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Jamie Davis Writes

On My Bookshelf: Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine

I finished Ink and Bone earlier this week. This is book one of Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series. This was a thought provoking read about what could have happened if the Great Library of Alexandria had survived; had kept Gutenberg’s printing press from existence; and had kept control of the dissemination of books and knowledge (making personal ownership of books illegal).

A truly terrifying and captivating read! The post-it notes mark all of the passages that reference the personal journals that the characters kept. Oh yes, the Great Library issued  electronic journals to its citizens. Parents were diligent about their children “writing” in their journals every night, and when citizens died, the journals would be seized for The Great Library to archive them.

Page 34: “..the Library provided them free on the birth of a child, and encouraged every citizen of the world to write their thoughts and memories from the earliest age possible. Everyone kept a record of the days and hours of their lives to be archived in the Library upon their deaths. The Library was a kind of memorial, in that way. It was one reason the people loved it so, for the fact that it lent them a kind of immortality.” 

Meanwhile, the Library also used the electronic journals to spy upon its own citizens. Really, really scary. And timely. These people should have kept handwritten journals, not electronic diaries! Perhaps a secret diary journal?

Ink-and-bone-rachel-cain
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Thankfully, we still mostly have the right to be secure in our own papers. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we didn’t have that anymore? Chilling!

Rise – A New Journal from Stealth Journals

Pre-orders for the new Rise journal over on Stealth Journals. Stealth Journals are manufactured in the United States. Each indexed book journal features 200 ruled pages that are numbered for your ease of use. The numbered pages with an index will help keep you organized and make it easy to find your important entries.

Rise.
Rise. The Notebook for People Who Are Going Places.

Rise

Travel. Write. Index. Buy Stealth Journals. Repeat.

On My Bookshelf: Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt

Oh wow, did this book knock my socks off! The mix of the Western New York references; coupled with cults/religious children’s homes really wove together nicely to up the creep factor for me. I loved the clues that the author laid out for the reader as to Ruth’s identity. Maybe I’m slow, but it kept me guessing up until almost the end.

This is one of those books that has a “Sixth Sense” vibe in that you don’t really appreciate everything and how it all ties together until the very end. Then you look back, and think, oh wow, the girl in the motel who gave the speech about dead people?! Seriously?! Sheer brilliance!

Also, in the beginning, I for sure thought that when Nat and Ruth were in the basement and Mr. Bell first appeared, that he was a demon! This is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long, long, time. I highly recommend it.

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Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt

On My Bookshelf: The Invisible Library [series by Genevieve Cogman]

invisible-library-series-by-genevieve-cogman
The Invisible Library [a series by Genevieve Cogman]
I recommend this series to any reader who enjoys escaping into imaginary worlds, and loves reading books about books! Her world building scratched what I will always refer to as my “Harry Potter” itch. An invisible library whose sole purpose is to send their librarian agents out into alternate worlds to capture/claim books for the library? Check! Fae and dragons? Check! Secret agents, a detective who resembles Sherlock Holmes, and an assortment of other possible spies and traitors? Check!

Sign me up for more!

 

Dali17 at the Museum of Monterey

I had no idea that Salvador Dali lived (and worked) in Monterey in the 1940s. Apparently he was also an early Carmel Art Association member. What a treat of an exhibit!

Some selections from the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Museum of Monterey in Monterey, California:

Lithographs with religious themes (Dali was a devout Catholic)

planctus-david-in-mortem-soul
Planctus Dead in Mortem Soul
ego-sum-dominus-deus-tuus
Ego Sum Dominus Deus Tuus
cadaver-in-sepulchra-elisei
Cadaver in Sepulchra Elisei
arca-foederis
Arca Foederis
iosue-fortis-in-bello
Iosue Fortis in Bello
iosias-sepultus-in-mausoleo-patrum
Iosias Sepultus in Mausoleo Patrum

Surreal works with some elements of my favorite theme (melting clocks)

the-frozen-watches-of-space-time
The Frozen Watches of Space-Time
persistence-de-la-memoire-tapestry
Persistence de la Memoire (Tapestry)
mystery-of-sleep-the-hermit
Mystery of Sleep (The Hermit)
enigma-of-the-rose-death
Enigma of the Rose (Death)

As always, we log all of our adventures in our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!

San Francisco: Alcatraz and Other Stops

Ah, San Francisco, with your urine-soaked streets and parks. You certainly have a smell and a look like no other. You get an A+ for making tourist traps too, and even provide a great free workout via stairs up Lombard street. Union Square is a mob scene disaster to shop/walk/breathe. Haight Ashbury is touristy weird, but has a great bookstore and is fun to walk a bit and people watch, checking out the old Victorian houses in the neighborhood. Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point, and the park = the best thing going on out here.

Then there is Fisherman’s Wharf. I knew it was a trap, but we had to eat before we got trapped on that awful ferry to the prison. Do you know what these people did to me out here? We went into some chowder restaurant and they had soup and chili in bread bowls. The menu read: “Stagg chili – $8.25.” I asked Bob, I said: “What’s Stagg chili?” We discussed it amongst ourselves and concluded that it must be the West Coast’s answer to Black Angus. Well, I get a bowl and it tasted like holy hell. Super bad. But I ate it anyway because it was the most expensive cup of chili I ever ordered in my life.

I get back here tonight and I’m still thinking about how awful that expensive chili was. Do you know what Google told me? It’s a can of chili. These people served me canned chili out here.

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=DChcSEwiulZTzs53RAhXNW34KHXN8B2oYABAB&sig=AOD64_3e5A0iBMlPbaYC0Fs6zUvpFQcDlQ&ctype=46&q=&ved=0ahUKEwj8npDzs53RAhUO0WMKHY9ACoYQzzkIHw&adurl=

As soon as I find my receipt I’m going to tell you who did it. And no, we did not mistakenly wonder in to a soup kitchen (although that is a real possibility out here, and you will know you are in one because there will be a Bernie Sanders sticker covering up the broken window, and they will probably be dishing out Bison Chili straight from one of Ted Turner’s fourteen Venezuelan ranches). Anyway, I ate my can of “chili” and prepared to go to prison. How fitting.

Alcatraz

alcatraz-from-ferry
I had to throw a couple of the smaller sized kids overboard to get up here to the front of the boat.

A disappointing and frustrating visit. A perfect example of what happens when government gets its claws into anything, and completely ruins the experience by apparently making the goal to sell tons of cheap tickets in high volume vs. offering a curated private experience, and letting guests choose their preferred mode of experience.

I was not able to get a single photo inside the main cell block because I was too busy elbowing my way through. Compared to Missouri State Pen; Eastern State Pen; Mansfield Reformatory; and the West Virginia State Pen, Alcatraz (my former holy grail of abandoned prisons) gets an “F -.” The more than failing grade is attributed not only to poor general guest experience, but in lack of access to the buildings. All four of the prisons mentioned above are proud to offer about 95-98% guest access to the public at an affordable admission price. Alcatraz is not a private business, so it doesn’t feel the need to be good.

I’m not saying I’m somebody, but when the author of “Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums” tells you to skip this one, I’m trying to do you a favor. You aren’t going to be able to see anything except the back of the head of the person who is walking in front of you. Really, truly, terrible. A big fat, glaring FAIL.

Also, I’m not sure why you can’t take a helicopter over there. Do you think I wanted to spend my free time sitting on a ferry squeezed in between some people I don’t know? For God’s sakes, some poor kid played his harmonica THE ENTIRE BOAT RIDE. I thought I was in steerage on board the Titanic, and I thought I WAS GOING TO DIE ON THAT FERRY.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_587.jpg

I just sat on that boat, watching this poor old guy pick his nose, amazed that I had found a mode of travel worse than commercial air. I did, I found it, and it was this boat. Don’t do it to yourself.

But on a high note, there was Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge. Neither of which, I might add, gave off the merest hint of urine. And no one, not even one time today, tried to make me eat canned chili.

As always, we notate our adventures in our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. Stealth Journals is a line of indexed book journals. “Play” should be used to record all of your good times!

Notes from the Road – Monterey / Big Sur / San Simeon, California

Scenes from Monterey

Eighteen miles of paved bike/walking trails along the coast. Magnificent, but crowded!

trees-of-monterey
Monterey Trees
monterey
Monterey Coast

In 1879, an unknown writer (Robert Louis Stevenson) holed up at the French Hotel while waiting for Fanny Osbourne to divorce her first husband so they could get on with their lives.

robert-louis-stevenson-house-french-hotel
Robert Louise Stevenson – French Hotel

french-hotel

Scenes from Big Sur

Dear Sur: You are prettier than Montana. We drove you twice just to make sure.

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Big Sur
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Lunch at Lucia Lodge

Scenes from San Simeon

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An Elephant Seal Stifles a Yawn

Elephant Seal Pups:

Scenes from Hearst Castle

Let me put it to you this way, it takes a certain type of asshole to stand in front of you at the very end with his hand out for more donation money after the $50.00 tour, while we are all standing under a ceiling that is plated in 22 carat gold leaf. Just kidding, no one had their hand out. I’m referring to the audio tour guide begging for more donation money as we rode the bus down the hill. Hilariously tacky!

 

I do have to say that the Roman Pool seems haunted, though. I kept waiting for something to swim up to me. I don’t know what, but I felt like something was brewing underneath that pool. Maybe they buried the bodies down there.

roman-pool-cove

We keep an analog version of all of our travels carefully notated in our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!

 

A Journal for Non-Fiction Writers

Who knew? I actually published two more books this year. One was a journal for paralegals, and the second is a journal for my fellow non-fiction writers. It can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jamie-whitmer/non-fiction-writers-journal/paperback/product-22982625.html

non-fiction-writers-journal
Product Page for Non-Fiction Writer’s Journal
interior-message-with-index-page
Journal for Non-Fiction Writers

The index system is absolutely crucial to me for finding my notes.

Pictured below, is a sample of the daily content section.

interior-daily-content-pages
Non-Fiction Writer’s Journal – Sample Interior Daily Content Pages

Lastly, I made a special index section for you to keep track of important events and your progress throughout the year. Accountability much?

bonus-index
Special Index Section For Managing Your Annual Goals
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Back pages of Non-Fiction Writer’s Journal

I hope you love it as much as I do, and that it keeps you on track. If you purchase, please drop me a line and give me your feedback!

On My Bookshelf: Scary Stories Treasury, by Alvin Schwartz

scary-stories-treasury
Scary Stories Treasury, by Alvin Schwartz

If you are a child of the 1980s, Alvin Schwartz’s holy trinity of scary stories for children likely gave your library card a decent amount of exercise. I recently sat down one winter’s evening to revisit the tales. These Boo Men would have given T.S. Eliot a case of the Hoo-Has! (And perhaps you’re alive/And perhaps you’re dead/Hoo ha ha – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n16/mark-ford/i-gotta-use-words).

I did not remember Stephen Gammell’s illustrations being so terrifying, but many of them truly are!

My favorite tales from “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” which is the first installment of the seriesinclude “The Thing;” “Cold as Clay,” “The Guests,” and “Room For One More.” I loved that these all involved ghost stories or premonitions of death. Arguably, as an adult reader, the stories that foretell death are truly the most terrifying tales in the bunch. In “The Thing,” the boy touches the wraith to see if he is real, is followed home by said wraith, and is seemingly marked for death, succumbing within the year. Whether or not the laying of hands on The Thing is what caused his death, or not remains open for debate. What I mean is, if the boy did not actually touch the wraith, would the premonition not have come to pass? Could he have escaped death, or was it coming for him nonetheless, no matter what he did?

For instance, the character in “Room for One More,” has a dream of a hearse pulling up in the driveway, and the driver looks at him and says: “There is room for one more.” He thinks that he is dreaming. He goes into work the next day and finishes his day. He goes to leave the office and presses the button for the elevator. Inside, stands the driver of the hearse. “There is room for one more,” he says. The man declines, and the elevator goes on to crash and everyone dies. The man somehow escaped death because he remembered his dream and did not go when summoned. But does he escape without consequence? When death comes again, will he be even more pissed?

Deep questions.

These stories are based on folklore, and had to have an origin, mind you. Once, when the world was young, maybe the veil was thinner, and death marched openly, and gave you a fighting chance if you were cunning enough to be paying attention and heeded his warning. Death as a forerunner. Hmm…

More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” contains a story that is straight out of a horror movie, and if I ever write a horror script, I will make this scene my own. “One Sunday Morning” is the tale of Ida and what she sees when she is awakened in the dead of night by the church bell. Those of you who know firsthand that one of the scariest places you can ever be is inside the darkened sanctuary of a church at night will be creeped out beyond belief by this short tale. What do they get up to in there during the dead of night? You don’t want to know. And you certainly don’t want to be there for it! The Annotations about this little piece of folklore state: “this tale is rooted in the ancient belief that the night belongs to the dead and that places of worship are haunted after dark.” I have no doubt.

“Scary Stories 3” contains two very chilling tales of death’s arrival: “The Appointment,” which is apparently another ancient tale (this one is based on a young man seeing death in the marketplace in Damascus), and “Like Cat’s Eyes,” which reminds me of what happens in the 1990s movie “Ghost,” when the bad men die. CREEPY AS ALL GET OUT!

If you have not picked up this series since you were ten years old, I highly recommend that you treat yourself to a new look as an adult. But not if you are alone at night in your house. Don’t get crazy.

 

 

 

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