Sunday, December 23, 2012
Back in 1955, I had a Christmas-season job loading and unloading freight trains for Railway Express in the Sunnyside Rail Yards. I have two distinct memories of that experience: one has to do with weather and the other about a soldier’s duffel bag. The weather: My first night on the job, I went dressed for a winter day in New York City. What a shock I got. I was working what amounted to an overnight shift on a very cold early December day. The sunken rail yards must have been 20 degrees colder that the surface streets. It was one of the most brutally cold night I ever went through. Not even a frenzied working pace warmed me. The bowl of thick chicken soup I had for our dinner break in the greasy spoon upstairs from the freight center was one of the best meals of my life. I dressed for subzero weather after that. Now, the soldier’s duffel bag. Part of each shift, I stood next to a conveyer belt from which the baggage was sifted to different locations. A soldier’s duffel bag missing an address came by my station on my second night on the job. As instructed, items without addresses were to be tossed onto a pile to be examined by some higher authority in search of a destination. I tossed the duffel bag. That same duffel bag passed me every night for the four weeks I worked for Railway Express. I told supervisors about the bag. “Throw on the pile, kid,” essentially was their response—and the bag continued its conveyer belt journey. I often wonder at Christmas time if that duffel bag is still wandering along a ghostly conveyer belt in a Railway Express yard that no longer exists.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Finally, a five-star review of OOOEELIE on Kindle, a book which really deserves five stars and a lot more readers. I say so even though I am the author. Jes headed her review with the headline: Wow. The review: “It was a very good read. I love the full circle the story takes you on that is the reality of actual life.”
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Ana Baumgartner gave my novel, THE DREAM DANCER, five stars in this review on Kindle: “Thought provoking very meaningful piece of literature. It was a sad realistic look at the dichotomy of Western thought and Native American beliefs.”
Monday, December 3, 2012
J.R. Locke’s gripping novel, DOWN & OUT in MANHATTAN could have been a five-star novel. I give it four stars because it is gripping; I found it hard to stop reading at bedtime. Jack Cole, the protagonist, is fully-formed and sympathetic despite his believable personality flaws. Det. Sgt. Nat Turner is admirable and the police procedural parts of the book are fairly well done. There are some glaring faults in the details of the story, but it was so much a page turner that I was willing to overlook them. I was 80 percent of the way through the book when I told one of my sons, DOWN & OUT in MANHATTAN is a must read. The book slowed a bit after that. The ending lost it a star, because it was a Hollywood cop out. I am sure many readers will love the finale and wouldn’t be aware of how good this book could have been.