November 27, 2015


Nearly two decades later, in March of 2015, I sat in a soundproof booth and recorded the audiobook for my first memoir, about the years when I drank and smoked too much. If the play had given me the ability to hide backstage, or behind an actress who was taller and prettier than me, performing the audiobook was the inverse: just me, unadorned, seated on a wooden stool with a microphone in front of me and a bottle of water at my side. The only audience I had in that tiny studio was a bearded engineer named Gary. I tried to pretend he wasn’t on the other side of the glass as I read aloud lines I had certainly written but never intended to perform. The opening scene of the book also takes place in a hotel room, strangely enough, although the episode is not a stylized fiction but an incident that took place in Paris when I was 31, where I came out of a blackout in the middle of having sex with a guy I couldn’t remember meeting. “Who are you, and why are we fucking?” is one of the early lines, and I tried to keep my voice calm and honeyed as I read it, even as I was dying inside. — Sarah Hepola at The Morining News
And yet in the back of her mind, a note in a small, ineradicable voice: herself saying, "Whoah, this shit is memiorable!"

November 22, 2015

Sundown Behind Santa Cruz, CA

West, September 2015

John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)

I suppose somewhere in the depths of today's paper there's a note mentioning that November 22 marks the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. It's been more than fifty years, though. The shockwaves have settled: the anniversary was front page news for decades, but no longer. Those of us who lived through those days are a shrinking minority, our residue of shock and dismay now just a whisper in the roar of current events.

Anyway, it snapped then. Kennedy's death killed the Fifties. The Sixties snapped, and bent toward a new destiny.

Goodby again you shiny man.

November 18, 2015

Au Revior I Guess

Battling to the End: Politics, War, and Apocalypse by Rene Girard, a fellow I just heard about in passing, is said to be his best last book in a long and remarkably distinguished career (qualifying him for election to the self-consciously famous French Académie française of France at that), a book that achieved some level of notoriety there when it was issued in that land's language in 2007 as Achever Clausewitz.

Just from the article's blurbed mention of that book and another earlier one with perhaps even greater notoriety in France called Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde(1978), which would become Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World when published in English in 1987, makes me think I should know about this guy already, who, after all, lived a thirty minute drive from here and thrived on a good French-style argument, which, like many of their cheeses and a few of their wines, are about as good as you're ever going to need, argument about the kind of stuff I'm always at least tangentially interested in, and never once got wind of him while he lived. Sad the best I can do now is feed, zombie-like, on the remains of the brain of Girard.

Toward the End of October

Morning East of Santa Cruz, CA, October  2015

November 10, 2015

Allen Toussaint (January 14, 1938-November 10, 2015)

Alan Toussaint, as central to the music coming out of New Orleans as Willie Dixon was to the music coming out of Chicago in his time, has died. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform a couple of times at Kuumbwa, the jazz club in Santa Cruz. He was a remarkable talent.