How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Monday, July 29, 2013



I met a 90 year old woman
who told me she quit voting
for politicians on her 76th birthday
and wishes she had done it earlier.

When I asked her why, she
grinned and said, "I don't want
to encourage them."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zero Sum Universe

Yes, the odds are good that a suicide bomber
is making intolerance destructive across the sea
somewhere, and closer to home, even more likely,
a college girl is raped and her neighbor the wife
beaten to a pulp by her death do us part husband
and let's not forget the children in refugee camps
hundreds of thousands dying of malnutrition
nor forget the laughing couple whose laughter
is interrupted by the attacking drone overhead
and all this just scratches the surface of our
worldly horrors; so please keep these in mind
when I tell you that I walked out onto my deck
this morning under a stunning blue sky and
took a deep breath and counted my blessings
and thought, What a beautiful morning!
It's great to be alive! It's great to be alive!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


 I'm an old man and I'm tired and I'm disgusted
 with human affairs. But Sketch our rat terrier
 doesn't disgust me and the butterflies that returned
 to our bush this summer don't disgust me, nor
 the birds at the feeders off our deck. D. H. Lawrence
 said all this more eloquently than I can in a poem
 about living with animals, and I get some comfort
 that my disgust is not a personal hallucination.
 Sartre said hell is other people, which I believe
 is true, but heaven is too. The obvious lesson
 is be careful who you hang with. Very careful.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


No matter what the day brings
it begins here and now at 4 a.m.
in silence as comforting as breath
the mind without distraction
the streets empty, the dogs asleep
only thought alive in reflection
of good fortune, of past blessings
enjoyed before the engines start
the lights come on, the dogs bark
and day begins here where noise
and frantic action drive the hour
and no one knows how to be still.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nature's Mercy

Nature's fierce response to what cummings called
our prodding prurient fingers may be a blessing
in disguise, a distraction from the bleeding soul
of a divided nation, an external violence that keeps
us from tearing one another apart, letting us
rush to extinction as united enemies, the Mother
of all Ironies, final proof that God has a dark
sense of humor. R.I.P. Amen.

A poem comes to mind


With violent chaos in Cairo
a gigantic cyclone in Australia
monster winter storms across the U.S.
all on the news tonight

(Yes the revolution will be televised)

I think how nice it must have been
to be outside on that distant afternoon
working in the field on my farm
in the recent state of Oregon
all cares underfoot

when a wagon approaches
a neighbor visiting
and I walk to the wagon
where the neighbor says

Did you hear the news?

which I had not
so he tells me

President Lincoln was shot!
President Lincoln is dead!

and I can hardly believe it
and ask when? how?

Last month
the neighbor begins ...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Maybe the shock of the world

Mayb the shock of the world is
how much good will is found
in the deeds of those who refuse
to embrace the inevitable decline
of the planet. As if on the deck
of the Titanic an old man drops
his wallet and a young boy, seeing
what happened, retrieves and returns it,
sinking ship be damned, because this
is the right thing to do. As if death
is no reason to compromise life
and a sinking ship is just a sinking ship.

Second Life

It really feels good, giving all these stories I created 20 years ago as screenplays a new life in a modified form as Stories In Overdrive. The experiment is one month old and going better than I expected so far. Long way to go, of course. A marathon. But I'm hopeful that I have something unique, and maybe even important, going here. We'll find out ha ha.

The Writing Life II: Perseverance

The Writing Life II: Perseverance:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


 This Overdrive project, which I've called a marathon, also is like doing everything in slow motion, certainly when compared to the obsessive sprinting of my youth. Still adjusting.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


 The best way to celebrate the 4th
 is to treat vets with care
 the rest of the year.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Comes A Time

There comes a time when it's just too much
this accumulation of disasters and mayhem
Nature's indifferent anger the worst
because the most preventable

and I have to turn away and distract myself
with work that won't matter in the ash heap
of the future but which today is my sole grip
on this semblance of sanity I call my life

and in this way one day follows the next
and I thank the gods repeatedly repeatedly
that I am an old man and thus will be spared
the worst to come, and I can remember what

I thought were better times, before the trigger
to this point of no return, deliriously happy
in my human ignorance of the sowing
and its eventual crop of disaster, it appears

we were a mistake from the beginning in
the larger scheme of things, one day to be
studied like dinosaurs, just another extinct
species, a mistake of Nature

a realization offering no relief whatever
and all the more reason for distraction
my work in the present tense
daily and normal routine

cooking reading music
enjoying what I can
hello Harriet hello Sketch
it's a beautiful day in small perspective

thank the gods for age, we'll be gone
soon enough in the meantime
Gerry Mulligan sounds great
a signature comfort breakfast!

a new Overdrive. to bring out
let's bbq steaks for dinner

Does it get any better than this?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Slow week

This, the week leading up to the 4th, is my least favorite of the summer, just as the 4th has become my least favorite holiday. It's not that I'm unpatriotic; it's that I see Sketch hiding under the bed and see images of all those vets diving for cover the holiday I spent in the VA hospital 20 years ago. Not much fun to watch fireworks, thinking of vets diving for cover.

So maybe I can get a plan for downsizing this week. Overdue.

And a small start on the new Overdrive stories. Three out already! The first promo has resulted in over 1100 downloads with two (slow?) days to go. I used to spread the 5 free days out, one day at a time, but a marketing book convinced me it's better to do all five at once in the beginning and get the freebies over with. So that's what I'm doing. In fact, I am following "advice" on all the marketing strategies this summer. Hoping it works.