In prep for a chat on “Write Now! The Art & Action of Letter Writing w/ DJ Snail Mail” on Free Radio Santa Cruz’s about my Letters from Russia project, i jotted down some a bit of backstory which i’m posting here lest i misplace and to share with others with interest. So, … here ya go :
I started writing LfR while at an Evergreen College week long course “Poets and Philosophers Discuss Love and War” at Lake Crescent, WA. I had prepared with much reading about the historical context so i could make the story accurate. I then charted out the philosophical topics to address during Herni’s political transformation and personal journey.
I wrote each letter separately, handwritten on different papers and different writing instruments and only taking a piece or two to keep the letters brief and intense. Each letter was written while out on a walk/hike (so i could be in character a bit i suppose) and i didn’t edit from the original letters at all.
I lived overseas (Japan, Micronesia) quite a bit pre-Internet so am an enthusiast of printed letters and papercraft (I collect paper ephemera from trips).
I’d very much like to find someone with some deeper historical knowledge to give a read to see if there are glaring historical
inaccuracies – though i am sure on the dates and locations – before distributing the piece more broadly.
Rob (day job = Social Signal) Cottingham brews up some witty and well executed cartoon about web culture, the biz grind, work life, geekiness, corporate shillery etc. Somewhere between Dilbert, Farside and Family Circus ;-) and less self-referential to the “web 2.0 community” as Blaugh.
Last Word Books – and their stablemate Rec the Place Fantastic Records – are worker owned collectives specializing in hard to find media of all sorts and providing a comfortable and welcoming space for the free exchange of ideas and they are a Zhonka Surfbreak location – kicking down the free wi-fi for the people! What’s more, they tend the Uncle Weed collection of cannabis related books and magazines for professional use only). Here’s a map to Last Word Books in downtown Olympia. To get to Olympia better, be sure to examine the Oly Poster Project & listen to the Clubside Breakfast Time podcast
LWB is a frequent stop for me whenst sojourned in Wa’s capitol city – where everyone brings a half dozen friends to college with them and stay on to starta rock band or non-profit group (well not all, some start worker’s owned collectives).
Here’s what Evergreen had to say about LWB:
Last Word Books emerged from the storefronts of downtown Oly on May 2002, opened by four ambitious then-sophomore Evergreen students. Six Greeners and alumni now run this cooperative. All but 2 percent of the books are used; even the new ones make use of recycled material. The inspiration for this used-book store came from co-owner Sky Cosby, whose father owns Walla Walla’s Earth Light.
For the day-job (shilling ecommerce software) I am heading to NYC (paraphrasing Stevie Wonder monologue from “Livin’ for the City” – “New York City, just like i imagined it, … skyscrapers and everythang”) for the world’s biggest book industry trade show. As a book enthusiast and a perennially aspiring writer, i am a wee bit excited despite the myriad tasks to accomplish to make the trip useful for my work.
Every dang publisher large, small, micro, foreign, local, topical whatever will be there it seems and i kinda wish i was going there with a manuscript to hustle rather than as a working stiff but perhaps the observance the goings-on will remove some of the mystery shroud i keep holding up around the unholy alliance of commerce and art.
Just poking around the list of exhibitors and attendees, there a million little presses publishing literary works which i have never heard of – and they seem to be helping their writers to succeed. Is this possible or i am mental? Both are likely but regardless, I will plan to outreach and educate myself and perhaps pursue publishing my massive collection of this and thats once i know a little more how the game works – shoot i don’t even know how to get an ISBN because i don’t care, i just wanna write, but to do that i need to time and space resultant (crassly enough) from ugh … money.
Good news is, I sold three essay articles last year at (who hoo @ .20 cents a word) 2 were lead stories plus scoured up some mainsream media coverage about my podcast projects. And managed to get back rolling with writing freeverse which i lost my voice for a bit while writing expository works, case studies, business docs, press releases etc.
Next up, giving Letters from Russia (.pdf) an edit in preperation to pass around to get some distribution to the peace loving peeps of the world and then get back to work on my longer pieces which i draft, start, outline, think about, fiddle with, scribble on but never really bear down cause (admission following) i am always waiting for a 6 month sojourn in a quiet cabin with beverages, hot springs and bird signing – which may not happen for some time.
You may know that I love my books and my bookshelf and use the both the arrangement and the contents as a motivational starting point. Shelfari allows group and community interaction based on the books you put upon your virtual shelf. The usability is very nice and brisk. I signed up a while back but did not do anything with it but now invite you to stop by and visit Gravelly Beach on Shelfari if’ ya wanna interact on books and such.
In case you aren’t checking out the Postcards from Gravelly Beach spoken word literature podcasts i brew up (they ain’t for everybody i suppose), you may want to check out a wee series i am (finally) editing from last Remembrance Day (Nov. 2006).
Come on along as i start with a bowl of oatmeal and trek downtown to (ostensibly) congregate in some ceremony and end up hanging out reading the goods in Victory Park, at New Amsterdam cafe plus Gastown alleys and finally back on North Shore porch. Topics include white poppies, peace, non-peace, aggressions, human rights and human potential, art and culture, the conditions of the Downtown Eastside and life of a resistance fighter.
Not quite the regular Postcards from Gravelly Beach style but whatever, … check out the fist two episodes which sorta set the stage for the next half dozen episodes.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – It was a quarter-century in the making but then again, nothing is easy for cartoon heroes such as Tintin.
Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, a division of Viacom Inc. (VIAB), has committed to produce at least one movie about the adventures of the intrepid Belgian reporter, said Nick Rodwell, head of Moulinsart NV, Tintin’s commercial studio, on Thursday.
“After 25 years, they finally said, ‘OK, let’s go,'” Rodwell said of the protracted talks with Spielberg. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rodwell said the Hollywood company will go into preproduction for a movie, which should appear in theaters in about two years.
“It’s been a project on our future development plate here for quite a number of years, always with the idea it was something we would like to make,” DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy said Thursday.
A visitor looks at original letters and an enlarged cartoon of Tintin and his dog Snowy by Belgian cartoonist Herge at Paris’ Pompidou Cultural Center,on Dec. 19, 2006 in Paris. The center is hosting an exhibition to mark the centenary of the birth of Tintin’s creator, Belgian cartoonist Herge, whose real name was Georges Remi. Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks company has committed to produce at least one movie on Tintin, the head of the Tintin studio in Brussels, Belgium, announced Thursday, March 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Vancouver Review is a tasty and high-quality, hyper-local literary journal which i read cover to cover (well the 2 issues i got my hands on anyhow) while sailing aboard the Seabus. I’ve scored the two copies from my fave espresso lounge (Cafe Milano AKA Turk’s West) and am going to scratch out a few ducats for a subscription.
The current issue (pictured below) include discourse on bio-regionalism’s evolution into a cultural and economic meme, a review of two western decades apart, a post-modern telling of an ancient-feeling story and banter on Canadian politeness and the lack of employment in literary characters.
Plenty of local references and Douglas Coupland drippings abound in the oversized glossy which folds nicely into my lunchbox.
Mail a cheque (in Canadian funds) made out to Vancouver Review to the address below, together with your name, mailing address and, for our records, your email address and phone number. (International subscriptions $28; institutional subscriptions $32. All prices in Canadian dollars.)
My amigo Bob has completed his book “God Refined: A Proposal for Peace” and is in process of spreading the word to the public at large. Being a strict indifferentialist, i abhore religion-induced dogma – fortunately Bob approaches his philosophy with a rejection of guilt, dogma and any cosmic speculation which seeks to bring some people down.
Local author relates God, science, and personal responsibility to global peace.
EUGENE, OR – JANUARY 9, 2007 – With God Refined: A Proposal for Peace, Robert Kezer answers what may be our most important question: Can the average person make a difference in the world, or are we destined to a future beyond our control – one of increasing war, environmental destruction, and disparity between the rich and poor?
Today, many people feel religious strife is tearing us apart. Ancient scriptures contradict logic, history, and science: fanatics rule while reason, character, and education falter. Wisdom, the combination of knowledge and experience, is often overshadowed by dogma, church imposed doctrine considered beyond human debate. Yet, rather than our spirituality destroying us, Kezer says it is what has stopped the carnage from getting worse: this, he offers, is a clue for ending the violence consuming our planet.
In God Refined, we are challenged to accept global change as personal responsibility. Kezer shows how beliefs in hell, karmic justice, and the wrath of God are fear-based ideas retarding humanity’s progress – concepts no longer reasonable for most educated people. Drawing on the Urantia Revelation, he teaches the unified nature of creation, that our relationship with God is personal, and that all religions are considered equal under the umbrella of a single sovereign Creator.
On a planet becoming ever more violent, Kezer offers the tools we need to survive. His approach is simple, direct, and compelling: abolishing war is our responsibility, not that of our leaders. Believing that crisis creates opportunity, he visualizes a new era of global community – one where women enjoy full partnership with men in all decision-making, from the family level to the world stage. Relating humanity’s evolution to individual personal growth, we are presented with a path to a higher order of existence, one from which peace can have its first true chance.
God Refined: A Proposal for Peace is offered in paperback and in a Complimentary E-book edition for those people for whom the cost would impose a hardship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob returned to college in 2002 pursuing a self-designed program in Peace Studies: he
graduated in 2006 with bachelor’s degrees in International and Religious Studies from the University of Oregon. Working to become bilingual so he can also present in Spanish, he writes and speaks on God, religious tolerance, and our tools for abolishing war. Bob has one adult son and lives in Eugene, Oregon.
God Refined: A Proposal for Peace by Robert A. Kezer
2006. First Edition. 6 x 9; 60 pages. ISBN:
978-0-6151-3810-7. Available through bookstores and in
paperback ($12.99 + p&h), e-book ($6.98), and
complimentary download at: http://stores.lulu.com/bobkezer.
Publication Date: 1 March 2007. Thank you.