, sets and certain scenes was protected under the doctrine of fair use. Preska found that Adjmi’s use of the Three’s Company essentials to create a second work of art that transformed the first was enough to support her finding.





No Tool or Rope or Pail
by Bob Arnold

It hardly mattered what time of year
We passed their farmhouse,
They never waved,
This old farm couple
Usually bent over in the vegetable garden
Or walking by the muddy dooryard
Between house and red-weathered barn.
They would look up, see who was passing,
Then look back down, ignorant to the event.
We would always wave nonetheless,
Before you dropped me off at work
Further up on the hill,
Toolbox rattling in the backseat,
And then again on the way home
Later in the day, the pale sunlight
High up in their pasture,
Our arms out the window,
Cooling ourselves.
And it was that one midsummer evening
We drove past and caught them sitting
together on the front porch
At ease, chores done,
The tangle of cats and kittens
Cleaning themselves of fresh spilled milk
On the barn door ramp;
We drove by and they looked up—
The first time I've ever seen their
Hands free of any work,
No too or rope or pail—

And they waved.

Bob Arnold in the Woodlot; photograph by Susan Arnold, published in Jacket

Longhouse Books
PO Box 2454
West Brattleboro, VT 05303


Charles Hewitt, Three women smoking in a doorway on Christmas Street, in Southwark, London, 1946

Photographs I’ve taken

 Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet," Essays, Second Series, 1844

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace. Hamilton Fish

Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.  John Gunther

This, then, is the state of the union:  free and restless, growing and full of hope.  So it was in the beginning.  So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.  Lyndon B. Johnson

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.  William J. Clinton

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other countrySinclair Lewis

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.  Adlai Stevenson

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  Daniel Webster

America is a passionate idea or it is nothing.  America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos.  Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949

BE KIND.....................



What is an ‪‎Underdrawing‬‬‬‬? Simply put, it is a preliminary sketch applied to a canvas, panel, or paper that helps the artist envision and evolve their final composition. Although you can find examples of underdrawing (or underpainting) throughout art history, the process was extensively used by 15th-century artists like Jan van Eyck. The image on the left shows how van Eyck planned "The Annunciation."

Conservation image of underdrawing and Jan van Eyck, “The Annunciation,” c. 1434/1436, oil on canvas transferred from panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection (right)


As a writer who has carried the torch on Police abuse for a decade, I have to tell you this is disgusting. 


Funding for Wesleyan University’s school newspaper has been slashed by the student government.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — Funding for Wesleyan University’s school newspaper has been slashed by the student government.
The student government approved the resolution Sunday to decrease The Wesleyan Argus’ budget from $30,000 to $13,000. The $17,000 in savings will be divided among the four top campus publications, including the Argus.
A petition calling to defund the paper was circulated in September after The Argus published an editorial questioning whether the Black Lives Matter movement is achieving anything positive.
The student government’s leader has said they want to promote community through greater inclusion.
The paper’s editor says the move sets a “dangerous” precedent for press at the university and the country.
Wesleyan President Michael Roth on Tuesday tweeted that he believes the students will realize cutting the newspaper’s funding was a “big mistake.”

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below


This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air" The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." George Orwell, 1984 1949

" It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair". Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 1859

"I am an invisible man." Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man 1952

"The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard." Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts 1933

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter." Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1885

"Riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs". James Joyce, Finnegans Wake 1939

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice 1813

Things said for conversation are chalk eggs. Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
300 quotes from Emerson
To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.  To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.  To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.  ~Kahlil Gibran




Love yourself. You learn to do that by finding within yourself over who you are and what you are. This is the simplest, most direct and best way to avoid self-destruction. John Tuohy


Blithesome \BLYTHE-sum\Gay, merry. Blithesome comes from blithe, a word that has been a part of English since before the 12th century. Blithe can mean "casual" and "heedless" as well as "joyful" and "lighthearted," but blithesome makes use of only the "joyful, lighthearted" sense. Blithesome didn't show up in print in English until the late 16th century

Sculpture this and Sculpture that


WHY THE WORLD NEEDS EDITORS.....................


THE ART OF WAR...............................


  Get Shorty 

by Elmore Leonard

For Walter Mirisch, one of the good guys

When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvio’s on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off. One his wife had given him for Christmas a year ago, before they moved down here.
Chili and Tommy were both from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, old buddies now in business together. Tommy Carlo was connected to a Brooklyn crew through his uncle, a guy named Momo, Tommy keeping his books and picking up betting slips till Momo sent him to Miami, with a hundred thousand to put on the street as loan money. Chili was connected through some people on his mother’s side, the Manzara brothers. He worked usually for Manzara Moving & Storage in Bensonhurst, finding high-volume customers for items such as cigarettes, TVs, VCRs, stepladders, dresses, frozen orange juice. . . . But he could never be a made guy himself because of tainted blood, some Sunset Park Puerto Rican on his father’s side, even though he was raised Italian. Chili didn’t care to be made anyway, get into all that bullshit having to do with respect. It was bad enough having to treat these guys like they were your heroes, smile when they made some stupid remark they thought was funny. Though it was pretty nice, go in a restaurant on 86th or Cropsey Avenue the way they knew his name, still a young guy then, and would bust their ass to wait on him. His wife Debbie ate it up, until they were married a few years and she got pregnant. Then it was a different story. Debbie said with a child coming into their lives he had to get a regular job, quit associating with "those people" and bitched at him till he said okay, allright, Jesus, and lined up the deal with Tommy Carlo in Miami. He told Debbie he’d be selling restaurant supplies to the big hotels like the Fontainebleau and she believed him—till they were down here less than a year and he had his jacket ripped off.
This time at Vesuvio’s, they finished eating, Tommy said he’d see him at the barbershop—where they had a phone in back—turned up the collar of his Palm Beach sport coat for whatever good it would do him and took off. Chili went in the checkroom to get his jacket and all that was in there were a couple of raincoats and a leather flight jacket must’ve been from World War Two. When Chili got the manager, an older Italian guy in a black suit, the manager looked around the practically empty checkroom and asked Chili, "You don’t find it? Is not one of these?"
Chili said, "You see a black leather jacket, fingertip length, has lapels like a suitcoat? You don’t, you owe me three seventy-nine." The manager told him to look at the sign there on the wall. we cannot be responsible for lost articles. Chili said to him, "I bet you can if you try. I didn’t come down to sunny Florida to freeze my ass. You follow me? You get the coat back or you give me the three seventy-nine my wife paid for it at Alexander’s."
So then the manager got a waiter over and they talked to each other in Italian for a while, the waiter nervous or he was anxious to get back to folding napkins. Chili caught some of what they were saying and a name that came up a few times, Ray Barboni. He knew the name, a guy they called Bones he’d seen hanging out at the Cardozo Hotel on the beach. Ray Bones worked for a guy named Jimmy Capotorto who’d recently taken over a local operation from a deceased guy named Ed Grossi—but that was another story. The manager said to the waiter, "Explain to him Mr. Barboni borrow the coat."
The waiter, trying to act like an innocent bystander, said, "Somebody take his coat, you know, leave this old one. So Mr. Barboni put on this other coat that fit him pretty good. He say he gonna borrow it."
Chili said, "Wait a minute," and had the waiter, who didn’t seem to think it was unusual for some asshole to take a jacket that didn’t belong to him, explain it again.
"He didn’t take it," the waiter said, "he borrow it. See, we get his coat for him and he return the one he borrow. Or I think maybe if it’s your coat," the waiter said, "he give it to you. He was wearing it, you know, to go home. He wasn’t gonna keep it."
"My car keys are in the pocket," Chili said.
They both looked at him now, the manager and the waiter, like they didn’t understand English.
"What I’m saying," Chili said, "how’m I suppose to go get my coat if I don’t have the keys to my car?"
The manager said they’d call him a taxi.
"Lemme get it straight," Chili said. "You aren’t responsible for any lost articles like an expensive coat of mine, but you’re gonna find Ray Bones’ coat or get him a new one. Is that what you’re telling me?"
Basically, he saw they weren’t telling him shit, other than Ray Bones was a good customer who came in two three times a week and worked for Jimmy Cap. They didn’t know where he lived and his phone number wasn’t in the book. So Chili called Tommy Carlo at the barbershop, told him the situation, asked him a few times if he believed it and if he’d come by, pick him up.
"I want to get my coat. Also pull this guy’s head out of his ass and nail him one."
Tommy said, "Tomorrow, I see on the TV weather, it’s gonna be nice and warm. You won’t need the coat."
Chili said, "Debbie gave me it for Christmas, for Christ sake. I go home, she’s gonna want to know where it’s at."
"So tell her you lost it."
"She’s still in bed since the miscarriage. You can’t talk to her. I mean in a way that makes any fuckin sense if you have to explain something."
Tommy said, "Hey, Chil? Then don’t fuckin tell her."
Chili said, "The guy takes my coat, I can’t ask for it back?"
Tommy Carlo picked him up at the restaurant and they stopped by Chili’s apartment on Meridian where they were living at the time so he could run in and get something. He tried to be quiet about it, grab a pair of gloves out of the front closet and leave, but Debbie heard him.
She said from the bedroom, "Ernie, is that you?" She never called him Chili. She called him honey in her invalid voice if she wanted something. "Honey? Would you get my pills for me from the sink in the kitchen and a glass of water, please, while you’re up?" Pause. "Or, no—honey? Gimme a glass of milk instead and some of those cookies, the ones you got at Winn-Dixie, you know the chocolate chip ones?" Dragging it out in this tired voice she used since the miscarriage, three months ago. Taking forever now to ask him what time it was, the alarm clock sitting on the bed table a foot away if she turned her head. They had known each other since high school, when he’d played basketball and she was a baton twirler with a nice ass. Chili told her it was three-thirty and he was running late for an appointment; bye. He heard her say, "Honey? Would you . . ." but he was out of there.
In the car driving the few blocks over to the Victor Hotel on Ocean Drive, Tommy Carlo said, "Get your coat, but don’t piss the guy off, okay? It could get complicated and we’d have to call Momo to straighten it out. Okay? Then Momo gets pissed for wasting his time and we don’t need it. Right?"
Chili was thinking that if he was always bringing Debbie her pills, how did they get back to the kitchen after? But he heard Tommy and said to him, "Don’t worry about it. I won’t say any more than I have to, if that."
He put on his black leather gloves going up the stairs to the third floor, knocked on the door three times, waited, pulling the right-hand glove on tight, and when Ray Bones opened the door Chili nailed him. One punch, not seeing any need to throw the left. He got his coat from a chair in the sitting room, looked at Ray Bones bent over holding his nose and mouth, blood all over his hands, his shirt, and walked out. Didn’t say one word to him.
Ernesto Palmer got the name Chili originally because he was hot-tempered as a kid growing up. The name given to him by his dad, who worked on the docks for the Bull Line when he wasn’t drinking. Now he was Chili, Tommy Carlo said, because he had chilled down and didn’t need the hot temper. All he had to do was turn his eyes dead when he looked at a slow pay, not say more than three words, and the guy would sell his wife’s car to make the payment. Chili said the secret was in how you prepped the loan customer.
"A guy comes to see you, it doesn’t matter how much he wants or why he needs it, you say to him up front before you give him a dime, ‘You sure you want to take this money? You’re not gonna put up your house or sign any papers. What you’re gonna give me is your word you’ll pay it back so much a week at interest.’ You tell him, ‘If you don’t think you can pay at least the vig every week when it’s due, please don’t take the fuckin money, it wouldn’t be worth it to you.’ If the guy hesitates at all, ‘Well, I’m pretty sure I can—‘ says anything like that, I tell him, ‘No, I’m advising you now, don’t take the fuckin money.’ The guy will beg for it, take an oath on his kids he’ll pay you on time. You know he’s desperate or he wouldn’t be borrowing shylock money in the first place. So you tell him, ‘Okay, but you miss even one payment you’re gonna be sorry you ever came here.’ You never tell the guy what could happen to him. Let him use his imagination, he’ll think of something worse. In other words, don’t talk when you don’t have to. What’s the point?"
It was the same thing getting his coat back. What was there to say?
So now it was up to Ray Bones. If getting his nose busted and his teeth pushed in pissed him off he’d have to do something about it. Some things you couldn’t prevent. Tommy Carlo told him to get lost for a while, go fishing in the Keys. But how was he going to do that with Debbie an invalid, afraid to take a leak she might see blood?
He imagined different ways Ray Bones might try for him. Eating at Vesuvio’s, look up, there’s Bones pointing a gun. Or coming out of the barbershop on Arthur Godfrey Road where they had their office in back. Or, no—sitting on one of the chairs while he’s shooting the shit with Fred and Ed, which he did sometimes when there weren’t customers in the place. That would appeal to Ray Bones, with his limited mentality: the barbershop was here and it was the way guys had gotten hit before, like Albert Anastasia, that Ray Bones would know about. Chili said shit, went over to S.W. Eighth Street and bought a snub-nosed .38 off a Cuban. "The famous Smit and Wayson modeltreinta y ocho. "
It happened when Chili was in the backroom office making entries in the collection book. Through the wallboard he heard Fred say, "Paris? Yeah, I been there plenty of times. It’s right offa Seventy-nine." Ed saying, "Hell it is, it’s on Sixty-eight. It’s only seventeen miles from Lexington." Fred saying, "What’re you talking about, Paris, Kentucky, or Paris, Tennessee?" Then a silence, no answer to the question.
Chili looked up from the collection book, listened a moment to nothing, opened the desk drawer and got out the .38. He aimed it at the open doorway. Now he saw Ray Bones appear in the back hall, Bones in the doorway to the office, his face showing surprise to see a gun aimed at him. He began firing the big Colt auto in his hand maybe before he was ready, the gun making an awful racket, when Chili pulled the trigger and shot him in the head. The .38 slug creased Ray Bones, as it turned out, from hairline to crown, put a groove in his scalp they closed up at Mt. Sinai with more than thirty stitches—Chili hearing about it later. He pried two slugs out of the wall and found another one in the file cabinet he showed Tommy Carlo.
Tommy called Momo and Momo got in touch with Jimmy Cap, taking the situation to the table, so to speak, discuss whether Ray Bones had been shown disrespect by an associate from another crew, or was it his own fault he got shot. Otherwise it could get out of hand if they let it go, didn’t make a judgment. The two bosses decided this coat thing and what came out of it was bullshit, forget it. Jimmy Cap would tell Ray Bones he was lucky he wasn’t dead, the guy’s wife had given him the coat for Christmas for Christ sake. That was the end of the incident, twelve years ago, except for one unexpected event that came out of it right away, and something else that would happen now, in the present.
The unexpected event was Debbie walking out on Chili, going home to Bay Ridge to live with her mother over a clothing store.
It happened because during the discussion period Momo called Chili to get his side—as a favor to Tommy Carlo, otherwise he would never have spoken to him directly—and Debbie listened in on the extension. All Momo told Chili was to cut out the schoolyard bullshit, grow up. But that was enough for Debbie to know Chili was still connected. She went so far as to get out of bed to keep after him, wanting to know what he was doing with Momo and "those people," becoming screechy about it until finally he told her, so he was working for Momo for Christ sake, so what? Thinking it would shut her up and he’d get the silent treatment for about a month, which he could use. But instead of that she became hysterical, telling him, "That’s why I had the miscarriage, I knew it. Iknew you were back in that life and the baby knew it from meand didn’t want to be born !"
What? Because its dad was operating a quick-loan business? Helping out poor schmucks that couldn’t get it from a bank? How did you talk to a woman who believed an unborn kid would know something like that? He tried. He told her she ought to see a doctor, get her fuckin brain looked at. Debbie’s last words to him, she said, "You think you’re so smart, let’s see you get a divorce, big shot." In other words she would pass up alimony and live with her mother over a clothing store to prevent his ever remarrying. Debbie, too dumb to realize the world had changed with rock and roll and the pill, believed it would keep him from ever getting laid again.
Chili, from then until now, went with a succession of women, some on a serious basis, some not. There was one named Rose, a bartender, who lived with him a few years. One named Vera, a go-go dancer he fell in love with, but he couldn’t stand other guys watching her and they broke up. He took out women who were waitresses, beauticians, sales clerks at Dadeland Mall, would take them to dinner and a movie, sometimes to bed. There was a singer named Nicole he liked a lot, but her whole life seemed to be rock and roll and he never knew what she was talking about. Chili liked women and was comfortable with them without putting on any kind of act. He was who he was and they seemed to go for him. What some of the women didn’t go for was seeing so many movies, practically every time they went out. They would get the feeling he liked movies more than he did them.
The other thing that came out of the coat incident, now twelve years later, happened right after they got word about Momo, shot dead as he left a restaurant on West 56th in Manhattan, and Tommy Carlo went to attend the funeral. The day after that Chili had a couple of visitors come in the shop looking for him, a big colored guy he had never seen before and Ray Bones.
"They cut straight hair in this place," Bones asked Chili, "or just fags?"
Times changed. Fred and Ed were gone and a couple of guys named Peter and Tim were doing hair of either sex in an art deco backstage-looking setup, light bulbs around rose-colored mirrors. They were okay. They had Chili combing his hair straight back, no part, like Michael Douglas inWall Street.
Chili had changed too in the past dozen years, tired of showing respect to people he thought were assholes. Momo had been okay, but guys in his crew would come down to Miami on vacation and act like hard-ons, expecting him and Tommy to show them around, get them broads. Chili would tell the hard-ons, "Hey, I’m not your pimp," and they’d give Tommy a bad time because he was Momo’s nephew and had to go along. The result of this situation, Chili was phasing himself out of the shylock business, only handling a few regular customers now who didn’t give them any trouble. He was also doing midnight car repossessions for small loan companies and some collection work for local merchants and a couple of Las Vegas casinos, making courtesy calls. He had chilled down a few more degrees too.
Still, he couldn’t help saying to Ray Bones, "The way you’re losing your hair, Bones, you oughta let these guys style what you have left, see if they can cover up that scar. Or they can fit you with a rug, either way."
Fuck him. Chili knew what was coming.
There weren’t any customers in the shop. Ray Bones told Peter and Tim to go get a coffee. They left making faces and the big colored guy backed Chili into a barber chair, telling him, "This man is the man. You understand what I’m saying? He’s Mr. Bones, you speak to him from now on."
Chili watched Mr. Bones go into the back hall toward the office and said to the colored guy, "You can do better’n him."
"Not these days," the colored guy said. "Not less you can talk Spanish."
Bones came out with the collection book open, looking at all the names of who owed, the amounts and due dates in a green spiral notebook. He said to Chili, "How you work it, you handle the spics and Tommy the white people?"
Chili told himself it was time to keep his mouth shut.
The colored guy said, "The man’s talking to you."
"He’s outta business but don’t know it," Bones said, looking up from the book. "There’s nothing around here for you no more."
"I can see that," Chili said. He watched Bones put his nose in the book again.
"How much you got working?"
"About three and a half."
"Shit, ten grand a week. What’d Momo let you have?"
"Twenty percent."
"And you fucked him outta what, another twenty?"
Chili didn’t answer. Bones turned a page, read down the entries and stopped.
"You got a miss. Guy’s six weeks over."
"He died," Chili said.
"How you know he died, he tell you?"
Ray Bones checked the colored guy to get some appreciation, but the guy was busy looking at hair rinses and shit on the counter. Chili didn’t give him anything either. He was thinking he could kick Mr. Bones in the nuts if he came any closer, then get up and nail him. If the big colored guy would leave.
"He got killed," Chili said, "in that TransAm jet went down in the Everglades."
"Who told you?"
Chili got out of the chair, went in the back office and returned with a stack ofMiami Heralds. He dropped them on the floor in front of Bones and got back in the chair.
"Help yourself. You find him on the list of victims, Leo Devoe. He’s Paris Cleaners on Federal Highway about 124th Street."
Bones nudged the stack of newspapers with a toe of his cream-colored perforated shoes that matched his slacks and sport shirt. The front page on top said "TransAm Crash Kills 117." Chili watched Bones toe his way through editions with headlines that said "Winds Probed in Crash" . . . "Windshear Warning Was Issued" . . . "Nightmare Descends Soon After Farewells" . . . getting down to a page of small photographs, head shots, and a line that read, "Special Report: The Tragic Toll."
"His wife told me he was on the flight," Chili said. "I kept checking till I saw, yeah, he was."
"His picture in here?"
"Near the bottom. You have to turn the paper over."
Bones still wasn’t going to bend down, strain himself. He looked up from the newspapers. "Maybe he took out flight insurance. Check with the wife."
"It’s your book now," Chili said. "You want to check it out, go ahead."
The colored guy came over from the counter to stand next to the chair.
Ray Bones said, "Six weeks’ juice is twenty-seven hunnerd on top of the fifteen you gave him. Get it from the guy’s wife or out of your pocket, I don’t give a fuck. You don’t hand me a book with a miss in it."
"Payback time," Chili said. "You know that coat? I gave it to the Salvation Army two years ago."
"What coat?" Bones said.
He knew.
The colored guy stood close, staring into Chili’s face, while Bones worked on the Michael Douglas hairdo, shearing off a handful at a time with a pair of scissors, telling Chili it was to remind him when he looked in the mirror he owed fifteen plus whatever the juice, right? The juice would keep running till he paid. Chili sat still, hearing the scissors snip-snipping away, knowing it had nothing to do with money. He was being paid back again, this time for reminding Ray Bones he had a scar that showed white where he was getting bald. It was all kid stuff with these guys, the way they acted tough. Like Momo had said, schoolyard bullshit. These guys never grew up. Still, if they were holding a pair of scissors in your face when they told you something, you agreed to it. At least for the time being.
Chili was still in the chair when the new-wave barbers came back and began to comment, telling him they could perm what was left or give him a moderate spike, shave the sides, laser stripes were popular. Chili told them to cut the shit and even it off. While they worked on him he sat there wondering if it was possible Leo Devoe had taken out flight insurance or if the wife had thought about suing the airline. It was something he could mention to her.
But what happened when he dropped by their house in North Miami—the idea, see what he could find out about any insurance—the wife, Fay, stopped him cold. She said, "I wish he really was dead, the son of a bitch."
She didn’t say it right away, not till they were out on the patio with vodka and tonics, in the dark.
Chili knew Fay from having stopped by to pick up the weekly four-fifty and they’d sit here waiting for Leo to get home after a day at Gulfstream. Fay was a quiet type, from a small town upstate, Mt. Dora, not bad looking but worn thin in her sundress from working at the cleaner’s in that heat while Leo was out betting horses. They’d sit here trying to make conversation with nothing in common but Leo, Chili, every once in a while, catching her gaze during a silence, seeing her eyes and feeling it was there if he wanted it. Though he couldn’t imagine Fay getting excited, changing her expression much. What did a shy woman stuck with a loser think about? Leo would appear, strut out on the patio and count the four-fifty off a roll, nothing to it. Or he’d come shaking his head, beat, saying he’d have it tomorrow for sure. Chili never threatened him, not in front of the woman and embarrass her. Not till he left and Leo would know enough to walk him out to his car parked by the streetlight. He’d say, "Leo, look at me," and tell him where to be the next day with the four-fifty. Leo was never to blame: it was the horses selling out or it was Fay always on his back, distracting him when he was trying to pick winners. And Chili would have to say it again, "Leo, look at me."
He owed for two weeks the night he didn’t come home. Fay said she couldn’t think where Leo could be. The third week she told him Leo was dead and a couple weeks after that his picture was in the paper.
This visit sitting on the patio, knowing Leo was not going to appear, strutting or otherwise, the silences became longer. Chili asked what she planned to do now. Fay said she didn’t know; she hated the drycleaner business, being inside. Chili said it must be awful hot. She said you couldn’t believe how hot it was. He got around to asking about life insurance. Fay said she didn’t know of any. Chili said, well . . . But didn’t move. Fay didn’t either. It was dark, hard to see her face, neither one of them making a sound. This was when she said, out of nowhere, "You know what I been thinking?"
Chili said, "Tell me."
"I wish he really was dead, the son of a bitch."
Chili kept still. Don’t talk when you don’t have to.
"He’s called me up twice since going out to Las Vegas and since then I haven’t heard a goddamn word from him. I know he’s there, it’s all he ever talked about, going to Las Vegas. But I’m the one stuck my neck out, I’m the one they gave the money to, not him. I’m talking about the airline company, the three hundred thousand dollars they gave me for losing my husband." Fay paused to shake her head.
Chili waited.
She said to him on that dark patio, "I trust you. I think you’re a decent type of man, even if you are a crook. You find Leo and get me my three hundred thousand dollars back if he ain’t spent it, I’ll give you half. If he’s hit big we split that, or whatever he has left. How’s that sound as a deal?"
Chili said, "That’s what you been thinking, huh? Tell me why the airline thinks Leo got killed if he wasn’t on the flight."
"His suitcase was," Fay said, and told Chili everything that happened.
It was a good story.

From Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand who rejected the soul/body dichotomy and maintained that man was an integrated being of soul and body.
"As products of the split between man’s soul and body, there are two kinds of teachers of the Morality of Death: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle, whom you call the spiritualists and the materialists, those who believe in consciousness without existence and those who believe in existence without consciousness.
Both demand the surrender of your mind, one to their revelations, the other to their reflexes.
No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter—the enslavement of man’s body, in spirit—the destruction of his mind."

Here is another quote from Galt's speech:
"You are an indivisible entity of matter and consciousness. Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute. Renounce your body and you become a fake. Renounce the material world and you surrender it to evil."


Mish Mash: noun \ˈmish-ˌmash, -ˌmäsh\ A : hodgepodge, jumble The painting was just a mishmash of colors and abstract shapes as far as we could tell. Origin Middle English & Yiddish; Middle English mysse masche, perhaps reduplication of mash mash; Yiddish mish-mash, perhaps reduplication of mishn to mix. First Known Use: 15th century

62 year old Annie Oakley in 1922



This is a book of short stories taken from the things I saw and heard in my childhood in the factory town of Ansonia in southwestern Connecticut.

Most of these stories, or as true as I recall them because I witnessed these events many years ago through the eyes of child and are retold to you now with the pen and hindsight of an older man. The only exception is the story Beat Time which is based on the disappearance of Beat poet Lew Welch. Decades before I knew who Welch was, I was told that he had made his from California to New Haven, Connecticut, where was an alcoholic living in a mission. The notion fascinated me and I filed it away but never forgot it.     

The collected stories are loosely modeled around Joyce’s novel, Dubliners (I also borrowed from the novels character and place names. Ivy Day, my character in “Local Orphan is Hero” is also the name of chapter in Dubliners, etc.) and like Joyce I wanted to write about my people, the people I knew as a child, the working class in small town America and I wanted to give a complete view of them as well. As a result the stories are about the divorced, Gays, black people, the working poor, the middle class, the lost and the found, the contented and the discontented.

Conversely many of the stories in this book are about starting life over again as a result of suicide (The Hanging Party, Small Town Tragedy, Beat Time) or from a near death experience (Anna Bell Lee and the Charge of the Light Brigade, A Brief Summer) and natural occurring death. (The Best Laid Plans, The Winter Years, Balanced and Serene)

With the exception of Jesus Loves Shaqunda, in each story there is a rebirth from the death. (Shaqunda is reported as having died of pneumonia in The Winter Years)
Sal, the desperate and depressed divorcee in Things Change, changes his life in Lunch Hour when asks the waitress for a date and she accepts. (Which we learn in Closing Time, the last story in the book) In The Arranged Time, Thisby is given the option of change and whether she takes it or, we don’t know. The death of Greta’s husband in A Matter of Time has led her to the diner and into the waiting arms of the outgoing and loveable Gabe.

Although the book is based on three sets of time (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the diner is opened in the early morning and closed at night, time stands still inside the Diner. The hour on the big clock on the wall never changes time and much like my memories of that place, everything remains the same.


The Valley Lives
By Marion Marchetto, author of The Bridgewater Chronicles on October 15, 2015
Short Stores from a Small Town is set in The Valley (known to outsiders as The Lower Naugatuck Valley) in Connecticut. While the short stories are contemporary they provide insight into the timeless qualities of an Industrial Era community and the values and morals of the people who live there. Some are first or second generation Americans, some are transplants, yet each takes on the mantle of Valleyite and wears it proudly. It isn't easy for an author to take the reader on a journey down memory lane and involve the reader in the life stories of a group of seemingly unrelated characters. I say seemingly because by book's end the reader will realize that he/she has done more than meet a group of loosely related characters.
We meet all of the characters during a one-day time period as each of them finds their way to the Valley Diner on a rainy autumn day. From our first meeting with Angel, the educationally challenged man who opens and closes the diner, to our farewell for the day to the young waitress whose smile hides her despair we meet a cross section of the Valley population. Rich, poor, ambitious, and not so ambitious, each life proves that there is more to it beneath the surface. And the one thing that binds these lives together is The Valley itself. Not so much a place (or a memory) but an almost palpable living thing that becomes a part of its inhabitants.
Let me be the first the congratulate author John William Tuohy on a job well done. He has evoked the heart of The Valley and in doing so brought to life the fabric that Valleyites wear as a mantle of pride. While set in a specific region of the country, the stories that unfold within the pages of this slim volume are similar to those that live in many a small town from coast to coast.

NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: Memoirs of a life in Foster care.

In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.



John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.
He is the author of No Time to Say Goodbye: Memoirs of a Life in Foster Care and Short Stories from a Small Town. He is also the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Contact John:


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. Pablo Neruda

It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
Paperback 94 pages

From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care.  Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong.  It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
 Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed.  Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now.  The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives.  Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life.  Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
 None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims.  There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there.  Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go.  It's that simple.  And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
 We need to end this needless suffering.  We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
 Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place.  And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it.  We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world.  You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves.  All you need is the will to do it.
 If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it.  But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that.  You can make a difference.  You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country.  Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.

We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.

Shakespeare or, the Poet 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great men are more distinguished by range and extent than by originality. If we require the originality which consists in weaving, like a spider, their web from their own bowels; in finding clay, and making bricks and building the house, no great men are original. Nor does valuable originality consist in unlikeness to other men. The hero is in the press of knights, and the thick of events; and, seeing what men want, and sharing their desire, he adds the needful length of sight and of arm, to come at the desired point. The greatest genius is the most indebted man. A poet is no rattlebrain, saying what comes uppermost, and, because he says everything, saying, at last, something good; but a heart in unison with his time and country. There is nothing whimsical and fantastic in his production, but sweet and sad earnest, freighted with the weightiest convictions, and pointed with the most determined aim which any man or class knows of in his times.

The Genius of our life is jealous of individuals, and will not have any individual great, except through the general. There is no choice to genius. A great man does not wake up on some fine morning, and say, "I am full of life, I will go to sea, and find an Antarctic continent: to-day I will square the circle: I will ransack botany, and find a new food for man: I have a new architecture in my mind: I foresee a new mechanic power;" no, but he finds himself in the river of the thoughts and events, forced onward by the ideas and necessities of his contemporaries. He stands where all the eyes of men look one way, and their hands all point in the direction in which he should go. The church has reared him amidst rites and pomps, and he carries out the advice which her music gave him, and builds a cathedral needed by her chants and processions. He finds a war raging: it educates him by trumpet, in barracks, and he betters the instruction. He finds two counties groping to bring coal, or flour, or fish, from the place of production to the place of consumption, and he hits on a railroad. Every master has found his materials collected, and his power lay in his sympathy with his people, and in his love of the materials he wrought in. What an economy of power! and what a compensation for the shortness of life! All is done to his hand. The world has brought him thus far on his way. The human race has gone out before him, sunk the hills, filled the hollows, and bridged the rivers. Men, nations, poets, artisans, women, all have worked for him, and he enters into their labors. Choose any other thing, out of the line of tendency, out of the national feeling and history, and he would have all to do for himself: his powers would be expended in the first preparations. Great genial power, one would almost say, consists in not being original at all; in being altogether receptive; in letting the world do all, and suffering the spirit of the hour to pass unobstructed through the mind.

Shakspeare's youth fell in a time when the English people were importunate for dramatic entertainments. The court took offence easily at political allusions, and attempted to suppress them. The Puritans, a growing and energetic party, and the religious among the Anglican church, would suppress them. But the people wanted them. Inn-yards, houses without roofs, and extemporaneous enclosures at country fairs, were the ready theatres of strolling players. The people had tasted this new joy; and, as we could not hope to suppress newspapers now,--no, not by the strongest party,--neither then could king, prelate, or puritan, alone or united, suppress an organ, which was ballad, epic, newspaper, caucus, lecture, punch, and library, at the same time. Probably king, prelate and puritan, all found their own account in it. It had become, by all causes, a national interest,--by no means conspicuous, so that some great scholar would have thought of treating it in an English history,--but not a whit less considerable, because it was cheap, and of no account, like a baker's-shop. The best proof of its vitality is the crowd of writers which suddenly broke into this field; Kyd, Marlow, Greene, Jonson, Chapman, Dekker, Webster, Heywood, Middleton, Peele, Ford, Massinger, Beaumont, and Fletcher.

The secure possession, by the stage, of the public mind, is of the first importance to the poet who works for it. He loses no time in idle experiments. Here is audience and expectation prepared. In the case of Shakespeare there is much more. At the time when he left Stratford, and went up to London, a great body of stage-plays, of all dates and writers, existed in manuscript, and were in turn produced on the boards. Here is the Tale of Troy, which the audience will bear hearing some part of every week; the Death of Julius Caesar, and other stories out of Plutarch, which they never tire of; a shelf full of English history, from the chronicles of Brut and Arthur, down to the royal Henries, which men hear eagerly; and a string of doleful tragedies, merry Italian tales, and Spanish voyages, which all the London 'prentices know. All the mass has been treated, with more or less skill, by every playwright, and the prompter has the soiled and tattered manuscripts. It is now no longer possible to say who wrote them first. They have been the property of the Theatre so long, and so many rising geniuses have enlarged or altered them, inserting a speech, or a whole scene, or adding a song, that no man can any longer claim copyright on this work of numbers. Happily, no man wishes to. They are not yet desired in that way. We have few readers, many spectators and hearers. They had best lie where they are.

Shakspeare, in common with his comrades, esteemed the mass of old plays, waste stock, in which any experiment could be freely tried. Had the prestige which hedges about a modern tragedy existed, nothing could have been done. The rude warm blood of the living England circulated in the play, as in street-ballads, and gave body which he wanted to his airy and majestic fancy. The poet needs a ground in popular tradition on which he may work, and which, again, may restrain his art within the due temperance. It holds him to the people, supplies a foundation for his edifice; and, in furnishing so much work done to his hand, leaves him at leisure, and in full strength for the audacities of his imagination. In short, the poet owes to his legend what sculpture owed to the temple. Sculpture in Egypt, and in Greece, grew up in subordination to architecture. It was the ornament of the temple wall: at first, a rude relief carved on pediments, then the relief became bolder, and a head or arm was projected from the wall, the groups being still arrayed with reference to the building, which serves also as a frame to hold the figures; and when, at last, the greatest freedom of style and treatment was reached, the prevailing genius of architecture still enforced a certain calmness and continence in the statue. As soon as the statue was begun for itself, and with no reference to the temple or palace, the art began to decline: freak, extravagance, and exhibition, took the place of the old temperance. This balance-wheel, which the sculptor found in architecture, the perilous irritability of poetic talent found in the accumulated dramatic materials to which the people were already wonted, and which had a certain excellence which no single genius, however extraordinary, could hope to create.

In point of fact, it appears that Shakspeare did owe debts in all directions, and was able to use whatever he found; and the amount of indebtedness may be inferred from Malone's laborious computations in regard to the First, Second, and Third parts of Henry VI., in which, "out of 6043 lines, 1771 were written by some author preceding Shakspeare; 2373 by him, on the foundation laid by his predecessors; and 1899 were entirely his own." And the preceding investigation hardly leaves a single drama of his absolute invention. Malone's sentence is an important piece of external history. In Henry VIII., I think I see plainly the cropping out of the original rock on which his own finer stratum was laid. The first play was written by a superior, thoughtful man, with a vicious ear. I can mark his lines, and know well their cadence. See Wolsey's soliloquy, and the following scene with Cromwell, where,--instead of the metre of Shakspeare, whose secret is, that the thought constructs the tune, so that reading for the sense will best bring out the rhythm,--here the lines are constructed on a given tune, and the verse has even a trace of pulpit eloquence. But the play contains, through all its length, unmistakable traits of Shakspeare's hand, and some passages, as the account of the coronation, are like autographs. What is odd, the compliment to Queen Elizabeth is in the bad rhythm.

Shakspeare knew that tradition supplies a better fable that any invention can. If he lost any credit of design, he augmented his resources; and, at that day our petulant demand for originality was not so much pressed. There was no literature for the million. The universal reading, the cheap press, were unknown. A great poet, who appears in illiterate times, absorbs into his sphere all the light which is anywhere radiating. Every intellectual jewel, every flower of sentiment, it is his fine office to bring to his people; and he comes to value his memory equally with his invention. He is therefore little solicitous whence his thoughts have been derived; whether through translation, whether through tradition, whether by travel in distant countries, whether by inspiration; from whatever source, they are equally welcome to his uncritical audience. Nay, he borrows very near home. Other men say wise things as well as he; only they say a good many foolish things, and do not know when they have spoken wisely. He knows the sparkle of the true stone, and puts it in high place, wherever he finds it. Such is the happy position of Homer, perhaps; of Chaucer, of Saadi. They felt that all wit was their wit. And they are librarians and historiographers, as well as poets. Each romancer was heir and dispenser of all the hundred tales of the world,--

"Presenting Thebes' and Pelops' line And the tale of Troy divine."

The influence of Chaucer is conspicuous in all our early literature; and, more recently, not only Pope and Dryden have been beholden to him, but, in the whole society of English writers, a large unacknowledged debt is easily traced. One is charmed with the opulence which feeds so many pensioners. But Chaucer is a huge borrower. Chaucer, it seems, drew continually, through Lydgate and Caxton, from Guido di Colonna, whose Latin romance of the Trojan war was in turn a compilation from Dares Phrygius, Ovid, and Statius. Then Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the Provencal poets, are his benefactors: the Romaunt of the Rose is only judicious translation from William of Lorris and John of Meun: Troilus and Creseide, from Lollius of Urbino: The Cock and the Fox, from the Lais of Marie: The House of Fame, from the French or Italian: and poor Gower he uses as if he were only a brick-kiln or stone-quarry out of which to build his house. He steals by this apology,--that what he takes has no worth where he finds it, and the greatest where he leaves it. It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion. Thought is the property of him who can entertain it; and of him who can adequately place it. A certain awkwardness marks the use of borrowed thoughts; but, as soon as we have learned what to do with them, they become our own.

Thus, all originality is relative. Every thinker is retrospective. The learned member of the legislature, at Westminster, or at Washington, speaks and votes for thousands. Show us the constituency, and the now invisible channels by which the senator is made aware of their wishes, the crowd of practical and knowing men, who, by correspondence or conversation, are feeding him with evidence, anecdotes, and estimates, and it will bereave his fine attitude and resistance of something of their impressiveness. As Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Webster vote, so Locke and Rousseau think for thousands; and so there were fountains all around Homer, Menu, Saadi, or Milton, from which they drew; friends, lovers, books, traditions, proverbs,--all perished,--which, if seen, would go to reduce the wonder. Did the bard speak with authority? Did he feel himself, overmatched by any companion? The appeal is to the consciousness of the writer. Is there at last in his breast a Delhi whereof to ask concerning any thought or thing, whether it be verily so, yea or nay? and to have answer, and to rely on that? All the debt which such a man could contract to other wit, would never disturb his consciousness of originality: for the ministrations of books, and of other minds, are a whiff of smoke to that most private reality with which he has conversed.

It is easy to see that what is best written or done by genius, in the world, was no man's work, but came by wide social labor, when a thousand wrought like one, sharing the same impulse. Our English Bible is a wonderful specimen of the strength and music of the English language. But it was not made by one man, or at one time; but centuries and churches brought it to perfection. There never was a time when there was not some translation existing. The Liturgy, admired for its energy and pathos, is an anthology of the piety of ages and nations, a translation of the prayers and forms of the Catholic church,--these collected, too, in long periods, from the prayers and meditations of every saint and sacred writer, all over the world. Grotius makes the like remark in respect to the Lord's Prayer, that the single clauses of which it is composed were already in use, in the time of Christ, in the rabbinical forms. He picked out the grains of gold. The nervous language of the Common Law, the impressive forms of our courts, and the precision and substantial truth of the legal distinctions, are the contribution of all the sharp-sighted, strong-minded men who have lived in the countries where these laws govern. The translation of Plutarch gets its excellence by being translation on translation. There never was a time when there was none. All the truly diomatic and national phrases are kept, and all others successively picked out and thrown away. Something like the same process had gone on, long before, with the originals of these books. The world takes liberties with world-books. Vedas, Aesop's Fables, Pilpay, Arabian Nights, Cid, Iliad, Robin Hood, Scottish Minstrelsy, are not the work of single men. In the composition of such works, the time thinks, the market thinks, the mason, the carpenter, the merchant, the farmer, the fop, all think for us. Every book supplies its time with one good word; every municipal law, every trade, every folly of the day, and the generic catholic genius who is not afraid or ashamed to owe his originality to the originality of all, stands with the next age as the recorder and embodiment of his own.

We have to thank the researches of antiquaries, and the Shakspeare Society, for ascertaining the steps of the English drama, from the Mysteries celebrated in churches and by churchmen, and the final detachment from the church, and the completion of secular plays, from Ferrex and Porrex, and Gammer Gurton's Needle, down to the possession of the stage by the very pieces which Shakspeare altered, remodelled, and finally made his own. Elated with success, and piqued by the growing interest of the problem, they have left no book-stall unsearched, no chest in a garret unopened, no file of old yellow accounts to decompose in damp and worms, so keen was the hope to discover whether the boy Shakspeare poached or not, whether he held horses at the theater door, whether he kept school, and why he left in his will only his second-best bed to Ann Hathaway, his wife.

There is somewhat touching in the madness with which the passing age mischooses the object on which all candles shine, and all eyes are turned; the care with which it registers every trifle touching Queen Elizabeth, and King James, and the Essexes, Leicesters, Burleighs, and Buckinghams; and let pass without a single valuable note the founder of another dynasty, which alone will cause the Tudor dynasty to be remembered,--the man who carries the Saxon race in him by the inspiration which feeds him, and on whose thoughts the foremost people of the world are now for some ages to be nourished, and minds to receive this and not another bias. A popular player,--nobody suspected he was the poet of the human race; and the secret was kept as faithfully from poets and intellectual men, as from courtiers and frivolous people. Bacon, who took the inventory of the human understanding for his times, never mentioned his name. Ben Jonson, though we have strained his few words of regard and panegyric, had no suspicion of the elastic fame whose first vibrations he was attempting. He no doubt thought the praise he has conceded to him generous, and esteemed himself, out of all question, the better poet of the two.

If it need wit to know wit, according to the proverb, Shakspeare's time should be capable of recognizing it. Sir Henry Wotton was born four years after Shakspeare, and died twenty-three years after him; and I find among his correspondents and acquaintances, the following persons: Theodore Beza, Isaac Casaubon, Sir Philip Sidney, Earl of Essex, Lord Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Milton, Sir Henry Vane, Isaac Walton, Dr. Donne, Abraham Cowley, Bellarmine, Charles Cotton, John Pym, John Hales, Kepler, Vieta, Albericus Gentilis, Paul Sarpi, Ariminius; with all of whom exist some token of his having communicated, without enumerating many others, whom doubtless he saw,--Shakspeare, Spenser, Jonson, Beaumont, Massinger, two Herberts, Marlow, Chapman, and the rest. Since the constellation of great men who appeared in Greece in the time of Pericles, there was never any such society;--yet their genius failed them to find out the best head in the universe. Our poet's mask was impenetrable. You cannot see the mountain near. It took a century to make it suspected; and not until two centuries had passed, after his death, did any criticism which we think adequate begin to appear. It was not possible to write the history of Shakspeare till now; for he is the father of German literature: it was on the introduction of Shakspeare into German by Lessing, and the translation of his works by Wieland and Schlegel, that the rapid burst of German literature was most intimately connected. It was not until the nineteenth century, whose speculative genius is a sort of living Hamlet, that the tragedy of Hamlet should find such wondering readers. Now, literature, philosophy, and thought are Shakspearized. His mind is the horizon beyond which, at present, we do not see. Our ears are educated to music by his rhythm. Coleridge and Goethe are the only critics who have expressed our convictions with any adequate fidelity: but there is in all cultivated minds a silent appreciation of his superlative power and beauty, which, like Christianity, qualifies the period.

The Shakspeare Society have inquired in all directions, advertised the missing facts, offered money for any information that will lead to proof; and with what results? Beside some important illustration of the history of the English stage, to which I have adverted, they have gleaned a few facts touching the property, and dealings in regard to property, of the poet. It appears that, from year to year, he owned a larger share in the Blackfriars' Theater: its wardrobe and other appurtenances were his: that he bought an estate in his native village, with his earnings, as writer and shareholder; that he lived in the best house in Stratford; was intrusted by his neighbors with their commissions in London, as of borrowing money, and the like; that he was a veritable farmer. About the time when he was writing Macbeth, he sues Philip Rogers, in the borough-court of Stratford, for thirty-five shillings ten pence, for corn delivered to him at different times; and, in all respects, appears as a good husband, with no reputation for eccentricity or excess. He was a good-natured sort of man, an actor and shareholder in the theater, not in any striking manner distinguished from other actors and managers. I admit the importance of this information. It was well worth the pains that have been taken to procure it.

But whatever scraps of information concerning his condition these researches may have rescued, they can shed no light upon that infinite invention which is the concealed magnet of his attraction for us. We are very clumsy writers of history. We tell the chronicle of parentage, birth, birthplace, schooling, schoolmates, earning of money, marriage, publication of books, celebrity, death; and when we have come to an end of this gossip, no ray of relation appears between it and the goddess-born; and it seems as if, had we dipped at random into the "Modern Plutarch," and read any other life there, it would have fitted the poems as well, It is the essence of poetry to spring, like the rainbow daughter of Wonder, from the invisible, to abolish the past, and refuse all history. Malone, Warburton, Dyce, and Collier, have wasted their oil. The famed theaters, Covent Garden, Drury Lane, the Park, and Tremont, have vainly assisted. Betterton, Garrick, Kemble, Kean, and Macready, dedicate their lives to this genius; him they crown, elucidate, obey, and express. The genius knows them not. The recitation begins; one golden word leaps out immortal from all this painted pedantry, and sweetly torments us with invitations to its own inaccessible homes. I remember, I went once to see the Hamlet of a famed performer, the pride of the English stage; and all I then heard, and all I now remember, of the tragedian, was that in which the tragedian had no part; simply, Hamlet's question to the ghost,--

"What may this mean, That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon?"

That imagination which dilates the closet he writes into the world's dimension, crowds it with agents in rank and order, as quickly reduces the big reality to be the glimpses of the moon. These tricks of his magic spoil for us the illusions of the green-room. Can any biography shed light on the localities into which the Midsummer Night's Dream admits me? Did Shakspeare confide to any notary or parish recorder, sacristan, or surrogate, in Stratford, the genesis of that delicate creation? The forest of Arden, the nimble air of Scone Castle, the moonlight of Portia's villa, "the antres vast and desarts idle," of Othello's captivity,--where is the third cousin, or grand-nephew, the chancellor's file of accounts, or private letter, that has kept one word of those transcendent secrets. In fine, in this drama, as in all great works of art,--in the Cyclopaean architecture of Egypt and India; in the Phidian sculpture; the Gothic minsters; the Italian painting; the Ballads of Spain and Scotland,--the Genius draws up the ladder after him, when the creative age goes up to heaven, and gives way to a new, who see the works, and ask in vain for a history.

Shakspeare is the only biographer of Shakspeare; and even he can tell nothing, except to the Shakspeare in us; that is, to our most apprehensive and sympathetic hour. He cannot step from off his tripod, and give us anecdotes of his inspirations. Read the antique documents extricated, analyzed, and compared, by the assiduous Dyce and Collier; and now read one of those skyey sentences,--aerolites,--which seem to have fallen out of heaven, and which, not your experience, but the man within the breast, has accepted as words of fate; and tell me if they match; if the former account in any manner for the latter; or, which gives the most historical insight into the man.

Hence, though our external history is so meager, yet, with Shakspeare for biographer, instead of Aubrey and Rowe, we have really the information which is material, that which describes character and fortune; that which, if we were about to meet the man and deal with him, would most import us to know. We have his recorded convictions on those questions which knock for answer at every heart,--on life and death, on love, on wealth and poverty, on the prizes of life, and the ways whereby we may come at them; on the characters of men, and the influences, occult and open, which affect their fortunes: and on those mysterious and demoniacal powers which defy our science, and which yet interweave their malice and their gift in our brightest hours. Who ever read the volume of Sonnets, without finding that the poet had there revealed, under masks that are no masks to the intelligent, the lore of friendship and of love; the confusion of sentiments in the most susceptible, and, at the same time, the most intellectual of men? What trait of his private mind has he hidden in his dramas? One can discern, in his ample pictures of the gentleman and the king, what forms and humanities pleased him; his delight in troops of friends, in large hospitality, in cheerful giving. Let Timon, let Warwick, let Antonio the merchant, answer for his great heart. So far from Shakspeare being the least known, he is the one person, in all modern history, known to us. What point of morals, of manners, of economy, of philosophy, of religion, of taste, of the conduct of life, has he not settled? What mystery has he not signified his knowledge of? What office or function, or district of man's work, has he not remembered? What king has he not taught state, as Talma taught Napoleon? What maiden has not found him finer than her delicacy? What lover has he not outloved? What sage has he not outseen? What gentleman has he not instructed in the rudeness of his behavior?

Some able and appreciating critics think no criticism on Shakspeare valuable, that does not rest purely on the dramatic merit; that he is falsely judged as poet and philosopher. I think as highly as these critics of his dramatic merit, but still think it secondary. He was a full man, who liked to talk; a brain exhaling thoughts and images, which, seeking vent, found the drama next at hand. Had he been less, we should have had to consider how well he filled his place, how good a dramatist he was,--and he is the best in the world. But it turns out; that what he has to say is of that weight, as to withdraw some attention from the vehicle; and he is like some saint whose history is to be rendered into all languages, into verse and prose, into songs and pictures, and cut up into proverbs; so that the occasions which gave the saint's meaning the form of a conversation, or of a prayer, or of a code of laws, is immaterial compared with the universality of its application. So it fares with the wise Shakspeare and his book of life. He wrote the airs for all our modern music: he wrote the text of modern life; the text of manners: he drew the man of England and Europe; the father of the man in America: he drew the man and described the day, and what is done in it: he read the hearts of men and women, their probity, and their second thought, and wiles; the wiles of innocence, and the transitions by which virtues and vices slide into their contraries: he could divide the mother's part from the father's part in the face of the child, or draw the fine demarcations of freedom and fate: he knew the laws of repression which make the police of nature: and all the sweets and all the terrors of human lot lay in his mind as truly but as softly as the landscape lies on the eye. And the importance of this wisdom of life sinks the form, as of Drama or Epic, out of notice. 'Tis like making a question concerning the paper on which a king's message is written.

Shakspeare is as much out of the category of eminent authors, as he is out of the crowd. He is inconceivably wise; the others, conceivably. A good reader can, in a sort, nestle into Plato's brain, and think from thence; but not into Shakspeare's. We are still out of doors. For executive faculty, for creation, Shakspeare is unique. No man can imagine it better. He was the farthest reach of subtlety compatible with an individual self,--the subtilest of authors, and only just within the possibility of authorship. With this wisdom of life, is the equal endowment of imaginative and of lyric power. He clothed the creatures of his legend with form and sentiments, as if they were people who had lived under his roof; and few real men have left such distinct characters as these fictions. And they spoke in language as sweet as it was fit. Yet his talents never seduced him into an ostentation, nor did he harp on one string. An omnipresent humanity co-ordinates all his faculties. Give a man of talents a story to tell, and his partiality will presently appear. He has certain observations, opinions, topics, which have some accidental prominence, and which he disposes all to exhibit. He crams this part, and starves that other part, consulting not the fitness of the thing, but his fitness and strength. But Shakspeare has no peculiarity, no importunate topic; but all is duly given; no veins, no curiosities: no cow-painter, no bird-fancier, no mannerist is he: he has no discoverable egotism: the great he tells greatly; the small subordinately. He is wise without emphasis or assertion; he is strong, as nature is strong, who lifts the land into mountain slopes without effort, and by the same rule as she floats a bubble in the air, and likes as well to do the one as the other. This makes that equality of power in farce, tragedy, narrative, and love-songs; a merit so incessant, that each reader is incredulous of the perception of other readers.

This power of expression, or of transferring the inmost truth of things into music and verse, makes him the type of the poet, and has added a new problem to metaphysics. This is that which throws him into natural history, as a main production of the globe, and as announcing new eras and ameliorations. Things were mirrored in his poetry without loss or blur: he could paint the fine with precision, the great with compass; the tragic and comic indifferently, and without any distortion or favor. He carried his powerful execution into minute details, to a hair point; finishes an eyelash or a dimple as firmly as he draws a mountain; and yet these like nature's, will bear the scrutiny of the solar microscope.

In short, he is the chief example to prove that more or less of production, more or fewer pictures, is a thing indifferent. He had the power to make one picture. Daguerre learned how to let one flower etch its image on his plate of iodine; and then proceeds at leisure to etch a million. There are always objects; but there was never representation. Here is perfect representation, at last; and now let the world of figures sit for their portraits. No recipe can be given for the making of a Shakspeare; but the possibility of the translation of things into song is demonstrated.

His lyric power lies in the genius of the piece. The sonnets, though their excellence is lost in the splendor of the dramas, are as inimitable as they: and it is not a merit of lines, but a total merit of the piece; like the tone of voice of some incomparable person, so is this a speech of poetic beings, and any clause as unproducible now as a whole poem.

Though the speeches in the plays, and single lines, have a beauty which tempts the ear to pause on them for their euphuism, yet the sentence is so loaded with meaning, and so linked with its foregoers and followers, that the logician is satisfied. His means are as admirable as his ends; every subordinate invention, by which he helps himself to connect some irreconcilable opposites, is a poem too. He is not reduced to dismount and walk, because his horses are running off with him in some distant direction: he always rides.

The finest poetry was first experience: but the thought has suffered a transformation since it was an experience. Cultivated men often attain a good degree of skill in writing verses; but it is easy to read, through their poems, their personal history; any one acquainted with parties can name every figure: this is Andrew, and that is Rachel. The sense thus remains prosaic. It is a caterpillar with wings, and not yet a butterfly. In the poet's mind, the fact has gone quite over into the new element of thought, and has lost all that is exuvial. This generosity abides with Shakspeare. We say, from the truth and closeness of his pictures, that he knows the lesson by heart. Yet there is not a trace of egotism.

One more royal trait properly belongs to the poet. I mean his cheerfulness, without which no man can be a poet,--for beauty is his aim. He loves virtue, not for its obligation, but for its grace: he delights in the world, in man, in woman, for the lovely light that sparkles from them. Beauty, the spirit of joy and hilarity, he sheds over the universe. Epicurus relates, that poetry hath such charms that a lover might forsake his mistress to partake of them. And the true bards have been noted for their firm and cheerful temper. Homer lies in sunshine; Chaucer is glad and erect; and Saadi says, "It was rumored abroad that I was penitent; but what had I to do with repentance?" Not less sovereign and cheerful,--much more sovereign and cheerful is the tone of Shakspeare. His name suggests joy and emancipation to the heart of men. If he should appear in any company of human souls, who would not march in his troop? He touches nothing that does not borrow health and longevity from his festive style.

And now, how stands the account of man with this bard and benefactor, when in solitude, shutting our ears to the reverberations of his fame, we seek to strike the balance? Solitude has austere lessons; it can teach us to spare both heroes and poets; and it weighs Shakspeare also, and finds him to share the halfness and imperfections of humanity.

Shakspeare, Homer, Dante, Chaucer, saw the splendor of meaning that plays over the visible world; knew that a tree had another use than for apples, and corn another than for meal, and the ball of the earth, than for tillage and roads: that these things bore a second and finer harvest to the mind, being emblems of its thoughts, and conveying in all their natural history a certain mute commentary on human life. Shakspeare employed them as colors to compose his picture. He rested in their beauty; and never took the step which seemed inevitable to such genius, namely, to explore the virtue which resides in these symbols, and imparts this power,--what is that which they themselves say? He converted the elements, which waited on his command, into entertainments. He was master of the revels to mankind. Is it not as if one should have, through majestic powers of science, the comets given into his hand, or the planets and their moons, and should draw them from their orbits to glare with the municipal fireworks on a holiday night, and advertise in all towns, "very superior pyrotechny this evening!" Are the agents of nature, and the power to understand them, worth no more than a street serenade, or the breath of a cigar? One remembers again the trumpet-text in the Koran--"The heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, think ye we have created them in jest?" As long as the question is of talent and mental power, the world of men has not his equal to show. But when the question is to life, and its materials, and its auxiliaries, how does he profit me? What does it signify? It is but a Twelfth Night, or Midsummer-Night's Dream, or a Winter Evening's Tale: what signifies another picture more or less? The Egyptian verdict of the Shakspeare Societies comes to mind, that he was a jovial actor and manager. I cannot marry this fact to his verse. Other admirable men have led lives in some sort of keeping with their thought; but this man, in wide contrast. Had he been less, had he reached only the common measure of great authors, of Bacon, Milton, Tasso, Cervantes, we might leave the fact in the twilight of human fate: but, that this man of men, he who gave to the science of mind a new and larger subject than had ever existed, and planted the standard of humanity some furlongs forward into Chaos,--that he should not be wise for himself,--it must even go into the world's history, that the best poet led an obscure and profane life, using his genius for the public amusement.

Well, other men, priest and prophet, Israelite, German, and Swede, beheld the same objects: they also saw through them that which was contained. And to what purpose? The beauty straightway vanishes; they read commandments, all-excluding mountainous duty; an obligation, a sadness, as of piled mountains, fell on them, and life became ghastly, joyless, a pilgrim's progress, a probation, beleaguered round with doleful histories of Adam's fall and curse, behind us; with doomsdays and purgatorial and penal fires before us; and the heart of the seer and the heart of the listener sank in them. It must be conceded that these are half-views of half-men. The world still wants its poet-priest, a reconciler, who shall not trifle with Shakspeare the player, nor shall grope in graves with Swedenborg the mourner; but who shall see, speak, and act, with equal inspiration. For knowledge will brighten the sunshine; right is more beautiful than private affection; and love is compatible with


The town of Reston Virginia temporarily renamed itself "Milville" or "Hillville" (I'm not sure) in honor of the film "Back to the Future" and present the film with several members of the cast present.   


                                                Bridge at Catherine’s Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

Brno, Czech Republic

Castle Elz, Eifel region, Germany

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.





Beatlebone by Kevin Barry: profound, funny, hard to pin down

Book review by Eoin McNamee: Imagine if John Lennon had returned to Dorinish, the Co Mayo island he owned

In 1967 John Lennon bought Dorinish island, in Clew Bay, for the knockdown price of £1,550. His next steps were a typical Lennon mix of practicality and whimsy, on the one hand floating a painted gypsy wagon out to the island, on the other applying to Mayo County Council for permission to build a house. The project petered out. The planning permission lapsed and the retreating tide of psychedelia left the self-sufficiency pioneer Sid Rawle, the King of the Hippies, just about in control of the island until fire and storm drive him ashore.
In Kevin Barry’s superb novel it is 1978 and Lennon is back in Clew Bay. He’s on a mission not entirely rational, not entirely sane. He wants to spend three days on his island getting under his own skin. But the strange airs of the west coast need to be negotiated. In Robinson Jeffers’s words, beauty is not always lovely. A spirit guide is needed for the ghosts and shapeshifters, the whirl of terrain and myth. Lennon’s driver, the profane and wily Cornelius O’Grady, appoints himself to the role.
This is stray sod country. There is temporal slippage. The roads double back on themselves. The psychic wayposts are dank hotels in Newport and Mulrany, the Highwood bar and the Amethyst hotel. Cars break down or don’t turn up. Boats spring leaks. Epic drinking sessions convene at midnight. Shamanistic asides are uttered. Ray Lynam sings country on the eight-track and hard-bitten Fleet Street journos comb the country for Lennon. Cornelius keeps Lennon one step ahead of the red-top press, but the island remains just over the horizon.

Frail figure
What is Lennon after? Its hard to tell, tied up in who he is. There is the frail figure unable to bear the weight of his own mythology. There’s the hard-headed survivor. The seeker, the rebel, the self-infantilising, guru-seeking peacenik. He composes music by tapping the subconscious and seeing if he can put manners on what comes out. He addresses his id in the same way. He has spent time under the tutelage of Dr Janov in California, using primal-scream therapy to unlock memories and hurts. Throwing the subconscious deck in the air and hoping to assemble a good hand from the scattered cards.
Cornelius O’Grady, for all his complications, is an easier read. He is no Janov, and there are better ways to get through the doors of perception than battering on them with a bottle of Powers, but sometimes the whiskey is all there is to hand. O’Grady can see what Lennon is up to and is willing to go a few miles of the spiritual road with him. He is a man inclined to bigheartedness under pressure, to be a steadyish hand in times of concern.
Besides, Cornelius knows what Lennon is up against. Many’s the 1960s seeker- after-truth who came to grief when they found themselves up against the perception-distorting light of the western seaboard. All that is left of the Diggers, Screamers and Ranters are scrawled arcana on mildewed walls, the high-tide mark of idealism gone sour. For those that remain danger lurks. “People go strange out here, John. You wouldn’t be the first and you wouldn’t be the last.”
Barry’s pages are laid out in unindented paragraphs, double spaced, with minimal punctuation. It’s a spare and elegant technique that brings structural rigour to the book. The complexity and beauty of the language are counterpointed and boundaried by the honed-down structure.

Unexpected intervention
As Lennon’s free-associative brilliance threatens to burst its banks, the narrative is brought up short and the author – or someone as near the author as makes no difference – steps into view, takes a chapter to himself. It is an unexpected intervention and all the better for it. The tone is precise, a little archiac. You think of a Victorian visitor to the west, Baedeker in hand, or an Alexander Nimmo, theodolite at the ready, looking for the bridgeable gap, the place to put a pier or some other public work.
The author describes the genesis of the novel. Something of Lennon himself. The author’s intention to find his John Lennon book not in the singer’s public record but in the place itself. To work backwards from Clew Bay, Achill, Dorinish. But there is a disturbing undertow, deep stirrings, and the author has no Cornelius to guide him. He spends a day and a half on Dorinish. No more. I was removed from Dorinish in a state of distress.
Then we’re back to Cornelius and John. Two men in a boat, all at sea in Clew Bay, and Cornelius is getting down to the nub of things. The possessed fields. His own lost father. It’s a place for confession and revelation. Cornelius has brushed up against other worlds. A portal opened on the way home from a disco in Castlebar, but it is the primal longing for love that wounds, the child abandoned that causes tears.
In the end Cornelius is at home with mystery in the fields of Co Mayo, and Lennon needs to find it in his own world. Each to his own. John is a Liverpool boy, and his mystery lies on the rain-dampened streets of Bootle, 17 years old and looking dapper. The world is yours to own, and you’re ready to back some ethereal local girl up against a tree in Sefton Park, some soft, blue-veined Julia of past longing. And that sweet night is something that all the screaming in the world won’t bring you back to.
It’s an encounter with a hare that fixes Lennon’s journey west. The realisation that the mystic is sinewy, elusive, self-contained. To be encountered but not to be held. The final chapters bring him back to the studio, trying to string occult sounds together. He is focused on Beatlebone, the album that will never be. The Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina talked about imagining sounds that have never existed. Lennon runs up against the barriers of creation, but he is his best and wryest self when he applies himself to the nuts and bolts of his craft.
Beatlebone is a novel of necessary invention: profound, funny, hard to pin down. The demanding spirit of Dermot Healy is abroad in these pages, but the execution is all Barry’s own. He doesn’t fail. As Cornelius says of Ray Lynam, he holds the note. He wouldn’t be found looking for it.
Eoin McNamee’s latest novel, Blue Is the Night, is published by Faber & Faber. He is writer-in-residence at Maynooth University

Charles Mingus, London, 1951 by Robert Frank.

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