Briefly Noted: ‘Cedar Hollow,’ by Sam Franklin’s family

“Cedar Hollow,” by  Patty Hayner Franklin, Bill Franklin, Eric Thomas Johnson, Melinda Clayton, Samuel Joseph Franklin, Frankie Johnson, W. Michael Franklin and Tracy R. Franklin, Vanilla Heart Publishing (October 2012), 150 pp, paperback and e-book

While Cedar Hollow is the fictional town in Melinda Clayton’s novels (“Appalachian Justice,” “Return to Crutcher Mountain” “Entangled Thorns”), the Franklin Family is lovingly real as are the flavor, ambiance and wonders in this book.

All author and publisher proceeds from this anthology, created by Sam Franklin’s family, will go to the “Helen R. Tucker Adult Developmental Center, Tipton County Branch [in Tennessee] where Sam currently spends many of his days interacting, learning, growing, and experiencing life. With great honor, Vanilla Heart Publishing is pleased to support this center and the people who make it possible.”

Pushcart Prize Nominee Short Story Erma Puckett’s Moment of Indiscretion by Melinda Clayton is included, along with stories, poems, lyrics and music score, recipes, and more from Sam and his Family, including his father, mother, sisters, and both his eldest brother and his brother-in-law.

Excerpt about Sam from his sister, Melinda Clayton

My brother is funny and sweet. He likes basketball, dancing, and singing. He loves old reruns of shows he watched as a child. He likes to play the keyboard and the drums. He loves foods that aren’t healthy for him, but always follows the doctor’s orders. Most of all, he loves his family.

And, by the way, he has Down Syndrome.

Just one little sentence in the whole of who he is.

There’s a lot of prose and poetry to look forward to in this anthology. Even so, I’m also tempted by the recipes for Darryl Lane’s trout, Peggy Mitchell’s burgers, Kay Lanley’s key lime pie, and Beryl Dickson’s holiday cookies.

Malcolm

P.S. Vanilla Heart is also my publisher, Melinda Clayton is my friend and I was once a unit manager in a developmental center where some residents had Down Syndrome. You might say I am fully biased in favor of this book in every possible way.

Briefly Noted: ‘The Last Selchie Child’ by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen’s collected poems in The Last Selchie Child, from A Midsummer Night’s Press, are a celebration of storytelling. Part I, Story explores the craft itself; Part II, Stories takes us to the sea and elsewhere into the distant past when the world’s once-upon-a-times were more intangible than they are today; and Part III, Telling the True, gets to the heart of the matter, the veracity of the tales a storyteller tells.

In “The Storyteller,” in Part I, Yolen writes about the fundamental essence of the art of a tale:

It is the oldest feat
of prestidigitation.
What you saw,
what you heard
was equal to a new creation.

The title poem “The  Last Selchie Child” begins Part II:

But I am the last selchie child,
my blood runs cold in my veins
like an onrushing tide.

In Part III, “Family Stories” reminds readers of the childhood stories they heard, but no longer recall:

My brother and I
are pieced together
like crazy quilts.
We keep warm
on winter evenings
with the weight
of all those tales.

Publisher’s Description:

Magical transformations, enchanted mirrors, talking animals, familiar tales in unfamiliar guises, all these and more are found in the pages of The Last Selchie Child.

Retellings of archetypal myths and fairy tales and the nature of storytelling itself are explored in this new collection of poems by Jane Yolen.

This tiny book of tales, published in a 6×4 format, grows larger and larger with each reading of its magical poems.

Malcolm