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Books I Love: Two Brothers by Bernardo Atxaga

As a writer, sometimes you find a book, you read it, and you’re left with a sense of camaraderie with the author. They’ve written what you’ve been trying to write, an idea you can’t put into words, an image you’re trying too hard to describe. As a reader, the book leaves you unsettled, you’ve been shown something that is possibly terrifying or inspiring, but always true, something that can’t be undone. Such a book accomplishes everything I attempt to do with my writing and it satisfies everything I need as a reader. Among many, Two Brothers is one of those books.

An early work by Basque author Bernardo Atxaga, Two Brothers is a short novel narrated by a series of animals, who are mystically urged to follow, watch, and intervene in the lives of two young men, two brothers. Once you begin reading, the plot and interdependence of the brothers will probably call to mind Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Me, but you’ll find Atxaga’s story is a fable, rooted in the pastoral landscape of the past, set strictly within a small Basque village. From the start of the book, there exists a quiet undercurrent of dread and, because the novel is short, I’m not going to say much more about it.

Two Brothers

So, go read it –that is, if you can find it. Sadly, it’s out of print. Maybe with the success of his novel The Accordionist’s Son and the recent release of Seven Houses in France, we’ll see a new edition of Two Brothers soon. Oh, and check your library, which is where I found the book, in addition to The Lone Man and The Lone Woman (also out of print). The newer novels and his short story collection Obabakoak are available at most bookstores and online.

Farewell, 2012!

Well! In the past, I’ve written about the highs and lows of the year, but I don’t really want to this year. Instead, I just want to say, “More writing, more pinball!” and to wish everyone a very happy 2013! Hooray! See you in the future!



I’ve had a few days of insomnia; however, I’ve been doing well managing my energy. I don’t get upset about the insomnia — I’m years past punching my pillow at night trying to fall asleep. If things continue this way, I’ll probably use the amber glasses again. So, overall, this week’s bout of sleeplessness is more of an annoyance than anything else.

Today felt especially long — not in a terrible way but in a productive way. Still, you wouldn’t think I did anything! The house is a bit untidy at the moment, even though I spent the morning cleaning. Oh well! I’m trying to relax about clutter — TRYING. Clutter makes me anxious, as does having too much stuff I find myself constantly weeding materials to donate. Anyway, I cleaned and, most importantly, I organized all my medical receipts, reports, tests, paperwork. It’s not perfect but I know where my copays are, where my paid hospital receipts are, appointments, EOBs, etc. are. I’ve been trying to get this all in order since summer but was avoiding it. A bill I received in the mail today prompted the filing frenzy. Although the bill is small, it came with six pages of visits I overpaid and copays I didn’t dating back to 2011! I haven’t received any bill in the last year and I was told at visits that I didn’t have a copay even though I knew I did. It’s all so confusing. And why does it take my insurance co. one to two months to pay my doctors? Such a complicated, inefficient process. And, according to my math, I believe there’s an error — so I had to find my receipts and do some calculating. I think they may owe me $2.58. Hmm.

Writing and reading have been slow. I did finish a story last week. Time for revisions!

In other news, I managed to take some photos of new items I’ll be adding to my Etsy shop. Old “how to” booklets, vintage wristwatch parts, owl salt & pepper set, linen napkins. I also have a pile of vintage pillow cases with lace edges. Nicely stacked linens make me happy! What else: Mexican pottery, canning tongs, jewelry, and other goodies.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to post before and after photos of some changes we made to the house. Nothing major — mostly painting. Amazing how paint and color choices can change the feel of an entire room.

Okay — ciao, ta-ta. buenas noches, buh-bye, good night!

Fiction Southeast – Fall 2012 Issue – I’m in it.

Hey, folks! Been awhile since I updated. My short story My Son the Dragon has been published in Fiction Southeast. This story originally appeared in Pequin; on my story’s page, it states it was first published in Penguin. That is incorrect. It was definitely Pequin. :)

Other updates:
I’m currently reading Blasphemy, the latest collection by Sherman Alexie.

I’m on Goodreads. Go see what else I’m reading because I never remember when people ask.

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