Saturday, January 23, 2021

Introduction to sequel, "Rapparee"

In my first novel, "The Saints Lost Their Way", the protagonist left the turmoil in Ireland behind him when,. as a prisoner of war he was shipped as slave to Barbados. This left the family to face the spread of the Parliamentarian invasion.

Most history books record warfare by adding glory to massive armies facing each other on disputed lands. Rich leaders on fine horses commanding from the high ground, while the foot soldiers fight hand to hand to the death. These soldiers were rarely fighting for a cause they held in their hearts. But more likely because of their sworn fealty to a land owner that allows them to rent the land for their farm. And chances are that the land they are now renting and fighting for has been in their family for generations.

                Missing from many history books is the identity of another group of characters involved in the fighting. Not against the feudal landlord’s enemies, but against the landlords themselves. Every historical era had some of these brave committed warriors pushing back against the despots. They had many labels: underground, partisans, resistance, freedom fighters, guerillas, and rapparees.

                Mostly low-key civilians, acting meek and subservient in the presence of the invaders in the daylight.  But after dark, they became saboteurs destroying enemy supply lines, or assassins ambushing enemy leaders. Following the ancient oriental knowledge of Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War”, they realized the value of accurate intelligence required to weaken a stronger enemy. Winning the trust and confidence of the enemy by assuaging their egos, these patriots were great spies.

                Throughout history many who served as resistance supporters had creative covers. French chanteuse, Edith Piaf sang for Gestapo officers and carried important information back to the French underground. Some, like Piaf interacted with the enemy. Others just avoided contact to achieve their goals. Consider the Dutch family who hid Anne Frank and her family, or Harriet Tubman who led escaped slaves to go North.

                When the English Civil War spilled over into Ireland, many Irish soldiers could not support either side. They opted to fight for Ireland against both King Charles and Oliver Cromwell. These, like Ronan O’Doole were Rapparees.





Sunday, December 27, 2020

 More merging cultures

Late into the night after Christmas, reminiscences sweeping over me like the gentle waves of the Patuxent, turned on PBS. I had enjoyed an extended nap on my new bed in the late afternoon, so not really sleepy. A time warp back to the 60’s when I stayed up late doing my night school homework, after the family was asleep. I haven’t changed much. Still a night owl.

Anyway (an old Ruark quote), Looking at late night PBS TV turned into a serendipitous moment. In my novel, “The Saints Lost Their Way”, I found a time and a place and a reason for numerous cultures to meet and merge into a strong relationship. PBS was airing a documentary on their ‘Independent Lens’ series, entitled, “Rumble: The Indians who rocked the world”.

You know the back story. Generations of arrogant racist Europeans continued to invade the Americas, attempting to annihilate the indigenous people. Needing a work force in order to profit from the stolen land, they began to import and enslave African captives.

Over the years, Americans, white, black and native, found each other, and the smart ones accepted the others and learned the values that each brought to the relationship. Over generations a population emerged that had an exotic genetic cocktail of genes. Society and Hollywood attached many labels to the progeny of this culture.  ‘Creole, Mulatto, Quadroon, Octoroon, Half-Breed. Squaw-man’, and many other derogatory terms.

But the documentary gave evidence to the amazing amalgam of the arts; music, wardrobe, dance, décor. Fred Lincoln Wray, known as ‘Link” on stage, was classified as 45th in ‘Rolling Stone’s’ list of top 100 rock guitarists. Link is a Shawnee. He invented new methods for rock guitarists. Jimi Hendrix coming on stage at Woodstock wearing a fringed shirt as a symbol of his Cherokee heritage and playing the national anthem on guitar. A rendition that was both angry and mesmerizing.  And drummer, Randy Castillo who played with Motley Crew, Ozzie Osborne and many other rockers. His father had a tribal and Hispanic heritage, but he died when Randy was young, and he never learned the details of his native tribal history.

Over all, as a writer who found a long list of similarities between the Irish and the Choctaw nation, and a musician, I felt a deep connection to this production.

“Rumble: The Indians who rocked the world”, The trailer and the entire show is available on YouTube. Check it out  

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A few more chunks


6. Park in a different spot and walk the rest of the way

7, Walk to work

8. Work at home (A necessity in 2020)

9. Watch what children do.

10. Listen to children


6. The aim of life is to be fully born, though its tragedy is that most of us die before we are thus born. To live is to be born every moment. Death occurs when birth stops. The answer is to develop one's awareness, one's reason, one's capacity to love to such a point that one transcends one's egocentric involvement and arrives at a new oneness with the world.            (Erich Fromm - Zen BuddHism and Psychoanalysis.)

7. Perfection is the full development of one's imagination    (N. Frye)

8. Creativeness is correlated with ability to withstand lack of structure, lack of future, lack of predictability, lack of control, A tolerance for ambiguity, for planlessness.
                     (Abraham Maslow - Eupsychian Management)

9. I'd rather than rust.     (F. A. Ruark)

10. May the force be with you. (Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi - Star Wars)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

 A new feature on my blog: I have experience helping folks to remove self imposed barriers to their creativity. I will be sharing in small chunks, at least 150 ways to increase creativity.

Also, again, in small chunks, a collection of quotes that see creativity through many different lenses. Hope you enjoy.

And feel free to respond and add to either list. Let's see what happens.

Here's the first chunks


  1. Read a lot 
  2. Read outside your field
  3. Read in a different language
  4. Take a different route going to work
  5. Ride the bus
  1. Happiness and beauty are the by-products. Folly is the direct pursuit of happiness      (G.B Shaw)
  2. Remorse is to discover just before you die that you have been dead for a long, long time                       (C. Fletcher)
  3. When the cannons are silent, heaven can be heard
      (Bicentennial Wagon TRain Show -1976)
  4. God is always very subtle, but never capricious.
      (Albert Einstein)
  5. W can destroy the earth by ourselves, but we can not save it alone
      (Margaret Mead) 

Monday, November 23, 2020


    In 1970, The Beatles sang, “Long and Winding Road” which is a convenient description for my journey starting in that same become a writer and publisher. As a cable repairman for the phone company, I was required to keep a daily journal of the time spent clearing circuit troubles. Later, my job on the Engineering Economics Staff was writing explanations to the Public Service Commission about the reasons the company needed to raise the rates. To escape from the complexities of that job, I would go out of the office for lunch and take notes of the sights on the bustling streets of downtown Baltimore. Over time, those notes became poems.

            In pursuit of a management degree in night school at Johns Hopkins I took an elective course in creative writing. I could feel some deep energy growing inside because for that course, I really enjoyed doing the homework. Both the phone company and my college professors encouraged me to pursue leadership roles in the community, both for my own experience and for the public interest in my company and my school. Being a member of the Jaycees at the time, an opportunity to write led me to becoming the editor of our chapter’s monthly newsletter. In addition to reporting on the activity of the chapter, the newsletter offered a platform for my lunch time ‘people watching’.

            The old “Birds of a feather….’Cliché proved true at Hopkins. A cadre of writers I met in undergrad classes reunited in graduate classes in Advanced Creative Writing. It didn’t take long before we started the first literary magazine in the Hopkins evening college. Most of the founders were anxious to submit some of their work for publishing. Since I was the only member of the group with a BS in management, I was voted in as Managing Editor. Two of my bosses at the phone company where also faculty members at Hopkins night school. Turns out that the Dean of the Evening College was an occasional guest on my boss’s boat. Wasn’t long before the “Nocturne” literary magazine had an office with a typewriter at the Hopkins Homewood campus.

            I was well positioned and lucky, but also qualified to find some shortcuts on “The Long and Winding Road” Also, as I moved up the career ladder with the phone company, more writing opportunities came my way. Concurrent with receiving my MS in Adult Education, the phone company was shifting to centralize their training function. At last a door opened that led to my escape from Engineering Economics and I moved into a position in the newly reorganized training department as a course developer, and then a Management Trainer and Organization Development internal consultant.

            With that on my resume, I retired from the phone company, started my own consulting firm. That led to an opening at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant doing basically the same kind of work for the next ten years. With a lot of instructional development experience, I was offered a position on the staff of a consulting firm started by three retired AT&T executives, one of them was a former boss when I worked in DC. He was also a neighbor in Southern Maryland.

            Worked mostly from home but traveled a lot. Their firm had no brick and mortar office, so we had many virtual conferences before they became the vouge recently. It was during that period, the 90’s and early 20’s that I was bitten by the historical fiction bug, and wrapped a story involving two of my favorite cultures; the Irish and the Native American indigenous tribes. Thus, was born “The Saints Lost their Way”, published by Breffni Books through Create Space on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


 Mother Nature, Father Time, COVID 19 and Trump's term in office, and my wife's fatal illness have ganged up on me, and sapped my energy, my creativity, and my ambition. But I reached down into my core values, awakening the spirit of my Marilyn, with my deepest gratitude for the life we had together, and surrounded by her art work in my apartment, have new energy to get busy. I have an extensive body of work that I want to share. I have published my novel, "The Saints Lost Their Way", the sequel is a work in progress newly ignited. I have 60 years of poetry songs, short stories, essays and opinions that I want to share. With some consulting guidance to promote my work, I feel reenergized, anxious to get to work and resurrect my sleeping Muse.MG_4856.jpg

Saturday, October 31, 2020


 A slight departure from my usual kind of posts. I have many opinions to share, and I will begin with this one. I have been a Saturday Night Live fan since it first began. There have been some great casts, and some years weren't worth watching. Watching tonight, 10/31/2020, a great show with meaningful creativity. Some teetering on the edge of controversy. Yet much of the energy was sucked out of the show by the musical guests, the Stroke. The musicians were talented enough, but they should take a vote and get rid of the guy who ate his mic throughout what he might call a song. I listened to two of his numbers and for the life of me I could not repeat even one of his lyrics. He mumbled through both numbers with the mic in his mouth and as far as I'm concerned ruined the performance for the rest of the band, He is that bad.