Hi, My name is Douglas Turek. You can call me Doug. I'm a witty, somewhat scruffy bookseller and happily married husband and father. I write science fiction and fantasy and poetry, some of which will show up here. Feel free to drop me a line at my first name Douglas, followed by an R, then Turek, add in the pleasing at sign, gmail, then the ubiquitous 'com'.
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Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/

The Man On The Moon

by Douglas Robert Turek

As I crossed the edge of the desert, I came upon a man, a large man.
The large man looked like a circus strongman. He was muscular and a bit fat. He sat upon what appeared to be the moon itself!
“Hello!”, I said.
“How do you do?”, he said.
“Oh, good. Can I ask you what you’re doing?”
“All day I hold the moon down so it can’t get away.” He was sitting on the moon, which was just a few feet across. It looked sulky, and maybe a bit complacent.
“Would you escape if you could?” I asked the moon.
“Of course!”, said the moon. I have the power to leap into the heavens in seconds and then sail majestically across the sky, pulling poems and dreams out of the heads of mortals everywhere, from the sleepy to the insomniacs. I am a creature of the firmament. I was made to illuminate and inspire and soar! My very being is more important than the angels and imps, the emperors and the idiots. I belong in the sky. Of course I would escape if I could.”
“Then do you get recaptured after every night?”
“Yes!”
“Why? Couldn’t you fly away?”
“Perhaps,” said the moon,” but it is in my nature to be captured. That’s what all of those poets and artists do with me, anyway. They snare me. Like this one.” She indicated with a nod of her head towards the large man sitting on her. Every morning about ten o’clock, he writes another sonnet about me. I come down to look at it, and that’s when he gets me.”
“So you know what’s coming? Can’t you avoid it?”
“I could, but it’s nice to have someone write poetry about you, and even nicer that they never give up.”
“I never will!” said the large man, smiling. He leaned over and gave the moon a kiss on her cheek. She blushed a bit and winked at him.
“It was nice meeting you both.”, I said.
“You, too.”, they both said.
As I walked away, I heard him say, “Tea’s ready.”

Reblogged from ricracheartattack  43,704 notes

When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that. By Anthony Mackie (via rexilla)

To My Kids

by Douglas Robert Turek

In some time, if I had time
around the world if I had a world
all the words my hands could hold
book or sign capped off with blue sky and white clouds

All day long, long past my days
remember me in little ways
telling stories, filled your heads with gold ideas
so you could shine all by yourself until you’re old

When you reach the age I’m at
you will understand much more than I
add pepper to your salty tears if you should cry
life is a braid a stew a wave and bedtime songs and stories

Don’t second guess yourself too much
you deserve to taste and touch
the world and people in it all the ways
whatever you do, be beautifully smartly kind

(via Drop Everything And Read) Today begins the month long celebration called Drop Everything And Read! D.E.A.R started in the book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and has since been taken up by many as a day to celebrate reading. Today, try to find some time to Drop Everything And Read! It is celebrated beginning on April 12th, the birthday of Ramona author Beverly Cleary. Happy 98th birthday, Beverly!

(via Drop Everything And Read) Today begins the month long celebration called Drop Everything And Read! D.E.A.R started in the book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and has since been taken up by many as a day to celebrate reading. Today, try to find some time to Drop Everything And Read! It is celebrated beginning on April 12th, the birthday of Ramona author Beverly Cleary. Happy 98th birthday, Beverly!

Reblogged from ktothestein  13 notes

ktothestein:

russann:

Some news show, Dateline maybe, used to do these timelines where they’d give you a few facts and you’d pick the year. If music were in the mix, I could always get within a year even before they showed the dates to choose from. Music. It places me in my life.

Recently, TODAY had Elton John on to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Wow. What a flood, a tsunami, of memories. Here we go.

In fifth grade, I fell hard for a boy. Let’s call him S. He was blonde, not too tall, with eyes the color of a prairie sky on a spring day. We went out which meant that we told other people that we liked each other. He read Little Women for me and I read The Hobbit for him. He broke up with me. We got back together. Broke up. Together. This went on for years. And then it no longer did.

We had yearbooks starting in junior high and I was that pathetic girl who wrote pathetic notes in his. Notes like maybe we’ll get back together or wish you liked me. God. One year, as he took his yearbook back from me, he said, “So what did you write about getting back together this year?” I smiled, watched him walk away, watched him open it to read whatever pathetic thing I’d written to him that time. What I had written was, “Your ego is amazing.” Nailed it. 

My kids always said they were going to stay the night at a sleepover. My friends and I, we always said we were going to spend the night at a slumber party. As we got older, our slumber parties seemed to be in tents. Once, on the night of our ninth grade graduation, our ninth grade English teacher came to Gail’s to sleep out with us in our tent. She was maybe 25, so pretty, so kind, so Nazarene. She read the Nativity story out of the Bible to us at Christmas and cried. Can’t see any teacher attempting that now. Anyway, we slept out with her and she put on pajamas which we thought was hilarious. I heard she later died on a missionary trip to Africa. I hope she didn’t.

Later that summer, I was sleeping in another tent at another girl’s house. It was a mixture of girls I was friends with and some I was not. It was so dark as we settled in to sleep. Most streets didn’t have streetlights back then and we were truly sleeping by the light of the moon. As it got later, you could hear girls leaving the tents to meet up with guys. Some were Girls With Bad Reputations. Some were girls who would date the same guy for years and would go on to college and marriage with that same guy. But all of that was in the future. We were just 15 and going into high school. I was in the group of girls without a boyfriend. Hadn’t yet been good and kissed. We girls in the boy-less group had to lie there in the dark and feel girls as they crawled over us to get outside. We had to lie there in the dark listening to girls having sex with boys they liked or didn’t like or didn’t know all that well.

One of the girls was so nice, so sweet, exceedingly popular. She sparkled. Her hair was long and brown and wavy. Her legs were just a bit plump. When she laughed, teachers laughed too. Her eyes were more prairie sky blue than even S’s. I listened to her having sex with a guy who was, I guess you might say, a lout. Stupid. Slow. A dumb jock. And I thought to myself that I wished she were inside with us instead of outside with him. I was a Good Girl not just by choice but also by fear. I didn’t want to be out there at just 15 with some dumb guy. Gradually, I was left behind by the boys and the girls as they moved on to places I didn’t want to go.

Before Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came out, I was at the baseball fields on Ridgeview near my junior high. My brother always played baseball and I would go to his games because boys my age also played on his teams. I loved listening to them after a game as they dragged their cleats across the parking lot. I’m not sure there is a cooler sound than metal cleats dragging across asphalt. A girl named Cheri (like the fruit) asked if we’d all heard the new song by this guy named Edgar or Eldon, something like that, John. Some song about elderberry wine whatever that was. We went to her car to listen. Some of the guys with their dragging cleats came with us. I loved this Elton John. I was a ballad girl and he was a balladeer with a rock edge and those crazy glasses. Now he reminds me of Liberace but mostly he reminds me of Bea Arthur if she’d been a rock and roll gay man but at that time he was edgy and cool. I thought that I’d like to see him in concert some day.

The next summer, I had my fourth surgery on my lazy left eye. It was drifting again and it was time to try to get it back in line. Back then, the surgery was brutal. I’d be put to sleep, the surgeon would cut into the white of my eye, trim muscles, and stitch the white back together. I’d have to wear a patch under my glasses. Blood would seep out and my mom would change the patch. She’d fill my eye with white ointment that would ooze and cake my eyelashes. My head would pound with pain. My face would be black from my eyebrows to my lower jaw. The stitches scraped the inside of my eye and had to be removed later by a doctor with very careful hands.

I’d been home from the hospital for a few days and the phone rang. It was S. I hadn’t talked to him for years. He said how’s it going and do you want to go to an Elton John concert with me at Arrowhead? Me? Elton John? S? Nope. I did not. S was too risky. He was too much like the dumb jock who wanted sex with no strings. He was too scary. He was also astonished. No? I’d said no?

My bedroom faced the front of our house. I don’t write about my mother as much as I should but I’ll tell you a quick story about her. She always helped me decorate my bedroom. It was pink, blue, sometimes lilac. When S called, it was red, white, and blue. I had an amazing bedspread with huge blossoms of red and blue flowers with white mixed in. I had a bulletin board made of drywall maybe? It was probably four feet by four feet. My mom, who lacked the artistic gene just like I did, somehow cut out blue and red contact paper and edged the drywall with it. I don’t know what all I’d thumbtacked to the bulletin board but I can guarantee that there was a picture of Robert Kennedy, already dead five long years. There was always a picture of Robert Kennedy. I had red, white, and blue vinyl blinds at each window. I loved my room and I loved my mom who helped me with it.

Anyway, my room faced the street. It would have been dark as a cave out there with no streetlights except that we always had a gaslight. It was a metal pole that my grandfather brought from Cherryvale. He and my mom painted it black. She had a gas line run to the lamp and the gas somehow lit up these kind of cotton-y things called mantles. So, I could lie in bed and see down the street by the light of the gaslight. Just like they must have in Victorian England or something. Since I could see out, I could see that D and S were in my driveway. They must have walked the few miles because I didn’t see a car. Maybe they’d parked it down the block. They were laughing. Maybe having a beer. Occasionally I could hear them say my name. I got slowly out of bed and ducked under the window sill so they couldn’t see me. I watched them through my red, white, and blue blinds. They kicked a few rocks. Maybe threw a few. Maybe called my name to wake me. Later they left but returned off and on for a few weeks.

S called during the days and said he’d bought the concert tickets and I had to go with him. I said no. He called more times. I said no more times. I didn’t go to the concert. With or without him. I would have loved to have gone to see Elton John. (I’d later see Elton John many times. Once was an outdoor concert at an amphitheater called Sandstone. He dialed in that concert. Didn’t give a fuck about us or his audience. He was singing in KANSAS and didn’t sing his song about a yellow brick road. What the fuck was up with that?)

S and D were friends. They were what you’d call class leaders. They were on the debate team. Back then, being on the debate team was a big deal. I don’t know how debate might work now, but back then, you’d be assigned a topic during the summer. Something like “Should the death penalty be abolished?” You’d spend the summer gathering facts and writing those facts on 3x5 index cards. You’d store these facts in those plastic index card boxes and you’d write PRO or CON on each box. When you’d show up for a debate, you’d be told whether you were arguing PRO or CON that day. They were unbeatable and inseparable. Our school yearbook shows them walking down the high school hall together with some caption about them.

That high school yearbook with them walking down the hall together. It was more significant than I might have imagined. It seems that before S called to invite me to the concert, he was between girls. Kind of like a musician between gigs. It seems that he and D got out the yearbook and flipped through it until they found a girl who would absolutely positively say yes to S’s invitation to a concert. It seems that mainly what S was doing was picking a girl whom he could humiliate without much effort. It seems that it was mainly a contest. It seems that I was that girl.

Look at that picture of me. I was wearing my favorite outfit. My mom had a lot of my clothes made by a dowdy overly religious woman named Mrs. Pratt. She made clothes for lots of people and stacked them in her extra bedroom. She bought those pads that waitresses used to use, those little green lined pages, and she’d tear off a page and pin our names with one straight pin to our stack of clothes. Mine always said “Rust Ann” because, of course, my parents had named me Rust. My outfit in my yearbook picture. It was black with pink and white and blue and yellow daisies. The skirt was exceedingly short and kind of flounced at the bottom. My eyes in the picture are straight and true because they’d just been operated on and hadn’t yet started drifting again. That girl looks happy. I’m sure that she spent some time picking her outfit for the picture that would go in the yearbook.

That picture. That’s the one that S and D stopped on. That was the girl who they were going to embarrass by proving that, even so many years after grade school, I would still (gratefully and pathetically) say yes to S and his concert. What a shit, S. What a fucking shitty thing to do to a nice girl.

The next year, he ran for student council president. We girls decided to run a girl against him just because. A girl. Her name was Mary Ann. As she got up to make her speech, a lot of girls were yelling “Eat’em up Eat ‘em up Mary Ann.” That was a stupid, yet strangely popular, cheer back then. S got up to give his speech after Mary Ann had given hers asking for our votes. He said, “I’m sure we’d all like to be eaten by Mary Ann but you should still vote for me.” I’ve been in very few places where entire rows of people gasped. This was one of those times. Mary Ann was sitting on the stage. In the too-near future, Mary Ann would die from cancer. Teachers were stunned. The principal looked around—-what should he do? Did S just say what we all thought he had? S gave his speech. Teachers talked to us all day about disrespect and what was appropriate and what was not. S won. The administration talked about not allowing him to be president but he was. Allowed to be president.

I sometimes read blogs by Amy Poehler and Zooey Deschanel about girl power and smart girls. I read quotes from Beyonce and others saying that girls should be allowed to embrace their power. Their sexuality. I think about that girl in the yearbook. The one who had liked a boy through the years. The one who listened through a tent wall to other young girls having sex with boys who didn’t deserve them. I wonder if anything has changed for girls today.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road turned 40 this year. It brought back a few memories. I think about S and wonder why I wrote this. Why I give him the time of day. We’re Facebook friends if you can call friends on Facebook friends. He has boys I think. I hope he does a better job with them. I hope they don’t shop for girls on Facebook.

Me, The Girl Who Said No. I’m fine. My husband. He could kick S’s ass. Should he ever need to.

fantastic.

Best thing I’ve read today!