Friday, November 30, 2012


“Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it.”
"Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself."
-- Henry Miller

"Souls ain't born, souls don't die
Soul ain't made of earth, ain't made of water, ain't made of sky
So, ride the flaming circle, wind the golden reel
And roll on, brother, in the wheel inside the wheel"
-- Mary Gauthier, song "The Wheel Inside the Wheel"

Thursday, November 29, 2012


RELIGION AND QUASARS -- An estimated 200,000 of these inconceivably enormous cosmic phenomena are present in space-time -- Meanwhile, humans on a minuscule planet argue, fight, kill, persecute and dominate others from religious perspectives, with themselves, to be sure, at the center of the mystery of creation. And of course, there's a book that tells them they're right. Really absurd.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


   I think, for all the experience, I'm always looking for the story. Like the journalist I was, and still am, really. Even with fiction. Whether it's another's work or one I pursue and create. 
   There's a moral side to it, as well, that precludes the pseudo-objectivism that some mainstream news media allege they represent. The point of view, the "gaze," is either implicit or explicit. 
   My advanced age doesn't change the desire to pursue the story and a way to tell it either. 

Friday, November 23, 2012


This time, this night I witness: I feel the plosives and vowels and throaty "h" of a genetic history I imagine to be authentic. Sing-songing while strolling, I let the sounds be undrawn into a modulation and pronunciation that is fluid.
My ear suggests it resembles a Hebrew or Palestinian voice. I'm lured into a sense that it is both mythic and mystic. A historical call that may be Eastern European or out of the Caucasus or Byzantium, nomadic along the Southeastern Mediterranean rim, perhaps crossing from Babylon into a ravaged Jerusalem. A call that speaks of a journey, maybe inaugurated before the birth of the planet, the universe, finding its voice among nomadic wanderings through the eons until that voice found ways to form words.
My modulated plosive vowelish throaty "h" sing-song sounds I might wish to claim as pre-words or proto-words that would eventually connect with meaning. I can't presume any of this, though.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Vietnam, Palestine: Gil Stephens reflects, in a draft of a scene in "Displaced" ...

“Alicia, look at what Penelope’s companion wrote on Facebook,” Stephens called as night darkened their cabin. “Don, about Vietnam. His time there. He shared the post of a friend in Tennessee. Says it offers what he’d like to say.”
Lys sat next to Stephens on their couch. He was reading from his digital tablet. He handed it to her. The post, she saw, was written by a carpenter friend and a Vietnam war veteran with PTSD, like Don Richter:
“To be honest folks, none of the people I killed in Vietnam had a damn thing to do with our ‘freedoms.’ In fact very little to none of the killing done since dispatching Hitler have had anything to do with American or anyone else’s freedoms. 
“The killing, the trauma of the troops and victims have overwhelmingly been done in the name of empire and cheap resources and cheaper puppets installed for their useful lives … Saddam, Taliban, Marcos, etc.
“Serving has little to do with national honor, but everything to do with the personal honor of watching one another's back when sent to be pawns for the empire and doing the best you can do in untenable situations. If you want to honor the service of us pawns of the empire, demand Veterans care and rights for screwing up a lifetime for the empire …”
Lys looked at Stephens. “I’m stunned.”
“The unspoken, from Don, spoken in a public forum by his friend,” Stephens said. He moved his finger across the tablet’s screen to the “like” button and depressed it. “Powerful, Don,” he wrote in the comment window. 
All this now, Stephens thought, my story about Tina in Nicaragua, Don's post of a Vietnam vet’s compelling Facebook post about his own killings, the ongoing onslaughts worldwide - I'm so drawn to those times in my past when I was engaged with fervor and strong commitment, either by being present at the scene as a social-justice advocate or as part of the collective voice who helped communicate the injustices. 
But what? Though other human-rights efforts were more substantial and in-depth, the one that sticks out the most, that hits my soul and heart the most, involves the trips to Palestine about a decade ago. 
Why? I can't say why, it's there. Every inch and moment of it. Never entered Gaza, only the West Bank, not to say that the brutality doesn't play out in the West Bank from what I saw, know to be true, as I continue to follow what's going on. I've got to explore this more, I can't shunt it aside.
He turned in his tablet to a photo he took of school children in Beit Jala, in the Bethlehem District of the West Bank. “God, they’re grown up now.”

                                                             Photo © 2001 Wes Rehberg ...

Thursday, November 15, 2012


ALICIA'S 'SIGHTINGS & DISCOVERIES' IN "DISPLACED" (novel in progress - draft scene) ...

Alicia Lys looked at her keyboard, listening to Stephens typing across from her at their cabin’s dining bar. Maybe a blog, she thought, mine, my thoughts about the hopes and aspirations and needs of others. Is that too overarching, too presumptuous? I want to go back to doing small-scale social-justice work, local, but remain informed of the broader issues, in touch with the global. And I want to talk about it. A blog. What can I call it?
She looked out the window into the field. A blue jay swooped past. In the distance she could see a grazing doe, nuzzling the ground, the underbrush. In the sky, clearing to a vibrant blue, a contrail formed from a high-flying jet plane. “I wonder how ‘Sightings & Discoveries’ plays?” she asked herself.
“What?” Stephens asked.
“Talking to myself,” Lys said. Stephens nodded.
Oh, I know there’s a glut of blogs, Lys thought. Gil has one he occasionally posts in, so few viewers, so little attention, and that most likely will be true of mine. But is it futile?
Lys typed these thoughts as a note to launch her blog. She continued.
He thinks it’s his age, too, that age limits the reception. I’m now 58, he’s 73. Is there an audience for our concerns? It matters, to me, to him. And since I’ve rediscovered writing, I’m inspired, knowing how almost impossible it is to gain “traction,” as Gil calls it. To find and develop my own voice.
I know, too, that I want to start a small enterprise, maybe with Jack Hoffman and the church he’ll inherit. It’s not far from here. I’d like to bring meals to the homebound again who don’t get enough to eat, whose nutritional needs aren’t met. This is what brought us together, Gil and me, though little did we understand it at the time and through all the confusion that ensued afterward, the mix of relationships, the separations and rearrangements of lifestyles, of sexual identities and preferences, of the work we’ve undertaken, the risks, the threats, the attacks.
That time in Spain, when we found ourselves together in Madrid, when I confronted him with the reality we had both been experiencing, the reality of each other as partners. But I digress.
The meals effort, those who received them, their struggles, their living conditions. I’ll detail a couple we wrote about.
* An aged woman who was left to live in a shed, from Pennsylvania, whose son set up the dwelling before he went into prison, arranged with a rural roughneck who quarried for bluestone shale. This son a twin whose brother also was in prison as a result of a tavern brawl in which the brother killed their father by hitting him on the head with a bar stool. The first brother refused to testify against the second brother, skipped a court hearing, and was imprisoned awhile for contempt of court. I imagine the second brother is still behind bars. I brought the woman food and helped expose her plight. The result: She was granted comfortable lodging in a senior-citizens home.
* Another aged woman who lived in a decrepit camper, who couldn’t see well, thoughts mixed up at times, heating the camper with her propane stove, stuffed toilet that Gil unplugged so she wouldn’t have to walk into woods behind her place to relieve herself, the stepmother of a man who was on the Village of Roosevelt planning board, almost completely disenfranchised. We exposed her conditions and those of others like hers in a series of articles in the weekly Roosevelt Courier when it was operated by Todd Redding, reluctant journalist, now retired. “The Hidden Elderly.” Not so hidden, but there are more.
Maybe I can persuade Prudence to be part of this. She’s been so quiet and subdued since Willard’s accident and death. Still manages the goat dairy and chickens’ egg production as well as keeps her commitment to counseling at the juvenile detention center.
My sociology and social practices background plays into all this. I feel I need to make some money, too, several of us are jobless in a way, Cecilia and Marcia both out of work and heading to New Jersey to help in the superstorm relief, Gil on Social Security and his small pensions from journalism and church work. Prudence, too, though she has some money from Willard’s life insurance.. Penelope’s husband is a carpenter, has a steady income even though he freelances, he’s an exception. Helen Rice works at SUNY-Oquaga, as will Sandra, with Gasson as an adjunct, while Helen’s partner Anna pots. Exceptions, then, too. This odd extended family, maybe I can call it that. But I need to find some work. Maybe in a community college setting.
“Now can I post this?” Lys asked aloud.
“You want me to proof it,” Stephens smiled.
“Thanks, Gil. But I think I’ll post it raw.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Digging deeper into mobile app development, learning how to compile app source codes into apps via Xcode (Apple) and Eclipse (Android) -- but not how to write the source codes themselves (yet). 
Backing in, in other words ... Via Buzztouch U tutorials ... this will take a few days for sure ...

Saturday, November 10, 2012



 I understand the difficulties, the obstacles, there's such a deluge now with the opportunity for self-publishing. On the other hand, I know the writings have an impact enough to be published in literary magazines. And those who have read what I've written have expressed that they like what they've experienced. Very favorable responses have also come from those who've heard me read publicly. 

 Still I grieve. Blog entries. Social media entries. Public readings. Video readings. Synopses. Advertisements. It's so hard to find traction.

 My protagonists, the characters I shape and fashion with respect for what they represent and undergo - they are older but have so many dimensions, so many perspectives, undergo the struggles and experiences that are unique to them, incidents drawn from the broad range of experience I've had, from social justice activism, to betrayals, to my own failings, joys, humor, clowning, frowning, agonies, injuries, afflictions, spiritual soarings, insights, befuddlement, ignorance, challenges, fears, tears, accidents, illnesses, leaps of hope and ecstasy, and it goes on.

 So I write and publish and post here. I don't know what you think, nor do I know what to think about how it all works, how something catches on and reaches an appreciative audience, how it suddenly clicks.

 Funny, though, as I write this, the words come, seem to represent what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm not sure I want to publish this, to put this up in this blog -- "blog," what it's called, an odd term to my ears.

 But it can't be otherwise, even in the face of the possibility that it all remains in obscurity. I love to read and I love to write. And my sensibility sees a value in what's written. So why stop, I ask? It's an adventure of the mind, even if grief comes along with it.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


In this video I read the short story "The Fog," from "Opening the Gate," a collection of five short stories and five poems, some which include fictionalized biographical elements and as well draw from my experience as a print journalist and social justice activist. Titles of the short stories are "The Enduring," "The Fog," "Scooter," "Tina's Nicaragua Story," and "Jail Birds." Two poems and a short story have appeared in literary magazines. -- 16 minutes --

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Reading an excerpt from "TURNED LOOSE"--


TURNED LOOSE is a stand-alone sequel to "Stringer" in which the aged characters are appalled by the impact of a psychiatric center's downsizing that leaves mental patients on the streets without care. In their news investigation they face eruptions from the past, violent threats, and peel layers away of their own relationships, illusions, sexuality, and their understandings of reality.
These understandings are deepened as characters travel to Morocco, Spain, the Netherlands and hostile Chiapas in southern Mexico, trips that transform directions of their lives.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I read a passage from my novel TILT - six minutes -- In TILT, in one major plot theme, the characters fend of their unwanted roles in a macabre reality play directed by a felon seeking hateful revenge while behind bars. In the midst of his drama, the characters encounter deadly violence, transform and deepen relationships, and develop their own creative relationship. The story brings the characters through upstate New York and Tennessee in the USA; to Amsterdam,The Netherlands; to Madrid and Granada in Spain; and to Tangier, Morocco -- 
Web page for TILT is -- available in paperback and ebook editions.