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Stories you can listen to, #12: Millie’s Dilemma

San Francisco

In my continuing series of short stories, Millie’s Dilemma could best be described as a fantasy.  It is probably the most esoteric and abstruse (read: strange) story I’ve written.  Along with her boyfriend, Millie has participated in a crime that involves the very jewelry story in which she works. The two of them are now sitting on a cache of diamonds that Jerry thinks they should wait to split. After their break-up, Millie sits tight for a year waiting for Jerry to make the decision to split their booty. When he doesn’t come through, Millie chooses to “create her own fate” by following through on a scenario foretold in a dream.

Click here to either listen to or read the story.

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Japanese American Citizens League forum on “Gaman”



JACL Forum_Picture 2_17May15


I had the good fortune to be invited to a special function sponsored by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in Monterey on the 17th of May. To the left in the above photograph are the four panelists: Marie Mutsuki Mockett, yours truly, Luis Valdez, and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. To the right are David Yamada who did a superb job of moderating the forum and Carolyn McCombs, who chairs the Heritage Project of which this event was a part.

One definition of Gaman (a Japanese term with Buddhist origins) is “to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” The two topics addressed in this forum to which Gaman is applicable are the Japanese internment of World War II and the earthquake/tsunami disaster that hit Japan in 2011. Although different in nature, both tragedies called upon an inner strength for those involved to survive. For the 120,o00 of Japanese origin who were uprooted from their west-coast homes following Pearl Harbor, they endured the profound embarrassment, indignity, and pain of being herded into veritable prisons. Alternately, citizens in Japan were severely tested in 2011 by the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands, destroyed countless homes, and forced many to avoid the area damaged by the Fukushima nuclear melt-down.

Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s book, Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye, details the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster while simultaneously exploring the story of her family’s Buddhist temple and the roots of Gaman within the Buddhist religion. Luis Valdez’s family discovered that his family’s farm had been farmed by Japanese Americans prior to their uprooting by the internment; inspired by this experience, Valdez wrote a play called Valley of the Heart. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston is famous for her book, Farewell to Manzanar, which is based upon her memories from the Manzanar internment camp in southern California.  



Book signings are always fun!



More happy customers!  This picture was taken this past Sunday at the Barnes and Noble at the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center in San Jose.  It was a successful signing event; we sold all of the books the store ordered.



The Japanese Internment of World War II, Part 11: Internal Resistance and the JACL

Life in the internment camps was difficult, unpleasant at best. Although most Japanese accepted their plight with traditional resolve, not everyone was content to suffer in quiet. In particular, much of the discontent emanated from the Japanese American Citizens League’s (JACL) role in the internment process. Founded in 1929, the JACL was formed to advocate… View Article

Stories from My Life: Grandparents from Russia, the Depression, and Costco Blueberries

Image, Public Domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons My grandparents on my mother’s side, Fred and Molly Kern, emigrated from Russia in 1913. They didn’t consider themselves Russian. They spoke German and came from a German region. The story goes that Grandpa and Grandma stole away in the middle of the night because Grandpa’s family would… View Article

The Japanese Internment of World War II, Part 10: Life at Tule Lake

As depicted in the above photograph (courtesy of Densho; see note below) of a plaque set in May of 1979, the Tule Lake interment camp was operational from May of 1942 until March of 1946. It had the capability to house over 18,000 Japanese Americans. Life at Tule Lake was trying. Basic accommodations and monotonous… View Article

Stories you can listen to, #11: Just Deserts

  In my continuing series of short stories, Just Deserts was one of my first thrillers. I liked this genre so much that it spawned a trilogy of thrillers beginning with Category 5. One important technique I learned from reading James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider is to use shorter chapters and scenes to speed up the action;… View Article

Kudos for How Much? from local newspaper, The Californian

  To read review directly from The Californian, please click here. “How Much Do You Love Me?” (Sweetwater Books. $16.99) by Paul Mark Tag. Local Connection: Since his retirement from the Naval Research Laboratory, Paul Tag has devoted his time to writing. Trained in meteorology, the Monterey Peninsula resident has used his background and a local… View Article

Stories from My Life: Remembering my best friend in college, Harriet Emas Nicholson

I decided to write a novel when I was in my late 20s. But I soon realized that I didn’t have enough life experiences to call upon. Two decades later I tried again and began writing short stories, which led me to my first thriller novel, Category 5. Fast-forward through another two decades and two… View Article

Stories you can listen to, #10: The Necklace, #326

In my continuing series of short stories, The Necklace, #326 is told from only one point of view, that of retired school teacher Ruth Armstrong.  Her sole mission at the auction is to buy one particular item from the estate of Dr. Thomas Griffey’s late parents. Will she succeed? And why is #326 so important… View Article