An Update on My Dear Darling Perry Cat

A couple of months ago I wrote that I was thinking of changing my weekly posts from Mondays. After trying things out on other days, I have to say that I like my old pattern best which is to try for Mondays and if other days arise, then post then instead or additionally. So it’s Monday. And I’m posting.

I want to tell you about my darling Perry (in the photo he’s nestling up against Kana). It’s been years now since he first showed up in our backyard and we trapped him, got him neutered, took him to the shelter where he was all but kicked out. They thought he was feral because he was completely shut down emotionally. I ended up bringing him home and earning his trust over weeks and weeks. I read poetry and stories to him, sang to him, and held his food bowl while he ate. Then one day when I stuck my hand under the bed, he came toward me and started to touch my hand with his paw. That was the moment when I knew he wasn’t feral and was going to be a big sweetheart. Video of Perry Hiding Under the Bed Touching my Hand

Perry has been a member of our family for 5.5 years now, and he’s the King of the Castle. He’s been the babysitter of cats and kittens. He is in charge of it all. I have expected to have him around until I was really old. Imagine my shock to realize something is wrong with his health. He’s got weird poos that have gotten increasingly soft, light-colored, and smelly. He’s lost weight–down a couple of pounds in the last two years. He feels skinny. And yet he’s a picky eater which gives me anxiety as it reminds me of Felix and Tiger when they got sick. On top of the GI symptoms, he suddenly has a level 3 heart murmur. This isn’t a terrible one, but it’s significant and especially for a seven-year-old cat. So he needs medical tests. The GI troubles could be Irritable Bowel Disease–or they could be lymphoma. The vet want to start with an abdominal ultrasound. Perry’s going to get an echocardiogram to examine the heart murmur. Please send all your prayers, vibes, and general good wishes for my dear darling special boy. The ultrasound is Friday, and the echo is in a month (they are hard to schedule). 

As you may realize, we took in my son’s two cats six months ago. Two older cats who have their own ingrained habits and don’t get along that well to begin with is a pretty big thing to bring into a household with three older cats (two seniors plus Perry). It has not been a smooth six months. Not. smooth. at. all. 

The gardener and I are over our Covid (we hope). It wasn’t fun, but it sure wasn’t anything like Valley Fever (I’m only speaking for myself here). 

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Rooted and Winged, please consider it as a way to support the poetry community :).

If you have one and haven’t posted a review at Amazon (and maybe Goodreads, too), I’d sure appreciate it.

If you would like to review it for your blog or a lit journal, please email me at luanne[dot]castle[at]gmail[dot]com and ask for an ARC.

And if you have already bought a copy and reviewed the book, a million thank yous!!!!

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Two and A Half Years Later

The gardener and I have finally succumbed to Covid. See you on the other side of it!

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Irony, Heartbreak, Depression

I’ve become obsessed with a 1966 hit by The Statler Brothers: “Flowers on the Wall.” A bluegrassy-sounding song, it won a Grammy that year, and yet it’s weird and chockful of irony. I can’t stop listening to it. See if you think it’s one of the most ironic and sad songs you’ve ever heard:

(Take a look at those Mad Men outfits!)

Anyway, do you know the song or did you just listen? Here are the lyrics:

I keep hearin’ you’re concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you’re givin’ me is conscience I guess
If I were walkin’ in your shoes, I wouldn’t worry none
While you and your friends are worried about me, I’m havin’ lots of fun

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Last night I dressed in tails, pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it’s hard to slow this swinger down
So please don’t give a thought to me, I’m really doin’ fine
You can always find me here, I’m havin’ quite a time

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

It’s good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Lewis Dewitt

Flowers On the Wall lyrics © Unichappell Music Inc.

The song was written by Statler Brothers tenor Lew DeWitt. The lyrics are astonishing with irony (and the sound of a ripping heart) just dripping out of every line. What an amazing description of deep depression.

Do you think the irony makes the story even more tragic?

Can you think of other songs that are equally ironic and yet heartbreaking?

Irony works the same way in poetry (of course). My top choice of an ironic poem is probably Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” a villanelle that is one of my favorites.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
playing card deck
Photo by Israel Garcia on Pexels.com

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Superstition Review Blog

Superstition Review is supporting Rooted and Winged on their blog. Check out their post:

https://blog.superstitionreview.su.edu/

If you supported me by purchasing a copy, please remember to leave even a tiny review on Amazon and/or Goodreads!

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Is it Real Life or is it Fiction?

Six years ago, I published a piece of flash fiction at The Story Shack called “Parking Lot Superhero.” I posted a link on this blog and yadda yaddaed about fiction giving me more freedom for structure. The story was one of the first flash pieces I wrote.

Here’s a confession. I don’t even know why I wrote that about freedom because the truth is that this story is completely true except for the names. So maybe the freedom actually came from changing the names. And by changing the names I was able to change the structure and how I ended up structuring it made all the difference. So, yes, I submitted nonfiction as fiction by changing the names.

colorful cars on parking lot
Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

Is this a character defect? Or is it just a genre, like a roman à clef (novel where real people occur, but their names are changed)?

Have you ever written nonfiction and disguised it as fiction?

If you have read this blog for a long time, you might remember the story, but here it is: https://thestoryshack.com/flash-fiction/drama/luanne-castle-parking-lot-superhero/

This story is not one of my most well-written (and at some point I might revise it), but it’s still one of my favorites because the hero of the story (not me) was such a larger-than-life character in real life.

Going back to my title–Is it Real Life or is it Fiction?–maybe fiction is often real life, just many different aspects of real life glued together in a different combination and order.

One more thing. Why did I want to come clean about this story being true? Although I published it as fiction to protect “Jack” and his family story, I have felt guilt at not giving him credit for being a hero. I still won’t publish his name, but I feel better letting you know that he is a real living hero.

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Review of Rooted and Winged by Marie A. Bailey

For some reason WordPress doesn’t allow me to reblog to Writer Site, so I am posting a link to Marie Bailey’s fun review of Rooted and Winged. Thank you so much, Marie, for giving me a fresh look at my poetry collection!!!

https://1writeway.wordpress.com/2022/10/31/the-ease-of-wind-filled-wings-a-review-of-luanne-castles-rooted-and-winged-poetry-bookreview/

Read why Marie felt anxiety and exhilaration . . . .

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The Rooted and Winged Blog Tour Links

The Rooted and Winged blog tour has been a lot of fun. I thought I would put all the links to early reviews, as well as the interviews and guest posts.

REVIEWS

By Carla McGill: https://www.harbor-review.com/rooted-and-winged

By Sheila Morris: https://iwillcallit.com/2022/10/02/rooted-and-winged-poems-by-luanne-castle/

By Jade Nicole Beals: https://jadenicolebeals.com/2022/10/08/rooted-and-winged-by-luanne-castle-standing-so-your-familiar-setting-takes-flight-with-you/

INTERVIEWS AND GUEST POSTS

Review Tales – Interview with Luanne

The Bookish Elf – Interview with Luanne

The Bookworm – Luanne Castle guest post

Anthony Avina’s Blog – Luanne Castle Interview

The Book Connection – Luanne Castle Interview

Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Luanne Castle Guest Post

The Soapy Violinist – Luanne Castle Guest Post

I would love to do more interviews or posts in the future. If you leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads I would be so thrilled.

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Distant Flickers Book Review

Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss is an anthology of engaging short fiction that varies in subject, style and tone. As the subtitle suggests, explorations in identity and the different faces of loss provide a thematic focus for the collection. After each story, an extended bio, author perspective on the story, and information about the author’s other publications is provided, and I really like that. So often in an anthology I don’t feel that I “meet” the writers of the short stories or poems. Here, I am asked to slow down and get to know them a bit.

Every story in the book is special, but I will write about just a few of my favorites. In “1975: East Ocean View,” Elizabeth Gauffreau develops a character study of a young woman whose childhood has been ended by the birth of a baby. The girl, unexposed to early feminism, hasn’t had a chance to grow up on her own, but instead must negotiate a life of poverty with an immature husband and a baby. Gauffreau’s skill with deft understatement and deep understanding is clear in this piece. “1975: East Ocean View” serves as a reminder to me of the best of the short story genre—and what I love about it. No big splash, but lots of dangerous undercurrents. In her second story in the book, “Diary Omissions: The House on Edgewood Road,” Gauffreau demonstrates a flair for dry humor even as she writes poignantly of a family tragedy.

“Two Boys,” by Carol LaHines, is a thought-provoking look at a mother’s loss. The approach to the subject, as well as the writing style, reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s delightful and unsettling “domestic” stories.

“Where Secrets Go to Hide” by Keith Madsen is a charming and humorous exploration of what makes a secret a secret. An undercurrent of darkness occasionally breaks the surface and shows itself, thus providing tension and suspense to the story.

I enjoyed all the stories in the collection immensely. You couldn’t ask for a more satisfying variety of approaches to both identity and loss. The protagonist in “1975; East Ocean View” has lost her future even as she has lost her past. In this way she is in danger of losing her self. In “Two Boys,” the loss affects the mother’s and the child’s sibling’s identities. Madsen’s story is about the loss of innocence, which affects the identity of the protagonist and his family.

You can purchase the book through your favorite book seller here: https://books2read.com/-distantflickers?format=all

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The Rooted and Winged Blog Tour: Why and How to Write Slant

The last stop on the Rooted and Winged blog tour by Poetic Book Tours is a guest post I wrote about how important it is to write slant when writing poetry. I also share some ideas on how to do so.

You can find it here: https://thesoapyviolinist.blogspot.com/2022/10/guest-post-from-luanne-castle-author.html

I hope you’ve enjoyed the guest posts and interviews on the blog tour. I’m always open to more interactive blog experiences related to my new book haha.

If you’ve been so kind to read Rooted and Winged I beg you to leave a review at Amazon. Even if it’s only one or two sentences it really helps. If you are on Goodreads, please consider pasting the review over there as well.

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New Poem Up at Nightingale & Sparrow

Grateful to Nightingale & Sparrow journal and editor Marcelle Newbold for publishing my poem, “Becoming Silent at Thirteen.”

Becoming Silent at Thirteen

The poem takes place at the lake where my family lived summer. In the following photo, I am about 11 or 12. The lake was not large, but seemed like three lakes that flowed together because of the configuration of the shoreline. In fact, everyone called the different parts first lake, second lake, and third lake. The last was shallow and swampy with weeds sticking up out of the water. You could see the lake bottom from your boat.

Young teen me on the lake

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