Archives - August 2009

1 2

Aug. 27

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings


The Short Story

     When we think about things to read, few of us remember the short story.  Maybe bad memories are attached to it because of all those boring stories we were forced to read in high school English class while following the plot structure and figuring out if the conflict was man vs. man or man vs. nature or man vs. self.  Perhaps it's time to reconsider this particular genre. 

      I have several favorite short story authors: John Updike, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Flannery O'Connor, Sherwood Anderson, just to name a few.  If you decide to check out an Updike story, look for an older collection.  The stories he wrote in the 1960s involving teenage angst are the best.  O'Connor will give you a good look at the gothic South we all know and love, and Anderson's stories have the quirkiest ...

Aug. 23



The Smoker

     It's funny how things change in our lives, especially when we're not paying attention.  I am a huge anti-smoker.  The reasons are varied. The smell of cigarettes gives me a headache; the smoke causes my asthma to act up.  Before I married, I refused to date anyone who smoked because kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.  I watched people I love die from lung cancer.  And yet ... some of my favorite childhood memories involve my paternal grandfather who smoked like a chimney.  When I see a package of Camel cigarettes, my thoughts immediately fly to him and my heart lightens.  I've written several poems about him.  This is one titled The Smoker.


Granddaddy was a voracious smoker.

He picked up the habit when he was seven years old,

sneaking behind the barn late at night ...

Aug. 17

Birthday Letters


A Doomed Poet

     The American poet Sylvia Plath famously took her own life when she was thirty years old by placing her head in the oven while her two young children (a toddler daughter and infant son) slept in a bedroom on the floor above.  She was married to the British poet Ted Hughes at the time, though they were separated because of his affair with Assia Wells.  He later wrote of Assia:

          We didn't find her -- she found us.

          She sniffed us out.

          She sat there

          Slightly filthy with erotic mystery.

          I saw the dreamer in her

          Had fallen in love with me and she did not know it.

          That moment the dreamer in me

          Fell in love with her, and I soon knew it.

     Strangely enough, six years after Plath's death, Assia killed herself and her ...

Aug. 8



The Southern Voice

     Pat Conroy, one of my favorite Southern authors, just released a new novel.  I read a scathing review of it yesterday.  As I haven't read the novel yet, I don't know if I agree or disagree with the review.  However, in addition to knocking the new book, the critic knocked all of his novels as overdone purple prose.  Now that I have to take exception to.  The Southern writer is in a class all his/her own.  Faulker, Welty, Williams, O'Connor, Lee, McCullers, Warren ...  There is something about the Southern culture, people, and climate that lends itself to rich prose.  We Southerners do love our words.  We love the sound of each one as it ambles out of our mouths.  And a true Southerner is a true storyteller.  This is from Conroy's novel Beach ...

1 2
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.

Email Me