Thursday, November 6, 2014

CBC Bookclub Reads "The Shining, Shining Path"

Today was BOOK CLUB DAY for my reading group which technically has no name. But some of us refer to it as the CBC Book Club. Today our group of enthusiastic readers met at my sister Susan's house for a lively discussion of Carroll Dale Short's fascinating novel, The Shining, Shining Path. The discussion was intense, filled with comments, questions, applause, and exclamations of wonderment. Individual responses went from speechless with awe, to gleeful, to respectful, to horrified, to delighted. Everyone gave this book a thumbs up and five stars.

"I once interviewed an elderly blues musician who told me, "Some people play the blues for love. Some play for money. I play because I can't help myself." Same goes for me and writing." - Carroll Dale Short

Carroll Dale Short is one of our own, an Alabama writer of truly startling talent. And a really nice guy! Take my word for it, and the word of all the CBC book clubbers, you need to read this book!

In Dale Short's amazing book, The Shining, Shining Path, the main character, Turner, a rock promoter and Vietnam vet, is improbably chosen by a sect of Buddhist monks as a spiritual warrior, picked to battle the forces of darkness and evil. In Alabama. Dale's writing is impressive, humorous, spiritual, metaphysical, mathematical, endearing, sad, scary, thought-provoking, and filled with joy.

Dale has written numerous other books, and you can learn more about him at 

Here are a few snapshots of some of our book club ladies, cats, and dogs, today at Susan's house. We drank mimosas, ate chicken salad, pasta salad, and sweet potato pie!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

City Sanctus

Here's my poem, City Sanctus. I wrote it a few years ago for a "poetry slam" in Birmingham, and read it last night at Birmingham Museum of Art's celebration of civil rights on the occasion of Gandhi's birthday. The picture is the statue of Brother Bryan.

City Sanctus   

Sweet swinging, celestial, high-reverberating slam-dunk sounds,
new fashioned beginnings 
over old fashioned endings!
Certain things are happening.

My voice carries over the city.
At last, our voices carry!
Wheels have turned. Oh, wheel!
Face to face with turning wheels, our voices carry;
anthems changing words as we speak.

No longer bound, we speak changing anthems.
At last, our voices carry, day to night, and night to day.

Children all in white
still mornings
hearts wonder
Will another night come?

Children all in black
still nights
hearts wonder
Will another morning come?

Children all in white, I am here.
Children all in black, I am here.

Lo, I am with you always.
My voice carries over this day and this night.
My voice carries over this city and this sound.

Slam! We know that sound.
Steel ringing
Vulcan wields swinging steel
foundations singing
our voices ring!


© Ramey Channell

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Going to a Book Store

Yesterday was a fun day of Southern culinary delights and old book shopping. My sister, Joanne, and I ate a scrumptious lunch at The Irondale Cafe, famously known as The Whistle Stop Cafe in Fannie Flagg's book, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe."

My sister ordered fried green tomatoes with her lunch, and I ordered green tomatoes parmesan, which I have to tell you, is one of the tastiest foods on earth. I need that recipe.

After finishing our delicious lunch, we walked down to Doggone Books, a treasure trove if you like browsing through thousands of old books. My sister bought a copy of Walker Percy's "Lancelot," and I bought a vintage copy of "Sunlight on the Lawn" by Beverley Nichols.

After reading "Down the Garden Path," the first book in the Merry Hall trilogy, I became a devoted  Beverley Nichols fan. "Sunlight on the Lawn" is the third book in the series; a hilarious series of books written by a "proper" British gentleman about the trials and tribulations of finding, remodelling and decorating his home and garden. These books are witty, hilarious, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. For a delightful day out, I highly recommend good southern food and a good English novel.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Some Thoughts on Going to the Dentist and Talking Like Stephen McHattie

Today I had a dental appointment which I couldn't avoid because I had broken a tooth. I was there from 10:00 in the morning till 1:30 in the afternoon, and left feeling like a cement mixer and a weed eater had been in my mouth, which was just about the case. My dentist and all his helpers are the sweetest people you could ask for, but that doesn't help at all when I have a cement mixer and a weed eater in my mouth for three and a half hours.

So when they turned me loose, I left the dental office feeling worn out, hungry, and largely numb in the face, and headed home for some tasty Brown Cow coffee yogurt before heading to work at the Leeds Library. When I arrived home and had the occasion to speak to my daughter, I discovered that when I spoke, my upper lip was doing a superb imitation of one of my favorite actors, Stephen McHattie!

I LOVE Stephen McHattie! Doesn't everyone love Stephen McHattie? I even like the funny way he talks.
Here he is, being James Dean.

Stephen McHattie was born on Feb. 3, 1947 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The first time I saw him, he was portraying Jacques Pasquinel in the James A. Michener production of Centennial, a TV mini-series in 1978. It was pretty much love at first sight.

Jacques Pasquinel
I think we need to declare a Stephen McHattie Day! February 3rd is the day I designate to be National Stephen McHattie Day!
Wonder why he has that funny lip thing?
Meanwhile, all the feeling has come back into my mouth and face, and I'm no longer having the funny McHattie lip thing. So, I'm going in search of some good McHattie movies to watch tonight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Birthday Bash with the Bard

Today, they say, is Will's birthday!
With cakes and ale we cheer!
And if ere long the ale's all gone,
We'll just have cakes and beer!

"A possum by any other name would still be a possum." William Shakespeare

So, it looks like we're talking about the Bard of Avon.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, until around 1609 when he penned his most renowned work, MacPossum, a dazzling work of brooding gothic drama which set the standard for all literature to come. That's why possums, all and sundry, can be heard to mutter, "Double, double, toil and trouble." as they fumble around the countryside, looking for some style of mischief to get into.

Here in Alabama, we are most fortunate to have in residence possums of the highest literary nature. Just a few nights ago, upon hearing a little marsupialesque voice quavering "Oh, do not swear by the MOON!" I looked out my back door to see who spake thus. Sure enough, my eyes were blessed with the sight of two little bardies, munching on cat food as they carried on such an urbane and sophisticated discourse! Who could not love a possum?

Back to the Bard; Shakespeare biographers have documented the indisputable fact that people were barely able to walk around the Globe Theatre without stepping on the tails of Shakespeare's many pet possums, who hung around the place, and were, at that time, believed to bring good luck to actors, writers, and artists.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 Happy Birthday, Oh Bard!