Let's Speak The Same Language

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


When my father turned 77, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I recall the time we stood side by side at a public urinal in Dayton, Ohio when he said, mournfully, "I guess mine is the aggressive kind." He died a few months after he turned 80. The cancer had spread into his hips, spine and into his brain. From that time, I've been waiting for my own aggressive prostate cancer to appear. 

Since arriving in Vancouver, WA. 7 or 10 years ago, I've been expressing that worry to my new physician, and we've been testing my PSA. I've watched it climb above four [0 - 4 is normal] and into the fives. A growing prostate is common in elderly men as almost everyone knows, but not always cancerous, then, a little over a year ago, after my wife switched me to a vegan [according to her, cancer fighting] diet, my PSA declined to 4.7, then 4.3, but two weeks ago my PSA made a 2.8 point leap to 6.1. The leap was enough to cause my doctor to set up an appointment for 3 months from now to check my PSA again. I'm 77 as this situation begins to unfold. Already, in my vivid imagination, I'll be dead sometime after I turn 80, and I'm slightly pissed my doctor didn't give me a rectal exam on the spot to see if cancer nodes might already be malforming my prostate. I believe I'll have many things to say about all the odd ways my life feels to me with this intensified worry plaguing me—death portrayed in emotional movies I see with my wife, incidents recalled from my past, sports games that ought to seem trivial now, but I still get worked up over, my suicide attempt when I was 31—or was it 32—everything that enters my head is suddenly coated with a patina of unsettling emotion. This sudden leap in PSA also slightly alters the question I began writing this blog with: Can I get someone other than myself to publish a novel of mine before I die [with the new stipulation, of course] die of prostate cancer? Just saying it aloud scares hell out of me, and that's why I'm saying it. 

The photo is of me and my dad during WWII when I felt like an orphan, living with my grandparents, and he was working in Bridgeport, Connecticut, making bombs long before either of us had the slightest worry about prostate cancer, the number two cause of death in the male half of the population. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Wrote five straight hours this morning and early afternoon. Now 2 pm. On my feet the entire time, leaning over my laptop at a tall table in Brewed Awakening, a coffee shop on 164th Avenue not far from home. I like that clever name, one of the better ones. Makes me think of film noir.  Raining out, and I'm less than 20 pages from finishing this sci fi novel, soon to be a movie, appearing at your neighborhood theater. What? No more neighborhood theaters like the one in Belmont, in Dayton, Ohio, where I saw "Attack Of the 50 Foot Woman"? No single screen venues where first run movies appear? So you'll have to go to a movie complex in a mall to view it when it becomes a movie. I believe it has the legs for it, the sex appeal of a mystery combined with all sorts of mysterious characters. Go see it as soon as it comes out. Mertie and I will invite you to our Portland condo for a celebration if you do and can go to the movie.

Why, you might ask was I on my feet the whole time? I came across a television show in which it was demonstrated that staying off your ass causes our fat burning equipment to increase its potential by 500% ... or some such huge factor. No exercise required. Just don't sit your lazy ass down all day. Oh, my aching feet!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Find photo source here.
The years 2013-14 have turned out to be a most successful period. Poetry published in three places and anthologized in two other places, a poem won a spot in a local contest that joined art to poetry, a humorous health piece appeared in a local senior's magazine, a creative tribute to the Kiggins, our local art house, in another publication (thanks Olin Unterwegner), and a short story in a third (tip of hat to Julie Madsen). Three opportunities to be a featured poet, due to the help of poet and friend, Christopher Luna. A complete rewrite of one novel finished and, as you who read this know, I'm nearing completion of the first draft of a new science fiction novel. Stimulated by these events, in the last two weeks, I dug out three of my best short stories and reworked them, intending to submit, and, tonight, I finished a two day stint of reworking of Chapter One of an old novel, The Porno Writer, that I have great ambitions for. I've put in close to 8 hours of writing each day recently and can't wait for each new day's dawning to do more writing. Finally, I'm looking seriously at putting together a ms of short stories and, perhaps, looking at my accumulated unpublished poetry to find enough suitable ones to make up a third poetry ms. Ambition, hopes and lots of writing? Pretty good for a 77 year old once upon a time beatnik writer. In 2012, I wouldn't have imagined these last two years turning out this way. Now wouldn't it be nice if a little money came along with it?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Hello readers. More boring news, repetitious, unexciting news. Sitting right now in warm knit sweater, temps outside in the 20s, in New Seasons, having just enjoyed a smokey lentil soup. Writing is done for the day. Three scenes left to produce for the novel's ending. Could take anywhere from 1 to 3 chapters, at least two. Then begins the rewrite to tighten up style and make certain cultural characteristics consistent throughout the book. In the writing, I've discovered cultural traits I wanted to use. Not having the patience to go back and make changes at the beginning, I made notes of them so, during the rewrite, I could make the changes then. For one, I decided to dirty up the culture because of overcrowding and lack of care by the ghouls who now run the global culture. Printed the first 50 pages so that Mertie can begin to read it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Find photo here!
Luge! I had the sensation, yesterday, as I put in four hours of steady writing, that I was racing downhill toward the finish line. I was in a state of grace, knowing that certainly, come hell or high water, the novel will be completed. It's like when I ran the mile and half mile in high school and stood, bent over just beyond the finish line to catch my breath, my body coming back strong, my flesh tingling with the surge of oxygenated blood pumping in my system. Only that was after the run was completed. Yesterday, I only sensed the end rather than the actual end. I wonder if I'll feel any different when its done than when, as a younger man, I finished other novels? 

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I can't imagine this entry will run long. It's Sunday, the Seahawks are playing, and they're behind by 4 points, and, even though the Zags and Blazers won last night, I just do not feel any sort of cleverness coming on that would pad this account of my progress in sports viewing, excuse me, writing. Must keep my priorities prioritized. In the Manning novel, I'm just completing a lengthy scene in which much is revealed to the reader about many of the incidents throughout the novel. Seriously, I'm not very far from the end. Maybe three more chapters or scenes. Only a couple more things to get into the book and it'll be finished.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Find his photo here.
Needs dramatic shadowing.

Woody Allen and his films, I love. His short stories too. At one time in my life, his films so often reminded me of myself and my insecurities and my comical woundings (they felt nearly mortal) ... well, that's what good art does, doesn't it, it touches us? I just watched Hannah and Her Sisters for the who knows how manyieth time? One of my favorite films of his, and as the film closed to that wonderful piano playing, "I'm In Love Again", while the camera moves through the apartment to touch on all the relationships and how they worked out ... I got misty, and, next, I think how my first draft of the novel will soon reach its ending after all this long time of work, and how much I'm in love with my wife and our relationship after 20 years together, and my curious Facebook debates with my Southern antagonists who hope to see a second civil war so this time they can win, and, the conflagration of love and war of which my childhood was made when I, feeling the orphan, lived with my paternal grandparents all through WWII ... well ... my feelings well up and splash all over in my head, and my fired up synapses tell all my organs to get busy and create the chemical reactions this robot calls feelings, and I rush to my desktop Mac and sit to spill this rush of emotion out to you who follow this old man, trying to write a book someone other than himself will publish. The dream still lives.