Tuesday, July 31, 2018

summer's about shot; i did the school supplies, and my wife is about to go out and do clothes shopping with the girls, which is probably the most difficult part. as i look around the world has got messier over the summer instead of more orderly; i am less ready for a new year. piles of dirt remain up at the gate, that i have to bring down to insulate the water pipes that broke over the winter; in short, there was a huge mess here, and there are still piles of rocks and dirt around. i was supposed to rake pine needles to keep down a fire hazard, and got about one little square done. out at our land it's the worst, though rain has made some grass pop up here and there and make it look like a green, bucolic paradise.

one good thing, and that is that i sit down to type this, and the puppy finds me right away and parks in my lap, between my two stretched out legs, and takes a puppy-nap in such a way that i can pet him as i write. we have spent much of the summer like this. i have played a lot of web boggle, and scrolled facebook, widening my horizons so that i now know more about the low-life of las cruces, for example, or the socorro democrats. reason i'm interested is political - if we were to get a lot of people out to vote, this district would flip to blue. and it would make a huge difference. but for me, it was a side diversion. i push against my writing - try to do two or three hours a day - and it just doesn't come that easily. i have to have a lot of different things going, so i don't end up down in the bog, just killing time.

one of the saving graces is that it's rained a lot here. down in texas, down in the valley (las cruces and alamo), it has not only not rained, but it's been hot - over a hundred, even over a hundred five. up here, we seem to stay in the seventies, and get an occasional shower, or even thunderstorm. the green stuff grows. we know this could be trouble for the fire people later, but, we like to see the green stuff grow. it makes the hillsides smell better. it gives the bear and the elk some cover.

tried to finish several big projects, and failed. one, the leverett book, about the puritans of early massachusetts - it's almost done. two - my autobiography, just passing through - it, too, is almost done, except that my life changes so dramatically with every turn, that i feel like starting over. and finally, my texas novel - which is called, so far, the turn and the river - and which, truth be told, was only about fifty pages done, and is now maybe a hundred. it has a ways to go, i guess, but, for a while, stalled on the other two, i was into it. i did finish the haiku and a book of stories earlier in the summer. i did get two different books of stories, the most recent, free range flash fiction, and a much earlier one, pile of leaves, put up on acx where they will now be audio produced and we should be able to see that in a couple of days or soon.

but what put a dent in the summer like the elk put a dent in my truck door, was a stepdaughter stopping by for a couple of weeks with a couple of young children, six and three, who fit right under my four in this tiny cabin making a lot of noise, getting up early, having demands, in short, being precious. what can you do? take them to the park, is the obvious answer. but we took them to the white sands as well, and their aunts and uncles did their best to entertain them to the fullest.

so, not a bad summer, really...tomorrow, an interview for a seventh-grade english position. this would change my life dramatically. but, if it should happen, i'll keep you posted. in the annals of public education, i suppose much can be said about such things, and i will definitely be in the front line.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

my new promo campaign:

Monday, July 16, 2018

took a little break from other writing to do quaker plays. one, finish a herbert hoover play that i had mostly written a long time ago. it gave me a little mental boost to take an almost-finished play, put a wrap on it, and get it out there, published. when i put it on the weblog itself i technically publish it, and it's the first of several that i plan for a new volume of quaker plays, but since i've been working on another one as well, i now feel like i have a good start in this new volume.

the thing about these two is that both hoover and roosevelt-era anti-semitism have a lot in common with what's going on today, so i can stop obsessing about trump and just write about the people who tried and failed to do what he does, and make them a visible demonstration of the consequences of stupidity. hoover, for example, passed tariffs that crippled the economy and led to a deep depression; he also had this quality that, while he tried to present confidence in business and wall street, he had no credibility, so people didn't simply start hiring people and pulling the country out of the depression. finally, he was totally unable to project that quality of caring about people, so that even though he had experienced hunger and deprivation, he couldn't seem to make people know that.

in the roosevelt-era one, i'm somewhat stalled, but it deals with american anti-semitism during the beginning of the war, specifically 1939, when the m.s. saint louis was afloat off the coast of miami and nine hundred jews begged to be let in to this country. these were not people who were likely to become criminals ("rapists," as trump called the mexican immigrants), or live on american social entitlements. nevertheless the usa did not want them, and they ended up going back to europe where in some cases hitler got them. one lesson was that one never knows how quickly a bad situation can degenerate into a worse one, where victims can simply become "the enemy" in a war, or where a cold shoulder to someone in need can actually be sending someone off to their death.

my anger with trump and the people who support him at all costs, no matter his groveling to putin, no matter his record of sexual abuse and paying off its victims, no matter his blatant lying and selling out of american interests and resources - has led me to become a voter registration fanatic. at night, when the last of the kids' yelling is still getting to me and i'm wondering if i can still get anything done at all, i've taken to cruising the social media looking for the people i think would be crucial in turning our district around. all of southern new mexico is one district, a quite large one, with a single big city, las cruces, in it, but even las cruces has about a hundred thou, and pretty much everyone else is spread out over hundreds of smaller towns, and miles and miles of ranchlands, deserts and mountains. it's a very conservative district, but like many conservative districts, it actually has a chance of turning, this november, as the usual congressman is gone, moved on to the governor's race, and his replacement is virtually unknown. the democratic challenger, xochitl small-torres, is virtually unknown too. my view is that the one who registers hundreds of new voters is the one who has a chance of pulling off a surprise. i intend to be involved in that process.

political organizing (my get-out-the-vote page is completely social-media only) is difficult. but it's better than sitting around getting angry.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

i go back to my research, on the leverett family in the early puritan days, and it's full of surprises; it never stops surprising me. i'll give you a couple of different examples. both are related to rainsborough.

the governor, governor leverett, who i am allegedly related to, was an interesting guy; he'd taken the ship over here at the age of 17, got married and started trading and doing business, and he joined the artillery, where the old soldiers hung out and talked about life in puritan massachusetts. but at one point this guy, isaac, comes around, and says, we need soldiers back in england, to overthrow the king. the king is a pompous bastard; a blatant liar, things he's a god, wastes money, raises taxes, drives the place into ruin, and we've had enough, we're taking up arms. isaac stoughton intends to take a group of colonists back to fight in the civil war to overthrow the monarchy, and leverett goes. he is now about 26. a guy named william hudson, and also nehemiah bourne go with them. all four go, and are put in rainsborough's regiment.

now i had kind of lost track of this, so i went back looking for the information about what this regiment did, and what exactly happened. it was only a couple of years of his life, so it kind of got lost in the shuffle, though it made him a war hero. he was a war hero yes, but a war hero on the side of oliver cromwell, who had his own problems as history rolled out. i knew 1) that rainsborough's regiment was pretty much immobile, and stationed in lincolnshire, where leverett was from; it was paid for by lincolnshire, so it didn't sweep the country as the other regiments did; 2) that leverett had his own regiment within rainsborough's larger one, so that hudson was under him; 2) that hudson, upon returning home, found his wife in bed with his servant, and she was almost hung as death was the penalty for adultery. this information by the way was of interest to me because we are investigating what happens when people don't live up to the strict puritan moral codes.

ah but come to find out that rainsborough was a leveler, and so was his brother, so this meant that some radicals, the 1600's version of the socialists, had entered into the war against the crown, for their own reasons, and though cromwell himself might not have been a leveler, rainsborough and his brother and anyone associated with him, by nature, would at least be willing to be associated with the word. double-you tee eff...

and i find out another thing. there is another puritan colony at that time. in other words, massachusetts is one of two. can you guess where that might be? i had never heard of this one. it was in paradise island, off the coast of nicaragua.

back to my research - there is so much to learn!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Monday, July 02, 2018

meet the author / book signing

July 4, 2-5 pm
Imaginary Bookstore
Downtown Cloudcroft
fireworks somewhere afterward!

we are into a new month; june was nothing special. we were cleaning out some land way out in the country; there are about five acres of mostly pines and an old hunting cabin. the owner was a welder and had a lot of old scrap metal around. one piece was a huge iron culvert-looking tube, almost impossible to carry. there were hundreds of tubes, in piles, on the ground, mostly covered with pine needles.

that and what we call slash piles, all or mostly sticks, in big piles, leftover from somebody cutting down big dead trees. these sticks, i figure, i'll burn eventually. one truckload at a time, i'll take them into town, and burn them all winter if i have to, in the woodstove; they'll keep us warm. but my wife has another idea. they're creepy; they're unsightly, we need to get them out of there.

the land is way out in the middle of nowhere. you cut off the main highway, and go through about fifteen miles of national forest, and you come to this valley, this canyon, and the canyon runs behind a range of mountains, but is squeezed, to the north, by the reservation. it's private up there; we stay out of there, but that mere fact means not many people come back to this canyon. it's not on the way to anywhere. they are by and large leaving us alone, and we are leaving them alone. and we have only a small community of folks along this canyon, and a number of cows.

the mescalero, of course, have a long history - there were three major tribes of apache, geronimo being in the chiricahua, and the mescalero being up here in our territory, between ruidoso and cloudcroft. in this case, the mescalero got choice mountain property, and, they take care of it, so that now the road through the reservation is one of the prettiest roads i've ever been on. it could be, that the money they make from various casinos, helps to take care of things. they have signs on the back roads, telling us to stay away unless we have business up there, and we don't, except for us, it might be the shortest way from here to there. i'm interested in the mescalero, would like to know about their language, but, i can read a sign too, and i generally stay away.

the hunting cabin has two solidly made rooms together, and an old shed, but it had no plumbing and inadequate electrical, so we set to that right away. we cleared out an open spot by the house where we could park. we had a couple of enormous dead trees taken down. we brought in a dumpster and filled it up.

but when we were cleaning out the old iron culvert pipe, i saw an enormous snake. his diameter was about the size of a softball. but he had an enormous rattler on his tale, and he put it up, and shook it loudly. it was an impressive sound, a clear warning.

he went away, and so did we; we stopped clearing out the iron pipes. they are still there, as far as i know. my friend who was helping me, wanted to kill him and make a snakeskin belt. mostly what i wanted was for him to not get any of us, while we were clearing the place out. we were too far out in the middle of nowhere; too far from a hospital. and he was enormous. one of his bites would have done us in.

we were messing with his home, no question about that. he lived under that pipe, and when he had to disappear, he disappeared under a number of the other ones. it was a whole home under there, and there weren't any mice, anywhere to be found. he'd taken care of that. who knows if he's still there. it's his business, and if he would choose to go find another home, not under the cabin, i'd be much obliged.