Quotations on Kindness

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plato

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

                                                                                Plato

 

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu)

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

                                                                              Desmond Tutu

 

The_14th_Dalai_Lama_FEP

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

                                                                              Dalai Lama XIV

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Beautiful Writing, Part 6: Tim O’Brien

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Tim_obrien_2012

(https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tim_O’Brien_(author)#/media/File:Tim_obrien_2012.jpg)

(Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.)

One of the most extraordinary books I have ever read is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. The book itself presents an interesting question: is this a novel or a collection of interrelated short stories? I do not intend to delve into that conundrum now, but it is something we often explore when I use this book in literature classes.

O’ Brien deals with the Vietnam War, writing, story, and memory, among other issues in this text, but what I want to show is the power and beauty of his writing. Following are several excerpts:

“Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a life-time ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” (38)

“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” (179)

“I can see Kiowa, too, and Ted Lavender and Curt Lemon, and sometimes I can even see Timmy skating with Linda under the yellow floodlights. I’m young and I’m happy. I’ll never die. I’m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt between the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story.” (246)

Works Cited

O’ Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Broadway Books. New York. 1990.

 

 

Happy Birthday to Bram Stoker!

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Bram_Stoker_1906

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Today is the 170th anniversary of Irish writer Bram Stoker’s birthday. As the author of Dracula, a book I consider one of the finest Gothic novels ever written, he has had enormous impact on the worlds of writing, theater, and film.

To commemorate this day, the wonderful librarians at Lehigh University’s Linderman Library organized a showing of the classic film Dracula (1931) and starring Bela Lugosi. I was asked to give a short presentation about the film, which I enjoyed doing.  Given the opportunity to talk about this book and film, I always grasp the chance.

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So I wish Bram Stoker a happy birthday!

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Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is available for purchase on Amazon either as an ebook or a print book!

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Books That Have Influenced Me: Part One

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I have ready many books over the course of my life, and books have become a central part of who I am. I read books for pleasure, for study, and for examination. I teach books in my literature classes at Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College, I write about them in scholarly work, and I write novels. As I was considering the topic for this post, I started to think about what books have influenced me the most in my life.

Dracula

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

I do not mean that I want to explore what books are the most meaningful or the most important literature. That is a completely different discussion. Certainly there can be crossover in my choices, because I will not eliminate a text on its literary value, but I am interested now in which books had a part to play in my development as a human being and which ones helped to form me into the person I now am.

So many come to mind and are possibilities for discussion, especially when I think of some of the books I read as a youngster in high school. Among these novels are Dracula, The War of the Worlds, A Tale of Two Cities, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451.  Certainly, there were many more books that I read at that time, and I have always been a voracious reader, but these books, in a variety of ways help to shape my interests and some of my directions in life.

Today, I will focus on Dracula and what its influence on me was and is. This was one of the first Gothic novels I had read, and its power caught me immediately. I was drawn to the images of dark castles, terrible villains, and the supernatural. That I love Gothic is still clear, because not only do I teach Gothic literature, but also I write it.

Dracula, however, had a much deeper impact on me that simply the horror aspect; I was drawn to the idea of the need for good people to oppose evil.  It is a theme that, on the surface, might seem simplistic, but a person need only look at the history of the 20th Century into our contemporary time to see that evil does exist, especially in the form of people who would oppress, torment, exclude, and bully others. Of course, I am not making an argument that the supernatural evil in this novel exists, but that human evil certainly does.  The Nazis demonstrated that human horror in its full capacity.

In this book, a fellowship of human beings is created, and they decide to fight a creature that is far more powerful than anything they could have imagined, and they do so at the risk of their lives.  This act of defending others, even if the people do the battle are put at risk, became a central part of my ethos.  There will always be those who would bully and oppress others, and they must always be opposed.  While in early high school, Dracula helped to form that idea in my mind.

In the next entry in this series, I will discuss a book in which the idea of fellowship is a central theme.

wp-1476386546701-maledicus

Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is available for purchase on Amazon either as an ebook or a print book!

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Quotations on Creativity

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Sylvia_Plath

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

                                                                    Sylvia Plath

 

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(https://pixabay.com)

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

                                                                  Albert Einstein

 

George Bernard Shaw

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”

                                                                 George Bernard Shaw

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!

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I want to wish everyone both a Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain!

blessed_samhain

(http://lubuntu.me/blessed-samhain/)

On the pre-Christian Celtic calendar, October 31 was Samhain, pronounced Soo-when or Sow-when, and it marked the day when the world of the living and dead where at the closest. It is also the end of year, with November 1 as the start of the next year. This day is one of the most important Gaelic/Celtic/Pagan/Wiccan/Druidic holidays of the year!  And please do not worry about the devil–he is not a part of Samhain. It is a day to remember those who have passed and to think of the future.

So, enjoy the day, dress up, have candy, party, and raise a toast and wish all a Happy New Year!

happy-new-year-630689_640

(https://pixabay.com)

wp-1476386546701-maledicus

Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is available for purchase on Amazon either as an ebook or a print book!

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Quotations on Education

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(https://pixabay.com)

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

                                                                      Mahatma Gandhi

 

nelson-mandela-510516__340

(https://pixabay.com)

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

                                                                      Nelson Mandela

 

Margaret Mead (1972)

(https://en.wikiquote.org)

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

                                                                     Margaret Mead