Saturday, December 30, 2017

Does My Writing....Suck?

Maybe my writing sucks.  Maybe it's that simple.  Maybe my writing is trite and boring. I must pose this question if I'm to be rigorously honest: Am I that bad?  My books, are they not worth reading?  They don't sell.  Not even a little.  They just don't sell.  I did some marketing.  I won an award and a beautiful review from Writer's Digest. I was reviewed numerous times, and reader response glowed with love. It didn't help.

Has this huge effort been my escapist fantasy? 

I don't accept that idea.  But I wouldn't, would I?  Otherwise how did I put in the decades of practice, the repetition, the  rejection?  A compelling artist needs to work at the craft passionately and beyond reason.  A hundred drafts of one page? I've done that as a matter of routine.  I've  re-written each of my books five times, ten?  I've lost count.

This epic failure is a case of falling through the cracks.  I may be the Van Gogh of modern writers.  If you thirst for vivid emotion and wild color, it's there in my stories. The catalog of books on Amazon is bloated by a million titles.  Why should anyone pay three bucks to download a bit of my life's work?  How do I get the attention of readers, of my natural audience?

My books are wonderful books.  If you value originality, skill, vision and perception, you should read what I've written.  Read "Confessions Of An Honest Man". It's my autobiographical novel.   When my book placed in their competition, the editor from Writer's Digest wrote "I don't usually read this kind of book but I feel better for having read it. I will carry this novel with me for a long time."

Read any of my books. If you get bored, you're not my audience.  I write for artists, therapists and their clients, boomers who used acid, the curious, the addicted, the recovering, the failed, the intelligent and the sensitive ones...and I don't suck.  In my modest human way, I'm glorious.

"Confessions Of An Honest Man:" the link.   Confessions Of An Honest Man

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lost: One Male Libido


This libido (center figure) was last seen on December 31, 2016.  It is approximately ten feet tall, six feet wide and four feet deep.  It has between twelve and twenty horns of various descriptions.  It's covered in long brown fur and has eyes all the way around its cylindrical body.  The number of fingers, tentacles and hands it may possess are unknown as it can sprout extra limbs at moments of high stress.  It is not very intelligent but possesses a wild cunning that can catch pursuers off guard.  If you see this libido DO NOT APPROACH IT.  DO NOT ATTEMPT A DIALOGUE.  IT IS NOT AMENABLE TO REASON.  Call the local sheriff's department, dial 911 or email me at

 There are commonly available and well known techniques that calm this libido but I discourage their use except in extremely dangerous situations.  Under proper conditions this is a highly trained and valuable libido.  I am reluctant to cause it damage or harm. You might call it by one of its names: Thor, Zeus or Johnny.  This tactic may backfire, however, for if it is Johnny and is called Thor or Zeus it gets very upset.  Likewise if it is Thor and is called Johnny, etc.  The best approach is simply to say, "Hey big guy.  How's it hangin'."  It has been trained to recognize this as a non-threatening mnemonic.  It may trigger my libido's desire to return to its so-called master.


REWARD OFFERED: I will give you, free of charge,  my guaranteed technique for healing all stress, depression and emotional trauma.

SPECIAL CAUTION: Do not mistake this libido for the so-called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or Skunk Ape. It is not a primate and is immune to veterinary drugs. Rather than seek out police or Forest Rangers it may be more useful to find an old shaman from the Chumash or Miwok tribes. A qualified shaman will likely be more useful in the safe return of this treasured libido.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Ironic And The Absurd

March 9, 2017

            We were watching TV and there was a commercial for the network series The Bachelorette.  The ad featured three girls, three Bachelorettes.  Girl One said, "I love horses." (video of girl with hair blowing in wind, saddled on a gorgeous animal). Girl Two said, "I rescue animals and I rehabilitate Rottweilers." (Footage of tender treatment of big dog's wounds) Then Girl Three said, "I haven't had an orgasm in my life." (Footage of her from the waist up, simply standing there in a suburban back yard).
            Wait a minute.  Run the DVR backwards a bit.  She actually said, "I haven't had an orgasm in my life."  I could almost hear the stampede of men.  It was going in two directions: half the men were running away from this girl, they were terrified by the pressure.  And half of them (the cocky douchebag half) were running towards the girl.  Each of the latter bachelors was sure he could open the floodgates of orgasm for this attractive cherry-picked TV crash- test dummy.
            I turned to my partner and said, "I guess honesty is the New Honesty."  I considered for a moment, then amended my perception. "Or is it honesty is the new Authenticity?  Or maybe Authenticity is the new Honesty?  Something like that."
            My partner, Fox, is accustomed to my sense of the ironic and the absurd.  She knew I was reaching, perhaps over-reaching into sheer nonsense. Still, I'll let it stand..
            I am aware that there is a wide spread  hunger for experience that can be perceived as Authentic.  Why?  Do people feel that they are synthetic beings, that they're so coddled and softened by living in this affluent civilization that they've lost an essential component of human experience?  Do people feel unreal?  I think so.  That's why there's such an appetite for TV shows about people living off the grid in Alaska, or marooning themselves, naked and afraid, courting utter misery for the sake of "testing their limits".  We are the species that has come from competing with hyenas for fresh kills to the species that is sending spacecraft to other galaxies.  We've done this in a breathtakingly short span of time.  In achieving this magnificent push, upward and outward, some people have been left behind in their sense of self-worth.  They don't feel brave, tough, worthy.  They've lost their warrior spirit.  And they feel this emptiness every time they go shopping at Target or Walmart, every time they exploit the incredible ease of getting the groceries and the hair gel.
            "Girl-without-orgasm" was simply following the cultural norm as it excavates this new authentic territory, this candid self-disclosure that, to her, wasn't even embarrassing.  She was just letting the world know: she's in search of an orgasm. She needs a partner who can help her master new skills in erotic communication.  She needs a soft slow hand from a tender buddy to help her over the hump.
            I was embarrassed for her.  No doubt it will make good television for those that are into that sort of thing.  I cringed.  What naivete!  How many years will this stuff follow her around?  She'll be "no-cum" to her grandchildren.  It's out of my hands.  I won't be watching the show.


Monday, February 27, 2017

The First Time I Cried In Ten Years

Rahsaan Roland Kirk in all his glory

When I was sixteen years old, I was passionate about Jazz.  Passionate! 
My passion for jazz was so crazy that I left home the day after I graduated high school   I was going on a quest.  I had two hundred dollars in my pocket when I stepped onto the  ramp of I-80 and stuck out my thumb. My plan was to hitch hike from St. Louis to New York City,  in order to find a musician who may not want to be found.  I had to talk to him!  I had to meet him!  Ornette Coleman had liberated my creative vision.  

Word on the jazz grapevine was that  he was "taking a sabbatical".  In the jazz world this is sometimes shorthand for kicking a bad habit.* When jazz players take breaks from their careers it can mean they're in rehab. I was hip to drugs: I was an all-grown-up weed smoker.  Whoopee. I didn't  understand addiction the way I would understand it in another ten years.  I didn't know why so many musicians fell down the abyss of heroin.. I would know, later in my life.  Oh, I would know, I would understand, far better than my sixteen year old self.

 This is all in my novel, "Confessions Of An Honest Man."  It's a three dollar e-book and more people should read it.  End of promotion.

I wanted to share an experience I had this week, an experience entirely related to my love for jazz in the 60's. First, let me tell you that I can't remember the last time I cried.  It could be eight or ten years. That's a long time to have a Pandora's Box of emotion  locked up inside my soul.  This part of my life has been one of silent agony.  There have been times when I wanted to die, but I am resolved to not be a suicide.  I saw a therapist for several months.  I managed to squeeze out a few dinky tears.  It wasn't the catharsis I'd hoped for.  It was better than nothing.

I first heard Rahsaan Roland Kirk when I was fourteen.  This was in 1961  I was crazy for Roland Kirk. (the Rahsaan name came later). The moment I heard his record I was so smitten that goose bumps climbed up my spine.   Wow!  This was a musical three ring circus with elephants and zebras.  It had midget cars out of which climbed dozens of quarreling clowns.  Roland Kirk was technically masterful, innovative, insane and very funny.  Roland Kirk was a grade A bona fide original

Thanks to streaming sites like Spotify I can listen to anyone I care about.  Rahsaan has been gone for thirty years, but his albums are still here and I settled in for a visit to my past, to the passionate sixteen year old  who couldn't get enough music.  I was listening to an old standard, "I've Got Your Number", from Kirk's superb collaboration with Benny Golson.  It's an amazing album, as good now as it was in 1964. I was sitting in my chair in front of my computer and I started weeping.  This was a real shoulder-heaving sob session, a huge catharsis.  My spouse saw my hand covering my face, saw my body lurch..

 "Are you crying?" she asked gently.  "It's all right, boo," I said, "it's good, it's very good." 

The music came through the speakers and I felt as if the sound of Rahsaan's saxophone was tapping at my chest, as though it held a key to open my heart.  It got through to me.  All my frozen emotion came welling up.  I saw my life in its difficulties and frustrations.  I saw myself at sixteen, I saw what an extraordinary person I was.  My New York quest was lonely and unlikely to succeed, but I found Ornette Coleman by the craziest accident.  I was getting on the subway at Forty Second Street.  There was a man getting into the next car, a black man attempting to carry five or six instrument cases.  I rushed up and tapped him on the shoulder.  I wanted to offer my help.  I knew from his knit cap and his attire that he was a man of Jazz.  So, this stranger turned around  There he was.  Ornette Coleman.  I had spent the last ten days searching up and down Manhattan looking for this man.  "I can carry some of these horns if you..." and then I realized who it was and I stuttered, "'re Ornette Coleman!" We got on the subway together.  Hardly anyone else was in the car.  It was headed downtown. 
I hadn't rehearsed a speech or anything. I told Ornette how much I loved his music and how profoundly it had influenced my own work.  I told him how far I had traveled.  He gave me his phone number and the rest of my experience in the world of avant garde jazz unfolded, just like in my novel. 

That was a long time ago.  In the present, the important thing is that I regained connection to my emotions.  I'm a psychological person.  I know what it means to be shut down, to have no feelings, not even feelings of love.  It's an inner act of self-preservation.
It's a response to trauma.  It's better, more joyful, to feel sorrow and love, to be alive to emotion.  I accepted being numb.  I didn't recriminate myself.  I allowed the numbness and the mental torture to unfold and do their job.  Pain is always telling us to change things.  "Change things!" pain screams, and so I began to take action.  I began changing my life, one tiny bit at a time.  I'm feeling more creative.  Art worked its magic on me; it healed a child who was in mourning for a man who seemed to have failed.  Music helped me revive the most important part of myself.  Here I sit, right now, at my computer, sharing this personal and private story.  I'm grateful that I can, grateful that I'm alive when a few months ago I thought I would die of sheer misery.

I'm still here.  

Ornette Coleman in 1960

*I never saw any evidence of Ornette Coleman using drugs.  He was taking a sabbatical because his music had incited a furious controversy and that scared away promoters.  Ornette couldn't find work. He passed at age 85, world famous and widely respected as one of music's most important innovators.

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