Summer is close to ending, and autumn will soon be here, a wondrous season of change. Among those movements are the leaving behind of summer activities and the return of the academic school year. The first day of the semester at both schools where I teach, Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College, has arrived. I had a busy summer and taught summer classes, so this is not following on a long break, but I always am excited at the start of a new collegiate year.
I often write, in this blog, about writing, and that is my other passion, but teaching is still my main field, my main vocation, and my driving force in life. I love to teach, and this semester I have a wide variety of courses; among them are the following: First Year Composition, Renaissance Imagination, Gothic and Horror, and Modern American Fiction. These courses reflect some, but certainly not all, of my areas of study and interest.
I always feel blessed that I am able to incorporate my love of reading into a field in which I lead discussions about this material. In fact, I am extraordinarily lucky, because I love my work, and I know there are far too many people who do not have this good fortune.
I also love that I have a wide range of students in my classes. I teach both traditional-age students and non-traditional adult students. As someone who was an adult student myself, a story for another post, I embrace having adults in my classes.
So, onward with the semester!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”
Roosevelt Franklin, the protagonist of my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, in many ways is a sophisticated man. He has expensive tastes in British tailored suits, fine cigars, and the best single malt Scotch whisky. He is not, however, a food snob. His beloved wife, Sarah, was an excellent cook and often prepared elegant meals for Roosevelt. Sarah died a few years before the beginning of the book, and Roosevelt honors her memory by not attempting to make those meals for himself. Now, he prefers simpler fare, even if it is not always the healthiest.
(Photo by Liz French)
One of his favorite meals now is panfried veggies and cheeseburgers.
Roosevelt emphasizes that, if possible, to use cast iron pans for the frying.
One pound ground beef, preferably 80/20 mixture.
Cheese–American, cheddar, or Swiss.
Two to three large red potatoes.
One large sweet onion.
One bell pepper.
*Clean and cut potatoes and carrots into irregular small pieces.
*Briefly steam the carrots and potatoes to soften them.
*Dice the bell pepper, tomato, and onion.
*Preheat two cast iron skillets to medium.
*Lightly coat one with olive oil or vegetable oil (this pan is for the veggies.)
*As pans are heating, mix the groundbeef with an egg and Worcestershire sauce. Season mixture with pepper and sea salt.
*Form into patties, as large or small as desired.
*Place patties into heated pan. Allow to sear on both sides.
*Add all veggies into other hot skillet.
*Season with pepper, sea salt, paprika, and dill.
*After about 5 minutes, reduce heat. Turn veggies ever 5 minutes or so to prevent burning. Add more oil if needed.
*If needed, reduce heat for hamburgers. Depending on their size and the preference for level of being cooked, it could take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to cook, so keep a careful eye on them.
*When close to being finished, add cheese and cover, so the cheese melts completely.
*Serve either on a plate or hamburger rolls. Add whatever condiments are desired.
(Photo by Liz French)
I am deeply honored to have been featured in this interview.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Mitch Teemley’s post is both excellent and important.
By the time the war ended, 58,220 American soldiers had died in Vietnam. And, in a strange irony, 50,000 of the people they’d gone to save had been evacuated to the United States. It was the largest airlift in U.S. history.
I remember when the refugees arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County, just minutes from where I lived and studied at the University of California, Irvine.
During that long, hot summer of 1975 (the hottest in thirty years), wave after wave of uprooted Southeast Asians settled into reinvented lives. “Little Saigon” in Garden Grove became the largest enclave of Vietnamese (over 200,000) outside of Vietnam. Nguyen Cao Ky, the former president of South Vietnam, ran a liquor store there.
I sensed some sort of circle had closed when, in the mid-90’s, I overheard a couple of teenagers drooling in “totally” SoCal girl accents over a dress…
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I attended The Writers Digest Conference for 2016 in Manhattan this past weekend, and I had a wonderful time, and I learned a great deal of information about writing and publishing.
First I would like to give my deepest thanks to my extraordinary mother-in-law and father-in-law. They are wonderful people, whom I love, and I am grateful for their hosting me for the weekend. They live on Staten Island, and I made the commute to uptown Manhattan by bus, ferry, and bus. The part of the commute I loved was the ferry ride, which is still free. I love any kind of boat or ship, so I felt as excited as a child to ride the ferry.
The conference was both fun and educational. I was able to meet many other writers, attend valuable sessions that gave important information on a variety of subjects that writers need to know, and the agent pitch slam went very well. During the pitch slam, each author has 3 minutes to pitch his/her book and take questions from the agent. If the agent is interested, he/she gives you a card and instructs what to send them. I pitched my YA book: The Ameriad: The Monastery of Knowledge to seven agents, and six requested I send them a variety of information. While nothing is ever certain, I still consider that to be successful.
Finally, I want to mention that author David Baldacci gave the main keynote address, and he was exciting, informative, honest, humble, and amusing. He showed a very human side and was a very warm and gracious person. I have read most of his books, and I think they are among the very best thrillers written. As a person, from the little interaction I had with him, he struck me to be a warm and genuine human being.
This was a very successful experience, and I recommend it highly to any authors who can attend in the future.
This post is an excellent discussion of what “weird” means in fiction.
The shortest, most succinct definition of Weird I ever read was: “Stories about things that cannot possibly happen.”
To this day, that is the most helpful of all definitions I have read – the least complicated with the most meat. That simple statement reminds the reader and the writer to think about the ultimate destination of plot, and the conditions by which we get there. For example, this particular definition of Weird includes all of the traditional monsters of Horror – although the ghost waivers on the fringe at times. But it also encompasses what is referred to as “Cosmic Horror” – which is to Science Fiction what Dark Fantasy is to Fantasy.
However, nothing in defining Weird Fiction is completely simple because as a reader or Critic accumulates examples of stories, there is just enough “spin” on the different plots, characters and atmosphere that Critics need more specifics.
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