Image of the Day : As if from a Great Height


Images from the stunning Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America located on 45+ acres in Washington, DC. One of the areas hidden gems, even people who have lived their whole lives on the east coast tend to be unaware of this historic and spiritual architectural gem.

The mission and mandate of the monastery was to recreate the moments and places of Christ’s life in the Americas, to be a pilgrimage to the Holy Land recreated in the new land; and as such its importance is at once regional, national, and international, and undeniably spiritual regardless of your religion.

The guided tours, taught by informative (and in our case) witty guides are just a must to attend when in the area, as are the rolling and beautiful grounds that cover over 45 acres. It is more to see then you can take in on any one trip, but what you do take in on that one trip… will stay with you.

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WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Full-color guide
• Make your trip to U.S. & British Virgin Islands unforgettable with illustrated features, 22 maps, and 125 color photos.

Customize your trip with simple planning tools
• Top experiences & attractions
• Island comparison charts
• Easy-to-read color maps

Explore the St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, and beyond
• Discerning Fodor’s Choice picks for hotels, restaurants, sights, and more
• “Word of Mouth” tips from fellow Fodor’s travelers
• Illustrated features on Diving and Chartering a Yacht
• Best beachcombing, day sails, and shopping opportunities

Opinions from destination experts
• Fodor’s Virgin Islands-based writers reveal their favorite local haunts
Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Ryan Ver Berkmoes (Author), Kevin Raub (Author)
Publication Date: December 1, 2011 | Series: Multi Country Travel Guide
“With amazing culture, beaches, activities and weather – not to mention the rum – the Caribbean is a joyous riot of islands offering the ultimate escape.” – Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Lonely Planet WriterOur PromiseYou can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage, and you can rely on us to tell it like we see it.Inside This Book…65 islands covered13 expert authors500 days (and nights) of research874 gorgeous beachesInspirational photosClear, easy-to-use mapsCruising featureIn-depth backgroundComprehensive planning toolsEasy-to-read layout
Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide)

How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad [Paperback]

Publication Date: March 29, 2011
The definitive guide for anyone dreaming of a move to paradise.

Whether motivated by a desire for adventure, or the need to make the most of a diminished nest egg, more and more Americans are considering an overseas retirement. Drawing on her more than three decades of experience helping people relocate happily and successfully, Kathleen Peddicord shows how living in an unconventional retirement destination can cost less than a traditional home in Florida or Arizona. Peddicord addresses all of the essential issues, including:

? Death
? Taxes
? Health Care
? Bank Accounts

Whether readers are interested in relatively unknown havens like Nicaragua, well-traveled areas in Italy, or need some help deciding, How to Retire Overseas is the ultimate guide to making retirement dreams come true.

How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad

The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

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Stranger Things

“It is only proper for a man to taste misery in his thirty-third year, Nathaniel decided. While waiting in the airport lounge Nathaniel realized that, in some small way, he was approaching his own customized Golgotha. Though he doubted that the effects of his journey would ever equal those of the messiah, he nonetheless found himself wondering whether Venice would bring him peace or a sword.”
—‘Strange Advances’ by Richard Gavin available in his collection OMENS

Travel is such an interesting thing. You meet people, you overhear stories, you see sites, you endure mishaps and happy accidents. For a writer travel is not just a thing… it is the thing. Of more value than house or hearth or home… the collecting of experiences is all. And whether those experiences are good or bad, that is indifferent. What matters is places that bear your footsteps, of sites both mundane and marvelous… that you have born witness to.

I’m trying to gather my resources, pay my debt-holders (a venal and vicious bunch to be sure), rally my forces… for one mad push to the sea.

A trip at the end of July, that has been calling to me since the world was young, and I was younger still. A trip all the way… to the mountain where God sits. And all such a trip will cost me… is everything. But the real crazy part, you wanna hear?… the real crazy part is… I have no qualms in paying it.

And all I have to do to get there… is survive the spring. Stranger things have happened. :)

To Find in Motion

Man I really suck at the guitar. :).

This self teaching thing… not going well.

Oh well, that’s a complaint for another post, this post I wanted to talk to you… about traveling.

I like traveling.

I like to move. I like to… find in motion what was lost in space, to quote Tennessee Williams.

I like to find in motion, what was lost in space.

I like traveling by train, I can deal with traveling by bus, but flying? Due to what our government has made of the flying experience, the chore just getting to your plane has become, I abhor flying. Well, let me correct that, I like flying; I abhor the cancer inducing process it has become just getting to your flight. :).

So most weekends I hit the train, or the bus. I could do the car, but part of traveling, is about sitting back, relaxing, watching the country at speed, reading, writing; all things you can’t do when behind the wheel and stressing in traffic.

So I get on the train or the bus, and I…find in motion what was lost in space.

Last weekend the seven or so hours on the road gave me a chance to read a book that has been on my to-read pile for sometime. Namely Richard Laymon’s THE WOODS ARE DARK. I’ll talk more on that later, suffice to say, the book defines page-turning.

A horror/thriller novel, the late Laymon has his share of writing issues in this book, with wildly inconsistent character behavior and actions (and these inaccuracies are both in the original and revised edition) but he moves the story along at such a pace that you don’t pause too long pondering the inconsistent, illogical, even nonsensical behavior of his characters. I was dragged along by his story all the way to the curt end. Flaws and all, it was a fun read and a recommended read.

But more on that later.

This weekend, I’m not sure where the road will lead me yet. I have an idea, but I’m not a huge planner, I never know until I’m on the bus, or the train, or in rare occasions the plane. I never know— until I’m in motion.

Finding in motion what was lost in space.

Three tentative books on the pile to finish up this weekend while traveling (when home I’m so busy doing, that reading can get difficult to make time for, so traveling is a godsend), the options are:

OMENS by Richard Gavin. I’ve read most of the stories in this collection, but I have two or so left. And a couple I wouldn’t mind rereading.


USE ONCE THEN DESTROY by Conrad Williams

I’ve read a couple stories from the last two books, really, really strong. All three books and writers share a thematic feel, the use of understated horror.

So yeah, looking forward to some good reading, which will translate to some reviews in the next couple of posts. And yes the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM revised Interview schedule will go up this weekend as well. So the death threats can stop now. :)

Thanks for looking, come back tomorrow and I’ll have some wacky pics or something. Till then be well and be good. :)

On Travel, Thoreau, and Writing

Traveling is an expensive way to commit yourself to writing, but I find it works for me. Something about the open road, and watching the country slide past you on your way from here to there. Something about hotels, and room service, and new cities to explore, new people to meet, that I find oddly conducive to writing.

That I find oddly conducive to life.

“I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear”

I find travel… feels for me, like life. And staying still too long, I find to fit the above Henry David Thoreau definition of… not life.

So I travel. And I live.

Three days in Raleigh, a 120 pages of writing. Not bad.

I’ve had various people tell me things about Raleigh, some not complimentary, but me being me, I never write a person or a place off till I’ve looked them in the eye and taken their measure, and they have taken mine.

I find you learn a lot, if you have the courage to wander beyond your preconceptions and your comfort zone.

Everything informs you.

You meet interesting people, and have engaging conversations, where you least expect them.

When I’m out and about, people tend to feel comfortable talking to me. Never sure why. Perhaps seeing in my eyes some knowledge that what they say will be more than heard, but understood. But maybe it is simpler than that. We spend so much time conversing with people who will discuss with us trivialities, even when discussing the most significant items of the day, people who tend to not penetrate the topic, but talk upon it in only the most shallow way, the way the media teaches us to talk on topics; so that we are all hungry, antennas up if you will, for someone who is actually interested in anything of real substance.

For someone who is technically adept, I have very little use for technology. It’s acceptable for communication of generalities or to generalities, but in the specific, in the personal, you’ve got to put down the computer, the phone, and be of the moment.

Because that is… all we have.

In the dining car of a train, moving at speed past landscapes made myth-like by that speed, sharing the table with a young lady, of Peruvian descent, a congressional aide who had been to most states of the union, and many South American countries, or speaking to a teaching Administrator in Raleigh, in a bar at the top of the world, she spoke in almost Tennessee Williams’ terms of a life of sports, dancing, and lands searched for; sought for first without, and then within.

Everything informs.

If you have ears to hear, and heart to listen.

Everything informs.

If you let it.

Prepping for spring Travel: Geographies of Soul and Soil

“I was afraid now, afraid to stop. I began to drive faster and faster, I was in lunar landscape now… the great arid mesa country of New Mexico. I drove through it with the indifference of a fly across the face of the moon.”– from THE HITCHHIKER by Louise Fletcher

Like most people I’ve flown over New Mexico on my way to places east or west. And I, like at least some of those people am always struck by the utter alieness of the landscape.

Think often of that arid, but beautiful, landscape… when the need to travel comes upon me.

Am always struck by that waiting lunar landscape nature.

By what it tells us of distances broad, and distances deep, geographies at least as much soul as soil.

A crystallization of what Tennessee Williams wrote, all those long yesterdays ago…

“I didn’t go to the moon. I went much further — for time is the longest distance between two places. Not long after that I was fired for writing a poem on the lid of a shoe-box. I left Saint Louis. I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal. The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something.”— Glass Menagerie