All the world is a stage and we are merely the puppets dancing on demand, performing, performing, always performing. Everyone stopped following the script a long time ago. They improvise and freestyle only to be met with silence. Dead silence. No laughs. No applause. Not even a cough. You portray such emotion and heartache yet they are watched by dry eyes. The world has indeed gone mad.
Today dear readers I am extremely honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for Ghost in the Reflection: Letters to Erin (Published February 14 2020) By James F. Miller II. A big thank you for my copy to review, always appreciated. And of course to Fly On The Wall Press for the invite, always a pleasure to work with you, thank you.
About The Author
James Miller is a poet from the Midwest. His passion for writing began to burn for him once he learned to write in cursive. Putting pen to page is what makes him feel alive. His book, A Footnote for Tomorrow, has held the No. 2 spot on Amazon Top New Releases list and remained in the top 10 for two months. He has been published in the Tecumseh Review (Vincennes University, Indiana), in 2000, as well as various anthologies between 1997 and 2000.
Jim was born in 1970s in a small town in northern Indiana. His early life was spent between Indiana, Florida and the New York area. After his many years in college, he took to the road and travelled the country in a quest to find himself and some meaning or purpose in life.
During his academic career, James studied English, creative writing, journalism, advertising, philosophy and music/audio recording. During that time, he attended several smaller community colleges including Vincennes University where he studied English-Creative Writing, Journalism and Music-Audio Recording. During his time at VU he held an editor position on the school’s newspaper, The Trailblazer, for four semesters.
When he is not writing, working on the family business or at the auto factory, Jim likes to throw on a backpack and hike or load up the kayak and head out into nature. He’s a curious man who will speak to anyone willing to have a meaningful conversation.
Ghost in the Reflection: Letters to Erin
This collection contains mature topics and adult language.
We are sitting upon the wall waiting as mankind has taken a downward spiral. The self has become deemed more worthy than the collective being, and we await from the sidelines for the whole show to crash and burn.
Ghost in the Reflection-Letters to Erin began originally as a poetry series on Channillo.com. It was a collection in the works that addressed the decline of humanity, kindness and morality in modern society.
The first half of this collection, Ghost in the Reflection, is a collection of observations of a world that by the day has become less the par. A variety of voices tell their stories, outlining a decline in morals, values and/or society in general. These footprints follow the voices and observations of writers many generations before us.
Meanwhile, the second part of the collection, Letters to Erin, is a narrative that displays these declines of morals and values as the thorns they have become in the present day “traditional” relationship, which is the core of any society. It documents the highs and the lows as well as the daily battles between love and hate against the backdrop of society’s decaying morality. It examines the hurt, the struggle, the deceit, betrayal and the disappointments that arrive in such an arrangement. We can find every darker aspect of this decline represented inside the shadows of these brutal wounds decorated with the harshness of unfiltered truth.
The third part of this collection is a sneak peek at what is to come in the follow up collection to these works.
“Miller is unafraid to delve into our current political and social climate in all its flaws, passionate love in all its ups and downs and presents an ode to hope for our future children, that they will learn from our mistakes.” –Isabelle Kenyon
This book is two shorter chapbooks which have been combined into one collection. It works well, they blend beautifully together, creating a haunting atmosphere of the truth that traps us. Miller dedicates this collection to the love-lost & hopeless, hoping they will find their way. A humble and appreciated little touch that prepares you for what you are about to face.
In Ghost in the Reflection Miller writes in third person about the observations of a world that by day is beneath normal expectations. It’s outspoken and tells it like it is. Miller doesn’t even attempt to sugar coat it. He is blunt and straight to the point, showing the reader that society is a mess, and we are all take-take-take. He gives us that much needed shake to wake up and take notice. We have become puppets, surviving on a single thread and preforming on demand.
public opinion, a clear majority vote,
ratings: it does not matter
to bottomless pockets. that notion
has been proven false.
the puppeteer will sleep well tonight,
his hard-on is already achieved organically;
your stings have been tugged upon:
so, dance little puppet,
d a n c e.
[Extract from Dancing Blind Maironettes]
There are dark, chilling moments that will shiver down your spine. Miller writes about sensitive topics such as depression, torment and the plague that is social media. There is a content warning on a few of the poems and it is extremely justified. The images range from disturbing to graphic yet all serve a purpose. It adds that bonus shock factor to show the ugly truth.
Snapshots of all she feels she has to offer,
In hopes the numbers climb.
This generation lost in the distraction
Her assets reduced to exposed photographs
How can one feel so alone with so many friends?
with having so many social media likes,
hearts and follows?
[Extract from Discarded Discontent]
I enjoyed being surrounded by a variety of voices, each one telling their story and seeing the decline in morals, values and society. They are full of emotion and pain, bleeding out willingly onto the page. Miller captures their tortured souls admirably as they echo inside your head. You feel an obligation to help, set them free and it forces you to stop and assess the damage once the smoke has slowly vanished.
In Letters to Erin the reader becomes a fly on the wall, witnessing the highs and lows of relationships set against the backdrop of society’s dying morality. It’s relatable to witness the daily battles and conflict that take place. The love and hate that challenge each-other frequently. It’s realistic and a welcoming sight as with social media dominating today’s domain, we often only see the good bits of life. It’s very rare to see the negatives as we have a destructive habit of keeping up appearances. Playing at life if you will, creating and editing as you choose, displaying the polished, new and improved version. It’s disturbing how normal this is and how easily society has come to accept this way of life. Truly eyeopening.
It got me thinking about the future and what we are leaving behind for our younger generations. They will have to clean up our mistakes. Miller gives the reader a lot to ponder over and rethink their priorities. It’s encouraging to read.
like, savages, we feel our way, generation
after another, leaving the wreckage
for those following behind,
but as the polar caps persist to evaporate a mist
into the setting sun, we shake in fear,
trying to undo what has been done:
regrettable, the damage irreparable
sits exposed like a giant gash
but regret does not wash down the drain
like the bloodstain and does not soften the bruised shelling that
houses tearful struggles
of silenced children, as they ripen in age
and realize their lessening value
[Extract from So Many Miles]
I give Ghost in the Reflection: Letters to Erin By James F. Miller II a Three out of Five paw rating.
Bold, relatable and unafraid to say it a little louder, Miller delivers an eyeopening experience of the world we inhabit. He removes the rose tinted glasses and is up front about our current situation. This book seeps emotion and pain leaving you mentally drained. It cuts deep and toys with the senses in ways that are all far too familiar.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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