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Aeroquest… Canto 42

Canto 42 – The Dancing Doll

     After three days of Ged’s attempts at teaching, Shu Kwai was still kneeling stark naked in the practice grounds.  He refused to accept any clothing he felt he had not earned. Ged quietly shook his head in despair. Junior Aero and Sarah Smith each had a linen robe with the White Spider symbol stitched into it.  They also had tabai boots for their feet, cloth footwear with the big toe tied off for climbing and sure footholds.  The two of them worked together with their telepathy to absorb the thoughts of their sensei.  Shu Kwai would only stubbornly continue to struggle.

     “What is it about the inner eye that you can’t get, Shu-sama?” Ged asked.

     “I apologize, Aero-sensei, I do not see the pictures in my mind that you suggest.  What do they look like to you?”

     “I suppose the problem is that all Psions do not use the same inner eye to focus their power.”

     “How do you mean, honored one?”

     “I mean, I see molecules.  I can read DNA strings with my inner eye.  If I have eaten the meat, I can call up the proper shapes and spirals to make the creature. I can focus my power and shift my own DNA molecules in every cell of my body.  I don’t know how I know this, or can do this, but the power wells up in me like a cup that fills itself.”

     Shu Kwai’s face showed stern concentration.  As the boy knelt there, quivering in the cool breeze, he continued trying with all his youthful might.

     “Please, Master Ged, let me help,” said Sara, large eyes pooling with liquid sympathy for Shu’s dilemma.

     “All right,please, Sara-san.”

     “Shu-bozu, it is true that we all see the inner eye in different ways.  Mine is like Ged-sensei’s vision.  I can see molecules and DNA.  I can rearrange the flow of power in the minds of others to effect healing.  I have seen into Junior’s mind as well.  His is different.  He sees circuits and electrical links.  He can trace the patterns in a human mind as I can, or in a computer mind, as I cannot.”

     “So, what does my mind, my eye, look like?” asked Shu Kwai, looking with puzzled eyes into Sara’s face.

     “Can I take a look?”

     Sara reached over to Shu with a tender hand and touched his temple.  Shu cracked a smile as her beautiful essence flooded into his head.

     “Your inner eye sees motion.  Flickering motions.  Energy paths of movement.”

     Shu nodded with his eyes closed.  “I see it.  It is just like chi.”

     “Spirit force, yes,” said Ged, finally realizing where he had gone wrong.  “Girl! Come here!”  He motioned to a girl attendant who waited beside the practice field for just such an order.  “Girl, we need a loose-jointed doll or a puppet.  Can you fetch one for me?”

     “Yes, Ged Aero-dono!” she said in breathless awe.

     In minutes the girl had returned with a small wooden marionette from the Akito House, smiling and well-pleased that she had been honored to do this service for the White Spider’s special school.  Ged took the doll and gratefully patted her powdered cheek.

     “Picture this doll in your mind’s eye, Shu Kwai.”  Ged sat the doll on the grass.  “Picture it rising to its feet.  Make it do something.”

     As Shu Kwai concentrated, the doll stood up and bowed to Master Ged.  Then it slowly began an undulating dance.  The dance got wilder and happier as Shu Kwai began to feel his success. Finally, it ended with a flourish and a bow.

     “Clever boy!” said Ged, feeling warm inside for the first time all day.  “Let me give you a robe!”

     “No, Sensei.  I made only a first step.  Give me a loin cover only.  I must work harder still.”

     “As your teacher, I say you accomplished at least two steps today.  You learned to focus the inner eye, and you learned not only from me but from your classmate Sara.  That is worth a robe, surely.”

     “You are anxious to cover me in cloth, Sensei.  If I may choose, I would rather have the tabai boots like Sara and Junior.”

     “Very well,” said Ged with a smile.  “You are determined to remain a naked barbarian.  But I respect you very much as a student, Shu Kwai.  Your victories make me proud.”


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Gingerbread Notions

The truth of the matter is, this blog is meant to promote my books, and I need to be using it more for that purpose.

Recipes for Gingerbread Children is a self-published book.  And I do not at present have enough money to live on, let alone pay for a professional-quality editor.  So, it is possible that, if you bought one right now on Amazon, you could be the very first person to ever read the book aside from me, the idiot who wrote it.  I am aware that, sadly, the fact of it means I have done a terrible job promoting this book so far.  Other authors have buyers lined up to buy a copy as soon as the book debuts.  And it is a very good book (so says the author-guy who is prejudiced by his own pitiful teacher-ego).  

I am not going to beg anybody or bribe anybody to read this book.  (Unless that would work… in which case, “Please! Please! Please!” and what would it take to convince you?)   But I trust that sooner or later it will find a reader.  And there will be someone, somewhere that falls in love with this story.  I would like to live long enough to see that happen.  But if I don’t, I wouldn’t be the first writer or artist to go through that.  You’ve heard of Vincent Van Gogh and Franz Kafka, haven’t you?

Here is a link to that book on Amazon;

And now I dare you to be the first person ever to read it.

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Double Character Study; Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates

Here is an updated post from 2014 that reveals new plans for old ideas and another possible novel I hope to write.

Catch a Falling Star

Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates are recurring characters in my hometown novels.  So far they have appeared in The Bicycle-Wheel Genius and Magical Miss Morgan, both of which are now published and available through Amazon.

The Bicycle-Wheel Genius is now available on Amazon through this link;

Magical Miss Morgan is available through this link;

The first book documents their star-crossed romance, beginning as ten-year-olds and following through until they are going on thirteen.  Blueberry is a girl with a terrible secret.  She is not like other girls and has to protect this secret, which will only become harder and harder to contain as time goes on.  She lives with her father who barely notices her, an aunt, her father’s sister, who knows the secret and punishes Blueberry for it, and her two older sisters who cherish her and dote on her, and probably are the only reason…

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The Lovely Lennon Sisters

Here’s an old post that I truly love sharing once again.

Catch a Falling Star

Grandpa and Grandma Aldrich lived on the family farm outside of town, a little more than two miles from the tiny farm town of Rowan, Iowa.  I walked it more than once.  It was faster to walk the railroad tracks between the two places.  About a mile and three quarters as the crow flies… three hours as the boy investigates the critters in the weeds, throws rocks at dragonflies, and listens to the birdsong along the way.  But the point is, my maternal grandparents lived close enough to have a profound influence on my young life.  Much of what they loved became what I love.  And every Saturday night, they loved to watch the Lawrence Welk Show.  And that show had highlights that we longed to see again and again… on a show that never really went into reruns.  We lived to see Jo Ann Castle play the old…

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A Quiet Thought

My first two years as a teacher, the kids all thought I looked like Bob Denver, the star of Gilligan’s Island, which was available to them to watch in re-runs on TV every afternoon after school in the early 1980’s.

My classroom was nicknamed “Gilligan’s Island” and I was called Mr. Gilligan behind my back.   But I embraced the nickname.  Hey, a tropical island in the Pacific with two beautiful single girls?  And by the time they dropped the nickname and started calling me Batman instead, I had two girlfriends at the same time, one a beautiful blond.  

They did me a favor.  Now, when I need a quiet place in the “let’s pretend” centers of my old brain, I naturally go back to Gilligan’s Island, my island, and stretch out on the beach.


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Special Snowflakes

There is no snow in Texas today, but never the less, I thought it was timely to re-post this old essay of which I am proud.

Catch a Falling Star


When conservative cultural warriors, Twitter Trolls, or dyspeptic gasbags like Rush Limbaugh call you a “Special Snowflake”, I have discovered, to my chagrin, that they don’t mean it as a compliment.  In their self-centered, egotistical world you have to be as emotionally tough and able to “take it” as they believe (somewhat erroneously to my way of thinking) they themselves are.  They have no time for political correctness, safe spaces, or, apparently, manners polite enough not to get you killed on the mean streets where they never go.  Being a retired school teacher who was once in charge of fragile young psyches trying to negotiate a cruel Darwinian world, I think I disagree with them.


Have you ever tried to draw a snowflake?  Believe me, it is difficult.  Snowflakes are hexagonal star-shapes with enough lace and  filigrees in them to make it a nightmare to draw it with painfully arthritic…

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December 1, 2018 · 7:59 pm

Being and Artistry

Old blog posts make good fodder for new blog posts.

Catch a Falling Star



Being an artist is a matter of genetics, luck, and loads of practice.  I began drawing when I was only four or five years old.  I drew skulls and skeletons, crocodiles and deer on everything.  My kindergarten and first grade teachers were constantly gritting their teeth over the marked-up margins of every workbook and worksheet.  I drew and colored on everything.  I eventually got rather good, drawing in pencil, crayon, ink, and as you see here, colored pencil.  I loved to draw the people and things around me.  I also drew the things of my imagination.  I drew my best girl, Alicia, and I drew the half-cobra half-man that lived in the secret cavern under our house.  I drew a picture of the house across the underpass from Grandma Mary’s house.  I drew cardinals, and I drew Snoopy cartoons.  I drew my sports heroes in football and hockey, Donny…

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