Saturday, September 29, 2012


I've just come across a very interesting and rare antiquarian book that most people don't even know exists. It's an 1831 Second Edition of The spy unmasked, or, Memoirs of Enoch Crosby: alias Harvey Birch, the hero of Mr. Cooper's tale of the neutral ground: being an authentic account of the secret services which he rendered his country during the Revolutionary War (taken from his own lips, in short-hand) comprising many interesting facts and anecdotes, never before published. It was written by H. L. Barnum and published by A. B. Roff. According to Barnum, the work is the biography of Enoch Crosby, who was the actual person upon whom James Fenimore Cooper based his hero, Harvey Birch, in his famous novel, The Spy. Barnum interviewed Crosby several times in order to write his work. His first edition sold out immediately; the subject book was his reissue, the 1831 Second Edition. The book is available online.

Although the book is in only fair condition, having moisture damage and foxing, it is complete. Frankly, I love finding interesting old works like this one. You might keep an eye out at garage and estate sales for valuable old artifacts - you just never know what you might find.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Did you know that by sitting before your keyboard and letting your thoughts and experiences and dreams flow onto the screen that you can experience one of the most enlightening periods of your life? I would not have believed it either, but it's true. When I began keeping a daily log of my activities some twenty-five years ago, and later attempted to write a biography, and still later a short story, I was amazed at what I learned about myself. It was a kind of psychoanalysis that uncovered repressed fears and conflicts.  I found, while logging early memories of my life, why, though I had always refused to admit it to myself, I had some pretty negative feelings about my mother. I analyzed my relationship with my father by putting our relationship in writing, and learned that although he finally drank himself to death when I was only sixteen, I was not to blame. I had always felt a certain amount of guilt for not paying more attention to his life style, or spending more of his last days with him, but I was in no way responsible for the heart attack that killed him. [I learned a lot more about my family and my own insecurities through EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), but that's a story for another time.]

Try writing of some past experience that has troubled or exhilarated you. The quality and quantity of the words that you write will surprise you. If you want to take a look at some of my early (and hilarious) efforts at writing short stories, take a look here. There's not a serious word in the book, but merely my attempt to write some nutty science fiction.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I've just finished writing the most difficult book that I have ever attempted. Through a series of interviews I became intimately acquainted with a lady (now in her sixties) who was repeatedly raped by her father from the time she was eight years old until her mother's divorce from the man when she was a teenager. One can not appreciate what children go through under such circumstances unless you've talked at length with a victim. Shame and humiliation become so bonded to the heart and soul of a child molested at such an early age that consequences after their maturity are inevitable. These are manifested by failed relationships, confrontations, and an irresistible hatred directed at real or imagined "enemies." Mind-altering drugs and periodic counseling may offer some relief, but the shame and hatred remain just beneath the veneer of the drug-induced haze. Here's how it started:

         My childhood nightmare began when I was in the second grade, while we were living in the duplex and in the process of buying a house. I don’t recall all the details that led up to what was the first of many abusive acts by my father, but I do remember that I had been outside and had come running back into the apartment. My father, in his usual drunken state, was reclining on a Naugahyde chair in our living room. My mother and the rest of the family were nowhere about. He had a grin on his face. “Come here, I want to show you something,” he called to me. As I approached him he unzipped his fly and stretched his penis vertically. He shook it at me. He had never done anything like this before, and I knew instinctively that it was wrong. I giggled, I guess from nervousness, and ran to my room. 

Later, he began taking his daughter for "rides:"

He began by telling me to come over and sit close to him. When I made no move to comply, he reached across the seat and dragged me to him. I curled into my fetal defense position, which made him mad enough that he spanked me and told me to straighten up. I refused.
“I want to show you something,” he said as he forced his hand into my crotch. I was wearing a dress with panties. His rough hands scratched the insides of my thighs. I fought to keep myself in a ball.
“Look at this,” he said after a minute.
He had unzipped his pants, and now held his penis erect with one hand as he coddled my crotch with the other. Now I knew I was sure enough in trouble. I struggled, determined to get away.
“Stop it!” he demanded, “or I’ll tear your little ass up!”
I didn’t care whether he spanked me or not. All I wanted was to get away from him.
“Touch it,” he said then. “Just rub it a little.”
“Just a little bit.”
He took his hand from his penis and with the other in my crotch whacked me on the rear. Hard. It hurt so much that I stopped fighting for a moment.
With one hand he wiggled his fingers in my crotch, with the other he began to masturbate. It was over in a few seconds. Creamy fluid shot from his penis and rolled down onto his pants. I lay huddled there beside him, scared, revolted, sickened, wanting to get away, to be anywhere, anywhere but here with him.
“Get over there,” he said after a minute as he pulled his hand from my crotch. “And don’t you tell nobody.”
He had no worry about that. I was so ashamed that I would die if anybody knew what had happened. I shrank into the far side of the seat and hoped it was all over. When we reached home I jumped out and ran. 

This is a depressing story, but one that must be read if one is to appreciate the horrors of child abuse. It's titled "Demons and Whispers; A Memoir of Abuse."

Monday, September 17, 2012


Another "treasure" we have recently come across. Can you identify it?

For details, go to "Vicksburg's Treasures."


I want to thank four good friends for their reviews of my latest novel, "How I Found a Remedy for Innocence." Dena, Clint, Cathy and Skipper... your kind words are most appreciated; I hope others may find the same enjoyment in reading the novel as you have indicated by your generous reviews. I trust I will be able to repay your generosity by some means in the future.