Posted by: battingsecond | July 15, 2015

Script is Under Way

And gathering steam. After 7 trips to post-Katrina New Orleans, I have done enough research to write the screenplay. As of today I have 42 pages out a projected 110. I wrote the synopsis and treatment in 2010 and then another project (another screenplay) took priority. Letting this idea marinade a few years did it some good. The two trips in 2011 gave me some more insights to store and stew over. Should be done with first draft in early August!

Posted by: battingsecond | July 8, 2014

My German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Posted by: battingsecond | December 9, 2012

The Pinot Noir Newsletter Publishes My Song and Profiles Me!

PN_09_06 Fun profile of me in PinotFile Vol. 9 Issue 6, pages 13-14. Click on preceding link to get PDF. Happy Holidays! CJ

Posted by: battingsecond | September 26, 2012

This “Third Place” Wins First Place: Aqus Cafe Reviewed

Side entrance to Aqus Cafe from 2nd Street

View of 2nd and H Streets from the Outdoor Patio at Aqus Cafe

Latter Half of My Foundry Sandwich, Fruit Bowl and Earth-Friendly Go Cup

Table art by Doug Ballou

Back Bar at Aqus: Espresso Machine, Beer Taps, Guinness Mirror, Chalkboard Menus, Pastry Tray

Aqus Review by CJNewton. CLICK HERE to get PDF. This “Third Place” Wins First Place! Review of Aqus Cafe, Petaluma, California by C.J. Newton

Posted by: battingsecond | April 14, 2011

New Song – Bonsoir Mon Reve

For a 1-page PDF click on link to download Bonsoir Mon Reve by C.J. Newton

Sometimes songs write themselves to me in French first.  This one came to me this week in the proverbial shower and I wrote it down as soon as I dried off. Enjoy this mini vacation in the tropics of imagination. Ceejay

Posted by: battingsecond | March 23, 2011

Justice Campos and the Quest for Elixir

Justice Campos and the Quest for Elixir From the novel Costa Azul by C.J. Newton. We meet the esteemed judge who presides over the trial that is the main story, who is interrupted in his quest to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

Posted by: battingsecond | January 11, 2011

To the Muse, Poem by C.J. Newton

Click HERE to view 1-page PDF, To the Muse, to charge your creative batteries.

Posted by: battingsecond | January 8, 2011

Tekut Xihuatl, A Short Story by C.J. Newton

Click HERE to open Tekut Xihuatl PDF

My early fiction was influenced by the magical realism of Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Allende. This story was a warmup to my novel Costa Azul, about “Coffee, Lawyers and Murder in Sunny Central America.”

Posted by: battingsecond | January 1, 2011

Poem: Breton Breeze

Breton Breeze

(Written to Celebrate Debussy’s La Mer)

Dappling mist wettens my face at Pointe du Raz on the end of Brittany.
Here is Finisterre and here is where man’s land yields to the great sea.
A light green boat has harvested lobster and crab with defiance and respect;
It chugs and bobs back into Concarneau’s harbor home.
The Bishop throws his fish back into the fountain
And Neptune hurls his trident across the waves and it comes
Back because he makes it so.

Once there was forest behind me; in Breton tongue they called it Argoat.
A band of noble knights once served a King and Arthur was his name.
The mists wend and wander by and round and beneath and through,
Through time to a time when Launcelot rode a thumping horse amidst
The solemn silent menhirs, megaliths laid down even further long before.
Gueneviere looked to the redglone horizon and saw her man against the skirling sky;
She held her breath and his in her soul.
The torches burn down and a tear flows down the stone wall.

Here in the seaside fringe of the Argoat a monk
Shares wine and bread with me. He keels into the wayside chapel and prays a
Pardon for all of us, and each one.
Bells peal and the vagabonde troupe of jugglers and actors and dancers come
For three days the village stops its work and we delight
In these poor but envied strangers with no home but everywhere.
And the Bishop eats half the fish and throws it back into the fountain.
And the next day he catches it again and it is whole.

The hero Guesclin de Bretagne fights in single combat Thomas of Canterbury and
The Englishman falls, and nexterday De Gaulle calls from England
And every son of the Ile de Seine sails across the water and they are all
Knights in a night of history.
The sons steam back and make it theirs again;
It is their Assignment in Brittany.

Drink with me now the light green muscadet wine and we have fish and bread.
Cana and Armorica wed and this light is only in Brittany.
In Breiz I’ll say God give you this day and peace be with you, friend.
Armorica, Armorica God’s grace upon thee shed.
The Bishop’s fish swims in a fountain in the sea now and
Poseidon presides in state and sleep:
We close the door of our bed and it is warm inside.

I feel the mist around me now and feel and know old things of bone.
The music rising well in me to greet and meet the seacoast crashing spray;
The mystic earth and ocean touching, one, and
The sky a luminescent magic grey.

Posted by: battingsecond | December 10, 2010

Book Review: Nola & Roux

NOLA & ROUX: A Louisiana Fable
By Todd-Michael St. Pierre
Illustrations by Lori Walsh & Shannon Walsh
Piggy Press Books, 31 pages

Reviewed by C.J. Newton

This is a charming children’s book for all ages to enjoy. In this case, it’s OK to judge the book by its cover.

That depicts a female mouse wearing Mardi Gras beads, with an iconic New Orleans streetcar in the background. She’s Nola, a Creole mouse from the French Quarter. She shares the cover with Roux; he’s a Cajun mouse sitting on a dock by a bayou. This illustrates the age-old rift between city and country cousins.

The story retells the ancient fable of “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” by Aesop, with a nod to the poem by French fabulist Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695). This localized update is a perfect parable for explaining the difference between the Cajuns—primarily rural and champions of traditional ways, and the Creoles—primarily urban and proponents of a fancier life.

In this version, Nola accidentally visits Acadiana when she’s toted there in a picnic basket. She meets Roux and he shares his simple lunch with her. Then she invites him back to New Orleans to show him a good time. He sees a Mardi Gras parade (I liked the humor of the krewe called Ratticus on their float) and as they’re about to enjoy a fine feast, they are discovered by humans and have to run from the cat, Arabella. Roux returns to the country where he says he must eat more simply but with less fear. Interestingly, Nola points out that even in the country he still has to be on the alert for alligators, so the moral is less clear-cut and yet more like the gray areas in real life. The moral of this edition is that it’s OK to agree to disagree.

This book is a great value because the text is presented in English, French and Spanish. More English-Spanish bilingual books are appearing but a trilingual book in the U.S. is rare. French was the second language I learned after my native English. Living in upstate New York, Quebec intrigued and entranced me. The study of French paved the way for me to easily learn Spanish after I moved to California. So Nola & Roux was three books in one for me personally. I bought it for my grandson. He is already exposed to English and Spanish and now he’ll hear the rhythm of French too.

Parents and grandparents who want to give a child a gentle and colorful exposure to the age-old story in English, French and Spanish will enjoy Nola & Roux immensely. The lush colors of the illustrations will transport the young reader to the mystery of the bayou and the majesty of the wrought iron balconies and galleries of the French Quarter.

St. Pierre finds inspiration in Cajun and Creole culture. He is the author of several children’s books, and cookbooks for adults with themes of Louisiana, where he was raised. His website is where you can learn more about him and his other works.

Bonus materials after the main story include “Song of Nola: A Creole Mouse” and “Song of Roux: A Cajun Mouse”; a Lesson giving background on the origin of the Creole and Cajun peoples; and a fun children’s recipe for King Cake. All generations can appreciate Nola & Roux.

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