Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Discovering Samuel Ligon

Say you had 450 thousand dollars of tax-free cash and the opportunity to start a new life. What would you do next? That’s the question Robert Elgin, the central character in Samuel Ligon’s novel Safe in Heaven Dead, forgot to ask himself. He put all his efforts into absconding with a secret slush fund and escaping from his troubled marriage without considering what he’d do afterward.

With Safe in Heaven Dead, Ligon moves a fantasy of financial independence and freedom from the realm of daydream into practical reality, a reality in which cash is suspect.

Think about this: Where do you stay if you can’t use your real I.D. or your credit cards? And where do you stash all that cash? And, without any obligations or responsibilities whatsoever, what do you do with 168 hours every week?

Elgin checks into a sleazy motel and watches TV. He carries the money around with him in a plastic trash bag. He finds a high-class escort service that (of course) accepts cash. He develops a relationship with Carla, a beautiful doctoral student — a relationship that eventually kills him, during the first sentence of page one: “Robert Elgin died on the street, knocked down pursuing a woman he thought he could not live without.”

Safe in Heaven Dead is Ligon’s debut novel, published by HarperCollins in 2003. But his writing is mature and innovative. The story moves in flexible, crystal clear circles. Ligon presents dialogue in a notably fresh form. The plot is supported by complex details written simply. And the narrative ripples with moral dilemmas sans advocacy.

Publisher’s Weekly said it best: "This debut novel instantly seizes and holds the imagination. Few readers will remain unconvinced by the agonizing questions that drive this story, and the tragedy with which the book begins and ends."

Autumn House Press recently published a collection of Ligon’s short stories: Drift and Swerve. They are vivid and intense.

Find out more about Samuel Ligon at his website:

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Week on The Write Question

This week The Write Question features April Christofferson, author of seven novels. Her latest, Alpha Female, is an eco-thriller set in Yellowstone National Park.

Click on the link below to hear April Christofferson:
The Write Question on Montana Public Radio

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lee Kierig on Infinite Love

Part philosophical treatise, part spiritual teaching, part political manifesto, Where Is Infinite Love? Public Welfare Human Responsibility and Sustainability of Earth declares that it is time to examine our beliefs and our behaviors and to begin acting from LOVE, the real kind.

Where Is Infinite Love, written by Lee Kierig, an architect and writer in Hamilton, Montana, is not light reading. But it's message is important and timely. Chérie Newman asked Kierig a few questions about the book's key points. Here are his responses:

What prompted you to write "Where Is Infinite Love? Public Welfare Human Responsibility and Sustainability of Earth" ? A specific event?
Two events, really...separated by twenty-five years...caused the writing of this book. At Montana State University, in 1983, as part of the requirements for obtaining my degree in Architecture, I wrote/produced a thesis that aimed to discover "The Spirit of the Art of Architecture." With mentors and advisors such as; the Dean of the School of Art and Architecture; the Director of the School of Architecture; the Director of the School of Philosophy and a professor of Religious Studies, the experience proved to be significantly profound in my discovery of "duality," "fourness" - the balancing of opposites - and underlying universal themes motivating Humanity throughout the entire concourse of all Human history. These themes, clearly evident but not readily apparent or recognized, have arisen among us and clearly serve to motivate us against ourselves on many levels...some of them on a significant and destructive level. The discovery of universal concepts...ideas we all share, and in particular the concept of LOVE, had a profound affect upon my inner self that stays with me to this day and represents the underlying premise in the book. The realization that we ALL believe in the same LOVE, is not holistically or even commonly known among us. In fact, the word "love" conjures up a gambit of surface views, stigmas and stereotypical perceptions among us that largely divides us...even though we are all like-hearted in its presence. Its relation to forming cultural spirit - ethos - manifests itself on the surface of who we are, as our largely inherited belief systems that we express into the world. These expressions, oftentimes violently hurled into world society, encompass the overall manner of how we act and is virtually dominated by centric behavior having its basis in a world view of "Being" versus "Becoming." In other words. we largely tend to view ourselves, by each and by group, as somehow separate form the "made" world with all things and manner of things "presented" - a static engagement. Contrastingly, by virtue of the continual arising, we largely deny or disregard the fact that all things evolve and continually become, with our engagement as actually intertwined and dynamic. Things don't actually "appear" as if "made," but rather, "arise" as "manifested" from the eternal combining of possibilities and representing, then, ongoing creation. We eternally seek balance with the never-ending stream of choice-making that is largely made up of resolving opposites. Tension and resolution give rise to feelings of peace, tranquility and accomplishment - the ART of making - our essential nature and akin to the ALL LOVE.

What is the core premise of the book?
The manner of "human acting" affects all outcomes of human endeavor. I observe that the "human act" is a product of primal archetype schema cast upon us at the advent of all sentient life...from which we evolved. The advent of reflective consciousness engraved into all future comings of humans, that the world is..."ME". Moreover, the "human act" is infected with a cooked-up centric view that "God" favors "us and not them" - that "God" is wrathful, vindictive and mean...IF you don't do what [we say] he wants. Virtually no one even contemplates the meaning behind the notion of a "God" that "wants" something as opposed to a "God" that merely "presents" optimum choices...bringing with it, then, the need to contemplate a "God" that expresses "purpose-with-consequences." Where, we might ask, is the Infinite Love in that? Get the idea? The universal premise of all emblematic movements is "Love"...the core theme in my 'thesis' is, What IS Infinite Love? and, moreover, WHERE is it? These fundamental manners of the "human act" - expressed sometimes violently into the world - have never been questioned for any merit in the world value arena and only give rise to aggression, prejudice and power-hunting - [seen as "free rights"] and, quite plainly, only serve to set us against ourselves...still, after all the eons of our coming forward, is this the hallmark achievement of humankind? can't be. The time has come upon us, now, to acknowledge, recognize, reckon and re-create. Even now, poised on the precipice of collapse...there is clearly some distance way to go.

Do we have to totally re-invent ourselves?
All of us? Yes, at some level we are ALL afflicted. The core theme to achieve True Sustainability, does require a fundamental reckoning of the human act toward a higher sense of purpose to nurture, keep and steward our human family and our sweet all-giving limited Earth. ALL survivability depends on what we do now. There is no real time for debate as too many live in denial of the present and imminent findings of facts that degrade the Natural Law Domain of Public Trusts which is; to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of the public AND to protect all the limited offerings of Earth AND the fundamental right of all sentient beings to their manner of life...too many live under the hammer of oppression, mixing lard with sand for "our only meal today" and hoping the ethnic cleaners, moral dogma brigades and reckless despots don't come around today. Why are women blamed for the "fall" of mankind? Why aren't we ALL living a responsible and creative life full of artfully meaningful experience? Too many of us look for "success" in a lottery ticket and for bliss in a brown bottle. Might we arise to become better students of who we are, what we've not become and relish becoming an aspired humanity based on principals of LOVE?

It is plainly evident that how we act is responsible for all the calamity arising from centric pursuits and driving us toward catastrophe and collapse. An Earth-cost economy and Vital Planning for balance, while turning toward the essential nature of ALL of us to be creative, is how we can arise for the Noble Purpose to UNIFY for Truth, altruism, respect, reverence, responsible liberty for ALL citizens and sentient beings of Earth, ethics, philanthropy and yes, Infinite Love...these, evidently, are some things we seem to know very little about.

Lee Kierig

Click here to visit Lee Kierig's website

Kierig's Call To Action

For ALL citizens of EARTH, I come, now, asking for UNITY among us for the Noble Cause to finally reckon the fundamental manners of the human act and apply our reverent call upon the World Table. Without a vital re-creation of our way-too-old-now motivating philosophies, can we ever hope to achieve a True Sustainability of Humanity and Earth...Responsible Liberty for ALL citizens of Earth...Responsible respect for ALL sentient beings...for ALL future generations?

I have initiated a campaign for UNITY among us to make this "reverent call" upon the World Table. Some courage is to be mustered in realizing that who we are is directly responsible for the malady of our manner that yields to calamity, catastrophe and collapse, even as we see that world population is now beyond sustainable limits...that we are consuming world resources at a 20% annual deficit...that by 2080, we'll need TWO Earths to support us. So, for that, I ask you to become part of this campaign - this movement - this reverent call.
Please come forward and endorse this Call for a Vital Reckoning...this Call for Truth...this Call for Peace...this Call for Vital Planning for Balance and True Sustainability...and, yes, this Call for Re-creation through principals of Infinite Love. We ALL must stand now and ask the World to STOP.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Greg Pape, Montana's second Poet Laureate

This week The Write Question features poet and teacher Greg Pape. During his term as Montana's second Poet Laureate, Pape came up with some inspiring and innovative ways to become an advocate for poetry. Use the link below to hear all about them and listen to Pape reading two of his poems on The Write Question:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Some Men Are The Way They Are: Noticing One Theme In Three Short Story Collections

Where The Money Went, by Kevin Canty
Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It, by Maile Meloy
Nine Ten Again, by Phil Condon

Here's a link to a review of three short story collections written by Chérie Newman and just published in High Country News: