Every person’s life is like a play on Broadway: a story full of surprises, laughs, tears, but above all, a story worth telling and understanding. A Telling Experience is a collection of stories about an ordinary life but also an extraordinary one. It is, somehow, like your own life.
If you can understand your own life, you can comprehend almost all things worth knowing. A Telling Experience ponders one personal life, and in so doing tries to figure out everything else as well. It may help you do the same for yourself.
There’s a train on the cover, for two reasons. I love trains! And I take them everywhere they go! The book tells about that right from the start. And the story this book tells is a wild ride! I could have titled it “The Twilight Zone” (or “The Twilight Zone in Real Life”), but the title “Twilight Zone” has already been taken.
“A Telling Experience” is 22 short stories about The Twilight Zone in real life. The real life in this case is my life. I’ve spent a fair amount of my life in The Twilight Zone!
To put it another way, every story in “A Telling Experience” is a Tall Tale! I showed one of the stories to my own brother and he said, “I don’t believe this!” But believe me, it is true. I was there. It’s my story, my life, my Tall Tale, my Twilight Zone, my Telling Experience. These stories tell you a lot in little time. Things that need to be told. Actually, A Telling Experience tells you not just a lot. It tells all!
So, what are these 22 Tall Tales in my Telling Experience? I can tell you every one of them right now, in a first-glance, teasing way; take a sneak peek. The protagonist (the hero) in each case is myself, as a young boy, or a teenager, or a young man, or a middle-ager or whatever. In each case I’m incredibly fine or incredibly foul, incredibly cool or incredibly fool. Bizarre stuff. Yet, incredibly, it is somehow like everybody else’s story! This story is also your story! It will be in some way like what you have gone through. We are all in the same boat, it seems!
The two great epic-theme poems Beowulf and Judith, paired in the Beowulf Manuscript preserved in the British Museum, are here presented in a translation with a unique fidelity that restores the true Anglo-Saxon rhythmical line of five subtypes of four beat stress adhering scrupulously to the alliterative strictures of Anglo-Saxon verse and exploiting its epithetical style.
This is a ground-breaking piece of work in that it recreates the indispensable stylistic and esthetic effects of the original while attaining a natural modern idiom, something that had been thought impossible to achieve.
The key insight in this book is the stated and demonstrated philosophy that alliteration and imagistic compound metaphors are a living, breathing part of our linguistic heritage and practice in Modern English today; but rendering the poems requires an intricate sensibility to Old English style in order to recreate the force that they had. The Old English text is included interlinearly with the translation to facilitate comparison and acquaintance with the original poems. Introductory essays discuss 1) the living tradition of alliteration and epithetical phrasing common to Anglo-Saxon poetry and Modern English idiom, and 2) the literary tradition and merit of the two poems.
The book as a whole is a scholarly accomplishment which revivifies these two great works for the entire modern public.
Beowulf and Judith are wonderfully complementary of each other: the great sprawling elegiac epic, the earthly doom of mortal endeavor on the one hand, and the concentrated, dazzling, diamond-hard affirmation of fervency and faith on the other—equally important and central legacies of the literature of England in the early Middle Ages. Click here to take a sneak peek.
This is a book about language as well as about writing, for people who write in any capacity or who care about the effective use of language. The book has a human focus and is written with human interest, based on the experience of “Grammarphone,” the nationally recognized service that answers questions about writing and language from people all over the United States. This human focus and the intent to be read for enjoyment set it apart from other books on writing and usage.