TIME GOES BY 2017 DONATION WEEK REMINDER
The second annual donations drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By continues today. You can read the details on Monday's post.
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MOSTLY ANECDOTAL: STORIES - BOOK AND CONTEST
New-ish readers of TGB might not know that for eight-and-a-half years, from 2007 to November 2015, there was a companion blog to Time Goes By called The Elder Storytelling Place.
I didn't write for “ESP”, other people did that and I published their stories. Many wonderful stories, more than 2100 of them over that time. You can still see the blog and all those stories anytime you want – there is a link in the right sidebar under the Features section.
What Norm does in his stories is report his observations of everyday life, reporting the telling details you and I might not have appreciated even as we recognize the incidents he writes about from our own lives.
Norm notices the little things too many people miss – or dismiss – and turns them into charming, funny, insightful short stories.
And I do mean short. Short is his signature style and to show you, I'm going to print a story or two or three from Mostly Anecdotal. This one is titled “Spring.”
”I was sitting on a park bench, a gentle bit of gravity holding me in place, when I heard a robin singing, an American idol.
“He sang his song, hitting all the right notes, and while I saw other birds and heard other songs, it was his that nested in my heart.
“A start. A gentle breeze unaffected by my bit of gravity passed by, and the sun, perched upon my shoulder, shared its warmth.”
They may be short, Norm's stories, but they speak in that small way of our whole world. Here's one of my favorites titled “No Ugly Chicks.”
”He was a shoeshine guy. He was old and wore a baseball cap with 'No Ugly Chicks' embroidered on the front and from below the brim poked his bulbous nose, red and black veins crisscrossing ample sun-scorched terrain.
“His squinting eyes, like tiny black olives with pinpoints of gray, looked satisfied. No chin, no teeth, and Dumbo ears would make anyone wonder why.
“'No Ugly Chicks', I said, raising my eyes to his cap.
“He smiled his toothless grin and said, 'Nope.'”
Most of the funny stories are too long to quote and snippets don't work well with humor. But we can do one more that shows Norm's shockingly (wonderful) dark humor. Titled “Missed.”
”A rare warbler sits on a branch, noticed by no one. Nearby, wallowing in the dirt, is a bison.
“The arriving birders, chatting but not yet listening, may miss this particular warbler for he is far from home and unexpected. He's singing, 'sweeter, sweeter, sweetest,' but they don't hear him.
“They see a water thrush near the pond. They are attentive now, watching carefully and listening, but the warbler is no long singing.
“John sees the bison, weighing maybe more than a ton, and he sees the unknown warbler, weighing certainly less than an ounce. It is still on the branch, but his view is obscured. He needs to closer.
“Others warn him of the danger, but he sees only the bird.
“By the time John's body is removed, it is dark. The bird has departed, continuing its migration. Both will be missed.”
There are 72 stories in this collection, stories - which Norm defines, in the introduction, as a catchall word for creative non-fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry and memoir.
”I've tried to capture the interesting bits and pieces of life as I see it,” he continues. “I find it's all interesting, if you pay attention.”
In Norm's telling, it IS all interesting. Mostly Anecdotal: Stories is available at Amazon in both Kindle and soft cover editions. But have I got a deal for you: Norm has made three copies available to give away to TGB readers.
As in past giveaway contests, we will do a random drawing. Here's how it goes:
Leave a message in the comments section below (no emails). That's it. If you have something to say about the book, that's good – we like lively discussions here - but not required.
The only requirement is that you state your interest in winning one of the books. “Please enter me in the drawing,” works. Or typing, "Me, me, me" will do it, too. I'm not fussy.
The contest will close tomorrow night, 16 February 2017, at midnight U.S. Pacific standard time. The three winners will be chosen in a random, electronic drawing and their names will be announced on this blog on Friday 17 February 2017.