Archives - July 2009

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Jul. 27

James Lee Burke

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A Good Read

     I just finished reading James Lee Burke's latest novel -- The Rain Gods.  He is one of my favorite contemporary novelists.  If you haven't read him yet, you're missing a treat.  This novel is about a small-town Texas sheriff named Hackberry Holland in search of killers who machine-gunned nine innocent illegal aliens and left them in shallow graves.  He writes about gruesome subjects but in the voice of a poet.  Quite a contradiction -- that's why I like him so much.  Burke is a master of characterization.  His novels are peppered with eccentric characters who jump off the page and into the reader's face, from back-slid nuns to two-bit whores to obscenely rich criminals to back-alley degenerates to witch doctors to cold-blooded killers to oil rig roughnecks to hollow-eyed drug addicts to alcoholics to long-suffering wives.  His descriptions ...

Jul. 25

Write What You Know

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The Great American Novel

     As writers, we all believe we have at least one great novel in us.  Like Harper Lee.  She knew a good thing when she saw it.  After publishing To Kill a Mockingbird, she never wrote another book.  I've just completed a novel -- The Whispering Pines.  That's the working title.  Something about it sounds like a resort.  As a matter of fact, if you google "whispering pines," that's all that pops up. 

     The setting of the novel is 1944 rural East Texas, and the protagonist is named Pearl Bonner.  The genesis of the manuscript was a story my grandmother often told me.  A German prisoner-of-war camp was located in a nearby county during WWII.  Mamma was looking out her kitchen window one day, my mother on her hip, and spotted an escaped prisoner standing behind ...

Jul. 9

My inaugural address

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The Word

    In the beginning was the WORD.  Has it ever been said better than that?

    I was born in a small town of 200 nestled in the rolling hills and whispering pines of East Texas and blessed with a total of ten grandparents.  All ten of them, like most East Texans, loved to tell stories.  Because of them, I grew up with a love of words.  Some words I love all by themselves -- serendipity, antediluvian, onomatopoeia, loblolly.  But I also admired the way those words linked hands together to form a well-rendered sentence, a group of inner-tubers on the blue-green Guadalupe.  And then those sentences linked hands together to form the stories I so loved.

    My love of the spoken word transferred to the written word as soon as I learned to read.  Dick and Jane and their dog Spot taught ...

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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