Progress Report #96

The world is going crazy so fast that it’s impossible to keep up with all the developments. Every time I plan a post, it’s made obsolete by something new. Putin and the Ukraine, the Islamic State, Climate Change, Greece vs. Germany, Republican (as in GOP) insanity, fracking. It never ends. You have to arrive at a deep point of view to say something that can’t be washed away by our contemporary lunacy. Maybe if I could post every day…But I’ve been hard at work on my book, and I’m going to confine myself to that for the moment.  I do have an idea for something I want to say that can’t be washed away by the madness. And I do hope to get to it soon. As for Street Song

I recently finished Chapter Four. Finished. I’m making real progress now. I have found my approach and my voice. All I need to do now is to keep moving forward. I’ve just had to abandon the sequential order of the chapters for a little while, though. My agent wants me to work up some sample chapters from the latter half of the book so she can have something to shop around. I’ve already started that work. The first one I’m working on deals with my first days as a street singer in Berkeley, which was the point where I began to stake my life on making it as a musician. I had a firm rule: I was not going to make any money other than through my music. I would sink or swim with it. The other chapter will begin from a point some time after I sank, namely my first weeks on the streets of North Beach in San Francisco with no money, no home, and no job—not even any ID. Some of that material is in the book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. So after all these years, Street Song is finally moving forward in a real way. There will be no going back, no prolonging of the work. My aim is to get it finished.

I recently received a copy of the Japanese edition of Wild Parrots. I don’t understand a thing, but it’s nice to look at. I’m having some friends who can read Japanese look at it for me. The only thing I know right now is that the credentials of the translator are impeccable. I’m told that he’s the Japanese equivalent of a Harvard professor.

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6 Responses to “Progress Report #96”

  1. Lynn Duvall Says:

    Yes, you are correct about the supersonic speed-complexity of global insanity. Crude oil trains exploding into Apocalyptic fireballs, anybody? But, please note that Obama (and others) are addressing your point about what language to use when describing the groups who exist to promote fear and hatred as well as to torture and kill. Wish I had that kind of influence. Must mean somebody at the Capitol reads your blog.

    Excited esp. to read about playing on the streets of Berkeley, such a wild mix of humanity last time I was there … every time I’ve been there. The first time, in 1972, my mind was turned inside out while watching “Woodstock” in a small theater, full of pot smoke ! Your Japanese edition cover would make an unforgettable postage stamp or poster or both or something even more significant. It’s perfect, vividly beautiful, well-designed and has that deeper message. Put the thought out there and see if it’s intercepted.

    Someday would love to hear more about how you found your voice and approach. I’ve written one book and I had no idea what I was doing. Back then, 1994, the only help available was ONE book, called How to Write a Book, somewhat less than helpful. My editor, who always called amid birdsong from her open windows — including a couple of parrots I think — pulled me through.

    Well done. Carry on.

  2. TZ Says:

    The world has gone insane. I believe we are beyond hope. The only thing that keeps us hanging on is we want to READ YOUR BOOK! hee hee. Glad to hear you are progressing toward completion. I know it will be a great read! I do hope there will be more – There has to be more to tell, and we are waiting.

  3. Aurelle Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this good news! Your posts are like rays of clear sunlight shining through the murky atmosphere in which our days are passing in these times, precious and true, always. How good to see the way forward to completion!

  4. joe. Says:

    4th chapter done? Hoooorah! Dude,i tip my hat to ya,ain’t easy being a writer,as per the world’s madness,it occurred to me the other day that we in the west have become,in self-taught terms,lazy as heck! we sit around & wait for someone Else (insert authority here) to offer us a job,or make our neighbourhood safe,or provide soup! (care to know how many 20-somethings i know can’t make soup from bones,root vegetables & a little rice? pretty much almost all !) Nevermind looking for the remote to turn on the wood stove;) !
    You & i are lucky,in a sense,we’ve chosen time over the “natural environment” of a shopping centre or big box stores,time to notice the weather,the parrots,time to think & be;just out of curiosity: do you garden much? cook using wood? any favourite recipes? Joe 😉

    • markbittner Says:

      I don’t do much gardening, but coincidentally I was just on my way out to do some when I got this. I have no way of cooking with wood. It would be illegal here to boot. I love to make vegetables biryani. That’s my favorite right now. I do all the cooking here.

  5. Aaron M Says:

    The cacophony is unmistakable They are without a doubt inhabiting a tree to the north of the defunct fountain in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, along the Embarcadero. Directly across the Embarcadero from Starbucks at Pier 1.

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