Friday, June 29, 2018

Chance the Gardener Lives.

I cannot stand group-think and the selling of mass market crap. One of the people who pretty much embodies everything that I hate about politics, religion, and propaganda is the man everyone knows as "the Dalai Lama". His very existence as a person of so-called 'importance' grinds on my every last nerve. He says nothing of lasting value, and each of those things are obvious and to varying degrees of either practicality or of nonsense. The Hoi polloi eat that crap with a ladle.

At any rate, whenever anyone mentions him or presents me with one of his quotes or asks me to watch a snippet of video of him droning, this is what I see and hear. He is, in effect, the Chauncey Gardener of philosophy. The absolute worst.


(I got yer Dalai Lama right here!)







Thursday, June 28, 2018

And Ellison...

I went to see Harlan Ellison speak a couple of times. I never met him face to face, but over the years he surprised me with phone calls on three occasions. It was always nice to hear from him. The first time he made me guess who the stranger was who had phoned me. At that time I did not know his voice, having never heard him and not thinking for an instant that Harlan Ellison would bother to phone me. Exasperated, he finally had to tell me who he was and that, of course, struck me dumb.
He was a great American writer. His work has influenced most writers of my generation and he helped fuel and direct the righteous anger of many a young person. His stories have amazed and will continue to do so in years to come. We can miss him, but we still have his vast body of work.

The first time I saw this photo from an interview with Jason Brock, the words that popped into my head were "Jeffty is Five". Go look for that story. Read it.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Cleaning!

Carole and I have two camping trips planned for later this year. One at the end of summer, and one in late October. We've already reserved our spaces, both in campgrounds we've stayed before, but haven't seen in years. We visited the first one in 2004, and the other in 2011.

We just had a new water pump put on the Casita and the furnace needed a slight repair (only a simple gasket). We'll need the furnace for the trip in October, I'm sure.

At any rate, I'll post details of the trips once we've returned. I hope to do a lot of hiking and hit some nice waterfalls on both trips. We're very much looking forward to the trips because we haven't really had time to go on any decent camping trips at all this year.

While I scrubbed up the outside of the Casita, Carole did the inside. Casita Girl will go back under the cover and wait until we head out later this summer.

It was hot today! 95 degrees. I tried to park the Casita in the shade!

Carole used the pressure washer on a couple of the rugs we keep inside the Casita.

She was cleaning up good!

I had to use the ladder to scrub the roof and the AC shroud.
On Tuesday I'll give the trailer a wax job, weather permitting.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

A Child of the 60s.



One morning when I was a kid--maybe nine years old--I was in our back yard with a pal of mine when another kid we knew came walking toward us from the property line at the very rear of my parents' yard. It was actually misty that morning and he appeared from the fog like a figure from a spy movie. The kid was wearing a trench coat tied at the waist. No one I knew had a fucking trench coat and it looked cool as shit. And he had that goddamned fog--like it was tailor-fucking-made. My pal, Britt and I just gawked. The

other kid walked right up to us. He had a briefcase in his hand to go along with that damned trench coat. He even had a hat.

"Look what I got for Christmas," he told us.

He held out the briefcase. A Man From U.N.C.L.E. briefcase.

He opened it up. It was packed with cool-ass secret agent shit. It had a gun with a silencer. A snub-nosed revolver. A goddamned grenade. Walkie-talkie. An U.N.C.L.E. badge...other cool-ass shit.

"Damn,' we said.

After letting us stare at that shit for a while the kid closed the briefcase.

"Let me borrow it," I said.

"Yeah, let us borrow it," Britt added. "We'll just play with it and give it back to you."

The truth was we barely knew the other kid. He lived one street over and we rarely even saw the guy. He was just trolling the neighborhood to rub in what a cool-ass score he'd gotten for Christmas.

"No," he said.

"Aw, Come ON! Loan it to us!"

"Yeah," said Britt.

The other kid eyed us nervously and backed away with his hat and trench coat and briefcase. Several steps and he turned on his heel and made his way back the same route he'd walked in on. The London fog had burned off--it was just Atlanta January mist baked into a figment of our imagination by the sun.

I considered tackling him from behind and taking that goddamned briefcase. Maybe even the fucking trench coat, too. But I didn't.

To my memory, neither I nor Britt ever saw that lucky bastard again. He doesn't know how close he came to losing it all. Or maybe he did.

Damn, it was a sweet score.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I Went Hiking

I went hiking today in a part of South Carolina where I haven't been in a long time. I logged six hours driving (round trip) and eight hours hiking. I hit a number of waterfalls I wanted to see, but to me the most impressive thing were the forests I hiked through. I had forgotten that this area of Sumter National Forest has some amazing stands of hardwoods.

At first I thought this was a buckeye tree when I spotted it from the trail. But when I got down to the base of the trunk and looked up I could see that it's a Tulip tree.

I stitched this shot from four photos of the tree's trunk. One thing about Tulip trees is their tendency not to taper as much as other hardwoods.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Mad Ones.

My new book BEAUTIFUL BOY is coming out some time this year. I'm not sure of the exact release date, but the principal edits are done.

Working on the edits made me start thinking of my writing career. When I was a young man all I wanted to do was write. Almost everything else took a back seat to my desire and need to write. If there were other things to do, the act of creating a short story or a novel took precedence and so that is what I would do instead of anything else.

These days, though, this is not the case. I am an outdoorsman and enjoy kayaking, hiking, camping, and (especially) backpacking. Now when faced with a choice of working on a new novel or plotting a short story, or planning and executing a backpacking trip or a jaunt to go kayaking on a lake, I will choose to be outdoors, out in the sun, or climbing a forested mountain, or taking photos of waterfalls and wildlife.

When I was a kid I would look at the careers of many of the authors I admired in those days. And one thing generally struck me: their careers seemed to end well before they got old and died. I began to wonder if there was a burst of creative energy that lasted only so long and no longer. Yes, there were exceptions--folk who wrote for many decades. But most writers seemed to be active for only ten to fifteen years and then...nothin'.

I haven't, by any means, stopped writing. But I sure as Hell don't write obsessively as I did as a young man. When I do write I take my time and budget the hours and work with all due consideration. I used to think of myself as one of those "mad" folk that Jack Kerouac talked about:

“[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”


― Jack KerouacOn the Road


That's the way I was when I was writing. Mad and burning and obsessed by the world around me and focused on the fantasy of characters and situations whirling around in me ol' brain.

Maybe that fire is burning out. I don't know. All I can say is that often I would much rather be standing on the summit of a mountain that I labored to climb instead of sitting in front of the white screen putting down the words that once drove me crazy with desire to transfer to paper.

I think that I'm still one of the mad ones. But in a different space.



Yeah...I know where I'd rather be.