Friday, July 30, 2004


Lohengrin is the sublime expression of romantic idealism from the very middle of the 19th Century, a musicdrama of thrilling dimension and emotional truculence.  As I am wont to see everything as a species of psychognosis, the unconscious intellect, I see the opera as Wagner's inability to love himself. 

Elsa represents Wagner's hope and capacity for self-love.  Lohengrin represents his artistic calling, his desire to create a spiritually based, unified art-form which is new, but with its roots in the past (myth).  For Wagner, this artform must remain inchoate, unnamed and ambiguous, for to pin it down, to name it, would be to squander its power, its majesy and its effect on the subconscious.  The tragedy is, Elsa and Lohengrin are incompatible.

The swan knight also represents everything Wagner esteems--his own inner ideal, a sublimity of which he can only dream.  For Wagner, it is this curse, the constant striving for perfection, for this ideal which he can never achieve, which fuels his art.  He is a divided man, who sacrificed every human principle in answer to his higher calling, and in the service of revolutionary art.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Tonight  I get to see the dress rehearsal for Seattle Opera's Lohengrin.  Of all 13 of Wagner's operas, this is my favorite, probably because I was introduced to it in high school band.  We played a concert setting of Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral, and I fell in love with the music.  Later I received a recording of the complete opera and wore out the grooves of the records listening to it.  There is no more thrilling marriage of character and music in the ouvre of 19th Century opera.  

It's one thing to listen to a recording of the opera.  But to see Lohengrin performed however, is to get the complete experience, which is actually quite different.  Only in a stage performance does one receive the awareness of character with which Wagner imbued his drama.  It is frank, human, and simple--unornamented and unsentimental.  Wagner avoided sentimentality by concentrating on mythic relationships.  Ironically, the Wedding March has become the most sentimental of tunes in the years since.

With The Pianist, Roman Polanski also provides the most unflinching, unsentimental look at the Holocaust ever filmed.  He uses character to expose the horror, not cinematic artfulness ala Schindler's List, which, I think is a great film on its own, but the ending is so incredibly sentimental that it loses all impact.  One is almost forced to emotionally retreat from the onslaught of the manipulation. 

Wagner and Polanski--the men: both are great artists.  Both are the remainders in an equation of great suffering.  Both have hearts of darkness: Wagner the anti-semite, and Polanski, the sexual psychopath. 

Wagner's suffering was mostly of his own choice and of his own manufacture.  Polanski suffered the horrors of the holocaust at the hands of indecent men inspired in no small part by Wagner, then later, by a bloodletting so horrific it staggers the mind to contemplate.  I can excuse Wagner for a variety of reasons but mostly because his bigotry does not seem to creep into his artwork.  Likewise Polanski's personal moral catastrophe does not seem to inform most of his work, which remains the exposure of his suffering.  But can one excuse Polanski?  I confess I find it most difficult. 

Here's what he did:  Over a period of two days, while photographing a 13-year-old model, Polanski tried to build a rapport with her.  She was torn because she knew that he was a very famous director who had her career in his hands, and she was afraid of him.  On the second day of the shoot, Polanski maneuvered her nude into a Jacuzzi, using champagne as a prop, took pictures of her drinking, then gave her a half of a quaalude which she took.  When Polanski also got into the Jacuzzi (this was at Jack Nicholson's empty home, by the way) nude, the girl got out and went to find a towel.  She was nervous and scared and told Polanski that she had asthma and the temperature and smell of the water was irritating her condition.  Polanski proceeded to put her on a bed and rape her orally [she said he called it "cuddliness"], then presumably when he became aroused, he raped her vaginally.  When she told him that she didn't have birth control (in an attempt to get him to stop) he proceeded to rape her anally.  All of this is from the grand jury testimony from 1977 which is published on the Smoking Gun website.

No matter how brilliant and heartwrenching his films and how personally horrific his history, how do we reconcile this act?  Is it immoral to ignore it?  Is it moral to remember it?  Hollywood has clearly forgiven Polanski, but that cannot be trusted.  Like a huge, extended, dysfunctional family, it wants to deny that such things happen and excuse them as being lapses of judgment in anotherwise brilliant artist and tortured individual, for, aren't they all?  And dismiss the child as a gold-digging parasite intent on destroying said artist, for doesn't all of Hollywood have to deal with such? 

To the extent that his suffering over this event in his life creeps into his work, to the extent that Polanski personally casts himself as a martyr to American prudery and moralistic vindictiveness, is an odious rankness in his films.  Although The Pianist is largely about Polanski's childhood, the idea of Szpilman=Polanski and the Nazis=his treatment by America, creeps into the film like a dollop of rancid butter on an otherwise splendid baked potato.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Eventful weekend at the writer's retreat.  "Readers start from the beginning and work through to the end.  Writers start in the middle and fight their way out."  I learned a great deal about being trapped in a corner.  Writers conceive of characters who are trapped.  The drama of the novel, the theme of it, is in how they deal with their "box".  Either they deny, they adjust/adapt, or they fight their way free.  All three are interesting.  Does that mean that there are only three stories?  Probably.

I watched The Pianist the night before last and Angels and Insects last night.  Both were devastating films, although The Pianist is the greater.  I can't stop thinking about it.  It has gotten under my skin.  In most films about disaster, either natural or human, my mind is tricked into thinking "how would I react in that same situation?"  But in this film that is impossible.  The random series of events which resulted in Szpielman's survival is simply too nihilistic to apply to my own life.  Thus I am left with the realization that I would have died.  Which is not to say that I reflect on every film through the lens of self.  It is The Pianist's emotional detachment that allows one to identify with Szpielman.  In that way the film is like a novel, and Szpielman becomes an emotional surrogate for the observer.  But of all the holocaust films, this is one of the least sentimental and most mordant.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

On the Verge

Looking forward to the retreat, and my four-day weekend.  Had acupuncture treatment this morning.  The needle going into my left wrist was like a blow from a sledgehammer.  But my Chi is all runny and loose now, rather than impacted like dry snot, so that's good. 

May I state for the record that I really don't hate the Catholic Church.  I do, however, reject their hierarchy, which the Lutherans eschew in favor of a more personal relationship with the Diety.  There has to be room in God's world for conscience, free will, and interpretation based on personal experience.  Otherwise, why live at all?  It's like directing a play.  As a director I have a vision.  I explain the value, the basis of that vision to the actor, but the actor inhabits the reality of the situation, often expanding and creating something better than anything I could have foreseen, something precious and true, flawed but valuable.  That's the relationship between human beings and God.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to wish a happy birthday to my best of friends, Steve Will, and I look forward to his visit in September.  Click here to visit Steve's blog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Usually I'm in a state of pragmatic acceptance when it comes to institutions and belief systems I disagree with.  I'm wise enough to know that I cannot control them.  However, today's article by the Archbishop of Seattle published in the Seattle Times made me so bilious I flamed the diocese, proclaiming my joy and gratitude to God Almighty that He filled my ancestors with the holy spirit and directed them to follow the teachings of Martin Luther rather than their morally bankrupt and corrupt faith.  May I also state here, for the record, I thank Him for not leading me in the path of Joseph Smith, too.  Oh, and by the way I opined that the Pope was the anti-Christ.  Too much, perhaps.  But I gleefully gave them my name, address and e-mail.  I invite their response.  Even their prayers, unless that takes the form of sending Opus Dei after me to sourge my impenitent backside.  I opened my big, fat mouth.  It made me feel better.


A retreat in military terms means, to withdraw from the field of battle to minimize losses against a superior fighting force.  This weekend I'm going on a retreat, a writer's retreat.  Rather than withdrawing, we writers are gathering to force down the barriers of progress.  Once more into the breach dear friends, once more.  So I'll be spending the weekend at a rustic cabin on beautiful Lopez Island.  I am looking forward to the event.  And I hope to have fun.  I don't have enough fun these days.  Being with a group of like-minded people is fun.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Bad Dreams

King Lear in Ashland was not bad, but neither was it special.  Basically a workmanlike production with good acting, poor directing and passable design elements.  Watching it brought back many bad memories of grad school at the University of Iowa where I studied from 1982-85. 

Thus I should not be surprised by the nightmare I experienced afterwards.  In the nightmare I was to direct a play but I did not have a copy of the script.  Moreover, I was late for the first rehearsal because I had been to a doctor's appointment and the doctor had told me that I had terminal cancer and could expect to die within weeks. Should I continue with the project, or not?  My direct faculty supervisor was Bob Hedley, whose appearance in the dream no doubt represented intractable, perverse authority.  Hedley was the chairman of the department while I was a student at Iowa, my memories of him are not fond. 

When I arrived at the theatre to begin rehearsal, I found that another student had stepped in and was directing in my place.  The actors were busy putting together the blocking of the production, I still couldn't tell what it was supposed to be, although the set looked like equal parts Durer and Brueghel, a kind of medieval horror show, with a great gothic castle on top of a mountain, and the mountain slopes coming down to the floor of the stage. 

This is a typical anxiety nightmare--though I have rarely dreamed of being ill with a terminal disease like cancer.  Bob Hedley's appearances in my dreams have been rare.  Historically, he's more likely to have appeared in my daydreams, but even those have, mercifully, dwindled in the past few years.  Obviously, his presence symbolized an extreme perceived loss of personal control.  The disease also signified a loss of control.  In a strange way, however, this may be very good news.

Why?  Because my ego is the greatest barrier to my continued artistic success.  To the extent I can limit its haranguing, belitting presence in my psyche, the greater the chance that I can move out of this block and finish my novel.  If my ego is making an appearance to my subconscious, then it might be because it's afraid of being undermined and forgotten. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Too Much Yang

In the evenings I'm experiencing a great deal of heat that rises up through my face like a fever.  Last night, when I looked in the mirror, for example, it appeared as though I had a sunburn.  It lasts for about an hour then fades.  My acupuncturist says this is caused by too much Yang energy, male energy, the energy for getting things done, accomplished.  I need more Yin to balance out the Yang so that I can reclaim my creativity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Catholic Mutual Group

More info on the insurers of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The Catholic Mutual Group, is a non-profit insurance provider, to be distinguished from an insurance company, essentially, the self-insurance fund of the Catholic Church in the US.  It is incorporated in the state of Nebraska.  It is not a traditional insurance company and thus is able to provide coverage which goes far beyond traditional liability insurance coverage.  But do they have the moral, legal, ethical right to underwrite criminal acts?  According to their history, the CMG was founded in order to provide coverage for church property.  One wonders exactly when it was that CMG paid out on a claim for sexual misconduct for the first time.

Of course, the claims against the church are probably worded in order to make claims for "negligence" on the part of the heirarchy, regarding their habit of moving sexual offending priests from one parish to another, not for the criminal acts themselves.  But one question still needs to be answered--are CMG's losses underwritten by any other commerical insurance entities in the United States?


Last night I put together my new computer desk.  This is an attempt to clear some of the clutter out of my life.  My computer desk had been over burdened with manuals, diskettes, disks, blank media, games, papers, receipts, contracts, mail, empty jewel cases, pens, paper, paper clips, envelopes, well, you get the idea.  So now my computer desk includes: monitor, keyboard, speakers, mouse and scanner.  Very clean, very uncluttered.  The clutter is now in boxes in my living room. 

I'm getting ready to head south to Ashland, Oregon, to take in a production of King Lear.  Here's my thesis on Lear:  he's not mad, he's in a state of what Freud would call "hysteria."  He's not delusional, he's in denial.  "I am a man more sinned against than sinning,"  he says, and in that statement we see his self-pity, his refusal to take responsibility for his own acts.  By the middle of the play, however, his tune has changed, and thus we see Lear's transcendant evolution into a tragic hero:

"O, I have taken too little care of this...take physic pomp [meaning himself, the king, Lear's speaking in the royal third person] expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, that thou mayest shake the superflux to them, and show the heavens more just."

In context, this is spoken while Lear is at his most piteous extremity, completely alone (save for the Fool and Kent), lost, penniless, little more than a beggar himself.  Although Lear has a long way to go yet, this moment, in Act 3, scene iv, marks the beginning of his reemergence. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

They're Not Telling Us Everything

The archdiocese of Seattle, I mean.  (So, you ask, what else is new?)  Recently the Portland archdiocese made international news when they sought chapter 11 bankruptcy relief to deal with large jury verdicts against it in its priest sex abuse cases.  The rationale is to give fair compensation to all who have suffered, rather than make a few victims (and their lawyers) ultra rich.  This is a noble sentiment--and the only rational response to jury awards which are unsupportable, either morally, or finanacially.  Seattle's archdiocese, by contrast, does not have this problem because Washington State, unlike Oregon, has tort reform which limits jury awards to actual or genuine damages, and disallows punitive damages.  But, and here's the big "but" the Archbishop of Seattle has claimed that insurance has covered its damages. 

Since WHEN!!!???   I work in the insurance defense industry, and I'm here to tell you that criminal acts are excluded by every insurance policy I've ever seen.  For example, if you're a homeowner, and you physically assault or rape your houseguest, your homeowner's insurance will NOT underwrite your criminal acts.  To do so would be against public policy.  And while I'm glad that the victims in Seattle are receiving compensation for their suffering and abuse, I cannot understand how or why an insurance company should pay for it. 

Do you know who pays for insurance companies' losses?  Other insurance companies...the insurers of the insurers, as it were.  Thus, indirectly, we are ALL paying for these settlements in the form of higher premiums and an increasingly unstable insurance industry.  (Unless, of course, the archdiocese is self-insured, which I'm not sure about, but they didn't mention that, so I am only mentioning the possibility in passing for this blog entry, in case it happens to be true, I can limit the egg on my face.) :)  

My view is that the archdiocese should pay for their own mistakes and criminal behavior--not foist that responsibility off on the rest of us.

Electronic Votes

Here's a possible solution to the perceived problems with electronic voting: there has to be a paper trail.  Okay, so we build electronic voting machines with the capability of printing out a receipt.  The voter takes his or her receipt and puts that in the ballot box, to be recounted against the results of the electronic voting to ensure accuracy.  The receipt would have a bar code with all the voter's information encrypted, but not the votes themselves.  The voter would need to be able to read the results of his or her voting.  The printout goes in the ballot box.  Thus the computer becomes nothing more than a very elaborate pen--it serves the same purpose as a pencil in marking the ballot. 

Any votes that turned up on the system but were not supported by a physical paper ballot would be invalidated.  This system would conceiveably allay fears of manipulation by computer hackers, or those interested in perpetrating election fraud.

Monday, July 12, 2004

A Scene!

I actually wrote a scene this weekend!  Yaay!  I don't know if it's any good, but at least it's on paper.  Putting words on paper these days is a laborious, slogging process, each letter typed is a footstep in a bog of self-doubting heartsickness.  Ugh, ugh, ugh!  This is the time of the process which is the worst of the worst.  I remember going through this with my first novel too.  That sense of despair that I've built a house of cards and one more element will bring the whole structure crashing down into chaotic fragments.

Of course that's not true.  I wish I could turn on the words like I turn on the faucet.  But I have internal barriers to that.  Perfectionism, self doubt, laziness, procrastination; a kind of psychic state which keeps me in the illusion that solitude and repose will make me feel whole, and feeling whole is a prerequisite for creative labor.

I'm sort of lazy.  One part of my mind tells another part that if I just worry about it, then I'm really doing what needs to be done to get it accomplished.  It's a delusion, self-limiting and grafted to my creative system as surely as Doc Ock's mechanical arms were grafted to his spine.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Virgin Suicides

In the course of our lives, inexplicable events occur that mark us forever; yet nothing is so disturbing as the death of innocence, particularly by its own hand.  One of my classmates, S.K., took his own life when he was twelve in a manner quite similar to the prologue of Donna Tartt's The Little Friend.  The squandered potential, the loss to society of an individual who might have made a difference, who did make a difference with the manner in which he left the world, is a mystery that has haunted me for 34 years.  Not a whodunit mystery, but a mystery of human motive.  Why?  The question I continue to ask myself.  Why? 

More people of my acquaintence than I care to count have left this planet through their own devising.  I will never be among their number.  I have a picture of S.K., one of those wallet sized school portraits that he gave me the spring before the summer he died.  He wrote in my annual, "Remember me," like an echo of the Ghost of Hamlet's father.  And so I will.  I will endure until it is my natural time, so that I might witness, record, and testify.  That is my calling.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Writing ain't easy, even when you have a dictonary, a thesaurus and a very good spell checker.  I've got these characters, see, and each one of them have about 30 to 50,000 words written about them.  They're well developed, well endowed characters, if I may say without a trace of humor or cynicism, with no pun intended.  So, why is it so difficult to tell a story about them?  Huh?  This character-driven fiction is the stuff of anxiety attacks and writer's block.  I've developed these characters, gotten them to the point that they seem to be fairly three-dimensional, but now they're resisting telling any kind of story about them.  And a novel can't simply be a series of character studies.  There also has to be a story!

Okay, so I'm whining, but writing this novel has become hard.  Boo-hoo.  Boo-hoo-hoo.  Sniffle.  Sniffle.  Nose-fart.

Friday, July 9, 2004

Love & Marriage

The Federal Marriage Amendment.  "It hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of passing."  Or so I've heard.  I'm not so sure.  Read senator Orrin Hatch's article in The National Review

Yesterday I sent e-mails to my senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both of whom, I'm sure, will oppose it, but I thought I should voice my concerns anyway. 

I understand and sympathize with those who feel tyrannized by "activist judges" since those very same "activist judges" are responsible for our current president.  The constitution provides very clear guidance for situations where the election of a president is in doubt--the House of Representatives then elects the president.  The Supreme Court sidestepped this article in an alarming display of judicial tyranny. 

However, given the House as it was comprised in 2000, the same result would probably have occurred.

I'm ambivalent about the issue of gay marriage.  I'm not a militant proponant--it's nothing I would choose for myself.  However, I'm very worried about the FMA itself.  First, it federalizes marriage.  Now that should be something that worries traditional couples, too.  What implications can that have?  Second, it forever disenfranchises a class of American citizens.  That should worry civil-libertarians and everyone else who believes in debate and compromise as a way of resolving conflict in our country. 

But, what does the FMA hold for future generations?  We've seen how the Supreme Court can narrowly construe a right to privacy which is not even explicit in the Constitution--what will future courts make of the FMA?  Worst case scenario: It will be used to further disenfranchise gays and lesbians in our nation.  It will be used to invalidate gay adoptions, same sex contracts of all kinds (as we've seen happen in the state of Virginia), it will invalidate wills, agreements, medical directives, and the like. 

Most importantly for the future of our country it will create a state of "Constitutional Dissonance" (TM), where one article of the constitution opposes another.  If the FMA were a law (it is, it's called DOMA), it would clearly be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment which calls for equal protection under the law.  What happens when one amendment establishes an opposition of principle to another amendment?   My belief is that the end result is a morass that will permit judges more powers of interpretation than ever before.  You can take that to the bank!

Thursday, July 8, 2004


I rarely remember my dreams, but last night I had one that stuck with me.  In the dream I had a slice on my finger tip, it was painful, and I was in the upstairs bathroom of our former house at 704 West Broadway, trying to find a band-aid to put over the wound.  Try as I might, I couldn't find a band-aid that would fit.  When I would find one that seemed as though it would work, I'd unwrap it, and then peel off the backing to expose the sticky part.  But when I would try to wrap it around my finger the adhesive would grow longer, wider, and the wrapping would get askew, and the result was not the nice pressure you want from a band-aid, it was loose.  So I would have to start all over again.  There were some very peculiarly shaped band-aids in this dream, too, some with tiny little pads, like the pads on the bottom of a cassette tape and adhesive parts shaped like butterfly wings. 

Couldn't write last night so I watched several episodes from the first season of 24, which my co-worker Darla has loaned me.  I suppose when you see the show as it was originally aired, once a week rather than several episodes at a sitting, and interrupted with commercials, it might be a completely different experience.  However, although I think the incidents in the show are interesting, I don't have much of an emotional stake in the outcome.  I hope the best for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), but his daughter--just want to slap some sense into her.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Tried as Adults

"Tried as an adult" has entered the common parlance as a noteworthy phrase in the past ten years or so.  Usually it's used in cases where defendants are sixteen or seventeen years old--eighteen being an actual adult, rather than a proto-adult or pseudo-adult.  Yet, we've seen instances all over the country where children as young as 9 have had this phrase employed against them in their legal battles.  Currently, in Grant County, two children have had this phrase used in their court cases.

Both Jake Lee Eakin and Evan Drake Savoie were twelve when they were arrested for the slaying of their playmate, Craig Sorger, a developmentally disabled youngster who was found stabbed and bludgeoned to death in an Ephrata park.

"Tried as an adult" is a phrase missing some words.  "Tried as if they were adults" is the operative meaning.  As if.  As though.  What the prosecution is asking the court to do is imagine that these children are adults.  It's fanciful language that purports to convey society's outrage at crimes that are adult in nature, perpetrated by children.  "Pretend these children are adults," is the subtext being communicated to the jury.  Ignore the fact that these defendants are children and children, according to the Revised Code of Washington can be expected to do childish things. 

But children are not adults.  They don't understand the consequences of their actions.  Their brains are not fully grown.  They live in a childish world of immature perspective without adult dimension, and most importantly, they cannot participate effectively in their own defense. 

What happened to Craig Sorger was a brutal, heinous crime.  Inexcusable and unpardonable.  But the Court, by allowing boys to be tried as if they were men, has erred, and the Court of Appeals should have overturned that decision.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Running Mate

The Kerry campaign announced John Edwards today as its Vice Presidential running mate.  Although I was hoping for Bob Graham, because Florida was such a battle ground last time, my heart did a little leap for joy about Edwards.  Kerry is such a craggy old soul, and Edwards is so fresh and photogenic and has such a terrifically energetic presence and charismatic appeal, that I think it's a good choice.  Kerry needs someone to campaign for him, since everytime he actually does go out and speak, his poll numbers slip. 

So here's hoping that we elect a a president this November who can get out and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the inauguration instead of egged inside his limousine.

Monday, July 5, 2004


Yesterday as I finished the second narrative in Hearts in Atlantis, I was overcome with an emotional reaction I have not had to a book in a very long time.  This is some of SK's best writing, IMO, a heart-felt elegy for a time when young people saw through the twisted logic of their immoral leaders and resisted them.  Nothing illustrated this more perfectly than a group of squabbling college students banding together to defend one of their own from being scapegoated out of the Academy by representatives of the "establishment."  It was a peaen for loss of innocence, not only the innocence of youth, before suffering and drudgery makes adults of them, but also the innocence of the nation itself.

The book was published in 1999--well before our current conflicts.  But the book is extremely timely nonetheless.

Rather than going to watch the traditional fireworks display last night at either of the Seattle venues, Elliott Bay or Lake Union, I decided to take in Fahrenheit 9/11 downtown where it was showing every half hour. 

I was quite entertained, and I encourage everyone to see this film.  It destroys the notion that criticising the president and opposing the war does not support the troops.  Time and again Moore provides footage of combatants, and their families, the values that lead them to make the choices that have put them in harm's way, through the conduct of a President who has never been entirely truthful.

Moore's thesis isn't always entirely convincing, but the feelings and reactions his camera catches are completely honest.  It's a magnificent film.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Into Thin Air

Brando.  The lights have lowered on the greatest actor of his generation.  Let the Bard have the final word:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

My Precious

Netflix ( is the best way to avoid spending your hard-earned dough on DVDs you don't want in your permanent collection.  They have a great selection, even though it doesn't contain everything I want to see.  Last night I was watching the British version of Touching Evil, with the incomparable Robson Green as Creegan.  Who should turn up as the defense psychiatrist who has an unhealthy obsession with his client, other than Andy Serkis, aka Gollum? 

Hmmm, just imagine it, talk therapy with Gollum.  "How does that make it feel?"  "Our time is up, my precious."

Thursday, July 1, 2004

First Entry

It's a cool damp day in Seattle, my favorite place, my favorite town.  "The hippest town on the planet," so said an actor friend of mine during a 9-state tour several years ago.  During the '90s, maybe it was.  These days it's a fairly comfortable place to live, at least for a progressive like me, in a nation that seems disturbingly polarized by political partisanship.  Former President Bill Clinton was in town yesterday.  Over 1500 people stood in line to have their books signed at the Costco in Issaquah.  Some even waited in line over night.  I plan on getting My Life eventually, though I'm going to get it through my online audiobook club, Audible.  If you have a DSL connection and a CD burner, you really owe yourself the pleasure of checking out Currently, I'm listening to Hearts In Atlantis, by Stephen King.  It's a terrific book, combining a coming of age story ala To Kill a Mockingbird with the appearance of a mysterious stranger with strange abilities and strange deficits, ala The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  The first section of the book is lyric and beautiful.  I have not seen the film version, but it's in my queue on Netflicks.  The second part of the book takes the point of view of a college student addicted to game of Hearts.  Well can I identify, having been addicted to Dungeons & Dragons during my junior year of college.  Before you pass judgment though, I don't play anymore--except occasionally.  That's not to say I have anything against the game--but it is an enormous time drain which I can ill afford.  But I remember being completely obsessed back in 1980, to the point I dreamt about it.   Good book.