Saturday, February 26, 2011


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. 
Webster defines civil as:  “of a community of citizens, their government, or their interrelations as: civil affairs/ polite; civilized; refraining from rudeness.”  How ironic that one of the most violent wars in the history of the United States used a word whose synonym means the exact opposite.     
The first thing that pops into people’s minds when they discuss the Civil War is slavery.  Again, how ironic.  No incident related to slavery caused the outbreak of fighting.  Nor did the secession of Southern states from the Union.  In fact, Jefferson Davis (the Confederate President) vowed, “We propose no invasion of the North, no attack on them, and only ask to left alone.”
What went wrong?
In my novel, Soldiers from the Mist, Charlie’s mother, Clara said, “Slavery is a handy excuse to rile up young men’s emotions; a way to justify the killing.” The troubled Confederate Lieutenant in the story, Peter Montgomery, Jr., said “the excuses for war are many but can be boiled down to only four:  hate, fear, jealously, and greed.”  In a violent argument with his father, Peter called the southern gentlemen clamoring for war, foolish. That the “North was a sleeping dog that didn’t care about the South and its one-horse economy and backwoods politics.  But that wasn’t good enough for the South and they continued to poke the dog with sticks of greed and power until the beast woke and turned into a rabid, spitting animal ready to devour every good thing the South stands for."
Unfortunately, even today, 150 years later, the Civil War conjures up strong emotions in the South.  The saying, “The South will rise again,” is often heard at rallies and protests.  The Confederate flag evolved into a symbol of hatred and bigotry.   
 My friends, who lived in California, have little knowledge of the war and don’t understand what the ruckus is all about.  Who were the Yankees?  Where the Rebels the ones dressed in gray?  What is the Mason/Dixon line anyway?
I am proud to be from the south and call myself a rebel even though I did marry a blue-nosed Boston Yankee.  And, yes, I do have the Stars and Bars in my house, however I don’t display it in public. I enjoy the freindly rivalry between the Yankees and the Rebels.   
I am not a racist.  I don’t hate the North. 
I am first, foremost and always, an American.
In doing research for my book, I found it interesting that we still struggle today with the same issues as 150 years ago: alcoholism, mental/verbal/physical abuse, dysfunctional families, women’s rights, depression, and man’s inhumanity to man.  It begs the question, “have we really evolved?”
Mothers still stand in the streets and watch their babies march off to war.  The young men and women continue to go in order to prove themselves not realizing until too late that violence never solved anything.
My character, Specks, asked the million dollar question, “Wonder what would happen if everyone refused to fight?”  Charlie had the million dollar answer:  peace.
Peter Montgomery used the myth of the Phoenix to justify the War Between the States.  It was his hope that out of all the death and destruction, a better world would emerge.  On this, the 150th anniversary of one of the most destructive wars ever fought, we should pause and ask ourselves, “Is the world a better place?”
Peter, Paul, and Mary’s song, Where have all the flowers Gone? sums it up with five short words:
“When will they ever learn?”

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I can’t speak for everyone, but I am sick of all the snow and sub-zero temperatures.  This is Arkansas, for Pete’s sake, not Canada.  I crave the warmth of the sun, even did a sun dance, but spells are tricky and I forgot to say, “I want the sun without the snow.” 
In an attempt to bring on the warmth of summer, I searched for pictures of the beach, sultry nights on the front porch, and the 4th of July.  During my hunt for the sun, I happened across my scrapbook of my trip to Roswell, New Mexico.  Now, we’re talkin’!   What better way to warm up than a trip to the desert complete with ET?
Welcome to Roswell!
In the summer of 2005 I went to Roswell, New Mexico for their annual UFO convention. What an experience! 
Roswell is a little town that doesn’t have too much going it for it, except for Extraterrestrials.  That’s all it needs.  The whole town gets into the spirit.  Even the local WalMart.  Not only are there pictures of aliens on the walls, but the greeters and check-out associates are small and curious looking as well.  Martians in Wally Word?   Believe it!  Aliens are everywhere:  storefronts, street lights, Coke machines, beautiful murals, and people on the street.   
At the convention I was introduced to Darrell Sims, the Alien Hunter.  Darrell is a charming, charismatic man whose life purpose is to track down aliens.  Which begs the question, “What are you going to do when you catch one?” 

I attended seminars on government cover-ups and conspiracies.  Men in Black?  Yes sir!  
I learned that they are many species of aliens:  Grays, reptile, and ones that look like a praying mantis. (hate those)  And just like we humans, some aliens are good and some are bad.  Some wish to help mankind while others don’t. 
My dad saw three UFO’s while working outside.  I’ve never seen a space ship, however.  
 Do I believe in extraterrestrials?   Yes. 
Have I been “beamed-up?”  Don’t know and don’t want to find out.

Do I think others have been abducted?  Yes.  
Is the Government involved?  Hell, yes!
Should we fear them?   Fear is non-productive.  Be cautious.
Do aliens have superior intelligence?  They’ve been around longer than the human race; therefore, it stands to reason they know more than us. 
Would I like the have a close encounter?  NO!
Do they walk among us?   Yes!
The Truth is out there.  But for my part, it can stay out . . . way out!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Dear, Old Man Winter:
           You are pissing me off! 
           I can put up with cold.  I can deal with darkness falling at 6:00 at night.   I can even handle the gray, gloomy countryside with naked trees shivering in the wind.  But this snow and ice is bull.    
I’ve tried to understand.   Maybe you don’t know that not only can’t I skate on ice, I can’t drive on it either.  That trash bags belong in the dumpster and not stacked up in my utility room.  Water pipes freeze and bust at below zero.  Gas and electric heat costs money.  That the all-mighty buck rules the human world therefore we are expected to be at work even if hell freezes over which, by the way, is pretty close to happening.
What’s the deal?  Are you feeling depressed, irritable, mis-understood?  Lonely?  Is that why you’re acting out and dumping your wrath on us?   Hmm . . . my heart bleeds for you.  Take a chill pill. Get over it.   Shit happens.
I think it’s only fair to warn you, I’ve had it and am calling in the big dogs.  I am doing a sun dance today.  If you don’t want to be hurt, get out-of-town.  Go North.  To Alaska.  Eskimos like snow and ice.  They build homes out of it.  You’ll be welcomed there.
Let the sun shine in!   Beaches.  Sun.  Mango margaritas.
Summer chic in Arkansas