It was summer. The sun was setting on the Hudson. Neighbors were enjoying themselves at nearby tables. The breeze was nice. The surrounding cityscape looked like a stage set for a musical.
What is the opposite of a perfect storm? That is what this was, one of those rare moments when the world seems to shed all shyness and display every possible permutation of beauty. Oliver said it well as we took up our plates and began heading back downstairs: “I’m glad I’m not dead.” This came out rather loudly, as he is a bit deaf. Even so, he looked surprised by his own utterance, as if it were something he was feeling but didn’t really mean to say aloud — a thought turned into an exclamation.
“I’m glad you’re not dead, too,” said a neighbor gaily, taking up the refrain. “I’m glad we’re all not dead,” said another. There followed a spontaneous raising of glasses on the rooftop, a toast to the setting sun, a toast to us.
It’s pretty clear. Over-fishing is a present danger to our worldwide oceanic ecosystems. Scientists estimate that all marine life will be gone from our oceans by the middle of this century if nothing is done to protect the sustainability of seafood. Up until now, we didn’t know the solution to this dire issue. But here it is—if we want over-fishing to stop, there’s only one thing left to do. And it’s a no-brainer. We need to assemble a group of celebrities to pose nude while straddling, stroking or canoodling dead fish. Then take their picture.
Some years ago when I first started to teach a fiction class called “Essential Beginnings” at UCLA Extension, I had to consider what I should offer new writers. In the context of a three-hour class, what things might I guide people toward that they may not otherwise discover immediately on their own? Poetry. In recent years I’ve come to see that poetry is a great thing for writers to know, even if they don’t plan on being poets. In fact, poetry is a great thing for everyone to understand. It lets you live in the world with a new pair of glasses with a clear prescription.
Poetry can pack so much into so little. When you start to understand how this works, you can use poetic devices in your fiction and nonfiction.
These poems were written over a span of two decades, during which I moved between countries and cultures, seeking always for a space I could call home. Now I understand that home is in the writing—and in the connections we make.
The year is 1982, and a beautiful young woman, dressed in Edwardian clothing, is found floating unconscious in the North Atlantic with a 1912 boarding pass to the RMS Titanic.
Over in England, Callum Toughill, an insurance investigator, is assigned the case of a missing brooch that was stolen during a horrific, unsolved murder in 1909 Glasgow. He is chosen because it was his own grandfather who had botched the original investigation. Despite the painful family memory and likelihood that all evidence will be long gone, Callum dives in. As he begins to uncover the tangled truth that the missing brooch may have ended up on the ill-fated RMS Titanic, someone is one step ahead, trying to stop him.
Miraculously the mysterious young woman, nicknamed 'Myra' because of the inscription on her locket, survives and awakes in a Manhattan hospital with no memory of who she is. Myra’s vague recollections are from the gilded age of 1912 and she is lost in the alien, harsh world of 1982. A respected and wealthy Titanic survivor named Edward Hoffman assists in exposing her as a fake, but the plan backfires and stirs up more details in Myra's memory which include the fact that Edward may be her son.
Is it a bizarre case of time-travel or an elaborate hoax?
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