Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why Write in a Time of Such Madness?

(To the good thing in each life that evil would love you to stop doing,
to find futile, to see no point in, so take heart...)

The bewilderment lingers and bursts forth without warning and recedes once more....

At a time like this I can't remember why I write.
It feels useless and pointless in the face of such hatred & fear & evil....

But I'll never remember why I write by thinking about how I should be writing. Just as I can't enjoy getting the blood going by thinking about the treadmill....

Unplug Mr. TV, open that file, and get back to work, son.
The work that by miracle soothes the terror and transforms the absurd
into a kind of insane serenity. The work that will allow me later today
to be a human being with other human beings who are suffering through this much more than I am....

If I want to vanquish the haters, if I want to restore justice
to the country and the cosmos, open that file and write, friend,
write as if your life depended on it, though I write about something
as seemingly inconsequential as an angry girl going into Trader Joe's
for a smoothie, because I know my life, in the deepest sense, in the most
spiritual sense, the sense of joy, does depend upon it.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016


It's not that you lose hope. Your relationship with hope just calms down & you almost forget about it. Hope is not looking forward to getting what you want. It's looking back at all the times you did, all the times you didn't, all the times you got something different than what you wanted, and seeing the whole glorious mess from a heightened perspective, from a quiet stillness like space. So that you can come back to earth and wash the dishes, or carefreely send something out again into the world. It's taking a little step that affirms life, affirms being, without having anything to do with the past or the future.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Notes for a New Novel.

female protagonist
no sarcasm
the simplest book ever written
don't repeat anything
overestimate the intelligence of the reader
(i.e., the reader is smarter than me
and can figure it out much better than me,
i.e., the reader is not as slow-thinking as me)
no childhood, no psychology
(more to come...)

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

can't sleep

her hand curled
on my chest
in the dark

my heart pounding
in my teeth

in the corner
near the ceiling
a small boat

its light
coming & going

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

When they say write what you're most afraid of

why does the mind go to the sensational,
the violent, the anarchic, vengeance, perversion,
the stuff of the shadow and the id?

But these days aren't the most frightening things
of all to write about . . . loneliness, silence,
kindness, listening, believing, stillness,
understanding, tenderness?

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Writing Will Not Save Your Soul."

"Writing will not save your soul.

The only act that will save your soul
is creating simple daily kindness for others.

However, being who you are, you must write
(as near to daily as you can)
in order to be able to go into the world
in a state of mind that will allow you
to create simple daily kindness for others.

So, after all, writing will save your soul."

-Ishii Ougourou

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nice review of Adirondack Review & my story "Men Have Names"...


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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wait Until Spring, Bandini (John Fante)

Finally got around to reading some of this wonderful writer.
Loved the style, the narrative, wow, full-blast energy, fiery
Italian family in Colorado in 1930s, voice full of surprises
& play, mob of poor & lively driven folks trying to get through,
love & poverty, a high-pressure hose loosely held & almost out of

This passage from page 27 was my favorite,
Maria & her furnace:

"It was so cold that morning, so cold. Her jaw chattered
and ran away from her. The dark green linoleum might
have been a sheet of ice under her feet, the stove itself a
block of ice. What a stove that was! a despot, untamed and
ill-tempered. She always coaxed it, soothed it, cajoled it,
a black bear of a stove subject to fits of rebellion, defying
Maria to make him glow; cantankerous stove that, once
warm and pouring sweet heat, suddenly went berserk and
got yellow hot and threatened to destroy the very house.

Only Maria could handle that black block of sulking iron,
and she did it a twig at a time, caressing the shy flame,
adding a slab of wood, the another and another, until it
purred beneath her care, the iron heating up, the oven
expanding and the heat thumping it until it grunted and
groaned in content, like an idiot.

She was Maria, and the stove loved only her. Let Arturo
or August drop a lump of coal into its greedy mouth
and it went mad with its own fever, burning and blistering
the paint on the walls, turning a frightful yellow, a chunk
of hell hissing for Maria, who came frowning and capable,
a cloth in her hand as she twitted it here and there,
shutting the vents deftly, shaking its bowels until it
resumed its stupid normalcy.

Maria, with hands no larger than frayed roses, but that
black devil was her slave, and she really was very fond
of it. She kept it shining and flashily vicious, its nickel
plated trade name grinning evilly like a mouth too proud
of its beautiful teeth."

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