Let's Speak The Same Language

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


It looks black when nothing inspires me.......
I'm sorry I've neglected this blog for so many days, but a couple of days I was in Spokane watching my youngest son, Patrick, perform with his improv group at the Bartlett. Sold out, lots of laughter. The Bartlett is an interesting venue. A bar, an espresso joint and a performance room in the back are interconnected. Later we walked Spokane's downtown streets, and it is a jumping place nowadays, people spilling out on the sidewalks. We couldn't find a quiet bar where we could talk so we ended up at the Onion where I got myself a bowl of their forever great onion soup. So delicious. My oldest son Sean and my daughter-in-law Sheila are coming over to visit, and Mertie and I are looking forward to visiting and maybe playing some board games.

On the other hand, many days these days, doldrums set in and nothing creative goes on in my head—"NOTHING," he shouts—and it's scary. These days I have to have a particularly sharp day in order to work at something. My inspiration is weak and faltering. I ask myself if it will completely disappear someday soon. 

On yet a third hand, I do sit down and submit poetry, short stories to magazines and queries to agents for the novel. Working at that does give me a sense of accomplishment. Currently, I have between 15 and 20 submissions out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


So many projects this morning, my head is full. 

Reading the THE COMPLETE STORIES OF TRUMAN CAPOTE which I must soon return to Clark College library. 

A collection of my selected poems altered from third and first person to second person "you" entitled THE WORLD OUTSIDE MYSELF or ... OUTSIDE MY HEAD

At least two stories I want to alter from first person narrator to a third person point of view or an omniscient pov. 

Finish the rewrites of stories for collection into a book MANY VOICES, ONE HEAD

Create a very sotto voce symphony based on the silent communication and states of people texting or Facebooking. Of course, I can't write music, but I see all these people in my head silently staring at screens in the middle of noisy confusion and how a symphonic passage expressing that situation might sound. Is this because wife and I have bought season tickets to VSO the past three seasons?

Start and finish another poem for my poetry book UP YOUR ASS that might begin with:

The word came through on Facebook that Ray is dead at 84. 
His prostate cancer finally took him away. 
You feel certain you're not going to live much longer yourself. 
Why is that you wonder? It's raining today, a fitting state...
the world coming down to celebrate your state of mind....  
et cetera and something along those lines but made more poetic by arrangement and stress.

Ah...where to begin? Decided to work on the rewrite of another story for the collection of fiction MANY VOICES, ONE HEAD.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


One of the agents I send my work to.
The past few days have proven to be worrisome. Several times I thought I was ready to let go of the insanity of continuing to seek publication of a novel or to send out poetry and short stories to lit. mags, then, yesterday while walking in a beautiful local park and having cancer on my mind, I told myself, "One day at a time, dude. Stay in today. Today you're alive and well. Let that be enough." Then this morning, the fog and gloom lifted, and I'm ready to get back to reworking the stories I hope to collect together under the title Many Voices, One Head. I get it that when a writer is sending stuff out and hoping for one of his novels to land an agent, he or she is living always in hope of a future event. When stuff starts trickling back from the outside world, rejections mostly,  an ominous sense of futility begins to bite one's ass. It has always been so, but staying in the now, the writing gets to be fun again.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


It took some flippin' flipping but, at last you can read the cover of the first issue of the last year FourByTwo will be in existence. It's run it's course, it's blown it's gasket, the bird will be dead so you ought to get this last year stowed away on one of your book shelves before it's too late. If you never unfolded one of them yourself, you've missed a treat. The poetry is always excellent and the way it's put together is ever a thing of beauty. I'm happy to say I've got all the issues. I hope my great great grandchildren will take them to Antique Roadshow and find each issue is worth 3 dollars and 76 cents at auction. Klipschutz and Jeremy Gaulke, our glasses of Diet Coke are raised to you. 

Wife and I went to see "Snowden" this afternoon. By director Oliver Stone, it's more straight forward than some of his past works of history and bio, and the details are telling. The biopic is full of information I didn't know about. It's a great love story too for those who like them.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Yesterday I finished the 7th rewrite of The Porn Writer, but the doubts are back, a swarm of squids on the sea floor of my imagination. Today I'm reading at the Black Rock on 164th Avenue, Vancouver. Twelve ounces of soy chai for $3.75. At Starbucks it's $4.39. I found a shiny dime on the floor just now. I'm making the mistake of reading Plimpton's book on Truman Capote: in which various friends, enemies, acquaintances and detractors recall his turbulent career. If you read it you'll conclude that you must be alcoholic or bat shit crazy to be creative. It's a picture of how I tried to behave and talk during my drinking years. I thought craziness equated to genius. At least two women in my past told me that the way I used language in those days was a sign of a mentally unbalanced mind. A psychologist who was leading a weekend group encounter session in the Huckleberry Mountains north of Spokane once told me I had a "quicksilver mind". I was quite proud of that, then he asked me if I was there to learn something. When I said, "Yes," he asked me to shut up and listen to what the others had to say. I kid you not, I fell over on my side and went immediately to sleep. That first session he'd put out bottles of wine to loosen us up. I was quickly very loose. The second time I showed up I'd quit drinking. During a walk down a mountain road, the psychologist told me he hadn't liked me very much that first weekend. He said I was now a very different person. I was, but for all my trying to behave like a creative person [my output is immense], I'm 78 [79 on October 20] and have little financial or public acclaim for my efforts. Sometimes I wish I could grasp even a fraction of the way my mind shot between metaphors and linked them in mad clusters of language when I drank. I can't even come close. 

Friday, September 9, 2016


Had a good day of rewriting The Porn Writer yesterday and all the doubts that I expressed in the previous blog entry had disappeared. Yesterday's writing is okay today and the story is meaningful again. My doubt today is about agents and what they want. Serials for one thing. Also two women, not agents, have told me they wouldn't read a novel about a dysfunctional relationship between a controlling male and an incest victim in which the male begins to understand that he needs help while the woman goes on to [censored/spoiler]. Most agents these days are women, so that's a potential problem. Watch Lifetime movies if you want to see that limited viewpoint in all its crabbed glory. I don't know how a male author can deal with that mindset. Why must the woman nearly always be the victim? Aha! That statement ought to make the pot boil. It's a hot potato for certain. Also, I must warn that porn passages  my protagonist writes are included in the novel, and for good esthetic reasons. Some readers, of course, won't accept my explanation and will daintily hold the novel between thumb and forefinger as they extend it above the trash heap and release.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Another short story rejection this week from Boston. Missed that gol-dang bull again and, currently, I'm experiencing a
This photo may be better than words....
period of doubt. At my age, after a lifetime of doubt, why should it be any different today? 

Lately I've been dealing with several mental states or attitudes that are hard to describe. Picture the flying cowboy above. That's my inner state ever since I got the prostate cancer diagnosis; my psyche suspended in an emotionless state of peril. Ain't that photo something?

I realized lately that another mental state has altered in me when it comes to my writing. Always before when I was actually writing, a sort of indistinct futuristic attitude accompanied the writing effort, a wordless and unperceived sense of anticipation that I am only able to recognize now because of its absence. It kept me going. My current writing is neither accompanied nor relieved by that indistinct attitude of "something ahead in the future". It's not a wall exactly; it's a disquieting fog. The bull has disappeared from the photo I guess.

However, I am bound and determined to finish the 7th rewrite of The Porn Writer. After that, who knows? Back to algebra or continue the pursuit of my single bucket list item?