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Thursday, March 30, 2017
1:17 pm edt
Kindness Grows: Real Stories about Random Acts of Kindness
Remember the movie
Pay it Forward? It was nearly a blockbuster in 2000 starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment…
about a little boy that, given the chance by a teacher, attempts to make the world a better place. How? By doing an act of
kindness and then asking the recipient to “pay it forward to the next person s/he meets”. I loved the movie and,
of course, cried at the sad, but hopeful ending.
Kindness Grows: Real Stories About Random Acts of Kindness by a local (Phoenixville) author,
Barb Walters, employs and a very similar
philosophy. Barb, who collected most
of the stories and put them on paper, wrote a very poignantly heartwarming introduction in which she says: When you put
kindness out into the universe, you will help someone. They will pass it on, and help someone in return. Kindness will keep
growing and growing… Like her – and like the young boy in the movie – I firmly believe this. I have
seen it happen in my own life, and in the lives of others. What goes around, truly, indeed, does comes around.
The anecdotes in Barb’s
slender volume are diverse, ranging from a young couple on a road trip stopping to help an elderly woman to a young child
who learns the lesson of kindness when his father stops to fix a stranded driver’s car. Each is headed by a concise,
meaningful title and ends with a poignant quote. It is quite evident in the exacting details that this fledgling, but talented
author took great care in the creation of her work. And… chatting with people and asking about their experiences, positive,
random acts in their lives, then putting them into a book for everyone to read is, in itself, an act of kindness.
I found a copy of
this little treasure at the Ideas Bookstore in Kimberton, PA – a snug little place crammed with a diversity of books.
Novels, children’s books, philosophy, history… every genre of fiction and non-fiction that you could imagine.
I, of course, instantly felt at home. [If you’re in the area, do stop in. Here’s the website: ideasbookstorekimberton.com.]
Grows in hand, I immediately wanted to help myself to a mug of hot tea and settle on one of comfortable chairs
in one of Idea’s cozy nooks to read it straight through. But this is not a book to inhale from cover to cover. Rather,
it is one that should be kept by your bedside or in your backpack, purse, or satchel and whose pages are to be savored one
at a time. A story a day to not only enjoy, but to inspire the promulgation of kindness…
I bet that if everyone took a few
minutes out of each day to read one of Barb’s poignantly cheerful stories and then did just one act of kindness –
like the butterfly effect – it will make the world a better place.
Pay it forward, folks, and enjoy the read!
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
4:12 pm est
The Poetry of Monty Milne
Although I used to write it, the last
time I seriously read any semblance of poetry was about a year or so ago. I guess I’ve been too busy cranking out prose.
You know, my series of historical novels about Phoenixville… And, besides, what very few poems I have of late come
across in The Sunday New York Times Magazine or The New Yorker, were insipid, meaningless strings of words
that lacked any semblance of the reality of current relevancy. So, I swore off reading verse.
Then, about two weeks ago, I see
a posting in a Facebook group dedicated to this community that Monty Milne, a fellow local writer who claims the sobriquet
of “space poet”, had just published six chapbooks of his poetry on amazon. Hmm… Of the belief that local
authors should support one another, I replied that if he would send me some samples, I’d be happy to write a Blog entry
about him. Provided, of course, I liked what he wrote. Which, to be honest, given my past record with much younger contemporary
poets, I didn’t think I would.
I spent the better part of this afternoon reading – and enjoying – the healthy
sampling of Monty’s work that he sent along with a promotional picture of him holding an orange book of which is, eponymously,
the title of one of his works, The Orange Book. He also sent links to his two websites; one about his poetry (http://www.tiltedpoet.com)
and the other about his music (http://bit.ly/2lUx5wq ), which I am listening to right now as I write. What a talented guy!
Okay, now, about
his poetry. It’s rich and robust, varied and, yes, relevant, especially to younger generations, drawing astute insights
and attention to the realities of our constantly changing culture. Monty has a flair for words, using them not for the sake
of creating rhythms, but to eloquent express his inner ideas, thoughts, musings, and commentaries. I especially like his short-crisp
haiku-styled poems. One book, the year haiku is a compellation of those he wrote for each day of 2000. An amazing
feat of dedication to his art. However, I must point out that they are not strictly haiku, deviating from the standard of
three lines with 17 syllables (5/7/5). Let’s attribute this oversight to “poetic license”, because he tersely
captures some fine images. Here are a few samples:
slush snow ice wind
hooves stomp snow
See what I mean? You can almost see the cardinal in the snow, hear the horse snorting, taste the cold icicles melting.
In The Orange Book, Monty tackles several universal themes, including love, mortality,
even politics with a sense of spiritually that is often missing in the works of other contemporary young artists. He calls
himself “a philosophical poet; an artistic historian”. And if you read his inspiring and thoughtful lines (and
between them, as one must do with good poetry), you can readily see why.
Just as a picture might be worth a thousand words, good
poetry is best read rather than talked about. And Monty Milne has many very good poems to share in his Innocent Madness, The Hallucination Continuous..., haiku dawn, the year haiku, The Orange Book, and The Power of Three, a very interesting poem that explores, as Monty explains, the Trinity of Civilization: Art, Government, and Religion.
Enjoy the read!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville
during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fourth novel.