Weather Report, January 3

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Welcome back — I hope everyone had a restorative holiday season. We’ve got an interesting trio of books this week to begin our seventh year.




In the sixties and seventies, Australian Peter Drouyn was one of the world’s greatest surfers. He pioneered an aggressive approach called “power surfing,” introduced the man-on-man competition format, and charged giant waves in Hawaii. A Zelig figure, he took on many roles―method actor, surf resort owner, modeling school founder, and lawyer to name but a few. For nearly the past decade, Peter has been living as a woman, Westerly Windina, a complex, aspiring entertainer. Beginning with her 2012 trip to Bangkok for gender reassignment surgery, BECOMING WESTERLY traces Peter Drouyn’s odyssey from teenage Queensland hopeful to 1960s surf champion to embittered has-been who struggles to rise again as the glamorous, sixty-four-year-old Westerly. Surf journalist Jamie Brisick provides an intimate exploration of global surf culture―a nuanced portrait of Peter/Westerly and the world that shaped her evolving identity.


In this richly imagined collection of poems, Michael Simms draws inspiration from history, psychology, biology, and astronomy, yet at heart he is simply a man with stories to tell. A poet returns home from the funeral of his parents to find that the language of grief is inadequate to describe his complicated relationship with his father, so he invents new words to describe his feelings. An autistic boy on a family vacation to Carlsbad Caverns descends deep into the earth, and breathing the darkness, he becomes a bat. A high school performance of Euripides’s The Trojan Women becomes a terrifying prediction of what will happen to one of the girls after graduation. A conversation between two old men about Schubert’s Death and the Maiden recalls accusations of sexual harassment one of the friends faces. And in a humorous ars poetica, Simms dreams of kidnapping Charles Bukowski and spiriting him to an AA meeting where Buk slings insults, jumps out the window and flies to the nearest bar on black wings, leading Simms to realize that American poetry needs its misfits and outlaws, and in fact, he prefers poems with a little dirt on them.


Writes Jacque: “I met Casie from Ulysses Press a few years back at an expo I attended for my business Adorned by Chi. She came up with an amazing idea called “The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life” and asked me if I would like to write it and I said yesssss. The book didn’t take too long to write because I simply wrote about what I know: self-care and cute cartoons! As a current grad school student studying mental health counseling, and as the creator of a magical cast of characters, it only made sense for me to pen the guide.”

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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