Breaking, broken…Good, bad…Old, new…Global, national, local…Facts, figures, fantasies…Letters, notes, opinions…All the news fit / unfit to post, print, scatter… Norbert Blei – publisher & editor | Monsieur K. – managing editor

promises made/broken & other matters

Promises Made/Broken & Other Matters

February 3, 2011

Goodbye for awhile: February 5th to the 13th. Hate to leave my rural winter wonderland behind me, but “recuperation calls”–travel to warmer climes. Headed west to sunny San Diego to see my son, daughter-in-law, and granddog, Sophie, queen of the Giant Black Schnauzers.


(Notes on the Desk to Myself and Others):

Promises Made: If I fulfilled whatever I promised last year, this year so far, consider yourself lucky–and me pleased to know I accomplished something!

Promises Broken: I lost track of too many things last year during the cancer bout, hospitalization, operation, and forever ongoing recovery. If I never answered your e-mail and it was URGENT that I respond, my apologies. Get back to me—if it was urgent. E-mails that I mentally put on ‘hold’, that I assure myself I will answer when time permits, have a tendency to get buried as the next daily batch come in, many of which are also put on hold You all know where that leads.

More Broken Promises: to writers and others I intended to work with on one project or another. If I promised to do something on you, your work, conduct an interview, review your book or someone else’s you recommended, etc. and STILL have not gotten around to it, please remind me, though a number of you still hover in my head, while others may be lost or out of focus. I’ll do my best to make it happen as time permits.

Part of this (to beat the same old drum) the nature of my health condition as I continue plodding the recovery path…a step forward, a long trek back, a look sideways, baby-steps forward again, a late morning or afternoon pause in my living room chair, awake/asleep/drifting into sonorous headphone-earfuls of Bach–sound escape, followed by a sudden, discomfort of food grazing with no appetite…cover me in blankets of gray, angry, uncomfortable, unhappy a moment, an hour or two seeking again the lost old self outside the snowy black window. now, much later, in the hour of our darkness amen … seeking recovery in time’s pages…inhabiting Joyce’s rhythms and images …snow falling on tombstones… “…snow… falling on every part of the dark plain, on the treeless hills, …falling upon every part of the lonely churchyard…It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones…His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” Then a new next morning pause upon the road to watch the sun rise…followed by another long or short visit of an oncoming cloud cover (how will THIS day go?)… grabbing a Zennish here-and-now moment for what it is…a sunny morning sanctuary of resurgent faith in nature to just keep on being and being, no matter the mid-morning poor focus that waits in the wings clouding the flight of unconsciousness.

The other part of this, prosaically, goes almost without saying: Too much to do. Too many distractions. Too many deserving subjects. Too much stimulation. Curiosity unlimited. I move from one promise, passion, idea to another…to suddenly find myself preoccupied, obsessed with something else that deserves attention.. The other idea (just as deserving) begins to fade ONLY because the new one has completely taken hold. I can’t get it out of my head. If I pause—I may lose it. If I follow through—a gift to myself, to others. Maybe. But worth it, whatever. Maybe karma. Maybe plain old confusion. Can’t help it, myself–not always a bad thing.

My Websites:

As of over a month ago, add to the sites listed above:

This is the new site I had hoped to devote to the art of the story. The short story. Anything and everything dealing with ‘story.’

For the most part I have been pleased with the initial offerings for ONCE UPON A TIME and the responses from readers, though I seem to have run into some trouble with the last posting (above, ‘the-brothers-grimm”) as it did not get to everyone. Most of them “FAILURE TO DELIVER” I’m still not sure what happened and ask you to please try again.

My main point in this posting: the importance of fairy and folk tales in the history and development of the short story. What’s more, the great contribution of the Brothers Grimm. A favorite Grimm story of mine is reprinted for this blog. A little long…perhaps a little too long. But that seems to be the nature of the beast—this new blog devoted to story. Though we call the art “the short story”, many stories are not that short. A good story takes patience and concentration to pursue. Followed by reflection. (What was that story all about?)

I have tried (will continue to try) to select stories that are reasonable in length, knowing full well that internet readers prefer “the-shorter-the-better”. Short in the way Poetry Dispatch and Basho’s Road usually run very short.

If I can’t make ONCE UPON A TIME work to everyone’s liking and learning…I will probably let the site go as yet another failure of a grand experiment.

In the meantime…let’s try to make it work.

I’m aware too that some readers (older especially) have trouble reading white on black. Most computer programs have provisions for changing the text…making it larger…reversing the background to black words on white, etc. Please look into this if you are having problems.

In the meantime…I ask you to revisit the above, most recent link to ONCE UPON A TIME (the brothers grimm). I I’ll also try to get something new up before I leave. But if not…and while I’m gone…please spend some time revisiting the archives of any and all of the other websites. There is so much great material there. All of it worth many more reads…and passing on to friends.

There’s more, but that’s all for now.

Thank you for your patience…for being there…for your continued interest in my work, these websites. Stay tuned for coming attractions.

norb blei


  1. Michael Farmer

    Travel safe, visit well and hurry back!…Er, after it warms up a bit.

  2. Sharon Auberle

    your photo is so beautiful, Norb–looking at it puts me right into a “Zennish” moment. And thanks for all you do, it’s more than enough. Enjoy zany California!

  3. Alice D'Alessio

    What a lovely picture! Henry and I are going to write a poem about birches in snow…
    Have a good trip!

  4. Catherine Hovis

    Beautiful picture. Thank heaven you have promises to contemplate and business to attend to; proves you’re alive and needed. Stay safe and enjoy a blessed respite.

  5. Catherine Hovis

    Beautiful picture. Promises and business prove you are alive and needed. Stay safe and enjoy a blessed respite.

  6. Judith Wiker

    Ahhh.. off on a well needed adventure to shake off cabin fever, to juice up the spirit and walk the streets in solar bliss without a jacket, thumbing your nose to winter’s icy embrace! I survived the Blizzard of 2011, dug myself out and am on my way to a mountain top in Tucson. Have a wonderful visit with “all”.

  7. Ben Young

    Norb; So glad I’m in such talented company as yourself with not getting so much done last year, but as I was told “it will wait for you”…..and it surely does, darn it. Have a wonderful time in CA, get up to La Jolla and walk the beach North of town, get a whiff of the surfers’ air, but don’t inhale too much. Sure look forward to seeing you in the Spring once we dig out in NH. And Thanks again for the Winter Book and internationally local web presence. Ben

  8. Ellis Felker

    Norbert…Your life sounds like mine only without the cancer…how do you do it all…just take care of yourself…glad to hear you’re getting out of this hellish winter…have fun in sunny California…peace…Ellis Felker

  9. Bridget Blei Buff

    Dad~ I wish you safe and smooth travels. Enjoy family and the ocean and the warmth of the sun. Thaw out on the beach. We miss and love you! xoxo Bridget~Bob and your grandkids too.

  10. Jeffrey Winke

    Hang in there young man. Enjoy the opportunity to day dream and be slack jawed–it’s all good and necessary from time to time…

  11. Nancy Akerly

    Hugs to you and to Christopher. I still have the beautiful trivet he brought me from Greece in Third Grade, a million years ago. It makes me smile every time it catches my eye. Enjoy the warm sunshine and the wonders of California – travel safe!

  12. Tim Stone

    Fantastic winter image. Airplane travel today is not much fun, but the warmth of your family and San Diego awaits. We await your return refreshed.

  13. steve fortney

    Good trip. Health be yours. We all need your voice. We need to hear you. Indomitable. And we will.

  14. Jude hey

    Okay Mr. Bleeeeee = tote that bag – lift that brief … LOOKOUT CHRISTO-&-NIA! SUN CITY HERE WE COME!!!

  15. Ruth Telfer

    Have a wonderful trip. You and Jude deserve it. Will miss your smile but see you soon with a tan!

  16. Christo

    Can’t wait to see you guys…Its supposed to be 75 tomorrow.
    La Jolla Shores beach has a bench named for you. See you soon….btw Mrs. Akerly was one of my favs…Lv, Christo and Nia

  17. Don

    Enjoy yourself, Norb. And as the saying goes in my ancestral homeland (NJ), forget about it.

    Have a great trip.


  18. MaryAnn Grzych

    Enjoy your family and the warmth of the California sun. Be safe. I’m sure the coop patiently awaits your return.

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