author C.C.Cole's blog

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Monster on the Roof

Hurricane Camille

Myself as five-year-old child:

We had a bad storm last week.  I was playing outside with my older brother and sister when it got cloudy and looked like it was going to rain.  Momma made us come in the house, and said we couldn’t go back outside for a while.  So we sat and watched TV until the lights went out.  Everything got so dark!  I knew it wasn’t night yet, because a game show was on.  I went to look out the window, but Momma made us go in the bathroom and sit on the floor. Daddy wasn’t there, but he’s not home much.

My sister lit a candle and somehow some paper got set on fire.  My brother said we did it, but I think he did it.  Momma told us to shut up and be quiet or get a spanking.  Then it got really loud outside, like a storm only a whole lot worse.  Something was hitting the house outside on the walls and on the roof.  A couple of times we heard some really loud bangs on the roof, and I got scared.  I said, “Momma, what is it?”
She said, “It’s a hurricane.”
I said, “What’s a hurricane?”
She said, “A monster.  It’s on the roof.  But it can’t get in.”
I said, “OK” and went to sleep some time later, though it was so loud! Our dogs were let inside too and I was glad about that. 

The next morning was quiet.  We got up and asked Momma if we could go outside.  She said yes, but to stay with my brother.  When we opened the door, it was weird.  The yard was all tumbled.  The swing set was upside down.  Tree limbs were everywhere.  A tree was down on a power line.  A lot of trees lost the tops, so I could climb them for a change!  That was fun.  Pieces of our roof were on the ground.  That was from the monster.  My grandfather came over later to see how we were doing.  He said he saw his wheelbarrow move around the yard in the storm by itself!  We thought that was funny. 

Now I’ve got to start school.  I’ll be in the first grade.  My brother and sister say I’ll get spankings because they did.  Momma told me not to talk in class.  I can read my Bible stories, so I hope I do OK.  I sure hope that monster stays off our roof from now on.

On August 17, 1969, category 5 Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast with winds over 200 mph and spread destruction into the Applachians.  In my mind these extremely dangerous natural events are “monsters.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Political Bestsellers

As I continue to move out of “Fifty Shades” and continue with my out-of-genre reading journey, I’ve hit what I call the “Political genre.”  During the American Presidential election season, with 24/7 news, Internet, old school broadcast and word of mouth, I’m reminded of how glad I am that this happens every four years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong supporter of our Republic, but if there is ever a season of over stimulation, it’s a hotly contested Presidential election year.

While reading an article by one of the smart people in the media, I ran upon one of the “hit-books” of our President, “The Amateur” by Edward Klein.  I don’t usually read these books, but I thought, since this is a bestseller, and part of being a writer is to know what people are reading, I downloaded it and gave it a chance.

The questions I asked myself:  Can a political book be balanced?  Many of these books are written by reporters, and give some vivid detail with actual dialogue of famous political figures and family members.  As we know, they cannot reveal their sources.  Are these tapes?  Or did this dialogue come from a steel-trap memory of a witness to the conversation?  Or is there a disclaimer somewhere that I missed?  (Likely).  Biggest question:  Can a political book be reviewed with balance?

In “The Amateur” the writer gives a political summary of the President’s first term from the standpoint mostly from the executive branch of the US Government. The appearance of games to us as we see it in the news is a serious game in reality.  Decisions that affect billions of people worldwide isn’t reality TV or WarCraft.  The book gives the reader an unflattering hefty detailed account of one Presidential blunder after another, with aggressive legislation, executive orders, and controversial meetings with longtime allies; “hit piece” stuff to fans and truths to non-fans.

On the other hand, I found a few points in “The Amateur” where “bashing” was subject to interpretation.  If the President didn’t feel obligated to socially host certain high profile celebrities or wealthy political families, to me that is up to him and his family.  What obligation does a President have to help others make money off of him?  Why does he have to please famous people because they are famous?  In a sense, being “Amateur” is being independent in his own way, though not the way of “the establishment.”  I think the point was potential donor alienation, which is another serious part of the “game.”

Overall, I didn’t hate this book, and didn’t put it on the highest tier because so much of it is regurgitation of what is already seen in the media.  The President’s policies are hardly a secret. One either agrees with them or not.  Lots of people read these books. I’ve written before how politics is a “hot button” topic, and it’s because politics affects us all.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Giving From The Heart

The ace writers at the Plum Tree Group are increasing awareness for the great need in Africa.  Many voices in this world fade before they get a chance to make sound.  This effort, one of many, reminds us of how bad life can really be, and furthermore, how short it really is for so many.


Traveling to Africa was a dream of mine since the 1980s.  Though it never came to pass, to me it’s a place of extreme natural beauty and tragedy.  Like other readers, I read and reviewed the prototype novella about the humanitarian disaster of the Congo Free State, “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.  While this book is as disturbing and a difficult read, something always bothered me:  The part of madman Kurtz’s life while he was in Africa.  When he said “The horror, the horror,” what exactly did he mean?  What happened to him that made him change?  I think Conrad made the point with exclusion over exposition.

The history in Africa’s interior is shrouded in mystery.  One needn’t Google very far to find endless articles on colonization going back to the 1500s, (maybe earlier).  But what was it like before then?  Were there oppression, hunger, and death on a massive scale?  Experts in this area can give more light to this question.  Africa remains filled with one controversy after another, and while faults are attached over centuries, what can be done now?

To me, that’s the strongest point for Africa.  Now.  The issues in Africa run deep and are as variable as the countries between the northern and southern part of the continent. Nobody can walk in and make all of the problems go away in a day.  But with consistent awareness, we can strive and give more voice to the people. 

Friends who have made the journey to Africa tell me it’s a “spiritual experience.”  Beyond the tragedy, the wonder is there.  Giving from the heart is not only worthwhile but brings us back to the baseline of humanity:  Caring.

Check out the Plum Tree at: http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com/

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Free of Fifty Shades

I admit I’ve taken a couple of weeks to write the review of the final of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, the current favorite naughty books, not because I needed to ponder over what I think, because there’s not much to add.  Now I’m happy to be free of Fifty Shades.

For “Fifty Shades Freed,” the sexaholic-wealthy couple Ana and pervert Christian are now happily married newlyweds continuing their BDSM (or whatever it is) lifestyle from the South of France back to the US.  There’s a lot of eyes darkening, “Oh my!”  (Cured me of that statement unless I reference these books now), and there’s something about Ana forgetting her birth control and her Le Femme Nikita moment at the book’s end.  When all is said and done, Ana and new-nice-guy Christian is a happy couple watching their kids and still having over-the-top…never mind.

I think two elements are the main criticisms:  1) The sexual content, especially the methods used 2) The absolutely silly story.

The story, I’m sorry is stupid.  But, so what?  This is fantasy romance, handsome billionaire, lust at first sight, admitted pervert, what’s not to like?  Sigh.  Unfortunately, there’s not enough substance to the story to create much opinion either way.  It’s just empty.  The author throws in some topics at the end that are really “thrown in,” like when Ana realizes rich hubby Christian ships jobs overseas.  Gee, “Holy Cow!”  So after all of this hanky-panky, the writer is teaching us political talking points? 

The plot to me is just to bridge the erotic content.  So what’s so bad about that?  Erotic books are out there, why is this one considered so offensive to some?  I’ll admit I don’t read much (any) erotic novels, so I have nothing to compare. But regarding the sexual content, I’ll make a comparison with the very-R-rated “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin (just the adult stuff, Martin fans), “Fifty Shades” sex is couple, adult, consensual, and married (by the end).  As over-the-top as their activities may be, there’s no prostitution, rape (but there is permissive assault), and no underage sex, except Christian’s learning of the BDSM lifestyle from an older woman when he was fifteen.  The scenes to me run together, but it clearly works for many readers. 

Overall the final rating to me is two stars, being generous.  I don’t like giving writers low ratings, but I’m hardly in a small club.  For the curious, I still suggest to adults to check this out on your own.  And I don’t deny Ms. James:  Her work, her books, her success.  Good for her.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Music Update: Ernie’s Denial

I’ve been following the career of these hard working rocker musicians as they continue to strive for excellence in music with upbeat lyrics, great passion such as anti-bullying, and last, but not least, great rock.  Here’s an update from the band, with links to some new songs.  I’m going to hand over my blog space to these guys who work night and day, reminding us all, that nothing is easy in our creative endeavors, and the sure way to failure is giving up.  Not these fellas, they keep on rocking, in the true spirit of rock and roll!

"Ernie's Denial"
I myself do not long for the rock n roll lifestyle, the glitz, the fame, the popularity, the image, the glamor, and all the perks. All I really want are the simple things in life. BUT since I do have this talent of playing loud guitar, I can sing nice, and come up with melodies, then i want to do it for a good reason.

I always make it a point to write positive lyrics, and to be human. Everyone in the world has been already taking so much shet and negative things. Why add to it?

Fer plays really loud and strong drums and I play loud and evil guitar. A powerful sound will always be attractive and interesting. Always. That thing is what empowers the positive and human lyrics that I write. To me, I know, our songs are powerful. They pack a punch, and I always make it a point, because I want to, to write positive lyrics, to have good words in our songs, and words that can stay in people's hearts and minds.

Words are weapons. Ideas can make changes. Since I have the good grasp of wielding words, then I’ll use it to bring something good out of anything, everything, anyone, and everyone.

For me, it's REALLY NOT about popularity, fame, fortune, and as I mentioned, the glitz and lifestyle. I’m doing this not only because I enjoy it but I can make something out of it; something that's bigger than myself; something that can spark even if it's the tiniest light. I know that it takes just a spark to start a fire.

i want to get these songs of ours out and affect people positively. i want to spark a good fire in people. We want more people to lend us their ears and listen to our songs. Download them for free, no cost at all, at our website www.ErniesDenial.com because we have good songs.

Thanks again guys, for taking the time to update us on your progress.  We new authors can relate to the hard work new musicians put into their work and certainly the amount of their inner heart and soul involved.  Check out their music some time, and rock on with Ernie’s Denial!