Let's Speak The Same Language

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


Today is 122221.  Now, what grammatical term describes that numerical oddity? 

Anyway, it's been a long long time since my last blog entry. I think I know why. I'm dying of prostate cancer. My cancer is not the slow kind that causes doctors to say, "You'll probably die of something else." It's more aggressive and normal doses of hormones don't seem to stop it, so I'm recently taking massive doses of hormones. Those and other drugs I'm taking create fatigue. My peppiness is petering out.

Of course, I could die of something else with all the hormones I'm taking, but my heart and lungs are fine. I'd probably live into my 90s (I'm 84) except for the prostate cancer. My body's first reaction (huge drop in PSA) to the massive hormone doses caused the doctor to say, "Maybe 3 more years?" Good news, I suppose. 

Anyway, with that morbid info out of sight in my synaptic self, influencing all my thoughts, moods and decisions, I imagine my motivation to write may be waning. However, for a couple of weeks recently, I went on a submission kick and sent off a couple-a-dozen short stories that I wrote in the years before and after I turned 80. Results pending.  

As to poetry, another poem was published online today in Brief Wilderness. Interesting tale follows. The poetry editor thought the poem might be hard to understand, and I wrote a para to explain how easy it is to understand. They published my unpolished explanation along with the poem. Had I known that? Ah! Ahem, well?

This past year has been the most successful in all my years of submitting. To those few who still hang around to read these, thanks for your patience. Right now, in Starbucks, I'm pretty fatigued. Time to go home, sit in my recliner and doze off, watching TV.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


Last time, I reported twenty dollars were on their way for two poems. Instead, the amount will be 30 dollars. They await me in Paypal for three poems appearing in the current issue of Teach. Write. Literary Magazine. One of the poems was rejected 18 times over several decades before finding a nest to nestle in. As editors constantly report, "Thank you for sending us your work. Sorry, these do not fit our needs. Perhaps they will be a better fit elsewhere." Of course, I fine tune my poetry every time I send it out, and so it goes. Sometimes, I'll see a revision that totally alters the poem, its arrangement on the page, even its underlying analogy.

I've reported writer's block several times in this blog. Now I'm dealing with a different type of writer's block. Some of the drugs I take, now, to delay my death by a high risk form of prostate cancer create fatigue, prednisone for one. This morning, as I sit at my local Starbucks, I can barely concentrate. I'm working on a rewrite of a story that includes brothers, sisters, friends and brothers and sisters-in-law. For the life of me, I can't keep them straight in my head. It's impossible to write when my brain is dazed like this. At least, it's not a hangover these days. 

Keep at it my friends. I've had more success this year than at any time in my life, and I'll be 84 the 20th of this month. Still, three more sarcastic poems to come out in Sequestrum. I like the company I'll appear with in that fine magazine.

Saturday, September 4, 2021


Not much time between this entry and the last, is there? But, hell, I got more promising news. Another submission has found success. Poetry again, a set of 3 poems accepted by Sequestrum, more poems published this year than stories. Yet, I'm still anticipating submissions to Fiddlehead and Prairie Schooner, each of which invited me to send another tale.  Writer's block still troubles me. I started a fresh story a few days back, but it died a quick death. Perhaps the check for $20 from Sequestrum for the poems will dynamite the blockage (that's right, a check).


Why, I wonder, does such a successful year as this come by as the news about my prostate cancer grows darker? We're into a new drug now, and if it doesn't work, then, I worry, my hoped for 4 to 5 more years of living won't happen. I'm trying to keep my thoughts in each day rather than in a future day. I'm surprised I worry so little. Still, I have days that are inexplicably darker, and I think it's a sign that my synaptic self is more aware of what I face than it allows my consciousness to consider.

By the way, fellow writers, I'm submitting more work, more often than at any time in my recorded history.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Odd things happen with writers and their submissions. Currently, having finished another rewrite of The Porn Writer, I'm not trying to submit it, believing no one will want to publish my disturbing glimpse into the lives of desperately troubled people, and I'm also suffering writer's block. I clearly expect if I sit down to my computer, nothing will appear to write about. I'm too old and et cetera....

Then, an email arrives from the prestigious Prairie Schooner with the editor's message, "Although we have decided against using 'Buffalo Wallow,' we were interested in your work and would be glad to see more of it during our general submissions period, which will open again on September 1, 2021."

The creative urge fires up again, but my problem is the story "Buffalo Wallow" is an old story, written years ago, and all my recent stories are empty of the style I attempted back then. What to submit? One of my old stories or a new one?

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


Time sure disappears. Last entry in this writer's blog was June 22. I'm more than 4/5 done on 6th? 10th? rewrite of my novel The Porn Writer. I'm reworking poetry constantly as they straggle home bedraggled and d(r)ejected from the fields of literature.

The August issue of Better 

Than Starbucks is here, 

online or ready to be bought 

and printed at Lulu. My poem Afterthought sits inside, a lüshi in the 8 line form of Chinese poet Hanshan.

Read the other day, the "publication plan" of a fellow writer. He said his goal was to get 100 rejections next year. Do you know how hard it is to get 100 rejections? I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 a month.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" from a Ronald Reagan campaign speech, 1980. And we wonder why the Republican Party has deteriorated so badly.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021


One of my poems just appeared in Illuminations 36, and another has recently been accepted for August 2021 in Better Than Starbucks. This year continues to be very sweet.  

Also in that Illuminations are two poems by Professor Emeritus Ron McFarland of the University of Idaho who is connected to my Eastern Washington University days. I've linked to his page. You'll find his publications and bio there. He was deeply involved in establishing University of Idaho's literary magazine, Fugue. We published one of his poems in the second issue of Willow Springs, the literary magazine I co-founded in 1977 with fellow students in the MFA program at Eastern. We were very happy to receive his poems in our early days. Those who have founded literary magazines knows how important early poems by established poets are to building a reputation.

Professor Emeritus McFarland





Wednesday, June 2, 2021


More good news on the writing front. Two poems have been accepted by Teach. Write. for its Fall issue. Thank you, editor Katie Winkler. One of the accepted poems was rejected 23 times and the other 15 times. I have considered both of them to be some of my best pieces of poetry. The magazine is an interesting publication published and edited by a composition teacher. Her call is for writing from those who have experience at teaching composition. The first six months of this year have been very successful for me.

Age 18/19, I volunteered to be sports editor for Naval Facility 109 Boondocker on Antigua in what was known as the British West Indies at that time. Antigua is now self-governing and a member of the British Commonwealth. We called our paper the Boondocker because Antigua was considered to be way out in the "boonies" as military people have always called duty stations located in far away places. At that time in 1957, cruise ships did not dock at Antigua. That duty station, if it still existed, would not be considered to be in the boonies now. Interesting to me, is that in my time in the Navy, I was stationed on four islands: Key West, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Nantucket. All were or are now party islands.

PS: Please notice WP (winning pitcher) Thomas on the sports page. I pitched for our victorious Operations softball team. I believe we won the league that year I was stationed on Antigua.