Light and Dark: 1982 Edition Revised
List Price: 20.00
Available: December 2015
Light and Dark is a curious collection or “runic ragout of wry rhyme writing” sporadically spread over a broad spectrum of topics alphabetically ranging from Aardvark to Zeitgeist and all written by Tom E. Shaffer. Actually this is a somewhat revised version of a book of my highly variegated “verse-style” compositions which I had first assembled and self-published back in 1982. Quoting from that original introduction ‘to describe the dominant character and and style of its content, I was tempted to reply in the manner of a recipe: Mix equal portions of Ogden Nash, e.g. The Purist and that Edwin A. Robinson of Richard Cory fame; add a pinch of Poe, a bit of Bierce and a hint of Herrick; and then blend as well as poetically possible and carefully pour into a Bob Browning “dramatic monologue” mold … etcetera etc.’ These poems were fully intended to be read aloud with equal emphasis on both their music and message. This revised version takes advantage of word processing features unavailable to me back then but they can now greatly aid readers both to better understand individual poems or when reading them aloud, if sharing with others. I also hope it will serve as an easy introduction to all my other kindred pieces written since which have been waiting so long to take their place within comfortable covers on some suitable shelf, night stand or coffee table. This assiduous assemblage has been conceived as a Light and Dark … collection!
Here is a little “thumbnail bio” of the author. I was born in Tulsa, in a then pre-red Oklahoma and grew up there as an only child whose mother wanted him to become a doctor. Later I win an H.O. McClure Scholarship and attend Tulsa University as a pre-med student while I also work part time in a large general hospital as an Emergency Room orderly to help pay my way. Next, I’m drafted by the U.S. Army and after basic boot camp, given an M.O.S. as a medical corpsman and then directly assigned to the E.R. at the West Point Academy’s hospital in beautiful upstate New York. During this time I spend a lot of time reading, biking, playing postal chess and using my standing class A pass to enjoy many of the great cultural offerings of New York City. I consider an extension of my tour but luckily, in retrospect, chose separation just in time to avoid a sure reassignment to Vietnam. Two years later, again I’m working nights as an ER orderly, only this time at UCLA’s mega-medical center and teaching hospital and by day I attend classes at UCLA, majoring in psychology. By now I’ve lost any trace of “sustaining illusion” about being a doctor. It is also at this time that I first write and share some little poems with various medical friends who immediately make the mistake of encouraging me in this enduring, if sometimes doubtful endeavor. Later I move on to Mt Zion hospital in San Francisco where I soon become an SPD supervisor (no more ERs!) and there meet and marry a nurse and subsequently become one myself. After a full fifteen fulfilling years of oncology nursing, I retire and move (with same wife) to Seattle area of Washington State, where among other things, I resume my “versing” and at last seriously set about producing these books.