Victoria Ray Interview

Fellow indie author Victoria Ray invited to interview me, and I happily accepted. Also, I offered to interview her, as I was entertained by her two short story collections, So Absurd It Must Be True. I enjoy absurdist fiction, and her short stories are bursts of activity and humor and unpredictable plots.

Victoria posted her interview of me yesterday on her blog. And today, I’m posting my interview of her…


How did you get interested in writing? Which kind of writing — short stories, novels, poems — do you enjoy the most? Why?

The sheer pleasure to hold a pen? Or to see if my pen would create the unique blend of images, or build a new universe, or maybe, because, ‘In the beginning, was the Word?’

I believe writing is a part of our daily life: something – it could be a theme, a hero, an idea, or just the word – invites you, then seduces you, and at the end, absorbs you. It’s impossible to force or to stop. You, me, anyone on this planet is a writer. The only question is: what are you – the talent or a genius? The time will tell… Russian writer David Samoylov brilliantly described it:

“In this minute, a genius is sitting and writing…
In this minute, 100 talented people are sitting and writing.
In this minute, 1000 professionals are sitting and writing.
In this minute 100 000 graphomaniacs are sitting and writing.
In this minute, 1 million lonely girls are sitting and writing.
In this minute, 10 million young people (perhaps in love) are sitting and writing.
As a result of this grand event –
ONE POEM IS BORN. Or a genius, throwing out everything
that has been written in a basket.
And heading off.
but the world of literature will remember him/her.

I love writing if it creates the desire to feel, think, and reread. I prefer to write ‘compressed, short’ prose. Why? This is how I perceive the world around me.

Book covers: So Absurd It Must Be True collections and Sophia von X novel

I enjoyed reading your two collections of short stories: So Absurd It Must Be True (Book 1 and Book 2). Now I’m enjoying your novel Sophia von X. What did you think of the jump from writing short stories to novels? Was it a difficult transition?

Thank you! It was and still is a difficult transition. I wanted to try to write thrillers or sci-fi, but there’s a chance I’ll stick to absurd fiction, satire, and humor. I’m never sitting and writing the short stories, not in a usual way – it is often written brick by brick, like Lego – with attention on the construction, shape, form, model.

Example: To write the scene, let’s say 2k short story, I need bricks I’d like to use. For that, I’m collecting words, sentences, and phrases. It doesn’t matter how bizarre/wild they are or how out of context – I’ll find the place for them in my chapter or story. That’s why, perhaps, the text seems a bit rough, irregular, abstract, or undeveloped.

Writing the big novel is a different deal. Usually, I’m writing 20k (a core or skeleton), then I’m expanding the text – adding chapters, situations, details. It takes a lot of memory cells – to keep all those details in mind.

Book covers: The Life Written by Himself by Archpriest Avvakum and Buddha's Little Finger by Victor Pelevin

Your profile says you have a Ph.D. in classic Russian Literature. Very impressive! How have those studies influenced your writing?

I read and analyzed so many books (from the 11th century to modern fiction) that often, I’m leaving empty-handed at any bookstore. I love being there, though. Ah, all those books! Even if mass media products, those books are magical to me, too; full of messages and endless words. As a teacher of Russian literature, I love words. I can’t say that bookstores are selling boring books, not at all. What troubles me, the writing is nice and clean, but you won’t find any modern Prousts, Diderots, Kafkas, or Cervantes on the shelves.

Lately, many authors trying to come up with some new forms, ideas, word-playing, but still, it is rarely something different from all that what-market-wants-plot-hero-sleek-sameness.

And yes, of course, Russian Literature influenced my writing – from Life of the Archpriest Avvakum (written by himself) to modern surrealist, Viktor Pelevin. In my books, I make a unique mix of everything I know – DJ Ray NB. Welcome to my party!

How does research factor into your writing? Do you pick a topic, then research it, and that leads to ideas for stories? Or is it more often that you have a story idea, and you do research to give it believability?

Each story or novel starts from an image or a scene. When I’m writing a book, sometimes I can research beforehand. The problem with novels – they are so damn long – I see nothing, I forget everything – my mind is blurred. About short stories, usually, I’m working on each for only 2-7 days (max), and I never get back to rewriting after the piece is finished. I have to admit, I dislike rewriting. I see each story as an ‘impression’ of that particular moment/feeling.

Book covers: Seeds of Tomorrow and Harvest on the Don, both by Mikhail Sholokhov

The spontaneity and unpredictability in your short stories reminded me of the graphic novel Giraffes on Horseback Salad, which was based on Salvador Dali’s screenplay for a movie he hoped would star the Marx Brothers. Sadly, the movie was never made. Other than authors, what artists or musicians or actors do you see as role models for your writing? Why those artists?

What a fantastic title – ‘Giraffes on Horseback Salad!’
To answer your question: Ye shall make you no idols – my #1 rule
BUT I’d like to mention a couple of ingenious people:
Movies – Louis de Funès (because he is a true joy)
Literature – Teffi (a Russian humorist writer, fascinating lady, died in 1952); Mikhail Sholokhov (Nobel Prize winner 1965, Russian novelist. Seeds of Tomorrow and Harvest on the Don are my favorites: epic dramas); Dostoyevsky (so much passion, madness, and imbalance); O. Henry (fun, intelligent stories with a lesson); W. Thackeray (because of Becky and Amelia; satire, the sketch of English society); Stendhal (because he had more than 100 pen names and visited the city where I grew up); R. Sabatini (adventure and pirates).
Music – anything without words. Or silence.
Art – impressionism.

Book covers: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich and The Erasers by Alain Robbe-Grillet

What’s one work of fiction that moved you deeply? Why did it have that effect on you?

Nothing ‘deeply moved’ me for the last thirty years, but there are modern books that made some splash. I’d like to mention Idaho by Emily Ruskovich. I know a lot of people dislike this book. They want an ‘easy-read’ crime novel. People are simple creatures, we often prefer to be a part of the flock, and in XXI – we are even more ‘simplified’ – more herd-y, I’d say. It means we don’t want to think, imagine, or reflect. Not by ourselves. We want everything to be delivered – given – gifted – placed inside of our minds.

The goal of any novel – to stretch your imagination. Any story/book is a Novel of Uncertainty; remember that. You can retell it the way you wish in your head – and that’s the magnitude, the real value, and the strength of great immortal literature.

One more book I’d like to mention – The Erasers, by Alain Robbe-Grillet: mix of avant-garde and nouveau, literary puzzle in each sentence, bizarre prose, can make you dizzy… I’m still reading it.


Links!

Victoria’s blog, where you can read some of her surreal and funny stories, as well as posts about writing and philosophy and wisdom she’s picked up from reading from various sources.

Victoria’s books on Amazon. In addition to the books I’ve mentioned here, she has published The Pearl Territory (surreal, sci-fi drama), Dulcinea and The Death Code (young adult novel), and two poetry collections.

Also! I want to mention two awards that Victoria Ray has won … Book 2 of So Absurd It Must Be True was a Finalist of the Book Excellence Awards for, and Sophia von X was picked as the Silver Medal Winner in the Fiction – Religious Theme category of the Reader’s Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest. You can see the awards on her blog’s about page.

Morning Interruption

Photo of man wearing a fedora and talking into a microphone
by Keith Channing

My story for the above photo prompt at Kreative Kue #309, hosted by Keith Channing…


Morning Interruption
by Dave Williams

The words were loud and unexpected in the city square. The words surprised me. Everyone else sitting at tables in the cafes seemed surprised, too. We looked around to find the source of the words.

“I repeat, get up and form a line on the south side of the square.”

A few people spotted him first. As they said, “Over there,” other people turned to see the speaker of those words.

A man in a gray suit and tie and fedora stood by the fountain at the square’s center. He held a microphone plugged into a speaker on the stone ground.

“We will begin inquires shortly,” the man said. “They will proceed more quickly if you are organized about it.”

Ridiculous. Because the man wore a suit and tie and fedora, we were supposed to follow his instructions? Must’ve been a prank or street theater — something like that. Around me, people muttered, asked each other what was going on.

“I haven’t made myself clear,” the man said. “This is not voluntary. A new government program has begun. We are questioning citizens to ensure only true patriots live in our beloved country. Anyone with anti-government views will be sent to a special school, where they can learn how to become true patriots.”

Even more ridiculous. This had to be fake. A film school student was completing an assignment. Any moment, the student director would appear next to guy holding a videocamera. All part of some strange art film.

Soldiers marched from the south entrance into the city square. I didn’t recognize their gray uniforms. They weren’t dressed like the soldiers I had seen on the news. Nor were they dressed like police officers I had seen. Their automatic rifles could’ve been movie props. I don’t know.

People buzzed around me, their repeated asking what was going on grew more worried, more frantic. Some people sounded panicked.

Men and women in gray suits entered the square from the north entrance. They carried desks and chairs, which they set down and arranged in a row.

The original man in the suit said, “Anyone who does not comply will be sent to the special school. They will be taught how to follow instructions and how to become a true patriot.”

A few people stood and walked to the south side of the square. That was all it took. More and more people got up from their chairs and joined them. Me among them. We formed a line, a quiet line, and watched the soldiers who watched us. We waited for the next instruction.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Hunting Gamble

Photo of person wearing hooded sweatshirt and carrying a shotgun over their shoulder. The person's face can't be seen in the darkness of the hood. In the background, snow falls in the woods.
by Harrison Haines/Pixels.com

A story for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #115


Hunting Gamble
by Dave Williams

The crash was difficult and embarrassing. Arrested in a Las Vegas hotel room, no time to hide the cocaine — although the cops surely would’ve found it anyway. At least the woman wasn’t paid company. Although, she — Katie? Kaylee? — had enjoyed what his money could buy.

Serving jail time became a marker in Brandon Keener’s life. A separation of what came before and what happened afterward.

Lock-up reminded him of an earlier marker. High school English class, an assignment was finally given that was much better than Shakespeare — which was hard to understand and boring except for the sword-fighting scenes.

“The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell, was short and thrilling. Brandon had enjoyed The Hunger Games, but that was set in another world, another time. The short story could’ve happened in the current world.

Brandon was more focused than most of his peers after high school. While others partied, Brandon studied for his classes — and the stock market. Rarely did he go to a party and blow off steam.

After college, he landed an entry-level job at a consulting firm. The hours were long, but Brandon still studied stocks. Fortunately for him, mom and dad had paid for college in full, so he wasn’t burdened with paying back a loan. His available money was invested in stocks.

Some of his risky bets lost money, but some hit big. The financial rewards were reinvested. While others went to restaurants and clubs, his money bought stocks.

When Brandon was in his mid-thirties, he quit his job to trade stocks full-time. He relaxed his policy of just occasionally going out. Now he could afford better restaurants and clubs than his peers.

That relaxing was controllable for a while in going out with friends and dating. He bought an enviable condo and filled it with expensive toys. He jetted off on luxurious vacations with various women. Top-shelf booze flowed and drugs were inhaled.

Brandon’s control slipped and the dam burst. He lost big at card tables in Vegas. Stumbled to the suite and partied harder than he ever had. Then lock-up.

He came to feel grateful for jail. After he survived the transition to sobriety, he poured energy into exercising his body and mind. Lifted weights and read business books, which gave him an historical perspective that wasn’t part of his research when he was younger.

Once into freedom, Brandon focused on rebuilding his wealth. And he acted smarter how he spent free time. No drugs, only booze. No crazy gambling trips.

Brandon purchased a large swath of wilderness land and hired a contractor to build a spacious lodge. He asked his old drug dealer for other contacts, and through a network, Brandon met “Mr. Dulin,” who wore a thick gold necklace and claimed to be able to deliver what Brandon wanted.

Sure enough, Mr. Dulin brought a man in his fifties to the lodge, the man’s head covered in a hood and his wrists restrained together.

Excitement thrilled through Brandon as he explained to the stranger: “You’ll get two days to rest. Then the door to your room will be unlocked. I’ll give you three hours head-start. Then I’ll hunt you. If you can make it off my property, you’ll be a hundred grand richer. I’ll give you a phone number to call.”

“What the fuck,” the stranger yelled. “Are you fucking crazy?”

“No,” Brandon said. “Just inspired.”

The stranger was placed in a locked cabin away from the lodge. He never saw Brandon’s face. The cabin was stocked with food and clothes.

On the morning of the release, Brandon’s voice came through a speaker in the cabin: “You have two hours until starting time.” The man yelled it was unfair and his captor really was fucking crazy.

The door was unlocked. Cameras on the cabin’s exterior showed Brandon that the stranger rushed off. Bulging pockets on his jacket showed that likely food was stuffed in them.

Brandon killed the man that afternoon. Didn’t take long for Brandon to track him, as the stranger wasn’t careful in rushing through the woods. Brandon could’ve bought a rifle and shot the man from long range, but that didn’t seem sporting. Nor as rewarding. So Brandon walked closer to the stranger. Let the stranger see the face of his killer. Raised the pistol and fired three times. Exhilaration and nerves burst in Brandon. The death was wrong, yet he could not deny the rush he had felt. Better than drugs.

Brandon called Mr. Dulin and told him they were going to have a long and profitable relationship. At Brandon’s request, Mr. Dulin’s delivered younger, more fit strangers. They came in different seasons to mix up Brandon’s game. And he mixed up the weapons he used.

Every time, he told himself that each stranger had a chance to win more money than they’d earn in a year. And every time, he killed them and burned their bodies and buried their ashes.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Rattling of Bones

Photo of skeleton decorations in a front yard. The skeletons wear flower crowns and flowers dangle from their hands.

The rattling of bones you hear is not from the skeletons shivering in winter, but from their dancing —

not dancing due to the countdown to Halloween as October’s days count up, but due to spring’s arrival —

for the skeletons like spreading joy as well as fright, as if one section of Monsters, Inc. was kept to the fear mission, and a new section was re-purposed to the laugh mission, rather than the entire factory aiming for a single mission

(which sounds limiting; this world is a complex place),

and in this season of rebirth, it’s time to feel the sun and rain on your bones and wear a crown of flowers

(because we’re all royalty in the wealth of spring),

then dance ‘round the May Pole

(or any tree will do, hug it afterwards and thank it for the lovely oxygen),

then admire the growth of leaf greens and daffodil yellows and tulip reds and tree blossom pinks and azalea purples, then smell the smells of plant life returning to the world —

one wonders if the skeletons are jealous of rebirth, if they wish for renewal of muscles and veins and nerves, wouldn’t they want to return to fullness of what they were before; however, let’s not forget:

nerves bring pain as well as pleasure, such is the dichotomy we juggle, and let’s also not forget:

if their muscles regrew, we wouldn’t hear the clackety clack clacking of dancing bones to accompany the flute and tambourine and bodhrán.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

If the Creature Arrives

Woman wearing mask sits on the end of dock, holding a lantern, and looking into a lake
By Kamil Rybarski/Pexels.com

Today’s story is based on MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #362, using the above photo as inspiration…


If the Creature Arrives
by Dave Williams

The scene could’ve been in a fairy tale, even though Harriet knew that wasn’t the host’s intention. Asher Griffin aimed instead for a scene in an Edgar Allan Poe story.

That was how Owen had described an over-the-top Asher Griffin party fo Harriet. Growing up with parents who loved to entertain, Asher appeared to have caught the bug. His parties weren’t held at the Griffin mansion, however. Once or twice a year, Asher rented a beautiful venue and threw a party in such themes as Venetian masquerade, Victorian gothic, and Great Gatsby.

Tonight was Harriet’s first time at one of the soirees, and she now believed Owen’s stories about Asher. The two men had met in college and swiftly became great friends. Owen didn’t belong in the wealthy arena of the Griffins, but his quirky sense of humor and his love of discussing literature more than sports meshed well with Asher.

Harriet had been introduced to Owen’s friend over dinner in a seafood restaurant, where she had enjoyed his boyish attractiveness and his enthusiasm to learn about her. She had assumed he would be stuck up and unleash comments like “Oh my goodness, the Côte d’Azur is delish!” She was glad her prediction had been off the mark.

After that night, Harriet had told some of her friends about the experience. They had suggested she should’ve ditched Owen in favor of Asher. The choice was akin to the woman’s version of Betty or Veronica, and a sizable percentage of the men to whom the friends had posed the choice had picked Veronica for the family bank account.

Except that Harriet had been dating Owen for ten months and she was too smitten to cast him aside for a rich man who made a good first impression. A man who might’ve had undiscovered hang-ups. Besides, Harriet didn’t match Asher’s type. According to Owen, Asher tended to date women who also came from wealthy families, and they zipped off to luxurious locales at the drop of a hat.

Here was a locale made more dream-like by the strings of fairy lights swooping from tree to tree in the spacious patio between a house and lake. The large house could’ve belonged to a tycoon during the Gilded Age of the 1920s. If so, this party would’ve likely fit with the parties of old: pretty little lights, glow of lanterns, well-dressed guests, waiters carrying silver trays of hors d’oeuvre and strolling amid the crowd.

Harriet thought the party’s masquerade theme added a bit of mystery. She would not have known the other guests without their masks. This was a societal circle in which she did not fly. Yet it was delish to fly in the circle for a night.

A series of tinking sounds calmed conversations and caused the guests to turn toward Asher standing on an ornate metal chair and tapping his cocktail glass with a spoon.

“Wonderful to see all of you tonight,” Asher said. “Thank you for making the long journey from the city.” (Long was subjective; the journey from city to lake had taken a few hours’ drive.) “I chose this place because the view is quite lovely.”

The host extended a hand to the lake, as if welcoming a special guest. The tiny lights were reflected on the lake’s surface, still and soft in dusk’s light. The trees ringing the lake and the few other houses were also soft in the dwindling sunlight of late summer.

Asher continued, “But that’s not the only reason I chose it. There’s a story about this lake. You see, folks around here say a creature lives in there.”

Murmuring came among the guests, and one gentleman said, “You realize we’re not in Scotland, don’t you?”

Asher laughed. “Come now, Reggie. I haven’t had that much to drink. Not yet, anyway.” As laughter from the guests faded, Asher said, “But Reggie’s right. We’re not in Scotland. Is this creature related to Nessie? I don’t know. But the locals say the creature comes out at night, under the cover of darkness. Easier to hunt that way. They call it Mugrik.”

“Just a myth!” another gentleman said.

The pessimistic statement brightened Asher’s face. “Maybe it is. But what if it’s not? What if we get to see this amazing thing? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?”

While some in the crowd gave encouraging comments, most guests downplayed the idea, calling it preposterous.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” Asher said. “Most likely, it’ll show up after midnight. And if it does show up, we can run into the mansion. We’ll be perfectly safe there. But in the meantime, please take a gondola ride while you can. The rides stop promptly at eleven o’clock.”

As the host stepped down from the chair, the guests returned to conversing in groups clustered around the patio.

Harriet thought Asher’s phrase “perfectly safe” was wrong. No such place existed. The risk of something bad happening always loomed over you. People were struck by lightning. People died in house fires. Granted, the risk was low of those events — but they did happen.

“You seriously think he believes in this thing?” Harriet asked.

Owen chuckled and said, “He really could. He’s mentioned it to me before. The Mugrik. Weird name. But it doesn’t really matter if he believes in it. He wants it to be true. He wants to see it with all these people around, all these witnesses. He wants to throw a party that nobody forgets.”

“I’m not going to forget this,” Harriet said. “It’s beautiful.”

“But the monster adds a nice touch, doesn’t it?”

Harriet had to agree.

The creature also added a conversation starter, one beyond the standards: What do you do for a living? How do you know Asher? Where are you from?

At times, Owen wasn’t by Harriet’s side, as he went to order more drinks or headed inside the house for the restroom. Harriet wasn’t very comfortable in a crowd of strangers, but the cocktails helped ease her mild anxiety. Everyone she talked with was polite, some even cheery. The other guests seemed to know each other (at least somewhat), and they were quick to fill silences during conversations with Harriet.

She and Owen joined the line on the dock. They watched the three gondolas glide along the shoreline. The wait wasn’t long for the dating couple to have a turn in a boat.

When the gondola departed the dock, Harriet said, “Why aren’t the boats going to the middle of the lake?”

“It gets too deep for our poles,” said the gondolier, a woman dressed in black-and-white striped shirt. “We could go farther than this, but we’ve been asked to stay close to the shore.”

Harriet guessed Asher had been behind that instruction, to give guests the idea that the lake’s center was too dangerous. A probable ruse. A lantern hung from the boat’s prow, its light dancing on the water. She imagined a beast’s head breaking the water’s surface, rising high above them, the long neck stretching. A silly idea. Harriet leaned against Owen and gave into the romance of the sliding boat.

Back on land, as the evening progressed, Harriet hoped the monster would appear and she hoped it wouldn’t. Its arrival would’ve been thrilling. She would’ve tried to snap a photo, record a video with her phone. She and Owen would’ve gone into the house, out the front door, to their car in the parking area, and driven off. Surely, they were faster than the older guests. A calculation from horror movies: the slowest of the fleeing mob was killed/eaten first.

But escape wasn’t guaranteed. She and Owen could’ve been in the car, and the monster could’ve breathed fire and roasted them — if the beast had such a power.

Harriet didn’t want the creature to stomp out of the lake simply because it would’ve ruined the luxurious time she was having. She inwardly laughed at herself for imagining the creature.

Guests said good-byes and left in small groups, and eventually half of the original crowd remained. Then a third. Then a fourth. They claimed to be ready to stay until sunrise. Then they would head to their hotels, their bed-and-breakfasts, and get some sleep. They could arrange for another night’s stay if checkout time was too early. Or slip the maid some cash to come later for cleaning the room.

As for the lake house, Asher had rented it until noon. Some of the catering staff left, and the remaining ones replenished the coffee urns and trays of desserts.

Owen switched from drinking wine to coffee before Harriet did. She was relieved. A few of the previous men she had dated would’ve continued swallowing booze — especially free and high quality — for as long as liquor bottles were available. She liked to think her taste in men had matured along with herself. She saw no need to drink tonight until she stumbled about.

Harriet also liked that Owen was game to stay at the party. The atmosphere was pleasant by the two fire pits. Harriet now felt the guests were friends from long ago rather than people she had met tonight. They kidded each other, they talked of other times they had stayed up through the night, like when they were kids and it was a grand adventure to see how the world looked when they would’ve typically been asleep. The magic of those times.

Harriet picked up a lantern and walked with Owen to the dock. To the end. They gazed into the dark water. Gazed across it, and were unable to see the opposite shore. Gazed at the stars seeming to envy the fairy lights still lit.

“If that thing actually exists and comes up,” Owen said, “we’re goners for sure.”

She grabbed his hand and squeezed. “So be it.”

The night had transitioned from a Poe-inspired party to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Harriet found enjoyment in both stages, as did Owen. A good sign for their future.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

A Pause in the Rush to Keep Up

Photo of a cupped hand holding dirt, and the fingers are forming the shape of a heart.

An earthy story based on Carrot Ranch’s April 22 Flash Fiction Challenge, which is:

April 22, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about earthing. Put a character’s hands, feet or body and soul into the earth. Who needs recharging? What happens between the interaction? Go where the prompt leads!


A Pause in the Rush to Keep Up
by Dave Williams

News said it was popular and she thought Why not? so she went to a creek trail and normally she would’ve felt happy inside the weekend crowd but not now so she went Monday (work was slow) and the walk was quieter, a pause from pre-Covid trend-flitting: coffee shops wine bars brunch cafes fusion restaurants new movies.

Seeing someone else do it inspired her to sit on a stone amid the creek, eyes closed. Listen. Water birds wind.

Her own idea: remove shoes and socks, barefoot in the creek. Feel. Chilly water smooth pebbles. Life underneath trends.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Photo of two feet in a creek, with rocks around.
by Dids/Pexels

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ by Dave Williams – Review

Thanks to Lee Hall for writing a wonderful review of my book, “Don’t Lose Your Head,” and I encourage you to check out his blog — he’s written several books, and he offers advice on what has worked for him in his indie writing journey.

Lee's Hall of information

A twisted, haunting and enjoyable read that dives deep into the shadowy depths of one man’s mind…

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ is a literal, metaphorical and symbolic title for a unique story that takes readers down the rabbit hole of conscience and repercussion. ‘Alan Burris’ sets his sights on what appears to be a rather easy robbery opportunity which doesn’t go to plan and becomes an encounter that ultimately takes him on a path of torment. On this path we learn of his dark past which he cannot escape while very recent events weigh upon everything he does in the few days after. It seems everywhere he turns this encounter follows and no matter how he tries to bury or hide it there it is beside him. The voice in his head cannot be silenced seemingly and it gets louder and louder.

What’s real and what isn’t blends into one…

View original post 117 more words

Not So Silent Spring

I feel lucky
to wake up and hear the
intricate chattering of
multitudes of birds, as if
they’re telling each other
of their dreams dreamed last night
and their plans for the day.

Fortunately, spring is not silent
here in Silver Spring,
where Rachel Carson lived for
many years (while summering in Maine).
A past spring, my daughter and I
heard Linda Lear give a talk about
her biography of Ms. Carson
(after the talk was postponed due
to a snowstorm), and the room
was packed with eager listeners.

So Ms. Carson still talks on, with warnings
for those ears who still pay attention,
to our eyes thankful to see bald eagles
in their full-winged reality and not just
in a Google image search,
to our wishes and plans and work
for infinite springs
filled with chattering birds.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Two Roads

Rachel Carson lived for a time in Silver Spring, Maryland, and her work is celebrated in the town at a sculpture called Two Roads, after a passage from her famous book:

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at the end lies disaster.” — Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

This passage is shown on three panels at the sculpture, which can be tricky to read, since the panels are transparent, and another quote from Carson is printed on the other side. Studio William Cochran designed the sculpture.

Three panels printed with the Two Roads quotation from Rachel Carson