Fried Friday

Today was a hot day, but an enjoyable one. I drove to Alexandria and set up book signings at the Books A Million and Waldon Books. The dates:

August 17, Friday: 3:00 p.m. until closing Waldon Books at the Mall in Alexandria.

August 18, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-12:00. Waldon Books at at the Mall in Alexandria.

August 18, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Books A Million in Alexandria.

December 21-22, All Day. Waldon Books at the Mall in Alexandria. This one will be not only for Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, but also for Stories of the Confederate South.

Today was also a sad one. My younger brother, Jimmy, is in Baylor hospital in ICU. Very serious condition. Please say a prayer or light a candle or something for him. I’m beside myself in worry.

America’s Greatest Sin

Here’s a quote I thought I would use for today’s first post. I found it on the jacket of a book I’m reading entitled, War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco (Pelican Publishing). This is a book that stirs the emotions of sadness and anger that such things could have happened to Southerners then be covered up (or rewritten) by historical revisionists and the ultra-politically correct.

“Of all the enormities committed by Americans in the nineteenth century–including slavery and the Indian wars–the worst was the invasion of the South, which destroyed some twenty billion dollars of private and public property and resulted in the deaths of some two million people, most of whom were civilians–both white and black.”–David Aiken, editor of A City Laid Waste: The Capture Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia.

Tonight’s Interview: Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. I was interviewed for approximately thirty minutes on a live internet radio program. According to the program’s Website, Lillian Cauldwell, the interviewer, “started Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio, Inc. when she decided to create her own public broadcast radio talk internet station.” This station has a huge audience. Cauldwell is a noted author, speaker, media trainer, mentor,

As You Like It: Auburn Street Players Shakespeare Production

Tonight, I went to Auburn Presbyterian Church here in Monroe, Louisiana, for their annual Shakespeare production. The selected play was Shakespeare’s As You Like It and was directed by Amy Medlin. After watching the play and talking to her, I’d have to say that this sharp girl has immense talent and certainly great things await her. She set the play in the 1960’s and made music a major part of her interpretation and presentation.
The song selections worked well, as did the costumes. A true dramatic spectacle. The young actors really got into the mindset, actions, dances, and speech of hippies in the 60’s. The set was minimalistic, but the church’s stage provided ample room for movement and the actors used the space well. I’m anxious to see the play again next weekend if possible when it’s performed outside at the Kiroli Park amphitheater in West Monroe. This was an enjoyable and energetic presentation of a play that’s easy for a troupe to flounder in. As I watched and listened, I was reminded again of the fact that Shakespeare truly is our greatest writer. So many of the lines were powerful and spoke to the heart. For some reason, these lines from V.ii stuck in my mind tonight:

“for your brother and my sister no sooner
met but they looked, no sooner looked but they
loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner
sighed but they asked one another the reason, no
sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy;
and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs
to marriage which they will climb incontinent, or
else be incontinent before marriage: they are in
the very wrath of love and they will together; clubs
cannot part them.”
I highly recommend this play and this church as well. You can learn more about Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church here at their Website: http://www.auburnavenue.org/

Summer Plans

The past two days I’ve been at work editing and researching, helping my friend, Teresa Gordon, and the owner of Daily Harvest Bakery and Deli with her cookbook. I’ve also made good progress on my next children’s book about the mill workers of Roswell and New Manchester, Georgia. Such a sad story, another of those forgotten tales that gives one a true perspective as to what the War Between the States was about.

Here is my tentative calendar for the promotion of Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House.

July 12-15, New Orleans signings.

July 21, Signing at the Books A Million in Sherman, Texas

July 24-28, I’ll be in Mobile, Alabama for the National Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. That town is filling up fast and finding a hotel was a problem. I’ll be in the Radisson Semmes Hotel, only four blocks away from where my vendor’s booth and the convention will be. I’ll have more to say of this event in future posts.

August 2, a signing at One Penny Time, a children’s bookstore in Monroe, Louisiana.

August 4, a signing at the Books A Million in Monroe

August 6, a signing at the West Monroe Public Library.

There are other events, conferences and signings beyond these, but this will give you an idea as to where I’ll be the next few weeks.

Future Children’s Books

Pelican Publishing has asked me to write a children’s book about the mill workers of Roswell, GA. I don’t have a working title yet, but I’m nearly finished with the story. I’m also working hard on two other children’s books as well: Malcolm McCandlish, the Boy Who Brought the Thistle to America, and a Scottish ABC book.

A Civil War Poem: “Jim Limber’s Ghost”

Today, I’m speaking at Rayville, Louisiana at the high school. My schedule continues to fill with speaking appointments and book signings. Here is a poem I wrote that I intend to use in my Jim Limber presentation at schools and libraries. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. Write me at rickeyp@bayou.com.

Jim Limber

Favorite Lines from Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke

My 20th read of the year since January 1 was Purple Cane Road by Burke. In the 16 or so in the Robicheaux series, I have read all but two. Obviously there’s something about Burke’s style of writing and story telling that appeals to me. Here are some of the lines I underscored as I read:

“Ernest Hemingway said chasing the past is a bum way to live your life,” the sheriff said. /”He also said he never took his own advice.”

(Clete) “My ex said she could have done better at the Humane Society . . . I’ve had the kind of jobs people do when they’re turned down by the Foreign Legion.”

“You treat loss just like death. It visits everyone and you don’t let it

Song Lyrics: I am Ready for Love

At the coffee shop, I heard this song for the first time. I liked it, so I thought I’d post the lyrics. The song is “I am Ready for Love” by India.Arie, two-time Grammy winner.
I found the lyrics here: http://lyricstrue.net/bandsongtext/INDIA.ARIE/I_Am_Ready_For_Love.html
I am ready for love why are you hiding from me
I’d quickly give my freedom to be held in your captivity
I am ready for love all of the joy and the pain
And all the time that it takes just to stay in your good grace
Lately I’ve been thinking maybe you’re not ready for me
Maybe you think I need to learn maturity
They say watch what you ask for cause you might recieve
But if you ask me tomorrow I’ll say the same thing
I am ready for love would you please lend me your ears
I promise i won’t complain I just need you to awknowledge I am here
If you give me half a chance i will prove this to you
I will be patient kind faithful and true
To a man who loves music a man who loves art
Respects the spirit world and thinks with his heart
I am ready for love if you take me in your hands
I will learn what you teach and do the best that I can
I am ready for love here with an offering arm
My voice my eyes my soul my mind
Tell me what is enough to prove I am ready for love
I am ready

My Musical Life: Learning to Play Guitar by Ear

I love playing guitar. I’ve always loved guitars, looking at them covetously like a starving waif looking at a loaf of hot bread. My first instrument was not a guitar though. That honor fell to a six-string, lap held steel guitar. My daddy called it a Hawaiian guitar. It was tuned in E. From that instrument, I moved to the mandolin, still an instrument I pick up occasionally. I also learned to play bass guitar somewhere along the way. Yes, my father did have all these instruments, and I played them all in public with him at one time or another. My father didn’t like to go to bars. He did like for us to play music at nursing homes and TB sanitariums, places like that. He was an extremely generous man who loved to share his music with the world.

Then I learned to play guitar. Dad made me practice every day. Even when blisters developed on my finger tips. “The blisters will turn to callous soon–if you keep practicing. If you want to be a guitar player, and if you want people to listen to you when you sing, you’ll have to learn to live with some pain.” I didn’t understand for a long time how many levels of meaning were in that statement about pain.
And so, I learned to play guitar. To make extra money (sometimes it was survival money) in my life, I’ve taught guitar lessons, and I’ve taught them successfully, just as my father taught me. I teach using country music. It gives good patterns to learn with. If you want to learn to play guitar by ear, here are the steps:

1. Buy yourself a chord book. Learn all the major chords until you can change one to another easily and quickly. One simple strum per chord will do until the chord fingers develop their muscle memory and flexibility.

2. Learn basic strumming/picking patterns. This depends upon what type of music you want to learn.

3. Learn the major chord groups of each key.

4. Learn one song in one key. Then change to another key, and then another, until you can play the same song in every key. Then move on to another song and do the same thing, then another song. After a while, your ear kicks in and you can figure out any song you want. The first song I learned in this fashion was “Little Brown Jug.” It uses the standard I-IV-V progression of many country songs.

Ha, ha, ha!

You and me,

Little brown jug,

I love thee!

Each of these points could be expanded, but I hope this gives you an idea. Today is Father’s Day, so there’ll be lots of activity. But as I think of my own father on this Father’s Day, I realize that one of the greatest gifts he gave me was his own love of music, and the ability to play guitar by ear. He so saturated my life with country music that to this day, I can still recite all the verses of hundreds of Country Music classics and gospel tunes. Some of them I can recite or sing along with even though I haven’t heard the tunes in years. The musical instruction my father gave me was a rich legacy.

The callouses formed on my finger tips as a young boy are still there, and yes, Daddy, I’ve finally become a working musician. And you were right—I’ve had to learn to live with all kinds of pain to do it.