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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Many Observations of a Milwaukee Author

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More self-published books are being produced than ever before and it's no surprise there are no assurances for quality of writing, much less quality of thinking. One of the more interesting recent efforts by a self-published Milwaukeean, a booklet with the intriguing title Observations of the Coral Reef, is worth a closer look.

Author Hunter Vaughan's day job—in trade magazines and e-products for facility managers—doesn't seem an especially apt preparation for this wide-ranging collection of essays, written with an unpretentiously elegant style and often with humor. “I basically just started writing. I didn't know what the theme would be,” he says. “The vision for the final product came about by playing with the ordering of the different parts…for some reason it works as a unified piece.”


True enough, yet the unifying theme slips in and out of view—beyond one man's observations over a period of several years. There is an enlightening essay on Zen in the form of a make-believe university lecture and an account of a reckless incident on the freeway that wonders: Why do we sometimes do dangerous, impulsive things? There are short stories and unrhymed poems, an amusing sequence of email and a witty collection of headlines from the first decade of the 20th century that sound an awful lot like today's news.

Observations of the Coral Reef
is available on Amazon.com.