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Gene's photos 10-3-13 008Welcome to my writing blog. Please note that all material is  © Gene Twaronite and The Twaronite Zone. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gene Twaronite and The Twaronite Zone with specific direction to the original content.

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Writing Small

It was one of those
early grades when they
still taught penmanship.
I envied the girl
next to me who
wrote in tiny script,
neat and compact.
I copied her style,
made it my own,
writing letters
ever smaller
as the spaces
between blue lines
grew emptier.

One day my teacher
put her foot down:
I can’t read this,
write bigger!

Not wishing to fail
penmanship, I did.
But that girl with her
Lilliputian words
still remained
inscribed on my brain,
leading me to seek
ever more compact
ways of viewing life.
Like the cursive
I copied, small things
seemed more
appealing, whether
a house or a car.
Less surface
to clean and
less to care for.
Economy and
sparseness of form
I preferred
above all else,
extending this
feeling even
to my lovers.
Why not when it was
complete control
I sought in my
dominion of space?

Now I write
in script neither
small nor neat
but in a wild scrawl
that winds across
checks and documents
with a will of its own.
I try to slow it down,
show who’s boss,
but it ends up
looking mangled
and disrupted, like a
watch spring
suddenly sprung.
And in the checkout
line I see at last the
phantom ghost of
control mocking
me from the screen
while my artless
swiped signature
dissolves into
cyberspace.

First published June 29, 2015, at Turks Head Review  http://turksheadreview.tumblr.com/#sthash.SvKDIsQM.dpuf

New Review of The Absurd Naturalist

Check out this new review of my latest book “The Absurd Naturalist.” Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Absurd-Naturalist-Ir…/…/1502977281
A Fun ReadPrint cover front
By Niche on March 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Gene has a naturalist’s focus and curiosity – he combines his observations in nature with wry twists on the wide variety of topics his essays cover. Open this book, pick an essay, and you will find yourself smiling as well as gleaning some insights into the natural world in the process.

The Belly Button Man: A Business Fable

AN TransparentHis only dream was to sell belly buttons. Admittedly, it was a difficult sell when there was no demand for the product. It was a long time ago, when people still came into the world with no belly buttons. Indeed, so long ago was it that people had not even learned to laugh. The only laughter in the land was from the hyena and the mocking call of the jubal bird.

People still cried, however, and there was plenty to cry about. But you don’t need a belly button for crying.

The world was filled with stony faces, streaked with tears. People went about their lives each day, performing their duties, and that was that. Things were either sad or not sad, with no in between.

The salesman first heard about the invention from a sailor in the Weeping Dragon Tavern. With many drinks under his belt, the sailor slumped over the bar. Suddenly his shoulders began to convulse. He raised his head and looked at the salesman. The sailor’s mouth started to upturn in a most peculiar fashion. Then he broke out into a strange cry. It started with a series of high-pitched twitters that slowly rose in volume to something that sounded more like the grunts, howls, and choking sounds of some great beast. No one in the tavern had ever heard such a sound before. The sailor began shaking so hard he looked as if he might die. But he just shook his head and pulled up his shirt, pointing to a little spot in the middle of his belly that looked like a button. Then he passed out.

For a long while, the salesman sat and pondered what he had seen. There was something about that sound. It all had to do with the button—a strange-looking thing, though not unattractive. Maybe other people would want one, too. From that moment on, the salesman knew exactly what he must do.

Relentlessly he traveled the world, knocking on one door after another. To the sobbing or stony-faced person who opened the door he would say, “Good day, my sad fellow. May I interest you in a bright new belly button?” And then he would open his large black carrying case to show off the hundreds of different kinds of belly buttons he offered.

But, even though the salesman promised free installation and a ninety-day guarantee, and even though his brand of belly buttons were the finest made, not one of the sad people ever bought one. For the reason belly buttons had been invented was to hold a person’s belly in place while laughing; otherwise, during a belly laugh, or even a hard chuckle, people’s bellies would start to come undone, with regrettable consequences. But because people had not yet learned how to laugh, there was still no need for such buttons.

The salesman tried everything. He offered free home trials. He offered big discounts. He gave out coupons. But not a one could he sell.

He tried repackaging the belly buttons to make them seem more attractive. He offered them, both innies and outies, by the dozen, in assorted sizes and colors, and gave away a free belly button brush with each box. On his very best models he promised a lifetime guarantee. Still no sales.

Then he thought, maybe he needed to change the way he looked. So he dressed up in a clown suit, put on an orange wig and funny hat, and painted his face with purple polka dots. When someone opened the door, he threw confetti in the air and, while squeezing a bicycle horn, shouted, “Hooray, the belly button man is here!” Still nothing.

The salesman, now desperate, changed his whole sales pitch in ways that would have raised a few eyebrows back at corporate headquarters. Instead of just opening his case and showing off his belly buttons, he tried juggling them—sometimes thirty or forty at a time—while riding a pink unicycle. Still nothing.

Finally, the salesman got so depressed over not making any sales that at the next house he rang the bell and just stood there, not knowing what to do. When another stony-faced person answered the door, the salesman broke into a sob, relating every miserable detail of his story while displaying his useless merchandise.

The stony-faced person listened without saying a word. Something about the salesman’s story touched him in a new way. It was more than sad. It was pathetic. Trying to sell something for which there was no need, well, it was absurd. For a moment he thought he was going to cry. But he felt different somehow. Suddenly his mouth began to do strange things. Slowly it turned upward like a crescent moon and began to open. His eyes gleamed with an inner light. Then the man felt a strange twinge. It gurgled up his throat like a trickling spring and came out as a chuckle. He started to laugh and guffaw, until from deep inside him there erupted a laugh like a geyser that quite nearly blew his belly apart.

“Quick!” he yelled to the salesman. “Give me a dozen of your best belly buttons. I’ll give you anything you want!”

From that day forward, people started laughing at all kinds of things, sometimes so hard that they felt their bellies might burst. So, of course, they all suddenly needed belly buttons to hold themselves in place, for matters of both safety and public decorum. The salesman, who later became a great motivational speaker, had no more trouble selling them. He sold so many to people all over the world, in fact, that today belly buttons are far more common in households than encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners, and need no longer be sold door to door.

Author’s Note: Read this and other absurd essays and tales in my new book The Absurd Naturalist, available from Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/The-Absurd-Naturalist-Irreverent-Musings/dp/1502977281

Published in 5enses April 2015  http://www.5ensesmag.com/the-bellybutton-man-a-business-fable/

On Sitting Still & Other Poems

Three of my new poems have just been published in the spring issue of Wilderness House Literary Review.
You can read them here:
http://www.whlreview.com/no-10.1/poetry/GeneTwaronite.pdf
http://www.whlreview.com/#poetry 

Nothing Sacred: Review of The Absurd Naturalist

Read this latest review of my new book, posted on AmazonPrint cover front:

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing is Sacred
By Jeff Schalau on March 10, 2015
Format: Paperback
Mr. Twaronite’s cogitations may seem irreverent to some, but that’s what I like about The Absurd Naturalist – nothing is sacred. These short essays will make you smile as you reflect on the irrationality of the human condition. I love it!

Ten-Minute Tent Talk

Please join me on Sunday, March 15, from 12:40 to 12:50, at the Tucson Festival of Books (Authors Pavilion West), where I will be giving a “Ten-Minute Tent Talk” that is guaranteed 100% free of all serious insights or facts. Copies of all my new book “The Absurd Naturalist” will be available for sale.Print cover front

Tucson Festival of Books

I will be one of 450 authors at the upcoming Tucson Festival of Books  http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/  It will be held on Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, 2015 on the beautiful University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona. The Festival enters its seventh year as the fourth largest literary event in the country attracting over 450 authors and over 130,000 participants during the weekend. All proceeds from the Festival are donated to local non-profit organizations that support improved literacy in Southern Arizona…more than $1,050,000 has been donated since the Festival began in 2009.

Please join me on Sunday, March 15, from 10:15 to 12:30, at my booth in Authors Pavilion West, located at the west end of the Main Mall, where I will be signing books and greeting the reading public. Copies of all my book titles will be available for sale.

 

The Tick

The Absurd Naturalist

 

AN Transparent

 

Few people, even nature lovers, love the tick. It is difficult to love a creature that has its mouthparts embedded in your flesh. This is the way most acquaintances with this little vampire begin. One does not set off on a nature hike to look for a tick in the field and exclaim, “Oh my, how interesting.” Instead, one is far more likely to go to the bathroom mirror and scream, “Oh my God, get that damn thing off me!”

Ticks belong to the order Acarina, which also includes mites. There are about 850 different kinds of ticks—so far as we know, that is. According to one estimate, there may be as many as a million other kinds of ticks and mites in the world, still waiting for scientists to classify them. It is something to look forward to.

Like spiders, scorpions and other arachnids, ticks have eight legs, at least most of the time. When they first hatch out as larvae, however, they have six. If this sort of thing bothers you, you would do well not to become an acarologist (a specialist in mites and ticks), much less a biologist.

Ticks make their living by sucking blood out of mammals, birds and reptiles. They usually lie in wait on a plant until a suitable host passes nearby, then hop on board, anchoring themselves to the skin by means of a dart-like structure located below the mouth. Ticks are known to wait around up to three years for a host to come by. They are very patient.

One of the problems with bloodsucking—at least for the host—is that this is a fine way to transmit diseases from one organism to another. Among arthropods ticks are rivaled only by mosquitoes in the number of diseases transmitted; these include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Texas cattle fever, relapsing fever, anaplasmosis, and a fairly new one—first recognized in 1975—called Lyme disease. And if this isn’t enough, some female ticks can also pass along a nerve poison in their saliva that produces paralysis.

So if one day you happen to discover a tick on your person, you are probably justified in removing it as quickly as possible. If you are really patient, you can just wait for the female tick to have its fill of blood—after which she will drop off by herself to go lay her eggs—but few of us are this considerate of other life forms. Removing a tick, one of the most tenacious creatures on earth, is easier said than done, however. If particular care is not taken, part of its head—the capitulum—may remain in the flesh and possibly cause infection. Some folk remedies call for applying petroleum jelly or a burned match to the animal, the idea being to “encourage” the tick to release its hold so it can be removed intact. You might also try playing loud hard rock music next to its head. AC/DC works especially well, and some have reported good results with Megadeth. These remedies can make matters worse, however, by actually irritating the tick and causing it to regurgitate its gut contents, which is not a good thing. The best bet is to use a plain old set of fine tweezers, then wash the wound with soap and water.

Great care should also be taken to properly dispose of the tick. One source advises burning or drowning in alcohol. You might also try a tiny stake through the heart. You can’t be too careful with vampires.
©Gene Twaronite 2015

Originally published in 5enses Feb. 2015  http://www.5ensesmag.com/the-tick/

Win free copy of The Absurd Naturalist

Win a free copy of my latest Print cover frontbook The Absurd Naturalist. Enter the Goodreads giveaway here:  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/124353-the-absurd-naturalist-irreverent-musings-on-nature

There’s no obligation, but short reviews are most welcome.  #AbsurdNaturalist