Monday, July 28, 2008

review of A Year and a Day by Michael Corrigan

Enough about me and politics for awhile. Here is the review of the latest book by one of my favorite writers. It's not available on Amazon, unfortunately, so anyone interested in reading this fine book will have to order it through the Idaho State Univerity Press.

A Year and A DayBy Michael Corrigan
ISBN 0-937834-76-9
236 pages at 17.95 paperback + $3 s&h
Idaho State University Press
921 So. 8th Ave, Stop 8265
Pocatello ID 83209

Michael Corrigan personifies the romanticized vision of what an Irishman should be: musical, humorous, a gifted performer and wordsmith, blessed by the blarney stone and the love of his life. The last thing he expected was to lose his adoring wife, an accomplished professional and beautiful compassionate woman whose "bright light was blown out forever."

When Karen Lea Smith Corrigan died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm in September 2005, life as he knew it ended. The day of her death he prays for lightning to strike and incinerate him. When that relief does not come, he continues as a grieving ghost -- stunned, numb, shattered, separated from reality, and alone in his grief. From that awful beginning of life without Karen, he embarks on a year and a day of traditional Irish mourning. His existence without her is all raw nerve endings and aches and pains. Somehow, he survives the early days of her loss. Corrigan returns to teaching at the University. He sees a grief therapist and begins a journal in hopes of helping others cope with such awful loss. With compelling honesty, he questions her death and struggles with memories:
"I wish her soul would return on All Souls Day, or any time. I would tell her I loved her and probably should have said it more often… She often mentioned that others admired her work and I think she expected me to say, "Yes, you are the consummate professional." I did believe that but never felt the need to say it. She didn't need validation for her gifts, or so I thought. Perhaps that was a mistake. After such sudden death, there is that "What if?" syndrome and the nagging question: Why didn't I praise her more or tell her the truth -- that I worshipped her this side of idolatry?
If at some time I found the ability to stare into the seeds of time and saw what was about to happen, I would have withheld nothing. Could any intervention have saved her? There is the possibility that Karen's fatal condition was inevitable…but knowing that any second could be our last together might have shaped how we lived."

You'll find no meaningless buzz words here, like "closure" or "healing" and no empty platitudes. Corrigan faces his losses head on and claws his way through because he believes his life with Karen is worth the grief. Each day is a struggle, a battle to celebrate her life and survive her death. This journal is Michael Corrigan's attempt to honor Karen's memory with his honest sharing of grief. Anniversaries, holidays, remembered rituals and joys, pain, regret, and panic are all laid out truthfully in a way he hopes will help others suffering from loss. Highly recommended to all adult readers, especially those reeling from the loss of someone they love.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So far, so good on Kindle

Today I decided to see how my two books were faring on Kindle. To my total surprise, The Alley of Wishes has an 11,000 ranking!!! That means someone, or more than one someone, downloaded it to their Kindle reader. I don't know anyone who reads books on a hand held device, and I don't own one myself, but this modern age is amazing.

So far My Name is Esther Clara doesn't have a Kindle ranking. Poor Grandma. I guess people are more interested in reading the racier fare in The Alley of Wishes.

OK, it's safe to return to your normal routine again. Just thought I'd interrupt to announce the Kindle sale. The newness will wear off my excitement soon. I promise.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I've been Kindled.....

To help take my mind off the hundreds of millions of dollars candidates are spending on the presidential campaign, my publisher decided to put The Alley of Wishes and My Name is Esther Clara on the Amazon Kindle reader. OK, truthfully, having my books "Kindled" didn't really wipe all thoughts from my mind about how swiftly our candidates can waste ungodly sums of money. I've rearranged my entire existence to renovate the family budget in ways that will offset increased gas and grocery prices. Everyone I know has done the same, so the spending habits of coddled politicians will never be far from mind. Still, having my books available on Kindle is a milestone that deserves at least a blog post.

Since my publisher's email about Kindle, I've entertained myself by imagining how intrigued my grandma would have been with this new technology. Esther Clara and her husband Herb read everything they could get their hands on -- books, magazines, newspapers. Both had curious minds and soaked up information of all kinds through reading. Grandma used to say they had an 8th grade education with a PhD in reading. Both would have been excited to know they were memorialized on a hand held reader like Kindle.

Yes, I know not many Kindle owners will be downloading my books to read on buses, trains, or airplanes. They'll be reading the New York Times or the latest best selling blockbuster. Most Kindle owners have never heard of me or my books, but it's possible someone might run across my titles.....somehow. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll surf on over to Amazon right not to see if my ranking has made it to less than one million.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

pinhole glasses

Sandy, the webmaster over at asked me to check out the website and comment on it here. Let me say right up front that I have not worn the glasses and had not heard of them until today, but the info on their website is thought provoking.

Normally I can't follow through on requests made here to review or feature books, writers, websites, etc. I decided to check this one out because I've had poor vision all my life. The vision in my left eye has been highly impaired since birth. At age three, my eye doctor had me wear glasses with pinholes instead of a left lens. He thought that might help my clumsiness with walking and running into things. I wore that pinhole lens for a long time, along with other treatments he prescribed. By the time I started school, my clumsiness while walking was nearly gone. AND, at the age of five I was already a fast reader with good retention of what I read, despite my vision troubles.

According to the website, pinhole glasses will remedy vision problems related to myopia, cataracts, astigmatism, and Computer Vision Syndrome. After cataract surgery, Computer Vision Syndrome has been a real problem for me. I have tired, dry eyes from even a short time spent on the computer at home or at work. As a writer, poet, and reviewer, creating on the computer in the 21st century is essential. I wonder if pinhole glasses would help?

Make of this what you will, readers. I'm not trying to sell you pinhole glasses or endorsing the product, since I've not used it. But the premise interested me because of my history of wearing a version of pinhole glasses as a child and my current struggle with Computer Vision Syndrome. If you want to know more, check out their website.

Now, wasn't this better than my ranting about politicians?

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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