Shop Talk


It was either Oscar Peterson talking about another musician, or another musician talking about Oscar Peterson, but they said the artistry and magic of his musicianship was that “he could make you believe you heard something he didn’t play.”

Similarly, Michel Foucault regarding the paintings of Rene Magritte: “I cannot dismiss the notion that the sorcery here lies in an operation rendered invisible by the simplicity of its result…”

And I applied that to writing. The genius is that by using the words that do make you feel something, the writer can make you believe you read something she didn’t write. That’s the magic.


My friend Neil D. Novello has been reading and critiquing much of my blogging output. You’d have to be a friend to do that. Whatever piece he comments on I go back to the original file and make a note so that if and when I start culling the blog posts for a book, I’ll be aware of having been warned there’s something needing attention.


I thought Charles Bukowski was interesting to read, but I also enjoyed Rod McKuen, except he didn’t write a column in the Los Angeles Free Press. I hadn’t even really put on the tags, dude. I had a blithe, confectionary sense of literature.


Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, 2016

War’s Unwomanly Face, by Svetlana Alexievich, 1985

Measure For Measure, by William Shakespeare, 1604

The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See, 2019

Carver: a life in poems,  by Marilyn Nelson, 1997

Black Boy Out of Time, by Hari Ziyad, 2021

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 2020


Hari Ziyad has connections.

Langston Hughes has connections.

The novel I started reading today by Celeste Ng has Cleveland and Ohio connections. And this poet, Lo Kwa Mei-en, she’s got some Ohio in her bio.


Please visit my website at and my page at Write Up The Road.

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