Flashlights. Who would think of flashlights as the subject of a passionate obsession?
I had no idea what was coming as I scanned the pages of Amazon for ordinary household flashlights. Things have changed and I was about to discover another dimension, a new subculture of obsession. Flashlights!
It began when I bought a slender black flashlight from the local hardware store. It cost thirty bucks; a bit pricey but it was rechargeable via a USB cable, and it looked really cool. The battery was included. The word “TACTICAL” was splashed all over its package, like this was some kind of ninja self-defense weapon. Indeed, it was solid black. I liked its weight and heft, its balance and setup. As evening fell I took the gizmo into my office, turned off the lights and pressed the switch.
Holy Shit! A circle of brilliant radiance spilled across the room like the light from a movie projector. I was not expecting this. The flashlight had features like “zoom” and “strobe”, and, for all I knew, “kill” or “maim”.
I had, in effect, a Magic Wand. This was my introduction to the world of modern flashlights and those who love them. The tech has changed. Teeny LED bulbs can now emit awesome degrees of light, powered by modest Double A batteries. Some devices have multiple LEDs in specially designed arrays. A handheld flashlight can light up a stadium. This is power, which is hypnotically attractive. I needed another flashlight. Maybe two, maybe three flashlights. I went into the almighty catalogue, AMAZON, to peruse the flashlight market.
Now we get to the reviews. There are astonishing numbers of reviews for every goddam product on Amazon, from diapers to defibrillators. It is possible to get a consensus about anything at all. Want to buy a dildo? Look up the many devices and their reviews. Did this particular dildo do the job? Was it flexible enough or too unyielding? Here is a real product with nearly 700 reviews. It’s called “Rechargable Personal Wand Massager with 20 Vibration settings, variable thrust, flexion, USB port, realistic texture, suction cup, money back guarantee.” The pictures leave no doubt. Personal wand massager my ass!
Why are these dildos so huge? Where are the normal sized penis replicants that won’t cripple you? I don’t know. What does this priapic gigantism say about our culture? Never mind. Let’s return to flashlights.
The reviews sometimes run to pages. Everyone wants a voice, wants to be heard. Maybe these reviews give people their voice.
Some of these new death-dealing tactical flashlights run to six hundred bucks. What do you get for six hundred dollars that’s different from the thirty dollars I paid for my Litezall field flashlight? Let me read the reviews. Yes, the light is extremely bright. Among its features there is an emphasis on self defense. “Blind an attacker with the sudden flash of the Thrunite AB9000.” Or, “The Fenix L20,000 will stun an assailant better than pepper spray.” Yes, they are brighter than shit. You can’t use them at home if you have children. Take one to an empty stadium. Another benefit of the six hundred dollar flashlight is its amazing battery life. You could turn it on and leave it on for a week. I don’t know when such a demand will arise: maybe some disaster will call out this flashlight’s virtues. Who needs a week of 9000 Lumens?
I have so much fun looking at flashlights online! I love it. Just writing this article threw me back into my obsessive mode, as I compare the specs of hundreds of black anodized titanium flashlights. I have six of these hand held monsters but my favorite is still the first one, the Litezall USB S2000. I’m also fond of my Gearlight ArcFlash, with its zoomable front lens, with its maximum light circle diameter of thirty feet. Awesome!
These flashlights are made in China. They’re well made, beautifully crafted. They’re impressive yet they’re affordable. Thirty bucks for a light that can stop an advancing hippo? Do it.
(For help withdrawing from flashlight addiction, contact “Nameless Flashlight Addicts, at the following website: http://www.myeyesmyeyes.com)
Today, talented poet, Frank Prem, has joined me to share about his favourite poem, why he likes it and what it means to him. His thoughts are very inspiring.
Frank shares a lot of his wonderful work on his blog here: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/.
Now, over to Frank.
What is your favourite poem
Usually when I’m invited to contemplate personal favourites among poets and their poetry I hark back to contemplate what the godfathers of Australian poetry (A.B. (The Banjo) Patterson and Henry Lawson represent for me. I feel great affection for both these writers as communicators and storytellers in their work.
While I admire their work very much and often refer to Patterson’s Clancy of the Overflow (http://www.wallisandmatilda.com.au/clancy-of-the-overflow.shtml), or Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/DrovWife.shtml) as examples of work that inspires me in my own storytelling efforts, today my contemplations have led me toward more contemporary writing and more personal inspiration.
Some years back, when I was in the first flush of joy at recognising myself as a poet – that experience of looking into a mirror and seeing a different self gazing back – I spent all my free moments pursuing the threads and trails of writing and learning what it meant to be a writer. I haunted the spoken word poetry scene of Melbourne at the time (around 1999, or thereabouts), to learn and to hone and develop.
The great and acknowledged master of Australian poetry at that time (and right through until his death in 2019) was Les Murray. He was a big man in every respect and it happened that he was visiting Melbourne to speak and to do some readings of his own work in a range of locations across one weekend.
I didn’t much about Murray at the time, but made it my business to haunt his footsteps from venue to venue, and to be in every one of his audiences. Maybe to ask a question.
It was quite an experience and one of the poems that he read had a huge impact on me, as a budding and aspiring writer. Watching and listening to Murray read it was a marvellous experience, and one that I still reflect back on from time to time, and wonder if the way that my writing has evolved owes more or less to that occasion.
The poem that so involved me is called An absolutely ordinary rainbow. My source for the poem (below) is http://www.lesmurray.org/index.htm
An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow
The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There’s a fellow crying in Martin Place. They can’t stop him.
The traffic in George Street is banked up for half a mile
and drained of motion. The crowds are edgy with talk
and more crowds come hurrying. Many run in the back streets
which minutes ago were busy main streets, pointing:
There’s a fellow weeping down there. No one can stop him.
The man we surround, the man no one approaches
simply weeps, and does not cover it, weeps
not like a child, not like the wind, like a man
and does not declaim it, nor beat his breast, nor even
sob very loudly—yet the dignity of his weeping
holds us back from his space, the hollow he makes about him
in the midday light, in his pentagram of sorrow,
and uniforms back in the crowd who tried to seize him
stare out at him, and feel, with amazement, their minds
longing for tears as children for a rainbow.
Some will say, in the years to come, a halo
or force stood around him. There is no such thing.
Some will say they were shocked and would have stopped him
but they will not have been there. The fiercest manhood,
the toughest reserve, the slickest wit amongst us
trembles with silence, and burns with unexpected
judgements of peace. Some in the concourse scream
who thought themselves happy. Only the smallest children
and such as look out of Paradise come near him
and sit at his feet, with dogs and dusty pigeons.
Ridiculous, says a man near me, and stops
his mouth with his hands, as if it uttered vomit—
and I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand
and shake as she receives the gift of weeping;
as many as follow her also receive it
and many weep for sheer acceptance, and more
refuse to weep for fear of all acceptance,
but the weeping man, like the earth, requires nothing,
the man who weeps ignores us, and cries out
of his writhen face and ordinary body
not words, but grief, not messages, but sorrow,
hard as the earth, sheer, present as the sea—
and when he stops, he simply walks between us
mopping his face with the dignity of one
man who has wept, and now has finished weeping.
Evading believers, he hurries off down Pitt Street.
Les Murray- The Weatherboard Cathedral, 1969
What is your interpretation of this poem?
This poem, in my interpretation, at least, is describing a kind spiritual awe and fascination bestowed on the most commonplace event. Someone (a man) weeping in a public place.
Every moment of every day someone – so many someone’s – is weeping. When might that be an event worthy of attention from a passing stranger, intent on personal business, and important matters?
When is the commonplace worthy of wonder?
The poem has me holding my breath, as I view the scene and watch the spectators thronging to worship, or condemn or simply to gawk before discussion at another time. Perhaps over dinner in the evening.
An ordinary event (rainbow) on the walkways of the main business centre in Sydney that no one can ignore.
What emotions does this poem invoke in you?
In reading, or listening to this poem being read, I feel the emotions swirling through the crowd – the curiosity and the wonder, the incredulity and intolerance. The wondering of what it could be about, how to stop it. Why did he stop weeping just when he did?
I am caught up in the narrative and inclined towards grief, but I don’t know quite why. Like the children, this poem caused me to sit at Murray’s feet.
If you could choose to write like any well-known poet, who would it be?
I go to some lengths, nowadays, to avoid reading any well known poet’s work too deeply. I feel so overfull of my own stories and writing imperatives that I fear, a little, being too influenced by any other powerful storyteller.
This work of Murray’s and some other of his material speaks to me, particularly when read aloud, as though it came from my own pen, in small ways and through small familiarities. Murray tells stories and peppers them with layers of meaning, or of question. He can be read at many levels, while retaining a lived contemporary feel within the work.
Literature without the excess baggage.
That is the kind of writing that I aspire to. Storytelling that can be spoken as conversational tale, and read as meaningful verse.
What is special to you about this poet’s writing style?
The power of Murray’s free verse is inspirational. There is no question that he is giving us capita ‘P’ poetry, but it is in a free verse form. There is such art in achieving the sharp brevity of ‘show, don’t tell’, within the confines of a fully fledged short story, as the piece above is.
Murray’s death (29 April 2019) is a huge loss to contemporary literature, I think.
A Kiss for the Worthy – Poetry book
A Kiss for the Worthy is the second book in a trilogy of poetry books, each inspired by a poem by a well-known and loved poet. In this, Book 2, Frank selected Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and used each line to write a poem of his own creation and inspiration.
I enjoyed this book very much and found the poems to be of a lighter tone than those included in Book 1. These poems revolve very much around the I, of the poem, and his interaction with nature and the world around him. The poems about with energy and his joy in what he sees and hears and also in the strength and endurance of his own body.
An example of this physical joy in nature is illustrated in this extract from be this (with kisses):
“turn your face
to feel the sun
warm and light
and good upon it”
And also in this beautiful extract from inhale (my heart):
“and where I strode
with salt flecks
and in the bubbles”
I really recommend this book of uplifting poetry to lovers of this genre.
Purchase A Kiss for the Worthy by Frank Prem
About Robbie Cheadle
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I have participated in a number of anthologies:
- Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
- Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
- Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
- Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
Find Robbie Cheadle
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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The Law of Attraction in Action
by Jeff Bowles
The phrase “summer movie season” has a totally different meaning this year, doesn’t it? Point of fact, there really isn’t one. For the most part, cinemas have shut down all over the world, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still watching movies at home. Maybe it’s old favorites with your Netflix subscription. Just chilling on the couch with your family, windows open to cool the house after a hot summer day … doing whatever it is people are doing to stay the heck away from Coronavirus.
Don’t worry. I’m not judging. I’ve literally forced myself to watch the entire Skywalker Saga on Disney+ four times. That’s a lot of lightsaber fights. A lot of them.
So here’s the deal. Writing to be Read is primarily a book blog. We talk about writing, literacy, try to keep you up to date on stuff you might want to read, and there’s room for some offhand conversations here and there as well. Normally, this time of year brings us a deluge of film releases, many of which are based on bestselling books (assuming you don’t get pelted by Marvel and DC before you make it to the popcorn stand). Now that the only real new releases are coming via the timely advent of at-home video streaming, pickings are slim, but I’ve come to you today to discuss a new movie based on a bestseller that is … well, let’s just say it’s more pop culture spiritual life coach than YA dystopia or gritty crime thriller.
The Secret, a book that teaches readers about the Law of Attraction, released in 2006 and summarily took the world by storm. It was later turned into an equally popular documentary, and eventually, a full-range self-help empire of near Tony-Robins-like proportions.
For those unfamiliar, the core teaching of The Secret is that we can have anything we want, as long as we keep a positive mental attitude, focus on desired outcomes rather than undesired ones, and basically have faith that the universe will provide exactly what we want, if perhaps not in the way we expect it. Plenty of people say it’s silly, ludicrous, wishful thinking, but there are many, especially in the New Age spiritual community, who hold The Secret as gospel.
Back in 2006, a bright and shining period in time compared to how 2020 has felt so far, the notion seemed plausible and exciting. After all, isn’t it determination and perhaps something outside ourselves, call it luck or grace or even the divine, that brings things into our lives right when we need them most? But then don’t bad things happen to us, too? And isn’t it cruel to blame people for their misfortunes by insinuating a negative mindset brought it to them?
Well, maybe. But that doesn’t stop the machine from churning. Now, with our movie theaters shuttered and barren like ghost towns, the international self-help brand The Secret has produced a feature film: The Secret: Dare to Dream. It’s a real Hollywood flick. It’s got movie stars, a genuine movie script, pretty yet bland domesticized locations. What it lacks, however, is the basic knowledge that pop spirituality, proselytization, and popcorn entertainment kinda don’t mix.
In recent years, there’s been a resurgence, a kind of renaissance, in Christian filmmaking. God’s Not Dead, The Case For Christ, I Can Only Imagine, these are movies of moderate budget, moderate expectations, that hit their audience and generally seem to work for them. The Secret: Dare to Dream is interested in riding in on a similar horse, although with a little veiled new agey-ness to go along with it.
Regardless of what you believe, surely you must admit that when entertainment becomes preachy it’s just not as, well, entertaining. And Dare to Dream does become preachy. Pretty darn quickly. That’s the whole point, right?
Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is a single mom and local restaurant manager who could seriously use a new house and a more positive outlook on life. When she literally runs into a guy called Bray (Josh Lucas) and damages the front fender of her van, Bray turns into mister fix-it, and as far as the filmmakers are concerned, enters the action specifically to transform Miranda’s life using the Law of Attraction. There’s more plot happening here than that, of course. There’s a superstorm, a hell of a lot of home damage (which Bray also volunteers to fix), and something of a love triangle.
I’m assuming people who are interested in this movie already believe in the Law of Attraction. Here’s a little “secret” for you. I sort of do, too, though the miraculous and unbelievable circumstances that tie Dare to Dream’s plot together have certainly never happened in my conscious daily experience. Still, I do believe in miracles, and I certainly believe our focus determines our reality. But some readers of The Secret have complained over the years that the book is way too dreamy. And you know what? This stuff is supposed to be ancient esoteric wisdom anyway, so what the hell is it doing in my Josh Lucas romance?!
That’s right, I forgot to mention Dare to Dream has love on the brain, and it takes a halfway decent stab at it, too. Not a total fail as a romance. Only problem is that educational tone, that preachiness, it pervades the entire proceedings. It’s clear that the negative people in the movie are on the wrong end of things, and it’s also clear this Bray fella is the proverbial music man of their lives, barging in and singing his song, improving everything with the utmost maximum charm at his disposal. Which is a lot of charm, as you can imagine.
Simple, right? Which is exactly what The Secret says about changing your life. In some ways, this is barely a movie, and it really ought to be pondered if books of a pseudo-spiritual nature, self-help-oriented and considered pure pablum by many, has any serious business being turned into a film Amazon wants me to Roku for $20.
I say it does not. But that doesn’t mean faith, positivity, and focus and determination are bad for us or don’t belong at the center of our popular storytelling. It’s just that transparent allegory—and trust me, this is the most transparent allegory you’ll ever find—turns people off. At least The Secret: Dare to Dream makes no bones about what it is.
I’m just waiting for the Deepak Chopra/Eckhart Tolle mashup superhero movie coming next year. It’ll be explosive. Or completely at peace. Depends on your point of view.
Jeff’s Movie Reviews gives The Secret: Dare to Dream a 6/10
Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!
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Jeff Bowles leads us throught the final day in the “Whispers of the Past” book blog tour with a glimpse into the mind of an author of horror. Drop in and check it out. You might be suprised.
Thanks to 4WillsPub for the wonderful tour, and to all of our wonderful blog hosts. It’s been fun! 🙂
I’m excited to host “WHISPERS OF THE PAST” – An Anthology Blog Tour supported by 4WillsPublishers. I’m sure you’ll be amazed at what they have to offer today.
Whispers of the Past Day #10
The Inadvertent Horror Writer by Jeff Bowles
Whispers of the Past is not strictly speaking a horror anthology, and yet my winning story, A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known, is about as horrific and psychological a rock and roll tale as you can find. It’s about a washed-up, extraordinarily damaged rock star who has a, how can I best put this without spoiling it? A troubled relationship with stardom and his own adoring fans. Now I could have written this story a million different ways, but somehow in the telling, it took a terrifying bent, something that happens to me more often than I’d like.
The best sort of horror is the kind that…
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Day 8 of “Whispers of the Past” book blog tour is over at “Writing & Music”. Thanks Jan Sikes for hosting. 🙂 Drop by and check out Robbie Cheadles post about rabies and her inspiration for “Missed Signs”. Check it out.
I am happy to host the release of this new book! Please take a look and if it appeals to you, grab a copy!
What is rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nerves and brain. The virus is commonly transmitted by a bite for an infected animal. If the bitten person is treated timeously, rabies can be prevented, however, if untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.
Symptoms of rabies in humans
Humans infected with rabies usually don’t show any symptoms for one to three months post infection, but this incubation period can extend to one year in exceptional circumstances. Once the symptoms of rabies appear in a human, it is nearly always fatal.
In the initial stages, rabies shares symptoms with many other viral illnesses. The area around the site of the bit may be tingling, twitching, itchy or painful and the person have a fever, headache…
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Day 7 of the “Whispers of the Past” book blog tour is hosted by Wendy J. Scott. Drop by and chack out my post on the inspiration behind my short paranormal story, “Woman in the Water”. Check it out.
Thanks for hosting Wendy!
Award winning fantasy and children’s story author, Wendy J Scott, is hosting day 7 of the Whispers of the Past blog tour which features a post by Kaye Lynne Booth. Thank you, Wendy, for hosting us.
Inspiration by Kaye Lynne Booth
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Drop by “The Showers of Blessings” blog for Day 4 of the “Whispers of the Past” book blog tour, with a post from Jeff Bowles about the inspiration for his winning story, “A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known”.
Welcome to Day 5 of the “WHISPERS OF THE PAST” Blog Tour! @RobertaEaton17 @ @4WillsPub
GIVEAWAY: (5) eBook copies of WHISPERS OF THE PAST. For c chance to win, simply leave a comment on the authors’ tour page as well as any other tour stop.
It is my pleasure to welcome a group of talented authors who have collaborated in the publication of the paranormal anthology. Today’s post is by Jeff Bowles.
Please help me welcome Jeff. Jeff, the floor is yours!
The Dream You Can’t Wake Up From: Writing A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known by Jeff Bowles
I was having waking dreams around the time I wrote A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known. I was also knee deep in a revived appreciation for the music of the Doors, but that’s kind of a secondary factor. In the dreams, I could be and do whatever I wanted. I could…
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Join us for Day Two of the “Whispers of the Past” book blog tour. Learn about the inspiration behind each story and meet the authors.
Today, it is my pleasure to welcome a group of talented authors who have collaborated in the publication of an anthology of short stories about the paranormal. I’m still learning about this genre, so I’m looking forward to today’s post by my friend, Stevie Turner, who is one of the collaborating authors. Take it away, Stevie!
About Partners in Time, a short story by Stevie Turner
I am pleased to be part of the Whispers of the Past blog tour, which runs for 10 days from 23rd March. Whispers of the Past is an anthology of paranormal stories from several authors compiled by Kaye Lynne Booth, which also includes Jeff Bowles’ winning entry in the 2019 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest, A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known.
My story Partners in Time is included in the anthology. I had already written and published the full novel but had…
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