The Cross eyed Forked Tongued Bedevilment of Doom Doom Doom

Writers Desk

My Saucy Boss

Rolling right along with the final edit shoving off from the shores of the first page in February and since have sailed across some seventy thousand words to this the last day of May. A mere fifteen pages are all that remain of the voyage. I have been racked with nasty bouts of ego induced fear. I have brooded over the loss of rhythm, been in fool death swoon over an editors rejection of a term I had fallen so in love with. Whole paragraphs had to be disassembled and then reassembled again and again until fit for literary consumption. He-he-he’s had to be excised. She-she-she’s terminated. Indefinite words hunted down and killed. I have had to get off my desk chair go to the mirror look at myself and admit that an entire scene had been a failure, that there was no revising that could make what was never there to begin with suddenly magically appear. But, we now are near this other side of this journey. I haven’t the slightest idea of whether this story will fly, couldn’t know and wish I did. I know I love my wife. That is sure. My earliest version was read by a trusted inner circle. On the basis of a wide range of reactions I plunged into what I hoped and what all writers hope will be the final edit. My editor lashing me daily with columns bulging with corrections and suggestions, a thousand miseries rolled up into one exquisite exclamation point aimed directly at my shattered confidence. Then, when they’ve got you right where they want you, when all hope is lost, there comes a point in the process where you are so deluded as to dare say… not bad.

Fragment from the Novel

Jo heard voices but was overtaken, the intensity shoved her closer to her rawest self, the pain unspeakable. She gripped hold of Buzz and Jessica’s hands, every sinew of muscle in her arms, every vein in her neck strained, as her body’s biochemistry ripened her thoroughfare, the gateway to life, the moment of incarnation was by and by nearing as the much anticipated new soul’s head began crowning, closing in upon the first breath.

“That’s right, you are a magnificent woman, good work mama baby-maker,” the doula’s soothing voice laced with confidence. “Come on, another breath, the air is free, take it, that’s right, it’s a good day for your love to come on out and meet everyone.”

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Women of the Oak Savannahs Opener

Burned Out Four

Scene from remains of the Valley Fire, Lake County, California

September 16, 2015 Napa Valley

High aloft the aerialist gripped the climbing rope. Beyond a brownish orange sun went lost in a smoke filled sky. Helicopters, Super-Huey’s thump-thump-thumped eastward to the front. In the tumult of the still out of control wildfire the aerialist startled the audience with a swift descent back to the ground. The rhinestone bejeweled woman slipped one foot then the other into her glittering silver clogs. Each knee-high-stride was accent, twirling her palms face up, she tickled the ovation with her fingertips. The incessant droning of the Grumman Air-tankers crisscrossing the sky mixed with the audience’s anxious murmurs. Within the respite of the struggle to survive a showgirl’s smile simmered across her lips. The heavy oppression of the air reeking of acrid smoke pressed a sorrowful reality down upon the fairground. Jo assumed a dancer’s first position, her concentration slipping away, mind wandering, locking eyes with the motorcycle racer for one part of one instant, then in the next breath the performing artist vanished out of the light away into the night.

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Long fiction takes like what seems forever. I plotted for much of a year and began composing my fourth novel on November 1, 2015. You are looking at 171 of 72,000 words. My editor and I are nearing the end of our fixing the manuscript. Fatigue sets in during the late editing process. I have been back to the first paragraph on many days all along the last seventeen months. The opener has been through hundreds if not thousands of rewrites. We’ll see if it stands up and carries the day, the previous version measuring 123 words.  I had sought to keep the paragraph compact, but the shorter opener lacked the visceral imagery to do with the fire.  I like this version. If you wonder whether you have what it takes to write long fiction you might ask whether you have the constancy required to read, reread and revise your prose until they are all arranged to the best that you can stand to do.

birthday 009A

Pedal to the Metal with A Thousand Clowns

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Norm Ornstein describes the partisanship to have metastasized into tribal warfare. Tribalism is about being a member of a group that you are above all else loyal to. Privatization, sending programs back to the states, rejection of spending on infrastructure, no new taxes, lower old taxes, and dismantle social welfare programs. That’s the village they want to live in.

The scorched earth strategy is not a tactic and it decidedly not a means of governance, it is Donald Trumps first and last Fox Television tested means to all ends. All of this ends in stalemate. Until the tribe can get back into the White House. Then, they’ll ram through the tribes greatest hits and most damaging harms.

The tribal members on the Supreme Court have been perfect shills for Big Business. Follow the money and the spigots they open or close attune perfectly to what is big and powerful and away from what is small and not wealthy. Messing with the right to vote is just a bon bon to their tribes efforts to hold on to power. The rest of it is disinformation to cloud their penchant for wanting to help those born with silver spoons in their…..

The tribalism around Scalia’s exiting this reality is pure rocket fuel. The tribe already in a spiral, many wondering when the whole stinking thing will blow, has found a sword to fall on. Teddy Cruz and Marco Rubio (both suspected of being ineligible to actually be President by circumstances of birth as explained by a political Republican operative in Nevada) promise full on filibustering any nominee put forward by the obviously illegitimate executive presently illegally occupying their home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

That’s us in a nutshell, and what a nut it has been. Tribalism, not movement conservatism, comes closer to our understanding what the country is up against. The flippant tone of my comments aside this kind of behavior is dangerous for all of us. I never thought I’d see us going off the cliff in a clown car… but, that’s looking more and more like one version of our end to this current hell we find ourselves stuck in.

Precious Versions of Personal Hell’s

Grapes

Lifeblood of Poetry and Passion

Good morning from San Diego. Will report there is some fog out my eighth floor window at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. The heatwave seems to be over. National Weather Service is expecting another record setting week ahead. Welcome to life between the heatwaves. My barber on Melrose in Hollywood expects the warm weather to last until November. Don’t trust him with a straight razor.

It feels to me that there is just a bit too much ramming speeding colliding with jamming tactics going on. All this ramming and jamming creates blowback. What I mean is that we’ll rot in traffic for so long and then the lid on top our head blows… its our eighth chakras urging us to abandon our fear of change.

This past week I’ve had to stick my head way up into what the Napa County Planning Commission’s business. It ain’t pretty peeps. They’re grinding through the process of approving, of allowing, of altering, scaling back, of listening sincerely, then doing what they were going to do in the first place. Theirs is more of a jam it up, then ram it through game than the other way around.

Dispensation of the last permissions to the last parcels as the wine country approaches full capacity is to witness the malpractice of democracy blended with a mendacious capitalism in a temporal demolition derby where the competitors all end up in their precious versions of their own personal hells.

That’s how we roll this fine weekend. We are barreling toward a showdown. Will they call for a moratorium? Will the developers mount a recall campaign? Will traffic grow so congested as to cork access to the jewel of the New World oneological promised land? It’s the hell bent big boys striking back against the perverted preservationists.

At the mouth of the Napa River is Mare Island in Vallejo. There is the perfect place. Vallejo could use the business and the Napa Valley can live without it. We build hotels on Mare Island. Build as many as the island can hold. We ferry visitors upriver to downtown Napa. From there they put the guzzling hordes onto the wine train, and from there they go north and then they are  uncorked upon a pristine winegrowers paradise. There they find that there is little to no traffic, there are fuel cell powered electric shuttles that take guests from tasting room to tasting room. At the end of the day visitors enjoy a return voyage back to Mare Island where they drink more wine, take more aspirin, and make more love after drinking a bottle of wine they can’t possibly afford. Perfection….

Ignacio's Home

Ignacio Sandras’s Place in the Napa Valley

How to Not Write Anything Brilliantly

Write What You Know
Write What You Know

We go to busking great Tim Motley enjoying his summer in Melbourne for this: “I try to sit down with my morning coffee around noon.”

It usually happens first thing,” Dan Looker explains, “when the previous evening’s alcohol and the morning coffee meet in a front.”

That’s some kind of weather pattern.

The well washed one- veteran British comic- Andre Vincent, “It is thought of in the bath and then never stopped working on.”

Ellen Gavin screenwriter and former theatrical producer at the Brava in San Francisco confides, “I try to write from 9 until 3…” and then cheerfully admits, “I’m supposed to be at my desk now.”

Most writers do their best writing when they are supposed to be writing. It is only when we are actually writing that it is so difficult.

One way or another, sooner or later, they do get it down on paper.

Jay Alexander explains, “I send a recording of my show and have a professional transcribe it.” He’s got the idea.

“I’m open to writing,” Lee Ross explains, “I did get up and do an ‘open mic’ the other week and killed.”

This is how the really gifted writers write.

As Karl Saliter explains, “I continually find myself 10,000 miles from the keyboard.” This is pure virtuosity.

Still technique is important. Rob Williams, “I recommend upscale pencils… look for the Palomino Blackwing Series.”

They are impossible to find.

Andre Vincent, “Notebook is friend, memory is enemy.”

James O’Shea, “I’m not trying to plan anything or know what the story is about.”

Here it is sage advice from many of the hardest working writer-entertainers in show business.

Take it from the working professionals. Blaming writers block is overrated. Hard work is for suckers.

They say that we all have a novel in us. Writing it down, printing it out and putting it on a shelf. That is so last century.

I hope this clears thing’s up for those of you who might still be thinking about writing something.

Out with the Old
Out with the Old

Want to find my comic novel

Hot Spring Honeymoon…

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Hat Snatching Owl’s and Brawling Burro Truths…

image The owl soared across the street to the limb of a cottonwood. The animal perched, balancing on one foot, with Mr. Garrett Harwood’s hat clasped and dangling in her clutches in the other.

Hot Spring Honeymoon

Owl attacks joggers and steals their hats…

Headline from The Guardian, Reuters in Portland, Oregon

I concocted a confrontation between an owl, a burro and an old man in 2012. Some background. I took out on the road with a circus in 1974. We traveled with a bear, fox, pheasant, monkey, dog and miniature horse.

I spent six months tending to the horse. A young stallion that I took from his mother had no choice but to hook into me; the world was too empty- too cold otherwise.

I spent one decade plus performing with an Belgian Shepherd and another decade plus with a Jack Russell Terrier. Sunshine and Lacey devoted their lives to the work we shared.

What I know about the animal kingdom has been derived from 10,000 performances and countless hours spent in a performing duo pair bond with two dogs and a miniature horse.

Garrett searched the ground. No hat. The owl screeched. Garrett startled. He looked from where the call had come from. The animal was in the tree. She had his best hat.

I was plenty sure when I built this scene that what I had imagined was within the realm of possibility. I not only have had two dogs in my act for the longest time I juggled fire while balancing a live chicken on my head.

Two decades plus with dogs and a near decade with a chicken and you get to know things about the animal kingdom that might slip by the casual observer. You know what an animal will do and what guides their understanding of the world they live in.

Bambalina (the burro) was disgusted. Her adversary was pathetic, spineless, not even a worthy opponent, and say what the world will  about the animal kingdom, rare if ever does an animal fight simply for the sake of a fight.

The Guardian’s story about this pesky owl in Salem, Oregon is a literary affirmation. An interested reader now knows by proof of fact that the writer is with regard to the animals portrayed in his work an authority on the subject.

Bambalina and the owl traded a knowing look. They knew a man was no match in a real brawl. Garrett slunk back. The old man turned and trotted away. He was not her equal. He ran for his life.

Once I formed the outline to Hot Spring Honeymoon and began to write Bambalina’s character her voice flowed. She required few revisions. Her ‘burro personage’ from word one rang true.

How and why that is has everything to do with the animals I trained and have shared so many years of my life with. So, besides having concocted a sexual farce (another bit of nature I have some experience of) there is also the reward a reader will find in discovering the truths to be learned about the animal kingdom, a lifeforce man is so inextricably woven into.

This is the realm of the interdependent nature of mind. Where we see mankind in a dog, and a dog sees the canine in us. I’ll leave you with one last piece of burro truth.

His burro approached. She didn’t care about anything but Fletcher. He tugged on the crushed straw western hat, yanked it out of her teeth. “You know I’m going to have to give you a whipping for this?”

No he’s not. Bambalina had heard that sorry act so many times, but Fletcher McCrea was all bark no bite, and it is why she remained faithful to this man. The sarcasm and snide commentary was part of something bigger than both of them. image

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That Brilliant Joke Teller Sam Brownback

Hack

No fixing stupid, No cure for stubborn…

I do own a suit. I am an entertainer. I can say things that aren’t true. In fact in my business I’m not really required to tell the truth. I’m in the business of amusement.

If you stand up and raise your hand and volunteer to fly an airplane you had best been trained, licensed and do as you were taught. Leave improvisation to the comics. In piloting we don’t like to do stupid.

Let’s take a trip to Kansas shall we? How about that amazing, brilliant joke teller himself Governor Sam Brownback? There’s a laugh riot of governorship right there.

And where did Sam get his ideas? No, not the nitwit, that tower of intellectual probity himself Arthur Laffer. Yes, he took Laffer’s advice.

Laffer was getting hammereed at a roadhouse playing liars dice with the slice and dice tax cutting legend Grover Norquist. A match made of sewage if ever there was one. Here in one convenient location were two of America’s greatest hole diggers tossing back shots of misguided sludge as if it were god’s truth.

“Boys… let’s keep digging them holes…” said the Heritage Foundation hack fraud economist Steve Moore. You see stench is an irresistible odor that draws other hacks.

Right there in one place we have three celebrated hacks and Governor Sam Brownback has these clowns at the controls of the Kansas economy.

But, you see I am a hack blogger. I enjoy my hacking. I do not take kindly to hacks that masquerade as authority. Those are the worst kind of hacks. Of course the great hacks never admit a thing.

This is where we find ourselves. Our America is being guided by the best hacks conservative money can buy. And so good old Governor Sam Brownback with the help of his hacks rationalizations and policy prescriptions has gone and crashed the Kansas economy right into the ditch.

Arthur Laffer is a discredited below average failed economist. Grover Norquist is a one trick pony. Steve Moore, a former editor at the Wall Street Journal is an out of control fire hose of complete and utter nonsense.

This is a Hall of Fame of Hacks. The rubble of the Kansas economy smolders in tribute to their hack ideas. It is a sad day in paradise when an unqualified entertainer hacks his way to the top of this stinking pile of truth. Thank God it’s Friday… May your weekend be guided by the pilot of the truth.

“It was something like the current state of human beings and their believing, when compared to other animals, that they were superior living beings. From Bambalina’s reckoning the man who took care of her didn’t even make horse sense.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon

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