Archive for October, 2009

Back from Winnipeg

October 27, 2009

I just got back from the Gimme Some Truth documentary film festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I’m still coffee-free. Judy and I were invited to present the “Wild Parrot” film and do Q & A after—once again. It’s remarkable and pleasing to see how lasting the film has been. We enjoyed our stay in Winnipeg. The downtown area is unique and has a peculiar beauty. All the Canadians wanted to know what the hell is wrong with us Americans that we have such fear of government health care. Contrary to what the conservatives here say, the Canadians are quite happy with it.

I’ve found that my energy is much better without coffee than it was with coffee. All I’d been getting out of coffee was maintenance—keeping the monkey off my back. I have no craving for it and I feel better throughout the day. I don’t think quitting will slow my work down at all. I feel that I’ll be able to sustain longer writing sessions. No crashes.

Progress Report #21

October 20, 2009

I wrote The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill on three double espressos a day. I’ve been working at Street Song on two double espressos a day. For reasons that I won’t go into right now, I decided to purge the caffeine out of my system. For the last two weeks, I’ve been having some foggy days—been in a foggy daze. It’s been difficult to work on the book and impossible to work on this blog. I’m pretty clear now, though, and I find that I have much better energy without all that caffeine in my veins. In two days, I’m leaving for Winnipeg to attend a film festival where they’re going to show the parrot movie. I’ll be back early next week, and then I’ll start posting again.

Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

October 9, 2009

I was surprised and somewhat amused to see the news this morning. While I understood the impulse to give it to him, I didn’t see him as truly deserving it. Now I’m rethinking. Who has been, in fact, the greatest threat to world peace in recent years? The American neocons. They had both a demented world view and the military power to try to implement it. It was Obama who took them on and derailed them. And of course the Republican Right is enraged over the awarding of the prize. They know why he was awarded it. The inference is that they are a dangerous lot, enemies of peace—which they are.

Progress Report #20: Theory and Practice

October 7, 2009

Each time I’ve done work on the “final” outline for the book—I’ve done this several times now—I’ve chopped the story line into blocks that I think make sense. But I always find that when I get into the actual writing, things change.

The chapter I’m working on now, what I’ve been calling Chapter Ten, or “Warm Love,” ended up at 104 pages (double-spaced). That was after the first pass at this, the second draft. Usually, as I make my second pass at a chapter draft, I’m able to shorten it by cutting out both stuff that I know won’t go into the final draft and the redundancies that invariably sneak into the manuscript. Furthermore, I always see myself cutting even more material on the final draft as I discover what’s vital and what’s not. This time, it’s been different. As I’ve made my second pass, the chapter has been growing. When it reached a 110 pages, I knew it wanted to be two chapters. I saw that  there was a natural place to make the division. So now I already have Chapter Eleven (working title “Conquered in a Car Seat”). But I’m still working on my second pass at “Warm Love.”

I’ve begun to enter the heart of the book, and all my old outlines are suffering for it. That’s the way it goes.

CBS Radio News

October 1, 2009

I’ve been in the habit of listening to the local all-news radio station, KCBS, at the top of the hour, once or twice a day. I’ve been doing it just to hear the basic headlines. You never get any depth from that kind of program, and I’ve never expected any. But in recent years, I’ve been noticing an increasing right-wing slant—sometimes subtle, sometimes not—to even this small corner of the media news. It’s been bugging me, and today I reached the point where I’m no longer willing to endure it.

This morning, the newsreader announced that the American government was having its first one-on-one contacts in around thirty years with the Iranian government regarding its nuclear program. That would have been enough for me. But he then went on to play a brief comment from Elliot Abrams, one of the most arrogant neocons in the United States today. I doubt that many Americans remember who he is, but Abrams worked for both the Reagan and the George W. Bush administrations, and while he was in the Reagan administration he was criminally involved in the Iran-Contra affair. He has a vehemently pro-Israel position that he pushes constantly, and that’s relevant, of course, to the issue at hand. I was appalled that he was introduced as merely a fellow from some blandly named think tank giving his professional analysis of the situation. Abrams deemed the talks a complete waste of time, and there was no one from any other side to balance his statement. It’s not healthy to allow propaganda to have access to one’s mind. So, just as I refuse to set foot inside any business that has FOX News on in the background, I won’t be listening to the CBS Radio News anymore.