— From CB—

I write through masks.  Always in the voices of dramatic characters.  Perhaps collectively they all form a me, and sometimes I might slip into a speech that sounds like that dread thing, “the author’s voice,” but even then it’s the author taking on a character.  I’ve tried writing poetry, but it only gropes for a center that eludes it.  It peels the onion to try to get to the core and winds up only with peel.

So committing to write in first person, as myself, with no story or fake nose to hide behind, is a peculiar task to undertake, even as now I’m also struggling to learn the art of prose fiction.  Still, at worst, I’ll fail at multiple things simultaneously so I’ll save all that time.

I’d very much like to write something to save the world, maybe make a bit of money doing it, but in the meantime I’ll just see what inspirational beasts come hunkering down the avenue.

— From EF—

Our three years at Stanford in the Sixties installed a subroutine in my soul, and during all the thirty-three years after that, no matter how sublime or god-awful our circumstances were, somewhere in the background the headline kept popping up, “When are we going back?”

And the shorthand for “back” was the ocean.  Our sanity refuge during the Stanford years was a trip to the beach at San Gregorio or Pescadero, carrying a bag of teriyaki-marinated chicken, a bottle of wine, a string of figs, and some charcoal.  After I knew we would be moving away, I wrote a song:

the last sweet drops of the tangerine sun
trickle down, and the surf is tangerine foam
San Gregorio sands are honey and gold
and the fog is waiting till we’ve gone on home
perfect day, there’s a hawk there playing
where the warm air climbs up the rocky cliff
he can stay there floating forever
like a daydream balanced on the point of “if”
if I had my way, that tangerine sun would stay
floating right there like the playful hawk
San Gregorio sands would always be warm
for an hour of love and a barefoot walk

. . . and then I cried.

Lo and behold, the wheel of our changes brought us to what has become our final anchor in Sebastopol, and since July of 1999, I have the ocean as a lover whenever I want her.

How lush these years have been here.  An expanding garden, blessing the seasonal plate and the colorful canning jars in the larder.  The magnificent bounty of fish year-round.  The array of grocery stores for meals of real food.

One of the seasonal events I have most anticipated has been the arrival of fresh corn on the cob, tender and milky, the ritual accompaniment to Friday dinners in the summer.  Until this year, when it occurred to me to ask my local greengrocer, half as a joke, whether the corn was GMO.  Yes, I knew that most industrial corn is GMO, but I never thought that would include the corn on my summer plate.  Surprise.  California sweet corn?!!!

Then next big shock.  The ocean.  Our beloved Mama, the soul-restorer.  Now there is Fukushima, and unwelcome questions are refusing to go away.  Our ocean picnic, twice a month, has always included slices of ahi tuna with the sushi, and we love to eat fish, but what is most available is Pacific-caught.

You know where I’m going, right?  Thirty-three years of yearning, the joyful landing in the perfect location, the blessed grace of being granted the best of all possible places for the closing decades of our lives.   Now comes the question: will it kill us?

Well, good grief, what could we do?  Move to another hemisphere?  We’re writers, performers: how could we continue to do what is essential to our creative souls?

What can we do?  And what information can we trust?  There are those who say the whole West Coast is doomed, and others who claim the radioactive substances will be so diluted that it’ll less dangerous than getting a suntan.  But we had a beautiful friend who had been blessed by Chernobyl, losing her breasts and some of her eyesight and finally her life, hollowed out by the procedure of “debulking.”  She got more than a suntan.

I don’t know what our path will be.  Having waited so long to get to this place, and being now in my seventies, I’ll probably want to hunker down right here.  Send out all the community-binding tendrils I can manage.  Stay informed, wriggling past the blackouts helpfully provided by our corporate media, and take it as it comes.  Say “thank you” for the beauty that surrounds us.

But recognizing a problem and not dealing with it is nuts, not to say irresponsible.  I can’t enter politics, my gag reflex is too acute.  I don’t have a pile of money for supporting causes.  My skills are all bundled in direct communication.  I’m primarily a performer.  On stage I’m a mini-Tesla-coil, but increasingly these days I am working with the nuts and bolts of writing.

So, here I am, collaborating in starting a blog.  I will do my best to provide links I think are trustworthy, but I think my Geis (go ahead, Google it) is to speak directly, as if to a best friend, about what is closest to my core.  Come ride with me.

* * *

Dearest Nuncle,

Today, the headlines skitter like cockroaches on Christmas leftovers.

Python Strangles Security Guard.
Teen Girls Brawl in Mall.
Man Bites Ex-wife’s Dog.

Cut and paste, combine subjects and objects at random, swat them dead and see them resurrect next day like those healed ones at Lourdes flinging away their crutches.  What if they fall face-first in the asphalt parking lot?

YouTube Shows Suicide Bombers in Heaven.
Myley Cyrus Born Again.
Younger Men Worse, Study Finds.

Humans are cheap, especially if manufactured in Mexico or Bangladesh, and mostly the cause of it all.


© 2014 Bishop & Fuller


Share This