"None will open unless I push them myself." - Val DeWitt

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Roger Blain

Roger Blain, 89 of Blain Road died Friday March 21, 2008 at home. He was the beloved husband of Fleurette L. (Gendreau) Blain. Born in New Bedford, MA, he was the son of the late Joseph and Elise (Goyette) Blain.Mr. Blain was the Valedictorian, Class of 1937 at Tourtellotte Memorial High School. He owned and operated of R. Blain Oil Company and later worked in the accounting department at American Optical until he retired. He was communicant and volunteer of St. Joseph's Church. He was a member of St. Bernard Council 2087 Knights of Columbus in North Grosvenordale and the Franco American Genealogical Society. He was a volunteer fire fighter with Community Fire Company for many years and served on the Board as Treasurer. He enjoyed playing cards especially cribbage, gardening and socializing.He is survived by three sons, Joseph Maurice Blain and his wife Cynthia of Taunton, MA, Michael Blain of Palmetto, FL and Paul Blain of Grosvenordale; a daughter, Janet Keohane and her husband Daniel of Princeton, MA; a brother, Roland Blain of Worcester; 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a brother, Romeo Blain.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Roger's family from 5:00 to 8:00pm Tuesday March 25, 2008 in the Valade Funeral Home, 23 Main St., N. Grosvenordale CT. A gathering will begin at 9:00 am on Wednesday March 26, 2008 at the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am in St. Joseph Church, 20 Main St., N. Grosvenordale. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Fire Company, P.O. Box 874, N. Grosvenordale, CT 06255.

I've known few people as kind, big-hearted, gentle and God-loving as Roger Blain. It was a rough time, watching this strong man who taught me how to chop wood without losing my foot in the process, who can beat anyone at cribbage with such a wry smile that you just don’t care if you’re double-skunked, who one day had misunderstood what one of his sons meant when he asked his father to ‘take care of the dogs’ while he was on a trip with his family and subsequently had a neighbor shoot them (well, they were pretty old dogs, you can’t blame him for the confusion), who held his family together within an iron embrace through storms and sun, take his slow trip away from us. But it is so good to know that now, he’s in so, so better a place. He'll be smiling forever and kicking Saint Peter’s butt at cribbage.

I hope you know how much I love you, Roger, though it’s a love that might pale next to how much Janet and her brothers adore you. I just wanted you to know how much you’ve meant to me over the last twenty-two years, even though I’ve never said it. Now that you've left us and this broken world behind, I hope some day I’ll see you again and tell you in person. By then, of course, you’ll probably already know.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Solomon's English Language Debut, Lost in the Woods, 8000 words and counting

Before I start, if you can send up some prayers and good thoughts for my father-in-law Roger Blain, and for my wife and her family as they care for this wonderful, wonderful man as he slips away from us, it would be very much appreciated. If my two daughters grow up to adore me a fraction of how much Janet does her Dad, I'd consider myself a lucky, lucky man. Also, for my friend Fran who is caring for her brother at home as he is terminally ill with cancer. Life sometimes can feel so hard, knowing there are others thinking about you goes a long way.

Breaking News: Solomon's Grave has finally reached our shores. It will be published in 2009, in trade paperback by the Canadian publisher Dragon Moon Press. They cover both Canada and the US so the book has finally come home to roost, starting in Russia, getting lost, resurfacing in Italy, then Germany, now rising over the northern horizon via Canada. No specific publication date yet. More as I know it.

Before the final update, you need to re-read a post I made last year, on April 1st. Click the link below, read, then click your BACK button on the browswer and continue....
http://dankeohane.blogspot.com/2007/04/0-or-square-one.html

So, I found this, and it reminded me of my commitment to more mainstream work, along with the fact that I found myself doing other things at lunch than returning to Plague of Locusts, much as I like the story, and how I couldn't write fast enough last year for Doomsday Key (the new title my agent & I came up with for Destroyer of Worlds, a title which felt wrong, along with other reasons it no longer worked as a title in my mind). So poor Locusts has been put aside for now (again), and I went back to Lost in the Woods, which I am enjoying and have written only 8,000 words so far, but that'll climb quickly, if I behave. I'll post weekly updates on the progress as I did last year for DK.

Thanks
Dan

Thursday, March 06, 2008

In honor of Kill Jack Haringa On Your Blog Day, here’s a little something....

Jack stood for a moment at the entrance to Booth’s Specialty Menswear and breathed in the familiar tang of formality and dust. Mostly dust. Sometimes he wondered if he’d become their only customer in this era of business-casual dress codes, policies adopted by weak employers to coddle lazy employees, policies which had become the death knell to the last vestiges of decent attire. He fancied himself, at times like this, that final refuge, the Last Well-Dressed Man Alive, as it was.


Today, all he needed was a tie so he stepped inside the store. Its once vast chamber of shirts and slacks, shoe polish and black socks for all occasions had been compressed to half its former size at the far end of the mall, elbowed aside to make room for a much-needed (in everyone’s opinion but his own) expansion of The Gap next door. Society may have made Booth’s Specialty Menswear nothing more than a musty antique shop, but they could never kill its pride. Its necessity.

“Hey, Mister H, how’s it hanging?” The pierced kid behind the half-counter looked up from his Wolverine comic. “What can I do you for?”


Jack rapped his knuckles on the counter, pretended not to hear the soft echo drifting through the store. “I’m all set, just a necktie or two. Going to the movies tonight, need something appropriate.”


“Ties?” Benny put the comic down and looked behind him. The tie racks had been pushed together, weeds choking themselves into extinction. “Mister Booth told me to stay clear of them. Getting restless.”


Jack had gone only a few steps in the direction in which the kid was looking, but now stopped. “Restless?”

Benny shrugged. “Dunno. That’s what he said. Or maybe he said lonely.” He looked back to the counter a moment, considering. “He was talking all funny. Said something about dogs craving attention, not being fed.” He twirled his index finger around his temple. “Think the store’s dying and it’s making him looney, you know?”


The store’s not dying! Jack wanted to scream. They’ll come back! The world will realize what they’ve lost, the respectability they all secretly crave, and they’ll come back! But all he said was, “Thanks, I’ll be careful,” and moved away.

The racks, which once held thin-striped shirts as proudly as a pin-lipped tailor, were full, but dust lines were visible along their shoulders from the hangers beneath. The smell of dust and disregard was stronger here. At the back, three racks of ties huddled like frightened children. These, too, had the beginning of dust lines, though each week when he came Jack tried to shift them a little, level out their abandonment, buy them some time.


A blue one, gentle swirl of gold woven throughout, caught his attention. He lifted it from the rod.

Me, pick me....


Silent voice, barely a whisper. The voice was weak, but with a texture he could almost feel. He looked back. Benny was hunkered over the comic, mouth slightly agape, lost in his color-paneled world. Hadn’t been his voice anyway –

No, pick me... another voice, just as weak, but a different inflection, more playful. Coming from beyond the far rack of novelty ties.


“Hello?”

Behind him Benny shouted, “You need something, Mister H?”


“No,” Jack called, not turning around. Still holding the blue woven tie he pressed himself to the center of the display, the three racks surrounding him in a triangle of presentable attire.

No one there.


A bright red power tie slipped loose and draped about his ankle. I’m the one you want, it said sternly, as if in his mind alone.

What was he thinking? He shook his head, feeling like a fool and knelt down. The tie hadn’t –


Three ties fell over his shoulders. Me, me, me....

He flung them off. They intertwined about his arms, working themselves under the sleeves of his tweed coat. The red one by his foot tightened around his calf. He’s mine! Get away!

Jack froze for a moment, trying to ground his thoughts. He misunderstood something simple, something basic. A radio, perhaps, playing overhead.


Four, then five more ties, green felt, black silk, one with Iron Man racing up to the neckline, more of them he couldn’t see leapt from the rack above his head. Buy me, wear me, I’m perfect, I can make you proud to be clothed, I can show what a man is meant to be! Dozens of voices, small, weak, dying, desperate. Jack tried to stand but Iron Man wrapped around his throat, the red tie wriggled towards his crotch inside his pressed pant leg.

Wear me! Buy me!


So many voices, crowding out thought. Panic set in, Jack unable to think or breathe. Something pulled his left foot out from under him and he was suddenly on the floor, looking up at the remaining ties as they dropped like pythons. He was gagged, blinded, feeling only the texture of such perfect compliments to a man’s wardrobe across his face and arms, squeezing, pressing in like lepers to the Lord, demanding attention, demanding love, respect, wanting to live and be more than a tool for lovemaking, wanting their glory to be restored, before it was too late.

He tried to take in air, could not. Me, me, me, me, me.....

Jack died on the floor, buried in true fashion.


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