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I was walking the dogs around Staring Lake when, from somewhere overhead, I heard a sound I’d never heard before:  a clear, sweet, almost melodic, chattering laughter.  I stared upward, waiting, until two Bald Eagles soared out from between the trees.  Still engaged in their light gossip, they took a turn above me, their tails splayed, their heads bright, both flashing in the sun.  Showing off?  Or considering the risks involved in taking my 35 pound Aussie back to their aerie?  Maybe they were put off by the awed but defensive human female and/or the 85 pound Malamute mix standing between the female and the puppy.  Maybe they had no interest in me or mine. Follow if you will… I have  a bent for running debasing tapes in my head as I walk.  I know I’m not unique in this instance.  Like many, I often find my skull, with eyes […]

Remember the Ray Bradbury story, “In a Season of Calm Weather”?  Anyone?   Recall how the protagonist stumbles upon Picasso drawing in the sand and realizes that he has met his idol and that that moment—imagined, dreamed, sought after for so long—is as fleeting as the priceless art lying within reach of the tide. Now, take a look at what I stumbled upon. Is anything more fleeting than flowers picked?  Within days, perhaps within hours, these blossoms browned and curled and may even have begun to stink.  And yet these floats are fantastic!   The work, as a whole, is a marvel, far beyond simple representation, overwhelming in their size and intricacy but also overwhelming in the magnificent and twisted interpretations of Van Gogh’s art as well as his life. Blossoms—momentary.  Memory—often cloudy. Photography—fairly stable these days.  Van Gogh—forever vivid.  But right now, at this particular moment, let me thank everyone […]

It is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between history and the smell of skunk. – Rebecca West The stink is mine. Should I be embarrassed?   After all, people are being left hungry and homeless, raped, murdered, drowned, hanged, enslaved.    And here am I, sniveling about the loss of another World Heritage Site: a stack of stones put up by a tribe of human beings over 2000 years ago.  Pathetic. These ruin and mosques and temples and artworks are representations of aspirations but they aren’t the people who aspired.  These buildings and books destroyed by one faction to express their abhorrence of another may be irreplaceable examples of humankind’s history but what’s history, after all? The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice. –Mark Twain The only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today. -Henry Ford History viewed from […]

A county clerk whose job is to issue licenses refused a marriage license to a gay couple as it is against God’s law, disavowing the law of the land. (Finding her name is easy, but I don’t want to give it any more air play.) She has become the unattractive posterchild of the Republican Party and the hero of all those who are challenged by the number of buckles on their overalls. The young man, Dylann Roof, who killed nine people at prayer, said he was at the church to kill black people. That’s a clear statement of intent, as near as I can tell. Yet, the next day, the entire day, Fox News journalists (?!) ranted over the attack on Christianity. Unless Fox thought that Roof was referring to Christians when he said, “… you’ve raped our women and you are taking over the country…”. Is it just me […]

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.  -Picasso I’ve admitted I’m a slow learner, but nothing beats learning. Nothing, to me, is more exciting than discovering new information and using it to create new mindscapes. Nothing is more wondrous than our ability to split open our own heads with books as backhoes and art as jackhammers that shatter the concrete of all we believe we know.  Travel and conversation are the graders and rollers with which we lay fresh ways of thinking, broader and deeper, informing our behavior and our art.  Every new path laid and followed increases my chances of reaching Ah-haaa! For my plays, I’ve ingested the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay and scrabbled with her after fame, love, drugs, excuses.  I’ve listened to the language of art critics as well as the language of […]

I loathe talking about myself. Even more, I loathe talking about my work.  I have become so adept at not talking about myself or my work that I am barely noticeable in a group greater than a pair.  I am as obvious as a shard from a broken wine glass wedged against the baseboard, a strip of cling wrap stuck on a rock at the bottom of a creek.  This method of being, my low, low profile allows me to write my plays.  It disallows any hope of actually getting my work produced.  Hmmm…  What’s wrong with this picture?  First, I’m probably not capturable on film (or visible in a mirror).  Second, is this a professional mode of behavior?  No!  So? I went seeking help. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon is: Abook for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion.  ( That’s me!  Austin, over here.  Hey, […]

I loathe talking about myself.

I’m just back from the dog park where I spent 30 minutes chucking a tennis ball for my dog who refuses, for the most part, to return it to me. I also watched six men walk along the fence in single file, each with a weed whacker, each whacking the same weeds. Granted, I don’t know what instructions they were given before setting out. Perhaps the weeds along that fence are particularly hardy and required a great effort before they cry “Uncle!” Perhaps the men were whackers-in-training. Perhaps they were challenged in other ways: mentally, legally, etc. Who am I to judge? After all, they spent 30 minutes watching a woman throw a ball, walk to where it landed, only to throw it back to where she had stood originally. But that line of men has left my mind uneasy. I’m thinking about human potential and social progress. Had those […]

ON, MARCHING MEN, ON. TO THE GATES OF DEATH WITH SONG. As writers we work words the way a silversmith works molten light.   We imagine, we hone, then rethink and rework in an effort to raise the temperature and capture more light with which to illuminate our story and sharpen our point.  But what terrible influence we wield. In commemoration of World War I, a stamp has been issued in Great Britain with the heady opening line from Scotsman Charles Hamilton Sorley’s poem, All the Hills and Vales Along, emblazoned.  Nearly 9,000,000 British, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish men marched off to words like Sorley’s flowing through their arteries, solidifying into clanging confidence and tarnished hopes of heroism.  Over 3,000,000 were killed or wounded.  Sorley died at the Battle of Loos in 1915.  He was 20 years old. So, should any of us wordsmiths feel as if we are nothing, count […]

I’ve just begun reading the new biography of Penelope Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald published her first book at the age of 58 but didn’t become famous until she was 80. I’ve just begun my 6th full length play even though the first 5 have never, yet, met an actor, director or stage. I’ve just begun training my new puppy and coming to terms with my older dog’s cloudy eyes. I’ve just sent another play to the Yale Playwriting Competition. I don’t know, but I’m guessing I’m competing with the young, the edgy, the up-and-coming and probably haven’t a dust bunnies chance with a Dyson. A stranger asked me the other day (don’t ask me why), “How long ago did you retire?” Retire!? Me? Never! What the hell? I’ve just begun! Oh, imagine what possibilities might arise when we refuse to withdraw into the night.