Let's Speak The Same Language

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


At Starbucks in Portland at 28th and Burnside, I'm dressed for the walk I just finished, and it was a chilly walk. Greater Portland Area is expecting maybe some few drops of snow mixed with rain during the next few days. Found some more interesting restaurants along 28th between Burnside and Sandy Blvd. Found Epif, a vegan restaurant with South American flair that has been advertising on PIFF screens. Tonight, however, I'm going to dine Italian. Saw a place with a vegetarian pasta dish...tomatoes, broccoli, you name it with zita pasta I think. Worked on rewrite of Ghoul World some little bit in early afternoon, and 70 people checked into this blog since yesterday. Thank you who are following my bucket list saga. Movie I'm seeing at PIFF tonight is Life After Life. Sent out a few more things recently to be considered for publication. I really don't do enough of the "sending out". Life is good, even in diapers. It's great walking the streets of a liberal modern city not caring if you poop your pants because it won't show through your diapers.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Today 92 people checked into The Silent Boomer. Have no idea why, but the number of people following this blog has leaped in the last week or so. Thank you to anyone looking in to see how I'm progressing toward my sole bucket list item. Still patiently awaiting the official contract about that poem of mine. Writing progress is as boring a report as I can give—I rewrote Chapter 7 this early afternoon while a steady rain fell on Vancouver Washington across the river from the Portland International Film Festival. Heavenly PIFF XL has gotten in the way of my rewriting task. I'm joyously crossing the Columbia River almost daily to catch a show. Saw the second best film so far last night at Cinema 21Suntan. Found myself many times during the film, back in my falling apart days in the 1960s and early 70s. A late start after a four year term in US Navy made me an "older dude" as a teaching assistant at Southern Illinois University, drinking heavily and too much attracted to far too many women too young for me. Of course, I didn't go half so far as Kostis does in Suntan, but I felt what he felt more than once back in those bedeviled days. Worse...I was married.

Last night before the film, after eating at Dick's on 21st, I took a dreamy rainy walk eastward from 21st Avenue toward the heart of Portland, found a little coffee shop on 18th, World Cup Coffee. Sat in the rainy night across the street from the International Hostel building, reading E.O. Wilson's brilliant book, The Meaning of Human Existence and dreaming about all those things an aging man thinks about who has not exactly stormed the citadel of fame and fortune as a writer. I tried to start a poem and laughed at myself. Those poetic days are through, I thought, then found myself starting another Up Your Ass prostate cancer poem last night about the bloody pee I splashed into the bowl two nights ago. I mean bloody pee. Scared the living daylights out of me. But such events often result from irradiation of the prostate. E.O. Wilson makes me want to live to be 150 and see what wonders lie ahead. A delicious night last night, all in all. 

Friday, February 10, 2017


Here's looking at you. This will be short and sweet. Got to get on to exercise. Yesterday I pushed myself hard on the bike and brought my heart rate to the "high level" for a 79 year old male. I felt invigorated afterwards. I'm emerging from the physical weakness created by the radiation treatments for prostate cancer. Am rewriting Ghoul World at a chapter a day pace and believe it's as readable as a novel can be. Where in hell is that perceptive agent who sees its worth and its cinematic potential? Yesterday 82 people looked in on The Silent Boomer writing blog, AND I got news about a poem of mine that I won't disclose until it's confirmed by contract. It's a bit more than a publication in an anthology and encouraging and humbling at same time. AND tonight is my first film at the Portland International Film Festival: We Are The Flesh. Wahoo!

Friday, February 3, 2017


Found here:
I'm in pain. My hormone shot day before yesterday has made my left butt sore. Yesterday I had to walk up stairways by putting my right foot on a step, then bringing the left foot up beside it. Could put no weight on left leg. And so it went. I'm also in psychic pain because after 18 chapters of who-knows-how-many rewrites of Ghoul World, I'm going back to first chapter to begin again. Why? I thought I was being clever in setting my novel 250 years into the future, but I was doing it so I could cleverly talk about a time when the year 1700 had been designated as the beginning of the new First Century, AS [After Science] as compared to all that went before as BS [Before Science]. Get the pun? Of course the change created many problems, not the least of which was that I couldn't think far enough into the future for the story line and culture I was creating. I have begun to realize my novel just isn't fantastic enough to be 250 years in the future. And all these problems were just so I could pun around with BS, so now I'm forgetting all about BS and AS and setting Ghoul World in the not too distant future after an asteroid has hit Planet Earth and spread the Rotting Plague. Too smart for my own good. I have one other idea that steals from Solient Green, but it would create the need for an entirely new plot. The rewrite would be massive. Opposing all that is the thought never too far from my pre-frontal cortex that it's time to quit this hoping game.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Drove into Portland this morning to buy tickets for 10 films during the Portland International Film Festival. For me starting on the 9th thru 23rd September some of my writing time will be interrupted by the Festival and the required dislocating travel to and from Portland at odd hours. I especially look forward to two 10:30 pm films at the Bagdad theater for adults only. Lovely experience to come out of theater magic into the nighttime Portland streets and feel all alone creepiness. These foreign films will have subtitles and that allows me with my bad hearing to enjoy films at theaters that don't have captioning devices for old codgers like me. Sometimes when my schedule is so disrupted, writing time gets scramble too, but I'm anticipating great viewing experiences ahead. Mertie who works will go to one film with me on Sunday the 12th. She's okay with this since she likes her routine even more strongly than I like mine. This PIFF extravaganza has become a routine with us. It will be great when she can retire too and join me, but, of course, I'll be in my 90s then...as long as cancer doesn't come back to get me.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


The following passage is from Chapter 16 of Ghoul World, my scifi novel. It concerns free will. 
On the sidewalk outside Color Me Coffee, Charley Manning watched Beaunita’s Elec2Go disappear out of the Pearl District. The rain had drizzled out, but clouds still formed an unbroken ceiling above. As the PI turned his attention from Beaunita’s departing cab, he suddenly and forcefully perceived himself as "waiting to feel" what he must do next. Would he wire for an Elec2Go cab for himself or take a trolley or walk home? He remembered the first time he’d consciously experienced the sensation of ‘waiting to know’ what he should do next, of waiting for a feeling to tell him what to do.
During a similar momentary pause one morning nineteen years ago, Manning had first caught himself being a robot, a biological one. He’d recently quit the PPB and had awakened feeling exceptionally refreshed and pushed himself into a seated position against the headboard. He had nothing pressing to do that morning. The anxiety that was normally his condition when he was involved in police work was gone. He was luxuriating in that sensation of untroubled repose when a thought appeared out of nowhere. He abruptly realized that he desired to go drink a latte and read the history text about Roman legions he’d recently downloaded from the internet. But it wasn’t the awareness of what he wanted to do next that intrigued him; it was the fact that the thought about what he would do next came out of nowhere. Something beyond his control, he realized, had informed him what he would do next.
Immediately following his first awareness of what he was going to do next, his brain without any direction on his part began to produce thoughts about one coffee shop after another where he might go to drink coffee and read. The list was a set of fleeting impressions about each of the coffee shops he most frequented. These impressions entered and passed swiftly through his consciousness, and he experienced faint negative and positive sensations about the individual coffee shops that presented themselves to his consciousness. At that moment he became aware that he was consciously waiting for his emotions to tell him which coffee shop to go to. He—or, rather, his consciousness—was waiting to be told what to do. That awareness immediately led to another astonishing moment.
As soon as he experienced the awareness of “waiting to be told what to do,” Manning was overcome with euphoria, a skin-tingling whole body feeling of exultation. Never before had the PI felt so untroubled. So free? That word “freedom” had sailed unbidden into his consciousness obviously attached to the euphoric feeling, just as each feeling and word that morning had arrived without any consciousness on his part of their being requested.
Manning still struggled to understand the paradoxical sensation of being free that was connected to an awareness that the ghoul species, every man jack of them, was a species of biological robots whose free will was an illusion. From then on Manning explained his behavior to himself—only occasionally to others—as the actions of a biological robot who knew itself to be a robot. Manning frequently speculated if self-knowledge of his automaton existence meant he had one foot out the door toward a real freedom, unenforced by evolution’s dictates. As he put it to close friends: “Maybe self knowledge will set us free.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I have little to add in this post to the last post. Let me tell you that the 5th or 6th rewrite of any long piece of fiction is a bore. The plot's in place, the story told. The rewrites continue to be attempts to strengthen the language and appeal by simplification and straightening out the complex sentences that political debating all my life have imposed on my sentence structures. Rhetorical writing is quite different from writing fiction. It calls for complex sentence structures. Lots of clauses and phrases piling up the proofs and facts, lots of qualifiers to make one's arguments specifically clear.
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This makes me think of the conservative politician and novelist Disraeli and, perhaps [trying to come up with his name.....trying to come up with....................aha....] Gore Vidal. Long ago I tried to read a Disraeli novel. It's name has escaped me, and it was not bad. I've read two or three of Vidal's novels of political life and I enjoyed them.

The critic Robert O'Kell [writing about Disraeli seems in my opinion to speak to both Disraeli and Vidal], "It is after all, even if you are a Tory of the staunchest blue*, impossible to make Disraeli into a first-rate novelist. And it is equally impossible, no matter how much you deplore the extravagances and improprieties of his works, to make him into an insignificant one."* As to an interesting read alone, I give the nod to Vidal, but perhaps I'm prejudiced by my liberal nature.

*Note how O'Kell piles up the phrases and clauses to make his statement clear. 

*Note the British assignation of "blue" for conservatives.