Archive | December, 2010

Orphan Cloud

While walking near the ocean, I noticed this orphan cloud. Typically I realized clouds live in very close quarters to one another. This one was all alone. Poor cloud.

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Review of The Strong Man by Charles Dodd White

The Strong Man by Matt BriggsA review of my new novel, The Strong Man, at Charles Dodd White’s Blog. White writes, “Briggs is brilliant in his moments that address the removal of the human element from modern warfare, the commonplace absurdities of set-piece battles.” — for the full review.

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What the Merry-Go-Round Goes Round (2)

I just posted a draft of Chapter 2, “Morningfloaters” from my attempt at a Young Adult novel called, What the Merry-Go-Round Goes Round at You can read and or leave feedback if you are so inclined. Thanks.


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While I walk at night, cars pass me. Typically I am in the darkness while walking and my eyes adjust to the ambient light of distant street lights and the moon half visible through a scrim of faint clouds. But then a car arrives. It is loud and throws light. I am nearly blinded even though I can make out the pale faces of passengers staring at me. I can see they can’t really make out what I am — they glance at me with unfocused eyes and then they are gone.

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Writing on the World

I passed two surveyors making marks and measurements near Puget Sound. They marked their annotations directly on the asphalt, dirt, gravel, and grass. One note that I couldn’t read — the surveyors don’t’ have the best handwriting when writing on the world — passed over the walkway and continued right onto the lawn. I couldn’t really figure out trying to read what they wrote what is different about their work and the work of graffiti artists.

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What the Merry-Go-Round Goes Round (1)

I just posted a draft of Chapter 1, “Girl in the Thicket” from my attempt at a Young Adult novel called, What the Merry-Go-Round Goes Round at You can read and or leave feedback if you are so inclined. Thanks.

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The Effect of Sea Water and Rain Water on Plant Life

My daughter in conducting an experiment. Will seawater, rainwater, soda water, or tap water allow a plant to thrive or will it kill the plant? She herself thrives on the steady application of root beer.

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Crows use Tools, too

In Aesop’s Fables a crow drops pebbles in a jar to raise the level of the water so that he can drink. In the parking lot at Salt Water Sate Park, crows use the asphalt to crack the muscle shells. They left the muscles far above the lot and then drop them. When they drop them they drop after them so that when the muscle smashes into the asphalt and releases its meat the loitering gulls and competing crows don’t have time to make a snatch and fly. It is sometimes said that the defining aspect of humanity is our ability to use tools or technology. But it seems the thing that separates us from crows is only feathers.

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List of Underrated American Writers

List of Underrated American WritersMy name is on a list of underrated writers posted by novelist Charles Dodd at Ltmarlborough in response to a list of overratedwriters posted by critic Anis Shivani at the Huffington Post. Dodd writes, “These writers have impressed me with their unique and earnest engagement, and I hope more people seek out their work.” Thanks, Mr. Dodd. I’m flattered to be included on a list with such great writers by Dodd who is no slouch himself. He has just released a novel Lambs of Men about a World War I vet returning home to Appalachia.

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A pair of white wings

wingsWhile walking near Puget Sound in the middle of the day, I encountered a pair of white wings dangling from the branches of an alder tree. Each wing was bound to other with a tether of tendons and gristle. The wings were thick, well formed wings from a massive gull. At first I thought maybe they were the wings that belonged to a bald eagle that I’d seen in the forest near Salt Water State Park. I’d seen bald eagles flying over the beach and as they flew the other birds disappeared. I thought maybe some poacher had removed the body of the bird and discarded the wings. But likely bald eagle wings are worth just as much money if not more than other part of the bird. Instead it seemed more likely the wings were the remains of a meal from some animal that could kill a gull and consume the gull from the top of a tree. Likely it was the leftovers from the meal of a bald eagle rather than the remains of an eagle. As I walked I wondered at how often I see the remains of animals. The streets of my neighborhood are lined the carcasses of raccoons, possums, and cats.

severed headMy cat brings to the house the bodies of birds, rats, and mice. He leaves them on the doorjamb in at tidy bundle as an offering or payment in rent. The other day there was the grisly head of some bird. Considering how packed my neighborhood is with people I am surprised actually at how efficiently the remains of people are removed.

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