Welcome to the website that is perhaps my Letter to the World, which has indeed written back, once in a while, despite my late start on the correspondence. My real work began when I was more than half-way through what's turning out to be a long life. Now, actuarially, time is getting short. So I'm gathering up as many bread crumbs as I can find of that late-begun work and leaving them here, in the vast forest that is the internet, in hopes they may be of value on your path to a long and creative life. There's a lot here. Do wander. Welcome to it all.

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Latest Posts

Early readers have asked me what happens to Lee Palmer after the last page of #OutingTheMermaid. Well, for one thing, she met this guy... JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S POCKETS What do you know, Joe, after all that study, all that tracking of humanity’s search for the sacred, for import, for course coordinates? A veritable Harpo of revelations he pulls from a vest pocket “Natural Music” and tells us that Jeffers got it right: to be holy is to be strong enough to hear beauty in the world’s storms and rages without divisions of desire and terror. A back pants pocket yields a wallet and a tiny newsprint clipping in which a Honolulu cop has, on sight, proffered his life to save a stranger. Unconditionally living in unity, namaste incarnate, dwelling always in the field of chi, feeling it pulsing through us, it, them, that, no divisions, no judgments, no fear— all the great scholar’s learning distilled in a few lines, plain, clear, and— enragingly, divisively, terrifyingly—hard. Have you another nugget, Joe, perhaps an easier one, in some other pocket?

March 21 was World Poetry Day. Well whoopidoo. A whole bloomin day? Let's do a week instead. Happy Spring, y'all. Here's a poem about the grandfather of #OutingTheMermaid's "Lee Palmer." THE MEANEST MAN IN HORSE CREEK VALLEY “If I was that ugly, I’d at least stay home with it.” The child laughs, thinking it’s a joke, but he is glaring at the women passing the porch where the old man and his Yankee granddaughter rock. “The Levelheads, I call em,” he says loudly, so the women have to hear. “Look at em. Heads don’t go up and down when they walk.” They look the same to her as the other mill women, gaunt, withered, pale, but their gliding walk seems to her beautiful. Walking toward the company store to buy Moonpies, one spotted hand holds a cane, the other hers. “Mind you don’t fall. That curb is high.” The cane raises up, comes sharply down on the shoulder of a black man who jumps into the street. Eating the sweets on the bank of Horse Creek the old man deigns to explain. “Nigras don’t belong on the sidewalk when a white man’s passing.” He pumps the well handle and she drinks icy artesian water from the hanging tin cup. When the cross burns on Cemetery Hill, he brings her into the sandy yard to see. She thinks it is a church thing. There’s a photo in the album of this man, young. You can see the old man coming in the raised chin, in the sneer of disdain. Beside him is a beautiful girl who is not the grandmother she knows. This is her father’s mother, dead delivering a daughter, the daughter taken by the Moonpie rocker to his childless brother’s door, never to nod or smile as he passed her, growing up in this tiny town where everyone knew he had given her away. She was erased from his life, as was her sister when she ran from the shell-shocked husband who was beating her, driven to the train by a gardener. “She run off with a nigra,” the lintheads say and her grandfather held as how he’d had just one child and one treasured grandchild, blue-eyed and fair, a small person who begins to understand that he is dangerous, Moonpies notwithstanding.

ANIMA Porgy heads north behind a goat he WILL find out where she has gone his glimmering girl, his junky Bess. He can live without walking, always has. But he cannot go on without Her. Priests wear dresses over their trousers, Marists even to the Pope. Hers are their favorite prayers, her image is on chains around their necks. But they are not worshiping a goddess, they tell us, merely the mother of the one God. The writer stares at the paper, moaning for his muse. Nothing will appear until She does, whispering in his ear, not minding that it will be his name on the book, the poem, the story, with no mention of how he heard the words. Soldiers gut shot on battlefields cry out for their mothers when testosterone has played out its course. Make it right, Mama. Make the pain stop, give him back to life. She cannot. But he knows where to turn with his request. https://tinyurl.com/y9u2lf3v

Thinking of friends "back home" who are up to their knees in snow. Again. Sheesh! It's spring, y'all. Ah well, settle down with a pot of soup, a good book... I have one in mind, actually. #OutingTheMermaid. https://tinyurl.com/ycnepxa3

Brain Pickings

On World Poetry Day, a lovely illustrated collection of classic love poems spanning a wide range of epochs, sensibilities, and cultural backgrounds, including Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Langston Hughes, E.E. Cummings, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson

Brain Pickings (a grrreat service to the world) just reminded me it's World Poetry Day. So I'll choose a poem. The news is full of Russia, so here's a glimpse of post-Communist Moscow... NOUVEAU MOSCOW You grew up seeing the pictures– Fierce men in fur hats, standing on Lenin's tomb, the Kremlin's fortress wall behind them and before them, marching troops and missiles poised to kill you. Now stand here, a guest of the new regime, both feet dead center of Red Square, August 2000. In front of you, Lenin's tomb, with no one on its roof, no one trooping by, no one waiting to revere the mummy. Turn now, moving your eyes past St. Basil's preposterous domes, coming to rest– your back to Lenin, facing the doors of GUM, the vast arcade once filled with long damp lines of gray-clad, gray-skinned people waiting grimly for potatoes, for cabbage, for poorly sewn clothes that would soon shred– dreary goods for patient comrades in silent queues. Look there, see? over the entranceway– an icon of Jesus now stares across the Square, straight at lonely Lenin. And through the new plate-glass doors– a Calvin Klein display. Lenin, Jesus and Calvin Klein. Welcome to millennium Moscow.

An epigraph to #OutingTheMermaid: "I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate / I am and am not, I freeze and yet am burned / Since from myself another self I turned."– Elizabeth I With a click, you can see why those lines are the perfect preface to the story of a "modern" woman learning to Stop That! https://tinyurl.com/ycnepxa3

Not a bad summing up: #OutingTheMermaid: A Novel of Love, Fear & Misogyny, is a roaring journey through the 60s and 70s, a time of civil rights, second-wave feminism, the War on Poverty, blended families, the Beatles, the Pill, be-ins, the Vietnam war, gurus, mafiosi, class distinctions, astrology, and the eternal mystery of what the hell is going on between men and women. It's a story that will make you laugh, break your heart, and give you hope. And you could be reading the eBook in minutes. https://tinyurl.com/ycnepxa3

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