Welcome to illbird press
"It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest."
Thin-legged wolf spider, Keystone Lake, OK, April 11, 2021
Maybe there should be an award for being right. FOR MORE, CLICK
Scientists say this could be only tip of the iceberg. FOR MORE, CLICK
Biden's infrastructure proposal includes home energy. FOR MORE, CLICK HERE
Methane concentration surged in 2020. FOR MORE, CLICK
Greenpeace says illegal use devastating parts of ocean. FOR MORE, CLICK
Pandemic lockdown created ideal time for sound checks. FOR MORE, CLICK
A traveling exhibit of 20th Century African American art from the Smithsonian is on exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum from now until May 23. The exhibit contains more than 40 works from about 30 artists from the Harlem Renaissance through the end of the century.
Howard Pease wasn’t the greatest writer in the world, but he was read widely, and he filled my childish head with dreams of the sea and tales of intrigue.
I grew up in St. Joseph, MO, in the South End, where we had a small Carnegie library that looked pretty much like all the libraries the robber baron Carnegie built so he could ease his conscience for the demeaning way he treated his workers. But that’s another subject.
Our Carnegie library, though small, held an unbelievable number of books on its two floors. My brothers and sisters and I went there frequently as we were all readers and our family couldn’t afford to buy books.
Once when my older brother, 12 years older than I, was home visiting, he walked with me the fifteen or so blocks to the library. I was about 10, and my brother took an interest in what I read, which then was mostly science books about animals and space. He said I ought to read more fiction. He gave me two authors’ names to read, one who wrote a series of books on the Civil War. I don’t remember his name now, though I read a number of his books, but I do remember the other’s name, Howard Pease. I read every book of his that the library had on its shelves.
Pease wrote a series about a young man, Joseph “Tod” Moran, working on tramp freighters in between World Wars I and II. Tod found himself in all kinds of adventures and often times intrigue on the ships. Tod improved his position, working from entry level to first mate.
I read years later when I learned more about Pease that he spent a few years working on ships to get ideas for his novels, of which he wrote 22, not all Tod Moran mysteries. But Pease was not a sailor professionally. He was a writer, deciding in the sixth grade that would be his vocation. He grew up in Stockton, CA, and attended Stanford University, and by his mid-twenties, he was a published writer.
I know Pease had an influence on me because when I took a career aptitude test in high school, the counselor told me that the results revealed I was fitted for working in the merchant marine.
Pease had much more famous admirers than I. Writers Philip Roth (best known for Portnoy’s Complaint), Russell Freedman (children’s writer of an award-winning Lincoln book) and E. L. Doctorow (historian and novelist) said Pease’s writings made deep impressions on them.
Pease’s influence went beyond his writings, though, because all the time he was writing, he was a high school English teacher and he also served as an elementary school principal for a number of years.
Pease’s books were not for everyone. He wrote basically for young boys, and critics will complain his writing could be stereotypical. But Pease knew how to tell a story full of adventure.
For more IN 500 Words or Less, CLICK HERE