How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Sunday, November 30, 2014

R.I.P. Kent Haruf

Novelisi, Plainsong. Eventide. Fine writer.

Quotation of the day

"Science is a drop, our ignorance is an ocean." --William James, 1895

Portland's glory days

Saturday, November 29, 2014

If it's broke, fix it ...

Spent morning replacing baking element in oven, no easy chore with as few tools as we have, but the real challenge was finding a replacement
part, finally located in Beaverton. A baker needs his oven!

H having a pretty bad weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The call

Just got the only holiday call I'll get, a moment before I called her, from L in LA, sister surrogate (former lover, very Greek ha ha), just a kid when we did the tradition in the 60s, daughter of a good friend (imagine the subsequent scandal, actually very short lived). My closest living friend today. 37 at her family gathering for the holiday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Best Thanksgivings

For me , from mid 60s to mid 70s when five couples got together, most folk musicians, for much revelry, music, laughter, and gratitude. Nothing has come close since.

Successful experiment

On a whim, I added a quarter cup of grape nuts cereal to my last wheat bread batch. Great addition! Very tasty, esp toast.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Waiting room

2 appts today ... lots of gin rummy in the waiting room.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Been thinking of a football team with 17 h.s. valedictorians on the roster - and going undefeated! Remarkable.

51 years ago

The overthrow of the U.S. government and a new era begins.

Friday, November 21, 2014

High school football

Jesuit at Tigard on radio, early playoffs. Exciting, I'm rooting for Jesuit because we go out for breakfast across the street.


J loses in triple OT, missed xtra pt, 42-41. Great game!

MIT's undefeated season

A football team with 17 high school valedictorians on the roster. Cal Tech never came close to this.

Sounding good

Man, both Keyport Rag and Old Greasy Coat sounding first rate on the Cordoba this mirning. Angeline the Baker not far behind ... and Kitchen Girl is getting there.

And I found the ultimate challenge: an arrangenent of One Note Samba that is breath taking. If I master this - and I will - I may play it on a street corner for quarters ha ha.

French press

I see TS has discovered the French press. I came to it late myself but now each night I grind beans and soak them in the refrig overnight for my iced coffee the next day. I've settled on Peet's House Blend as my favorite bean but I experiment now and again.

Myth of progress

In 1959 tuition at UC Berkeley was a few hundred dollars a term. A true public university then, and for decades earlier. I know, I was there for a term before joining the army. Today the UC is unaffordable. Another national shame in the dying spasms of empire.

Now it's going to get real fun with science deniers calling the shots in Congress.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Quotation of the day

"We need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and production of art," Ursula K. Le Guin (from Round Bend Press).

Hear, hear!


Doctor took H off her memory drug ... hope for improvement re hallucinations.

Etc etc etc

Another terrible morning ... at least we see the doctor at 11.

R.I.P. Mike Nichols

Brilliant theatrical mind. He turned a stage play that I thought was over-rated ... Angels In America ... into a brilliant TV miniseries, now a dramatic favorite in his interpretation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dark and dreary

A very bad morning for H, very down, depressed, feeling hopeless and useless. Makes me appreciate my own cosmic sense of humor, coming out of Zen, but I don't know how to help her with this, so I offer the usual platitudes I would never say to myself. Ah, me.

Her art isn't saving her, as it has saved me. I think hers comes from a social place, not an existential one.

Doing my best...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A good day continues ... H out for lunch, I am here cooking ... quinoa salad, vegie soup, turkey meatloaf ... jazz, Sketch ... brooding ... all good things.

Day Dreamer

Day Dreamer

Maybe there's still time
to wake each morning
in a small desert town
where I stay warm
and walk everywhere
and am greeted by
new acquaintances
getting used to seeing me
in the same place
at the same time
you can set your watch
by my routine

and everybody regards me
as a quiet pleasant old man
new to town but welcome
and no one has a hint
of the extraordinary activity
raging in my head

where fictional characters
are screaming for their stories
to be released

Nerd nation wins in OT!

Great game. I prefer women's bb, few dunks, less testosterone (though it increases every year: soon humans will be warriors or corporate managers, with a few artists hiding under rocks).


I've always been a morning man, writing here often on this theme. Until I entered the surrealistic stress of recent months. Lately I've dreaded mornings, knowing the day would require repeating much and new surprises would bring stress and grief. My only peace was in bed at night.

Strange then to feel good this morning! Even gained 3 lbs.

Part is the day's terror has become routine. And H is handling her own terror with less hysteria. Maybe this is progress.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Early delight

UConn women at Stanford tonight. Gotta root for underdog nerd nation!

Only one doc appt this week. H, who came to bed after midnight, still in bed. Rest is rest, whenever you get it. But she'll rise with guilt for sleeping in and nag on me for letting her. Ah, me.

Friday, November 14, 2014


A second person bought Varmints ... this is more atypical consumer behavior than my cynicism can take ha ha ...

Say what?

eine 45-minütige schwarze Komödie übersetzt und frei adaptiert von russischen Vladimir Koshkov Original in Italienisch, in einer Moskauer Radiostation Tag der amerikanischen Erstschlag, 3m1f, Charles Deemer (Dramatiker, Schriftsteller, Drehbuchautor, 1939-_) “.

This apparently refers to a one-act play I wrote many years ago using the pseudonym Vladimir Koshkov and posing as the translator (American audiences accepted more experimental work using this mask). Feeling like old home week with all this decades old work popping up here and there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Pdx, freezing rain
Tucson, 76 and sunny

2 obscure sales

Ah, how little it takes! Two of my more esotetic, obscure works sold at Amazon today: The Chekhov Hyperdrama, 3 essays in prep for tackling my Magnum Opus; and Varmints, a libretto in need of music. Hardly what a typical reader would pick up. Hooray for atypical readers!

 By the way, cheers to Terry Simons and Round Bend Press for publishing Varmints. Pretty special, that decision.

Iced in

Freezing rain, so we bagged the appt. Nice and quiet, weather captives.

posted from Bloggeroid


My loaf of wheat looks great ... sanity! Next up, caraway rye.

Oatmeal weather, on stove now. H seems to have had a less stressful night than usual ... I'll let her sleep in, enjoy the quiet. Weather alert pulled back, should be ok to drive.

A decent morning, which alas is likely to change. Continuity impossible, so you go with what comes.

Very challenging to shape this in the novella ... may experiment with form, may also borrow some Woody Allen techniques for giving moral issues a comic twist.

A book group doing my Sodom novel in a few weeks. Very unusual. Curious.

Had opportunity to refer to my 1975 one act The Death of Teng Yin-feng. Whole cloth, my body of work of one piece.

Too bad I'll be dead when somebody figures this out. But they will.

posted from Bloggeroid

Rare sanity

Baking bread!

Afternoon appt, may be snowed out.

Terrible day yesterday. H forgot by night. She thought it was a great day. More power to her.

OT over. One less expense.

Hope to watch Cal game tonight.

Lots of brooding about novella. No time to write.

Long fall and winter ahead. One foot after the other.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The genius of Heinrich Kley

posted from Bloggeroid

Tucson now

Sunny, 72, and getting warmer. Sigh.



Character never reveals
its true substance
until faced with
a profound crisis.

There is no preparation
for moments like this,
all stress and insecurity,
where action is instinct.

Good instincts come
from parents and priests,
culture and ideology,
even music, books,

the fabric of experience
that shapes each of us.
In a crisis, who we are
becomes what we do.

This is why so many
official heroes, upon
receiving a medal,
say without ambiguity

I am not a hero.
I did what had to be done.
posted from Bloggeroid

Rare, rave production

UC Berkeley doing Pirandello's Six Characters... to rave reviews in Chronicle. Wish I could see it!

Also, Bay area festival of little known French noir films getting raves.

Meanwhile, another stressful day begins in Puddle City, today America's most over-rated city (but a socialist utopia damn near in the 70s, 80s, with city subsidized theater companies and much more).

Etc etc etc

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, November 10, 2014


Taking an hour longer so far ... why?

posted from Bloggeroid

Waiting room

H taking her treadmill test ... results determine if she can return to her exercise class.

Two firsts: last night, first night without hysterics before bed, hearing things, etc ... and first morning she smiled since months before the heart attack (an official morning grouch). But by mid morning, back to the usual stress and discontent. Nothing lasts long around here.

We're both starving. From here to FOOD.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, November 9, 2014


posted from Bloggeroid

Shepherd's Pie

We were dinner guests, and the hostess served a turkey shepherd's pie, really good. Been a while since I'd had it.

Got curious. Learned original name was cottage pie. And ...

"The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 1791,[2][6][7] when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cf. "cottage" meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).


In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.[8][9]

The term "shepherd's pie" did not appear until 1877,[2] and since then it has been used synonymously with "cottage pie", regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton.[1][4][7][8][9][10][11] More recently, the term "shepherd's pie" has been used when the meat is lamb,[12][13] the theory being that shepherds are concerned with sheep[14] and not cattle[15][16][17] (see folk etymology)." (Wikipedia)
posted from Bloggeroid


81and sunny. Sigh.

posted from Bloggeroid


Good day yesterday, bad night, worse morning.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kitchen Girl, or adventures in ukulele studies

Been working on hardest clawhammer ukulele song I've tried, old fiddle tune called Kitchen Girl, and am close enough to believe I'll get it. Much challenge, much fun. Also working on Fly Me To The Moon and Fur Elise. Recordings eventually.

posted from Bloggeroid

Nice while it lasted

Another bad night etc etc etc

And not following through with therapy much...

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why do I feel so good?

Very strange day! I actually feel good! First time in weeks. Why? No good news to report ... it's same o, same o, with all the usual stresses. Maybe my deep seated fuck it mentality has triumphed. I am reminded of lyrics by Woody Guthrie ...

That old dust storm
can kill my babies
but it can't kill me, Lord
and it can't kill me

Now that man was a survivor!

posted from Bloggeroid

Under 240

Weighed in at 238 after my shower this morning, amazingly close to my jock football playing days ... cannot remember the last time I weighed this. Probably in the early 1960s.

No doubt this is not a healthy way to lose weight ... in fact, I've made no effort to do so. I guess I don't eat much. I make H a meal and grab a piece of toast for myself or something. Weight loss is the last thing on my mind. But I'm never hungry. So apparently I don't eat.

I don't feel under nourished. Maybe I have a terminal illness so I can use the Death With Dignity act! Sick joke.
posted from Bloggeroid

Day and night

Good day yestetday, maybe our best - but a terrible night. She hears things at night - water running, other things - that are only in her head, fears she is going mad. By the time I calm her down, I'm a mental wreck myself. I've urged her to see a shrink, will keep trying.

Baking bread! Baking bread!

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Marital Advice, a true story

many years ago
I found myself
in a bar in
Kirkland, Washington
filled with bikers
celebrating a wedding anniversary

late in the night
I stood beside
the honored wife
clad in leather
tattooed, tough
so I asked her
the secret of
a long happy marriage

without missing a beat
and with a huge grin
she told me this

give good head

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Diet of the century

I've lost 30 lbs since Sept 16. Without effort.

Always something new

The latest homefront drama has become One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest ... I'm the tyrant Nurse, trying to control her ... the doctors try to make her brain like everyone elses ... she is an INDIVIDUAL and their theories don't apply to her.

Well, may the gods bless her, maybe she' s right. Doctors have been wrong before. But for damn sure I am tired of being called the bad guy. I'm going to try and make her self-sufficient, like managing own medication, asap ... I'm going to redirect my energy to getting the house ready to sell. I'm maintaining financial management because I know how to say no, but the rest, she can do whatever she wants. If the doctors are right, well, there's an heroic side to her fucking up. And maybe they are wrong. I'm tired of being in the middle of it.

This has been one huge nightmare. Not exactly the cozy, get-together time I had in mind. But if I continue like this, I'll end up jumping off a bridge, and it's a little premature for such an existential gesture.
posted from Bloggeroid