Let's Speak The Same Language

Sunday, April 23, 2017


I'm honored! I've been invited by Poet Laureate of Washington State Tod Marshall to share my poetry at Washougal High School in Southwest Washington this coming Wednesday, the  26th at 7:00pm. Chris Luna, Clark County Poet Laureate, will also be reading and his wife, the accomplished poet Toni Luna. I'll be reading my poem "Legacy" from the anthology  Washington 129  as well as older work and perhaps one or two from the collection of poetry I wrote while dealing with prostate cancer last year. Washington 129 is a collection of poetry all by Washington State poets. Here's a chance to support poetry in Washington State by going to the Sage Hill Press internet site and purchasing a copy from the publisher.

Randall Jahnson
I'm elated and surprised. My second short film script is done and emailed in PDF form to Randall Jahnson. I am enjoying this process all to hell, and I fear I'm learning that I ought to have taken to screenwriting as my first choice in writing. I enjoy it so much and my imagination seems to flower more completely. When I think about my misspent writing life, I realize that when a book became a movie, I always referred to the movie in my head when I talked about the book. Another interesting thing to me has come up because of screenwriting. Except for my science fiction novel, I have a hard time not writing about myself. I'm the main character in much of my poetry and fiction. Not all, but a great deal of it. However, my first two short film scripts are completely imaginary affairs. I'm not in them at all except as writer. I'm floored by this realization, and hope it doesn't turn into depression based on lost opportunities. What the hell! It's fun now, and I'm still alive and writing. Who knows how it'll turn out?

Monday, April 17, 2017


Belmont Theater—home away from home
Ninety people checked in on this blog this morning. Thank you. Rewriting of Ghoul World continues apace, and the screenwriting class was a smashing success as far as my mood went and goes. I particularly enjoyed the time we spent during which each of us shared our favorite movies. I had so many come to mind that I feared I would take up too much time so I rushed through, a freight train of words ending in a blushing gush of "I just love movies". Fears behind me, I'm excited to be in the class. Being the oldest among them, I also realized my youthful classmates might enjoy the fact they are sharing a screenwriting class with an old duffer who'd actually seen "Sands of Iwo Jima", "Fort Apache" and "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" when they were first run in an old fashioned single picture neighborhood theater. Mine were the Belmont and  Dabel theaters.

Tomorrow I do plan to ride the Max into Portland. When I first entered the NW Film Center last Tuesday, I ran into a youthful very attractive woman and asked her how safe it was to be riding the Max late at night. She said she regularly rode the trains and buses of Portland late at night. Well...I thought to myself...if she can do it, so can I. Our teacher was part of the writing teams that produced "The Doors" and "Zorro". He's also written scripts for HBO's "Tales from the Crypt". He mentioned the fact that screenwriting can be streaky—you can be "hot" and "not" by turns. At one time he was hot. In the back of my mind, I have an intention to show him my novel Ghoul World with the object of co-writing a script for it. I began the novel with clear intentions for it to become a movie. I'll wait to see if we hit it off before I make the suggestion.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Tonight, my Tuesday night 6:30 - 9:30 screenwriting course begins at NW Film Center in downtown Portland. Teacher will be Randall Jahnson. If you've been following my bucket list quest, you'll recall that I took time off from rewriting novels to write a science fiction film two summers [or so?] back. I enjoyed the process and thought I might be able to do that in my declining memory years. One-hundred pages of film script is easier to keep in mind than a 500 page novel. Two of my novels are open to turning into film scripts. 

For the past week, I've been full of fear about the course, telling myself I have nothing more to say, telling myself I'll be out of place among young writers, imagining they'll laugh at this 79 year old codger trying to turn out film scripts. I questioned myself violently, doubting everything about myself and hit myself over the noggin with my financially unsuccessful writing career. I experienced moments of fear that reminded me of the fears I felt when I put the bottle down 40-some years ago, i.e. how will I be funny and pick up girls...I'll be so alone, etcetera. One fear was about the expense of parking in Portland, then I looked into taking the Max line in from PDX but was deterred from that by my fear of standing at 9:30 pm in downtown Portland waiting for the Max line to show. They run the last two runs to PDX at 9:55 and 10:30. I truly want to learn to take the Max line into Portland, so I'm compromising tonight. I drove in to park expensively in a garage near the school, then I'll look around as I leave the school at 9:30 to see how scary it might feel at the stop I'd need to wait at.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Find photo here....
Today I labored on the rewrite of Ghoul World, but I'm wondering if my sole bucket list item is receding from my grasp.Tuesday I went to see a biofeedback therapist to look into getting my bowels better under control. She was hopeful, and we also got into my frequent urination trips to the bathroom at night. Today, for example, I'm exhausted and it's only 1:00 in the afternoon. I try to go to bed at midnight every night and arise at 9:00. I get up about every one to two hours to pee and to experience a simultaneous hot flash. I don't know whether it's the hot flash or the urge to urinate that awakens me. In the last year, post-cancer, I've gone from being a vigorous pretty youthful old dude who walked an hour a day, 6 days a week, to a fretfully tired old codger whose thoughts are beleaguered by his incontinent bowels and his all too frequent trips to the pee-potty. Tiredness compounds my problems in that I must exert all my psychic strength to make myself exercise at all anymore, and of course, exercise helps in overcoming the other problems. I'm about to close up the rewrite shop for the day. I'm too tired to work effectively. For all I know, I'm creating more stylistic errors than I'm fixing when I work this tired. All in all, this is a down day. At least it's sunny outside right now and sunshine will hopefully stimulate me to walk outside. Hope for better tomorrow. 82 people looked in on this blog recently. Thank you. Some part of me feels hopeful about my bucket list item, i.e. to get someone other than myself to publish one of my novels, but I don't know why.

Friday, March 31, 2017


Today 125 people looked in on this writer's blog. Thank you for taking an interest. Cheer up poets and fiction writers, essayists and writers and philosophers of all sorts. E.O. Wilson writes, "If our species can be said to have a soul, it lives in the humanities." 
      The Meaning of Human Existence — p.185

I have done no rewriting for two days. Yesterday, I spent a good part of the afternoon in Kaiser-Permanente's urgent care on Mill Plain Blvd. I was pissing pure blood and pus and clots of blood. There was so much thick matter in my bladder that several times I had to push quite hard to get a flow started. I won't know until tomorrow, after a culture grows, if the cause of the bleeding is a bladder infection or the type of bleeding that can follow irradiation of the prostate because of a thinning bladder wall. For safety sake the PA put me on a strong antibiotic. Today I was too tired to write effectively. I didn't sleep last night for fear I wouldn't be able to pee in the morning when I got up. The threat of visit to an emergency room and a catheter was hanging over my head. Wanted to keep the flow going all night long. Drank quarts of blueberry/cranberry juice. Today, the urine is clear again. Whew. No catheter!

I'm tired right now and am bringing this entry to a close so I can go sit in my lounge chair again and luxuriate in the feelings of an invalid.Tomorrow the Zags play South Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

Friday, March 24, 2017


Why free will is an illusion. From the works of E.O.Wilson, but modified in such a way as to clarify Wilson's own inability to be rigorously objective.

"Our [brains] consist of storytelling. In each instant of present time, a flood of real-world information flows into [the body's] senses. Added to the severe limitation of the senses is the fact that the information [the senses] receive far exceeds what the brain can process. To augment this fraction, [the brain automatically triggers familiar] stories of past events for context and meaning. [It] compare[s] them with the unfolding past to apply the decisions that [it] made back in time, variously right or wrong. Then [the brain imagines] forward to create—not just to recall this time—multiple competing scenarios. [The brain emotionally evaluates them] against one another by the suppressing or intensifying effect imposed by aroused emotional centers. An [emotional trigger is automatically thrown] in the unconscious centers of the brain, it turns out from recent studies, several seconds before the [awareness of having made a] decision arrives in the conscious part."
                                     The Meaning of Human Existence, p167

But Wilson says, and I agree, we must believe we possess free will. 

"Confidence in free will is biologically adaptive.... Without it the conscious mind, at best a fragile dark window on the real world, would be cursed by fatalism. Like a prisoner confined for life to a solitary confinement, deprived of any freedom to explore and starving for surprise, it would deteriorate."
      The Meaning of Human Existence, p170

Boy does that remind me of my first shivering encounter with Camus' The Stranger and Meursault in his prison cell awaiting his execution and the moment that he contemplates his meaningless existence within the benign indifference of the universe. I felt my existentialism in spades.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Today I rewrote two chapters of Ghoul World. Wish I could do that each day. Rewrite would be done in no time, and I had my bladder probed via my urethra today. Found two stones. It's a wonder I could do anything after that. All my writing is not fiction and poetry. Sometimes I write LTEs like the following: 

People from the Silent Generation are uniquely positioned to comment on American Greatness. I was born in 1937 and turned 8 when WWII ended. I turned 13 in 1950 as American greatness was in full roar. I deeply experienced American greatness and was rightfully proud of America. The only word that comes to mind when I consider America’s greatest days is SACRIFICE. The lives of our young men were spilled on foreign soil to help those less fortunate than us. Then during the Marshall Plan we gave of our treasure to lift up nations and peoples who were in dire need. We even delayed cutting our war times taxes until the Marshall Plan was fulfilled. Those were our greatest days. Where is the call today for the SACRIFICE that would make us great again?

Tonight the Zags play West Virginia in the NCAA tournament, their toughest test do date.