Friday, November 30, 2012

O Discordia!

I've not yet figured out much of a running functionality to The Oracular Beard yet and I'm getting into a habit of just posting something whenever I feel like it.  In the coming weeks, I'm going to bust my hump to make a more streamlined effort in making my web presence established.

So today, for your listening and reading enjoyment, I'm posting one of the debut songs from my new musical collective Whitman's Ghost.  The chorus and musical arrangement is by band member Aron Agerton and the verses are adapted from the poem of the same name by yours truly.

Whitman's Ghost. O Discordia.

This is the original poem for you.  It was after a break-up where I wasn't sure where I was headed, but remembered all the pain I'd been getting, but at the same time dishing out my own.  Definitely wasn't on the path I was needing to be on.

It's also got a bunch of literary reference, the majority of which come from Stephen King's magnum opus The Dark Tower.  It's this sprawling western/fantasy epic that kicks butt over seven novels (there's more now) and has some pretty strong connections to the rest of his work.  All told, there's a bunch of reference that has our main character spinning his wheels trying to make up for his past.

O Discordia

I am me, and you are not
I am the last thing that I've got
all these open doors will soon be shut
here I come, ready or not

I have not forgot the face of my father
or the clearing at the end of the path
the direction of my travels tend to wander
until I'm faced with the aftermath
I'm going down, my guns a-blazin'
out of bullets when I turn to the sword
zig and zag those peals of lightning
as if I'd forgotten what I'm fighting for

I am me, and you are not
I am the last thing that I've got
all these open doors will soon be shut
here I come, ready or not

bodies piled high in the courtyard
it's not the outcome we deserve
seeing through shades of gray is so hard
when all along it's the white we're to serve
not that I aim to take no prisoners
the price to fight for our sake
and as the ranks are growing thinner
dead and wounded lie in our wake

bang bang, shoot shoot
we deal our trade in lead
happiness is a warm gun
forever pointed at your head
call off these harriers
please, please, and thankee sai
break down these barriers
and remove the plank from my eye

all is quiet on the western front
not a sound to be heard
picking, poking, prodding at the remains
is a single, solitary bird
this old crow's wings been clipped
hopping back and forth from corpse to corpse
all that's left that seems alive
is this sputtering, guttering, blackened torch

I am me, and you are not
I am the last thing that I've got
all these open doors will soon be shut
here I come, ready or not

Don't click on this next link unless you want major spoilers to the series!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hunting things that hunt you in the night...

Future vampires, sexy vampires, teen angst vampires. 

Now there’s even Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

The market these days is dripping in vampiric and supernatural literature. And while I’m never one to shirk the ghosts and goblins, especially around Halloween, I don’t really know the nitty gritty about most things that go bump in the night.

Not to worry.  Lee Collins’ debut novel The Dead of Winter takes care of that for us.

This dark fantasy novel set in the wild west follows the adventures of a team of “monster hunters.” What makes this band of heroes unique is the husband-and-wife team of Cora and Ben Oglesby. She’s a boozin’, gamblin’ lady with a hair-trigger temper. Ben does the book learnin’ and doesn’t talk much.

The story opens in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado, that has a problem with a pesky creature called a wendigo. After a few harrowing encounters, Cora regroups to her priest confidant in Denver to get the skinny of the baddie. In short order, she returns to dispose of the beastie and collect the bounty.

I can’t gush quite enough as to how well this book holds up. The vampires and gunslinging are all well and good, but where the light really breaks through the clouds is the attention to character detail. Collins subtly weaves backstory with plotlines and introduces characters whom are ripe for exploration in further installments.

This is another offering of Angry Robot Books who even as a smaller publisher of fantasy and science fiction excel at their craft. I’ve had the opportunity to read half a dozen titles, and they only get better.
The Dead of Winter is scheduled for an October 30 release.  Just in time to scare the socks off you.

(Originally published in The Lock Haven Express as Books with your Barista, 10/25/12)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

LHU Eagle Eye 02/16/2012

Three things I am thankful for (among many) on this Thanksgiving day.  

Listen, read, enjoy.

It was the year of the Beatles
 it was the year of the Stones
 it was the year after JFK

Paul Simon
The Late Great Johnny Ace


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interview I

As my first post to the new-ish blog, I thought I'd let loose a little and give you a glimpse to not only the process, but how I cope on a day-to-day basis.  There's a lot going on up there, and I've just started interviewing myself when I can't seem to get the words down on the page.  

Now that the blog's back up and running, I'll be sure to post "interviews" as they happen.  This is from a long weekend back in late September in the southern tier of New York.  The in-laws always get the Sunday Times, and it always makes for good reading.

So, Jared, what're you working on today?

Not too sure yet.  I've had my cuppa and some breakfast cereal, doped around on the internets.  Did read an article about ephemera of New York City earlier.  More than likely it'll be Metro again today.

Isn't that something like the third book in the series?

Yah.  I got caught up reading this old issue of the New York Times talking about this sightseeing tour of the city, by boat.  There were two things that struck me as interesting, so I jumped on 'em.

How the inspiration hits me.  It makes connection to stuff I've already thought of and it unravels onto the page.

Sure, third book, but it'll lead me to something farther (or earlier) on down the road.

Doesn't it get confusing?  Frustrating?


I mean, I've been working on this stuff since time outta mind.  I'd love for it to be written so it's not in my head anymore or so I could work on something else.

Then I realize--this is it.  If it weren't for this story, there wouldn't be the Jared you know now, interviewing himself instead of "writing."

I've a few other ideas rolling around up there, but the reason they haven't made their way out is that they're not ready yet either.  I'm working on it, piecemeal, and it's coming.

Patience is all.

This is all part of the process.