How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Saturday, February 28, 2015


I love watching this event, maybe from being in grad school during the Prefontaine era. But there's not much opportunity - until today. I WATCHED FOUR! Finals in 4 different conferences, 3 women's races, 1 men's. Want to see real student athletes? Watch a 5000M race in the Horizon League. I love it!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sports overload

Opening WatchESPN after lunch, ESPN3 had 37 events in half a dozen sports to choose to watch. Including 3 track and field meets, something seldom shown on the major channels, incl ESPN and ESPN2. Pretty amazing.

Life force

I keep seeing my best friend's smile as he told me, "All gone. All used up." This was in a hospice in Moscow, Idaho, 1998, days before he passed. Not a bad way to go: all gone, all used up.

Go, Pope Francis!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Senior moment

Hate moments like this: doing dishes, couldn't find half cup measure. Used it earlier for bread. What the hell? Took me ten or fifteen minutes to check the flour bin ... and there it was. Jeez.

What a world

So here I am, still in PJs, bread out of the oven, watching live softball, Fordham v Maryland ... looking forward to NCAAW Yale at undefeated (but only #14) Princeton later today. Ignoring the future of global doom has never been easier.

Homer lecture, Brahms lecture, to listen to.


Coming to one's senses

The Right’s Fear of Education: What I Learned As a (Former) Conservative Military Man :

posted from Bloggeroid

NCAAW: Visiting Stanford upsets OSU

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Warrior culture

Q & A in a dream

Why aren't you writing?

# I wrote 24/7 obsessively for almost half a century. This work is in two large archives at two universities. I've written enough.

Aren't you disappointing your readers?

# What readers? At this point in time, I have few readers.

Then write for yourself. Writers always have to write.

# I am. In Zen, poetry is not the words on paper but the mode of thought in the mind of the poet. My mind is as active as ever.

Do you wish you had more readers?

# Well, of course - that is, if they left me alone. Not if I'm  expected to become a salesman and a "literary figure." I'd like more readers to be blown away by something I've written, privately and permanently. I'm sure more have than I know about.

# How can you be sure?

Now and again I hear from one or one reveals this to me - like Sirc expanding my 1967 essay into a book almost 40 years later. 40 years later! This is the writer-reader relationship at its best.

So you are happy about the direction of your career?

# Let's put it this way. In this culture, my career has little to do with me. What you surely refer to, better called what it is, fame and fortune, is a crapshoot. My most visible decade, as a playwright in Portland in the 1980s, had more to do with three directors and one drama critic than with me, because they vigorously supported my work. They made me visible. When they disappear, I disappear.

You must have hated that.

# For a while, yes, because it's flattering to think all this attention actually has something to do with you. But I began to understand how the arts really work in this culture when I started judging plays myself. In a classic example, I was one of 3 judges asked to select ten scripts from 70 for the Illinois Arts Commission. We began by making our own top ten lists. Then we compared them. There was not one duplication! Think about that. We did not agree on a single top ten playwright. So you tell me: what does this have to do with the playwrights?

Are you depressed?

# Ha ha! I find reality liberating. Look at Frankl in a concentration camp. How can bullshit like this be depressing? I know I live in a culture that has made the arts commodities in the marketplace and--

Surely the arts matter more than this?

# If the arts mattered to the culture, reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American in the 1950s would have made the Vietnam War impossible. If American writers worry about performing in the culture, they get swallowed up. You best do your work and hope for the accident of individual readers finding and being moved by it. In this regard, I consider myself blessed. I've gathered some true fans along the way.

What are you up to today if you're not writing?

# Life is good. I love retirement. I am revisiting classical Greek lit, taking an online course. I discovered Shastakovich! A major connection, and I don't have enough years left to explore all his music. I dabble on my ukulele. I'm helping my wife recover from a heart attack. I'm getting ready to sell our house and move. I hang with Sketch, our rat terrier. There aren't enough hours in the day.

Thank you for taking the time here.

# Can I wake up now?

Hear, hear!

TV Meteorologists Should Say It Loud and Clear: Climate Change Is Here:

New report from Berkeley scientists tracks, confirms, human factor.

Watch list

'The Hunting Ground': New Documentary from 'The Invisible War' Team Tackles Campus Rape:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Watching W Mich - Toledo women ... small audience of mainly senior citizens! Very interesting. Maybe because it's old school.

posted from Bloggeroid

Student athletes

Been a long time since I've enjoyed watching sports so much. ESPN3 has all the true student athlete competition, without the arrogance that comes with all the one and done kids. Loving this.

posted from Bloggeroid

Bug fixed

A bug that made the Sling - Fire TV - WatchESPN interface unworkable has been fixed ... so now ESPN3 works on Fire TV, not just on the tablet, where I've been watching games. Very nice!

posted from Bloggeroid

Cheap labor

As Ranks Swell But Paychecks Dwindle, Adjuncts Hold National Day of Action:

posted from Bloggeroid

Spring training

Renewed my baseball app ... radio broadcasts of all games, from spring thru series, no blackouts, choice of home or visiting team announcer, all for twenty bucks. May be best app in sports. MLB At Bat. There's a video subscription, too spendy for me and I prefer bball on radio, plus I do get game of day video.

Play ball!

Visual history

First saw this at Round Bend Press blog.

East coast bias

WatchESPN is a great app, with ESPN3 covering lots of games simultaneously, small colleges, women's games, smaller sports.

But I have one complaint: seldom is a game west of the Rockies picked up. This app needs a west coast version.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Classical Greek

At UCLA my Greek teacher tried very hard to lure me away from Amer Lit and into classical studies. I was good at it and loved it ... but I was determined to become a Melville scholar. Two years later, I'd be dropping out of grad school, academically lost.

And here I am half a century later, studying the classics again.

NCAAW: Canisius 65. Niagara 59

Great afternoon game. COLLEGE SPORTS AT ITS BEST! Man, so cool to be plugged into these (ignored) games now.

Losing it

Forgot to prep my coffee last night ... 3rd time this month! And dropping off Harriet, I ran over a curb, 2nd time this month. I already stopped driving at night. I think it's getting time for cold turkey. Maybe after we move.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Waiting room

Listened to course lecture, intro to Homer. Very good professor. 2 down, 34 to go.

A universal condition

John Kiriakou: US Government Lacks “the Guts” to Face Its Crimes:

posted from Bloggeroid

Hedges on ...


Busy week ...

... on the health care front. But it's the last week of Rio post-rehab. And next week we get serious about planning our transition.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

1:52, 7 pt Cal over Stanford ... NCAAW

... another big upset?

1:20, 11 pts
1:02, 10
44.0, 11
34.8, 9
34.3, 10
Cal wins after 11 straight losses to Nerd Nation.

3 games, 3 big upsets! More fun than March Madness.

NCAAW another upset

Mich St over #19 Rutgers ... these games are a blast today. Why watch millionaires when I can watch these spirited amateurs? Much better entertainment.

Manual labor

Oiled the push mower and got two worst areas cut ... no rain until Wed., shot at being caught up in next two days.

posted from Bloggeroid

NCAAW: 8PT lead, 3 mins

Great upset possible, NCSt leading #10 Duke ...

2:46...10 lead
2:17 ... 10
1:39 ...8
1:28 ... 7
1:25 ... 9
1:01 ... 8
58.9 : 10
50.1 : 12
37.1 : 12
26.3 : 9
20.9 : 11
09.2: 13
72-59, NC State wins! GREAT GAME!

Sling TV has led me to a greater appreciation of college sports ... women's games, small college games, once you leave the big time college as farm team for pros environment, a lot of old school values return, true student jocks return. No corporate bullshit, less hype, smaller egos, more team play. I love it.

posted from Bloggeroid

A bit of heaven

Peace and quiet; iced coffee; toast from home baked bread ... the sun is even out.

posted from Bloggeroid


Last night I began a 36 lectures series on Classical Literature. Renew my faith despite these dark ages. I hope.

posted from Bloggeroid


Garbonzo in the oven; whole wheat in the hopper; white in line.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, February 20, 2015


We Have Been Watching the Same Movie About America’s Wars for 75 Years:

posted from Bloggeroid

Dinosaur confession

I can't get used to jocks with sculptured biceps and tatoos. Men or women. Didn't see that in my formative years over half a century ago.
posted from Bloggeroid

Not enough?

Let's flood the basement doing laundry! Probably not H's fault ... or ... ?

posted from Bloggeroid

Stress city

Terrible day, despite tech wonders ... dealing with H ... dealing with car ... dealing with finances ... not my idea of a tranquil retirement.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wonders of technology

Here I am in the waiting room of a clinic, watching LIVE a tennis match in Cairo, on my Kindle Fire.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stress city

Auto problems. Just what we need.

Old age

Forgot to prepare morning coffee, which brews in refrig in French press for 12 hours. Happens once a week or so, to my distress at forgetting something so basic. Have to buy it or skip it ... never make hot coffee instead. How not to forget?

posted from Bloggeroid


Caraway rye in oven ... garbonzo in hopper ... next?

posted from Bloggeroid


69-Year-Old Vietnam Vet with Throat Cancer Freezes to Death After Company Shuts off His Gas:

posted from Bloggeroid

And no wonder ... sainthood for genocide?

Sainthood for California ‘ethnic cleansing’ missionary angers native Americans:

posted from Bloggeroid

Old dog, forgotten tricks

Been wondering if I could write short fiction again with the reckless abandon of my youth. Ot do I "know" too much now? Maybe I should try something and see what happens. End as I began, knowing nothing, trying everything.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I couldn't survive the deep freeze in the east. I'm a weather wimp. I mean, Portland is too cold for me!
posted from Bloggeroid


Been following NCAAW bball primarily with text Gamecasts ... until SlingTV. Presently I have SIX games I can choose between. Fantastic.

Also got to watch Miami marathon this afternoon. This is sports junky heaven for the small obscure stuff I love, too ignored for corporate interest.

Our ex gov blew it

His fiancee was incredibly ambitious. Staff couldn't dissuade her. Looks like both in for a heap of hurt. Dumb "guy." Maybe it is a Greek tragedy after all. Another power male thinking with his dick.
Kiss of Doom

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SW rules!

The loudest and quietest places in America — in one map:


NCAAW ... Conn 85. Hou 26


I'm not a fan. At best, I'd admire it through a window, sitting by a fireplace with a hot buttered rum.

Man, thank the gods I'm not in Boston now!
posted from Bloggeroid

Rio waiting room

Listening to str quartet #8, Shostakovich, remarkable work.

Sketch rules

Your dog knows if you’re happy or angry just by looking at you:

posted from Bloggeroid

American politics

Could we please not forgive Sarah Palin? She is an unrepentant nightmare:

posted from Bloggeroid

Speaking of which ...

I'm ready for conversational escape in my old age ... an apartment with a social room, for example. Our isolation here was great for writing ... not so great now. In a couple weeks. Rio ends and we begin our prep for transition in earnest. I am ready.

posted from Bloggeroid

Ah, me

Not sure why I'm still blogging here ... habit, I suppose. The Love's Body blog makes sense, it's a project, and I may have run out of war stories for The Years blog ... but this one has become idle chat while waiting for the bus, which is late. But folks still show up. Well, an occasional poem is worth reading. I remain.

posted from Bloggeroid


Buckwheat in oven, white in hopper, rye next.

posted from Bloggeroid


Just realized SlingTV gives me access to WatchESPN and ESPN3. Most games I prefer, like women's bball, are here. Cool indeed.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cutting the cord

Kindle Fire TV is fantastic. Sling TV is great. Tivo is cool. The 3 together are a fraction of what Directv was costing us. Great change!

posted from Bloggeroid



Climate Change A Taboo Subject When Reporting Record Cold And Snow:

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rewards one doesn't apply for

I've received grants and prizes that required an application but the most rewarding accolades in my career came out of the blue. Here are a few ...

# 3x Roll of Honor, Best Amer Short Stories, akin to 2nd string
All Amer in sports. Came early in career, important validation, though I soon abandoned fiction for decades.

# Commission to write first hyperdrama. Began a very long obsession, essentially ended traditional theater career.

# Play commission, Actors Theatre of Louisville, most imp in country at time. Agent set it up. I blew it, into early hyperdrama obsession. But getting it mattered. So in both short fiction and traditional theater, I followed a major reward by changjng focus.

# Oregon Theatre Foundation Award. Fat check out of the blue. Essentially a patron, it turns out.

# Distinguished Writer in Residence, Catlin Gable School. Offer out of the blue, full school year. So successful it was renewed as Distinguished Scholar (couldn't be repeated, so they used different funds). Two great years in 1980s!

# Digital archive at Univ of North Carolina in new Ibiblio Library. Head librarian impressed with my hypertext essay, wooed me. Been a security blanket for all my work.

# Eng Comp As A Happenjng, book length homage to, expansion of, 1967 essay I wrote as grad student. Issues still argued in academia.

I would welcome one more surprise before I pass ... but don't expect one.

posted from Bloggeroid

One month ...

... until Selection Sunday for March Madness.

posted from Bloggeroid

"Fashion is the first refuge of a scoundrel"

More power to her

The future


Baking bread, trying out a garbanzo flour. Buckwheat in the hopper.

Nice late valentine lunch yesterday. Talked about selling the house, moving. Start checking out neighborhoods next month, getting serious about downsizing.

H looking into getting her license back.

A pretty good day yesterday!

Lots of women's bball today.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

A little pick me up ...

In the email today:

Hello Mr. Deemer,

I did it, I got into grad school. I wanted to thank you for your help and support!!! Woo Hoo

I truly was inspired in your class, and will always appreciate what I learned and the inspiration I gained through you!!


She was a type of student I was particularly good for, creative and edgy, risk taking, non conformist ... I gave her lots of freedom.

Love conquers all? (bad joke)

Hear, hear!

Albert Camus: Past and Present:

posted from Bloggeroid

Zero sum

With a blessed life in a zero sum universe, I won't be surprised if I have a terrible old age. But I'd still like to pass the buck.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Writers have been saying this for years


Last words

Been thinking about my last day with my best friend in 1998. He was in a hospice in Idaho, dying of pancreatic cancer. At one point I was sitting with him as he slept. Suddenly he opened his eyes and grinned. "All gone," he said. "All used up." Then he closed his eyes and was silent again.

The grin! All used up! I sensed both relief, satisfaction, celebration. He had used all the Life Force in his tank. Now it was empty. Time to go. The grin: but what a ride!

Something even more remarkable happened. It was time for me to go back to Portland. Again he appeared to be asleep. I kissed him on the forehead - and he said, "Lovely."

He died a week later. I returned and with his mother and two sons, we scattered his ashes off White Bird Hill above the Salmon River. He has a military plaque in White Bird cemetery.
posted from Bloggeroid

Ah, me ...

H still in bed! She has little ambition lately. Sleeps, plays solitaire, asks me what day it is - repeatedly. If it weren't for Rio, she'd never get dressed.

How long does this go on?

Of course, to friends on the phone, everything is great. Never realized how much social appearances matter to her.

Tomorrow we do get out ... take paintings to McMinnville for exhibit. If I can get her out if bed ...

The rhythm of the day sucks.

posted from Bloggeroid

Once so good ...

Ha, ha!

I Spent Four Years Trying to Get My Book Optioned for a Movie. All I Got Were Two Belgian Waffles.:

posted from Bloggeroid

Hear, hear!

If Networks Cared About Honesty And Integrity, They'd Have To Fire Almost Everyone:

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Quotation of the day

"I wanted success and I found it - and it was a pain in the ass." Artie Shaw

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spike Lee's Document

Rewatching the long film Lee made about Katrina, first shown on HBO. A heart-breaking, devastating story of institutional failure and corruption, moral bankruptcy, racism, classism, fear, greed, horror - but also of pockets of empathy, love, human resiliency, spiritual survival. Watching it now, I feel like it's not history so much as preview, prologue, an unheeded warning.

"This was America, this was today, and this was a Third World scene." Sean Penn

We are so far from our mythology about ourselves ... the small good news is that more and more people realize this, and eventually, if it's not too late, a critical mass might be reached ... and then ... same o same o, endless repetition going nowhere (Brown).

Return of James Baldwin

From ‘Victim’ to ‘Threat’: James Baldwin and the Demands of Self-Respect:

Lots of recent interest in his work. Glad to see it. I wrote a long piece on him for The Progressive in the 1970s. One of my literary heroes. (ref)


Hear, hear!

Ignore phony controversies: Real science welcomes scrutiny and is constantly self-correcting:

Ken Burns' Jazz

Rewatching this and and both loving it again.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Let it snow!

10,000+ UConn fans cheered on the #2 women as they destroyed #1 SC 87-62.

Watched with SlingTV, which is great. On free trial but will subscribe. Great game!

I'm On the Downhill Side

I'm on the downhill side
my best years far behind
and yet I don't complain
but celebrate my past

I'm on the downhill side
and celebrate alone
it's either this or not
celebrate at all

maybe down the road
long after dust to dust
a stranger will respond
to something that I wrote

which really is the point
more than here and now
to write something so true
it transcends space and time

this is what I grasped
is this what I reached?
I'll be the last to know
I'm on the downhill side

posted from Bloggeroid

Teaching writing

What It Was Like to Study Under Robert Stone:

posted from Bloggeroid

Sniper mentality

What's new?

Why Don’t Americans Know What Really Happened in Vietnam?:

posted from Bloggeroid

What's new?

Greed rules

You Won't Believe Time Warner's Profit On High-Speed Internet:

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Monday, 5pm

Huge women's bball game: #1 SC v. #2 Conn.

ESPN2 and I can watch with my trial Sling TV ... really looking forward to it. No crisis, please!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Second time

Just finished watching Generation War again, 3 parts, 4.5 hours. Just brilliant. At root, about five moral educations, each in its own context. Realistic, sometimes brutal, no sentimentality, as strong an anti-war drama as you'll find.

How easily we buy into our national myths. Getting nowhere, as Brown would say.
posted from Bloggeroid

Bubble burst

#7 Oregon State women beaten by unranked Washington.

Friday, February 6, 2015


After yesterday's nightmare, a quiet UNEVENTFUL day would be welcome. But who knows what H will be like today?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why just this category?

Is the Foreign Film Oscar Corrupt and Pointless?:

posted from Bloggeroid

Rio nailed it

Nightmare of a day. Rio told me how bad it could be. I didn't believe them. I do now.

Two books

I have material for two new books, I think: gather The Years into a book of memories; and poems since the last one if there are enough I own up to.

The Years is certain, and given the infrequency of recent posts, it may be time to assemble it. So doing, I may get inspired to add.


We've lived in our cottage off the street since 1998. Considerable privacy for being in the city. At first we had abandoned apple orchards on two sides, which deer visited. Morning coffee with deer to watch in the city!

But the land got developed and now we have neighbors. With our large lot, I suspect the cottage will be torn down and condos go up when we move, hopefully in Aug or Sept.

The isolation worked well for two working artists. But now, in old age, we both are ready for more company. We want quiet neighbors and a walking neigjborhood. We'll start looking next month maybe.

H's six months recovery period ends. Rio post-rehab ends. Spring begins our lives anew.

50th anniversary of Lunch Poems

Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems are being called the first tweets, which is a bit much, but they were colloquial and informal, against the academic fashion of the day.
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mailer's masterpiece?

"Absolutely astonishing," Joan Dideon said of it. I also was mightily impressed when I read it many years ago. David Eggers considers it the best book ON AMERICA in the 20th century.

So I am revisiting THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, all thousand pages of it. And early on, I'm mightily impressed once again.
posted from Bloggeroid



Wishful thinking?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ha ha!

Study Claims Too Much Running Can Be Bad for You:

posted from Bloggeroid



those guys are barbaric
they behead hostages
they burn them alive

we are civilized
we bomb the enemy
from unmanned drones

no blood on our hands
in the control room
sipping coffee

posted from Bloggeroid

Old age

Old age is like bad breath:
you look around and wonder
where everybody went.

A question

Conspiracy theories

I think he did it because the end of first half gamble - TD over FG - worked and he thought he was invincible. "What a gutsy call! What a genius!" and all that. Couldn't have happened to a larger ego ha ha.

posted from Bloggeroid


Over Half a Century After Publishing ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Harper Lee Plans to Print Second Novel:
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oregon image and reality

In 2013, Oregon had lowest high school graduation rate in the nation. Think about it.

posted from Bloggeroid

Hey, but we don't behead anyone!

Almost 2,500 Now Killed by Covert US Drone Strikes Since Obama Inauguration Six Years Ago:

posted from Bloggeroid


Almost 50 years later!

An essay I wrote as a grad student created something short of an academic firestorm ... and is still discussed!

From today: "Radical expressivists Charles Deemer and William Lutz also suggest that English position should be taught as and considered a sort of Happening."

Here is the original essay, published in 1967. My, my.

(Note I close with Norman Brown.)


Ukulele playing gives me a sore left wrist. This never happened playing guitar or banjo. Why? Only thing I can figure is on ukulele I play in many more keys, using lots of barre chords. New muscles and strains.

Sunday, February 1, 2015



After a miracle catch gave Seattle a chance to win the Superbowl, Super Coach Pete got too fancy for his own good and called a pass from the one - which was intercepted. WHY O WHY O WHY? It wasn't even 4th down. They have a super star short yardage runner .

Sometimes you should do what has been done many times before and not get cute. Super Coach blew it.

posted from Bloggeroid

More on Generation War

Reflections in no order ...

...very high production values, which means very high budget. Just enough action for "war movie" realism and horror without making action the focus.

...none of friends is nazis. One is Jewish. Makes for a story about moral decline and/or growth.

...much more to learn from stories of war "losers" than "winners" ... none of the saving the world for democracy stuff American audiences usually get.

...great script and acting, filled with delicious one-liners ... "we start out heroes and end up assholes." cheap shots or sentimentality. Makes it hard to watch at times. H couldn't watch at all.

...Amer network shd pick this up. Americans need to see it. Our war movies are spoiled by patriotic mythology.

...I think this almost matches Homer and Shakespeare for a war epic!
posted from Bloggeroid

Upcoming from Round Bend Press

Generation War

Just finished the epic 3-part German mini-series Generation War ... more to say after I recover from it. For now, suffice to say ...

#brilliant, beginning with concept to follow 5 close friends, young, idealistic, naive Germans through last, losing years of WWII.

#best WWII drama I've seen.

#as strong an anti-war drama as anything in the literature.

For now, wipe my tears and try to stop shaking.

Corporate dream

A study reveals that today's 4-hour entertainment will include less than 20 minutes of actual football action. No wonder corporations are drooling, with so many millions of eyes and ears with nothing to do.