IZEE Growing Up In A Logging Camp: Introduction
Rusty Miles never had a real identity. I was that "Little Miles" kid, youngest of "The three Rs," Rita, Robert, and Russell. My parents were somewhat older than those of most of my friend's.
When we moved to Izee, I wondered why Dad wouldn't play baseball, like the other men in the logging camp. While other dads got together at the ball field, drank beer, played, and had lots of fun, my father would go off fishing, by himself.
Oh, I could go along with him, if I wanted too. But, Dad didn't believe in talking much because it "Scares away the trout." Anyway, it was more exciting to watch the younger men play baseball, after they got off work, and get into fights. Someone would cuss about being called: "Out!" The next thing you know, there would be fists flying everywhere.
Sometimes, their wives would get into it, too. Women are dirty fighters. They scratch, and pull hair. Maybe, even kick you someplace. That's why Mom said we didn't want to go. She went only one time. Just when the fighting and cussing got real good, Mom said: "Rusty, I'm glad your father isn't here to see this. We're going home! These people are just, plain, stupid. They drink up every dime they earn, and they don't even have a pot to piss in!"
My Mom was right. While we Miles had indoor plumbing, most of our neighbors still used outhouses. "We are not going to learn to talk like this, Rusty. These people should wash their mouths out with soap, but they probably don't even have any. If they do, they sure never use it!"
There was never conflict in our house. We had better sense than to fight among ourselves. We were a family. Mom saw to it.
"People in families stick up for one another. They defend each other and do what's right." As Mother often said, "Anyone, with a lick of good sense, should know that."
A spectator but once, Mom didn't like me to go to watch the baseball because of all of the fighting. I'd tell her, "It doesn't happen much, anymore. All of my friends get to go!" Mother would sigh, sit down with Agatha Christi, tell me to "Be back before dark, and you walk home!" I was not to ride in a car with people who had been drinking, even if the driver's own children did. It was a long walk home, from the ball field to the cookhouse, where we lived.
IZEE by Russ Miles © 2004
Russ Miles is the author of the novel, For Sale By Owners:FSBO.
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Clive King, who has died aged 94, was the author of several children's books and is best known for Stig of the Dump, the original and imaginative fantasy story of the friendship between Barney, a boy of the modern era, with Stig, a boy from long, long ago who lives in a nearby chalk pit in a home created from things he can creatively and skilfully repurpose from waste, including a chimney from tin cans and windows from glass bottles....
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The good news for fans is that Tyler has no plans to retire: "What happens is six months go by after I finish a book," she said "and I start to go out of my mind. I have no hobbies, I don't garden, I hate travel. The impetus is not inspiration, just a feeling that I better do this. There's something addictive about leading another life at the same time you're living your own." She paused and added: "If you think about it, it's a very strange way to make a living."
The New York Times reports on the changing face of the romance novel genre:
...The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don't always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, Ayesha at Last, takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett...
...."Readers want books that reflect the world they live in, and they won't settle for a book about a small town where every single person is white," said Leah Koch, co-owner of the romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif. Last year, six of her store's top 10 best-selling novels were written by authors of color, Ms. Koch said.
Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.
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In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, celebrated novelist Junot Díaz adamantly denied the allegations, including a claim he once "forcibly kissed" writer Zinzi Clemmons.
Díaz, who was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, said he was "distressed," "confused," and "panicked" by the accusations, but insisted he had not bullied the women or been sexually inappropriate.
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Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":
There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"
...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."
Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.