How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Friday, July 31, 2015

Good trick

Panda Accused Of Faking Pregnancy To Get Better Food -

posted from Bloggeroid

Good cop

Cop Fixes Boy's Bike, Takes 'Serve And Protect' To New Level -

posted from Bloggeroid

Blue moon tonight ... next in 2018

Blue moon: how to see tonight’s 'rare' event

posted from Bloggeroid

Caraway rye

posted from Bloggeroid


Baking bread at this silent hour.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Shell 1 Greenpeace 1

Shell Oil icebreaker clears Portland's St. Johns Bridge after Greenpeace protesters earlier blocked ship's passage - @KATUNews broadcast

Feel good and symbolic. Shell marches on. Obama marches on.

posted from Bloggeroid

This morning

What a gorgeous morning! Forecast for over 100 later but at the moment couldn't be more comfortable here on the deck with the AlphaSmart. Blue sky, birds feeding, relatively quiet -- we do get nearby traffic noise at rush hour times like now.


Ice breaker started on the move, changed its mind and turned around. Small victory for Greenpeace. I suppose now the authorities have to figure out how to arrest the dangling activists. No easy chore, especially safely.


posted from Bloggeroid

Virtual rally

Bernie Sanders' massive online house party hosts an estimated 100,000

posted from Bloggeroid


Judge rules Greenpeace will be fined $2,500 an hour if protest blocking Shell ship in Portland, Ore., continues - @AP

Fine increases each day ... liberal millionaire needs to step up to cover it. It's 10 grand an hour by Monday!

posted from Bloggeroid

Greenpeace 1. Shell 0

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Morning II

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Good morning

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the Guardian

Activists hang from bridge in Portland to block Shell's Arctic vessel

posted from Bloggeroid

Scotch eggs!

Preparing for breakfast tomorrow. Haven't made them in years.
posted from Bloggeroid


Sweet, sweet, sweet!
posted from Bloggeroid

Test run

Grilling tonight to get used to new hardware ... food actually secondary, something simple.

posted from Bloggeroid

New stands

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Photo: 55 'kayaktivists' are below St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Ore., holding signs, chanting support for the Greenpeace protest - @AnthonyCongi

Activists are hanging from bridge ... action at last!

posted from Bloggeroid


Our major heat wave, a week pushing 100, officially begins at noon. In the meantime, it's a quite pleasant morning. I'm on the deck with the AlphaSmart, on vacation, blessed, somewhat amazed at my good fortune and timing in this life I can't imagine being significantly younger than I am in the decaying, dying planet we've created. I can't imagine being a writer in such a bottom line literary environment, so different from when I began my studies in the sixties, when ideas mattered more than money.

My new project is keeping my mind active. Maybe that's the point ha ha. I am curious, however, if I actually can pull it off -- if I have time and energy to do it. Younger, I know I could do it. Today, slower, less patient, with far less faith in the purpose of my writing, I'm not so sure. I think I largely do this from habit now. It's how I learned to exist in the world.

Of course, I like it when someone remembers my work. This happens now and again. That wonderful actor a few months back, going on and on. Oblivion is not yet complete!

The nice thing about the university gig is that it was the one place I still felt "respected," that is, someone who did work worth doing and worth paying attention to. In the 1980s I felt that here in the community at large but not since then. I got spoiled early on, obviously. But it's important that I had my time in the spotlight, so to speak, so now, older, I don't feel like I've missed anything. I learned how much of it is bullshit -- especially when I became one of the judges who decide who is in the spotlight, who gets the grant. It's all politics, and a lot of crooked politics at that. When I was in the spotlight, I made the mistake of believing it actually had something to do with me and my work. It's far more complicated, far more sinister, than that. Art simply has no important function in our capitalist society -- except at personal levels. At social and political levels, it's all about commodities in a marketplace.

As I like to say, in a sane culture reading THE QUIET AMERICAN would have made the Vietnam war impossible!

But here I am, and my blessings far outweigh my disagreements. It's a gorgeous morning, coming heat wave or not, and the birds are feeding, it is pleasant here on the deck, with iced coffee at hand ... so far, so good, for the last Wednesday in July.

Looking forward to grilling with hard wood, learning new skills, adding to my cooking skills. Bread and biscuits are the mainstays, of course. I tried other things but didn't enjoy the results enough to continue. So I need more activity in this area.

The yard is a mess but hot and dry, at least it's not growing.

I need to spend time with banjo and ukulele today! Really. Maybe even record. And start getting Avalon down.

We need to take a trip to Boise so H can visit a grandson. While in the area, should explore southern Idaho. I know northern Idaho well, Dick Crooks country, but have done little exploring in the south. My old friend Tom just bought a house in Pocatello ... some place to visit after he moves. He loves the area, his home.

Brooding about Dancing ... in a theoretical sense, the landscape of its narrative is based on Brown's extraordinary contention that Freud's reality principle is false: that, in fact, the line between wish and deed does not exist. ! Well, if this were true, that thinking an action is, in fact, doing the action, how would this affect action in a narrative? That's how my characters do time travel so easily: the imagination itself is the landscape of the action. Will it work with a reader? Well, with some, I assume. But it has to work with me first. And that's what I'm working on ha ha.

There is a rather serious and considered theoretical basis for all the apparent craziness in this narrative! Be great if I can actually make it work ha ha.
posted from Bloggeroid


My latest adventure is to improve my grilling skills: move from briquettes to lump coal and hard wood, use a chimney starter, experiment with rubs, return to my Korean marinade, etc. Starting this weekend, I think. The more labor intensive, the better.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Not at all sure I have the energy to do all the work required to pull off Dancing. I won't release a halfass version. We'll see how it goes ... but the research required is considerable, with so many historic characters.

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Peterson plays Porter

Sounding good tonight!

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On the AlphaSmart

Worked on a rather gruesome scene at Little Big Horn ... this taspestry, and it is that, will be fun to shape and perfect once I get the Big Picture down. One of the important things I learned as a writer, which I always emphasized to my students, is that "being bad" is part of the process. You MAKE writing good, it doesn't start out good. In a huge project like this, one can get bogged down on trying to be too good too early. I learned to just let it all spew out and to worry about "being good" after I actually have a lot of words to fiddle with and rework. I knew a writer who had been working on chapter one of his novel for years and years! Wrong approach.

Feel like work is done for the day. Maybe some yard work, and some music practice, but the hard work for Tuesday is done, I think. Good.

Got a charcoal chimney. Hoping to improve my bbq skills. Maybe start using lump coal.

Time for a leaf lard run.

New issue of The Progressive dedicated to food crisis, now and soon, and while there is good news with regard to indie farming, the overall picture is pretty grim with corporate farming in control.

Impossible to be "pure" as a citizen here.


We both crashed big time after lunch ... nap time. I'm revived and feel better than I often do after a nap, H still in bed.

Man, this heat spell coming is getting a lot of alarms, a week of almost 100. We don't have AC but we do have a great fan and our area is usually cooler than the city at large. I'm not too worried about it, though H is already groaning. Sketch will join her.

Practice a little music tonight, I think.

posted from Bloggeroid


Native American Civil Rights Activist Dies Mysteriously In Police Custody:

posted from Bloggeroid

Heat wave

Breaking news on Oregon, US:

posted from Bloggeroid

Looking ahead

My focus in the first draft of Dancing is architecture and shape. I am trying to get the big picture as cloase as possible, the order of things, the balance of things. I don't like outlines so I do this within the form itself, knowing I can change all the language later if I have to. But I want the dramatic sequence, the order of layering, as cloae as possible.

Will work on manuscript later while my laundry is being done ... basement activities.

Also, Avalon, the current uke song, is featured in my jazz book, so I should be able to work out an impressive arrangement of it.

The week is starting out well. I like it.

posted from Bloggeroid

Biscuits kind of morning

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, July 27, 2015

On the AlphaSmart

A very productive Monday on Dancing on the Titanic. The tone and point of view set ... 30 pages in and I think the strategy of the narrative is established. Now it has to add up to something ha ha and the whole be greater than the sum of its parts.

I think I'll make biscuits tonight. H off to a women's group potluck.

Nice to feel like I accomplished something today.


Climate change 'triple threat' increases severe flooding risk in biggest US cities

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Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is An Issue Now, Not The Next Millennium -

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I'm really jacked about this new cable. Before I had to bring the AS down to my office for xfer on the laptop, which is why entries accumulated. Now I can xfer directly to the Kindle Fire, which is what I use most of the time for just about everything. The wonders of technology. But I did have to order the cable from Singapore. Apparently AS to Kindle transfers aren't all that frequent ha ha.

So this is a test, to transfer on the spot. Here we go ...

posted from Bloggeroid


The entry below was transferred directly from the AlphaSmart to the Kindle! This required a special, obscure cable, which I had to order from Singapore ... just arrived and works perfectly! Saves a step, i.e. the transfer only from AS to laptop.

SUNDAY. Progress! I played the difficult B part of Sandy River Belle to speed without error twice in a row, a sign of sure progress. Can record it soon.

Reading "The Use and Abuse of Literature" which may become a source, a quoted source, in the new novel, using a non-fiction technique in fiction, i.e. documenting sources. It will be a strange book, to say the least. I wrote a new foreword, hoping in less than a page to set the tone and make things more comprehensible to the reader, who will be faced with layers of material, time travel, shifting protagonists, and all order of non-commercial (ha ha) techniques.

Busy day tomorrow. Housekeeper day. And I have my annual medical checkup in the morning. I dread the argument I'll have with my doctor whenever it is I "get" something because I am inclined to treat nothing in the future but pain. I have no desire to live beyond my natural order of life. I somewhat regret getting my heart pacer, as a matter of fact, because the battery lasts so goddamn long. I don't have to live that long. Yes, I want to finish this book, but christ, I have no desire to live beyond common sense.

Just checked the battery here ... 97%. I saw an old add that listed 700 hours as the life of 3 AA batteries on this remarkable writing tool. But I know no other writer who uses it.

Design of the narrative

This might give you a sense of how layered and complex the new narrative will be ...


Thanks for meeting with me, says the Author.
What’s up?, asks the Reader.
You wanted to know about my next novel. There may not be one -- but if there is, it will be written under unusual circumstances. I do have one in mind and very much want to write it but I don’t have the time to do it the way I usually work. But I’ve come up with an alternative methodology that should get down its essence.
What’s the problem? Are you ill?
I don’t want to get into it. Suffice it to say, there are both physical and mental conditions that make it impossible for me to develop a new book in my usual way.
But you have an idea for a new novel?
Yes. The concept is very clear to me. I’ll write the novel on the fly, so to speak. I’m giving you the opportunity, as a loyal fan of my work, to come with me on the journey of its creation.
I’m not sure I understand.
I’ll let you read pages as they develop. I’ll even answer your questions along the way.
You mean, I’ll read a draft?
Yes and no. The pages will be reworked but not as rigorously as in the past.
If you’re asking if I want to read new work by you, of course I do.
Good. One more thing: this will be a very layered, very different kind of book in terms of its structure. You may get lost along the way at first. But since you’re a fan, I was hoping you could hang in there, especially early on, and give me the benefit of the doubt. I expect it to be worth your effort.
Of course I can. When do we begin?
We already have.

Part One:

Once upon a time …”

Athens, Greece
399 B.C.

I recognize him immediately: short but not as stocky as I was led to believe from history books; slumped forward toward the gathering of youth around him; gesturing as he talks or, perhaps more accurately, engages them in his famous dialectic. The boys range in age from preteen to teen, younger than I expected. Not what I would call a college student among them. But maybe this is not his typical audience. I am here for the first time.
I approach and stand behind the small crowd, wondering how to get his attention. Then a soldier makes it easy for me, running forward as if just discovering the gathering, waving his sword, yelling at the boys (in Greek, of course), who immediately scatter, leaving Socrates and I alone. The soldier wags a finger at Socrates, then gives me a puzzling look before moving away. Older than the philosopher, I may be just another street nuisance.
I step forward.
Socrates,” I begin.
His puzzlement matches the soldier’s.
Have we met?”
Not really. I mean, only in books. I’m not really, well …”
How do I explain who I am and how I got here?
Socrates says, “I thought he was going to arrest me again.”
Can we talk?”
Of course. I will talk to anyone. What do you want to talk about?”
I glance around, feeling ill at ease. Around us, the Athens street is busy with peddlers and pedestrians, all watched carefully by scattered soldiers.
Socrates says, “You said you wanted to talk.”
I do. I’m very familiar with your work.”
Really? I don’t recall seeing you before.”
In books, I mean.”
You mentioned that. What are books?”
This is very complicated,” I begin. I realize that I’m speaking in Greek. I don’t know Greek. But there you are. I continue:
I’ve always cherished your ideas. Especially the one about the unexamined life is not worth living. But as I’ve grown older, after many, many years of examining my own life, it occurred to me that you never actually said that the examined life, in contrast, actually is worth living. Lately I’ve been asking myself if my entire existence has been something of a sham. As a writer, you see, I’ve spent considerable time examining my own experience, looking for meaning in what happens to me and what happens to others. I’ve examined my life obsessively, believe me! But for what? To what end? I certainly haven’t found happiness from so much soul searching. I’ve only had a modicum of success as a writer. I do have a very large literary archive. But what good is it? I’ve been writing seriously for over half a century. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time. You might say I’ve lost the faith that what I do matters. I had it when I was younger. But no more.”
I’m sweating. I feel as if I might faint.
Socrates looks upset.
He says simply, “Come with me.”
He starts away. I follow him.

Portland, Oregon
July 14, 2015


After the funeral, before meeting the others at Lucky’s Bar for what would become an improvised wake, CJ ducked away to call the apartment manager. Having decided to remain in Portland, at least for the time being, he needed a place to stay and that morning had looked at a studio between the gentrified borders of the Northwest and Pearl districts, a small, ignored neighborhood north of Glisan St. suggesting the old bohemian Portland CJ recalled so fondly. The price was right and CJ wanted it badly. In his two years absence, prices had skyrocketed and soon Portland would be beyond his fixed income.

I’m stopping a moment to make a small change.
Do I wait here?
Please. I won’t be long.
You said I was allowed to ask questions?
Of course.
Let me make sure I have the back story right. CJ has been on the road since leaving Portland a few years ago. Living in his van. Traveling all over the country.
Right. That’s all set up in my earlier novel, Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones.
Got it. So he’s been on the road but comes back to Portland for a funeral.
Kayla’s funeral.
Oh no! I liked her. You had to kill her?
I didn’t kill her. She killed herself. I’m ready to continue now.

I got the studio,” CJ told Molly as he sat down. At Lucky’s the others had pushed several tables together, and Molly had saved him a seat next to her.


Pooped. Feel like I've put in a day's work.

Old school

Just spent an hour in my basement office, working on Dancing. Haven't done this in ages. Have 30 pages I like ... sets up how the narrative works, begins the CJ story. Exciting.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Uses in obscure places

From a thesis written at a University in India:


Deemer, Charles. The Seagull Hyperdrama. 2004. Sextant Books


A thesis on Chekhov, of course, but it impresses me if the writer actually studied my hyperdrama, rather than just listing it.

Once your work is "out there," surprising connections can happen. Rather the point of it all.
posted from Bloggeroid

Fix it

Student sexual violence: 'leaving each university to deal with it isn't working'

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Triple play!

Mariners just pulled one. Amazing. Don't see these often.

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On the AlphaSmart

MONDAY. Memory and Mythology.

Living with H's memory loss brings home how important memory is to giving stability and continuity to a life This is why memory gets institutionalized in rituals and memorials. Makes much more sense to me now. Unfortunately, the process also turns memory into mythology, a distorted memory slanted for political or religious purposes Then generations get raised on lies.

A great example of the situation here regards our house. When H returned from the hospital in Oct., she stated that she no longer could live in our house. Too isolated, reminded her of her heart attack. I love the house and had no desire to move. Sit on it, I suggested. But she insisted. Reluctantly I agreed, we would sell the house and move.

It was a gigantic task to get the house ready to sell. But I started, found a real estate agent, and so on.

Some months along the way, H had a fit one day because I was selling the house. It was very important to her to own a house. Her parents never owned a house. Ownership was part of her image of herself as successful. Why am I doing this to her?

Wait a minute! You are the one who wanted to sell the house. I'm just trying to be nice here.

What? What?

So we got that straightened out. But that is how crazy and frustrating the days can become here.


TUESDAY. Baking bread. Sanity! Might follow with traditional biscuits since the oven is hot.

Music, research, yard work kind of day.


WED. Definitely off to a better start, yard work and uke practice done before H got up. Banjo left, and research and maybe writing. And some outside chores.

No end of things to do. The issue is energy. Sometimes it just tanks beyond recovery. Old age, I suppose.

Overwhelmed by the reading, research, I  need to do to write with authority over so large a span of world history. Always better to over prepare in this regard. Meanwhile I can push the story along, adding the realistic details later. Should do that for efficiency.

Another technique idea: use sources the way non-fiction uses them.

THURS. Under the weather ... but a good day! No pressure. Progress on banjo, each song with a challenging moment. Research and decision re project ... need to get into manuscript tomorrow. No complaints today ... made olive bread and for dinner homemade pasta, yum! Homemade is always better.


FRIDAY. Despite a low energy day, I got some work done on the project manuscript, an important early section. And made a little progress on banjo. All the same, very low energy and little zest today.


SATURDAY. Been in a funky space lately. Consistent with a theme in the project actually! Life imitates art. Happens to me all the time.

Slow day, which is fine. Cooking lentils. Chose next songs: Avalon on ukulele, June Apple on banjo.

Watching a cooking show bbquing a whole pig. Pig Roast memories!


SUNDAY. Still trying to get back on track ... maybe under the weather was more, but it was a rough week, though I did get some things done. But my attitude sucked most of the time ... a theme in the new book! Writing is a disease.

Anyway, if I can actually pull this sucker off, which is mainly getting the point of view and tone right, I think, it could be something. But it won't be easy.

Two tracks

Rough test of recording on two tracks in Audacity ... pretty straight forward unless I am missing something. Will record instruments soon.

posted from Bloggeroid


Wi-Fi at the oasis: Dubai using solar-powered ‘smart palm trees’ to distribute free Internet access:

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Sleeping in

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Saturday, July 25, 2015


I need to find energy ...

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Once upon a time

RIP, Middle Class. It Was Nice While It Lasted:
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I won't vote in US elections anymore – I don't want to be part of a racist system

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American rut

Waco, Columbine, Aurora and Newtown: 20 years of mass shootings that changed (and didn't change) America

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Perptual War, a poem

Tick tick ...

UN Climate Chief: 'We're at Five Minutes to Midnight':

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Tragedy (again)

Bill Nye on the Monsanto Eco Disaster: ‘We Accidentally Decimated the Monarch Butterfly Population’:

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Banjo challenges

Getting drop thumb smooth in one song; quick and smooth fretboard movement on the other. I'm getting there.

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Olive bread

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Dog Has Total Happiness Meltdown After Owner Returns From Trip -

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I have my banjo, with nylon strings and muted head, now sounding PERFECT to my ear and tastes. It's a great motivator.

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Under the weather

Advantages: no guilt for doing nothing!

But I still practice the banjo and brood about the project.

Realization: new journalism and creative non-fiction wrote non-fiction with techniques of fiction. In project I am writing fiction with techniques of non-fiction.

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Music update

Up to speed on ukulele ... close on banjo.

Next week's banjo songs will be Blackberry Blossom and June Apple.

Waiting to hear from teacher for this week's Django.

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Life in universe

Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Center, says on discovery of Kepler-452b: 'It's awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That's substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.' - @NASAKepler

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Guardian Live: Is capitalism dead?

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Like this guy

The world’s most charismatic mathematician

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under the weather

take it easy

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Doctorow II

EL Doctorow, Witness to 'This Terrifying Century,' Dies at 84 :

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E.L. Doctorow's Novels About American History Changed the Future of Fiction:

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At last

Yard work before breakfast ... something accomplished!

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Strange day

A strange Tuesdsy ... started great with baking bread and biscuits ... out to breakfast with H, also good ... home and suddenly tired, a nap and worse, through the rest of the day feeling drugged ... nothing accomplished ... highlight, listening to Ms come from behind win with pinch hitting grand slam in 8th.

Zero sum universe.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015


President Obama calls E.L. Doctorow 'one of America's greatest novelists,' saying 'his books taught me much, and he will be missed' - @POTUS

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R.I.P. E. L. Doctorow

A fine writer! I favor his lesser known novel The Book of Daniel.
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Deal for Oregon star

Tennessee Titans and first-round pick Marcus Mariota agree to contract terms, team says - @WSMV

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From "Dylan Goes Electric!"

 Bonnie Beecher, recalled him playing the Elliott albums, one after another, insisting that she recognize their brilliance: “Literally, you are in this room until you’ve heard them all, and you get it.”
Dylan was perplexed by his growing fame, hurt by Newsweek’s gotcha journalism, and unprepared for situations like the ECLC dinner, and he responded by becoming more withdrawn and introspective, and more insistent on following his own direction.
 In March, he and Baez did a joint tour of the Northeast, and she was troubled by the change in his attitude: “The kids were calling out for him to do the songs that meant something to them, like ‘Masters of War’ and ‘With God on Our Side,’” she remembered. “He didn’t care. They were reaching out to him, and he didn’t care. He just wanted to rock and roll.”
 What no one seems to have noted was that on another level “Only a Pawn” expressed a sensibility at odds with any mass movement.
 We were learning firsthand that the so-called national ‘folk boom’ had more to do with celebrity than with any deep grassroots interest.

Land and commerce

Apache Stronghold Caravan Calls to Protect Sacred Sites After Clause Slipped into NDAA Allows Mining:

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Joan Didion

How Joan Didion Became the Ultimate Literary Celebrity:

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Monday, July 20, 2015

First take

Started Dylan book ... excellent!

Nelson remembered Dylan changing instantly and dramatically after hearing those first Jack Elliott albums: “He came back in a day, or two at the most, and . . . from being a crooner basically, nothing special . . . he came back and sounded like he did on the first  Columbia record."

Columbia record.” from Bloggeroid

Good for them

Canadian women win country's 1st-ever Pan Am basketball gold medal, defeating the USA 81-73 - @CityNews

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Guardian noticed ... not our media

Republicans chose different path when John Kerry's war record was questioned

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Where we live

Dramatic Photo Of Earth Is Probe's First To Show Entire Sunlit Side Of Planet -

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Our future

First Half Of 2015 Was Hottest Ever Recorded -

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War hero

Remember when Kerry's war service was questioned? I didn't see Republicans having fits then.

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Music goals

For the week ...

Banjo: get Old Joe Clark and Sandy River Belle to recording status.

Ukulele: play 4 Django songs to date at 75%.

Might be too much.

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America must lead the climate change fight or our leadership record is toast

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Dylan Goes Electric!

On the 50th anniversary, a new book. Can't wait to read it.
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Sunday, July 19, 2015

On the AlphaSmart

THURSDAY. Spirits up since the morning reengagement of my unconscious into my work routine ... and the new opening is wearing well, this definitely is beginning to come together in terms of opening with the right tone and point of view. Essential ... if they are wrong, everything is wrong.

So I am more excited than ever about the project because it looks closer to being able to work.

Tons of reading to do, research ... on classical Anthens and Sophocles ... Little Big Horn and Sitting Bull ... sinking of the Titanic ... the logistics of Whitman museum, and artifacts in museums generally. This is a huge project. Hope I live long enough to finish it.

But it should keep me busy and distracted from our dying planet. Dancing on the Titanic.


FRIDAY. Up early to beat commuter traffic, take dog to special vet in Vancouver ... breakfast, out and back to bed! Now we're both getting up at noon. Jeez.

Get my nylon strings tomorrow ... eager to tune up the banjo! Try to find all the tabs from my classes. See what books I still have ... gave a ton of book to VA.

Still half asleep. Energy issue in old age.


SATURDAY. On the deck. A gorgeous morning, before a forecast scorcher. And a big day! Nylon strings arrive today, I hope sooner rather than later, and I can spend a few hours getting them on and stretched and then see how they sound on the banjo. Great, I am assuming and hope ... and then I can reengage my clawhammer self, while moving the ukulele focus to jazz chords.  I am getting a lot of new musical energy, thanks to the jazz class, the discovery of 6 chords, Django's staple, and other things.

Sketch his old self after a full day at the vet, teeth matters, and all looks well. At 13 years, S is in better shape than the vet specialist expected. And the expense is less than I expected. Everybody happy ha ha.

One thing I will do with banjo this time around is learn more songs on alternative tunings, esp sawmill and double c.

Want to check out software for recording on two tracks ... might do some uke-banjo duets.

So much reading and research to do for the new project! Months and months.


Not as easy as I thought but have nylon strings on the banjo. Like the different, more mellow sound. Takes a day or two to stretch them out to stay in tune.

So two musical studies ... clawhammer banjo, jazz ukulele. Keep me out of trouble.

Overwhelmed by what I need to know for project. Reading, research.

SUNDAY. Need to get this out of the AlphaSmart and into the blog.

Mariners game, golf, hot day with diversions to keep me distracted.

Been practicing a little banjo. Love the sound now! It's damn near perfect for what I want to hear, flat and mellow old timey sound. The head mute is the trick, with the nylon strings.

Well, enough. Brooding about the project, always. Movie execs in the studio days used to look into the writers room and see everybody staring into space. Nobody working! Ha ha.

Trade secret

Getting the right sound by muting ...

posted from Bloggeroid

On a roll

Photo: Overflow crowd for Bernie Sanders event in Texas fills Sheraton Dallas ballroom and lobby - @BudKennedy

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New tech challenge

Record with two tracks, ukulele and banjo ... put some songs together. Clawhammer jazz???

Need to learn how to do this on Audacity.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders draws more than 11,000 to rally in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., on Saturday night - @washingtonpost

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Whole wheat biscuits

For Harriet. I prefer traditional.

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Night and day

Tiger Woods’ denial over fall from grace makes decline harder to bear

"10 years ago it would have been difficult to imagine ever feeling pity for Tiger Woods. To call him the world’s most dominant athlete, which he was, only undersold his broader significance. He was larger than life, the rare chosen one who not only met but surpassed the stratospheric expectations placed upon him and held the world in his thrall. That was then."

What a crash. The mental game tanked.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, July 18, 2015

O weather!

Hawaii Just Got Hit By A July Snow Storm (Seriously) -

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The sound

Created the banjo sound I'm after by muting the head with a t-shirt. Love it.

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Can't help it

Here alone, hot, hungry, little energy ... what for dinner?

Biscuits and gravy!

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Friday, July 17, 2015


Why This Scientist-Turned-Monk Is Calling For An 'Altruism Revolution' -

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Thursday, July 16, 2015


Returning to clawhammer banjo, but putting nylon strings on. Ukulele to focus on jazz ... going to take part 2 of class in fall, getting good chord knowledge from it.

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Al Gore on Obama's Plan for Arctic Drilling: It's 'Insane':

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The short life and mysterious death of Bobby Fuller, rock'n'roll king of Texas

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Merkel 'gambling away' Germany's reputation over Greece, says Habermas

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Too late

Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists

Dancing on the Titanic sounds like the right image to me.

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Whole wheat

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Good idea

JetBlue's Free Book Vending Machines Bring Summer Reading To Kids In Need -

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Good cop

Texas Police Officer Pulls Woman Over, Ends Up Saving Her Life -

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A breakthrough morning! Not for content but method, waking with a narrative in my head. My unconscious is back on the payroll.

But the content feels right, too. The tone especially right. Will get this down today.

Man, doors have opened!

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Amazon Echo

At a sale yesterday, they sold out 4000 in 15 mins. We love ours, now a part of the household.

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Quotation of the day

"...the usual jokes about the army aside, one of the many fine things one has to admit is the way that the army has carried the american democratic ideal to it's logical conclusion in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and colour, but also on the grounds of ability." --Tom Lehrer

Morning SF Chronicle

"The number of homeless people on San Francisco's streets has stubbornly remained nearly the same over the past two years - and that population is now sicker, older and being shoved into different neighborhoods by gentrification, new city statistics show."

Sounds typical.

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The old juices

Woke up with a new opening in my head. Getting it down is the day's project.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Old story

Feds Raid Native American Reservation, Seize 12,000 Legal Marijuana Plants:

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1978, a glimpse of the literary scene in Portland.

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On and on

Past the midnight deadline now, Greek debate goes on ... fascinating in a sad way. A woman speaking now:

The people gave a clear “No” in this month’s referendum, says Konstantopoulou - we don’t have the right to interpret it as a “Yes”, or a “No with conditions”.

5m ago

Getting into her stride, Konstantopoulou says the bailout deal is a coup, a crime against humanity which could lead to social genocide.

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The app for the Guardian smokes all other news sources I've tried re Greek crisis: live streaming in Parliament, live blogging for frequent updates, summaries, photos ... impressive!

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To the streets, Pope!

Pope Francis Is Inviting Mayors From Around The World To Talk About Climate Change -

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New York City Is Turning Smart Garbage Bins Into Free WiFi Hotspots -

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Good cop

Cop Buys Diapers, Shoes For Mom Of 6 Caught Shoplifting -

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Migrant Laborers In California Get Free English Classes From Local Charitable Teen -

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Models for us all

How Kids In Crisis Zones Are Still Managing To Have Fun This Summer -

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Ah, debate in Athens is like debate in D.C.: lots of hot air with few paying attention.

Pluto and Politics, what a marriage in our species.

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The other mode of humanity

Nasa to unveil 'surprise' Pluto photos and New Horizons discoveries

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The bad news, this level of deprivation not even close to what food and water shortages ahead will bring.

Where in hell is a sense of urgency among "leaders"?

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I can get a live stream of current debate in Greek parliament with English translstion.

This feels big ... if countries in similar fixes join a protest against EU ... big banks ... corp capitalism... the little guys of the world are really pissed, as they should be. Get a charismatic leader and ... it could go left or right.

Lots of older Greeks remembering WWII and Germany then. I won't be surprised if this gets really ugly.

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Turning violent

Greek crisis: Protests in Athens as Tsipras urges MPs to back him

Attending tonight’s demonstration is Mikalis Simeakis, who used to work as a producer for TV and radio commercials but has been unemployed for nearly four years; he lost two jobs in succession at the start of the crisis.

He tells Emma:

“We feel there has been a coup in our country. Tsipras let down everyone. I didn’t vote him but I supported him in the referendum two weeks ago.”

“You might not see that many people here, because the government has made people think that no matter what they do nothing will change, but it doesn’t mean they want this”

“If English people want to leave the EU, we want to leave ten times more.” 

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The crisis

Greek crisis: Protests in Athens as Tsipras urges MPs to back him

Protests and riot police in Athens

Nearly six months ago, the centre of Athens was filled with triumphant Syriza supports after Alexis Tsipras was swept to victory, on a promise to end austerity and negotiate a better deal with creditors.

10 days ago, the centre of Athens was filled with triumphant No supporters after Greece gave a loud OXI to its lenders’ demands.

Tonight, the centre of Athens is home to protesters, and riot police, in a depressing reminder of dark days earlier in the debt crisis

There’s no sign of trouble yet, but there’s still a hefty police presence.

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Shameful but not surprising

American exceptionalism

The United States: Where Climate Change Is Not Seen as a Top Threat:

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No! It was in the contract.

US judge to rule if woman can use embryos against ex-husband’s wishes

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Ingrid Bergman: a life in pictures

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Down with Kickstarter! Where art is concerned, the crowd is an idiot

"Where exactly, in history, are these wise crowds? Do you mean the hordes who joined the first crusade and immediately started murdering Jews? The mobs who attacked Catholics, immigrants and foreigners in the 18th-century Gordon riots? Or the people who join in social media attacks on supposedly outrageous remarks by some poor sod or other?

The Arab Spring failed because it had too much crowd “wisdom” and not enough good leaders. Ed Miliband made a terrible mistake when he mistook the crowds that follow Russell Brand online for people smart enough to vote.

The crowd is a fool."

Ah so long ago, Ezra Pound nailed this Democratic Lowest Common Denominator art & literature foolishness in his book, The ABC of Reading.

Crowd foolishness has become pandemic.

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Surprised and delighted

US triumphs in 'hardest ever' maths Olympiad

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... or just awake after crashing at 8:30. At least it's quiet.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New frontiers

This skill may be the only thing that continues the species. Earth's hospitality is a victim of our own greed. On to other planets to live!

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Dear White People: We Are All Atticus Finch -

" James Baldwin told us this 50 years ago, at the height of the civil rights movement -- and just two years after To Kill a Mockingbird made its celebrated debut. "This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen," he wrote. "That they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.

"It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime."

It is the innocence which constitutes the crime."

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Mission Operations Manager

Alice Bowman

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Joy at Mission Control

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Pluto flyby: New Horizons probe makes contact with Earth

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"Politics is pissing in public." (N. O. Brown)

Greece: Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind, And you Know That Notion Just Crossed My Mind:

Time on this obscenity:

Of all the aspects of Monday’s bailout deal that Greeks found humiliating, nothing drilled into their sense of pride quite like their government’s promise to sell off “valuable Greek assets” to the tune of 50 billion euros. The seven-page agreement, which European leaders thrashed out over the weekend, made no mention of where Greece is supposed to find that much property to sell. But as they scrambled for options, officials in Athens saw no way around the blood-curdling prospect of auctioning off Greek islands, nature preserves or even ancient ruins.

“It’s an affront,” says Georgios Daremas, a strategist and adviser to the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Social Solidarity. “It’s basically saying sell the memory of your ancestors, sell your history just so we can get something commercial for it,” he tells TIME on Monday. “This is an idea to humiliate Greeks.”

posted from Bloggeroid


Global warming is causing rain to melt the Greenland ice sheet

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On the AlphaSmart

A new title for the project: Dancing On The Titanic. Because that is what I am doing ... the question, why write anything given the dreary decline of the planet, which looks more dismal every day? It is like dancing on the Titanic: facing imminent death with present joy. The interior drama of the book, between Author and Reader, mediated by CJ. So we should go to the Titanic as well as to ancient Greece and the Little Big Horn.

Talk about an ambitious, difficult novel! But I love the challenge.


How best to set up the strange "rules" of the narrative? Very critical to do this and very early on. The special tone and rules here.


MONDAY. On the deck, trying a new way to set the tone for the new book.


Wrote something. Needs a lot of work but I think the concept might be right, the way to begin the adventure.


On the deck, just past noon. Watching the birds feed. Trying to get my head into vacation mode, out of a slight funk that's been with me for some days now.

Trying to convince H to take several day vacation and rent cabin on McKenzie River out of Eugene. Haven't been there in decades but it is gorgeous. Many fond memories from grad school days. Be nice to get away for a few days before a longer trip to Boise after Labor Day, to see her incarcerated grandson.

I am not sure I have the stamina to do the new project ... each one comes harder than the one before. Maybe it's just old age. Or increased challenges and ambition.

Already worn out for the day. A little writing, a batch of biscuits ... so little can exhaust me these days. That's either pathetic, symptomatic or normal. Not sure which ha ha.


Outliving your best friends sucks.


TUESDAY. On the deck. Sometimes the lack of continuity in my every day life, due to H's memory loss and the constant reinvention of the wheel, not only daily but sometimes hourly, really gets to me and I want to go jump off the nearest bridge. I need a vacation -- ALONE. Might have to work out something along those lines.

I have a transition from mission to Little Big Horn that will work, I think, in the seamless "quantum landscape" I have in mind. Can try it soon. I think these moments need to come early in the narrative to set the reader up for more to come. The real fun, for me, is after I have a workable draft and can start fiddling with it. These pieces are like, will be like, pulling teeth.

Writing here makes me feel a tad saner than I felt before I started. Writing has been my salvation before.


CONTINUITY. Perhaps one reason lack of continuity flips me out today is that my life has been defined with whole cloth, my life's work a testament of continuity. Indeed, the half-century old story from LITERARY REVIEW, "Fragments Before the Fall," which I wrote in one quick sitting, angry at getting a mailbox full of rejection slips, replying with my "fuck you" artistic statement, trying to show what my work was about, why I write, sending it right back to LR -- which accepted it!, a victory of passion over rationality, I suppose; this work speaks to me today, is still the principle from which I write, though with virtually no audience now, which I try not to get me down, thinking, or hallucinating, that I will have an audience in the future, as past old work has found an audience as much as 30+ years after it was written ... you have to keep the faith to a degree to write at all, unless you decide going in that you are in diary mode. But I've always been a public writer, whether in a popular or oblivious part of my professional cycle. The point being, Continuity is the bread that feeds me in my professional life, it is stressful when it disappears in my personal life.

I really should be living alone in a studio apt in the southwest now, I think, among strangers, doing my work and maybe finding a few friends to pass time with. I am not a good care giver, though I always do my best. But I don't know if H will ever give up her old habits and ghosts and live in a present tense reality again, dealing with her limitations instead of pretending they don't exist and putting up such a bullshit front to her family and friends. I seem to be the only one who experiences her reality.

I love this house, though. If I can figure out how to deal with H's changes in a less stressful way, this could be a great place to spend my final years, writing, brooding, watching the birds. Especially in summer, good weather. This is like a vacation cabin at its best. Like now, I really dig being out here, pounding on the AlphaSmart.

L in LA is the human who knows me best, the one still alive. I wish she were closer to hang with. She has known me for most of her life, over half a century, and she has seen me at my best and at my worst. She knows me as a writer, though I'm not sure she is "a fan." Nor is H a fan, really. That's fine but inconvenient. It's nice to be around folks who give you strokes.

I had a great, major stroke running into an old actor acquaintance a few months ago. In a social setting, he went on and on and on about how great my plays are, how important my work is, etc, and this to a crowd around us, he went on so much I actually got embarrassed, and it's not easy to embarrass me. But what mattered to me was this: if you were there, if you saw the work, you remember! And I don't think the work is less powerful now, it's just invisible. Someone should revive it. Etc etc etc. I guess I am close to whining so better stop. I abhor whiners haha.