Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

Closing lines from books that changed my life

Posted December 6th, 2014 by Tom
Painted Steps

Andi’s Painted Steps

There are times when I am “stuck” in my own writing for various reasons, but I always read. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading a book. I read for the joy of the story. I read to enter other worlds. I read to inspire my own writing. Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin for a writer. Both are requirements for the job.

Since August I’ve participated in The Painted Steps, a small group of writers who have committed to working together for six months, to inspire each other to keep our writing at the forefront of our daily lives, and to complete the first draft of a manuscript by the end of January. We meet via video conference every week. The Painted Steps is the brainchild of Andi Cumbo-Floyd, author of The Slaves Have Names. Over the past couple weeks Andi asked us to share some favorite “opening lines” in books and then “closing lines.” The “opening lines” was easier. “Call me Ishmael.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” “I am an invisible man.” Choosing closing lines to share with my fellow writers took more time; more thought.

The successful ending of a story not only offers a conclusion. Successful endings offer beginnings to further contemplation of what has gone before and imaginings of what’s next. What follows are the closing lines from ten books that have had a profound impact on my thinking; on how I view the world. I hope these lines don’t ruin these stories for anyone who has not read them. I don’t believe they do. hopefully they inspire you to read… Read the rest of this entry »

Inferno Thoughts (or how I came to root for the villain in Dan Brown’s new novel)

Posted May 30th, 2013 by Tom

InfernoHaving recently completed Dan Brown’s new thriller Inferno, I’m reminded how much more pessimistic I am regarding the likelihood of survival for humankind in the future. In addition to extreme over-population of our planet (one of the central themes of Inferno, and a significant factor in any discussion of crime, global warming, environmental degradation, among many other challenges we face together globally), unbridled greed, privilege, and control in the hands of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and corporations continues to exacerbate the wide gulf between the haves and have-nots throughout the world.

It feels like the nightmares from George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984 are becoming far too real. Who in the U.S. Congress concluded it would be a good idea for banking industry lobbyists to draft legislation to soften financial regulations after the banking industry wreaked havoc on the world economy? Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on torture and hiding history

Posted July 12th, 2009 by Tom

eric-holderAs someone who has written about America’s hidden history regarding slavery and the slave trade I am following with great interest the battle now brewing in the Obama administration.

Attorney General Eric Holder is leaning toward appointing a special prosecutor to investigate “harsh interrogation practices” during the Bush administration. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel opposes such a move and President Obama has stated his intention to “look forward, not back.”

Senator John McCain also opposes a possible investigation. CNN reports that McCain said

a special investigation would only publicize “bad things” that harm America’s image in the world.

And there’s more: it now appears that Vice President Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information from Congress about about a secret counterterrorism program. The Bush administration’s surveillance program apparently went far beyond what Congress or the public previously knew. Questions are being raised about how the administration hid this information even from Justice Department officials.

If America didn’t do “bad things”, Senator McCain, then America’s image wouldn’t be subject to being harmed in the world. America has a long history of hiding, down-playing, or white-washing shameful incidents and episodes in our past.

It is this deception–on top of government-sanctioned actions such as slavery, annihilation of indigenous people, unjust wars, illegal surveillance that infringes on our civil liberties, and the use of torture as an interrogation tool–that harms America’s image abroad and taints the American dream here at home.

I love my country. And I deplore certain actions that continue to be taken in my name; actions that must be hidden, according to Senator McCain and others, in order to protect America’s image.

George Orwell called it doublethink.

I call it unconscionable.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry