There’s no doubt I’m sick of being sick & desperately want my life, my brain, my memory, and mojo back + ability to see shows w/ some beers
Hey, that’s 2 good nights of sleep in a row! Sleep is most critical tool for healing but remains elusive without chemicals and inebriation.
Whenever i see 80+ yr old person walking thru my hood, sucking down a cig, i think “hell yeah, anything is possible, we can be invincible!”
Blue – this is all.
Update, Aug 26:
Publishing the Blues away – So much goodness just needs a wee bit of love, then ready to share. Where’s good for sharing long form writing?
if you are going to make a yard sale sign then… you might as well go a little zen
More about Fire lookout tower in Cascadia… the low down the mechanics of running these operations and the rugged folks who made it happen. Plus name checks for the town of Sedro-Wooley which i’ve spent time in years ago.
Story posted on Aug. 12, 2002, last updated June 15, 2010
Regarding Jack, Gary and Phillip:
The most famous firewatcher was Jack Kerouac, who spent part of the summer of 1956 in the tower at Desolation Peak near Mount Hozomeen and the U.S.-Canada border. Like some other watchers of the day, he anticipated his time there as a period of reflection and meditation and cleansing in the solitude. His friend, poet Gary Snyder, signed on as a fire lookout earlier — at Crater in 1952 and Sourdough in 1953, but was blacklisted by the Feds and did not return for 1954, the “high summer of the great fear,” as historian David Caute described it. Snyder’s Reed College friend and fellow poet Philip Whalen manned Sauk Mountain in 1953, then Sourdough in 1954 and 1955. Snyder was the one who alerted Kerouac to the joys and solitude of the mountains. All those sites north of the Skagit are part of the Mount Baker National Forest that was originally patrolled by the legendary ranger Tommy Thompson.
Whatever Kerouac thought he was seeking, he found what many others did: monotony and boredom after the initial excitement. We learn from the Ann Charters biography, Kerouac, a Biography, that Jack came up from California in mid-June 1956, attended a fire-watching school for a week and then spent eight weeks on the mountain after being packed in on muleback. On the climb upwards he saw the charred snags that stood witness to the flash fire of 1919 that led to name of Desolation, part of the Starvation Ridge area. Nary a fire threatened his assigned area that summer so he spent much of his time on the routine chores of chopping wood, collecting bucketsful of snow for washing and cooking, communicating on the two-way radio, pacing about on the narrow trails, chewing Beech Nut gum and smoking his roll-yer-owns.
He slept on a wooden bunk with a rope mattress in the sleeping bag Snyder helped him pick out in Oakland. To amuse himself he baked rye muffins, played a baseball game with a pack of cards that he’d invented when he was a boy in Lowell, and picked a few sprigs of alpine fire and a wild flower every day to put in a coffee cup on his desk. Jack wrote at the desk facing away from looming Mount Hozomeen on his north, the dark, naked rock of Hozomeen coming to symbolize for him ‘the Void,’ with its clouds and thunderstorms, the two sharp peaks of Hozomeen looming in his window as he lay in bed, ‘the Northern Lights behind it reflecting all the ice of the North Pole from the other side of the world.’ During the long afternoons he sat in his canvas chair facing ‘Void Hozomeen,’ listening to the silence of his cabin and making up haikus. His experience that summer is the kernel of his later book, Desolation Angels, the companions he imagined dancing out of the fog along the ridge. The North Cascades Institute in Sedro-Woolley offers a course based on the experience of Jack Kerouac and his writing.
He was a sweet old homeless man.
Justin, Jerry, Brad, Dave, Val. A park in California…
Rereading Gary Snyder’s “the real work – collected essays, interviews and speeches”
I’ve followed his instructions diligently over the past 15 years
For the two branches of literature—spoken and written—each has its own vocabulary, syntax, rhythm, style, affectations, patterns, pacing, punctuation, and canon. I always loved spoken literature. A good interview gave me as much pleasure as a well-written short story. So, from a young age, I learned how to write by transcribing what people said. I learned language by hearing it. Anything said by anyone could make it into my little notebook. Then I began writing what I said aloud, and I began to realize that if a writer took ownership of their words and published them alongside their poems and essays, they had a book, as valid as any other. This book could even be among their greatest works.
A few quick shots before i head to Book Expo American in NYC (skyscrapers and everythang …) where i will be shilling the goods for the day job while soaking in some literary and otherwise atmosphere – hopefully meeting up with the filmmaker and illustrator of the Uncle Weed book, Brandon Kiggins of brooklyn, see the wild Alex Grey museum about the his trippy art and of course visit the mysterious haunted speakeasy pub in the village with a local amigo.
Taking Haruki Murakami collection of stories and Herman Hesse‘s Reflections – not the quintessential NYC lit but see what serendipity delivers – i am going to a book show – gotta be something worth reading (and i am admittedly somewhat stuck to older (dead-er) writers). Of course taking mobile podcaster-o-rator/recorder, notebooks and the snapshooter.
Then to San Jose for another day-job related trade show and since no time for San Fran hi-jinks- might be decidedly vanilla so to speak but will likely find some adventure. Will be catching Stanley Cup finals on the road (kinda need a sling box eh).
Back to beloved Vancouver for a couple days before London UK-bound. More podcasting for the job and then heading on a 4 day walkabout – likely to Dumfries (a home of Robbie Burns and one of his many loves – Jean Armour), Scotland and then mayhaps to a festival of sorts in Leeds. Gonna not get too hung up the deets here but i will be stuck with more than a backpack in London so might be a wee bit limited.
Anyhow, this week …
– a new Canucks Outsider is up (Vancouver Giants day at Vancouver City Hall) – next up is my coverage of the BC Floorball Challenge
– went to a kick ass Police concert which deserves along loquacious post of it’s own (which is unlikely to happen unless i start into a list of “noteworthy concerts of my life”)
– Cosmo and Dingo came to visit for aforementioned Police show – too short a visit (job gets in the way) but good times (note to self: pay them for tix)
– really wanna bust out some more White Poppies for Remembrance episodes – next one will feature a track by Drive by Truckers and a chat with a disenfrancished soul at the New Amsterdam about the conceptual conditions of Vancouver’s downtown eastside
– listening to podcasts by Rick Steves’ on Rolf Potts’ book Vagabonding), BBC’s Melvyn Bragg (Opium Wars), BBC on Nigeria as Black Superpower, Tavis Smiley‘s interviews with Joe Biden and others, Bill Maher talking to Bill Richardson (Gov. New Mex and Demo Pres hopeful), Scarborough Dude in Tokyo soul-searching and representing plus the usual smattering of Clubside Breakfast Times and KEXP goodness.
Thick pineapple rain whipping
winds twisting leaves
and homeless blankets
wet while walking past
yellow in fleeting glances
holding breath for quarantine
peeking though humid windows
Thinking about …
Pinochet dying (Guardian Unlimited special report “From Tyrant to Arrest and Indictment”) – sometimes the evil ones live so long, 91 – so much blood on his hands (rumours of stadiums full of communist disappeared)and years of process means a lack of reasonable resolution and restitution
(Underrated hockey great) Bob Gainey’s daughter Laura swept off a ship – search continues … lo, the price of adventure (coulda been me or you) peace
Listening to …
Bicycle mark in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Austro-Hungarian empire and the historical role of the Balkans in creating war
BBC Iraq, squandered billions in reconstruction and lost opportunities, Saddam’s personal history, Afghanistan’s (un)reinvention process
In the works …
Choogle on with Uncle Weed International Mail round up from a windy porch recorded and in production, Blazin’ in Japan on deck – music encoded, a few pieces to gather before production
Canucks Outsider – new episode (Canucks game day vs. Whalers/Hurricanes) and a few site upgrades (thanks Bread)
Postcards from Gravelly Beach – part 2 of the Jack Kerouac poetry stroll nears completion – more choruses from San Francisco blues while walking down the Mission – one more part after that and then onto Remembrance Day peace and war collection