Category Archives: Books

I’m currently in the process of getting my first novel published. I’ll give you the inside scoop of the process.

Monumental Change

The Monumental Mojave

Among the greatest achievements of my generation is how little we have done. In California where I live we are in the midst of building a new bridge that will link the Oakland, California side of the San Fransico Bay with San Franicsco, California. In the middle of this sits Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. The bridge we are replacing is a cantilever affair that is insufficient when put up against an earthquake. On the other half is a suspension bridge that is more likely to withstand an earthquake. My generation seems to be a bunch of moochers, we literally are living off the past and not all that interested in creating a robust infrastructure for the future. Instead we are tied in knots about all manner of things doing with doing things and thus we resist contributing to the future because right now is so dang vital to our present moment. It is the most profound form of insanity…because soon an earthquake will hit here and we will have to fix the damage and we will have to reckon with the fact we did not set aside sufficent funding for this predictable event. Instead we ate our seed corn in this present moment fixation with what? This blog is not just a report on change it is about reporting on the insanity of not embracing change…sometimes we must wake up to the reality that nothing we were born into is about what we are living in and what we will leave to our children. High speed rail, big collosal bridges, super highways, new more advanced electrical grids………….maybe this is what we are supposed to be leaving in our journey of being here….otherwise why go visit the pyramids?

Water as Change

Treasure Island on the Stern

We can be changed. A good sail on a warm day, that can change a person. If we do something for a long time it will have an impact on us. It becomes part of something we reference. We talk about the things we learn and those lessons are often the result of the experiences we’ve had. Still some changes happen that instant, in that moment, we are better for it, and right now. Some of what we do has a longer time line. And then of course we might go in search of one thing and discover another thing we didn’t know we would find there. Most all of us attempt to bend the storyline in our own favor: get out of the hot sun, meet the girl we are interested in for a drink, go to the movie we are interested in, avoid the speeding tickets, and when we see our doctor hope for a clean bill of health… Sailing is surprising. Things come up you could never dream up. Wind increases, waves grow steep, docile sea conditions become wild, then wilder and then the recreational sail you imagined becomes a journey demanding attention, focus, skill and precision. More than once my boat has taken me to places I didn’t want to go, put me into a bind I didn’t want to be in, left me humbled. People who claim sailing is boring strike me as funny. An breezy afternoon on San Francisco Bay will change that after just one stout gust….

Route Change, Spring Ahead

Golden Gate Bridge Spring 2011

 

Mojave on Monday, Wednesday middle of the San Francisco  Bay. Natives of Northern California anticipate seasonal change. Spring
arrives and comes at a time and a moment of our dreaming. We know we are anchored to our own sliver of reality, but it is our elixir, today is a moment that intoxicates, it frames the hills, it sweeps the bay, the sun aches to speak, to touch us, to tell us, that for one more moment on this ride call life……that life is sweet right here….Californian dreaming…….

Neighborhood Change

Old Friend
One of the challenges of  long fiction is chronicling change over time. Observations of how things change asks of the observer to maintain a fresh and open mind. I performed my street show on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona last week. New businesses have arrived while old businesses have vanished. My relationship to this neighborhood extends back to 1974. My first visit was to a dusty, simple, funky, partially paved street of pizza joints and sun baked old housing mixed in among stout brick buildings. In the scrimmage that is life this neighborhood is at risk. Too many ideas have not met with success. We feel this tension. Bright, educated, young people define the districts vitality. If we
could have pressed the pause button, if we could have deleted this decision, if the valleys population had not exploded, growing so fast as to exceed the speed of thoughtful urban planning things might have been different. Where once people felt that in this place anything was possible there are now many who are left to wonder. Even if Mill  Avenue by some miracle had got all its changes right there is still the surrounding tumult of what we know as the Valley of the Sun. We all watch the rise and fall, the waves of change… it tugs at our heartstrings.

 

“At the junction with the Coast Highway and the Carmel Valley Road he paused at a traffic
light and then proceeded straight into the heart of Carmel. The business district was comprised
of a quaint group of buildings nestled together beneath cypresses, eucalyptus,
live oaks, palms, and all manner of magnificent trees.”

Highway Home

Changing Arizona

Desert Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight in Tempe. Street shows at 5th and Mill Avenue. Four shows today. I played this space first in 1992. It has been on my schedule since.  Tempe Festival of the Arts has been happening since the 70’s…..  Lots of change… Played my first date in Tempe in 1974. Lacey is hanging with me at our hosts home. While out on the street she stays behind. Our audiences are banged up and you can feel it here. Arizona is on a down swing of some kind………it would be too easy to say it is politics, too easy to say it is economics, but we are in the realm of the changes here…something needs changing here…something…….needs to change

Change of Heart So Long Liz Taylor…

Time for Love
Be still my beating heart. The
world is a grand fantastic romance. It might be you shelved the romantic thing.
Maybe instead you decided enough of that. It isn’t necessary to write about
relationship to write fiction, but of the kind of three dimensional characters
I am interested in exploring it is a fundamental. With so many options in the
modern world a relationship is for some nothing more than one to many options
that clutters their busy schedule. Relationship can be inconvenient,
uncomfortable, something to manage. Too many come with too much expectation, or
wielding too dangerous a love to risk loving. Then, we have those in our midst
who write love and relationship large, multiple marriages, multiple loves,
tumult and heartbreak, new intrigue and withering sad endings needing final
extinguishing if they only knew how or the best moment to do so. Heartbreak is
a head rush, clears the mind, the sharp stabbing pain, the distraction, the
inability to eat or eat too much, it tips us over, the purpose of all those
slow ballads hones in on the ache and we promise ourselves never, ever again at
least a while…
“He jammed his hands back into his pockets, and
walked off in the direction she had just come. She continued down the beach.
Noel couldn’t help but reflect that only moments before he had been thinking
about where to go and what to do, and now all of a sudden he was thinking about
what the chances were of finding somebody special.”
Highway Home

Pheromonal Changes…

Something to look up to...

A Tom turkey in full breeding plumage displayed his glorious stuff yesterday in the neighborhood. The turquoise blue head, the waddle, the fanned tail all naturally acquired by the spring shifting tide of chemically induced involuntary transformation. And then there is man, the fabulous homo-erectus. We stand before the mirror. Leave unfastened one perhaps two buttons on our shirt. Pants of a certain fit. Shoes
polished. Teeth brushed and hair combed, and then perhaps a jacket to broaden out the line on the shoulders. We are not so confined by season as by day of week. Of course spring hits us hard. We get extra perky as those fantastic feminine spring fashions begin appearing here and there. Spring is just one added push on the instincts. But, it is articulate. It speaks and it urges and it pushes us to lengths, desperate measures must be considered, something must be done. You can see these creatures out and about lingering where they might be seen or see. Where love might call them by their name…where what might occur is an event that makes sense of all this clucking and preening, all this
getting ready, waiting for that singular anticipated moment when into view the whole of their life changes.

She was self-conscious when she spotted
Noel and ran her fingers through her hair as if to tidy it up for his
approval.  Noel could sense she had grit.
It was her penetrating green eyes that told this story. She also had freckles
on her face that became more noticeable as she blushed.”

 

Highway
Home

Changing the Change

Mirror image of the same thing

“There is a twisting four-mile road from the village of Los Osos to Montaña De Oro near San Luis  Obispo, California. It winds one lane wide hrough a grove of eucalyptus trees before breaking out upon a clearing of windswept grassy hills, and then comes to a primitive wood bridge spanning a small creek that has cut a deep canyon through the Spooner Lane campground before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.”

Highway Home

The more things change the more things remain the same. I’ve heard that said. It is a homily. A slogan you can rely on. I find sage sayings dangerous because they can hide an exit from one of life’s great challenges right under your nose. Our guidance system is best designed in open format. The closed loop system will force nasty little experiences to recur again and again in our lives. These patterns we become aware of will
arise and repeat. They want our attention and until we give them their due will come back to visit us in various forms. What is fascinating is that these items on our agenda escape the space/time continuum and seem free to visit us as at a time and place of their own choosing. So, selecting one choice will land you smack dab right back where you started. Selecting the other choice, let’s call this the different choice, will land you somewhere else. No map, no trail, not really sure where you have found yourself, but there you are, and now perhaps the chance to start fresh, authentically, reviving and arising out of the smoldering old you comes the new taking a chance on a change in the way you do
things you… You’ll know this location because you won’t feel the same. It will feel “not same.”

Never Change, Always Remain the Same

The Bumpy Road of Life

“Noel walked off into the darkness with Jasper, back toward the van. He walked with a
weave; the pot and brandy had put a wiggle in his wandering and a wonder in his imagination.”

Highway Home

I enjoy seeing a character in a story forced to change. I like to see unmarried singles fall in love and wrestle with monogamy. I enjoy people who are married having affairs. I enjoy the mess. I much prefer reading about such misadventure on the page. It is there in the safety of the printed word we can avoid accidental pregnancies, contracting some sort of infectious disease, or breaking someone’s heart. I don’t know that any of this changes anything. Some tequila self soaked barrier removing event like a Friday night out on the town it seems many an individual has discovered another version of self spontaneously emerging in the cloak of darkness. Even the single friends among us pledge to be a bit more careful about what they do and promise to begin being careful starting right now! If you are naturally monogamous, inclined to long term relationships, and seldom addled by doubt count yourself fortunate to be able to contemplate other areas of your life that might be subject to change. There are so many other splendid areas of misadventure to explore, so many other ways to discover that what you think and how you act are subject to the element of surprise. Watching a devout womanizer falling in love and discovering the splendor of the monogamous virtue is heartwarming. It is an excellent view from the pull out on the road of life from where the Psychic Grand Canyon of Change can be safely appreciated. This sanity is welcomed. This is the actuality of the aesthetic,thoughtful, non-harming distance. A good read can be a great cure for change that makes things so much more the mess.

Fake Change

Sunet over Bakersfield

“The sand was cheerful and white beneath
the evening’s muted glow. A few other people were scattered along the edge of
the water. A long gleaming light of a quarter moon shimmered off the water.
Venus was low on the horizon, big and bright. The sky was overdone, a steady
constant glow surrounded by flickering stars.”

Highway Home

Nothing ever seems to change. Okay, that’s just the way it seems, but some things do change while others continue headed into old change that looks like no change at all. Writing about the emotional lives of characters in novels usually leads to sex, sex leads to pregnancy, to forming families, to births, to building lives together and on and on…. We pull the camera back and look not at the actors but at the playing field. There we see an unrelenting series of facts. One of the more interesting facts is that it seems over the last 50,000 years that we have become spectacularly good at reproducing ourselves in robust numbers. This alone must explain the terrific proliferation of romance novels. We’ve fanned out across the globe and have done everything in our power to use all this stuff. We use the fresh water. We use the fish. We use the forests. We use the air. Looking around at the moment we see that it is becoming more and more difficult to find enough stuff to keep this all going right now not to mention getting more stuff ready for the new arrivals who’ll be coming soon. Then, upon evaluating our inventories someone accuses some of us of having a scarcity mentality! How incredibly clever…I won’t suggest this as fact, but rather as a mere notion to consider that perhaps with this ever growing growth of increasing demand upon this only place we know where life is suited to our needs that we are finding the recent frictions of the last few weeks a sign that perhaps we might want to go a little slower, bring fewer of us here at a time, allowing the earth to replenish her cupboards for the next and the next…it isn’t how many we can get here for this party, its how long we can arrange to have the party last….sustainability…isn’t that a novel idea…or not.