Sunday, December 30, 2018

wrestling with sigmund freud

i am trying desperately not to do what i've seen so many people approaching old age and death do: say the world is going to hell and can't survive without them. of course, my impulse is to do the same, despite my very lucky life. so, i'll give human beings 50 years, long enough for today's children to see their grandchildren. alas, it does mean they'll hand those kids a self-destroying world. well, not exactly self-destroying. their folks will have a lot to do with it.

for example, 16,000 nuclear weapons circle the globe, 40 pointed at New York City alone. and at any time india and pakistan with 100 each could decide to blow each other off the face of the earth, creating a nuclear winter, an ice age for the rest of us. freud jumps in to help us here. if you don't believe me read civilization and it's discontents and beyond the pleasure principle. culture is supposed to be our erotic/libido defense against the death drive.

unfortunately, as he very astutely states, every morning many of us wake to re-experience our early or late traumas, not remembering  them, as most of us don't, i think, actually know why we dive into a depression. no, we simply suffer all over again the slings and arrows of our past. we go through them all over again, every day, and this cuts into our love of life, turning flowers grey.

as stated, i've had three apocalyptic presidents, each getting elected throwing around images of Armageddon. the first, in the 80's, unbalanced democracy completely. when he went into office, income in the U.S. the most even and equal it had ever been, meaning a strong middle class, the place where the democratic impulse comes from. at the end of his eight year reign income in the U.S. was the most unbalanced it ever had been. and as aristotle said, a gulf between rich and poor destroys democracy.

then, there was apocalyptic president #2. he invaded Iraq, spreading terrorism all over the world, as he too used the language of armagedden. and why would would this appeal to such a large part of the electorate? i cite sigmund again: that huge population wishes to die. yes, yes, it's outrageous to say this. however, what makes them wish to do so is the anger fomented by talk radio and a certain television chain. they're disgusted with humanity itself, turning their anger at themselves.

as for apocalyptic president #3, he keeps asking over and over again: "why can't we use nuclear weapons?" i suppose the simple answer would be: it would destroy us all. but if enough in the world governed by the death instinct, this would make perfect sense. rather than be dethroned #3 would obviously rather push a couple of buttons. that said, i've hopefully, in a moment of unbelievable optimism, given us 50 years.

that leaves plenty of other possible catastrophes: ten huge volcanoes. astroids larger than than the one decommissioning the dinosaurs, a solar flare blowing all the electric circuits on earth, and so on. this leaves global warming as most likely, the temperature rising to 500 degrees as it is on venus. evidently, the green house effect could reach a tipping point and suddenly thrust all of us in an oven. conceivably, we as a species could ramp up our erotic/libido in time. this very unlikely as we begin watching whole towns burning in california and greece.

as someone bravely stated: "Birth gives us a return ticket."

Thursday, December 27, 2018

I hypnotize myself, therefore i am

i'm struggling with this terrible knowledge i create myself every day. at night i surrender, becoming a thousand things, a fantasy of fantasies. my control is gone. not only that, i am actually paralyzed so i won't act out out my dreams. in sleep all of us are. insomnia, of course, is the fear of never being able to move again. we know in our heart of hearts we've ceased exist.

all personality created by self-hypnosis, what i tell myself over and over again, an unbroken chain of thoughts. when i dip into depression it's due to my insistence on being this person with a name, an id card, a passport, a driver's licence. the only way out means breaking the chain, visiting a therapist, going to a movie, throwing myself off a cliff.

yet, i know i can be hypnotized by someone else. and i know many people who've had problems solved by doing so. one friend, years ago, kept falling asleep at a certain time while commuting home from work. the hypnotist gave her a suggestion and next time, at exactly the right moment, she snapped wide awake, her life perhaps saved. 

in fact, when it works well, driving a car puts us in a trance. i can drive for hours, arriving at my destination, suddenly surprised by seeing the family dog. i have no recollection of the past miles. if i think too much about it, i break out in a cold sweat. mostly, though, i accept it as perfectly natural.

i am absolutely convinced my life a sequence of trance states. for example, when i studied theater directing, William Ball in A SENSE OF DIRECTION said, "just before the end of a performance, the audience enters a trance state for twenty minutes." that's absolutely remarkable. everyone in the audience has lost their own train of thought and adopted that of the playwright and actors. 

movies, a novel, an art show, if effective, they give us a vacation from ourselves, just like dreams. and what's even more amazing, being hypnotized may mean we enter the dream state and can be directed to move. a stage hypnotist can turn me into a convincing chicken or judo practitioner. it's amazing what we can do in that state. maybe not fly, as we sometimes do during sleep, but we can do pretty remarkable feats.

i am fascinated by stage magicians. obviously not everybody easily suggestible. the ones who are, however, can dance like bo-jangles, do somersaults like the latest acrobat. pretty much whatever we do in  our dreams, we can do under hypnosis. which makes me believe tapping into this potential means accessing the 70% of our brains we don't use. 

alas, tapes haven't helped me and so far i'm too timid to go to a pro. that said, i am convinced i could fly a jet plane if told to do so under hypnosis. my ultimate abilities far beyond what i can do when ordinarily conscious. had i the discipline i'd run a four minute mile or be an irresistible lover. yes, yes, i can dream can't i?

My own hypnosis poems:

and a wonderful book: 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

the road of lost time

l've decided time is what makes me human. and with that might be pain, though these might be two sides of the same coin. a friend recently had a brush with death. being a doctor, he never felt other people were really feeling pain, they exaggerated. he learned his lesson. agony can go on for a long time. theoretically, the nerves could be cut. but not in my whole body. 

of course there's morphine and heroin. if i wish, i can be a complete zombi. ah, i have escaped the human condition. unfortunately, it could easily kill me. then death is the final escape from time (i hope). what i mean is,  as a human i can manipulate time. i can find ways. i can travel, for example, overwhelmed and invigorated by new sights and sounds.

i'm sure that's why the days in childhood seemed so long (as well as painful). the world new, i had plenty of things to explore, a snowball a miracle, the moon lending the whole world a mystery. alas, i got used to the world. prison must be painful due to the routine, the same thing every single day serving time. even as i wish for security, i know too much of it can be deadly. 

okay, travel, pain, what are some other ways to avoid being human? sometimes it just happens. i've had time slow down to a snail's pace during an automobile accident. suddenly, i've gone in slow motion, turning the wheel this way and that. this must be more than simple fear, rather a place beyond it. fear is common to all animals, as is instinct. 

it's not just my awareness of time. a lot depends on my control over it. all machines depend on timing. my mother and shakespeare said everything does. and i have choice? alas, listening  to the biology professor robert sapolsky from stanford. i hear him say over and over again, 'there is no free will, everything depends on biology.

no wonder people hate science. it reinforces the tyranny of time. yet sapolsky saying so many variables involved, it makes me believe in free will, the exact opposite of what he wishes me to believe. with all the world and emotions floating within me, i believe i must have the ability to choose different paths to where i wish to go. 

and what about einstein? he discovered the speed of light doesn't change but time does. this is something we all know. a work day may last a day or an hour with the clock never changing it's tune. and the indian teacher chopra says two things make me old: my feeling little time left for me and the looks of other people. 

and what about THE FLOW, tapping into an action like catching a foul ball, or running the Iditarod? I'm carried by time in such a way it disappears! and so, maybe everything depends on me being super-interested, super-involved. always have something to look forward to. is that the lesson childhood can still teach me?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

i wonder where i wander

i feel less guilt, knowing people's minds wander 30% of the time. ah, hah, i'm not quite so crazy as i thought. and the accusation i'm a daydreamer bears less weight. true, i've always looked out the window and no writer's wife believes he's working when he does that, nor does anyone else. but...

maybe i can't focus my mind on one thing without unduly stressing myself. for example, if the computer whacks out for some reason, i will go day and night to fix the problem. suddenly, my whole body starts shaking. the day goes black. i become incapable of doing anything. if i unfocus my eyes for a few minutes, i relax. making the brain forget everything except one thing must take a lot of work!

i'm not sure what consciousness is, and i find nobody else does either. i tend to think of it as this huge bubble, filled with floating objects: memories, bricks, hammers, outlines of tables, and so on. my consciousness keeps snatching at pieces and putting them together. even dreams i think of as my brain having fun, most of all when it feels like a nightmare. everything gets tossed up in the air and unlikely objects collide with each other, creating fantasies. 

well, the creative mind has to dream most of the time. and in so doing, i collect materials with have a mysterious infinity with each other. i imagine consciousness as much bigger than myself. if i limit my attention to a point, i leave out so much that might help me. i read somewhere we use 3% of our brain. that's astounding. how do i access the rest?

no wonder the modern world with it's lists, tableture, categories, definitions, loves DRUGS so much. they shake off our desperate grasp of the facts. for awhile i can float in pure perception, or misperception. i don't have to worry if things make sense. of course, this could be fatal if i suddenly feel i can fly and jump out a window. 

i've decided i can't make reality yield without letting go of it often. true, at such times i bump into walls, trip over ropes, stumble among the rocks. i do have to be careful to sit quietly in a chair at such times. as kafka said, rest peacefully  at your desk, don't do anything, and the world will roll at your feet in ecstasy. i won't say that has happened to me. that said, i find it easier than running around the block, getting the exercise i need. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

where will i sleep tonight?

a terrifying question, or it has become one. in my salad days i slept in the backseat of a greyhound bus all the way across canada, the place where smokers could still smoke. and crossing turkey by train, i slept in the luggage rack watching the folks below me parcel out food and play music. what has happened to my resilience? why do i have to plan ahead at least a week, maybe more.

no, i am a fake nomad. true, our family moved 32 times by the time i left high-school. and i've had to move 110 times to and from the lookout, not always knowing where i'd land in the winter. going to australia last year taught me a lesson. after 16 years of no travelling, i'd lost my travel skills. so i went back the next year to practice them. i worked. i could now sleep soundly with other bodies breathing around me.

i'd done it in coast guard boot camp and on the ship. i'd lived on trains in europe with my pass, locking the compartment door and stretching out over empty seats. of course, i lost my taste for this when the girl across from me did the same and had her pocket picked, not to mention the time i woke to find algerian guys going through my luggage. 

why do i now need a secure sleep? ah, lack of sleep one of the worst aging events, and i remember how the soviets changed prisoners characters by keeping them awake for two weeks with bright lights and loud sounds. going to sleep under the best circumstances means leaving my control behind. essentially insomnia comes from thinking constantly: how am i going survive? the  dark-minded philosopher cioran couldn't sleep and spent his paris nights walking all over the place. 

even after having six vw buses and sleeping on beaches, in the woods and suburbs, i don't seem to have kept that particular capacity for adventure. in fact, i realized this made me feel too lonely and i abandoned the process. swearing i would never have another vehicle in which i could hibernate. 

and this makes me wonder how the homeless do it. they do band together like hobos during the depression, sitting in bands at the downtown plaza, there always seems to be company, as well as a lot of arguments. a friend has a step-son who can sleep in ditches anywhere. in a catastrophe, could i do the same? perhaps if exhausted enough. 

despite my many peregrinations i come back to being terrified of being homeless. i couldn't waste my time on the computer, or even have the peace of mind to read. i could daydream. that's a luxury i've always allowed myself. yet it's hard to relax enough if i have wolves howling at the door. maybe as the end gets closer, i want to avoid as many deaths as possible. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

meetings with remarkable people: lorraine

i never got her last name. and i knew she wasn't that interested in me when she said, "it's strange, after i say goodbye to someone, i never contact them again." it was a white lie to dash any expectations i had. she did give me an email and it led to 


videos she puts together for musicians in katoomba, australia, where i met her in the YHA youth hostel. from my diary:

Wish I could have recorded Lorraine's story, so interesting. And people come talk to her in the middle of the night while she's cleaning the kitchen. She still has a sense of wonder about things and people that happen to her, another member of the lucky generation.

i figure she's in her late fifties. she studied animation with a famous Czech film-maker in hobart, tasmania, and worked with disney studios until they abandoned australia. let's see what else i've got.

Did just make a short video of Lorraine give an harmonica lesson:

she showed videos of Jim Conway (famous australian harmonica player) and with whom she studied years ago & his group Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band: My Canary Has Circles Under Her Eyes:

Jim Conway, who now has MS.

Lorraine wants to set up an old Cinema Cafe. She has a storage space full of film equipment, old movies. etc. $240 a month for ten years.

i think that adds up to $52,800. 

talked with lorraine for a couple of hours. she loves doing the video documentaries. Father a navy office, played music & women. Lots of parent fights. Lorraine the oldest, children holding onto her as she watched parents fight. Once she stood between them, father grabbed her & threw her against a table. Mother German, maybe her perfectionism comes from there. 

She's bought & sold houses, taught by an architect she met doing drawings on the street. Learned to be an entrepreneur. At 17 she had a secure gov. job (some program trained her) ended up working with the architect (Swiss I think) who  created a company making jigsaw puzzles. She can make $40 in two hours busking with her harmonica. ESL son in Sydney moved in with his Korean girlfriend who's an operating room expert. Oldest of 8 children, 5 sisters, 3 brothers. Looking forward not back she's now being brought to understand herself. Very good at pattern recognition. 

too bad i can't convey all her expressions and interests, like fighting to build tiny houses, not the thing in australia. at the moment she has way too many interests, like the young irish bicyclist who made a pass at her! she sees him off on his travels. 

 She sometimes covers her mouth while talking & with the accent i have to ask for repeats. Once in awhile she's really struck by something I say & becomes very attentive. She said Paul the guy in my room gay, hard to get close to. Made me a little nervous! L's longest relationship 5 years. 

Recommended she get a job & regular income. Recommended museum guard & guard at construction sites. L's mother very creative making things. She said she already has a sense of accomplishment.

no doubt she'll be another invisible, if special and unusual, person to disappear without a trace. like the flowering tree i once saw behind the post office, blooming with spring and unnoticed by anyone. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

landing on a bomb (stagefright)

i can't remember who said this, but she wrote I jump out of bed and land on a bomb. i spend the rest of the day putting myself back together." this has been my experience over and over again. i climb out of bed in the morning feeling great. five minutes later i'm cascaded with gloom. whatever i have to do becomes overwhelming, not just the next 12 hours, no, my whole life!

it's taken me a long time to make some sense of this. what does my mind do to me? leaving dreams it builds my daytime world all over again. this takes effort. evidently scientific research proves our thoughts wander 30% of the time. concentration of the yoga sort takes years to develop. when i wake my mind expands to include the whole universe. i'm knocked over.

it's the surprise, i'm sure, that does it. reading about stage fright in theater, the conclusion: inadequate or the wrong kind of preparation. the actor Oliver Olivier spent six years fighting his fears onstage. he didn't quit, for fear he'd never return. i don't know his solution, but i know. he was famous for working from the outside in. he'd put on a fake nose and suddenly he'd be Cyrano. he'd walk with a limp. voila, richard the third would inhabit his body.

well, i figure he'd lost his concentration and this method wouldn't work. in other words, inadequate preparation. most modern actors work inside out. they do a lot of personal soul searching, finding emotional moments in their own lives to fill out the character. they prepare by stumbling around in their minds and past experiences. eventually they roll out a living snowman. 

so, when i leap out of bed and explode, it simply means i have not prepared myself for the day. that space between waking and sleeping full of wobbles, broken walls, shifts of earth beneath my feet. how could i solve this? i presume by meditating a moment, not forcing myself into action, rolling with the punches, let the memories of the world i inhabit come back to accrue.

to quote susan m. weinscheck from One Hundred Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, a book i highly recommend, after all, we are a mystery to ourselves:

          The latest research on unconscious mental processing shows that people receive 40 billion sensory inputs every second, and are consciously aware of 40 at any one time.

wow, that reminds me of time a friend's teenage daughter in the hospital for a psychotic break. leaving the hospital for the first time, she ran off down the street, her mother chasing her. obviously, she'd lost her filter and the 40 billion hit her with full force. we need to screen up to get the 40 billion down to 40. that really says something.

unfortunately, i'm usually too sleepy, mesmerized by dreaming, to put anything approaching this kind of common sense in practice. i have learned to pull back from the world as it grows black. alas, i'm often too dimwitted. and all day i'm picking up pieces of myself while trying to relate to work, school, friends, all the bits of information streaming  onto my eyeballs. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

changing my attitude

you know, i never thought it possible. i've heard many an admonition to people to 'change your attitude' and i always thought, why, it can't be done, can it? i mean, an attitude seems something inborn, part of a person. it's not a matter of choice. i am an optimist, or a pessimist. i like the way things are being done or i don't. sure, i can still go ahead, being cranky or discontented doesn't stop me. still, i have to admit, the job will suffer, as will the results.

okay, a couple days ago, looking around at the mountains, the weather gorgeous, especially for the end of september, i had a epiphany. i realized how lucky i'd been to lead this life. what was ailing me? in july they stopped paying me to watch on my lunch hour. i added up the money. i'd be losing $240 a month, 12 percent of my salary. taking it personally i felt i wasn't appreciated after 55 years, the amount peanuts to them yet a lot to me.

so, signing on and off for lunch, i've been rather surly. how can they close the lookouts in the middle of the afternoon, temperature and winds at their peak? what a dereliction of duty! four times i've come back from the break to find them searching for a reported fire, the helicopter and crews wheeling about. even one false alarm probably costs more than what they're saving by impoverishing me.

okay, my epiphany and gratitude to fate for having given me my delightful life suddenly made me realize how good i have, and have had, it. true, it's minimum wage, no benefits, no step-raises, no retirement. i will be left eventually hanging out to dry. but i realized i've been able to write, travel the world, and do what other people envy. ultimately, this had a good result.

i got so mad i published the book i'd been holding back for 20 years, afraid i'd be criticized. to hell with them i thought! and now i've got almost 50 books published on amazon, including the important one: CLOUD WATCHER.


i'd been afraid of what people would say. would i lose my job? even now, having done it, i'm on edge. 

but i realized having a mean streak in me show, i was just shooting myself in the foot. after all, i started enjoying the mid-day break, turning off the radio, napping or walking, free of responsibility. i've watched 24 hours a day for all these years and i feel the weight. i enjoy finding fires, i want to find fires, a have a certain duty toward the forest, despite how i sometimes feel (bored or sleepy). every night i have to pee every two hours and i always look around. finding a fire in the dark the biggest thrill.

anyway, i've decided to be more positive and cheerful on the radio. it's true i think everybody caught up in the heroics of fighting fire, the tv coverage, the signs on people's houses: THANKS FIREFIGHTERS. and the big fires bring in the big money. preventing fires brings no publicity or honor. obviously, i feel a lot of the abandoned fire towers need to be refurbished and manned. maybe the pressure from the public will make that happen. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

HAPPINESS: feeling good in your own body

last night's dreaming gave me a present. it might be called ecstasy. it called itself happiness. i was full of light and feeling less like  a candle and more like a quiet rocket. this confirmed what i'd realized long ago. every feeling called happy includes  this kind of pleasure. the common ingredient. and it explains a lot of my addictive behavior. 

luckily or not, i escaped being a drunk and prematurely dead by some trick of wanting to go on, always connected with not wanting to destroy my physical being. and i've always stayed away from needles, even the pin-prick more than i wanted to suffer. and i do like being clear-headed most of the time. an escape from thinking very appealing, but the price too high. 

yes, i'm told all the time i think too much, analyzing, examining different perspectives, my mind always racing. and i do get satisfaction when i can summarize a thought in a phrase. the only thing: i don't enjoy being in the physical world nearly as much. a psychic told me i'd been given this particular lifetime to play, having borne so much responsibility in former lives.

i keep thinking about that. obviously i've chosen to be selfish: no career to tie me down, no kids, no house. in that sense all time is playtime. and i know people see me as weird. once during a theater exercise, laying naked in a grave, i heard a student above me looking down into the hole, "wayne was a strange guy." there i had confirmation of my weirdo status.

and i think my image at work very likely similar. why would anybody want to sit on a mountain for 55 years. having had no girlfriends in recent history, i'm probably pegged as gay. well, if i was, my body would be having a lot more fun. ah, how can i not remember twenty years of romance with happiness, even if i think i was a lousy lover. hopefully, the women involved remember it with more than simply forgiveness. 

back to my dream. i listened to a whole book by michael pollan on recent experiments in psychedelic experiments in therapy. my own trips 40 years ago a mixed blessing. the most fun was walking around north beach in san francisco. doors got smaller and every cafe patron seemed to be acting a part on a stage, which we probably all are. yet i've never been tempted since. a therapeutic situation might be different.

the subjects experience fear first, then the feeling the world made of love. i contend they simply felt super good. dying on morphine probably very like. and all the people overdosing taking a short-cut to happiness. myself i immediately determined after my dream a trip to the subtropics in order. at a certain level of humidity and temperature, i'm as happy as i get.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"Browsing is the joy of our age."

ah, so that's it, key to my life. i always regret holding onto things, filling up my drawers and storage space.  rather, i'm wiser when i let everything go, almost as soon as i see it. to buy is always to lessen the mystery of the gift. and to stop moving let's the eyes grow tired and bored. fortunately, most things not worth more than a few moments. 

that's what makes a great still photograph so unusual. it bestows upon the instant a subtle reality not known to us every day. and as robert adams said, the photographer fascinated by surfaces. that might go for the traveler too. at the moment i'm wandering through mexico on the internet. i can't believe how much it's changed since my first visit in 1960, when i took a bus from tijuana to mexico city with 200 pounds of books in my suitcase, intending to become a writer. 

and my last visit 25 years ago seems like dream. walmarts! costcos! what is this world coming to? i miss the romance of walking by the blue house in oaxaca where d.h. lawrence wrote 'mornings in mexico', the ride i got back from the pyramids in an old hearse. see what i mean? i'd love to hold onto the memories as if they were real. and books, what have they been but castles in air. the time i wallowed in dostoyevsky or dawdled with cockroach kafka.

i admit, i believe those who don't read and haven't traveled and haven't pursued romance, have missed the chance to lead more than one life. and learning a new language, it gives you a new personality, the chance to say things you never dared in the tongue of your birth. yesterday, i thought, "i've just been given a little sliver of history." everything before and after may as well not exist.  

ah, the butterfly life. butterflies may only last a day, but they make the most of it. and this explains why i've been able to do my job, watching for fires for more than half a centtury. despite being the most impatient person in the world, i enjoy browsing the landscape, every day. as moon and sun change the light, there's always something new to see. true, i can get bored in the middle of a hot, sleepy afternoon, or with lightning that goes on more than three days, wearing me out with pacing the floor. 

when i want more, like a kiss that lasts forever, i overdo it, and it becomes too familiar. the pain and glory of our age is the endless wandering, looking, listening, and ultimately letting go of it all. should i hold on to too much, i'm like the pack-rat who collapses and expires, trying to carry everything home. a little slice of history is all i've got and the endless universe above is but a bookend to this life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


unfortunately, unlike alice, when i fall, i don't fall down a comforting rabbit hole, passing shelves of sweets. O no, i follow the dictates of  dr. johnson when he refuted the concept of 'no reality' by kicking a boulder. "there, i've proved reality exists!" when i take a tumble, like the other day in the woods, i land like a rocket re-entering the atmosphere. i don't burn up, but lay there like one of the clods i've whammed into, thinking, "i'm a fool and this is a lesson i have to keep learning."

yes, the other day, walking in the woods, i decided to take a shortcut, scrambling up a pile of dirt. alas, when i reached the top, i lost my footing, hurled across space into another wall of stone and soil. and yes, i lay there, feeling completely foolish, like a toddler who couldn't stand on his own two feet. and yes, since nothing seemed broken, i did smile and say, "some lessons i have to learn over and over again." 

luckily, a bad gash below my left knee,had taken the blow. a little higher and my knee-cap would have shattered. then i'd been in a hell of a predicament. able to stand, i hobbled toward the lookout like a horse with a broken leg. and for the next week i ascended and descended the stairs one step at a time. i started adding up all the times i'd fallen in the last five years. 

first, a car slammed into me in a crosswalk. my neighbor standing on the corner said i did indeed fly. landing on my face, i didn't feel much like talking to the people hovering over me or the lady driver crying. so, okay, we know i survived that one. i upped my dose of prozac and it made me feel so good, i lost my footing, once rolling down the steps of the back deck, hitting my head twice on a very solid, dr. johnson tree. my back could have broken. it didn't.

then i tumbled over a short ledge at the tower, banging my forehead on a piece of random cement, in the same place the treee had reminded me not to be an idiot. the third time i missed a step coming down the steps inside the lookout, fortunately not from the top, straight into the wall at the foot of the stairs. once again i escaped a fate worse than death. just a few aches and pains. i reduced the dose of prozac, losing a certain bliss in favor of feeling pain. 

okay, last winter, i fell three times in exactly the same way, twisting to the left, one at the top of some stairs in the art building, once falling into aisle trying to escape a lecture i knew was going to get even more boring. that got me a lot of attention i didn't need. and the last time i can't remember. i'd been taking heart medicine and when i cut the dose in half, i seemed to lose my place in the world. this time i increased the dose. 

at the beginning of fire season i tripped near the tower, taking photographs, my foot tangled in a root. i knew i was supposed to be careful, too old to multitask, but once again i forgot, distracted by a flower, falling flat on my face. (no, the camera wasn't broken). alas, i've been discouraged from going out and taking pictures since. 

this reminded of the time when i was out photographing, i thought i heard a rattlesnake, and instinctively jumped. no rattlesnake, but, boy, did i get a lump on my forehead, proof below. all this goes to prove what i read, trying to prepare for old age: AFTER 65 YOU WILL FALL. i've tried to heed that warning to no avail. reality keeps getting the best of me. and yes, i'm still limping. 78 and waiting for the rules of the universe to change.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Dropping rose petals down the Grand Canyon



and listening for the echo, that's what it's like to publish a book of poetry," said Don Marquis. 

of course, i should have listened to him, BUT when my income cut 12% by the forest service, it sparked my gumption and i've published 44 books on Amazon. not all poetry, certainly, the works to fill up the shelves between those slim volumes 21 plays, a couple novels, a book of fire season letters, dance photos, pics taken of antiques. a lot of detritus compared to what i enjoy in the poems!

and people will probably read and like everything but the poems. so be it, i did get up at 5 a.m. for years and stumble to the typewriter. in fact most of it written on a mechanical contraption with no electric chords to it. luckily, with the advent of trigger-fingers and operations on my palms, i am long past those primitive days. i did fill dozens of notebooks. in fact several years ago i tossed 125 diaries, feeling them to be simply boring rambles searching for something to say.

that said, i've still got a dozen boxes of photos, spiral-notebooks, and manuscripts in storage, though mice have been shredding them. i figure i shouldn't burden the future with more than a few fragments. and besides, i am nervous. what will the reception for the published stuff be? the silence of the infinite spaces, as don Marquis surmised? or it could be worse! the fame of a jack kerouac who came off his mountain tower to accolades for On The Road. the attention basically finished him, turned him into a real drunk and a crazed catholic drawing crosses and devils all over the house.

beware of what you ask for. those words have reverberated in my skull for a lifetime. and usually when i've gotten misery i didn't ask for, it all turned out for the best. it's as if i have a mis-apprehension of my fate. if i were dictating it i'd be a rich and famous playwright, going on drunken tv rambles like truman capote. i knew early on i didn't have the strength to resist the blandishments of the world, so i hid myself away. it's only from approaching 80 and the final fall i can give up being so careful. everybody might have thought i was a nice guy, but give me a microphone and i'll blab any kind of nonsense.

no, i was a wise child who knew his overblown ego would say many words it would regret. as others have said, BEWARE OF THE SEND BUTTON. it is bete noir, the dark beast who will devour you. and yet, as oscar wilde said, i can resist everything but temptation. i'm embarrassed by my feeble attempts to impress. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A guest post from Janneke Brouwer

The Fire Lookout

Aangezien ik veel Engels sprekende volgers heb schrijf ik dit verhaal in het Engels.
Since I have a lot of followers that speak English, I’ll write this one in English.
This morning the weather report told us that it would be better to wait one more day to go to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout. Today chances of being caught in rain or thunderstorm would be high and the view would be mostly ruined by the clouds. So Gary and I decided to go tomorrow and hope that our view tomorrow will be blue sky and distant lookout.
After my morning coffee and oatmeal breakfast Gary looked outside and saw that the weather here was actually not too bad. He asked e to go with him to the Fire Lookout next to Taylorsville. That seemed to be a nice replacement activity which would be only a couple miles away in stead of a two hour drive. We packed our bags with hot coffee and an extra jacket to stay warm. Up there it might get cold and windy. At the top of some of the mountains here is still some snow. Oh, this reminds me…. I haven’t even took one sip of coffee or water out of the two bottles that I took. And here is why…
We drove all the way up the mountain and Gary parked the car. It was a beautiful view over Taylorsville, Quincy, some lakes and valleys. I had to close my eyes and walked with Gary about 10 meters / 32 feet to the front. Then I could open my eyes and wow there I saw this very gorgeous lake that appeared right below me. It was created by a glacier high in the mountains, had clear water and Gary told me he even went for a swim up here once. When we sat there and just listened to the silence and to the birds singing he told me that this was the place where he really felt home. Ever since he got here with his father and now, years later, this is the place where he really feels home. I told him I can totally understand that. This is such an amazing place with clean air, lots of green valleys and beautiful mountains and views. He’s lucky to have this.
He showed me around the top of the mountain and there we saw a Fire Lookout. A small wooden house. I climbed up the stairs as far as I could and could imagine myself staying here for a while just looking around to spot fires. Again at that place we just sat for a while and looked at the clouds how they shaped and became darker and darker, to finally rain down somewhere.

After one last look, when we walked to the car and wanted to go home we saw a car passing by. Gary became excited and said: “Oh that must be the man that stays at the Fire Lookout! We heard a radio earlier that morning so he must have let that on while he went shopping or something.” And Gary was right. The man stopped in front of the Fire Lookout and we walked up to him. Gary said to me: “Just wait, probably I can talk him into showing us the Fire Lookout from the inside. I’ll just tell him about your around-the-wold-tour and that you’ve never seen this before.” Well, Gary didn’t even had to put much effort in it because when we arrived we both saw that the man had his car fully loaded and starting to carry this up the stars to bring inside his house. Groceries, books, a printer and even a small trampoline. 🙂 So after greeting the man we offered him to carry the boxes up to the kitchen and to his office in the top of the Fire Lookout. Wayne, that was his name, was happy with the help and after I carried the trampoline inside – which he uses to stay in shape! – he was also willing to tell us about his job as a Fire Lookout.
The way Wayne told his stories and his energy were very intriguing. It made me think about Jan Bakker from Amsterdam and Eddy Scott from Russell. Somehow these men probably never loose their young spirit, energy and their fascinating stories. They will never forget to learn, to enjoy and to have fun. Later on, when I was back here at Gary’s log house I read Wayne his blog and I was right. His photography and his writing are truly inspiring me. I think I’ve read three stories without even blinking. The link to his blog is and here are some of his photo’s, that I found on his art gallery, which I found uplifting.
At the Fire Lookout he will stay most of his summer days. When the lightning strikes he has to be aware that there could be a fire starting. He’s watching through his binoculars to spot smoke and uses the radio to report this to center where they mostly send a helicopter and someone on the ground to check it. Natural fires are generally started by lightning. But last year they had a man who would start three fires at one day and several others, one even in someones back yard. He also caused a big fire close to town and got apparently 25 years to lifelong sentenced to prison. Wayne’s job is to spot the fires and make sure they can control them i time. He told us that some storms have up to 200 lightning bolts strike the earth’s surface.
Today is just another inspiring day where we, because of  ‘bad’ weather, experienced something truly unique. If you just get out of your house, new adventures are sometimes just around the corner. Life has so many gifts to discover and so many lessons and wisdom to give us. This world has so many magnificent miracles to reveal. If we just try to catch a glimpse of it, if we just understand a little part, we will find our peace, we will find ourselves. The book is endless and the story always goes on. If you go and open your eyes you will find it. If you stay where you are you may never see it.
Something special happened at the end of our visit at the Fire Lookout…
YesterdayI wrote this in my book:
Traveling the world seems to be something very special. Even though I’ve met so many people, young and old, who have been traveling or are still traveling the world. For most people the biggest surprise is that I’ve been doing a big part of my around-the-world-tour alone. They don’t understand why, would be scared of doing something like this and always tell me to ‘be careful‘. Then there’s the other group of people that I’ve met. The ones that are curious and excited and would love to do this themselves. The ones that have seen something more of the world. The ones that know the feeling of being free to do whatever you want to do and find amazing adventures. They mostly tell me ‘have fun!‘.
Today when Wayne told me goodbye…. guess what he said. 😉
Thanks Gary for this nice day and making me realize any adventure can be just around the corner of our own house.