Several of my photos will be featured and are for sale at this event.

STARTS 4.12.14

The first Vernon Township Historical Society Photography Exhibit starts tomorrow at the Senior Citizens Center at 21 Church Street from 5 to 9 p.m. On Sunday, the exhibit is from 1-5 p.m. The photographs are all up. There are more than 110 beautiful scenes of Vernon, its people, landscape, architecture, and so on. Some of the photographs that were donated to the Society are also on sale in a silent auction. A highlight of the exhibit will be the performance of the Vernon Township High School Chamber Orchestra and their conductor, Jennifer Krott, on Sunday from 4-5 p.m. Nearly 40 wonderful photographs from students of the Vernon Township High School Photography Department, under the guidance of their teacher Terry Sabia, are on exhibit. Don’t miss this wonderful exhibit. Admission and refreshments are free.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

I haven’t posted a photo for some time, but this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was a good one…for me at least.

The challenge reads in part, “In this week’s challenge, show us your take on a monument (broadly defined). It could be a fresh angle on a well-known tourist site, or a place nobody knows outside your community. It doesn’t even have to be an official monument. A legendary coffeehouse, a churchyard cemetery, the remains of a treehouse you’d built as a kid — anything can be monumental as long as it’s imbued with a shared sense of importance.”

Here are photos I recently took at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each are a monument linking the present to the past, reality to myth, and both the present and reality to legend.

Greek mythology tells of the satyr Marsyas, a central figure in two stories involving death: in one, he picked up the double flute (aulos) that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music. He lost and Apollo flayed (skinned) him for his arrogance. This is a photo of Marsyas, a sculpture depicting his flaying. Painful. I snapped the photo a few weeks ago at the Met and touched it up a bit. It needed a bit of drama.


photo by S. Thomas Summers

My second photo is a close up of a bronze sculptor by Randolph Rogers. The sculptor is titled The Last Indian. The first photo depicts the entire sculpture. The second photo, my photo, is a close up of the last indian, the indian on the horse.

The Last Indian sculpted by Randolph Rogers


Here ‘s my photo of Rogers’s sculptor.


photo by S. Thomas Summers


Bullets Never Miss

I keep several journals, hand written journals.  One is a collection of musings, bits of creative writings. Below (in bold print), I share what I wrote in that journal yesterday.

Imagine yourself in the old west. Dust is everywhere. The sun is bright and high. You step into a saloon, step to the bar, order a drink. You notice an old timer sitting alone at a table. He’s sipping whiskey. His back seems crooked. His whiskers are as course as barbed wire. He’s mumbling something – to no one. You listen.

Bullets never miss. Gins never miss. The ass who pulls the trigger, he’s the one who misses. Don’t want to be that ass? Then make sure you, your gun, and your bullet all agree. It’s as simple as that.

“Wisdom,” you say to yourself and finish your drink.


“Me and Bloody Bill”

William T. Anderson (1840 – October 26, 1864), better known as Bloody Bill, was one of the deadliest and most brutal pro-Confederate guerrilla leaders in the American Civil War. Anderson led a band that targeted Union loyalists and Federal soldiers in Missouri and Kansas.


Bloody Bill Anderson

In late 1863, while Quantrill’s Raiders spent the winter in Texas, animosity developed between Anderson and Quantrill. Anderson, perhaps falsely, implicated Quantrill in a murder, leading to the latter’s arrest by Confederate authorities. Anderson subsequently returned to Missouri as the leader of a group of raiders and became the most feared guerrilla in the state, killing and robbing dozens of Union soldiers and civilian sympathizers throughout central Missouri. Although Union supporters viewed him as incorrigibly evil, Confederate sympathizers in Missouri saw his actions as justified, possibly owing to their mistreatment by Union forces. In September 1864, he led a raid on Centralia, Missouri. Unexpectedly, they were able to capture a passenger train, the first time Confederate guerrillas had done so. In what became known as the Centralia Massacre, possibly the war’s deadliest and most brutal guerrilla action, his men killed 24 Union soldiers on the train and set an ambush later that day that killed more than 100 Union militiamen. A month later, Anderson was killed in battle. Historians have made disparate appraisals of Anderson: some see him as a sadistic, psychopathic killer, but for others, his actions can not be separated from the general lawlessness of the time.”

This morning, Bloody Bill stepped into my developing manuscript, Breath of a Devil: the Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James.

My story’s narrator is a fictisious friend of Jesse James, Silas Thatch.


Me and Bloody Bill

I didn’t tell ya yet, but one fella that rode
with us and Quantrill was the meanest cuss
I ever did meet. He’d sooner cut some flesh
off your bones and fry it up for bacon
rather than walk an extra step and do the same
to a swine that born for bacon slicin’.

He came to me once askin’ ‘bout Jesse,
‘bout how good Jesse was at killin’.
By that time, most knew that Jesse
was Frank’s brother, but they didn’t
talk about it none. Bloody Bill didn’t care
what Jesse’s name was. He just liked
how Jesse’s bullet’s flew from his gun.
They always seemed to hit what they
was searchin’ for – every time.

That friend of yours, with the blue eyes.
He can shoot. Think he can shoot some more?
I got some ideas for him and me.
Quantrill’s goin ’soft and  it’s time to fill
some Yanks up with holes and bullets, bullets and holes.
And I mean lots of bullets and holes.

I says I reckon he could do that, Mr. Anderson.
I called him mister cause he scared me
and sure enough I was smart to be scared.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing

This morning, I stumbled upon a short article titled The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing. According to the article, there are the seven deadly sins:

1. Laziness
2. Trying to be a good student
3. Marching down the outline
4. Denying jealousy (and envy)
5. Focusing to heavily on the business
6. Not reading books
7. Imitation

Here are my personal seven deadly sins of writing:

1. Siting in an uncomfortable chair (my back is killing me now)
2. Silence – it kills creativity (hustle and bustle is needed)
3. Writing without a cup of hot coffee (sip, sip…)
4. While writing a novel/book, telling people you’re writing a novel/book (snobby)
5. Over editing (write now, edit later)
6. Not sitting near a window (ya gotta see stuff)
7. Spending too much time crafting blog entries (gotta run)

Have a few writing sins of your own? Let’s hear them!

Twenty-Five Word Challenge: Wielding Words and Swords

I was offered a challenge to write a 25-word-story. The challenged was offered here, How’d I do? Check my word count. I’m a literature professor, not a math teacher.

Anyway, let’s have at it.


“Will it be sharp enough,” asked the young warrior, holding the ancient sword.

“If you feel brave enough,” I replied, “it’s edge is sharp enough.”

National Poetry Month, Archeological Treasure, and a Fool’s Day

It being the first day of National Poetry Month, I’d thought I’d share a poem recently found in Scotland during an archeological dig. Researchers believe that the book the poem is a part of is an ancient history book that records the demise of an ancient people or race after it was nearly destroyed by hostile forces. An army? A dragon? We don’t know…yet.

Far beneath the pikes of rock and snow,
we’ve carved our homes, and broke our bones
upon the stones that feel no sun.
Deep, deep, we dig. Our work’s not done.

Here we touch the fangs of demon cold
and learn the songs of death and ice
etched on the stones that feel no sun.
Deep, deep we dig. Our work’s not done.

But rest will come when death is born
and the great dark opens its doors.
We’ll walk the stones that feel no sun.
Deep, deep in hell, our work’s not done.