Archives - March 2010

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Mar. 31

Kurt Vonnegut


A Man Without a Country

     I would like to return today to Kurt Vonnegut's pithy little book A Man Without a Country.  Vonnegut saw war up close and personal.  He was an American prisoner-of-war in Dresden, Germany during World War II when it was fire-bombed by the Allies.  Almost the entire city was destroyed and approximately 25,000 civilians killed.  He and the other prisoners escaped death because they were being held in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker, which the Germans called Schlachthof Funf (Slaughterhouse Five).  Sound familiar?  When they first came out after the attack, Vonnegut said the city looked like the surface of the moon.  He became part of a work detail gathering up the dead bodies for mass burial while the German civilians threw rocks at them.  They soon discovered there were too many bodies to bury, so the Germans sent in ...

Mar. 29

It All Changed in an Instant


The Six-Word Memoir

     Three years ago the storytelling website SMITH Magazine asked writers to use six words to tell the true story of their own lives.  The genesis of this request came from a, perhaps apocryphal, story about Ernest Hemingway.  Legend has it he was asked in a bar bet to write a novel in only six words.  His response:  "For sale:  baby shoes, never worn." 

     SMITH has collected the responses of several writers in a new book titled It All Changed in an Instant.  Here are some of my favorites:


"Bachelor Party.  YouTube Video.  Wedding cancelled."  Daniel Little


"Antidepressants ruined emo music for me."  Lucy Waters


"Army or jail?  I chose wrong."  Peter Loux


"Wedding dress lasted longer than husband."  Jeannette Oliver


"I turned eleven.  No Hogwarts letter."  Laura ...

Mar. 28

Reading with Purpose


The Dog-Eared Page

     I do not believe in a pristine-paged book.  If a book is to be loved, it must be handled.  I don't use bookmarks, which my husband doesn't understand.  He is a reader, and, like his mother did when she was alive, he carefully places a bookmark between the pages where he has stopped reading.  I do not.  I dog-ear pages with glee.  Isn't that a lovely adjective: dog-eared?  As if the page has turned down one fluffy ear as it observes me in canine curiosity as I leave the book for whatever has interrupted my reading -- sleeping, working, writing ...  The books I read are alive.  They have personality.  Why not a doggy one?  (I think my mother-in-law would be apopletic if she saw me dog-earing library books like I do, a vice to which I ...

Mar. 25

The Christ Figure


The Innocence of Animals

     Do you remember the first time you were introduced to the idea of a Christ figure?  Probably in high school English class, right?  Maybe while reading The Lord of the Flies? Simon -- the only truly innocent boy on the island.  Literature is rife with Christ figures.  Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities.  Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea.  Finny in A Separate Peace.  McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Melville's Billy Budd.  Christ figures pop up in our movies as well.  How about E.T.?  Harry Potter?  Or the title character in Cool Hand Luke?  Paul Newman had to be the sexiest Christ figure ever to set foot on the silver screen.  "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

     Animal lover that I am ...

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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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