Universal Rx: The Hug,
And Other Poems
If you have a heart that wants to be touched, fully half of these writings will touch it. If you are of mind for laughter and mirth, the other half's wit will then clutch it. (And then there are a few extras for the soul.) 209 pages, soft cover, $12.50
The Reader may recognize the title Universal Rx: The Hug from other sources. It has appeared in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, in a Dear Abby column, on a greeting card and on dozens of websites in at least a dozen different languages. This current book of the author's poems, essays and short stories is a collection of his writings over the past 30 years. About half are serious or sentimental in nature and half are humorous. The former will likely bring tears while the latter will bring laughter. One only needs to read the opening suite of poems entitled Variations on a Candle to judge the word skills and insight of the author. While it displays ability to write in many different styles, his penchant is for rhyme and meter.
Each subject has artist Heather Brothers' illustration accompanying it. The art work was commissioned by the author to add interest to the writings. The use of illustrations was inspired by a small book by syndicated columnist Dan Valentine bought many years ago. His was a book of sentimental essays with titles such as This is a wife; What is a grandmother?; The Empty Room; A Man's Hometown; No Sad Tears for Me; Legacy for Julie; Jimmy Starts to School; and even a tribute to an oft-maligned relative. What is a Mother-in-Law? At the top of each of his title pages there was an illustration by artist Ralph Butler. These illustrations drew the reader into the subject. Sometimes, even before reading the title, the reader's curiosity was already piqued. The drawings also help the reader visualize as it is read. After reading, the image helps to fix the subject and its emotions in the mind of the reader.
A partial list of topics in Universal Rx: The Hug include: