An Ugly Word

I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word. I just don’t know why people can’t use the word ‘journal.’


Well, I like that. I’ve never cared for the word “blog,” either. It’s up there with “moist” and
“hangnail” on my list of words unworthy of creative expression on any level. But this website isn’t my journal.

I’ve kept an occasional journal of exceptional events for many years. At some point several years ago, I switched from a fountain pen to a  computer. I’ts just not fun, doesn’t draw me in. I prefer pen and paper now.  I write in it twice a day, since resuming in earnest last fall. Since Halloween I’ve filled a 240 page notebook and half of another. I write about gratitude, my sleep patterns, my sensations of well being (or unwell), about Being and Time and how hell is mostly other people. Present company excepted, of course.

I’m a big old introvert, so writing time also makes me feel recharged.

 We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.

— C.S. Lewis

In my journal, I’m trying to hold on to my life: to people I genuinely care about, to frustrations and celebrations and gifts and sorrows and everything that’s draining away. So it goes.



Wow. I wrote that then told my Echo to play songs by Moby. This is the first one it played. I kid you not. A kindred thinker. 



Feeling Bouncy

Here’s some fun music for your weekend. I’m a Deadhead but I’m into lots of music, especially jam bands like Phish. This is an upbeat song that usually lifts my spirits. Peace.

A Song for the First Day of Spring

I was thinking about this old song earlier today, when I was doing a bit of housework for the first day of spring. Certain members of my family used to sing it when I was small, and it would make me cry. Oh our insatiable sense of humor!

Woody Guthrie actually doesn’t sing it nearly as well as they did. He doesn’t convey much – if any – emotion. But oh, the high drama of those bygone days!

I’m teasing. But it was the first day of spring and the nights will begin to warm now, and so the time had surely come and could not be forestalled, to put my flannel sheets away.


Throwing Stones

Sometimes I’m amazed by how beautifully song lyrics and poems find their relevance in my life. Especially songs by The Grateful Dead.

I was riding my bike today and listening to Throwing Stones on the trusty iPod. I thought Yes! There we are! “So it goes, we make what we made since the world began.”

Here’s a video of the boys playing that song, March 1993, with some of the lyrics.

Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns ‘stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin’ stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit’s sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink
History’s page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.

No Less Wit

There is not less wit nor less invention in applying rightly a thought one finds in a book, than in being the first author of that thought.

– Pierre Bayle, philosopher and writer (1647-1706)

Right. Right. I have a few random thoughts on that, I think.

I believe it was Chaucer who said we plant new corn in old fields. An apt metaphor if I’ve ever heard one. And there’s a reason why reading is an imperative facet of writing. But what about other sources, such as music, movies, and even (egads!) TV? 

Gratefuldeadbear crop1A careful reading of the poetry I’ve written over the years will disrobe allusions to The Grateful Dead. And as I’ve been writing my novel, I’ve been thinking about To Kill A Mockingbird – the film version – at least a little. Sometimes I think about The Waltons TV show

Back in October I posted about making mood boards, and how visual imagery plays a part in guiding one’s writing efforts. (My mood board is here.)

As interested as I am in technology, as repulsed and drawn by turns as we are by the lurid lights and shadows of society and politics, I think nothing is more interesting than imagination. Without imagination, there is no invention, obviously no art.

Mission Santa Barbara Also known as  "Queen of the Missions for its graceful beauty."
In a sense, without imagination, there is no God. Because no matter how firmly we believe, and how well seated are doctrines and litanies in our minds, no sane believer can convince me he understands God. The Bible tells us we can’t. We can only try to comprehend Him through our symbolic imagination, and apprehend Him through a miniscule mysticism.

Mostly, we have to deal with life as it is Now – life on life’s term’s – or we wind up as crazy and wild as the Tucson shooter. But when the day is done, a creative person should feel at ease to hold her or his life up to the mirror of art at an angle, to see how the light might break differently then. And that’s a work of imagination. There’s no way to think about the future, otherwise.

What about you? How do non-print media inspire your creative life?

good grief, indeed

Have you ever listened to the soundtrack of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas? I don’t mean on the TV, while watching the show. (If you’re like me, you’ve watched it every year since the mid 1960s.) That’s good of course, but I downloaded the complete remastered album from iTunes recently. It is so much better unedited, the original full length songs.

I was making a DVD of family Christmas photos from the old days, and the music suited it well. I listened to the songs repeatedly, but not very carefully. Tonight I have the album on my iPod, just listening. This music is terrific. Clear, skillful jazz. If you like a good jazz trio, head over to the iTunes store and check it down. The album is only about 8 bucks.

What about the videos I made? Well, they’re on youtube, but they’re private. I have a hunch that publishing photos of my family in their Christmas morning PJs, hair uncombed, etc., would finally earn me that a—kicking I’ve so richly deserved for so long. Wouldn’t be prudent, is my point. 

women are smarter

Let me ask you ladies a question. If you had a cough, would you go to your medicine cabinet, take a swig of cough syrup, then check the label for the expiration date? No, a guy might do that but not a woman, because women are smarter.

Sorry guys, but it’s true. I even heard the Grateful Dead sing about it.

“It ain’t me it’s the people that say, men are leading women astray,I say, it’s the women today, smarter than the men in every way.”

Here are the full lyrics for you.

You are right my friend, that’s Bruce Hornsby of “The Range” fame, playing the accordion, starting at about 3:50. We saw him play keyboards with The Dead after Brent Midland died, but I never saw – or imagined I might – anybody play that instrument at a Dead show. Which is a good reason to love the internet, I guess. That’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

Anyway, I don’t feel totally stupid, I found a bag of Ricollas, so I’m OK. …And that exp. date? 01/2006. Yeah, I threw the bottle away.