Author Archives: caldavis

WHY?

Why do people get tattooed? Wait. Before you answer, let me caution you that whatever reply you give, is certain to tell a lot about your age. If you’re over, say forty or fifty, you will probably reply those who get tattooed are of the underclass, individuals on the fringes of society. Further, you’ll probably mention that tattooing is a common practice among sailors, etc.

Now, if you’re much younger than the age group mentioned above, you’ll probably reply “Why do people get tattooed? is a loaded question. And if you are young and smart you will add that the word “tattooed” should not be part of the question. Why? Because it carries with it all kinds of negative connotations. Today there is a new expression for “tattoo.” The modern expression is “body art.”

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Now, let’s rephrase the original question to read, “Why do people adorn their bodies with art?” See? That’s a different question, isn’t it? Those who are less set in their beliefs will probably be happy to answer that query by saying “Perhaps such people are artistic by nature, and they love art, and they wish to share their love of art with the world. Or perhaps they feel good art, like good music, changes people for the better.”

For some, especially men, there is the allure of tribal tats. Ink applied in various tribal designs over the shoulder, across the pectoral muscles or a half or full-sleeve down the arm.

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The point is, we look at human existence through either old lens or new ones. Sadly, some are duped into never changing their lens, never realizing that yesterday was yesterday and today is today.

Which lens do you use? Which ones do I use? Sometime I have to check myself because, though I don’t mean to, I use the wrong lens. I met a middle-aged mother last week who had butterflies inked on her shoulder with the name of each of her three daughters in each butterfly. It was beautiful.  I’m on alert most of the time to body art and I change.

Do you?

Trust me, with the right glasses, the world comes into sharper focus. Using the correct lens you’ll see the difference between what was and what…is.

~Calvin Davis is also the author of THE PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS.

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Trying to Do the Impossible by Calvin Davis

How does one capture, in a couple of short paragraphs, the essence and life of a woman who lived to be a hundred years old? To encapsulate her core in five volumes, each as long as War and Peace, would be simple, but to do this task in a few short paragraphs was all but impossible.

Really, I tried this difficult task of writing a two-paragraph tribute for my mother for the local newspaper recently. If she had been a queen or a superstar, she would have made my job easier, but she wasn’t. She was a maid.

Here is what I wrote…

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A MEMORIAL FOR A MAID
As if emerging from the shadows of a dream,
She descended into The City of Hills, Lynchburg.
Her employers called her “the maid.”
Her sons called her “Mother.”
God called her “Angelic,”
And on November 16, 2004,
He called His angel home.
———-
Residing in His Divine Palace,
Mrs. Oleatha White Davis, “the maid,” scrubs no more,
Cooks no more, vacuums no more.
Now enshrined in the Heavenly Hall of Holies,
She is never again labeled “the maid,”
But is now known by her rightful title: “Saint.”
——————————-
A tribute from the sons of The Angelic Maid, Willis and Calvin Davis.
Though she had no college degree, “the maid” taught them that the greatest of earthly
Powers is neither a bomb nor an army, but love…simple, unadorned, and true.
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One of the World’s Shortest Short Stories

classifiedLiza’s Classified Ad

gown

For Sale –  One white wedding dress, size 8, never used. One engagement ring, beautiful, worn two months. Two hundred wedding invitations: backs are blank; make excellent scratch pads. Interested party call 555-6759 and leave a message. Will return call tomorrow…if I make it through the night. Liza

 

Calvin Davis is also the author of The Phantom Lady of Paris, a love story set in the City of Light during the turbulent late 1960′s.

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The Man Who Entered My Room by Calvin Davis

hoodie The stranger came into my room and stood at the foot of my bed. He wore dark clothes. His head was covered with a hood. I could not make out his facial features. However, I could see that they were as white as granite.

“Who…who are you? How did you get into the house? All the doors are locked.”

“Locks do not faze me. Deadbolts are a joke and chains make me laugh.”

“But why, why are you here? You must be in the wrong house. You got the numbers mixed up some way, I expect.”

“I never get the time, the date or the house numbers confused. At any rate, you must go with me.”

“Go with you, you say? Go with you? Me…go with you…a…a total stranger?”

“But I am not a stranger. I have been with you all your life. I was there when you were born. In moments of peril I have always been by your side…always.”

“And you say I’m to go with you? Where to?”

spaceHe paused, cleared his throat. When he spoke again his voice sounded like the sudden wintry gust of wind hissing through a long tunnel. “I think you know where I’ll take you. Our journey is long, far beyond where manmade telescopes can see, where time and space are one and the same, where not only do objects travel faster than the speed of light, but such speed is common and looked upon as being slow, a place where yesterday is tomorrow, where dreams are not insubstantial products of the mind as they are on earth, but where they are as solid as rocks and numerous as grains of sand.”

“This is so confusing to me, so…” There was a sudden flicker of light in the room, and outside the deafening clap of thunder, though there had been no rain. Then…the stranger was gone. Vanished. There was no one in the room now…except me…and silence. It was as if he dematerialized. Disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Who was he? I don’t know. But I do remember what he said: that he’s always with me. Always. Waiting. I wonder if he’s waiting on others also. Waiting for those who write…those who read…waiting for us all. Waiting to escort us to lands beyond the galaxies, to principalities where all dreams are real, where they are more real than earthly realities. To an enchanted place…where dreamers are applauded, not assassinated.

*** Calvin Davis is the author of THE PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS.

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What You Looking At? by Calvin Davis

What are the ingredients in a writer’s mind? What are the raw materials he uses to create an illusory but seemingly real world, one populated by characters that are as genuine and believable as the shopper you pass in Walmart or the one who waits in line at a Burger King? How does the writer make seem real what is unreal? Convince the reader through mere use of frail words that a fabricated character lives and breathes and that he in many ways is like the reader?

The answer to these and similar questions is simple and, at the same time, complex. What the writer uses as raw material comes from an endless pool of life experiences and observations. All of which are predicated on the fact that a good writer must find the human animal a fascinating creature, which, of course, he is. What makes the Homo sapiens tick? What motivates him? How it is a man can be as altruistic as a saint one moment and within a split second become as heartless and diabolical as a Nazi commandant in a Jewish concentration camp? Is it that man has a duality of personalities? And depending upon the situation, either his dark angels or its opposite will appear? A good writer wants to probe these queries and seek their answers.

TargetTo discover them, he must be a keen student of humans. When waiting in line at Target, for example, he observes the person in front of him. Why does she overdress, wear an outfit designed for someone thirty years her junior, pack on several layers of makeup to mask age lines, sport a “diamond” ring – faux diamond – that is so brilliant you need sunglasses to look at it. And the cashier? Why does her smile seem painfully given and a “commercial” one? As mercenary in appearance as the word “love” sounds when crossing the lips of a prostitute? Forced? Tired? A carbon copy of the smile that lights the cashiers face when it’s the end of her work day. And the youngster nearby who screams at the top of his voice until his mother, intimidated, buys him the toy he wants, no, demands. What goes on in the home of the mother and child? The candy incident tells you. It also may be a forecast of what might happen in the youngster’s marriage, or his ability to have a serious relationship with anyone he cannot control Doubtlessly he will try to control his mate using the same tactics that were so successful in controlling his mother.

train stationWhen I lived in Washington, DC, I frequently went to Union Train Station and sat. Not to wait for a train, but to observe the travelers. Hundreds of commuters would hurry past, representing a sampling of human kind. Some couples would bicker, others, smiling, held hands or embraced. Some commuters, wide eyed, stood and gawked at the vastness of the station and the multitude of people it contained. There were dapper men in colorful suits and wide brim hast who stood and scanned the station, predators on the prowl for innocent female prey who would be a source of income so the men could maintain their sartorial majesty. And always the station was home to several bums, men with battered hats, wrinkled clothes and bearded faces. What was the story of each man? How did he, born in Alaska, end up panhandling on the streets of the District of Columbia and sleeping in train stations? How? The answer is the stuff that novels are made of. For the bum’s story is probably little different from that of a king deposed: a story of hope, dreams, struggle, victories, failures, despair and the will to fight on. All the key ingredients of life.

Finally, who knows? Maybe one day you and I will be in the same place observing people for future use in a novel. I will see you and you will see me. If I do, you have my word that if I include you in a novel, it will a novel of epic proportions and you will be a colossal hero or heroine, one that will make Superman look like a sissy or Wonder Woman look like a wimp.

Honest. Trust me.

~~*~~*~~

Calvin Davis is author of The Phantom Lady of Paris.

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My New Profession by Calvin Davis

When a man reaches the age of eighty-two, as I have, he has a lot of memories. Some cherished. Some he’d sooner forget. Like the time I got sent to the principal’s office for…well, like I said… some memories a person would sooner forget.

schoolLet’s talk about jobs for a few minutes, shall we? I held a lot in my early years—paper boy, shoe-shine boy, golf caddy, department store stock boy. After a stint in the Army and earning my Masters, I entered the teaching world where I stayed for nearly forty years. Teaching English to high school students was a great joy in my life. Attending teachers’ meetings, not so much.

Through all those years, I wrote. Retirement meant I could spend nearly every hour of my day writing. Sheer heaven.

Then something unexpected happened. My wife mentioned she’d like to write, too, yet she lacked the courage, the resolution to do so.

Suddenly I took on a new job.

Cheerleader.

WhittierRedskins_sNow I’ve always taken pride in a job well-done. As a young boy, my newspapers were always delivered on time. When I shined shoes, my customers always sauntered away happy, able to see their reflection in the tops of their shoes. My students loved the unit on Shakespeare. Perhaps it was my jumping onto the top of the desk to deliver soliloquies that kept their attention. So was I a good cheerleader for my wife? She had eight titles published and two contracts for two series from two different Big Six publishers.

So, what do I get for all my efforts? Lots more hugs and kisses. And the best part? I don’t have to wear one of those silly cheerleader uniforms. At eighty-two, my arthritic knees are not a pretty sight, but my wife’s happy face is.

~~~~ Calvin Davis is author of The Phantom Lady of Paris.

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My Christmases Past–On My Desk–Lives On by Calvin Davis

To recall my Christmases past, I have only to glance to my right as I sit at my desk, for there rests an eight inch tall decorative container. When I see it, memories of the Yuletides I have known flood my thoughts, filling them with delightful recollections.

What is so magical about the container that it can call forth such profound memories? Let me explain. My mother died several years ago. I did not bury her body. I abhorred the thought of such a loving person lying in the detached and cold earth, alone, forsaken, except for worms that would feast upon her and convert the one who gave birth to me into fertilizer. So did she. So, no burial for my mother. According to her wishes, I had her cremated. Her aches rest in what the undertaker called an “urn.” A plastic container is more expensive if you label it something fancier: ah, the power of words.

At Yuletide I never have any trouble recalling the good times of my Christmases past. I merely have to glance at the enchanted urn. Seeing it, I envision my mother and the love she lent to all my Christmases. I see myself, a youngster, eyes wide, trembling with anticipation as she smiles. ”This is for you,” and hands me a neatly wrapped present, sprinkled with sparkles that twinkled almost as brightly as those in my eyes. I remember, I remember.

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I remember the Christmas tree she decorated each year, the abundance of fruit, candy canes, chestnuts and tangerines she worked hard to provide. I remember the Christmas meals she prepared as if for a royal family. And always her feasts were crammed with calories, but with more love and warmth than carbs or calories. I recall Daddy saying grace over the Christmas repast with everyone holding hands.

candleAnd I remember the Christmas light in the living room window that burned brightly, announcing to all who passed that the glow of Christmas love could be found inside, a love produced by the nuclear generator of love, the woman now in a decorative urn on my desk – my mother.

Merry Christmas, Mother. And Merry Christmas to you all. May your season be filled with love, joy, hope and peace.

Calvin Davis is author of The Phantom Lady of Paris. http://tinyurl.com/mdku2ja

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Who is Davis Hall by Calvin Davis

Who is David Hall? I didn’t have the faintest notion. I had never heard the name before. The actor Ed Asner, famed for his work on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, I was familiar with. And I was casually knowledgeable about Troy Duran, who has done voice overs for Anheuser Busch and Jeep Grand Cherokee commercials. But David Hall? Don’t ask me.

But wait, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a little and explain. As I mentioned last month, an audio publisher wants to make an audio book of my novel The Phantom Lady of Paris. They gave me a list of possible narrators for the work, among them was — can you believe it — Ed Asner of television fame. Imagine the celebrated Ed Asner reading my…my words? Hard to believe, isn’t it? Well, I could have chosen him if I had wanted to.

The publisher asked me to describe the kind of voice I wished to narrate my novel. I wanted the voice of someone in his early twenties. The central character in The Phantom Lady is young. I did not desire someone who sounded like a college professor or a recent graduate of an announcer school, someone who boomed his words. I wanted a narrator whose voice was “everyday,” down to earth because that’s the kind of person the central character The Phantom is.

CSI DavidThe publisher said I have just the voice you’re looking for, the voice of David Hall. A little research revealed that David was a regular character in CSI, Crime Scene Investigation. He also appeared in The West Wing and L.A. Wing. I heard a sample of his voice. And I agree with the publisher. David’s voice is just the voice for The Phantom Lady of Paris. Can you imagine? I passed on Ed Asner? Me? A nobody. Saying no to Ed, a somebody. Huh, some nerve!

Before I forget, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to each of you. We have much to be thankful for at our house this year. Both my wife’s and my heath are good. Our glucose levels remain in tolerance–we’re both diabetics. Every morning when we wake up, we thankful we have another day together, something I become more conscious of since I turned 82. Vonnie has a book releasing on Thanksgiving; her publisher is in the UK and they don’t observe turkey day. I’m thankful for Second Wind’s continued growth as a publisher and their taking a chance on me a few years ago. I’ve been blessed in many ways. ~ Calvin Davis

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Fly, Girl! Fly! — by Calvin Davis

Yesterday was a good day for Sandra Bullock, the female star in the film “Gravity,” and also a splendid day for Bonnie Silver, the protagonist of my novel The Phantom Lady of Paris. Both were rescued.

My wife and I went to see the movie “Gravity” and witnessed the heroine astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) separated from her space module, then twirl and spin head over heels through the dark and soundless emptiness of nothingness, outer space, corkscrewing into an obvious solitary demise. But wait. Don’t despair. The astronaut recovers. Struggling, she rejoins her wayward capsule and returns to Mother Earth, where she ambles about twenty or so paces on a sandy beach into the rest of her life. Saved! In the nick of time. Happy, happy ending.

plopfront-148x223Leaving the theater, I received an email from my agent that a company in California offered a contract to produce audio versions of my novel The Phantom Lady of Paris. Voila! Both heroines rescued: Sandra Bullocks and the Phantom Lady. Sandra soared in space. Here is hoping the Phantom Lady of Paris will soar in sound.

angel with golden wingsFly on, Phantom Lady, child of my mind, fly sweet Lady.  Spread your golden, gossamer wings and kiss Mother Earth goodbye.

 

 

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Second Wind now at Shakespeare and Company in Paris

Today, along the banks of the Seine, on a tiny street called Rue de la Bûcherie, sits a literary institution: Shakespeare and Company.

9425782709_7f65b8d096_nIn more historical times, the original bookstore by this name occupied a different spot from 1921 until the Nazi invasion of Paris. This creative haven was owned and operated by Sylvia Beach, supporter for the arts and artists of The Lost Generation. She encouraged Hemingway and Picasso, just to name a few, and also published James Joyce’s Ulysses, at a great personal expense to her financial funds.

In 1952, American George Whitman opened an English speaking bookstore along the Seine, catty-cornered from the Notre Dame Cathedral on the opposite side of the river. In honor of Sylvia Beach, he used her bookstore’s name…and, years later, named his newborn daughter Sylvia, too.

As a young lad, George Whitman backpacked over Central and South America long before the activity was as popular as it is now. He was deeply impressed by natives who opened their homes to him, giving him a dry, warm spot to sleep and a nourishing meal. After opening his bookstore, he started the same tradition. Over the years, he provided lodging (a cot stuck in an out of the way spot) and free meals to struggling artists and writers. In return they had to read a book a day and work two hours in the store. It’s reported he helped over 40,000 would-be authors, poets and artists before he died at the age of 91. He called these guests “tumbleweeds.”

Paris-Day 7 026Today, his daughter runs the bookstore, carrying on her father’s legacy. Shakespeare and Company is known worldwide. And I’m proud to say Second Wind has a tiny spot there. My PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS is now part of their inventory and is also included in their lending library on the second floor.  My book. like all those purchased at this Paris institution, will bear the famous stamp of this bookstore visited by travelers from across the globe.

Shakespeare stamp

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