Friday, June 23, 2017

Meet the Author

Sat. July 1 2-5
Imaginary Books, Downtown Cloudcroft

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

summer's heating up - 120 in phoenix, 111 in lubbock, 107 right down the hill from us - up here, it's 80 and it keeps raining. last time it rained, it ended up humid, so now it's warm and humid, but not too bad. even 85 is warm here, and people don't like it, if they did, they'd probably live in the valley. we here are the refugees from that kind of stuff.

the big problem with 110 is, you fry out your airconditioner. we don't even want to use ours in the first place, and don't. our evenings are nice and we sleep with our windows open. right now it's a bit stuffy but evening is coming - more rain and then probably down in the fifties.

the puppy constantly wants out on the porch here, where i sit overlooking the white sands and writing. he barks at the bees, and the flies, and the neighbor dogs, and whoever walks by, usually hikers, but i'm supposed to spray him with vinegar when he does. i'm somewhat negligent, being preoccupied, and then my wife gets mad, because we're bad neighbors, who don't control our barking dog. he's cute, and he's spoiled, but he thinks he has to bark as part of his identity. and of course he's got that yipper bark that people hate so much. cute to us, a yip-dog to others.

my class is going strong and i spent all day on it, not even getting too much to the reading part. the books are easy and fun to read but there is other stuff to do too. one thing i have to do is set up observations but there's no one to observe, all schools are out for the summer. dilemma. everything else is ok.

when it's hundred and seven in the valley, we devote ourselves to staying out of the valley. that means buying from the local convenience store and walking more. i'm surprised we don't have hundreds or thousands of tourists, but i guess aircon has made it so they don't really have to come up here to get away from it. whole valleys of people are just hunkering down, staying inside, not getting out in it, and not pushing the air-con too hard.

little puppy is sitting on my lap again. he likes it there - he watches the trough behind downtown cloudcroft, and he makes sure everything is ok. he likes this better than his other choices. it's just that he can't help but bark, it's in his genes. that's what he does. that's his identity. getting him to be quiet is working against his very nature.

Friday, June 16, 2017

been trolling around the flash fiction scene. there are "literary magazines" online, and they do very well. some good writers are on them. and these good writers are into writing 500-word only, short stories. there is nothing else different about the story, except that it's very compact. 500 words, you can read on a phone.

and that's the point, i've come to realize. these kids that are hanging around, reading their phones, in the airport, or at the bus stop, or in school, or wherever? sometimes they read flash fiction, i'm sure. somebody does. it's got to be quick. you have to get to the climax before the phone dies.

i could do this, because economy of words is my stock in trade. unable to finish an entire novel, all i have to my name, besides quaker plays, is haiku and six books of short stories. all are economical, if nothing else. i don't waste words. i relate well to the young.

it's a challenge, but i'm kind of at a crossroads anyway. i'm trying new marketing techniques. i need ways to make a name. i may just get started.

First bouquet of summer

so says Dr. Wink, the teacher of my online teacher-education class. But they are having fires up there by Santa Fe, they say, so I hope everyone's alright! Let's just say, I'm thinking of her.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the quaker religion is partly based on the idea that if a group of people wait patiently, silent and settled, the presence of the divine spirit will make itself known. one does not need a pastor, priest, or minister. each person is equally likely to receive a message and bring it out to the group, and, in the experience of members, sometimes people find that the message is received as if it were intended for another member. often, there are meetings without messages; the effect of a visitor may lead people to be unwilling or unable to speak.

i left cloudcroft at about 8:15 in order to get to las cruces for ten-o'clock meeting; getting gas in alamo, i happened to see the principal of alamo high school, though i'm not sure he knew who i was (that i was trying to get a job at his high school). the desert was long and hot, even in the morning. going across the organs the car goes up a steep hill and then down into the huge mesilla valley. the meeting house is adobe and in a fashionable part of town just east of downtown. when meeting started there were about seven or eight of us, most older than me, some veteran quakers.

a young woman came in about halfway through. she was unable to keep her eyes off her phone; perhaps something was happening, or, she just couldn't. as it turned out, i believe she had the only kid, a boy about two or maybe one. this boy was walking pretty well, but not saying much, so i'd put him between one and two maybe. the meeting had nice decoration, several paintings, and beyond the main room, a small kitchen. i gave them some navajo tea that i brought; i'd also brought one for my dad.

as i sat there i found that, as usual, it was hard to get my mind off daily concerns, my job, my life, my four kids, my busy schedule, my dad's health. finally i worried about my friend maurine's problem.

i had just published maurine's book, new children of the light. maurine is very invested in quakerism, being a quaker elder. but she finds trouble with her small meeting in its present state, since many of its attenders have rejected god, or at least rejected the traditional view of god as older, male, and judgemental. i try to remind her, it's the things god is associated with - maleness, olderness, judgementalism, that irritate them, not the feeling of one divine power - though of course i don't know how they feel exactly. there is an issue with atheism throughout quakerism, as lots of people feel strongly about rejecting that traditional view, and others are simply unable to redefine it or go along with that.

so suddenly, in the traditional way of quakers, i got a strong message, and it was unmistakable. it was, "call me the great spirit." on reflection, i thought, perhaps this message was meant for maurine, who of course wasn't here in las cruces. but an elder said something to the effect that, now is the time to speak of your concerns, or anything that has come to you. i knew that now was the time. i was quaking a little.

so i told about maurine a little, and said that ordinarily i would be a little more shy around people i didn't know well. but the message was unmistakable, so i told what i'd received, and i also admitted i didn't know quite what to do with the message, although i was sure i'd tell maurine, and also, i would try it. it is not unreasonable, and i am not opposed to it. i figure, if i'm a quaker, and i believe in listening patiently, receiving and delivering messages, i should just do it. first step is just deliver the message, and i did. second step is figuring out what to do with it.

in the past i have written about the pronouns we use to talk about god. finally i concluded that i should not use pronouns to talk about god - after all, god is neither he nor she, and one cannot pretend that it doesn't matter, or let one be more important or prevalent than the other. so, in the end, i concluded, one should simply use the term god when talking about god, and leave pronouns for people. fair enough. but if one uses the term great spirit, one does the same thing. no pronouns. one does not have to even avoid them. perhaps i had not done this earlier, for fear of appropriating a native american idea or term. at some point, you have to just take the cues that are given to you.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

e pluribus haiku 2017

a thousand original haiku

Available at Amazon $6.29 + shipping
Available at the Createspace Store $6.29 + shipping
Available on Kindle $3.59

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

New Children of the Light

by Maurine Pyle
Available on Amazon, $10 + shipping
Available at the CreateSpace Store, $10 + shipping
On Kindle Soon

From the book description:
"Why should we care about the Millennial generation? Managers, the military, and religious leaders are all asking themselves how they can adapt to this generation who represent the largest work force. So far no one has been asking the Millennials how they see things. New Children of the Light can serve as a window into the lives and minds of young people coming of age in the twenty first century. I have simply asked sixteen young Quakers to tell us who they are and who they want to become."

Maurine Pyle is a good friend of mine, so I helped her produce this book. It includes two of my boys, and I recommend it.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

first thing i did, when school got out, was stop going down the hill. i was just tired of traveling. now i know i make my reputation out of traveling, telling of reckless hitchhiking and train-jumping days, but nowadays i'm sixty-three, the roads are windy with steep cliffs right on the other side of the line, and the weather is dicey. though i've done that mile-steep hill so many times i could do it in my sleep, i try not to. and i take advantage of the opportunity to stay home.

the fact is, i'm covered for the summer. i have a part-time job, and i'm going to school, and the bills seem to be ok, as my wife's disability has been approved. we kind of live on a shoestring, with hope that we keep people in the two houses we still own, that are way over our heads in terms of rent - but so far, people have been in them. the rent comes in. we are able to live in our cabin, with its low expenses, and do our things.

out on the porch now; it's a very cool evening for early june. the puppies are stirred up because some neighbor dog is in the vicinity. the kids are stirred up because there's a visitor - a local eight or nine-year-old, a friend. the young girls were playing, the older ones were spying on them. everyone in a small cabin, so i've bailed to the porch.

i've been working to publish a book for a quaker friend about quaker kids and their stories. two of mine are in there. the quaker kids have their own ways of looking at things. her point is that we should follow the kids, or at least let them have their own worldview. they are not ours.

my own haiku book, a 1000-poem opus, is almost done. i went through with a fine-tooth comb, editing, but that cost one or two, and i'll have to rewrite them. more importantly, it's taken about two months to do even that. i was so overwhelmingly sick of the whole thing that i just stopped more or less completely for weeks at a time. not good. if one is to do a thousand in a year, particularly a thousand in the next one, one should not have any lapses, of a week at a time. it's about four a day, even if you never take a break. if you drop a week, like you move or get busy with a job or whatever, it becomes eight a day, nine a day. too hard a pace to keep up.

my novel about texas is savage. in fact i love texas and don't mean any harm. if you show it exactly as it is, that's savage. if you show how a university works, that's savage. i'm putting the university side-by-side with wal-mart. that's savage too. and i'm weaving in country music. had to take a break the past two days - the above projects got in its way. there is yet another project, esl-related - got started on that, but didn't finish.

the main thing is, relentless promotion. i put stuff on kindle-direct, free for a couple of days, that's good for a couple of readers - i am trying a contest, that may or may not work. i'm going on FB live. who knows how that'll go? i need to get my instruments in shape, and practice, for sure - i see that as a performance (unrehearsed), but primarily an advertisement. and i'd like to keep doing it. it's experimental. performance-based promotion. tomorrow (sun) at seven, mountain time.

the porch has calmed down, the puppy in my lap. the kids are still making a racket, all over the house. you have the young girls, always doing the young-girl giggling thing, but maybe getting on a movie, because it's late. you have the older kids, we call them the twins, eleven and twelve, who were following the young ones around, but were kind of out of sorts, out of their usual screens. then the fifteen-year-old, who makes more money on you-tube in a month than i've made writing stories or poetry combined, is feeling out of sorts, so he invites the twins around and they all do wilding. it's a little wild. maybe i should take my walk.

'nough for one night.