The Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar is not only the world’s best sitar emulator, it is one of the coolest pedals ever made. This pedal features a polyphonic lead voice and tunable sympathetic string drones, independent timbre controls for the lead and sympathetic string tones, and customizable sympathetic scales.
When Stephen Covey penned “Begin with the end in mind” as the second habit in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he wasn’t referring to novel writing, but it’s great advice nevertheless for anyone wishing to write a novel. Just as novelists must work and rework the first lines of their creations to engage readers from the start, so must novelists regard last lines in terms of importance—it’s been said that the opening lines sell the book, while the last line sells the next book. I’m nowhere near finishing my second novel, but I’ve had the end in mind for some time now, and I’ve been thinking a lot about last lines. In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite last lines from novels:
"…you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on."
Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
"All that is very well," answered Candide, "but let us cultivate our garden."
"His father and grandfather could probably no more understand his state of mind than they could understand Chinese, but those who know him intimately do not know they they wish him greatly different from what he actually is."
Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh
"yes I said yes I will Yes."
James Joyce, Ulysses
"L—d! said my mother, what is all this story about?— A COCK and a BULL, said Yorick—And one of the best of its kind I ever heard."
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
"Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining."
Samuel Beckett, Molloy
"I shall feel proud and satisfied to have been the first author to enjoy the full fruit of his writings, as I desired, because my only desire has been to make men hate those false, absurd histories in books of chivalry, which thanks to the exploits of my real Don Quixote are even now tottering, and without any doubt will soon tumble to the ground. Farewell."
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
George Orwell, Animal Farm
"And I go home having lost her love. And write this book."
Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans
I was fortunate enough to see this exhibit earlier today, and I highly recommend it—especially if you like David Bowie’s music as much as I do. 5 of 5 stars!
"David Bowie Is," the massive and massively entertaining multimedia exhibition that opens to the public on Tuesday at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, makes a persuasive case for Bowie as the century’s brainiest, most self-aware and most wildly theatrical showman.
Ulysses Playing Cards
These Ulysses playing cards were published by Presage International in 1989. Here’s the description given on one of the spare cards:
The Vau-de-ville of James Joyce’s Ulysses encircles and condenses into a pictorial form the adventures of a single day, June 16, 1904. Each image is part of a puzzle in which past, present, future, naturalism, symbolism, reality, [and] hallucination are superimposed and interwoven.
Mock heroic exaggeration and pomposity explode into laughter through visions, fantasies, and internal monologues.
Hearts are emotional.
Clubs are physical.
Diamonds are spiritual.
Spades are symbolical.
R. Fanto created the drawings and divised the scheme based on many useful hints given by Richard Ellman, Joyce’s biographer.
I have a number of favorites, including Martello Tower, INRI-IHS, Pen, Crossed Mirror and Razor, and Joyce and Nora as the Jokers.
I can’t imagine going a whole week without using this site.
In no particular order, here are the songs containing my top 10 favorite guitar riffs:
So many books, so little time.
Video: Bigger Than Oprah
I wrote this one for my family. “Bigger Than Oprah" is the first song on The Jerrys’ album, Let’s Groove, released in 2011. Enjoy!
A few years ago my family and I visited the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, one of the settings of Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe’s first novel and one of my favorite novels. The following is from the pamphlet:
Thomas Wolfe was perhaps the most overtly autobiographical of this nation’s major novelists. His boyhood in the boardinghouse at 48 Spruce Street colored his work and influenced the rest of his life. His reminiscences were so frank and realistic that Look Homeward, Angel was banned from Asheville’s public library for more than seven years. Today Wolfe is celebrated as one of Asheville’s most famous citizens, and his boyhood home has become a part of the nation’s literary history.
The many exhibits at the visitor center included Wolfe’s hat and Majestic Cabinet Radio (shown below), the folding sofa bed on which slept Julia Wolfe slept while visiting Wolfe in New York City, a ceiling medallion cast by W. O. Wolfe (Wolfe’s father owned a tombstone shop)—even artifacts obtained on excavating the large house’s cistern.
Also on display are items that Fred Wolfe recovered from the Chelsea Hotel at Wolfe’s death in 1938. These include Wolfe’s suit and the typewriter used by his typist as they worked on The Web and the Rock and You Can’t Go Home Again.
After our tour of the Wolfe home, we stopped briefly at the historic Riverside Cemetery, where Wolfe and his family are buried. William Sydney Porter, also known as O. Henry, is also buried there. On a separate literary note, it was also in Asheville that Zelda Fitzgerald (who once stayed at Julia Wolfe’s boardinghouse) perished in a fire at a mental hospital.
This is an unenhanced audio sample from my novel, Pixels of Young Mueller, as read by the Kindle’s default male voice at normal speed (you can read along). As you can hear, the feature needs improving, but it would suffice if I preferred listening to books over reading them.
I’m hooked on Beyond the Beat Generation, the coolest audio stream of them all, a veritable museum containing “long forgotten ‘wild’ musical gems out of the great years of the sixties (1965-1969).” Ninety-five percent of the music on the site was recorded right from the original discs, and the sheer amount of musical gems alone is astonishing.
The site itself is more than a little old, but if you’re into great music, you owe it to yourself to check it out (I prefer to listen at TuneIn, while using another link to see who I’m listening to). Happy listening!
I finally finished comping vocals for “I’m a Reader,” the upcoming single by The Jerrys—boy am I glad that’s over! For the uninitiated, comping vocals involves listening to numerous (in this case, eight) takes of a vocal, pulling the best takes of each line or lines, and compiling them into a “best of” vocal track.