Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Peace crane @ Manzanar - with text

The state of the world this week had me tuning into the news more often than usual. I saw a clip of a man who carried a portable piano on his bike to the sidewalk in front of one of the Paris attacks. He sat down and began to play the John Lennon song, Imagine. The crowds gathered around him and a hush fell as tears streamed down faces filled with confusion and fear.

I am also reminded of a poster we have had in our home for so many, many years it is faded and tattered at the corners but the message remains strong.

P1050979

Here’s for all we yearn for peace and understanding.

P1050980

This post is part of Colleen’s weekly writer’s quote feature on SilverThreading. Make sure to stop by her blog and check out her round-up of all the great quotes.

Colleen's Writer Quote Wed. cartoon

Location, Location, Location–Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen

9781457526756cvr.indd

It gives me great pleasure to reignite the location series by featuring Nicki Chen’s highly rated historical novel, Tiger Tail Soup. I met Nicki via the WordPress blogosphere and I have enjoyed her posts over on Behind the Story. I also follow Nicki through her Facebook Author page. Her updates are always interesting and recently one of them spurred me on to purchase and read her book. Not too many pages into her wonderful novel, I knew I had to see if Nicki would be willing to write a guest post for the Location Series. So, without further ado, take it away Nicki Chen.

reading in Monroe

Walking the Lanes of Kulangsu Brought My Novel to Life

I’ve always been partial to stories that take me away to some far-off, fascinating place. Maybe my affinity for distant shores was exactly why my late husband captured my heart. Besides being a marvellous storyteller, Eugene had a bagful of stories about an exotic spot: the unique little island off the coast of southern China where he was born.

Kulangsu (now called Gulangyu) is still considered special, even by the Chinese. It’s a quaint vacation spot known for beaches, food and its longstanding ban on wheeled vehicles. Even bicycles aren’t allowed on the island, and it’s been that way for as long as anyone can remember. No one complains, though. The island is small and the lanes narrow.

For years, we thought we’d never have a chance to visit Eugene’s birthplace. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember how China was cut off from the rest of the world, existing behind what we used to call the Bamboo Curtain. Even after Richard Nixon’s 1972 surprise trip to Beijing, China remained off-limits for most of the next decade.

Then in 1983, while we were living in Manila, we heard that a travel agency was arranging trips for overseas Chinese to travel to Amoy, a larger island that’s only a short ferry ride from Kulangsu. Great! We made reservations, flew to Hong Kong, and sailed up the coast to Amoy (now known as Xiamen).

In honor of the new more open policy, Xiamen built a brand new hotel to accommodate their overseas brethren, the Hotel for Overseas Chinese. It was a brave step forward in a country whose doors had been shut to the outside world for more than thirty years. A brave step. But then we showed up, my Chinese husband and his white wife and three half-white children. “Not possible.” The desk clerks shook their heads and blasted my husband with a barrage of refusals in the Hokkien dialect. The hotel was for overseas Chinese, they insisted. Only overseas Chinese. No way around it.

Since the city hadn’t thought to build a hotel for foreign visitors, if we couldn’t get into this one, we’d have no place to stay. Eugene was forced to drag out his best powers of persuasion and an apt Chinese proverb. After twenty or thirty minutes, he finally got us in. (See “No Room at the Inn.”)

Gul-5

Every day that week, we took the ferry across to Kulangsu. We walked its lanes and beaches, tasted its food, and talked to old family friends. If I’d known that I would one day write a novel set on Kulangsu, I would have taken more notes and snapped far more than two rolls of photos.

These days, when I look online at photos of Xiamen, I don’t recognize it. It’s all shining steel and glass skyscrapers and highways and parks. In 1983, it was grimy three-story buildings and bicycles, the way it must have looked right after WWII.

For me, that postwar period of stagnation was a lucky break. The time period for my novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is 1938-1946, a time when the streets and lanes of Kulangsu and Amoy (Xiamen) must have looked about the same as they did the year of my visit. Walking those lanes myself, brought the story of my novel to life … even before I thought of writing it.

GettyImages_143048392

My Five-Star Review of Tiger Tail Soup

Nicki Chen’s novel, Tiger Tail Soup, left me feeling as though I had watched the most vividly beautiful movie. Every word is a delight to the senses, the writing as elegant as her description of a tiger. “I could see the golden sheen of his fur and count the perfectly carved pieces of night that were his stripes.”

As the sub-title warns – the subject matter is China at war. But carefully woven through a story of loss and hardship are numerous threads of beauty, humour and love.

In Chen, the reader finds a craftswoman of extraordinary talent when it comes to painting a scene or aptly describing an emotion. The moon is a fishhook over the sea, peace soaks through a crust of skin and sun-warmed rocks are fragrant. Consider this passage when An Lee is preparing to send a batch of letters she’s written to her husband, Yu-ming.

“I pulled out a green silk ribbon, the exact color chosen long ago: a soft lotus-leaf green for the wind-skirts and the water-pads of a lotus pond. Seeing the ribbon, he would think of mandarin ducks swimming in pairs among white lotus flowers blooming pure and untouched above the muck.”

No matter the challenges and privations faced by An Lee as the war drags on and life on the small island of Kulangsu becomes more and more brutal, her life is lived with thoughts turned to beauty.

The tiger thread that wends its way through this novel is powerful. I felt as though I could feel the padding of the large animal’s paws walking alongside of me. Chen expresses An Lee’s connection to the animals so well. “It seemed to me that everyone loved tigers – their beauty and strength, the danger they represented. Tiger-ness, that’s what I love, the idea of a tiger, the myth.”

Tiger - google images

Throughout the novel, the author is relentless in showing us An Lee as she is – flaws and all. By the end of the story, I felt as satisfied as any doting mother would be at An Lee’s maturity. She reflects on what life reunited with her husband will be. “Yu-ming is only a man, after all. He’s not a mold that fits around all my corners. He isn’t a river that will forever flow into the basin of my emptiness.”

This is the type of book that demands a reader slow down as the end approaches. It is a story to savour. It is a story to remember.

The e-book of Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen is currently selling for the outrageously reasonable price of $1.98 (Amazon.com) Similar bargain price to be had for the Nook version and the Apple iBook. Nicki’s novel has twenty-three, four and five star reviews on Amazon and great ratings and reviews on Goodreads . I invite you to read this book – you won’t be disappointed.

Location, Location, Location–Peter Ralph & The CEO

CEO coverIt gives me great pleasure to push the boundaries of this series to include, not only a stunning journey thorough the business district of Melbourne, Australia, but to also take readers into the twisted corridors of the corporate boardroom. I’m not sure how I discovered Peter Ralph’s novel, The CEO, but the moment I finished reading it, I knew I wanted Peter to write a piece for this series.

So, without further ado, take it away, Peter.

Francis, the offer to appear on your blog is extremely kind. Many thanks.

Real life business events are the inspiration for my novels. I change the characters, embellish the facts, add a degree of violence and suspense and voila . . . a story.

I have a heavy background in business. Eons ago I was a chartered accountant specializing in corporate reconstructions and recoveries. Part of this job involved spending literally hundreds of hours in the Supreme and Federal Courts as a ‘supposed’ expert witness. Sounds exciting, huh? It wasn’t as I was rarely ever called as the vast majority of these cases were settled or determined by deals worked out by the respective barristers. What was great though, was that I got to listen to the great legal minds of that time. I spent hours in their chambers mainly listening but in some cases advising them on particular issues and drafting affidavits. There are very few lawyers who would’ve been exposed to the same level of expertise and naturally I learnt a little on the way.

I then became CEO of a large private company. (and no, I wasn’t ‘The CEO’) With this background it’s very easy for me to write business related novels including those about white collar crime.

Crooked businessman 8

The CEO, is a conglomeration of every bad CEO that I have ever known or met. Douglas Aspine is 45 and desperate to attain a CEO’s position when death deals him a lucky card and he is appointed to run an underperforming, staid, asset rich company. He has one driving ambition and that is to massively enrich himself, and he has absolutely no scruples about how he is going to do it. This a man who doesn’t have second thoughts or any compassion about sacking twenty-per cent of the company’s workforce, cheating on his wife and children, defrauding his employer, lying to the stock exchange and his co-directors, reneging on promises, and hitting on any female employees that take his fancy. Each chapter of this novel is written in such a way as to pique the reader’s interest as to whether Aspine can get any worse and in each ensuing chapter he doesn’t disappoint, going from being totally unlikeable to unbelievably despicable. He wields enormous power and it is hard to see him ever getting his just desserts.

The CEO and Dirty Fracking Business, were published by Melbourne Books. The owner has become a good friend of mine and he is a fine publisher. That having been said, I will never again use a publisher. Not because I dislike them or bear them any ill-well. It’s just that I can earn far more self-publishing with Amazon. The CEO and Collins Street Whores were never published in e-book form so I took it upon myself to do so. What a revelation. I never imagined or guessed the complexities and benefits of the Amazon website or for that matter how lucrative it could be. I’m still learning and have been exposed to so many great books via e-book marketing.

My Five –Star Review of The CEO

A totally captivating read – I couldn’t put it down.

I literally held my breath through a good third of, The CEO. The author plunged me into a world I know next to nothing about (the boardroom and backroom goings on off corporate finance) and inside the mind of a man who could well have been the devil’s incarnate, wearing an expensive three-piece suit and racing around the streets of Melbourne in a red Ferreira.

Though I am uneducated when it comes to the wheeling and dealing of the upper echelon of corporate executive officers, Ralph made the going a breeze with his wealth of detail put forth in clear, easy prose. Now, if that wasn’t challenge enough, he manages the feat while never losing sight of the fact that he’s telling a story and the humanity he endows his characters with is never lacking.

We watch Ralph’s main character, Douglas Aspine, wrack havoc in the lives of most everyone he encounters. He amasses huge sums of money and moves it effortlessly around the globe from one highly sheltered account to another. Nothing fazes this guy, no amount of pressure or short-term stumbling block gets in his way. His single-mindedness and confidence in his own ability to pull off just about anything becomes totally enthralling. It is like watching a train headed full-speed towards the end of the tracks that just happen to hang over a deep ravine while the engineer drinks a cup of coffee and causally reads a newspaper. You simply can’t drag your eyes away.

Though self-centered and self-serving to the core, Ralph does let us see ever-so-slight glimpses of what’s left of Aspine’s conscience and in this way saves his main character from becoming a complete caricature of evil. He warns his son to be careful travelling in South-East Asia, the drug laws and penalties imposed for breaking those laws are not to be taken lightly. Aspine feels remorse and guilt for his baser sexual behaviour.

What I found most fascinating was the ways in which the weaknesses of the people around Aspine were so easily manipulated. This isn’t a simple morality tale or story of black and white, good and bad, though upon first glimpse it may seem so. Aspine turns out to be just one marker on a whole continuum of greed and amorality.

The ending, which after a certain point begins to seem inevitable, and may in fact satisfy many readers, left me unwilling to think that all was well. Perhaps the obligation to do the right thing should not rest on how deserving or undeserving the recipient of that action might be.

The CEO is a totally captivating book and I suspect most readers will bite the hook, be drawn in and not be able to put the book down until the final page has been turned.

So, there you have it – the corporate boardroom, a dramatic setting every bit as gripping as any landscape location. Visit Peter over at his website: Corporate Thrillers. Check out his Facebook Author Page. And do pop over to Amazon and read the reviews for The CEO.

Location, Location, Location–Kristin Anderson’s novel: Green

 

bookcover_GREEN_kindle_versionThis month my location series takes us to the bustling, glittering streets of downtown L.A. and various other spots in Southern California. I hope you’ll help me give a big welcome to Kristin Anderson and her novel, Green.

Before we get to Kristin’s guest post, let’s take a few moments to marvel at her cover design. Lovely – right? As well as intriguing, this cover made me want to read Anderson’s book. Kristin tells of finding the image for her cover and the process of contacting the digital artist and working to fine tune what she knew had to be the cover of her book on her blog – do check out her post.

 

Take it away, Kristin.

During my honeymoon in Italy, we traveled through a series of small northern Italian towns in the off season. When we stepped off the train at the next destination, I announced the name of the city in an effort to gain my bearing.

“Ah. So this is Treviso,” I would say.

“No. We were in Treviso this morning. This is Belluno,” my husband would correct me. He’d been with me long enough to realize I had a little (big) issue with directions; well, with geography in general, but this was a strange step beyond reason even for me. And it kept happening. Why was I constantly referencing backward?

I share this little slice from my honeymoon over a decade ago, as it is directly relates to my author brain and the writing process. Sometimes, you have to leave a place to wake up to its beauty. When I lived on the central coast of California, the layers of mountains, the deep blue Pacific, the chaparral and oak trees lining the mountain trails were a part of my landscape. And I took them for granted. I didn’t notice them, really, any more than I noticed the details on the palm of my hand.

And so is it with my writing process. True, I started my debut novel Green while living in California where it takes place, but the majority of the story was written while living in The Netherlands. Just like that honeymoon train ride so many years ago, I was reflecting backwards, writing about a place where I used to be. Of course, I’ve long forgotten the details of Treviso, Italy, as we were only there for a few days. But I grew up in California and the thirty plus years of impressions that have etched their way into my mind are easily available to draw upon in my writing. And for everything else, there’s Google.

Green is about relationships, but also about the environment. Environmental activism plays a big role in my plot, in character development and in ethical dilemmas that challenge the lead characters. In order to make the character debates realistic, conversations need to be grounded to their location; character backgrounds need to be defined in order for the reader to better understand character development. All of this is related to place.

Downtown L.A. (3) Bruce Witzel photo

For example, my lead character Ellie Ashburn grew up in rural Idaho, but has cast off the benefits of rural life to pursue a career in the big city of Los Angeles. When she goes to a tribal gathering in rural Santa Ynez Valley, California with her new boyfriend Jake, the natural surroundings awaken a part in her she has forgotten.

She felt something loosen inside her as she glanced around at the rolling hills, not a single building in site. Ellie knew she felt at home. A dusting of soil settled into the creases of her crisp white jeans and stickers poked into her rhinestone sandals as if mother earth herself was trying to push the city girl away and bring Ellie back to her humble beginnings.

Todd Anderson - photo (2)

This sense of dusty earth coming up to claim you is something I personally relate to, having grown up in the Santa Ynez Valley of California myself. It doesn’t matter how urban you become; the rural life of your childhood is ingrained within you, and just a little contact can pull you back to your beginnings.

The majority of my novel takes place in urban Los Angeles, and thus many of the settings are in restaurants, clubs and office buildings or the city streets. How do our characters interact with their natural and, in this case, man-made environments and how do these settings inform us about the characters? Consider this passage. Ellie and her best guy friend Arno are attending an environmental art opening at a gallery.

Downtown L.A. - Bruce Witzel photo

Here is what happens when they arrive by car.

They headed to Studio City and pulled up in front of a contemporary building of steel and glass.

“Where’s the valet parking?” he asked an employee.

“There’s only valet parking for bicycles this evening, sir. However, there is a secure automobile lot two blocks away,” the attendant explained, pointing.

“Oh this is going to be interesting,” Arno chuckled as he turned toward Ellie. “You wait here while I go park my evil little gas guzzling Carmengia.”

Clearly the artist was popular as they had to wait in line to get in. When they finally reached the entrance they were greeted by two glamorous women in green sequined dresses with matching stilettos. They handed Arno and Ellie cloth napkins with a forest design signed by Earl Diamond, the artist.

“These are for your use this evening, and yours to keep. This is a waste-free event and Mr. Diamond encourages you to switch from paper to cloth” they chirped in unision.

“I hope there’s t.p in the bathroom,” Ellie whispered to Arno mischievously.

“Multi-purpose cloth in your hand there, dear,” he clamoured.

In this short passage, we learn through their reaction to the setting, that both Ellie and Arno are not entirely comfortable with environmental concepts, and address their discomfort through humour. Although the gallery in Studio City I envisioned is a figment of my imagination, I have been to events that have bicycle valet parking, and have been to a handful of contemporary galleries made of steel and glass, several in Los Angeles. Thus creativity mixes with reality.

Downtown L.A. (2) Bruce Witzel photo

Each location introduced serves a purpose; it is a catalyst to understand characters. And I believe it is best to write about locations with which you personally have experience. My latest work of fiction, an eco-thriller to be released in the summer of 2015, is set in the Netherlands, where I currently reside.

My Review of Green

A 30-something coming-of-age story set in beautiful L.A.

I recommend Green as a coming-of-age story for the 30-something crowd of readers – or those approaching that age range and the life decisions that seem to come with that territory these days. Things have changed a lot since I was thirty, married for several years, raising two children and asking what else life had in store. Thirty is the new twenty, I’ve heard. Young people are using the years from twenty to thirty to exercise their options in everything from careers to relationships and this novel illustrates well the dilemmas faced.  

Upon first blush, Anderson’s main character, Ellie, seems to have it all – a rewarding, upwardly mobile career, looks and fancy clothes, a nice home and the whirl of an exciting social life. And yet she struggles on the edge of knowing that the time has come to make a relationship commitment and reorder her well-constructed life to allow that something more to happen for her.

She meets and falls for Jake, a committed, walk-the-talk environmentalist, a guy who is nothing like anyone else she has ever known. It would seem a true case of opposites attracting as Ellie no more fits into Jake’s world than he fits into hers. The stage is definitely set for a crash or two along the road to true love.

The story is rich with details about L.A. and the surrounding area, the environmentalist movement, going green, and the lifestyles’ of several characters. Anderson’s attention to detail made me feel like I had actually gone to many of the places she describes – be it hikes in the wilderness or desert, gallery openings, fancy restaurants or a perilous bike ride down Sunset Boulevard.

sunset boulevard - yelp.com - John W. photo

My one objection, albeit a small one, is that the characters were a bit too polished perfect – in how the they saw themselves and how the world saw them. I wanted both Ellie and Jake to step of their pedestals now and then – let their hair down so to speak.

You can find, Green on Amazon I recommend you pop over and peruse a few of the twenty reviews. I won’t be surprised if you decide this novel is worth the investment of a few hours of reading time. 

Florida Fiction with P.C. Zick – Location, Location, Location

Florida Setting 1

I have been fortune enough to be featured on P.C. Zick’s, Writing Whims Blog no less than four times! An incredibly generous blogger, P.C. does interviews with authors on Wednesday and features her book review of that author’s work on Friday. A great double whammy for readers who want to get to know a knew author. It gives me great pleasure to feature P.C.’s guest post on why she writes Florida fiction as part of the Location, Location, Location series.

Take it away, P.C.

Florida Setting 5

The landscape, the climate, the wildlife, the people —these are all the reasons I set my novels in Florida.

For thirty years, the humidity of the Sunshine State seeped under my skin and into my blood. Even though I moved away four years ago, it haunts my fiction. And I’d not have it any other way.

When my first husband suggested we move to Florida from Michigan in 1980, I asked, “You want to live in Miami?” That’s the only image I had of Florida until we moved to twenty acres in north Florida, sixty miles south of the Georgia border.

My first indication that I’d entered into a unique world came when we were driving to Florida from Michigan. We stopped for breakfast just over the Georgia border somewhere north of Jacksonville. We chose an old diner with a glass case containing dusty toys and candy bars and torn Naugahyde booths and greasy walls. As I perused the menu, a movement on the wall caught my eye. The largest cockroach I’d ever seen in my life crawled toward the ceiling. When the waitress came to take our order, I said, “There’s cockroach on the wall.” She continued chewing her gum and looked down at me as she held her pad and pen poised to write down my order. She never glanced at the wall. “What kin I git ya?” she asked.

I’d arrived in Florida where the word cockroach does not exist. What I saw on that greasy wall that morning was a palmetto bug, I soon learned. What’s not to love about a place that names an insect known for its attraction to filth after a beautiful tree?

Florida Setting 7

Adjustment came slowly. My new world frightened me. I didn’t see the beauty of the live oak trees draped in moss or understand the lure of frogs singing on a summer night. The wildlife of northern Florida held threats to my safety. I saw danger lurking in the surrounding wilderness. One morning I looked in the mirror and saw a tick, fat with my blood, attached to the center of my forehead. The first time I saw a broadhead skink, I threatened to leave my new home and head back to a land of lizard-less landscapes. After hearing that I wanted to leave, a neighbor suggested I read Cross Creek. I had never heard of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings even though The Yearling sounded familiar.

Not only was Ms. Rawlings a writer, something I aspired to be at that time, but she had conquered her fears of a Florida wilderness and wrote with affection about an area much more rural than anything I had experienced. For the first time, I began to understand the rhythms of life in this land that was beginning to own me.

When I began my writing journey in 1998, Ms. Rawlings remained my inspiration, and I found all of Florida’s wonders creeping into my articles, columns, and novels.

Florida Setting 6The abundant wildlife and their precarious balance with the human population make compelling stories. I try to include their plight within my novels, making their stories parallel to the struggle of the characters. In Trails in the Sand, I used the sea turtles and the danger to them as oil gushed out of the well in the Gulf of Mexico during BP’s 2010 oil spill. The race to save the hatchlings from drowning in oil appeared as the main character, Caroline, raced to save her family. Stories of alligators, Florida panthers, black bears, coyotes, bobcats, and crocodiles abound as their habitat shrinks, and they risk extinction. I haven’t even begun to write about the invasive species that thrive in the tropics of Florida. The Burmese python and iguanas are begging me to include them in a novel.

The landscape may not be as dramatic as the mountains, but a variety of settings—from the beach, to rivers, to the swamps of the Everglades—do exist. North Florida’s rolling hills, live oak trees interspersed with palm trees, and peaceful flowing rivers and springs make ideal settings for a novel. But I also like to set scenes on the beach, and in the swamps and marshes of the coast and the Everglades.

I use the heat and humidity to set the mood, and I employ hurricanes and tropical storms to indicate turmoil in the characters’ lives or create conflict within the plot.

I write about Florida because I know it and I love it. A passage from Trails in the Sand best expresses my awe and respect for Florida’s natural wonders.

Joey took us on the grand tour – we flew through the water until we came to small paths that took us right through the heart of the Glades. Then he slowed down and allowed us to take in the beauty of the land around us. The herons and egrets swooped down in front of us. The hawks glided overhead and the gators came out to take in the warm February morning sun. Simon leaned over at one point and kissed me on the cheek.

“I see why you love it here so much,” he said. “It’s nature’s cornucopia.”

My Review of Trails in the Sand

Trails in the Sand - BookcoverFollow the trails left in the sand through a blazing and heartrending story not soon forgotten.

P.C. Zick’s Florida Fiction novel, Trails in the Sand,  kept me page turning right to the end. I had to actually stop myself from racing through. I’m glad I exercised control because the book should be savoured as much for the story as for the many detailed descriptions of the current state of the environment.

The author’s writing is replete with detailed descriptions – the natural landscape, the gardens and the architecture are all painted in lush words.

At its most stripped down level, the book is the love story of Caroline and Simon. Their decades-long torch-carrying for one another is the live wire that keeps the spark of this book burning, but there are so many more fires that require the reader’s attention. Flitting through and around both Caroline and Simon is the deep-seated trauma of family dysfunction. Gladys Stokley, a woman caught in her own pain, had set-up a rivalry between her two daughters, Caroline and Amy, which nearly destroyed them all. Simon, the man who figures predominantly in the lives of both sisters, is caught in Gladys’ web as surely as the Stokley girls. The dysfunction tracks its way into the next generation and Caroline finds she must act. Family secrets will be traced to their source and hard truths revealed.

Caroline is a freelance, environmental journalist. This proves to be a clever device that allows the author to weave into the story yet another blaze – current events close to her own heart. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning in the Gulf and the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion in West Virginia provide a fiery backdrop to the more personal story elements of relationship and family.

And through the traumatic and painful life events of the characters and the tragedy that is countless barrels of oil pouring into the Gulf waters, we follow the trails in the sand left by the turtles. Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, the leatherback, the hawksbill and the green – the reader learns about each and comes to care equally for how these wonderful sea creatures will fare as for the human characters that populate the pages of this story.

Florida Setting 2

Please visit Amazon.com to check out P.C. Zick’s Florida Fiction novel, Trails in the Sand. It currently has thirty-eight, four and five star reviews, averaging a 4.7 ranking and the e-book is selling for the great price of $3.07. You can also pop over to P.C.’s blog, Writing Whims, for the links to various formats for all her novels.

Funny Friday–Kafka Anyone?

Someone sent me this comic the other day.

Kafka cartoon

Hilarious Smile

Kafkaesque – a nightmarish situation which most people can somehow relate to, although strongly surreal.

Get it – I no longer have to pretend I know what Kafkaesque means while actually in a Kafkaesque situation. Double hilarious. Smile Smile 

While actually being Kafkaesque. Triple hilarious Smile Smile Smile 

I dare you not to grin.

All kidding aside, though, Kafka wasn’t a particularly humorous guy.

“The first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.”

Hmmm . . . not much to smile about there.

On the other hand,

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”

That thought simply must free us to believe, passionately, with all that we are. We build the road as we go (Mondragon Cooperative), the next chapter of our lives is not yet written.

The Web - Bruce Witzel photo