Sunday, October 27, 2013


Re a discussion in a writer’s group around the notion that one must be suspicious of those who claim to be “writers” but read little of others’ works.

For me, a writer simply bears witness.

To say this, I draw from these experiences, (1) human rights work in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Palestine-Israel, Mexico, Cuba, and in Indian mission churches,  (2) a Ph.D. in philosophy, interpretation and culture.

To me, the notion of “writer” is culturally broad, from scribes who sit on narrow urban streets to write letters (stories) and fill out documents for others, to people who can’t read or write but can tell riveting informal anecdotes when stories are swapped among gathered people.

Do all of these “read others” literary works?

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Night scene from the third draft of my novel-in-progress "Uprooted" -- In the scene is Mike Hancock, a mental patient now on the streets as officials downsize a large psychiatric institution. Across the street is the storefront office of The Courier, a weekly newspaper:

Mike Hancock stood across the street from the Courier storefront, staring in the dark through its window at the small lamp illuminating a part of Todd Redding’s desk. His head felt clear. It was a hallucination, he thought to himself. The whole episode about 2C. I must have looked like a fool if anyone saw me. I wonder if I didn’t hallucinate that too. Where’s the line of separation? Am I here, too, on the street?
A police car neared him, the orange streetlights reflecting off its black and white body. A window rolled down.
“What’s up, friend?” the policeman asked.
“I’m having a smoke. It’s prohibited inside. The landlady.”
The policeman nodded. “Okay. Goodnight.”
Hancock stepped into the shadow of the old building’s hallway, cupped his cigarette in his palm so its glow wasn’t visible, and watched a bus stop on the corner. Joanne Chapworth and Leonard Lions stepped out.
“Hurry,” he heard Lions say. “It’s almost past curfew,” as they passed, hastening to the group home. Hancock smiled. I know them, he thought. We’re on the streets. That’s certain.
A short time later, a black pickup truck stopped in front of the luncheonette next door to the Courier, a man who appeared to Hancock to be taller than him stepped out, removed a ladder, placed it against the wall on the right side of the Courier window, attached something to the corner out of view of the security camera inside, replaced the ladder on the truck, backed up, made a U-turn, and drove off. The truck had a wood frame in the bed used to hold quarried bluestone shale.
Shit, that looks like a spy cam. Wireless, Hancock thought. I wonder where the connection is. I’ve got to write this down so I’ll remember to check tomorrow. He flicked his cigarette into the gutter.
As he crossed the roof to his tiny apartment, he looked at the window into 2C’s kitchen. The woman, what was her name, Mandy? Melinda? appeared to be looking out in silhouette, wearing a slip. I’m not falling for this, Hancock thought. He watched her turn to the table and pick up a smartphone. The cell phone in his pocket rang. It startled him. He put it to his ear and clicked answer, said nothing.
“Come on over, Mike. I’m alone.”
He hung up and entered his apartment, turned on the floor lamp and wrote his observations on a pad. The phone rang again. He looked out the window. She was still there. He put the phone on silent, disabled the apartment button that connects to the building’s front door lock, turned off the light and went to bed.
Limbo, Purgatory, he thought. A world of illusions that feels so real, full of pain. Plato’s cave. Shadows. Maya. Imagination gone haywire. The trace of the lost trace. Delusory. Where does the real begin and the illusion end? He lay back on the mattress dressed in his street clothes. Good night, he thought. Sleep itself has to be real. I’m exhausted.

(c) Wes Rehberg 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Third draft of novel "Uprooted," now at about 112,000 words -- opening of Chapter 7 of 77 short chapters (for now) -- 

Next morning, Stephens drove his truck to the village square, parked it near the Roosevelt Courier, opened the weekly newspaper’s door, strode past the piles of editions stacked on whatever available space would hold them, and stood in front of the worn oak desk where Todd Redding sat, flushed and surprised to see him.
“What’s up, old friend,” Redding asked, turning back to his computer.
“Nice try,” Stephens said.
“What are you talking about?”
“Rodney Sharpe. You tipped him off.”
Redding swiveled back to face Stephens directly.
“It was just a professional courtesy,” he said.
“Sharpe shoved me and threatened me,” Stephens replied. “You could extend a little of that courtesy to me as well.”
“You always have that,” Redding said, his composure regained.
“Here’s mine to you,” Stephens said. “I’m done stringing here.”
“Suit yourself,” Redding said. “By the way, here’s a little more courtesy. I asked Sarah Nelson at the aging office who Alicia Stewart contacted in her little campaign. She told me, so I’ve done a little preemptive work. You could have figured I wouldn’t print this. We don’t need this kind of crap spread around.”
“I thought you had a shred of integrity left,” Stephens said. “Preemptive? Does Alicia know?”
“She will now. You’ll tell her,” Redding said, turning back to his computer. “Have a nice day, Gil.”
Stephens shivered in anger as he left the office. Redding watched him walk to his truck through the window, sighed, and mused on the notion of integrity.
“It’s situational, isn’t it?” he asked himself. “Just like everything?”

"Uprooted" is a novel that journeys with its principal character, an aged and injured former journalist, who is uprooted from a semi-reclusive state into new investigations, altered associations and dangerous encounters among those close to him, in the U.S., Spain, The Netherlands, Mexico and Morocco…

Monday, October 07, 2013


These days I write, research, study other writers and film storytellers ... for me, characters lead the way through atmospheres, forms, tones, story lines, the ecology and economy of the written work … they confront me, elusively.
A Monday thought ...