Thursday, December 21, 2017


Blog computer code got screwed up, two columns became one. Can't figure out a fix. Hmm.


At Chevy dealer waiting while car serviced.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Soul sister

My soul sister in LA retired this week. Worked for many years at Santa Monica Community College, in student services. A talented songwriter, singer. Be interesting if she now devotes more time to it. Be interesting if we finally collaborate on a musical. 

Confounds the science

Thanks, Lena!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Widespread illness

Vineyard Place, we just learned, is in quarantine! We got out in the nick of time. Not that we are running at 100% ... both fighting our colds. Tire easily, move slowly.

Cold outside. A good day to stay in, stay warm, and stay quiet.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Screenwriting Q&A

I started a new blog, Screenwriting Q&A, at which I will respond to questions about the craft of screenwriting and creative writing in general. I have a half century's experience as a professional writer. Shame to keep it on the shelf. In my experience, screenwriting is the writing genre most misunderstood by beginning writers, who usually shoot themselves in the foot from ignorance. I am here to help. Just ask.

Old friends

A surprise visit from an old friend of Harriet's and her boyfriend, a pleasant reunion and much needed good conversation, our first apartment guests. Charges the battery. Friends are important in these dark times.


My sense of community has changed in major ways over the years. With relatively early success as a writer, especially as a literary short story writer in the 1960s and 1970s, with citations in Best American Short Stories, I felt a strong sense of being part of the American literary community. This became more focused in the 1980s with my success as a playwright in the Pacific Northwest and a very strong sense that Portland was my home, both personally and professionally.

Much changed in the 1980s. My theatrical support group in Portland vanished  (death, moving, retirement) about the same time I abandoned traditional theater for hyperdrama. I no longer felt very much at home in Portland, where my new irrelevance grew over the decades. But I found a new support group online, an international interest in hyperdrama that put me in the forefront of this new theater form. I ended up contributing to the canon of "first generation hypertext," about as obscure an honor as one can receive. I also had graduate dissertations written on my work in Egypt, Spain and Sweden. How strange! But a damn sight better than working in a vacuum.

As I returned to fiction in 2000 and beyond, in the short novel form, my sense of an audience was not visceral. I received just enough perks to let me know I wasn't yet stuck in a vacuum. Yet the sense of community I had earlier had vanished. My audience was invisible.

Was I writing for the future, for posterity? At one time I embraced the possibility but I grew to understand how little literature matters in my own culture. What serious audience I had remained overseas, I suspected.

I never set out to be a popular writer. I don't read popular literature. But I didn't want to work in a vacuum either. By and large, my career has gone just about the way it needed to go, given my interests and my talents. In fact, I am a better writer than I expected to be. At the same time, I am much more invisible than I expected to be.

In my old age, I write largely from habit. It is what I do. It is who I am. I do very little marketing, only as much as takes almost no effort, like entering my last play in competitions. I feel fortunate to have a fan in the publisher of Round Bend Press, my recent home. I am happy with the arrangement.

I still get excited about writing. I am excited about my new novel, the CJ sequel. It is enough for my old age.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


At Vineyard Place, all meals were provided -- and surprisingly good for institutional food. However, this created a problem for me. Cooking, it turns out, is part of my Ritual of Sanity. I missed it. Fresh rolls were serviced at every lunch, damn good ones, which interfered with the rhythm of my bread baking.

Happily I am back to cooking daily again. For example, from early morning I put together a parsnip-turnip soup, which I just had for lunch, a several hours project, and man is it delicious! Cooking, I feel like I'm myself again.

I also am back working on the novel, the sequel to SODOM, and once again I am excited about it, after it had dropped off the radar at Vineyard. So this move is good for me, essential to my sanity in fact.

Harriet, I suspect, is not so enthusiastic but hopefully she will be after she starts painting again.

Taking the afternoon off to watch Oregon in a bowl game.

A new title

When I retired my previous blog A Writerly Reitrement and began this one with the title Disappearing Act, I thought I was beginning a blogging exit strategy. Not quite. I more or less abandoned this in recent months while living in a retirement community but the environment at Vineyard Place only increased my desire to avoid places like that for as long as possible. I'm back in the saddle again. And I've renamed this A Writerly Retirement II for continuity.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Early start

Sketch woke me up at four to go out. Full business, so he needed to. But usually he wakes me closer to six. So here I am, awake too early.

But with a great cup of coffee, thanks to our new machine. Very easy to use, very good coffee. A good investment.

Not ready to work. Watch a movie? Think about the day's meals and plan accordingly?

Counting my blessings. A warm house. Money in the bank. A cold but otherwise good health. And Harriet, of course.

Boxes everywhere. Let's make a few disappear today. One step after the other.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Too much, too soon

Been sick, too many chores today, relapsing. Take it easy!

Gave ourselves new apartment gift: fancy coffee maker! Already love it.

We are old, move slowly, tire easily, and the apartment is full of boxes. It will take a while to get settled. Which is fine.

Did some work on the novel yesterday! Renewed energy about it.

This apartment rocks, and it is still a mess. Great things ahead.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Step by step

Boxes everywhere, and Harriet and I tire easily and move slowly, so getting settled will take a while. But we are functional, kitchen, living room, bedroom livable, just the details to fix, and this place definitely is far, far a better fit for us than the retirement community. That was great research for my novel, however! Eager to move forward.

Monday, December 11, 2017


write this on a computer at a desk in a room where I don't feel claustrophobic, on a morning without money worries, with no expectations of medics running hither and yon to attend to my neighbors, with no designated feeding times, and no expectations of hearing Trump praised, and I feel like I have my life back.