It’s Shakespeare’s Birthday. Have A Drink!

Kage Baker always took care to lift a glass of something or other on this day, in honour of that finest (so far,anyway) writer in the English language: William Shakespeare. Son of a glover, husband of a really patient woman, father of Hamnet and Susan … and not Wiilliam de Vere or Francis Bacon.

As Kage used to say, “I know, because I’ve asked all three of ’em.” And a poet who is drinking your beer is very unlikely to lie to you, I do assure you all. So, Happy William Shakespeare’s birthday, Dear Readers!

Lifting frequent glasses of anything is a good idea today anyway – it is HOT. So was yestreday, and the day before; it’s going to be warm for at least the next week. I shall stay indoors in the air conditioning. drinking copiously.

On the subject of drinks, I am currently on a quest today to reproduce one of the only soft drinks I have every liked: Coke Blak. It was not around for long (2006 to 2008, aside from a few lost-in-time refugees in the backs of coolers), and never in a large size – wimpy little 8-ounce bottles, redeemed only by their classic shape and nifty gold and black colouring. What delighted me was that it was not excessively carbonated nor over-sweet, although the US version was artificially sweetened.  (The European and Canadian versions were sweetened with sugar.)

But it’s main virtue is that it was Coke mixed with black coffee. Yep, actual caffeine-rich coffee – and I found it delicious. Even with the damned aspartame in it. Kage herself, a life-long Coca Cola devotee, thought it was ghastly and shuddered melodramatically when I drank it. In fact, almost everyone did –  I was apparently the only person in the USA who actually liked it, and even I couldn’t drink enough of it to keep the stuff in production.

However, Coke has now come out with a new product – Coke Free, which is reportedly lightly sweetened with cane sugar and stevia (from the leaves of ( Stevia rebaudiana), which contains several high-content glycosides; these are cousins of sugar, which cannot be used for alcohol – they won’t ferment, sadly enough. But they sweeten like crazy, and both Pepsico and the Coca Cola Co. have developed proprietary sweeteners out of the stuff.

To the uttermost point: Coca Cole is now using a combination of Stevia rebaudiana extract and cane sugar, (which is not only REAL, but is a source for rum!), to make brand new Coke Life. It has a green label and comes in generous 12-ounce bottles and cans. It’s not any better for you than ordinary Coke, but I suspect the flavour will be more to my liking. As soon as  can find some, anyway.

What I am going to do, therefore, is mix Coke Life with my special coffee from the Teahouse of the Mullah Nasruddin’s Donkey, which I have been drinking at Faires since I was 19 years old. For the last 7 years, as I do fewer Faires, I have been ordering it on the Internet, so that the soothing decoctions of the dear Mullah can ease my heart and soul at home. And now that the heat of the year is beginning on the edge of Los Angeles’ desert  lands, I am prepared to deal with it.

It will be my own version of Coke Blak – only with even better ingredients. Really, really good coffee, and sweeteners that are somewhat more natural; it’ll be yummy. I think. I hope.

And in the meantime, I shall continue toasting Sweet William with ordinary iced coffee – ’cause it’s still the Mullah’s blend: and over ice with a bit of cream, it is good for the soul and for all poets.

Kage would drink that right readily.


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A Peaceful Weekend in Arkham

Kage Baker was a firm believer that the world needed to be shut out from time to time.

Mind you, by from time to time, she usually meant round the clock. However, even Kage admitted that the world needed to be noticed some of the time, if only to make its periods of  purdah more noticeable. If Kage could have found a way to make the world aware she was shutting it off, that would have made her even happier. Maybe it would have made the world behave better.

I have, the last couple of weeks, been abstaining from social media. I’m never on it much, but I had developed a moderately serious Facebook addiction. It started out, as these things so often, so deceptively do, as a way to keep track of my friends – we’re not only getting older, we’ve had a rough life so far; people tend to drop dead suddenly in my circle. Something to do with spending 30 years living part-time in pre-Industrial Revolution societies, I suspect. Anyway, when politics was minding its manners and the country wasn’t trying to saw its own head off with the cutting strip from a tinfoil box, I checked in once a day and all was well. I even shared a few jokes, admired photos of grandchildren and pot roasts, did all the ordinary FB things. It took about 15 minutes a day. It was nice.

When I realized that I was spending 6 hours a day on FB and/or following up stories from FB – and that I longed more and more for a meteorite to strike me – I finally saw I had a problem. I turned off the feed. I increased the time I spent on sites like Smithsonian and Scientific American, and began doing more writing research. And, within a few days, I was writing more as well. And sleeping. And not having chest pains. And not praying to the meteor gods to reach and touch me with their chondrite-y appendages.

More people suddenly began following this blog, too. I had expected fewer, but that’s not what happened.

I did take Easter weekend off, just to read and eat chocolate. It  was delightful. As I hope everyone else’s weekend was, as well. I celebrate Easter more as a non-denominational Spring holiday, but my appreciation of returning life and the Risen Young Lord are sincere, albeit non-Christian. Your basic  vegetation deities are always admirable. And so is chocolate.

Along the way, I finished a tiny, tiny story – the shortest short story I have ever written – and submitted it to a tiny, tiny online magazine. We shall see what happens, but it is a personal record as it is a quite nice little piece and the first short-short story I have ever managed. I have this verbosity problem …

I also have several currently-accepting magazines and anthologies of which I have received notice, and lo! An idea sprang at once into my mind as I read over the requirements. It’s not the same as being invited, but it’s a rare phenomenon to find one’s self afire with an idea so suddenly. It does need some research, but that can be fun, too.

In service of that research, these last few days, I have been occupying my spare time re-reading the entire oeuvre of the inestimable H. P. Lovecraft. I know the gentleman has recently come under serious criticism for failing to be other than a product of his time and upbringing – but I think I can resist the temptation to adopt either his loathsome racial prejudices or his weird theories on the antediluvian religions … not to mention his run-on sentences and atmosphere of damp hysteria. However, even weighted with those weaknesses, one cannot deny that Lovecraft could really, really write.

I should probably stop reading them late at night, though. “The Color Out of Space” still gives me the serious willies; you’d think I’d learn. It’s not a good idea to read that story at 2 AM, in a house where (one desperately hopes) there are raccoons scratching around on the roof in the darkness … but I always seem to be reading that one at night, somehow. “The Dunwich Horror” however, is more enthralling every time I read it; although I must admit to a sneaking feeling of pity for poor Wilbur Whately. When you come right down to it, he’s a good boy – a pious youth, respectful of his elders (he he he), sincere about his studies, determined to carry out his family obligations. His poor brother, who endures an abusive childhood before his unspeakable demise, is also an object of more pity than I remember being able to summon in my teens. Maybe it’s getting older that changes one’s viewpoint on these things.

Or maybe unwholesome influences are creeping out of the darkened corners of my room as I lie sleepless in the infernal reddish light of my Kindle … because, of course, per the best modern eldritch lore, I’m using the blue light filter on my screen to ward off insomnia.

Life is weird. But at least it doesn’t have to be horrible and weird; one always has Kage’s option of retreating to a private world where one can work.  And, at this point, reading Lovecraft in bed at night is proving less noxious than following politics. Which really proves that truth is weirder than fiction, I guess.

All I know is, I’m writing every day. And some things are worse company than shoggoths.



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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Kage Baker not only rarely suffered from writer’s block – she also bubbled over pretty much continually with ideas for stories. The cosmic injustice of this was obvious, and she readily allowed it – but, as she pointed out, it wasn’t her fault. After all, there were also people whose peculiar talent it was to accrue money easily – and none of them was her, and she didn’t complain about that.

She never had to wonder long what she was going to write. Usually, she had no choice; ideas attacked her, and insisted they be written. It was like an entire flock of insistent parrots on her shoulders, instead of the one who actually sat there. And all the real one wanted was to swing on her braid, and take naps lying on his back in the hood of her jacket. The idea-parrots gronked and whistled in her ears all day.

On the good side of this constant input, Kage always had a few ideas ready to go when she got invitations to write something specific. The last few years of her life, almost all her work was by invitation; all she had to do to start was page through the current file cards floating in her brain to find the nugget of a story. Another benefit was that she always had something ready to start as soon as something was finished – or, infrequently, something to fill  in as a change of pace when the current project went stale on her. It was like always having flour, salt and sugar in the pantry: security, the surety of sufficiency.

On the bad side – it was mental tinnitus. It never stopped. Kage said it was a constant background noise; when she learned about the hydrogen line, the 21-centimeter microwave radiation that permeates the Universe, she declared that was what whispered constantly in her head. Sir Terry Pratchett said that IDEAS sleet constantly through space, impacting minds at random – Kage loved that idea, and if the  sound of the sleet was what she heard, an icy susurration of plots and characters. The problem was, all those ideas interfered with one another, echoing and arguing and surfacing at awkward intervals. She said it was  like “Revolution 9” from The White Album.

What it meant was that there were always at least 2 things that ferociously wanted  to be written at the same time. Usually, one of them was the project she was actually working on; but that wasn’t a guarantee. Sometimes the urge got so loud that Kage was forced to put aside the story she was supposed to be writing, and spend some time on the one that would not wait its turn.

At its most extreme, she’d write an entire new story over a few frenzied days. Sometimes it would just be the most demanding scenes. Sometimes she didn’t even know what they were for – who was meant to be in them, where the story went or even began: just that she had a vision of, say, someone in a wet woolen Union suit, in San Dollar Cove on the Big Sur Coast, and there was something about the movies. And it was a Joseph story. And she’d write down as much as she could see – or more correctly, what she couldn’t stop seeing – until it was pushed far enough away to let her resume the misadventures of Mendoza in the Hollywood Hills.

And ultimately, “Studio Dick Drowns Near Malibu” was printed in Asimov’s. By which time, there were so many other stories clamouring for life that Kage glued them all together into Black Projects, White Knights, and called it a “mosaic novel” in self-defense.

But she learned to deal with it, and she never, ever said NO to the phantoms crowding her brain. Her mother had told her, in one of those maternal talks that emerge like rocks from the rapids of adolescence, that one must never shut the bedroom door on a man – because that made it much too easy for him to open someone else’s front door. Kage, whose rare lovers seldom stayed the night (or used the door, for that matter), applied this maternal advice to the stories that were her more constant paramours.  She was absolutely certain it was the only way to keep them coming back.

“Always write the stuff down,” she told me. “Whatever it is, even it’s just a little scene or a bit of a plot. Get it down on paper. You can figure out what it’s for later, when you have more time.”

And this have I made as the rule of my writing life. Consequently, I have shit tons of paragraphs, and chapters,  and pages of dialogues with loud but unnamed voices; in various sorts of notebooks, from greenish steno pads to fancy Levenger journals with ribbon bookmarks in ’em. Oh, and all sorts of thumb drives, too, in nifty candy colours: I love those things, they look so edible. And these, mind you, are quite aside from the stacks and towers and boxes full of the same stuff from Kage, which she left to me and made me promise to keep.

I would have done that anyway. They are my mines of precious metals and rare gems. And they are Kage’s voice speaking to me, telling me the stories that won’t stop, tossing me shining balls to keep flying through the air, sabres and chain saws and goblin fruit to juggle in variable gravity … little girl ghouls.  Zombies. A Company Base in a Siberian permafrost crater. Aliens who alter their own DNA every time they have sex, to literally transform themselves with every lover. Diana of Luna. The Teddy Bear Squad and Neanderthal princesses and what lives under the camouflaged panels behind the Hollywood Sign.

Write them down. Write them all down.  Some will grow. And more will come.


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Migraines and Spring

Kage Baker suffered from migraines all her life. They were perfectly awful at times – the kind where the sufferer gives serious consideration to sawing their own head off, or taking a  drill to her temple … she always claimed that it was only that the headaches rendered her both non-sentient and uncoordinated with pain that prevented self-surgery.

Like many migraine victims, there was no real reason for her headaches that was ever found. Sometimes these things turn out to be caused by infections, or epilepsy, or weird vascular deformities of the dura mater, or alien bugs. Kage would have welcomed any of them, if it meant the migraines could have been cured. But the times the pain in her head was due to something actionable were but two. The first was a sinus infection so bad her face bruised on the outside, and we had to argue with the hospital staff to convince them she had not been beaten up and needed antibiotics. The second time was when we discovered she had a brain tumour; and that had its own bad ending … on the other hand, Kage got morphine for the pain, and was delighted to finally get some relief even if she was terminal. After all, why should be dying be any worse than absolutely necessary?

That was also when we discovered Kage was allergic to oxycodone. She thought it was hilarious that they had to take her off the most abused new prescription drug in America, only to put her on one of the oldest. She had me find poppies to put in her room, to celebrate.

I have been much more fortunate. I get migraines, yes, at least since menopause; but they rarely have much pain. What has been the worst spur has been cataracts – they got really fierce when the left eye began to go bad. These last 3 weeks, the same thing has begun to happen with the right eye – the cataract has evidently reached that stage in its malign little life when it races full-tilt to the edge of pain and blindness.  I can almost hear it chortling when my ears begin to ring and the black and silver thorns spread across my vision … it has a squeaky, pissy little voice.

However, this time I am forewarned and will not submit. I have promptly appealed to my ophthalmologist, and the second operation is scheduled for Monday, April 24th. Then it will just be a case of getting new spectacles – because both my eyes will be working better – and my old age will enjoy much better vision than even my youth!

Since I cannot seem to get in on this supposed opioid addiction deal, a diminution of headache pain will be grand.

I’ll miss a few days on the blog here and there, when the eyes go wonky – but that too shall pass! And I’ll be in a much better mood. In the meantime, I shall stagger on. Writing is coming more easily (between thorn attacks), and my vacation from social media is an extraordinary relief.

The season is waxing sweet. The Mama Hummingbird is serene and safe outside the kitchen window; she’s even gotten used to the daily sound of the coffee grinder. Little squirrels are chasing one another through the mulberry tree – some of them are becoming tolerant of us, and will wait just above our heads while we fill the feeder, chittering at us. There are flowers everywhere. All the hills are cloudy with blue and orange and yellow, where lupine and poppies and mustard are blooming. Easter is coming.

And, anyway, I don’t need both eyes to eat a chocolate bunny.



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Spring And Friday

Kage Baker loved Fridays.

She imprinted on weekends very early in life, long before Fridays and Mondays became the school-arbitrated doorwards for the Country of Weekends. Friday meant the next day was Saturday, and that meant morning cartoons! Kage in her youth was one of those little kids who rise with sun into a blur of activity – her mother told stories of her being found at dawn in the living room with a bowl of cereal, engrossed in Mighty Mouse or Popeye or Beany and Cecil. Sometimes she had whoever was the newest baby sibling in her lap, giving them their bottle.

Weekends were eternities of delight in private worlds. Even if the main glory was just NO SCHOOL, it still meant hours and hours to roam the hills, exploring ruins and hidden copses, finding wild crystal outcroppings,  and interesting fruit in neighbors’ gardens. By the time we were both teenagers, we would spend all weekends at these shank’s mare adventures, usually ending up at the Hollywood Bowl with a pizza in Kage’s purse (they fold, you know), waiting for her mother to come pick us up before it got dark and the monsters came out.

By the time we were grown women, we had discovered the Renaissance Faire. We ran away with the gypsies every weekend then, to live in another dimension. Time dilation made those glorious weekends last about a fortnight each. It was the closest Kage had ever found to time travel; she was convinced that her serious writing began under their influence, in that other universe, under those oak trees and those skies of multi-coloured banners.

Weekends were Where It Happened. They were the X on the map. They were where the Snows of Yesteryear got to, what was behind the Second Star To the Right, and most definitely Beyond the Fields We Know. Saturday morning cartoons came and went and mutated most peculiarly – at Faire, we were often living in the cartoons – but  weekends remained the enchanted Wood Outside Athens where Kage had always longed to go.

I felt much the same way. Not so much the cartoons; even as a toddler, the ability to sleep late was my Saturday morning delight. I handled the problem of not sleeping late at Faires by just not sleeping at all on the weekends – oh, the vigor of youth, where I could spend 2 days awake and dancing! The walls between the worlds get even thinner when you are stoned on fatigue poisons (at the least …) and making art with all your strength and the Fey Folk besides.

So, yeah. Weekends are still sacred space to me.

But if it’s not a Faire weekend – though I strongly suspect that it’s always Faire Time somewhere: like 5 PM and cocktail hour – there are still glories. This time of year, it’s particularly obvious: Spring is coming, and the world is stretching and waking all around me right now. With the absolute miracle of rain this winter, the xeriscaped front yard has been returned to a sea of plants, out of nowhere: rosemary and milkweed and crane’s bill and poppies, high as my knees and glowing green. Man, there’s oats out there! There’s gonna be a hell of a lot of work to be done this year, but in the meantime … the roses are blooming, and the mulberry tree is putting out catkins, and squirrels are falling out of the branches in an ecstasy of hysterical glee. The ravens are courting, which sounds like amorous thumb pianos in the trees, and outside the kitchen window a demure little hummingbird is hatching magic in a nest the size of an eggcup.

Kage used to say, Fridays are the Springtime of the week. Life has been waiting to kick off its shoes and dance barefoot on the hills, and flowers spring up in its foot-steps. Rain is coming, there’s a sweet mist flowing and rising over the river, and a mockingbird that doesn’t know there are no nightingales in California is losing his mind out in a perfumed camphor tree …

                                              Oh, don’t you see yon bonnie, bonnie road,

                                              Lying across the ferny brae?

                                             That is the road to fair Elfland,

                                             Where you and I this night must go



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So, It’s Not Exactly About Time

Kage Baker, when queried about her choice of subject matter, always replied that she had not intended to write about time travel. It just sort of happened.

What she intended to write was full-blown, fairly high fantasy: heroes. High Priests. Demons and acrobats. Blacksmith gods and fire goddesses, gardener-shamans whose feet did not press the grass they trod. Water babies. Her very first novel, which took 4 years and 1,000 pages and will never see the light of day lest she curse me from a cocktail bar in the Uttermost West, had all those. Well, it had, like, one from each category.

But when she sat down to deliberately write something she could sell, what happened was Mendoza and Company, he he he. Kage got side-tracked by all those fascinating stories in the actual real news, about Lazarus species and Lost Cities and OOP-arts*, and time travel was the natural result. The cyborgs are in there to give the Company a staff, and because Kage was  intrigued with artificial life.

It helped that she did not believe in linear time. Linear time, by Kage’s standards, was a social convention, an act of agreed-upon faith, and an artifact of having most of our sensory equipment on one side of our heads. Time’s arrow flies forward, she decided, because we do not have eyes in the backs of our skulls.

Sir Arthur Eddington came up with that phrase, the Arrow of Time, in 1927. He assigned it 3 primary attributes.:

1. It is recognized by consciousness. (Not by Kage Baker’s …)

2. It is  insisted on by our reason, which tells us a reversal of this arrow’s direction would produce nonsense. (See #1 and Kage Baker)

3. It makes no appearance in physical science except in the study of organization of  individuals, where the the arrow indicates the direction of entropy: ie, the increase of randomness.  (Kage Baker didn’t think individuals were ever inherently organized in the first place.)

She also believed that everything happened simultaneously. I told her Einstein did not agree, and quoted the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Kage pointed out that Einstein also didn’t think quantum mechanics was a viable explanation for sub-atomic activity; I observed that her ideas about quantum mechanics had all been derived from the novels of Sir Terry Pratchett …

At this point, she generally claimed that she had a preternatural personal certainty about Time and I couldn’t prove it wasn’t true. Which was, actually, inarguable; and besides, her ideas were paying the rent and buying me yarn. And as our personal time went on (or wherever the hell it was going), I found that it really didn’t bother me which way it was headed, and I relaxed about the whole thing. Until Kage’s own Time ran out and wore off, and I was stranded on the empty ledge of the Moebius strip she had constructed of Eternity.

Putting the sorrow to which flesh is heir aside, I have come more and more to subscribe to Kage’s version of Time. Any variation we think we see in its progress or direction is the result of personal point of view – literally. The same laws of physics apply to all of us, but what you perceive of them all depends on where you stand: which is one of the key tenets of dear old Einstein’s Relativity Theory, anyway …

A newish study of really accurate clocks – strontium clocks, which use the oscillation of changing energy states in strontium atoms as a “tick” – shows that this particular plank (pun intended) of the Relativity Theory is indeed accurate. The Laurentz variation is unviolated, time dilation works, and relativity is still, you know, relative. Check it out here:

This would please Kage. Not that she would understand it any more than I actually do, but she would comprehend the visceral truth of the situation – which is, her concept of Time was Right. Or at least, Not Wrong.. As long as she could summon enough bright light to dazzle the reader, her point of view was valid. For a storyteller, that was bottom-line Truth.

On purely practical levels, this was how she construed that her system of Time Travel did, at least, work on paper. Many a civic building project hasn’t had that much certainty going for it …  she liked to be sure  that her Universe had logical rules. In her own mind, at least. Just to be careful, though, she always declined to explain the process to the many, unnervingly intense correspondents who begged her to tell them How It All Worked. She said she didn’t want to be responsible for the results if her gut feeling turned out to work.

Kage liked a dose of spirituality in her physics.

And come to think of it, so did Einstein.



  • Out Of Period Artifacts. Things like gold chains inside lumps of bituminous coal, or wet-cell batteries in Baghdad.
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Rose Hedge

Kage Baker was intrinsically a maker and a builder.

She went through the not-uncommon taking-things-apart phase when she was little; what was unusual is that she also put them back together and they worked. Sometimes even when there were parts left over. She once kept an old brass alarm clock in a basket on her desk,  for nearly 20 years because the original re-build had left extra parts; she just kept trying it over and over in different configurations until it once more kept time. There were still parts left over, and it gained and lost minutes eccentrically, but it did work.

She built stone walls and terraces in the yard as a teenager; she landscaped gardens everywhere she ever lived. At Faires, she designed and made buildings, sets, stages, sacred wells, ready-made ruins. She made models and jewelry; she taught herself to make cording with a lucet, darn socks, enamel metal. She sculpted, carved, painted and illuminated manuscripts with the fervour of an Irish monk. Or maybe an Irish nun. An Irish nun on far too much Coca-Cola.

Kage’s hobbies and obsessions shaped a lot of our life. She invented an entire school of art for the Children of the Sun, and decorated several rooms with interesting friezes and brightly painted furniture. I still have Tarot cards in it, designs for stained glass windows and a couple of illustrated epic poems. She carved and painted a wooden door ward that hung on our front door(s) for 40 years, and scared off a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses with its polychromed weirdness. She put new batteries in her brass alarm clock a month before she died: it’s an old-fashioned-looking thing, Kage liked  it for the tick.  It’s still sitting on my desk, and still running on those batteries she put in 7 years ago … keeps time, too. I’m afraid to mess with it.

The bottom line in all these activities was that Kage designed and built the walls around her life. She envisioned an Embassy, back when we were in high school – and she built it, and it kept her safe so she could write and life as she wished. Being wise, she occasionally put in some new plumbing or got a new couch, but she never poked holes in the walls.

I lost all  my walls when she died. And for a long time, I haven’t really felt I needed new ones. I’m in a good place, a safe place, and I was coming along nicely. I put up a little lattice, some light withy for shade and privacy. Some lacy curtains, you know, to make nice shadows on the walls. But recently, venomous bugs and poison snakes are getting in. I find I can tolerate the raccoons clog-dancing on the roof, but the Rough Beasts* getting in through my magic windows have become too much.

However, aside from whining and whinging and carrying on, I have done nothing about it. Oh, I tried a few insecticides and anti-ophidian traps, but it’s all patent medicine, Dear Readers. What is required is closing the damned windows, and building a few walls. Kage would be out in the yard ruining the good mixing spoon in a pan full of Redicrete by now! She’d be having me haul rocks in from the empty lot next door, carefully selected for attractive inclusions and fossils …

So today, when I opened my morning email and discovered 127 emails, I counted how many were requests for money from political machines: 13% of them. How many were re-posts of really quite horrid political rants, raves and articles from Facebook? 22%. How many were re-posts of the same screaming man holding the bodies of his murdered twin toddlers in Syria? Only 3%, but that meant 4 (rounded up evenly) people or organizations thought  I needed to see those dead babies today.

Man, I have had enough.

As I do not actually desire to fall on my sword, I am taking steps. I’d have to borrow a sword from my nephew anyway (he has 5 or 6 – like all the men I know) and I don’t want to mess up his toys. So I have blocked a lot of the frenzied organizations that beg me for money and try to hold me hostage with news of their enemies; outrages. Apparently, half the Democratic Congress, most of the governors in the country, and the entire DNC will now collapse without my JUST! FIVE!DOLLAR! contributions, but you know what? They are all grown-ups, they can manage.

I have also discontinued my Facebook account; at least as far as FB and Zuckerberg will let one do that. I’m sure they will continue to send me whimpering little notes, but I will no longer get 127 stories of dead babies, homeless grandmothers and dying forests every morning. I’ll check the news from time to time, on my own time.

The idea is to break the despairing paralysis that prevents me from writing. Since I sat right down and did this entry, with considerable enthusiasm and a rising heart, I think it will work. I’ve had the minimal sense to shake the pebble out of my shoe, close the window, re-weave the aging wicker-work, and start planting defensive rose bushes all around me. So consider it a rose hedge, Dear Readers. It’ll smell nice. It’ll please the eye. And hopefully, it will stab any lurking hyena right in its rolling, bilious and blood-shot eye.

I’ll continue to write, and anyone who wants to see how – and if, and what – I am doing, is welcome to check it out at

I’ll be there.









*Yeats, The Second Coming.  Look it up, kids.


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