Friday, September 30, 2011

Wrestling

Spent most of the day in bed so far, not a bad place to be. Made the mistake of running an errand to the post office -- an error because I almost passed out behind the wheel. Dizzy and light-headed. Best stay home!

Canzano: Jose Reyes' selfish act tarnishes baseball's big night | OregonLive.com

Canzano: Jose Reyes' selfish act tarnishes baseball's big night | OregonLive.com:

Hear, hear!

'America The Beautiful' Accompanies China Launch : NPR

'America The Beautiful' Accompanies China Launch : NPR:

What this is, it seems to me, is a rather brilliant and ironic twisting of the knife by Chinese into the American belly. The subtext is, OK, we essentially own you now, you're so far in debt to us, and now we are making the first move to take over space from you, but here's a little of your own music for old times sake since you won't have future opportunities to play it yourself.

I'm reminded of a similar gesture in sports. Decades ago, during the run of great Wooden basketball teams at UCLA, the undefeated Bruins were upset by Notre Dame in South Bend. Later in the season the Irish came to UCLA for a rematch.

When the Irish players first came on the court to warm up before the game, the huge audience of UCLA students began humming the Notre Dame fight song! Humming it! Throughout their warm up! It was unnerving, and UCLA went on to cream them.

An ironic twist of the knife can be very effective. China is showing off.

Germ invasion

So far I'm holding my own against threatening illness but it's a close call and the battle continues. I have four days off, I'd sure like to get well before I enter the classroom again.

So I'll be taking it easy, reading, listening to audio books, working on the short novel, nothing strenuous physically.

Good class last evening. However, it's a hassle to project my screenwriting program in class, which I have on a flash drive, because I have to get tech admin approval and assistance each time. This morning I found an alternative, a site Plotbot that lets you write a screenplay online in a web browser. Perfect for classroom use!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drama of Rays, Red Sox and Braves made for unforgettable final day - Tom Verducci - SI.com

Drama of Rays, Red Sox and Braves made for unforgettable final day - Tom Verducci - SI.com:

"They will go down as the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history. Never before and likely never again -- if we even dare to assume anything else can be likely ever again -- will baseball captivate and exhilarate on so many fronts in so small a window the way it did September 28, 2011."

It was incredible!

Oct 5: I read at Blackbird Wineshop, 7pm

NYC Transit Union Joins Occupy Wall Street

NYC Transit Union Joins Occupy Wall Street:

"New York City labor unions are preparing to back the unwieldy grassroots band occupying a park in Lower Manhattan, in a move that could mark a significant shift in the tenor of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street protests and send thousands more people into the streets."


Registration

On my way to my office I pass through the registration area, which of course is a zoo the first week of school. And yet it's not close to the chaos of registering at UCLA in 1964 in the gymnasium. Registration tables lined the walls, thousand of students shuffled about looking for the right table for their class.

The chaos contributed to my taking classical Greek.Even though I had been a Russian linguist in the Army Security Agency, the dumb powers that be decided I was ONE unit short of my language requirement. I had to take something. I'd been in Germany and learned some barroom German, I begrudgingly decided I'd take German.

Well, the line to the German table was winding all around the gym, it was so long. Next to it was an empty table. I went to the empty table and said, You're not German, by any chance, are you? Nope. Classical Greek. I looked at the line and decided on the spot.

Serendipity. This got me into Phi Beta Kappa! Having been a linguist, I was pretty good at Classical Greek (I'd also taken Latin in high school). My professor loved me and tried to turn me into a Greek major. No thanks. So I go on a graduate with a B average, mainly because I took an overload each term, taking one or two courses for C's in order to do the reading in a structured environment. I was hungry for knowledge ha ha!

And how does Phi Beta Kappa figure in? I go to grad school at the U of O and near the end of the first year get a letter from UCLA. I have been accepted into PBK a year late! They want me to march with the U of O seniors. This is nuts, I think. You don't get into this high falutin club with a B average. But I go ahead and march, with not a clue to what's going on. Until I get my certificate of membership. And there is the signature of my Greek teacher, the president of PBK! Turns out she liked me so much she was shocked I wasn't on the list of nominees, she snooped on her own, found out I was taking 21 credits a term, 3 or 6 for C's (didn't have pass, no pass in those days), that without those I had damn near an A. She lobbied and got me in!

Isn't that a nice story? True, too. I used to wear a PBK pin on my baseball cap until some asshole stole it and I never replaced it. By the gods, I should! I should wear it on my hat again. I think I'll look into that right now.

p.s. Too spendy!

Oregon Literary Review

I need to rethink this journal now that Primus has retired. He was the main energy shooting video. I'm moving too slow and otherwise too busy to shoot much myself any more. I'm thinking of incorporating a digest format into the mix. I've long thought a clearing house is needed for all the stuff out there. I'll try to work on a reshaping, a redesign, whatever I end up doing, soon.

Novel v. Novella

I think I'll end up with a short novel instead of a novella, which is to say, something in the neighborhood of 50,000 words. Most editors draw the line at 40,000 words. Doesn't matter one way or the other except for competitions, should I choose to enter any. With the right judge, this book could do well in competitions because it is so obviously non-commercial. Some judges like that. I sometimes do when judging, for example.

My worst experience judging was quite a while ago when I didn't want to give a prize to any of the finalists. Bad thing to confess. I should've just flipped a coin. But I truly was appalled by the poor quality, which makes me an elitist snob commie has-been asshole dinosaur. What else is new?

First Wednesday Readings

First Wednesday Readings:

I read Oct 5.

Dynamic views

Blogger is pushing something it calls dynamic views, new ways to present a blog. I think the 7 options all suck compared to traditional designs. Which once again probably shows you what a dinosaur I am. But these new designs are all slick and glitz and don't present as much info as efficiently as what I have here now. I don't get the attraction to "dynamic views."

Fixing little things

Part of my downsizing was to terminate my account at PCEZ, where I had a number of websites that I transferred elsewhere. But little things there I forgot about now don't work -- my Sisyphus graphic, for example. So I had to reinstall in elsewhere. These are easy enough to fix -- the issue is knowing about them. I'm sure there are a few things out there not working that I don't know about.

A royalty check today -- for $2.60, from a publisher I used years back. The good news is something actually sold in this small venue after all this time. This trickling royalties still happen from several sources. The best royalties now, interestingly enough. are for ebook versions of my work at Smashwords.

H got a cold. She usually gives it to me, and indeed I am fighting the early symptoms. Then she is well in a week and I don't get well for 6 weeks. So I hope I can kill this one off at the pass.

Americans Dislike the Tea Party More Than Ever Before | Mother Jones

Americans Dislike the Tea Party More Than Ever Before | Mother Jones:

Rays, Cards win playoff spots in frenzied finish - Yahoo! News

Rays, Cards win playoff spots in frenzied finish - Yahoo! News:

"Wild-card Wednesday lived up to its billing, and then some. Fans needed three TVs, and maybe a few cups of joe to see how it all turned out for Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi and Chipper Jones.

"One of the greatest days in baseball history," New York Yankees star Mark Teixeira said.

Minute by minute, inning by inning, the races took shape. One out to go, one strike to go. Then, it all fell apart. Startling comebacks, historic collapses."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Golden Age Of Short Books - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast

The Golden Age Of Short Books - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast:

Wednesdays

The big change in my teaching rhythm this term is how I spend Wednesdays. For 15 years I've collected student work on Tuesdays, returning in Thursdays, a quick turn-around of which I was proud. But the work Wednesday could be a killer, moreso as I aged. So this term I am collecting work on Thursdays and returning it the following Tuesdays, still a quick turn-around but giving me much more time to evaluate it.

What I liked about the earlier schedule was it gave me a free slate for my own work after Thursday. I wore a teacher's hat for 3 days a week only. But I have less work to do now, and am less obsessive about it, so I don't need as much free "non-teaching" time as I wanted earlier.

If the noon class gets scheduled right for winter, that will be a second major change. We'll see.



A very productive morning of work on the novella.

Images

Here's a stat that shakes up popular images of cities: a larger percentage of workers use public transportation in L.A. than in Portland! Reference,

A Guide To Sabotaging Your Own Film, Ctd - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast

A Guide To Sabotaging Your Own Film, Ctd - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast:

Redefining film distribution.

Daily Kos: Class war profiteering: London trader rejoices at recession, 'dreams of another'

Daily Kos: Class war profiteering: London trader rejoices at recession, 'dreams of another':

Alas, not shocking but typical. Greed rules.

David Axelrod: Obama 2012 Campaign Will Be 'Titanic Struggle'

David Axelrod: Obama 2012 Campaign Will Be 'Titanic Struggle':

Grunt work at 2 a.m.

Updating web resources for my class. Wasn't sleeping, might as well get it over with.

Should be able to get work done on the novella today. Later. More sleep!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

UCLA, football sucks but women's volleyball rocks!

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UCLA Women's Volleyball team seconds after beating #1 ranked Cal to top off their incredible 2-0 homestand against #2 Stanford on Friday and #1 Cal on Saturday.

Office hours

And here I am, back in my cocoon, academia's shield against the crazy world. I was thinking, hobbling from the bus stop earlier, by the gods, I've been teaching here 15 years! It feels like 5 or 6, which is how askew perception of time gets as you age. Fifteen years! And not on a tenure track, this is term by term, contract by contract -- I've had dozens of contracts here! I have reasonable job security in that the class is immenselly popular, screenwriting being screenwriting, and only once did someone try to "steal" my job, a retired TV writer who moved up here. They let him start a TV writing class instead.

But things are more interesting now because Theatre Arts has started its own screenwriting sequence.  This is good because it gives screenwriting students more classes to take.

Duh (now use it, Mr. President)


Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 9/15-18 . Registered voters. MoE ±3.1% (no trendlines):
Q: Do you support or oppose ensuring that people who make over a million dollars a year pay the same percentage of taxes or more on their total income as those who make less than a million dollars a year?
Support: 73
Oppose: 16
Not sure: 11

Madison Shanley

Something I forgot to mention. A couple years ago I raved about the performance of freshman stand-in Madison Shanley in Wilson High School's "Rent" (reference). Remember the name, I said, this young lady is a pro. At the US-Canada women's soccer game recently, she sang both anthems, so obviously she's doing well. And still in high school.

Summer

It was a productive summer. I have a partial draft of my novella, major changes needing input, but I'm in good shape with it, the story and characters have evolved in a different way from what I imagined when I began, but that's what makes the writing game so exciting, you get surprised a lot. I like where this is going, and for all its ambition (my great work!) and complexity, I feel I have a good shot at pulling it off. Definitely not automatic but a decent real shot at it. That's enough.

I'll go in early today, just to get into the ambiance of the new environment. How early? Not sure. Maybe between 1 and 2, which will give me a couple hours in my office before class. I only have to go down one flight of stairs, same building, for my class this term.

Teacher's hat

First day of class. I'm not only ready but eager to get into the routine of teaching. I wish I were teaching at noon but they screwed up ... hopefully noon will begin winter term, though it's possible they can screw up twice ha ha.

I'll go in early in case there are lost students.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lisa Randall: CERN or Einstein? Interpreting the Findings

Lisa Randall: CERN or Einstein? Interpreting the Findings:

Writing tip on dramatic structure

I had forgotten about this ancient writing tip until Bill Johnson asked permission to send it out on a newsletter. Mamet's take on structure is about as user-friendly as it gets.


Writing Tip, Screenwriting, by Charles Deemer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Charles DeemerI teach screenwriting at Portland State University. Other professors frequently send their fiction students my way when those students have particular trouble with dramatic structure in their work. Dramatic structure, or the art of storytelling, seldom gets the focus in other creative writing classes that it gets in screenwriting. This is because a screenplay is a blueprint for a movie, much more about storytelling than about rhetorical style.

Playwright, screenwriter, director David Mamet presents the foundation of storytelling this way:

· Once upon a time -
· And then one day -
· Just when everything was going so well -
· When at the last minute -
· And then everyone -

If you can complete these sentences, you have the outlines of a tight, beginning-middle-end story. Let's work it out for a film you probably are familiar with, E.T.

· Once upon a time -- there was a lonely boy.
· And then one day -- he met a stranded alien.
· Just when everything was going so well -- the alien said, "E.T. go home."
· When at the last minute -- the boy revived E.T., rescued him from scientists, and helped him catch his spaceship.
· And then everyone -- was sadder but wiser, learning that love is letting go.

Mamet's paradigm focuses on the major turning points in the story, the foundation of a tight structure. Structure is like a skeleton: as skeletons, all of us look alike. But add flesh, we are different. We react to the flesh of a story - but it is the tight skeleton, structure, that holds it all together.

***************

Oregon universities open today with record international student enrollment | OregonLive.com

Oregon universities open today with record international student enrollment | OregonLive.com:

"Portland State University is a bustling global village as hundreds of students from scores of countries fan across a sunny campus in small tour groups preparing them for a new school year."

Gilda's Italian Restaurant

Had a very nice meal last night here. First rate! H had a coupon, or we would have left with a hundred dollar dinner bill instead of half that, so it's a tad spendy -- you get what you pay for, more or less. Definitely would return, despite the expense. I had spaghetti and meatballs, despite all the gourmet items on the menu, perhaps the best I've had anywhere. H had veal dish and loved it.

video

Saturday, September 24, 2011

As if you didn't already know ...

Global Warming: Why Americans Are In Denial

Global Warming: Why Americans Are In Denial:

""The opposition by the Republicans has gotten stronger and stronger," the 79-year-old "grandfather of climate science" said in an interview. "But, of course, the push by the Democrats has become stronger and stronger, and as it has become a more important issue, it has become more polarized."

The solution: "Eventually it'll become damned clear that the Earth is warming and the warming is beyond anything we have experienced in millions of years, and people will have to admit..." He stopped and laughed.

"Well, I suppose they could say God is burning us up.""


Uncreative Writing - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Uncreative Writing - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education:

It's Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It's 'Repurposing.'

Mellow

After a good work morning, a mellow day, doing some chores, watching some football. Two games I'm interested in tonight, Boise State - Tulsa and Oregon - Arizona.

A mediocre UCLA team beat an even more mediocre Oregon State team. PSU got creamed by TCU as expected. Washington beat Cal in a very exciting game to watch. All those yachts in the bay next to the stadium. My old buddy from Oklahoma used to watch that and think this was how we lived in the northwest, taking our yachts to the game.

Eager to get down to the nitty-gritty of finishing and rewriting the novella. Or short novel. Whichever it turns out to be, under or over 40 thousand words.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jonathan Weiler: The New American Ethos: Death and Indifference

Jonathan Weiler: The New American Ethos: Death and Indifference:

Sarah Palin Trails Barack Obama In 2012 Poll By Just Five Points

Sarah Palin Trails Barack Obama In 2012 Poll By Just Five Points:

Absolutely frightening.

Runner's high

Each vignette I write now, so close to the end after so long a journey, gives me a high. It won't be too long and the real fun will begin. The real fun of writing is always rewriting.

End of summer celebration

video

Fun soccer game last night, 3-0 USA over Canada, could have been 6-0 without shots hitting the crossbar. We had great seats! 

An appropriate celebration for the end of summer. This was an especially good summer for me, despite the late arriving warm weather. Highlights of summer:
  • Found the heart and soul of my novella in progress. A first draft, I tell my students, is the process by which you figure out what you want to write. If you're lucky, you can use a lot of what you write. I can. And I'm secure in the heart of my story now, right down to the ending. I've already written the last paragraph, and it's holding up. Still, there is just a huge amount of work left, new vignettes and major revisions of existing vignettes. But my head is clear about the story now.
  • The preceding was possible because we stayed home. Only a couple short excursions out of town, no summer vacation per se. I prefer working well to vacations.
  • Once the weather arrived, it was great, but always always always too short for me. I hope we have a hot October, as we sometimes do.
  • Made a bit of progress on household chores, like repainting the deck. We still have a basement we have to clean out. Been several years now we haven't gotten around to it.
  • I downsized my online life in major ways. Getting rid of every single domain I own, for example. Keeping some sites up, linked from my blog via the long address (a domain usually is a substitute for a long address). This was a major psychological change mainly, changing my sense of myself online. I also deleted my Facebook account. Now you see him, now you don't.
  • More or less abandoned the banjo. Just don't have the enthusiasm for playing that I once had. Once I mastered clawhammer style, the challenge seemed to be over. Of course, I quit as a beginner, but if the passion isn't there, it isn't there. I have no desire to perform in public any more. Too bad, an old man singing Guthrie, for example, is always a cool thing, and if I resurrected my show, there definitely is an audience for it. But I don't get strokes from doing music any more. Interesting. But true. I get strokes from writing well, more than anything else. And I give them to myself, though of course it's always nice to hear someone shares your sensibilities. But I know when I'm cooking and when I'm not, and I get a real charge when I am. Moments in the novella -- but not yet the whole thing, not even close yet, but I have confidence I can make it work.
  • I am ready to return to teaching. In fact, each year I seem to look forward to it more. Also interesting. But I have a real sense of doing something useful and practical when I teach. I know the craft of screenwriting, and I know how to share it.


And I look forward to college football tomorrow, part of my fall ritual.

CERN: Light Speed May Have Been Exceeded By Subatomic Particle

CERN: Light Speed May Have Been Exceeded By Subatomic Particle:

"It is "a revolutionary discovery if confirmed," said Indiana University theoretical physicist Alan Kostelecky, who has worked on this concept for a quarter of a century.

Stephen Parke, who is head theoretician at the Fermilab near Chicago and was not part of the research, said: "It's a shock. It's going to cause us problems, no doubt about that – if it's true.""

However, there are a number of controversial "quantum reality" theories that depend on such results. This could get very interesting.

The Social Contract - NYTimes.com

The Social Contract - NYTimes.com: Paul Krugman

"As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million."


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Second wind

Totally exhausted. Need a second wind for the soccer game tonight, which will end past my bedtime.

Kindle library books

Our local library now has Kindle books. Just "test drove" the system, checking out two books, very user friendly so far (haven't looked at K yet) ... this is another great advancement in reading.

A great session this morning! Looking forward to soccer tonight.

Metafiction

My protagonist and his wife will attend the hyperdrama Chateau de Mort in 1986 -- an important foreshadowing in this vignette, of something huge in the journey of the protagonist. Now, hmm, should I be a character ha ha?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Extraordinary day

Feel like I did a week's work on the project today, to the neglect of things I'd planned to do, like get the final draft of my syllabus. Tomorrow! But two good writing sessions and very exciting background reading. Peter Shaffer has written that in historical drama -- and while not exactly this genre, my novella has a very strong historical backdrop throughout -- first you put everything in and then you take most of it out. I'm still putting things in.

And much of what you take out isn't really "deleted" so much as made much more efficient. I've had a page or two of historical description reduced to a phrase, for example. It's the mindset that all the research gives you. You begin living in the era, or feel like it.

At any rate, with each day the project becomes more complex, difficult, richer, more challenging. I object to none of this.

Amazing Kindle feature

One of the really useful features of Kindle when I'm doing research is this: my notes and highlights are stored not only on Kindle itself but automatically online at Amazon. This makes them easy to access and copy into other material -- and also serves as a backup, should Kindle crash or something. I just love this feature.

My novella is beginning to have the feel of The Quantum Quartet, my ambitious and abandoned drama project from the 80s. Very interesting indeed! Live long enough and it all comes around.

Epigraph

The novella's epigraph may well come from Emerson, "Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day." This has not been a premise of fiction in America, especially if the thinker has intelligence.

Hang on, summer

Terrific writing morning, 2 strong vignettes, light at the end of the tunnel although a ton to fix because now a main character is no longer an artist, a painter, but a theoretical physicist, just as wild, believe me.

Back to writing

Been a few days since I've added a vignette. The time hasn't been wasted -- made notes, did a ton of background reading (I've got a lot of cultural backdrop to deal with in a story that covers 50 years), brooding, definite progress. It's all fun, chaotic as it remains, but I see ORDER ahead.

But I need to get writing today. Now.

Rupp breaks record


Watch more video of Brussels Diamond League 2011 - Memorial Van Damme on flotrack.org


Here's what's great about track and field: this is a BIG STORY for a runner who came in THIRD. It isn't all about winning all the time. It's about doing better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Synthesis

Background reading all morn ... loving it. Project gets more excitng with each new layer. Can I pull it off? Tune in later ha ha.

Nice note on my book of poems from poet in town.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Whole cloth

A possible new layer and perspective for the novella, adding to its richness, has risen from the ashes of past work. Back in the 80s, after I'd left the New Rose Theatre to become playwright-in-residence at Peter Fornara's Cubiculo Theatre, a began working on a quartet of plays I was calling the Quantum Quartet, 4 plays following a pair of young physicists from 1927's Solvay Conf to the present (between plays 2 and 3, one gets a sex change operation). The first, The Sadness of Einstein, was written and scheduled for the Cubiculo. Bob Hicks even wrote a piece on the concept of the quartet. All was well.

And then the honcho of the theater decided he was tired of losing money and closed it. I was homeless again. Amazingly enough, and fortunately, Sadness found a new home quickly in Seattle, to headline a festival at The Empty Space -- but then funding for the festival was lost, so that opportunity crashed, too. The play never has been done, though I published it in The Sadness of Einstein and other plays.

I can easily embrace the thematic center of the quartet in the novella by making a major character a physicist -- and there are 3 candidates, including the wife of the protagonist, which may be the way to go. Exciting -- and more new fine-tuning as a result. I love this "whole cloth" chaotic energy early in the process.

Harriet's invention

Umbrella both captures dropped seeds and keeps the squirrels from climbing up for food, scaring off the birds. It works.

UCLA's Diseased Culture of Mediocrity Under Gene Block, Dan Guerrero, Rick Neuheisel, and Donahue Sycophants - Bruins Nation

UCLA's Diseased Culture of Mediocrity Under Gene Block, Dan Guerrero, Rick Neuheisel, and Donahue Sycophants - Bruins Nation:

'Nuff said.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Outline

I built an outline of sorts, a list of named vignettes yet to write, which reinforces my sense of being close to the end. But I have over a dozen, so there's several weeks of writing left to do before the real work, rewriting, begins. I may finish a draft in October. Maybe it can be my birthday present.

As I get closer to the end, I see all the unrealized nuances that need fixing. Very much more work to do. But I love doing it.

Sunday morning QB

I cringed when I saw who was starting at QB for UCLA -- Kevin Prince. Coach Rick Nueheisel sees something in him few others do. By the time RN saw the light, Prince had thrown 3 interceptions in the first quarter, each setting up a touchdown, and UCLA was in a 21-0 hole to Texas. They never recovered. Texas was a better team but it could have been a lot closer without the first quarter coaching error. Well, Neuheisel's days are numbered. As I said here before, it's time for UCLA to woo Mike Leach, the best unemployed coach in the country.

Navy gave SoCarolina a game, 24-21. Notre Dame and Stanford won easily. Washington played close, then shot shot themselves in the foot, against Nebraska.

Highlights next week: LSU-WVa, Portland State-TCU, UCLA-OreState, Oregon-Ariz, FresnoSt-Idaho.

Boatlifters: The unknown story of 9/11 | Journalist Profile | Reuters.com

Boatlifters: The unknown story of 9/11 | Journalist Profile | Reuters.com:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Nostalgia

Because I saw it on the shelf, picked up some Jimmy Dean's Maple Sausage because it was my dad's favorite. Not bad at all! I'll add it to our list of breakfast staples.

Saturday is football

Good work this morning. Now I can watch football and move slowly the rest of the day. Most concerned about the UCLA-Texas game, hoping it's not a blow out. Best game may be Mich St - Notre Dame. Also interested in Navy - So Carolina. I have a hard time watching any team from Florida, so will skip the big match up tonight between Oklahoma and Florida State, or maybe just peek in now and again, hoping Oklahoma is blowing them out. My late buddy Tom Campbell was a Sooner big time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Boise State

QB Kellen Moore having incredible night ... 5 TDs so far ... over 30 completions .... over 400yds ... against Toledo that played Ohio St very close. impressive!

Another picture poem

C ertainly one
L ikes to believe
I n the old
M yth of how
A merica is
T he land of
E qual opportunity

C hange would be
H ealthy in
A n America
N oted for this but
G igantic corporations
E viserate the myth

Picture poem

O h if I could
L earn to laugh
D espite the clues

F or impending
A narchy as otherwise
R easonable people
T ap into self-delusion

Evaluating the summer

My summer began slowly, largely because of my gray weather funk, but once some warm weather arrived I was in full writing mode. The novella changed in major ways and became more layered, more challenging, more important to me, more a major work in my canon; all of which are good. I still have very much work to do, of course, but my vision makes sense to me. I have no deadline. I would like to finish before next summer, which strikes me as very possible. I may have a draft in October but the rewriting process strikes me as especially difficult. After all, there are countless orders for the vignettes, more choices for "flash back" historical vignettes than I need, so getting the balance is important, and getting the order that retains the forward thrust of the central narrative is important. The work has hardly begun. It's exciting, however, to have a notion of the book's ending and to actually draft a possible last paragraph -- with an action I really like. A lot. It may stay.



A librarian at my local branch that I've gotten to know has semi-retired, going to 20 hours a week. I asked if he were a closet writer. Yes! He is going to write a novel. I wish him well.



I was bitching about something or other yesterday when H reminded me that we're both old farts, and in this culture old farts are pretty much ignored. I made the observation that in the 80s I got much more favorable press than any local writer gets today, etc etc etc on my grandstand of the good old days, and she reminded me of how many old fart writers don't have this at all, have no time of "glory" to look back to, and what's it all really worth anyway? And I said, well, it's not fame and fortune I desire but respect, and H said I already have it among people who were here when I was visible, and this is about where we stopped because this topic has no resolution and no point other than my ego flapping in the wind.

And there's already an equivalent of this emotion in the novella. Whole cloth, whole cloth. Never doubt it.

Now we're cooking

I just wrote a very rough draft of the last paragraph of the novella. It's unusual and good that I'm able to do so this far from completing a full draft. It suggests I know where I'm going. We'll find out.

The Shame of College Sports - Magazine - The Atlantic

The Shame of College Sports - Magazine - The Atlantic:

Important article.

Ouch

10 books waiting for me at the library -- background reading I reserved. Busy, busy.

Stillness

Love this time of day. Such stillness.

Up because I can't sleep but will return to bed soon. Did some grunt work. Might do some more.

Classes start in less than two weeks now. I'm ready. Been ready.

Brooding, find myself flirting with a more positive ending than I originally imagined. Indeed at one point it seemed certain the protagonist must die. But maybe not.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Listening to Dos Passos on Kindle

David Drummond reads USA trilogy ... overwhelming ... brilliant ... nobody nails America like Dos Passos ... this is Homeric; Chaucerian ... in literary league of its own in Amer letters.

Design

I like the cleanliness of my blog's design now that I deleted so much from the right hand column.

Exhausted. Sometimes a project just beats you down so you need a break.

At last, diversion

Did more work on the novella this afternoon. Now I need escape, mindless diversion -- football! And a very decent game for a Thurs night upcoming, LSU-Mississippi State, and another tomorrow, Boise State-Toledo (which gave Ohio State a game).

Still a ton of background reading to do, some of which always ends up tweaking some small detail in the writing. Despite feeling close to the end now, still a ton of work to do. It gets more rational as the process continues.

24/7

Great vignette idea popped into my head in the grocery store earlier, perfect for entering the final movement of the story. The writer's brain is at work 24/7.

Now that I see light at the end of the tunnel and all that, I can't wait to finish a draft, print it out and begin the slow meticulous process of synthesis, enrichment and assembly. This is the real joy of writing.

Loose ends

I found a better way to accomplish what I was after by serializing the novel, so I deleted the latter blog. Just as well, with so much in flux.

Good brooding as I woke up, good notions about the ending. Off to write them down.

All is well!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jigsaw puzzle

I'm creating this picture and each vignette is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and piece by piece the picture begins to take shape until finally all the pieces are assembled, and there it is, beauty and clarity. That's the theory anyway ha ha.

Full tummy

After breakfast I had a sudden burst of energy and wrote two vignettes. Ever onward.

Elizabeth Warren: I'm Running!

Elizabeth Warren: I'm Running!:


Washington gives some of the biggest corporations in the world special loopholes and tax breaks, while middle-class families and small businesses struggle.
That is wrong. Our hard-working families deserve someone who believes in them, someone who is going to stand up and fight for their interests.
That's why I'm running for the United States Senate.

Hallucination or memory loss?

I have this vague recollection of coming up with a title for a vignette and thinking, This is the perfect title for the last vignette in the book! Perfect! But I didn't write it down and now I can't be sure I actually thought of one, or dreamed I thought of one, or dreamed one and forgot it, or what. Hell of a deal.

I fixed a few things in the draft this morning but haven't written a new vignette yet. Maybe it's time to make breakfast. Made a new batch of scrapple yesterday, always eager to get into it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another full day

Good morning and afternoon writing sessions ... need a break. Grab the dog, get coffee, take a cruise.

Layer upon layer. This is a fine challenge. The goal at this point is simply to finish a draft so I can print it out, take out the red pen, put piles of vignettes everywhere, and look closely to see what the hell I have here anyway. And this is when the most fun, and the most creative, work will begin. Less mystery and more design.

Elizabeth Warren To Announce Senate Run Wednesday

Elizabeth Warren To Announce Senate Run Wednesday:

Great news!

U.S. Losing Worldwide Edge In Higher Ed: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Study

U.S. Losing Worldwide Edge In Higher Ed: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Study:

Novel v. novella

Where is the line between a novel and a novella? According to Wikipedia:
novella (also called a short novel) is a writtenfictionalprose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000.[1] Other definitions start as low as 10,000 words and run as high as 70,000 words.
I'm at about 27,000 words in my draft. I may finish under 40,000, a novella. I doubt if it'll go more than 50,000. The story is reaching the crisis which structurally is the low point, the end of act two. I'd like to finish under 40,000, I think. I don't want any fat, especially is such a layered structure and strategy, where it takes time for the order of the narrative to make its impact.

I keep plugging away.

Some people's children

From last night's Republican debate ...

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the event's moderator, posed the hypothetical question to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas): What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn't have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? "Are you saying society should just let him die?" Wolf Blitzer asked.
"Yeah!" several members of the crowd yelled out.
Alan Grayson comments:
 What you saw tonight is something much more sinister than not having a healthcare plan. It's sadism, pure and simple. It's the same impulse that led people in the Coliseum to cheer when the lions ate the Christians. And that seems to be where we are heading -- bread and circuses, without the bread. The world that Hobbes wrote about -- "the war of all against all."

2 weeks from today ...

... I meet my fall class. Lots to do between now and then.

A good writing morning, keeping up the pace.

I think I may have a draft before the year is out -- in fact, I should. But the rewriting process probably will be longer and more involved than it usually is because of the complexity and nature of the effort here. As scattered as the narrative first appears, it needs to be tight, lean, without a wasted moment or misdirection. The narrative needs a lot of sleight of hand. I remain optimistic I can pull it off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

UCLA blog

My Yahoo!:

"I’m actually starting to get really worried. A whole generation now has no memory of UCLA football being good, being worth watching. Today’s students will have no fond memories of the great communal experience that is college football. A tradition is dying and it is started to make me feel sad."

'via Blog this'

Reading

I have a ton of reading yet to do for research on the novel, so this afternoon may be a good time to put in a few hours at it. Some on Kindle, some hard copy.

In good shape for classes, I think. Want to watch "The Kids Are All Right" one more time before I show it in class. This is the script we're studying this term.

A very busy day -- and it's not even two in the afternoon yet.

Arctic ice levels hit historic low, researchers say – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs

Arctic ice levels hit historic low, researchers say – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs:

More progress

A strong second writing session early this afternoon. I think I'm over halfway through the story now.

The Article Everyone Who Loves Books Should Read « PWxyz

The Article Everyone Who Loves Books Should Read"

Progress

Think I have my syllabus in order ... and added a vignette with a start on a second ... uploaded today's vignette for the novel in progress site ... a busy, productive morning, all before ten a.m., perfect.

2-week countdown

Classes getting close now. Still significant work to do on my new syllabus, which I'll focus on this week.

Meanwhile already a bit of good work on the novel this morning. Serializing it is a good incentive to keep at it. And it looks so pretty online. But ah, the complexity remains and the end uncertain. It's a great creative struggle.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Round Bend Press: A 9/11 Story

Round Bend Press: A 9/11 Story:

Serializing my novel

Going to put up a vignette a day. In draft, mind you, many changes ahead. But a record of the process -- and something to show in case, well, one never knows ... It's at Sodom, Gomorrah and Jones.

Sunday morning QB

What an incredible Notre Dame - Michigan game last night! 3 touchdowns, 3 lead changes, in the last one minute and thirteen seconds! Michigan wins. No one shoots themselves in the foot more than Notre Dame. 4 turnovers, one in the red zone. Without 4 red zone turnovers in 2 games, ND would be undefeated!

Oregon's offense found its swagger but its defense sucks and the blowout against Nevada was closer than the score -- Oregon had endless big plays against the Nevada non-pass defense.

UCLA squeaked by a poor San Jose State team and really sucks this year. They need to start wooing Mike Leach!


Loose ends

Have this premonition that it's time to deal with various loose ends surrounding my life. To this end, I am terminating all my extraneous and non-essential web and domain resources, which is to say not renewing them automatically, and I consider everything extraneous except one basic email account and my blog. I no longer will own any domains once the half dozen I now own expire. A big step! It's like saying, The End. I am not taking anything offline, however, just changing how it is accessed ... now everything will be accessed via my blog, which I retain because it is FREE. In other words, the stuff I'm getting rid of are things I have to pay for. Less to deal with when I'm not around to pay for them.

So I've been spending the morning making file transfers so this will work. I also am cleaning up the columns in my blog. It's like a very major cyber housecleaning.

9/11

On the tenth anniversary, my strongest feeling about 9/11 is that it was a moment of lost opportunity. I can't remember a time when we had more of the world's sympathy and good will. It could have been a time to win hearts and minds. Unfortunately we had a cowboy in the White House, who squandered the good will on a revengeful wrong-minded war against the wrong enemy, lying to the American public (unless he himself was lied to), beginning a spiral into fear and paranoia from which we haven't recovered. 9/11 marked defeat by our own hands.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pageantry

Mich v N Dame ...one ten thousand ... best two fight songs in football ... good game

Great morning

2 good vignettes this morning, the story gaining momentum.

Lots of college football to watch today, 9 am to evening. I don't watch the pros on Sundays. One day a week is enough.

Zzzzzz

Crashed early. Before that, shot some video at H's new opening, at a gorgeous setting but small and claustrophobic, if a lot of folks show up clearly would be a zoo, so I did my shooting and left early and crashed.

Up for a bit of grunt work. Now back to bed.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Good morning

So far, so good. Introducing Danny White Bird much earlier than originally intended. Just wrote a good vignette that does this.

All this is clay. The real fun begins when all the clay is made and I can begin shaping the story in earnest.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Brooding on TriMet

Car was going to take longer than thought so I hopped a bus to town, walked to the university and signed my contract, had breakfast at the local hangout, which was dead, but always good breakfasts (one of few places in Pdx that makes hash browns I like), caught the bus back and picked up the car, 2 and a half hours later.

Bus riding is great for brooding and I got some significant novel-brooding done, including yet another major change in the evolving character of my protagonist. Requires some fixing but easy to do.

Vignette a day keeps the doctor away

One down, a second begun and might be finished before the session is over.

Morning chores. Car serviced, to the university to sign my new contract.

The video done, now to the syllabus. I already am looking forward to the new term, the rhythm of it, the challenge of it. I can't believe how long I've been teaching there. Seems not so long ago they invited me to start a screenwriting program. The perception of time sure gets skewed as one ages.

Well, back to work.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Instructional video

It took me all day but my 14-min instructional video is now on DVD and also online.

Tips on writing the contemporary spec script, using the master minimalist Harold Pinter as a model.

Al Gore Criticizes Obama For Abandoning Smog Standards

Al Gore Criticizes Obama For Abandoning Smog Standards:

Rendering, rendering

I'm not sure if this project will export or not. Fortunately I have alternatives -- I have 3 editing programs and can reassemble everything in another if this one has died on me. But so far it's not dying, it's just outrageously slow. So I hang in there.

Tried watching Fat City, a favorite film of mine, but found it so depressing I had to quit. I'll skip later to the ending, one of my favorite endings on film -- maybe the longest silence ever, which is dramatically perfect. John Huston at work. But the rest, man, I was having too many "there but for the grace of the gods" moments.

Just turning noon and I've done a long day's work already. Love it.

Finally decided on a Native American character in my novel, who is of some importance, Danny White Bird. I named him after Chief White Bird and White Bird hill in northern Idaho, about which I know a few things, where Dick's ashes are scattered. Whole cloth.

This draft feels rougher than my drafts usually are, no doubt because of the complexity of what I'm trying to do, but that's fine, I'm not in a hurry as long as I live long enough to finish ha ha.

One more term of evening class before I switch to noon. Should be teaching noon this term but somebody screwed up. That's fine. Fall  is better in the evening than winter is.

I feel like it is evening already, psychologically anyway. Might take the dog for a run, unless he rebels for the heat. He might prefer loafing in the cooler house.

Instructional video

My video project is taking an unusually long time to render. Not sure what the problem is but something is not doing what it should be doing. Oh, my.

Subscribe

In case you missed it, you now can subscribe to this blog by filling out the short form in the right column. You get one email a day of the posts on the previous day. Images included -- on my email, it looks quite nice. Yet another option in cyberland.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Teaching hat

Two prep chores to do in the next several weeks: finish my new syllabus; finish a video I am making about spec script writing, using Pinter's script of The French Lt's Woman as a model. Should be no problem.

See what Nike started

Oregon performs Swan Lake
Well, I didn't think I'd ever see football uniforms more ridiculous than what Nike has put on the players of Oregon but Maryland surely challenges this with their new split-personality uniforms. Actually some of Oregon's uniform combinations strike me as worse. At least the Maryland players can't be mistaken for ballet dancers.

Flirting with relapse

We don't control the content of our dreams. If we did, I would've killed this one in the bud: I woke up with plans for a new hyperdrama in my head.

My last work in hyperdrama was in summer, 2008. According to Astrid Ensslin, I coined the term (reference), which may or may not be true, but at any rate I've done enough work in the form to earn an international reputation. Consequently I was invited to make a presentation about hyperdrama to the national hypertext conference in Pittsburgh, summer of 2008. Some two decades earlier, I had attended the first hypertext conference at Yale, networked, but hadn't gone to another.

I both liked and disliked the invitation. I didn't like the idea of flying 3000 miles to make a one-hour presentation to a handful of interested academics. However, I always embrace the opportunity to tell anyone who will listen that hyperdrama is an important new dramaturgy. So I suggested a video presentation, which wouldn't require me to be there personally, and this was accepted. The result was Changing Key, a video hyperdrama and lecture-demonstration.

One of the more interesting moments in the presentation is near the end, in the video called Nuts & Bolts, in which I present the design for a permanent "hyperdrama theater." The form will never catch on until an adventurous theater company gives it a permanent home. My design would make this possible.

What was in my head this morning was a duct tape version of this design. The theater space could be any classroom. Chairs are moved to form a square in the center of the room, all facing outward. Each side of the square faces a playing area, giving the "theater" four spaces for actors. The play would require 8-13 actors and be short -- ten to fifteen minutes. At the end of each performance, after a blackout, the play would be preformed again, and done a total number of four times. Each audience member would change seats to a new side of the square before each new performance.

I am still trying to educate an audience, you see. Now I said I would have killed this idea in the bud, which means I have no energy to pursue this. However, it is a fine idea, easily managed in technical terms, and would demonstrate the nature of hyperdrama in a clear and, yes, dramatic way. Of course, one has to write the short play (not so short when script pages are multiplied by four). I should never say never -- maybe on my death bed I'll scribble out a script. Right.

My greatest accomplishment in hyperdrama continues to be my unseen, unread, unproduced and ignored version of Chekhov, the Seagull Hyperdrama. However, I did get some academic brownie points for it:
I am writing to congratulate you on publishing The Seagull Hyperdrama -- an original translation and expansion of Chekhov's classic play The Seagull -- into the hyperdrama form on the Internet.
Faculty productivity at this level is a source of pride for the Department of English, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Portland State University.
Dean
Portland State University
I irrationally retain the faith that one day a visionary, ambitious artistic director will found a theater company dedicated to producing hyperdrama in a permanent theater space. If I were in my 20s, I'd do this myself. It doesn't seem to be happening in my lifetime but it will happen because the result will be full of energy and dramatic insights that will attract audiences. Traditional theater will be seen as a special case of hyperdrama. Yes, yes and yes.

Monday, September 05, 2011

In E-Mail Age, Postal Service Struggles to Avoid a Default - NYTimes.com

In E-Mail Age, Postal Service Struggles to Avoid a Default - NYTimes.com:

"The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, September 04, 2011

For Labor Day

"WE HAVE FED YOU ALL FOR A THOUSAND YEARS"

The legacy of the Wobblies

a dramatic and musical collage for Labor Day



Aesthetic experiences

Ben Webster
Johnny Hodges
At breakfast Saturday Mark gave me a CD, Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges, recorded in the mid-sixties. What fine stuff! Man, reminds you how important good aesthetic experiences are in a lifetime. I'll treasure this sucker for all my remaining time. Thanks, Mark!




Some other favorite aesthetic experiences:

  • Going down to LA a few years ago to see my favorite opera, rarely produced, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.
  • Getting a private concert from Ramblin' Jack Elliott after helping him set up at the Earth Tavern, Portland, in the 1980s.
  • All the great folk and blues music happening at the Ash Grove in LA, 1960s. Brownie and Sonny, Lightnin' Hopkins, Ramblin' Jack, New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, the list goes on and on.
  • Seeing Fugard's Sizwe Bonzi Is Dead at Ashland, 1980s.
  • Seeing Marat/Sade at the Univ of Oregon, early 1970s.
  • 4 plays in 4 nights at Peter Fornara's The Production Company, Portland, late 1970s.
  • Reading Fowles' The French Lt's Woman -- then seeing the film with Pinter's screenplay.
  • Reading Connell's Mrs. Bridge.
  • Reading Sorrentino's story "The Moon In Its Flight" in New American Review. M. F. Beal's stories in same.
  • First hearing of Beatles' Sgt Pepper album.
  • First hearing of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
  • The Best of Little Walter Chess album.
  • Listening to Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker together.
  • And now the CD above, very high on the list.

Sunday morning QB

About football's week 1:

  • Highlight: Boise State 35, Georgia 21. More one-sided than score. I hope they go all the way!
  • Greatest disappointment: Auburn 42, Utah State 38. Utah St. blew 10 pt lead with 3 minutes to go.
  • Ho hum: LSU 40, Oregon 27. Ducks had better watch out for Nevada.
  • Disappointments: Houston 38, UCLA 34. Bruins suck and it wasn't this close. They should start wooing Mike Leach. S Flo 23, Notre Dame 20. Irish were more masochistic than the Ducks, giving ball away endless times in red zone. Washington 30, E Wash 27. Won't cut it.
  • Why play this? Portland St 52, So Ore 0. Stanford 57, San Jose St 3.
  • Best games next week: Oregon St v Wisconsin. Nevada v Oregon. Notre Dame v Michigan.


Good energy

I feel great. End of summer, in the sense that after Labor Day I get serious about my classes, and I still have some significant prep work to do before my class starts in three weeks.

Had a great visit and breakfast with Mark yesterday morning. He gave me a great jazz CD, about which more in a future post. Mark, at 80, is the most stimulating conversationalist I encounter these days, a wonder in his own way. He hit the mark when he said my struggle with the novel was a struggle for synthesis. Indeed it is. And I feel I've made progress with the new "historic" vignettes I'm adding. The influences of Dos Passos and Connell on this book are everywhere. Better than an influence of pop lit ha ha!

Some writing today, some yard work, some reading. The background reading continues and is gripping.

I need a new character. An AIM member, student of my protagonist, who stays in contact with him through Alcatraz and Pine Ridge.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

No. 4 LSU overcomes in 40-27 win over No. 3 Oregon - College Football - Rivals.com

No. 4 LSU overcomes in 40-27 win over No. 3 Oregon - College Football - Rivals.com:

Neither team looked like a top 5 team to me. Oregon shot itself in the foot countless times. They still would have lost.

This is a great opportunity for them. If they don't whine and blame the referees, they might build something they lack: CHARACTER.

Early football notes

Utah State has ten pt lead over Auburn with three mins left for biggest win in school history. They lose.

UCLA has no defense ... but staying in shootout. Not impressive. May be Nuheisel last year. If so ... hire Leach!

Notre Dame also looking bad. PSU murdering So Oregon ... mismatch.

Several rain delay games ... unusual for football.

Perspective

I see on Facebook that a colleague's birthday is next week. And I also see that I'm old enough to be his father. No wonder, no wonder etc etc etc.

Tired and high

Some very encouraging work, putting down a few historic vignettes, taking more notes ... increasing confidence that this new layer is going to add much. We'll see.

Brooding myself awake

Up too early, poked by a head full of notions about the novel. Need to get something down on paper but also need a few more hours sleep before I begin the day in earnest. It's a three-part day:

  • Breakfast at Joe's Spoon with Mark
  • UCLA-Houston game
  • Oregon-LSU game and Boise State-Georgia game, back and forth

Now to work.

Friday, September 02, 2011

from kindle

excitement grows about this book ... perfect quote last work unquote ... swan song ... but what a challenge and I must live long enough to pull it off ... made timeline that helps me see the forest ... layered must still be character driven ... man this will be a stretch ... makes me feel mentally young and reckless again.

Brooding, reading, brooding

Sometimes the best part of a literary project is pre-writing. Well, at least it's easier ha ha.

Sharapova

No athlete of talent is more stressful and frustrating to watch today than Maria Sharapova. Ever since her shoulder injury, surgery, and recovery, she has been playing with an untrustworthy serve, becoming her own worst enemy. A moment ago in the U.S. Open, for example, ahead 40-30, she double-faulted twice in a row to blow the game. It took her three games to put down a weak opponent in her opening game and the #3 ranked Sharapova is behind in the first set against #25 Pennetta, so far being badly outplayed. I love her intensity and skill but this post-injury Sharapova raises my blood pressure.

Research

This week I've written little but have been doing a ton of background reading, largely on the 60s, for my novel -- and loving every minute of it because almost every page suggests some nuance or refinement of my protagonist and of my themes. This clearly is the hardest book I've tried to write but it has a kind of recklessness that was common in my early writing but which I abandoned as I became more skilled and, to an extent, safer from a narrative perspective. This is wild and chaotic this early but even polished, if I figure out how to put all the pieces together, it will be layered the way my play The Half-Life Conspiracy is layered.

What it needs, and what its key is, is the same mad energy of the play, which isn't there yet. I haven't quite found the voice, though I'm getting parts of a wild structure in place. This needs to be one of those hugely complex assemblies that comes off as simplicity itself, as if it were done by a three year old. The gold is in the layers. If I do it right.

Well, I'm having a hell of a lot of fun trying, this early on. Best, best by far, I keep falling more and more in love with my protagonist, even though I suspect I may have to kill him off at the end. I have a wild notion of how to do that.

Bob Burnett: Labor Day: Dreaming of Joe Hill

Bob Burnett: Labor Day: Dreaming of Joe Hill:


Bowling Green 32, Idaho 15

Football begins. Last night was the first game I care about, Idaho losing. Have to root for Dick's alma mater, where my godsons still live. Coming up, I'll be rooting for Nevada, UCLA, Washington, Notre Dame (can't help it, loved them as a kid and it's been a while since they've been good), Boise State. Oregon? I really haven't decided. I likely will root for Nike but not cry if they lose. I wish they'd fix their corrupt program. Or at least be less obvious about it ha ha. Hard to stick your head in the sand with Oregon. If nothing else, their ridiculous uniforms flaunt it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pintarich services

Services for Paul Pintarich, a longtime journalist, author and book critic, will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 9 at River View Cemetery Chapel, 0300 S.W. Taylors Ferry Road, Portland.

New interface

Blogger has a new interface. I hated it at first -- because I was using Chrome, my usual browser, and nothing was responsive. I switched to Firefox and it works speedily like a charm. So they have some kinks to fix but this is a nice improvement, once I figured it out.

p.s. AT 423PM ...now works for Chrome, too.

The sixties

Started reading Terry Anderson's The Movement and the Sixties. So far, he nails it. I think I'm really going to like this book.

Paul Pintarich, longtime journalist, author and critic, dies | OregonLive.com

Paul Pintarich, longtime journalist, author and critic, dies | OregonLive.com:

I met Paul in the 1960s when he was asst editor at Northwest Magazine, and I became a regular contributor. We weren't close but shared mutual admiration and respect.

One afternoon I saw him on a bus as I boarded. I hadn't seen him in a while. He was white as a ghost. I sat next to him and asked if he were feeling well. He said, They just canned me.

He was book editor of The Oregonian at the time. The paper recently had imported a hotshot new editor from the east coast and she was cleaning house. Paul was one of the first to go. The paper never recovered the outstanding book coverage he provided. I boycotted the paper for many years after the house cleaning that took other fine established writers besides Paul.

Paul, like I, had quit drinking in time to extend his life. He has a number of unpublished novels. Maybe someone will publish them print on demand. I bet they're worth reading.

Fiddling

Fiddling with a Prelude to the novel, to set a few things. Here's the current draft:
WAS THE AMERICAN DREAM coming to an end? Sometimes it looked like it. All across the United States in the summer of 2011, old men and old women looked back at their long lives and in significant numbers reached a startling conclusion: unlike their parents of the Great Generation, who had made countless sacrifices for the benefit of their children, they were leaving the world in worse shape than they had inherited it. Their parents had survived the Great Depression, defeated Hitler and fascism, and come home to establish a post-war economic boom that made the American Middle Class the envy of the world. The Great Generation had energized the American Dream and handed it to their children on the proverbial silver platter.
   Today's elderly provided no comparable legacy. Growing up in the 40s and 50s, coming of age in the 60s, making their marks in the 70s and 80s, the elderly found themselves with a more attractive past than present tense. They were retiring in a world on the brink of bankruptcy, in a country stuck in unending Middle East wars against a nebulous enemy, in a culture that increasingly distrusted and downright hated science, leaving Nature's growing anger at intrusive human activities to be explained by mythology and religious texts, as America flirted with the possibility of theocracy.
   Yet the elderly did not feel guilty about this dismal state of affairs. They had not created these problems. They were victims as much as their children and grandchildren were. In a true democracy, citizens took responsibility for their governments but governments in their lifetime, whether Democrat or Republican, changed very little that mattered. Voting for change did not mean you would get it, not even when your candidate won. The decisions that shaped the essentials of life were made by invisible powers. Some called it a shadow government of black ops, others a conspiracy of international corporations. Whatever it was, it existed in secrecy behind the elected government's facade of democracy to make sure the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. You only disagreed with this if your bank account encouraged you to.
   Under these circumstances, few over 70 would choose to be younger. No one wanted to grow up in the world as it was today.
  In Portland, Oregon, one such old man was Carlton “CJ” Jones, a retired history professor, who had a funeral to get to.

Noise

The soundtrack of life has changed significantly over the past half century. Now frantic noise is everywhere. A neighbor can't clear leaves from a small 10x10 patch of grass without using a blower heard blocks away. When I try to get ball scores on the radio, I have to time the announcer or suffer through the loudest cacophony of hype-noise I've ever heard (ESPN radio). The culture has lost all appreciation of silence, brooding, reflection. The world ends not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with brouhaha.