Saturday, September 29, 2018


IN THE REIGN OF HARAD IV  SHORT STORY REVIEW - A miniature maker--honored with a fur coat to attend court—creates doll house furniture with incredible detail. He loses himself in his own ambitions, ever creating things that are smaller and smaller, that his apprentices check on him one day. He has made a doll house so small, that it is invisible, even under powerful magnification. In The Reign of Harad IV by Steven Millhauser the author explores themes common to his other works, small moments, replicating reality, small models and exploration of the literary fantastic. This Pulitzer prizewinning writer has authored Dangerous Laughter, A Precursor of the Cinema and The Other Town.

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In the Reign of Harad IV

In the reign of Harad IV there lived at court a maker of miniatures, who was celebrated for the uncanny perfection of his work. Not only were the objects of his strenuous art pleasing to look at but the pleasure and astonishment increased as the observer, bending closer, saw that a passionate care had been lavished on the smallest and least visible details.

Cynthia Ozick reads Steven Millhauser

Cynthia Ozick reads Steven Millhauser's "In the Reign of Harad IV."

Saturday, September 22, 2018


EVOLUTION OF TEXT – Prior to printing, scribes copied books by hand, in laborious fashion. Drawings became pictographs, Egyptians used reed brushes to write on papyrus pages quickly and cleanly. Phoenicians developed a phonetically-based alphabet before the Romans. The Celts wrote runes on tiles with thick tight set angled ascenders and descenders, a precursor of upper/ lowercase. Christianity pushed Bibles, often by force, but led to the development of the illustrated manuscript.  A jumble of bones that became Old English ended up on the shores of the island. Oddly enough, it became a world language. Very few early written fragments survived, mostly as short inscriptions. A Chinese inventor makes movable type of earthenware around 1100 but there are no surviving examples. Gutenberg created his movable type press, around 1400, imitating a writing style used by scribes of his day. The penmanship craze, tied to social status, pushes the use of easily carved copperplates featuring script-like letters influenced by elegant handwriting. Single sheets known as incurables, a pamphlet recognized as the origin of the publication business, were created in 1501 using wood block stamps. Editor Edward Cave coined the term ‘magazine’ as a word for periodicals in 1731, with Gentleman's Magazine. Penguin paperbacks are a new idea, cheaper than hardbacks, ushering in the dawn of the modern paperback in the 30s. American children still learn both cursive and printed handwriting styles in the 70s. As early as the 80s, online newspapers like The Columbus Dispatch were being read on CompuServe computers. Grocery store aisles across the country stock cheap plentiful tabloids and women’s print magazines, peaking in the 80s and 90s. Print books/ newspapers/ magazines first became available on stationary desk top computers, and later downloaded to increasingly portable devices. Every version of e-books are formatted exactly like paperback novels. Desktop to laptop to e-reader to kindle to smartphone to audiobook. Listening to audiobooks on long commutes becomes a new user experience for an old concept.  In the future, people will wear smart glasses and smart watches to take audio/ books everywhere. Might it become too much of a good thing? We will see what happens next, in the evolution of text.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


ROUTE 66 - Travel through the desert, from the gulf of Texas to the mighty Pacific. Route 66 isn’t a place, it’s a mindset. Few seem to grasp the real America began before the settlement of Acoma pueblo or Chaco Canyon. Far before any Pilgrims. The road used for commerce currently was once a footpath, and later a horsepath. In my own journey, travel east and south came first, seeming contradictory, but that’s how it unfolded. Close my eyes and drive by Grants down 66 and meander down Central Avenue. The murky version of the past stored in my mind, frozen in time from the day I left, doesn’t reconcile with the 2018 version. It’s how I remembered what happened. That version, the one I’m used to, not how things are right now. Past Central Avenue. No more Wagon Wheel hotel or Weinerschnitzel next to The Pussycat. From the heights with Foxes on one end, almost to Nine Mile Hill,  the women’s social club.  I got in with my work friend, she drove me there in her 280z. The day in high school when I drove the open road and listened to the space shuttle explode live on the radio. I found signposts along the way. The club in Nob Hill where I could never quite make it. Stop trying to run away, everyone said. Many many times. Go west, young man, the road said. Every young man looks down a long road and wonders, could I make it there? I did that and the road is a place that lives inside my mind. Ocean Beach, no it’s not Lands’ End. But I see the ocean every day in San Francisco. Sometimes I imagine taking the 580 to the 5 to I40 back. But the old 66 of my mind isn't there. I long for a full gas tank and the open road since Route 66 never leaves my mind.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


THE CONJURING FRANCHISE - The Nun, 5th film in the Conjuring franchise, features a screenplay by Gary Dauberman from a Wan/ Dauberman treatment based on source material. You will certainly recognize the name James Wan, creator of the Insidious and Saw franchises. So far this series has included The Conjuring (2013), Anabelle (2014), Annabelle: Creation (2017), The Conjuring: Enfield Case (2016) and The Nun (2018). The Crooked Man, another spinoff character tracing back to source material is currently in production.  Starring as the nun will be Taissa Farmiga, sister of the original Conjuring star Vera Farmiga. Catch the film in theaters on September 7, 2018. 

The Conjuring 2013

Anabelle 2014

Annabelle: Creation 2017

The Conjuring: Enfield Case 2016

The Nun 2018