Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fareed Zakaria: What Does A 'Post-American World' Look Like? : NPR

Fareed Zakaria: What Does A 'Post-American World' Look Like? : NPR:

"Thirty years ago, the United States dominated the world politically, economically and scientifically. But today?

'The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai, the biggest factory in the world is in China, the largest oil refinery is in India, the largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore,' notes Fareed Zakaria. 'And ... more troublingly, [the United States is] also losing [its] key grip on indices such as patent creation, scientific creations and things like that — which are really harbingers of future economic growth.'"

Hiperdrama Audiovisual – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre

Hiperdrama Audiovisual – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre:

"O termo hiperdrama passou a ser utilizado pelo professor e dramaturgo Charles Deemer, que passou a basear a suas obras no conceito do hipertexto. Deemer escreveu peças com narrativas complexas, com múltiplas histórias, na qual o interator era obrigado a escolher o que acompanhar."

I'll take their word for it.

July 4

As I say here annually at this time, the 4th of July has become a least favorite holiday for me ever since I spent it in a VA hospital and watched Vietnam vets dive for cover, yelling "incoming!," every time a firecracker went off. Not fun to watch. Not easy to forget. So I spend the holiday comforting the dog, who also hates fireworks.

Some decent progress on the novella today. DVD proof came -- need to watch it and approve, hopefully. Books on their way.

The weather sucks today. But the forecast is spectacular. See below. We'll see if it actually happens.

Round Bend Press: Great Scenes from the Movies #1

Round Bend Press: Great Scenes from the Movies #1

Great scene from Adaptation.

Could it be?

TodayJun 30FriJul 1Sat2Sun3Mon4Tue5Wed6Thu7Fri8Sat9
AM ShowersSunnySunnyPartly CloudySunnySunnySunnySunnySunnySunny
AM ShowersSunnySunnyPartly CloudySunnySunnySunnySunnySunnySunny

R.I.P.: Josephine Hart

Josephine Hart died June 3. She was a few years younger than I am. Hart was the last writer, as best as I can recollect, to blow me away upon introduction to her work. I believe I first read her novel Sin, followed by Oblivion, two of my favorite themes, and man, the accomplishments there impressed me hugely. I read everything I could find by her.

This comes to mind not because of her death, which I just learned about, but because Kindle had a sale on her best known novel Damage and I picked it up. Time to reread a lot of Hart. No one writes better about lust.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Looked at my book of poems again -- I don't think there's a dud in there. Fantastic, if I'm right. Of course, I threw out 50 duds to get there.

Braves complete 3-game sweep in Seattle 5-3 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports

Braves complete 3-game sweep in Seattle 5-3 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports

Once again, a frustrating team to watch.

Portland weather sucks

Another gray chilly summer day in Puddle City.

Made small but significant progress on the novella. Writing again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Athol Fugard rec'd lifetime Tony this year

An extraordinary play. I was fortunate to see a first rate production in Ashland.

Athol Fugard

Small step

A small breakthrough in the structure of the novella, two additions that will become good storytelling tools, I think. We'll see.

Follow the power

Bam! lost our power, apparently for rest of the afternoon. So we grabbed the dog and ran errands and, having brought our computers, now are using power at Starbucks and doing online chores. Dog waiting patiently in the car. Life in the big city. I mean, small city.

Huckleberry Finn

Finished Don Hagen's wonderful reading of Twain's classic. A great listen. Tom Sawyer is a terrific character and a revealing contrast to Huck. Hagen does a fine job.

On to Chaucer!


The novella is changing rapidly and soon will be unrecognizable from its initial storyline. That's fine. I've been through this process so many times, nothing surprises me any more. I've learned to trust it. But this is why I don't outline and do a lot of planning. It commits to something too early in the chaotic reality of the creative process. I like to go with the flow and change direction and eventually find myself going somewhere.

I'm doing more than the usual amount of reading, mainly about recent changes in the pop culture that have (thankfully) passed me by -- but I need to know more about them than I do.

Two major changes in my protagonist. Remember, the initial idea here was two old farts resurrecting their 60s folk group. That's gone, I think -- but the book begins at a funeral for one of them, the group already resurrected but playing in retirement centers, not raising hell. The central thread now appears to be the son of one of them wanting to get the old guy into a rest home and the old guy, and his buddy the protagonist, resisting -- but in fact, the old guy is into some eccentric things and the issue of his competence is not easily answered. At any rate, back to changes in the protagonist -- he's going to be seeing a shrink, having a hard time after the death of his wife of 50 years. So I will have vignette chapters at the shrink's office. As therapy, the shrink suggests he write ... he wrote folk songs in his youth ... and he'll write some poems (some of the very ones you'll find in my book, nothing like recycling). A central theme, how do you find meaning in a culture that has passed you by when your personal connections are gone? Tend your garden, Voltaire says, but what happens when the garden has gone to weeds?

At any rate, the action also involves Internet porn, which the buddy is into, but the amateur collegiate "volunteer" variety, much more interesting from a cultural point of view and totally out of their own youthful experience ... which will lead into the "hooking up" college culture etc ... in a way, this becomes a fish out of water story, the two old dudes trying to make sense of it, keep one of them out of a rest home, and the protagonist find meaning in a world without his wife, which was his rock. Lots of layers, as usual, and the trick is to keep the plot brewing and engaging, suspenseful and comic, so the themes can blend in while the reader isn't looking, which is what I call the Durrenmatt strategy of storytelling.

At any rate, soon, maybe today, but soon, I need to get back to writing chapters. Of the ones I had, only two are salvageable. I'm sticking with the vignette structure, ala Mrs. Bridge.

My working title remains Sodom, Gomorrah and Jones -- a title I like so much, it's what kept me going when so much was changing I wondered if I had a story here at all. I do. I definitely do. But it's still evolving.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Update on film

Proof of the DVD for The Farewell Wake has shipped. Since it ships from Seattle, I should get it this week. I expect it to be fine, which means the short version becomes the new DVD master.

Still brooding

And reading ... and brooding. It will pay off soon enough. I know this from experience.

And the weather has improved, a bit. Rain coming but good weather afterwards, they say, a string of five sunny days. Ha! I'll enjoy it if it happens but I'm not counting on it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brooding, revising

Major changes in both story and characters of the novella, as I brood around its themes ... good changes, I think, but not much of what I've written so far is on the new track, so Monday I'll start over. This is typical of my dirty process, in which the first draft is the activity during which I discover what I actually want to write about. I've always been messy this way. Well, sometimes I get things close to whole cloth, but usually the process is pretty messy. I actually enjoy it because it's filled with surprises and some of them really impress me. I like to impress myself.

Food for (depressing) thought

My favorite case this semester was plagiarism within plagiarism. When I informed this student that I suspected her paper was plagiarized, she said to me, “I got my paper from one of the students who was in your class last semester. How was I to know that she had plagiarized?” Which indicated to me, along with a number of the other email responses I got from students, that many of them don’t even know what plagiarism is.
From Other People's Papers.

Round Bend Press: Face to Face with Deemer

Round Bend Press: Face to Face with Deemer

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Round Bend Press: Deemer's "In My Old Age" Published Today

Round Bend Press: Deemer's "In My Old Age" Published Today

Book of poems published

In My Old Age is now available.

In July I'll be reading from the book at Lewis and Clark College for their Oregon Poetic Voices archive. Later, Oct 5, I'll be doing same at Blackbird's First Wednesday. No other readings planned but I'm semi-open to others. The poems are a lot of fun to read.

Writing in the present tense

One of the more fascinating aspects of my creative process is how regularly I respond to accidental images and information that I encounter along the way. So it is with the novella now. I read a book review that sounds interesting, which leads me to another book, which I pick up, and suddenly its content impacts my thinking, and therefore my writing, on the work at hand. It always works this way. I always randomly, it seems, encounter something that influences what I am working on. It can be anything. A book, a movie. Something I hear on the radio. A news item. A stranger I meet. A memory that suddenly possesses me. My work is open to all influences even as it is happening. My work happens in a charged, energized present tense.

Read the book of poems cover to cover, I'm glad it's out there.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book proof

Had to tweak a couple things, which didn't take long, and now the book of poems is approved, will be officially released/published soon. Details will follow.


Moving slowly again today, which is fine -- it's a day of house chores in preparation for H's return tomorrow. I can stretch a couple hours work into an entire day.

Book proof out for delivery, my tracking tells me -- eager to see it! Maybe I'll order a bunch later today.

Good progress on the banjo yesterday, highlight of the day.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mariners tumble

What a terrible 3 games for the Mariners, who had been looking so good. First, day before yesterday, they take a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th -- and give up 5 UNEARNED runs to lose to the Nationals! The next night they lose 2-1, both unearned runs again. Today they lose 1-0. Now they are 2 and a half back. More than anything, they have to get back to their recent rhythm of victory.

What you're missing, Richard


Very tired today. Part is the gray gloom but part is from working on the novella, since inside-out writing always takes a larger personal toll than one expects. Dirty laundry has noxious fumes. The older I get, the more exhausting it is.

Plodding along

Man, would I like some sunny weather day after day. I get energized by the sun but then it's gone the next day and we're back to Portland's gray gloom. It sucks. I can't believe I live here. And for over 30 years!

More writing on the novella this morning. At least there's that.

I was chatting with L., my closest friend, an old girlfriend who lives in L.A., and she was telling me how amazing it was to live with me, that no matter how much we partied, how hungover I was, I was always up early in the morning, writing, writing, writing. I sort of remember that.

The trouble is, I get up so goddamn early by the time it's 10 or 11 in the morning, I feel like the productive part of the day is over. If it were sunny, I could enjoy outside chores. But not in gray coolness. I hate gray coolness. I hate Portland weather. Blah blah etc etc.

Also been practicing banjo. At least there's that.

H home Saturday. Good!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Art Scatter » Blog Archive » The first thing let’s do, let’s kill the critics

Art Scatter » Blog Archive » The first thing let’s do, let’s kill the critics

Magnificent piece by Bob Hicks on writing about the arts.

Al Gore Blasts Obama On Climate Change For Failing To Take 'Bold Action'

Al Gore Blasts Obama On Climate Change For Failing To Take 'Bold Action':

"'President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,' Gore says. 'He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community ... to bring the reality of the science before the public.'"

Jinx of two

Portland just can't deliver two nice days in a row. Very frustrating, Puts me in a funk.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The trouble with Wikipedia

After Palin's well publicized confusion about Paul Revere's ride, her supporters went into the Wikipedia entry to tweak it more in line with Palin's remarks. Then her opponents did more tweaking. In short, Wikipedia is convenient and not to be trusted as the most accurate word.


Finally had a warm day on which I caught up with a lot of yard work. It's about time.

Also good  work on the novella, though mostly changing some things. A few steps forward, a few back, a few more forward -- part of the process.

H returns end of the week. She said she's ready to come home now. Maybe her wanderlust is coming down a little.

Breakfast in Memory Lane

It's been many months since I drove across town to have breakfast at Nobby's, one of my hangouts in the late 70s and 80s. Today was the day. It was great timing: the owner, Greg, was there with his wife, Barbara; and Mike, one of the regulars from the old days also was there. It was a great informal reunion.

I knew G and B before they started dating. Now they have a daughter at the Univ of Oregon and a son who just turned 21. We talked about old friends who have passed, including Jim Wylie, and G told me there was a 25th anniversary party on July 31. I'll be there. Larry, who used to be in a group with Wylie, will be there to perform.

Comparing notes, I learned M and I are the same age. He's a few months older. We both marveled that we're still alive. A shocking but wonderful gift.