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Clio's Temple

Blog

For All the Saints

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 1:49 PM Comments comments (0)
This is All Saints' Day, which is the day on which we Episcopalians traditionally sing "For All the Saints" (William W. How & Ralph Vaughn Williams) to commemorate those we love who are now gone from us.

I've loved this hymn since we used to sing it in the CHS Glee Club. It took on special meaning several years ago. In the weeks after a rash of deaths in our family, I sometimes sought out the Kings College Chapel Choir rendition of this hymn as I pondered the lives of my mother, two cousins, and several friends. The rendition to which I refer was on YouTube. The final image of this video, accompanying the words, "Alleluia, alleluia" gave me the words with which I close Faith, Hope, and Dr. Vangelis.

We're now in the final countdown toward launch of my first novel. As I prepare to spring it on an unsuspecting world, I must admit that my expectations have changed. I once hoped Dr. Vangelis would become a great commercial success. For a time, I even had a path to making that happen. The path has changed and so have my hopes. It's now my hope that those who read the story will have the kind of epiphany which I experienced. That is, I hope it will help some people who wrestle with their own issues of loss to make sense of it all.

I will be offering readers a chance to get an early look at the Kindle e-book version of Dr. Vangelis, if they will agree to write a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads. Please e-mail me if you're interested in this opportunity. #drvangelis.

I celebrate those who live on in memory: Curt and Verna Gordy; Lee and Ethel Sheppard; Paul and Ann Gordy; Foncey and Blanche Lea; Leonard Gordy; Greg Booth; Travis Booth.

It isn't even past

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 7:33 AM Comments comments (0)
One of William Faulkner's more famous quotes was, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." This is an underlying theme of Faith, Hope, and Dr. Vangelis, my first novel, which will be published next winter.

As I've noted in other posts, the protagonist is Dr. Lukas Vangelis, an elderly hospice physician. Weary from the burden of easing the passage of the dying into peaceful death, he begins to get messages that point him toward the approaching end of his mission. This brings no fear; most of the people he's loved in his life have already died.

What it does bring is an unwelcome imperative: dealing with his past. Lukas has never fully rid himself of the hurt he's given others, and which they've caused him. He considers himself a man of generous spirit, but the dark shadows in his past must be dispelled before he can find peace.

We all have similar demons that lurk in the crevices of our memory. I've known a few people in my life whose sunny dispositions seem to deny darkness any foothold. Yet, when I've gotten to know them better, I've usually found that, while they've shut the door on darkness, it's still lurking somewhere, ready to emerge and cause pain.

This isn't a confessional novel. I have no urge to unburden my own soul, except to note that, when I must acknowledge the reality of pain, I try to use such occasions as a way of banishing darkness, not just pushing it somewhere out of sight. I don't know, even today, how successful I've been. I believe that, when you get to know Lukas Vangelis better, you'll seen in him something that resonates in your own life.

Live long and learn to forgive.

A poem, a song, a life of paradoxes

Posted on September 10, 2018 at 3:18 PM Comments comments (0)
Do you have a hidden desire for your life to be a fairytale? We might not admit it, but we do sometimes yearn for fairytale outcomes in life. We remember those favorite fairytales where all came right in the end, even after heartbreak. By the time we reach middle age, we've learned that fairytales are rare things. Sometimes heartbreak happens and there's no compensation for it and no one to blame. We learn to accept life and go on. In the face of hard realities, how can we explain to others and ourselves the meaning of life?

Every life needs a song or a poem. Songwriters and poets are gifted at making even the deepest hurt seem beautiful. Maybe we think that songs and poems are for the rich and famous, not for the average person. We content ourselves with a slogan or a pithy phrase that expresses what life's about. But it is our very humanity, or mortality that writes the words of our own songs.

My father, a pilot in World War II, always loved the poem "High Flight." In the last twenty years of his life, a framed copy of this poem hung on the wall of his bedroom. He was also a romantic at heart, despite the hard times of his youth and young adulthood. When my mother was no longer able to care for herself, he picked up that burden, often serenading her with, "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?" The idea that a successful businessman and community leader could be at once a realist and a romantic seems paradoxical. But part of what makes a life successful is the ability to live with paradoxes.

I'm currently doing research for Meredith's Song, the working title of a book about Meredith Legg Stapleton (1987-2014), a young woman whose short life seemed to have elements of poem, song, but also paradox, packed into little more than a quarter-century of walking this earth. A tough competitor in athletics, she was also a loving wife, daughter, sister, and friend. At a moment of triumph, she entered into a battle with cancer. The last five years of her life wrote a tale of faith and courage that still illuminates our world.

I'm targeting release of Meredith's Song for early-to mid-2020.