What Beauty Tells Me:
Novellas and Stories
Five stories about justice and forgiveness, intelligence and goodness, peace and beauty. A work of hope and reconciliation, a celebration of the world, a hymn for the fallen, a lyric of love.
The Innocent Alone Crave Justice: A true story about a knowingly false accusation of treason that created one of the greatest-ever travesties of justice and a national crisis. It could be America today. Maybe it is America today.
Suzie’s Horse, An Opera: A teenage girl in boarding school, ostracized and persecuted as a foreigner, is a gifted singer. When the music teacher discovers she loves opera, as does he, the special friendship of a shared passion quickly develops.
My Heart Ain’t Broken, It’s Just Taking A Break: A middle-aged country-and-western singer, down on his luck, drives cross-country to pay a final visit to his estranged father. In the hospital his music earns him another chance.
Camestres and Felapton: An elderly violinist has retired from a long career but retains all his musical passion. A reclusive widower, he encounters people who seem to be a life-long friend, a teenage prodigy, a former student, and a little girl dancing with an old man.
What Beauty Tells Me: In a meditation on beauty, intelligence, and goodness, Gustave Mahler, Isaac Newton, and Thomas Paine appear in a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Set in 1650 during the English Civil War, it seems a prophecy of our common concerns, our common joys.
Published by Collioure Books in "trade" (high quality) paperback.
“Readers seeking fiction that excels in subtle drama, thought-provoking scenarios, and characters forced to confront their own actions will find the blend of psychological and social insight revealing. “What Beauty Tells Me” is impeccably drawn, revealing approaches that take historical fact and inject personal insight into wide-ranging stories of hope and revelation.”
—Midwest Book Review
from The Innocent Alone Crave Justice:
You’re writhing again. For a brief time you had hoped Lucie would be allowed to join you in exile, but Mercier had taken care of that. How sublimely precious, how unspeakably soothing could be a brief few minutes in her presence, to see her, to see her face, to be certain she still existed, still cared. From a cell you wrote, “Alas, instead of being able to sob in your arms, to lean on you, my sobs have resounded in the emptiness of my prison.” From the hold of the ship you cry, tears streaming, that Lucie is not with you, wherever you are, somewhere in the Atlantic, destination unknown. You wipe away the tears before they freeze. Your cries amount to nothing against the sounds of the wind and the sea.
from Suzie’s Horse, An Opera:
She listens—again—to the ‘mad’ scene, a tour de force of coloratura singing. Because Lucia is quietly raving to herself, the bravura of her opening arias is replaced with introspection, brief outbursts with longer lines. It’s exquisitely beautiful and devilishly difficult. Suzie can’t get enough of it, playing it over and over. Time after time she finds herself singing along. It’s irresistible; she turns up the volume and sings standing before the mirror, forgetting everything else.
from My Heart Ain’t Broken, It’s Just Taking A Break:
Lots of trucks. Lots of headlight glare. Aimless thoughts of the open road. How many miles had he covered this way, going from gig to gig, a process he sometimes liked to think of as being ‘on tour,’ even when he knew it was more like wandering from town to town scrounging for work. There wasn’t a lot of call anymore for an aging singer-songwriter with nothing but a voice, a guitar, and something to get off his chest. People liked a little drive to the beat so they could stomp and holler, some harmony to help remember the tune, while a long-legged girl in a ten-gallon hat and a five-gallon skirt never hurt business.
from Camestres and Felapton:
At some point I realized that that’s the way I’ve spent my life, attacking and defending myself. Does everyone do that? I don’t know, I’m afraid to ask. But then I did ask, I asked Paul, my best friend, we’ve known each other since we were kids, and he said, “What, you think you’re the only one? Mister Special? Mister God-hates-me? And why are you asking me this now? You should have asked seventy years ago, I could have spared you a lot of misery.”
“Yeah? You knew?”
“Of course I knew!”
from What Beauty Tells Me:
While they imagined the vast primeval Forest of Arden, Sir Isaac and his followers lived the rough life of exile, but it was also a calm pastoral life away from the cares of the world. Where once they lived in mansions, now they lived in caves; where once they had retinues of servants, now they fended for themselves; still it was a good life, a rough but simple life, and therefore pleasing; and as the duke often reminded his entourage, the adversities of the rough life had its sweet uses in its pastoral calm. Gone all political strife, gone the violence and cruelty of war, the mayhem of social disorder. Now everyone was free to wander the woods at leisure, to smell the spring flowers and listen to the birds. Though this bored some who chafed at idleness, the duke was a contented man in the forest because, there for the first time, he was free to pursue his beloved interest.