Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March Virtual "Open Readings"

Welcome to our March 2021 Shelter-In-Place Video "Open Reading". A huge thanks is due to all the folks who have participated either as audience or as featured readers in our Cholla Needles Zoom Shelter-In-Place readings. I am pleased that we are able to continue these video experiences to share with each other until we can meet again in person. I can honestly say hearing your voices is keeping me sane. 

If you have a video you'd like to share, please - send me a note & let me know. We consider this a community page, and is not limited to only our "featured readers". This spot is here to help us experience the love of great writing until we can meet together in one spot again.

If you are browsing our pages, we consider YOU a part of our family and you are welcome to become part of our Shelter-In-Place video pages. Simply contact us at & ask how to get your videos posted on our pages. You can also use this address to send us your poetry, short stories, essays, and art for publication in our monthly magazine. 

Good Times!!! Click here for information on watching our Sunday Zoom Show live at 3 - 3:30 PM each week. In the meantime, enjoy the videos:

Poets told at last minute to "grab a poem" to read.

Caryn Davidson reads 
Meeting At The Indian Place

Mike Vail reads
Jesus Walks The Earth

Susan Abbott reads Beloved: A Love Sonnet

Francene Kaplan reads Added Lines

Kelsey Bryan-Swick reads Street Talk Sassafras Jazz

Kent Wilson reads My Mother's Machine

John Sierpinski reads Bruges, Belgium

Cynthia Anderson reads Two Super Short Poems

Ruth Nolan reads Of The Mojave

Dwayne Alicie reads
Confession of An Unworthy Man

Kelsey Bryan-Swick reads Letter To Ansel

Heather Morgan reads The Baby

John Sierpinski reads Budapest

Noreen Lawlor reads Desert Tortoise Tussle

Ruth Nolan reads
Teaching My Daughter To Put Out Fire

George Howell reads Mary Grace

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick reads In The City Girl

Greg Wyss reads
How To Become A Useful Member Of Society

Ruth Nolan reads
We Could Be Doing This (Instead)

David Chorlton reads On Hold

John Sierpinski reads Second To Last Stop

Mark Soden reads Underserved Tonal Systems

Francene Kaplan reads I Am Not A Robot

Heather Morgan reads Monsters

Caryn Davidson reads
A Poem For The Vernal Equinox

Bye Everybody!!

Click here to check out all our "Shelter-In-Place" videos

Click here to check out all our "Big Read 2020" videos

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Review of Truly Like Lightning by David Duchovny

review by Michael G. Vail

Click for more info
           Several novels set in the Morongo Basin have appeared recently and received their share of attention. A few years ago, it was Ivy Pochoda’s highly acclaimed Wonder Valley, which follows several folks living on the edge, including a pair of criminals hiding out in the book’s namesake eastern portion of the Basin.

          Now David Duchovny, the star of the popular TV series The X-Files, has published Truly Like Lightning. It’s the tale of Bronson Powers, a former Hollywood stuntman and Mormon shaman who lives on a huge tract of inherited desert (“an Eden of cactus and rattlesnakes”) with his three wives and ten children.

          Would-be real estate magnate Maya Abbadessa finds out about their land, supposedly the potential source of untold future profits, and concocts a scheme to try and acquire its use.

          The novel’s initial chapter is slow going—a reminder of why writing coaches from time immemorial remind their progeny to “show, not tell.” But the story Duchovny has to tell is fairly interesting, and there’s some good writing in Truly Like Lightning. Unfortunately, one of the most important turns in the plot is also the weakest—and most unlikely.

          Maya convinces Bronson and his wives to place three of their home-schooled children in Rancho Cucamonga schools and agree to sell her part of their precious land if the kids do better in the suburbs than with their family. A county social worker is a party to Maya’s con. I couldn’t buy any of this. Maybe you can.

          With its creaky plotline and often cartoonish characters, Truly Like Lightning sometimes comes across as a story that’s destined to become a made-for-TV movie. Coincidentally, Duchovny mentioned in a recent Los Angeles Times interview that the novel is being shopped in Hollywood for just such a project. And he said he’s looking forward to playing the part of Bronson.

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Michael G. Vail is the author of the novel The Salvation of San Juan Cajon, and the short story/poetry collection High Desert Elegy.


Monday, March 1, 2021

March Issue released! Cholla Needles 51 =:-)


The cover art is by Yvonne Ontiveros

The wonderful authors in this issue are:
John Taylor
Howie Good
Duane Anderson
Rob Stone
Timothy Robbins
Ruth Nolan
Ishikawa Tokuboku
William R. Solden
Roger G. Singer
Jonathan B. Ferrini
Dave Benson

Keep up with our featured readers at our weekly Zoom Party every week.