Let's Speak The Same Language

Thursday, February 11, 2016


The query for Angie's Choice I sent by mail came back today, the one that reminded me of how much work it took to send off a query in the old days. I sent it off to the Zoe Pagnamenta agency. She answered within two weeks. NO! I had high hopes for it because of the methodology of the query. Don't know why printing out and mailing my query and sample felt more hopeful. Emotions are mysterious things even though they command our every deed and thought. I need to push the sci fi novel, Ghoul World, more forcefully. I let it languish, but it's a very interesting idea that ought to get at least a moment's attention somewhere.

On a positive note, yesterday, this writer's blog which also goes to a page I manage on Facebook , The Silent Boomer, received 221 hits. People are watching to see what might happen to me in my quest to "get someone other than myself to publish a novel I've written." Or "to produce a movie I've written."  Thanks to all who follow my journey. Many days now, I think it's time to fold up the writer's table and leave the dusty old bazaar to other scribes much younger than myself.

One very interesting thing about writing a movie script. The length of a 90 minute film takes from 90 to 120 pages. I've discovered that my elderly memory is able to keep track of 120 pages more easily than it tracks a plot and subplots through 400 to 500 pages of ms. I've already got several story lines in mind for films that I can't share because they are quite interesting. On my death bed, I'll tell all. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Find Photo Source Here
Currently reading The Moral Animal by Robert Wright for a second time while plowing ahead on my untitled sci fi screenplay. Nearly finished with first draft, I'm enjoying the process a great deal, and, I already have another idea for a film script. This is an odd trajectory because it's even harder to find an agent for a film script than a novel. 

A couple of days ago, I sent off a query for my novel, Angie's Choice, to a New York agency. But the interesting thing was how I felt about the query process since it was an old fashioned agency and wanted a hard copy query in the U.S. mail service. As I took out the two pages of auto bio and 20 pages of manuscript and tapped them on the desk to align their edges, I experienced a bodily sensation that returned me to the years when all queries and manuscripts were sent through the U.S. mail. I recalled putting together and sending out whole manuscripts, boxed up and carried to the local post office. I felt connected to all the past writers of the world, through all the most recent centuries of the world when manuscripts were ink on paper. 

My children, now all grown up beings in the world, suggested I ought to begin to make these "Silent Boomer" blog entries as videos. They say that many people have found multitudinous followers by doing blogs as video presentations. My oldest boy says that it seems the more awkward and unprofessional the video is, the better followers seem to like them. I'm intrigued and think about it from time to time. I ask myself if that would really help me to achieve the one item on my bucket list: to get someone other than myself to publish one of my novels before I kick it. 

Addendum: Or film script.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


It's been a damn long time since I made an entry here. Hate that, but first I had a lot of things to attend to, insurance and what not, about Mertie's wrecked Echo. So I was strung out as long gaps in time interrupt the flow of writing, and my memory also fails to recall all that went before in the plot. Lots of work to get back up to running speed. I haven't yet gotten back to sending out query letters, and for a spell I considered suspending any more writing and going back to doing algebra in the mornings. I worked algebra problems and monitored algebra classes for free in Washington university system during the first years after retirement, but, at last, I'm back to scribbling on my sci fi screen play which still is working out nicely. Still nameless too. No working title even. Hope to get more regular now that the insurance is all worked out...about 400 dollar increase in our premium, but I went down this morning and cut back on some of the Cadillac auto insurance I'd been conned into by a fast talking auto insurance man. I'm a sucker at heart, I fear. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


My wife on New Year's Day bought a car that looks just like the one to your left. Recently, another short story was rejected of the four I sent off with very high hopes. Two remain out in the world unaccounted for. 

My spirits aren't very high today, but it has nothing to do with rejections. I didn't sleep well last night. When I'm tired, my experience is that negativity can get a foot in the door and kick my ass, but the work on my science fiction film script continues apace. Today was productive. Will wait patiently for tomorrow.

Speaking of low spirits, off in the corner of the coffee shop I'm writing in, two men are talking loudly about their ideas about their god. One's voice is labored and stumbling. His voice is precisely the voice, intonation and rhythms of a young child repeating to a parent what he has learned in Sunday school, but the man's in his 70s or 80s. Of course, his way of speaking might be the result of a stroke. It's that halting and labored. Makes me very sad about fundamentalist religious folk. And fearful too. 

My current reading is Yukio Mishima's The Sound of Waves. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Art by Clip, captions by George
Christmas is about to blow your budgets into town on the hooves of Credit Card and Debit. Following that, New Years Evening enters and closes the year under a lampshade chapeau in the carriages of drunken drivers. Probably all the book agents whose ears I seek will be drunk on those ears and worrying about next years shrinking list of publishing houses, so I've decided to stop sending query letters until a new year enters in a stinky diaper. It's been a long time since I've had to dangle a soiled diaper between my fingers while I pee. However, I'll continue to work away at the untitled film script. Even plan to work some on Christmas Eve day tomorrow. 

Just finished reading Japanese author Haruki Murakami's novel, After Dark. That novel, following Craig Lesley's Winterkill, made quite a collision of styles in my literary senses. Now embarking on a 2nd read of Steven Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

If I have any resolutions for the New Year, I'll try to be kinder to troubled people, trying to recall how I felt during those years when suicide was always in my thoughts, and I wished that people would be kinder to me.  It's a rough world for tender consciences.

Monday, December 21, 2015


"Friends and colleagues of Phyllis Janowitz plan to remember her life with a gathering Friday, April 17 at 11:30 a.m. in the English Department Lounge. Janowitz, poet and professor emerita, died Aug. 17, 2015 at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls, New York. She was 84. Janowitz taught creative writing and poetry at Cornell for nearly 30 years and served as director of the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English twice, from 1980-83 and 1986-91. She retired as a full professor in 2009."

Currently, as I've mentioned before, I'm putting together a list of writers Mertie and I published in our tiny microzine, George & Mertie's Place, from 1995 thru 2000. I look some of them up to see how they're doing. Recently, you'll recall, I was surprised to see that Madeline DeFrees died in November of this year. Tonight, I came across the obituary of Phyllis Janowitz. In 1975, she was a visiting poet at the first two week poetry workshop I ever attended a few weeks after I arrived in Cheney, Washington to commence graduate work in Creative Writing. Smart, clever and eccentric, I loved her poetry. She was a joy. We danced one night at a local tavern, a country western bar. Those days I dressed in steel toed boots, Levis and dungaree shirts. She told me, laughing, that I was the first man who ever sang in her ear while she danced with him. I told her she was the first dancing partner into whose ear I ever sang as we danced. We talked of meeting someday in Biloxi, Miss and writing together down there. I was in love with her the whole two weeks, then she returned to NYC and my fickle heart went elsewhere. Very saddened to read of her death. The poem of hers we published follows:

but it has a
sharp tongue which wounds. Even
so, anything it cuts ends up
In the
error of an
asphyxiation, she
sees a bit late that air's weight may be
and waxing are
two exercises she
is good at. And right now waning's
He tells 
her she's obese.
She says all she needs to
lose is whatever she most needs
to love. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Appeared in Vancouver Vector (Feb. 3, 2014)

When Robert Mitchum died July 1st, 1997, my current wife and I were living in Spokane, Washington. After Mitchum’s death, I hurried to the Spokane library to find a Mitchum film. I wanted to experience the actor’s craggy, dimple-chinned, celluloid likeness one more time, to pretend, for a moment, he still lived and worked in Hollywood. The only Mitchum film on the shelves was “River Of No Return”, a western. Released in 1954, “River” came out a year before the original Kiggins closed its doors in Vancouver and I graduated high school in Dayton, Ohio and set off for a hitch in the Navy. Also, the Kiggins opened its doors in 1936, only one year before I was born more than half a continent away in Ohio. Our life lines have crossed from the beginning.

Mitchum made “River of No Return” with Marilyn Monroe and Rory Calhoun and a child actor named Tommy Rettig. Every Hollywood cliché and shallowness was packed into that film! It’s a spiritless, good guy versus bad guy contraption, two men fighting over a powerless woman, and not much to differentiate one from the other—some marauding “hostiles” thrown in for good measure. Mitchum, whose star was brightest, was designated the good guy. Rory Calhoun of lesser fame was cast as the bad guy. Monroe acted herself—a helpless female in need of Joe Dimaggio’s protection. Rettig was her child.

Otto Preminger directed the effort and fought with Monroe’s interfering acting coach and with Mitchum’s heavy drinking from start to finish. The acting of all three older actors was about as bad as they could do. Rettig, more stable than his older costars, immediately disappeared from studio films to become Lassie’s supporting actor, Jeff Miller, on TV from 1954-1957. He went on to become a software engineer who died in 1996 at age 54, only a year before Robert Mitchum passed away.

As I watched “River” again in 1997, the film revealed itself to be the sort of villain that seduced and ruined movie theaters like the Kiggins all across the nation in the 1950s. Theirs was a loveless match to begin with—a dying studio system’s formula film and a fading theater. Embarrassed by recollecting my early taste in films, I wondered what I’d seen, as a 17 year old, in Robert Mitchum. Other of his films are much better like "The Night of the Hunter".

The “River of No Return” was no different than your average formula film today. The major difference between a bad film in the 50s and a bad film today is that the special effects weren’t computerized in 1954 and the bad guys these days are rotting people rather than rotten characters, fairy tale ogres and demons, popular villains from comic books and animated fish while the good guys are little people, fairy tale spirits, comic book heroes, cartoon autos and toys…and animated fish.

Watching “River of No Return”, I was forced to remember why I’d grown tired of Hollywood films and what led me to seek out claustrophobic, seedy art houses and shadowy black and white foreign films in the 60s to take their place. I remembered, with a touch of bittersweet nostalgia, falling out of love with Doris Day next door only to fall head over heels in love with dames like the Kiggins in every gyp joint and fog-shrouded port on the Atlantic Coast from Key West, Florida to Nantucket, Massachusetts. I recalled why my heart pounded for the prostitutes who frequented the dark dives that lined the narrow, cobbled streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico where I was a lonely gob, and why my psyche chased Eurydice through the Carnival streets of Rio de Janeiro in Marcel Camus’s 1959 film, “Black Orpheus”.

Had I foresight, I’d have known from the first time I entered an art house and got my initial whiff of the exotic and smoky perfumes of ambiguity and ambivalence how my insatiable curiosity and my taste for something different guaranteed that the Kiggins and I were fated to meet and fall in love on the streets of Vancouver. It’s too late for passion now. The refurbished Kiggins, with a face lift and wearing new shades of lipstick and eye shadow, is a real vamp and seducer while my exterior resembles a faded shirt left overnight in the dryer. Still … if the physical attraction is missing, we can be soul mates. Can’t we?