Making Gumbo

Wed, 10 Mar 2021

Only The Women Are Burning

It is not a COVID-19 pandemic novel. Yet, “Only The Women Are Burning” sometimes makes you think of the pandemic.


“Spontaneous human combustion.” Imagine that over one week, five women burst into flames and only leave behind the clothes they had been wearing. Now people are wary about an unseen force at work. Children are worried about their mothers; husbands are worried about their wives; siblings are worried about their siblings; neighbors are worried about their neighbors. And women are worried about themselves because “…only women are burning.”

Worry about an unseen force feels so familiar right now. It echoes through this novel, where at a certain point in the story the author writes:

“[That woman] was probably anxious because she was outside and just wanted to get safely to wherever she was going. I could feel it, a few minutes later, as others crossed the parking lot to the Y, walking fast, heads down, or furtively searching nearby for anything or anyone who could hurt them. Fear and more fear.”

Here we have a story that deftly blends science fiction and domestic life to tell a story about living false, unfulfilling lives. At various points you begin to think this is some kind of bizarre psychological phenomena in which women who are desperately for a real life flee by bursting into flames. Even our main character, Cassandra, has a relationship problem with a husband who is so distant it hurts you to read about their “life together.”  Is she just going to burst into flames too?

Instead, she reignites her intellectual self and her academic background that she had set aside, to investigate what is really going on. When Cassandra does that, the way she feels about herself and her life changes. She muses:

“All my recent feelings of having been trapped into a life as a role instead of as a person began to ebb.”

Her use of her academic abilities leads to a discovery of a physical, scientific explanation that is surprising, very compelling and convincing.  At times meditative, “Only The Women Are Burning, is a gripping story, thoughtful and well told. Highly recommended.

posted by Rupert  |   4:36 PM  |   1 comments
Sun, 18 Oct 2020

Psy 411 Nacoste Dispatch 2 Ten presentations

We are living in an important intergroup transition moment in American history. We all know this, but I know it in an intimate way.

Since mid-June, with the publication of my book, To Live Woke, all manner of groups have called on me in the midst of what I call the COVID-19 Woke effect.

With the hideous murder of Mr. George Floyd in the midst of the social isolation created by the pandemic, America has been forced to look closely at, and been startled into a new awareness of the, sometimes, brutal intergroup dynamics that have been a constant in the lives of African Americans.

Cutting across all the group identities of American culture, that new, startled awareness has activated a hunger to understand and to do something to help “…end racism.” That is where I and my concept of neo-diversity can help people find productive ways of thinking and acting in this new intergroup context.

What is important is that this is really an opportunity moment in our history to talk honestly about all of the us versus them tensions going on in America today.  Here is a glimpse of what I have been up to lately: Nacoste Dispatch 2 Ten Presentations

posted by Rupert  |   9:51 PM  |   0 comments
Sun, 06 Sep 2020

Installment 10: Something That Didn’t Happen

For those who have been listening to my novella, “Something That Didn’t Happen,” there’s one bit more.

One faithful listener expressed their enjoyment and said, “I hope this is semi-autobiographical, that some of these characters and places are based on real people and places from your childhood.”

To learn the truth of that statement, listen to Installment 10, my “Author Historical Notes” on the elements of the real-life origins of “Something That Didn’t Happen”: Installment 10 Author Historical Notes

posted by Rupert  |   11:19 AM  |   0 comments
Thu, 20 Aug 2020

Installment 9: Something That Didn’t Happen

“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.” 

Ro-bear got through the reading of the manuscript. To himself he muses, “Soothsayer and Delores’ son had sat with me while I read.  They had seen and heard all of my reactions. They had heard me laugh out loud, whimper; cry.”

Even though he has just read the manuscript, the story of “The Seven” he recorded, Ro-bear is uncertain of the truth.

Sitting with Soothsayer and Delores’ son, Ro-bear says, “I remember the storm.  I remember being in it.  Lots of the story is true, but some of it seems so impossible. That makes me doubt it, you know.”

But Delores’ son has his own tale to tell. A tale of the ghostly appearance of Ro-bear when Ro-bear brought him the manuscript. A tale that adds to the story of “The Seven” in a startling way, through the words of Delores herself.

Yet all tales and stories must end somehow. And that is where we are now; at the end, where those who lived the story must part from each other and from we who took the time to listen.

“If we do meet again, why, we shall smile. If not, why then this parting was well made./”

With Installment 9, the story of “The Seven” concludes: Installment 9 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   11:07 AM  |   0 comments
Thu, 13 Aug 2020

Installment 8: Something That Didn’t Happen

Ironhorse says he is going back to football at J.S. Clark.

It’s after the storm, after the battle in the storm, and The-Six are having trouble sticking by each other.

Back at school, at Holy Ghost, in class, they are finishing up Shakespeare’s Julius Casear with The-Edward-Vincent who surprises them all.

Papa Raphael is sick. He calls for Ro-bear to tell him one more thing about the bon lu kur. But it seems too late. The-Six are unsettled; by what happened they seem haunted. A storm is raging through their fellowship of hope.

One last scene from the play and The-Five who had been “The-Six” and “The-Seven” bid their farewell to the ghosts of their Caesars.

“O mighty Caesar! Dost thou lie so low?  Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.”

With Installment 8 the story of “The Seven” continues: Installment 8 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   9:08 AM  |   0 comments
Thu, 06 Aug 2020

Installment 7: Something That Didn’t Happen

Hurricane Betsy arrives.

“For now, this fearful night there is no stir or walking in the streets, and the complexion of the element in favor’s like the work we have in hand, most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.” Julius Caesar; Cassius Act 1, Scene 3.

Now the six must find a way to come to together to stand against “The Binders.”  In the storm, they do face “The Binders.”

“The Binders” are devious.  “The Binders” appear in an unexpected form of someone “The Six” all know. And standing with that someone is a monstrous Hells-Gator.

In the face of that horror, the strength of the-six wavers until they become “The Seven.” When the-six become “The Seven” they are strong, for a little while. Then Ro-bear gives up leadership and Delores’ voice speaks of and rings out with hope for the future.

Can “The Seven” stand in as the hope of humanity; will their bon lu kur bring the help they need for this battle?

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought back.” (Revelations 12:7)

With Installment-7 the story of “The Seven” continues: Installment 7 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   9:27 AM  |   0 comments
Thu, 30 Jul 2020

Installment 6: Something That Didn’t Happen

Even with Couchemar disturbing their sleep, things seem to go back to normal. Three of the six together, eating curly fries, playing pinball, going to a football game. But then during that normal time together, something unexpected happens and Dice becomes a reluctant hero.

Even with Couchemar in his dreams, things seem to go back to normal for Ro-bear;  eating Cush-Cush at home, Ro-bear helps his father do janitorial work, but then later Ro-bear’s father delivers a dire lesson and warning about “… the walls.”

Even with Couchemar disturbing their sleep, things seem to be normal; but then Ro-bear watches Dice train and sees that something new is going on with Dice as Coach Paxton teachings Dice to run the high hurdles. Something else too, because Dice tells Ro-bear that Mr. Raphael paid him an almost ghostly visit.

No, nothing is normal. Somehow Dice is involved.

It was starting to rain, and the wind was rising.

With Installment-6 the story of “The Seven” continues: Installment 6 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   9:40 AM  |   0 comments