Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking back...

Sometimes we get nostalgic. Poetry is a good way to express those feelings and give them a particular weight.

This is a piece that I sent to the 2002 edition of the "Montagne d'Argento" contest from Keltia Editrice, and it was chosen for publication. The theme was childhood games and toys, and so I chose this and translated it.  

Dolls in the Closet

As I look at them today,
They seem to ask:
Where have you been, little one?
You used to pay close attention,
And care daily for us-
Dress us, and brush our hair.
What toys are you playing with
Now that you are grown?

A window to childhood –
These dolls in the closet.
Lifeless creatures of plastic
That once were so real.
The sisters I never had,
Or the children I would have someday.
They played these roles, once-
Long ago.

Now, as I brush their hair again
And wipe away from their eyes
The dust of the years-
Their faces shine beautiful
As always.
And after I’ve fixed them
All up again, with ponytails
And changed clothes,
Back into the closet they go-
To await the next time
I come to play.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Reading List - In Public

What are you reading now?
Do you read on the bus, at the mall, or anywhere people can see what you're reading? On my commutes to and from work, I like to take a paperback or read from my cell phone e-reader, but sometimes I do stick a hardback in my briefcase just because I'm on the last chapter. (The issue with that is weight, not subject matter. My briefcase is heavy sometimes.)

Here are a few of the books I have read on the bus.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Six Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Indescribable by Louie Giglio and Matt Redman
The Ultimate Prescription: What the Medical Profession Isn't Telling You by James L. Marcum
God on the Streets of Gotham by Paul Assay
Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt  by Christi Paul
Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching by Diane Larsen-Freeman

... and finally, a book that you should all read because it's fun ...
Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos

I don't notice what others are reading that much (especially if I've got my own nose in my own book), but I think they read the same things on the bus that they would at home. We read for our own interests or study needs, and after work it's really nice to sit down with a good book.

Leave a comment and let me know what you've read in public.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

English translation of Coma - GialloMilanese 2014

Finally! Here is the official English translation of my short story, Coma, published in December 2014 in the anthology GialloMilanese 2014. Click on the sidebar to read the complete story, and leave a comment if you like it.

The original version is in Italian, available only from ExCogita Publisher.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February Reading List

I have a stack of books that I want to read.

I haven't measured it lately, but it's probably taller than me. Now, before somebody comments on my height (or lack thereof, I should say), let me add that in addition to the physical paper books that I own, you need to count the over 100 ebooks that I've downloaded over the past year.

In fact, I just don't read those emails from Read Cheaply that often any more because I always find something to download!

Right now I'm reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I found this book before Christmas at the Lambrate subway station.
As I came down the steps that day, there was a man coming through the turnstile shouting and cursing at complete strangers. He was livid with anger, and as I tried to avoid him, I happened to see a book setting on the newspaper dispenser with the Italian title "The measurement of happiness".


I almost handed it to the guy, but I figured he'd probably just throw it at me. I'm so glad I decided to keep it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Other titles on my list are: Philomena by Martin Sixsmith, Inferno by Dan Brown, La pioggia fa sul serio by Francesco Guccini and Loriano Macchiavelli, Undici per la Liguria (collection of 11 stories), and Experience Your Bible by Josh and Sean McDowell.

What's on your reading list?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Personal Peace

Peace is a gift from God that
Even you can receive, if you just ask for it.
Against insurmountable odds and in the most difficult
Conditions, feelings of calm can flood your soul,
Even though you are frightened.

If you believe this can occur,
Something will begin to change.

A light will begin to shine before you.

Slowly, you will start to realize
That the horrible things that happened
Are only pieces of some bigger picture.
Terrible as they were, for some reason they came about.
Eventually, the message should become clearer.

Over centuries of uncertainty, Whom did Mankind turn to for hope?
For countless reasons, Who has been taking care of you?

Maybe things will remain they way they are now.
If that is God’s will, then so be it, for His glory.
Never doubt that you and I are His children, and part of His creation.
Do believe that His purpose will be fulfilled.

I wrote this in 2001 after 9/11. It seems to fit today's world as well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thoughts for December

Jesus was born in a humble place, a stall, with a manger as his first bed. The lowly circumstances of his birth tell us that he came for everyone: the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the hopeless. No one is beneath him. But he also came for the rich and affluent, the famous, the diligent workers and the people who can get by. No one is well off enough to do without him.

His mother, Mary, was found to be pregnant before she was formally married. Therefore, we should remember that God uses all kinds of situations for His divine purpose, and so guard against judgement of "imperfect" circumstances.

His father, Joseph, looked after his family - including the son that technically wasn't his. He didn't make decisions based on outward appearances - but maybe we wouldn't either if we were in on God's plan. We must listen if we are to hear God's direction for our lives, which means always leaving time for silence during our prayers.

Angels announced his birth. A fitting welcome for the King of the Universe, isn't it? This tells me that I should announce his birth too. Christmas carols, poetry, blog posts, greeting cards, my Facebook status and Tweets and all forms of communication can bring to mind "the reason for the season".

Shepherds came to see him, which tells me that they believed and acted on that belief. The multitude of angels suddenly singing in the sky got their attention, and down to the stall they went to greet the new king. If it happened today, would we go or would we wait for the media coverage and watch it from home?

Wise men brought gifts, and very valuable ones at that. Rethinking gift giving would be in order. No more consumerism, as people often complain, but gifts of value to mark the birth of our King. This could be something needed or wanted, but it could also be a phone call or a helping hand. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to take care of the less fortunate, and our gifts can show our loved ones how much we care about them.

Jesus gave us our mission: go and make disciples. Let us announce him to all people, accept our imperfect circumstances, and hear God's voice and believe. Let us act on our beliefs and give the gift of eternal life this Christmas, and for all the Christmases to come.

For as Jesus said, Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. (John 17:3 CEV)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Coming soon.... the Giallo Milanese 2014 anthology!

For the record, I came in second. I had a great time.

The anthology containing the 16 stories selected by the contest commission will be out around mid-December. The book is in Italian, of course, but I'm finishing the translation soon so that I can post the story right here on my blog.