I always think of this little poem from Rudyard Kipling.
Going into WWI, Kipling was a hugely pro-war idiot. That was until his son was killed at the Battle of Loos—the kid was only 18—and RK realized how wrong he was. I think that makes this little poem that much more devastating.
From Kipling’s Epitaphs (1914-1918):
If any question why we died,
Tell them—because our fathers lied.
File under “New York Stories.”
Late one Sunday morning I was on my way in to work—it happens—and I was walking down a largely deserted Sixth Avenue. Tourists were over on Fifth for the shopping, or over on Seventh because of Times Square, etc., but Sixth was quiet and all locked up.
And I could hear bagpipes. Bagpipes? The sound got louder as I walked, until there, in front of a building set back from the street and up a few steps, stood a young guy with his pipes. He was probably around 20, totally cute, and all kitted out from the silly hat and the kilt, right down to the socks and the wonky shoes.
The Scottish boy wasn’t playing at that moment because he was busy posing. A tourist couple (judging from the bows, they were Japanese) were taking his picture, and the kid really threw himself into it. He puffed his chest out and tossed back his head with these red curls, and the couple took several pictures.
And then, amid more bows, they gave the young bagpiper his phone back and went on their way.
In this era of selfies, I probably shouldn’t have been that surprised—but it still made me laugh.
I recently read a horror novel, nameless here forevermore, that was, to put it mildly, not terribly good. I was slogging my way through this thing, having a really hard time keeping my eyes open for more than a couple pages at a go, and I was hoping I was close to the end of the thing, when the book finally scared me.
I turned the page and my blood ran cold.
There, in bold print, stood the terrifying words:
WATCH THIS SPACE.
Chase Taylor Hackett, a budding novelist chock full of witty and insightful observations on writing. And other stuff.