Monday, May 12, 2014

Whimsy and Wry by Guy Graybill Provides Unforgettable Stories, Poetry and Essays!

I
The man was silent. Solovoz thought of a related question which he might use to gain more information. "And those who die or commit suicide...are the families notified?
The man's laugh was brief and bitter. "Of course not...we are already dead to our families...notification would be what you journalists call 'redundant,' would it not?"
Solovoz nodded agreement, caught himself, and replies quickly, "Yes, I suppose you're right."
The Mortal remains," the blind man added, "are hauled on a wagon to the old municipal cemetery on the top of Nixxbourg's highest hill...and, except for  the government burial crew, the body's last journey is made 
alone."
"Oh?"
"Yes, alone. With the graveyard so inaccessible, no one here could get to the burial without great difficulty... and since there are no friendships here."
"No friendships exist here?" asked Solovoz.
The man's tone remained bitter. "Nothing exists here...not even the town, since no one othyer than the military knows its here...Friendship exist...laughing doesn't exist...love doesn't exist...crying doesn't exist..." He paused briefly. "Time doesn't exist...families don't exist..." He grew quiet.
"Do you have a family?" Solovoz questioned.
"No."
"Are they dead?"
"Of course not. They  are not dead. They are, I presume still very much alive. An important sign of a dead man, you know, is his eyes forever closed. Didn't you notice? My eyes are permanently shut! I'm already dead. Don't waste your time with my corpse! Go talk to someone who is still alive; someone who can see with whom he speaks!"
The man again reached for his ale; but Solovoz noticed the hand shaking nervously as it gripped the mug; a little liquor spilling on the man's chest as he tipped the mug toward his mouth. It was a nervousness which was not present before Solovoz had begun his prying interview. Solovoz, the eternal agitator, prodded the man.
"You wouldn't like to go home to that family again?"
The man's mouth tightened. He gasped, as though his breathing was stifled. He had to struggle, just to speak. He banged his mug on the table! "You,,,you...bastard! You have no...no...no sym...no sympathy...or understanding...at all! Just because you're whole, you'd badger...a...a man who has been...hopelessly broken."
Solovoz didn't answer. Instead, after a moment's silence, he gently took the blind man's hand in his own, and pulled it against the hip of his missing leg. He quickly pulled the man's hand down along his leg to where it abruptly terminated. The blind man, suddenly realized that he was touching the stump of another man's leg. He violently jerked away his hand.
Solovoz spoke gently. "I, too, am broken."... 
~~~



Whimsy and Wry
By Guy Graybill

This book, with just over 257 pages, has so much to give! The novel alone is 90 pages, and defined as a Picaresque novella:
The picaresque novel (Spanish: "picaresca," from "pícaro," for "rogue" or "rascal") is a popular subgenre of prose fiction which might sometimes be satirical and depicts, in realistic and often humorous detail, the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. This style of novel originated in 16th-centurySpain and flourished throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It continues to influence modern literature. [Since I had never heard this word before, I figured I should include for others like me...LOL] Now that I know, I realized that I've read others in this genre, you?
The Old Codger
Best Person?
Democracy was never meant to let
scoundrels gain public office or to
let scoundrels, once revealed, remain
in public office. Sadly, the American
voters pervert the democratic process
by blindly rallying behind the
scoundrel of their own party...
~~~
Before I go further into his story, I want to continue looking at the overall book. Whimsy and Wry provides several types of material, including poetry, essays, and even a couple of songs! For those of you who have already read samples from this book, you will note I included two of those songs, just because I enjoyed, first, guessing the tune, and then singing the words instead of just reading them! Cool, right?! In addition, you have seen samples of the poetry, and already met the Old Codger... Actually, I saved the best picture of him for this review. Why? I liked his eyes and he looked like the author, in my opinion, when he really becomes an old codger...LOL...What do you think?

Please note that although politics are discussed; the author does not talk about parties themselves...except to politely argue, for instance, that voting a straight party ticket,  is going to let in some scoundrels... Sooooo, true!


Aftermath
Left lame by some forgotten war
And far to old for muster's call,
I hobbled forth toward battle's roar
To watch compatriots fight and fall.

'Tho slaughter raged 'til setting sun,
My countrymen had won the day,
Invaders saw their plan undone
And quit the field in disarray...
Topics for the essays are on many different topics, so if you enjoy debating, I am sure you'll find some you will disagree with, although I was pretty solidly with him on those issues I deemed important for me to have an opinion on... 

While the cover is somber, it reveals a lot about many of the topics and beautifully complements those stories. The back cover, on the other hand, is much more personal since it is both his boyhood home, as well as a painting by his brother!
Decorum
Of all the traits which we've possessed,
Decorum rates among the best.
Propriety our shriek dilutes
And separates us from the brutes.

We know, of course, exceptions fit.
Sometimes decorum I'd omit
And "Dignity be damned," I say,
My little grandchild wants to play!
~~~
For me, it reminded me of my grandparents' homes and I enjoyed the evocation of my own memories.

Memories could be sad or happy; readers may laugh or cry, but I truly doubt that some of these words will not haunt you, taunt you and, maybe, even bite you, that is,

if you happen to be a scoundrel! Which I'm not, so I didn't get bitten at all. I did cry quite a bit, And I also felt a sense of camaraderie--just knowing that at least one person feels the same things--sees the same things in America and across the world--and is speaking out against what is happening just as I and other writers have begun to do more and more...!!


The Agitator



"I was wondering, Sir...it seems to me that we've been fighting wars with...that is, against Halberland every decade or two since before our first historians were recording things..."





General Blutlieben stood. When silence returned, he spoke.
"The values to be derived from warfare are so well-known that they shouldn't  need repeating; but, since Solovoz, here, has questioned all of these values in his treasonous remarks, I would like to reiterate a few of them: War is the manliest of all acts. It creates opportunities for the greatest feats of sacrifice and heroism. It brings together all the people of a nation as nothing else can do. The death rates--although we all despise them--help to keep our birth rates at a healthy, stable level. Wars, despite their obvious failings of course, enrich our history. I personally doubt that the history of our beloved Caltropia would be half so thick and exciting if we had no wars!"

~~~





When you read the response of one of the major generals in this country, in response to a courageous young soldier, it may bring you to a point where you say, "What?" Of course, he could have said just about anything and most individuals under his command would agree... But, do you? The Agitator is about a young soldier who was in the service of his country--a country far, far away, or perhaps it might be two countries in the world today...just under a different name. I would imagine many of us could think of two countries who are constantly at war, just over one, or looking toward the next one...


Now, I don't know about you, but I would be thrilled to study history without the inclusion of wars! And, Solovoz, our young soldier, had begun to question what this war was all about. Of course, he'd lost a leg and, worse, lost his best friend when killed. but was that enough to question the "values" which were to be retained for forever and a day? I'm not going to go into more of this story, except to say that after he had lost his leg, he was unable to continue as a soldier so ultimately, he bargained to work for nothing in order to be able to go back into the war zone and report on the events...

Of course, the war was now in a completely different part of the world--far away from any of the involved societies. This allowed the war to go on and on...without interfering with everybody else...The excerpt at the beginning of this article shows the situation at the time Solovoz had come to visit what, essentially, was a death camp for all those injured, where they lived until they died...

If this story does not cause some of you to start campaigning for anybody who will take office and stop wars, then, I'll just say that this story may at least give you something to ponder for awhile. For myself, it was very disturbing and much too realistic... or musically, they go like this!




After all, I, too, have the question--why are there wars all of the time?!  What is it Good For...Personally, I have no desire to fulfill the vision of a general, president, or any other individual who says the U.S. should be in any war...

Lots of fun, humor, but also many indepth questions on important topics that are, I am sure, some that you have asked yourself. See what Guy Graybill says about them! Unique, fascinating and provocative--Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews








Guy Graybill is the author of five published books: KEYSTONE, BRAVO!, PROHIBITION'S PRINCE, PRINCE AND THE PAUPERS and FROST! Guy attended rural Pennsylvania schools and graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in History.
Guy Graybill worked in a Pennsylvania state capital mail room, in a brick plant, in the Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, PA) and in schools in Aguilar, Colorado (one year) and Loganton, Pennsylvania (two years). His career position was three decades in Middleburg, PA as a secondary History teacher. After retiring from Middleburg, he was elected to a four-year term as chairman of the board of commissioners of Snyder County.
Guy married his high-school sweetheart, Nancy Yerger. They have now been married for many decades and are the parents of four grown children.
Guy Graybill is proud of the support he has received from individuals who wrote the forewords to his books. They include a man who is now Budget Secretary to the governor of Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia opera singer, and a former speechwriter to five U.S. presidents.
Other than writing, Guy Graybill's hobbies include travel, amateur archaeology and photography. Guy has traveled in more than 40 of the U.S. states, as well as Japan, Okinawa, Canada and Guatemala. He conducted one local archaelogy project for the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial observance and his photographs have appeared on greetings, postal cards, and more than 100 covers of small magazines.


Current writing projects include two developing books that are growing within the computer. A book of poetry/commentary [WHIMSY AND WRY] is now out. That book includes many poems and bits of commentary.



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