Coming to Juneau April 26, and Ketchikan on the 28th

Looking forward to another book trip, and particularly looking forward to reading in the public libraries of Juneau and Ketchikan.  I love it that the great independent bookstores in each town will be selling books after each reading.  It should be a wonderful time.  I hope to see all my friends who can make it out in Juneau on Saturday night and Ketchikan on Monday.  In Juneau contact 49 writers if you are interested in the workshops I'll be teaching.


Watershed occasion this week for Jan and me; Finn Straley landed his first permanent job that he both likes and he is suited for.  A full time job that he can survive on, this is a big deal for a parent, particularly for the parent of a young man who is artistically inclined in this day and age.  


I was way more emotional when I got his text saying "I got the job" than I was at his college graduation.  This means he really is capable of taking care of himself.  My faith is confirmed.  It took me back to that first moment I held him in my arms and that paniciy  ice water ran through my veins...."my God he is so small and helpless...I have no business being a father... when is a real adult going to come and take over?"   Jan was way more confident.  She always was.  Even when Finn decided he was going to be a stand up comedian.... My Lord.  But we could not scold him. We had always done exactly what we wanted to do.  We always only did what we were passionate about.  Me... a poet, private investigator, novelist?  Are you kidding, who was I to lecture about security.  Jan as well, she was always an independent researcher who chose the field work and soft money over the security of tenure and the degree track.  She chose to be with the animals rather than in the lab during her building years.  We did what we loved and so has he.   

But it feels good... he's got a job working with another comic doing creative work he is suited for and he still does three or for stand up shows a night, he puts in his time... doing what he loves, building his chops.  


My last blog entry I was pulling out of a low period and I was wondering what my writing stood for... and this week I have been thinking about it.  Mostly I think it can be deadly if you over think it... or more accurately if you force this type of concern into the creation of a kind of credo.  I think of the lesson Finn has taught me.  Last time he was home he told me what he  thinks about before he goes on stage,  "I've worried and I've practiced... but in the end I just remember to look them in the eye and tell the truth.  Louie C.K. wrote that."  

Yep.  That's about it.  Or at least that's enough for now,  "just look them in the eye and tell the truth."



       NO SMARTER THAN BEFORE              


Two weeks ago a young girl I know

was flown off the island

after a horse threw her to the ground 

and the doctors didn’t know

how badly her brain was injured.


 The foolish old man that I am

had a headache in one particular spot in

my head so painful and hot that it closed my eyes

against my will and I thought I would die.


When I was better

I felt I had learned something

and I tried to summarize what it was: 


“There is a red chair 

laying sideways  

in a rocky field

and the sorrel pony 

rattles an iron bit in her mouth

as the plane lifts off in the rain.”

                                John Straley, Sitka Alaska