Let's Speak The Same Language

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Six am. Did anyone other than myself catch the error in the title of my last entry? The title of this entry is correct. I was drowsing in my old man's recliner yesterday, thinking about that title and realized I'd made an error in writing out 101,357


But this blog is a writer's blog, not a mathematician's blog so
I forgive myself. Beside that, I've also surpassed that number with the writing I did yesterday. 

Following the writing of this early a.m. blog, I'm going to send off The Man In the Mirror today for its first trial run into the hands of an agent. I believe it ought to be labelled "... something along the lines of Crime and Punishment" in the cover letter, plus "the story of a murderous little high school teacher"? Something along those lines. Speaking of Crime and Punishment, a couple of weeks ago, I caught Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" which I think is much closer to the way things might happen than the way they happen in Dostoievski's novel. Unless, human nature has really changed that much in a hundred or so years.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


The current novel now stands at 101,357 words. The first of the secrets are being revealed to P.I. Charley Manning [and reader] as he pursues his investigation. His employer is still not clear. Manning is beginning to distinguish "bad guys" from "good guys", if only because one side seems to be doing the most damage. But who knows? Twists and turns are still in the offing. He must find out what "the research project" is all about, then he'll know which side is which. 

Yesterday, I walked at Fred Meyers, and I observed a very old couple. The woman was in a wheelchair, and her mate was pushing her through the aisles. As I often do, I began to inhabit one of their minds as in a story point of view. I was in the wheelchair pusher's p.o.v., and I imagined him, feeling sad, because he remembers their days of intimacy. Then, I made fun of myself. Why should I think that, I wondered? So many stories could be told that didn't include their sexual lives. As if I don't already know, generalizations are impossible in the world of fiction. The man could just as well be totally pissed at his wife for making him wander so many aisles in search of things he could care less about.  

Odd thing! In my internet search to find photos or art work that portrayed an old man pushing an old woman in a wheelchair, I couldn't find one. Does that speak a thousand truths? 

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I now hold the latest FourByTwo in my hands, the Fall 2014 edition, the Los Angeles edition. I can't tell you how this tiny book affects me. Wait a minute ... yes, I can! It's delightful, magical, unique! FourByTwo is hand crafted by Jeremy Gaulke who has now departed for the East Coast, Virginia, making the book bi-coastal, and edited by klipschutz who still prowls his old haunts on the West. 

Order an issue or subscribe here. I'm telling you it's production values will be remembered as time goes by. It's a visual and tactile sensation to hold in your hands. The book's uniqueness resides in the fact of how lovingly the fine poetry is treated within the structure of an imaginative and beautifully designed book. Artistic far beyond selecting cover art, each issue is one of a kind! 

This issue of FourByTwo features the poetry of Paul Fericano, John Tottenham and klipschutz. Sample below.


In the name of the Bogart,
and the Cagney,
and of the Holy Edward G.
Amen, see?

                   Paul Fericano

Delightful, eh?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


News of the day. The writing is speeding along for the Manning novel. Soon, I'll break 100,000 words. It will be the longest novel I've written to date. Below, is the wedding toast I put together for my daughter's wedding to Mr. Scott Furuta. I'm very happy with it and with how well it went as I uttered it. I sent this version of it on expensive paper to the couple for a memento of their special day. Of course, there were spontaneous exclamations along the way that are missing, but, roughly, this is it:


Delivered on  20 September, 2014

As the father of the bride, I’m upset with Scott and Eva

I thought I’d never have to buy another suit

I was hoping they’d get hitched in a hot air balloon

Somewhere above the Arizona dessert

Instead, they got married in Cle Elum, Washington

And I’m the only hot air balloon in sight

Eva gave me two orders about this wedding

I was to cry when I gave her over to Scott

And when I told her I thought my toast would probably be short

Since there are many years when she was not in my care

She teared up and told me I was a writer and could do better than that

To please Eva I did my internet duty

And read over several examples of wedding toasts by fathers of the bride

And I got lots of advice from many people too

Such as My god, George, you can’t say that!

And Keep it short!

The sample toasts I read ran about five minutes

So does this one

One wedding toast tradition is that the father must embarrass the bride

By relating some memory from her past

I’m sure most of you know that Eva cries very easily

She’s one of the most tenderhearted and gentle women I know

When Eva was about three, sometimes she’d cry so hard she couldn’t catch her breath

She’d cry and cry and cry until she couldn’t breathe

Then she’d pass out, fall down and pee her pants

I hope you don’t have to deal with that too often, Scott

One of my favorite memories of Eva comes from that same period

For about a year, while her mother was finishing up her first nursing degree,

Eva was in daycare at the Lutheran Church in Cheney

Every weekday morning I put her on my shoulders to carry her to daycare

It was our routine to sing “You Are My Sunshine” as we traveled along

That’s my happy memory of it—our singing that song together

Eva’s memory is a bit different

Only recently she told me that during our walk to daycare

While we sang that happy song together, she was filled with dread

She knew I was about to drop her off and leave her behind

When I think of Eva up there on my shoulders

Being carried along, singing happily away and filled with dread

That memory can make me cry

However, Eva, I’m unable to shed any tears at this wedding,

This joyous beginning is also the culmination of so many things in your life

So many things that make you the woman you are today

The daughter I so much love and admire for her courage and intelligence

And the perfect loving partner to Mister Scott Furuta —

The joining of your two lives together

It’s just too happy an occasion for me to feel any sadness

Which brings me to the groom

Toast tradition says I must now speak about the groom

Brace yourself, Scott

Happily, Scott Furuta is the perfect mate

For the loving and tender-hearted woman that Eva has become

Scott is supportive and funny and a gentle person himself

He’s got a warm laugh and he’s a real gentleman

The first time I met Scott, he shook my hand,

And very sincerely and respectfully called me, “Mister Thomas”

I looked around to see who he was talking to

Scott Furuta is a very bright fellow also and a college teacher

He learned that the Thomas family is very competitive in games like Trivia and sports

My two sons are still injuring themselves in sporting competitions to this day

After one or two Thomas family gatherings

We quickly learned that Scott Furuta plays a mean board game himself

I think we all agree he’s the best among us with his quick and ready intelligence

Of course, none of that competitive stuff means a thing to Eva

She knows and we all recognized immediately that Scott

Is one of the most gentle dudes around

Finally, another wedding toast tradition is to give marital advice to the couple

I have only one good piece of marital advice to offer both of you

I got it from my oldest son, Sean

He and his wife, Sheila, will celebrate 30 years together next year

A couple of years back I asked Sean what he owed his long marriage to

He said, “I watched what you did, Dad, and I do just the opposite.”

Well that’s my five minute toast

Families and friends of the couple, 
As the British say, "will you please all be upstanding"

And raise your glasses and your hopes

In a toast to Mr. and Mrs. Scott Kiyoshi Furuta

With love for the newlywed couple,


Saturday, October 4, 2014


Man Preparing To Leap From A Mirror
September was an interesting month. Can report I've now finished entirely with the final, the polishing, rewrite of The Man In the Mirror and wrote a plot outline for it too. It's ready to be sent around. Also, just this month entered Angie's Choice, in two literary contests. Goodbye 50 bucks! I don't have much hope for it in contests since it's closer to commercial writing and less like workshop writing. My progress was like that for me with my MFA when I learned how to write a publishable poem, and, sure enough, some of my poems began to find markets. Did I get better or did I only learn how to please editors who looked for poetry like they wrote and, of course, would think was good poetry? From my own experience with editing, editing is one way to learn about where you rank among poets in your own mind. Also, last month, as reported elsewhere, Toni Partington, Christopher Luna,  Eileen Elliott and I were featured readers at the Angst Gallery celebration for 100,000 Poets For Change/William Stafford Centennial.   A combined affair. September was a busy month.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


USS Hornet a WWII vessel
Sorry, folks, there was my daughter's wedding, but now I'm back with an intention to push rapidly through to the completion of the Manning novel. Things are starting to round out toward a satisfying if disturbing finish. Finish could still be a year away, but I'm over some sort of mental hump for the time being and seeing my way through to completion. Also, the final dusting off of The Man In the Mirror is pretty far done now. I'll soon have two completed novels to send around: it and Angie's Choice. Angie's Choice has had an agent in the past, and I see it as a pretty successful adventure novel with a potential for a motion picture much like the movie called The Desperate Hours. Frank Sinatra was the lead as a bad guy in the 1955 release of that film that came out as I prepared to head off to the Navy at age 17. Nothing much else to add at this time, but felt I had to put something here in a vain attempt to keep a regular offering of blog entries. Supposedly every other day. Not. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


cabinet and decor in the complex my physician's office is in
A busy and joyous time ahead. A week from today, September 20th, I give my daughter away. It's a difficult writing task also as I'm to make a toast. Given the divorce twixt her mother and I when she was four, the toast is problematical, specially since everyone tells me, "You cannot use the d word. It's a wedding, dummy, and you don't bring up divorce there." My daughter has overcome many difficult times that I would love to recount at her wedding. All her adventures, every darn one of them, make her the wonderful and marvelous person she is today. Unfortunately, all her triumphs are out of bounds material as there will be people there not in the know. 

Two weeks from today, thanks to Christopher Luna's invite, I'm one of several featured poets at the Angst Gallery for the September 27 event: 100 Thousand Poets for Change/ William Stafford Centennial Reading I'm to read a poem by Stafford and one of my own. Stafford was the outside poet I chose to read my poetry ms. I'll read one of my poems he would have read. By and large, he approved of my ms, and, sometimes, I realize how I failed to realize the promise he suggested might lie ahead for me. 

I'm still red penciling my last time through the novel, The Man In the Mirror. More than halfway through this final touch up, the more I read it, the more I like it. Hope an agent will like it too. 

The Manning novel continues apace. Just over the next ridge line, maybe two, I foresee the end of that novel journey.