thanksgiving: thankful for wonder

for the wonder of the sky, the land, the everywhere, the people who have been, are

will be part of my one



I am thankful

and for the “blue true dream of sky”


as e.e. cummings put it in that certain e.e. cummings way

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukah, All

T.S. Eliot and Swag

English: Thomas Stearns ('T.S.') Eliot with hi...

English: Thomas Stearns (‘T.S.’) Eliot with his sister and his cousin, by Lady Ottoline Morrell (died 1938). See source website for additional information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First edition cover

First edition cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of nights a ago I pulled out the copy of T.S. Eliot’s COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962, the copy I had in college, and wondered why I liked him so much back then. Wondered why I was wondering/What the fascination was with this highly affected/Beyond self-indulgent/Narcissistic to an extent that would wilt the narcissism of kings. All kings.

At least he was a total pessimist, solipsistic and dreary. (Explains his appeal to collegiate humanities majors).

Now and again there still seem to me to be some good things. Mostly they occur in his “minor” pieces, and who cannot like OLD POSSUM’S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS? Clearly, this was a cat person as a dog would not even have let him in a dog’s house. Dogs are real and open and honest even when they bite. Cats never are. Reflective dissembling is a feline’s stock and trade.

There are many good lines, an occasional image nicely turned, a well-crafted phrase, perhaps overly crafted (And through the spaces of the dark/Midnight shakes the memory/As a madman shakes a dead geranium). Now, he is for eternity interred with his beloved English worms: “This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” (The Hollow Men).

So un-Faulknerian, that, Faulkner who stated emphatically his belief that man would not merely endure, but prevail. Maybe. Nice to believe, anyway. Were I to pick a single Eliot line for sign-off, it would be: “And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.” (Four Quartets, Little Gidding).

Swag, you know that stuff you find at writers conferences and signings, ballpoints and keychains and bookmarks, postcards and business cards promoting an author’s latest contribution to the ever-growing mound of literary history. What’s it worth? Does it do any good? Has anyone bought a book because of it? Maybe. Is it cost effective? I’d bet against it. That said, I just bought 250 business cards with my website image on one side and my book cover on the other. And three mugs. One for my mother, and extras. Looking at the mugs makes me feel almost important. Not quite, but close. My mother will like hers, however, and will show it to her friends. That’s what makes a $2 mug worth $9.50.

I wonder what sort of swag Eliot would have given were he a swag-giver. Mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps. Unlikely. Engraved lighters, cigars, pipes, tobacco, Armagnac…maybe. A pack of pipe cleaners? I could see that. Faulkner would have swagged Bourbon. I’m sure of that.

William Faulkner, 1954

William Faulkner, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Ebook pricing, Jerry Jeff Walker, Taxing Marijuana, Blue Dream and ONE MINUTE GONE

“Last week I was thinkin, it’s record time again…”

Which is what Jerry Jeff would think, whereas I would think it’s blogging time again…

Or maybe time to listen to

London Homesick Blues again images

It seems my neuroantennae have begun channeling Jerry Jeff Walker. If I had a choice, I’m not sure that’s whom I would choose to have speaking into my brain in the morning when I wake, but there are definitely worse, even in Texas. Especially in Texas. Ted Cruz comes to mind. I wish he  didn’t.

ONE MINUTE GONE  one_minute_gone_cover_largedh3

For years, medical marijuana has been available in Colorado, as it should be everywhere, IMHO, with a doctor’s approval, but effective January 1st, it will be available on a retail basis, without a doctor’s note. As it should be, IMHO. Not that doctors’ notes are hard to come by. They’re not. You just need some sort of medical condition. Chronic pain or anxiety will do nicely. Last week Colorado voters authorized a tax on retail marijuana that could go as high as 30%, maybe higher, as some local authorities want to add an additional tax. I don’t have a problem with that as long as the retail price, including tax, remains below the street level (illegal) strike point although retail availability may drive the street price down. From an economics standpoint it will be interesting to watch. One thing that has already happened is that Colorado is reaping something of an economic windfall as people move here, including a lot of baby boomers, to take advantage of the availability of regulated, high-quality pot. You know exactly what you are buying, whether it’s Indica or Sativa or a hybrid, and what the THC and CBD content are. It’s like going into a liquor store, or a good wine store, except the other patrons in an MMJ dispensary are more likely to be someone you would want to hang out with. Right, I am speaking for myself now.

The only other issue I have with the tax is that some of the locales that have prohibited retail sales (that’s fine, their privilege) want to participate in the revenue from the tax. That’s stupid. It’s even worse than the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome, because it’s NIMBY-but-if-you-do-it-in-your-backyard and make money on it I want some. Remember The Little Red Hen? No one would help her plant the seed, harvest, etc., but everyone was willing to help her eat the bread? Same deal.

So what does all of this have to do with ebook pricing strategy? I haven’t figured that out, yet. Probably nothing. But in my last post I said the next would be on ebook pricing strategy so here it is:

How do you price your self-published ebook? As cheaply as possible. You’re not going to make much money, if any, until it starts to sell a lot of copies and the most important thing is to get it out there and into the hands of AMRAP. As many readers as possible. As fast as possible. Mine is at 99 cents. The same is true if you have a print-on-demand trade paperback. I set mine at $8.99, which is barely break-even, but Amazon is selling it today at $7.64, cutting the difference out of their share.

That’s about all I have to say about that. But if you come to Colorado, you can get really good marijuana cheap. Not as cheap as my ebook, but still cheap. If you buy my ebook for .99, or the POD for $7.50, you can also get an eighth of an ounce of something really good from an MMJ dispensary, like Blue Dream or Alaskan Thunderf**k for $25-30. There’s no connection between the two purchases, of course, I’m just saying… Get both and you’ll probably be happier. I know I will.