Did some sortganizing in the archive & took a few quick snaps of interesting items, snip’d, collect’d, curat’d.
Now into plastic sleeves and binders of personal archaeology and inspiration. None of these by themselves are “important“ and it’s not any kind of complete collection on any certain topic, but they’re all *just* decorations accumulated throughout my life which collectively, colour in the white space.
Spontaneous riffs and readings from world rambling renegade letter writer with a new master’s thesis, Jason Emde who, as it goes from his home in Gifu also makes a podcast called “writers read their early sh!t”.
From the Kura barn studio, Dave meanders about Japan geography and “things not done” and hat selections for Kyoto before reading Jason’s letter to Molly, then rambles on about similarities in geography, points of view, adventures whilst recounting how he came across Jason’s work stretching over a decade or more (and including naval officer Bob), oh then 2 freeverse poems (after Gary Snyder) with Jason’s streams about “usual days” in Gifu and Vernon.
Plus name checks for James Joyce’s Ulysses, Christopher Trottier, Marshall McLuhan, Ken Babbs, Ken Bole, music bits from Bachman Turner Overdrive Live at Budokon, John K Samson (of The Weakerthans etc), hooray for ampersands and em-dashes! Also Amsterdam, London, Vancouver, Bali and most points in between, except Africa, haven’t gone there.
Taking a break from chainsaw noise cutting down bamboo, DaveO rambles on about the importance of community and correspondence (yes spelled incorrectly) – especially while in a rough patch with a chronic and complex illness #MECFS – and shares a remarkable package sent by Kerouac enthusiast Dan Bacon in Massachusetts including: scrapboook, artifacts, ephemera and memorabilia from Lowell, Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday, and other events including the impending Town and the City music festival which inspires playing of lovely blue Tanya Donelly and Parkington Sisters vinyl record.
Also shows new-ish Cascadia passport and meanders about Gary Snyder in Japan years ago and his recent convos with poet Wang Pang ++ love of maps, letters, stories, and how we’re all part of the erstwhile Beat tradition if we are living intentionally, respecting others’ voices and creating goodness.
Happy to be your fan, fondly etc. from Giggling Piglet Studio in a historic Kura storehouse in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan.
A rapid-fire introduction to the “Beat Generation” focused on the story of “6 Poets at Gallery 6” reading Oct, 1955 SF CA when Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, Gary Snyder, Micheal McClure, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti et al were all in the room for a reading hosted by Kenneth Rexroth that would go into legend and launch a poetry renaissance in San Francisco and the world. Presented by Cannaverse Club.
Includes extended erstwhile members of the movement and “what happened” after that night as the poets and their friends scattered their influence globally (with, not surprisingly, a little bit of extra emphasis on Japan, Zen, India/Nepal) plus Merry Pranksters, Furthur bus, Grateful Dead and even the Simpsons. Whoa!
Lots of the usual ephemera, show & tell, couple of vinyl records, loads of books, various digressions and asides, hats & homework.
Note from UW: “If you’re curious *at all*, please share your questions and comments &/or “Replay live chat” at Youtube to catch some of the stuff I forgot to say during the premiere”
Pausing in the Kura barn from arranging dongles, cables, tripods – trying to upgrade tech aspect of telling stories – Dave starts with Kiana Brassest singing in the background while adding notes about decades of story making & thoughts about continuing with vigor.
Then into a recent Osera magazine cameo from a fermented foods tour (including saké, beer, cheese, wine, miso, shoyu…) in Maniwa, Okayama (which is also sorta son Ichiro’s first publication).
Next onto recent books by post including:
“Waiting for Now” world-traveling “Scarborough dude” Ken Bole *often very* candid letters from Japan, Nigeria, Thailand, Canada etc to friends and family (with numerous coincidences and intersections with my own life).
“High White Notes” – David S Wills’ brand-new literary biography of Gonzo writer/journalist renegade Hunter S Thompson – available from his Beatdom publishing imprint + riffs include namechecks for Dr. HST’s book of letters “Proud Highway” and references to Joseph Conrad (re: Importance of dedication to art), Henry Miller (re: Big Sur etc), and Jack Kerouac (re: enemy of my enemy is my friend – if he could get write about drugs and get published…)
“First Third” – beat, prankster, railroader, hero “Adonis of Denver” 50th anniversary of Neal Cassady’s partial autobiography, inscribed by his daughter Jami Cassady on behalf of Neal Cassady Estate –including postcards with noted photos of, and by, the elegant poet, photographer, lover and muse Carolyn Cassady – with the aim of “Keeping the legacy alive” ++ a bit about Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters Further bus.
Finally, a whole rundown of poets Gary Snyder and Wang Ping spending time together at Kitkitddizze in Sierra Nevada –working on translation, amplification and edification including coffee, Han Shan poems, Hanko stamps, sons Gen and Kei, Lagunitas IPA and gyoza dumplings and cowboy steaks, the history of Axe Handles poem (and translation thereof), Snyder’s new book “This Present Moment” and me at “home” (finally) in a red velvet robe with coffee cup by potter Marty Thurston Kendall of Utah knowing while our journey is our own, there is precedent for path before (like I can be 91 hanging out with my son Ichiro, living well and making poems in a barn).
(Just another) article about Fire Lookouts, origins, backstories, notable residents and how to rent… by Ben Goldfarb (original date Sept. 4, 2020)
Edward Abbey, the late author and environmental activist, worked as a lookout in the Grand Canyon (and by all accounts did an abysmal job). The poet Gary Snyder, stationed at Sourdough Mountain in Washington, described “Looking down for miles / Through high still air.”
Snyder extolled the lookout life to his friend, Jack Kerouac, who spent a summer on Desolation Peak and mined the experience for material in his novels. Although he’d expected quiet contemplation, Kerouac spent his tenure swatting bugs and craving cigarettes so badly that he smoked coffee grounds in desperation. “Many’s the time I thought I’d die, suspire of boredom, or jump off the mountain,” he lamented in “Desolation Angels.”
I am not, in general, in favor of human-built structures on otherwise untrammeled landscapes. It brings me joy to see derelict chalets dissolved to moldering timbers or roads vanish beneath thimbleberry and huckleberry.
But I’ll make an exception for fire towers, which, during this tragic, disorienting summer, have brought me and Elise bliss and perspective — and, I suspect, provided thousands of other people with the same pleasures. Even Jack Kerouac could probably use one right now.
Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.
Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.
I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.
Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.
As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.
I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).
I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).
Many of you likely noticed the campaign to help the venerable San Francisco institution City Lights bookstore “keep the lights on” and hooray, they rocketed past the $300,000 goal thanks to many small donations from around the world. Now, there’s a few other neighbours in the North Beach area to shine a light on, specifically “the Beat Museum” – an eclectic grassroots archive of artifacts from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and well… dozens of other luminaries who have influenced counter-culture, literature and music.
To pitch in, you can buy a membership – especially handy if you live in the San Francisco area as it offers unlimited admission – those of us *anywhere else* can dig discounts on purchases (including mail order), exclusive content/interviews/events, and a membership card – I’m a sucker for membership cards!
Did you see a big North Beach neighbourhood round-up diary post I shared recently? Included a photo essay of many items on display including Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter (along with many other typewriters), Jack Kerouac’s jacket, Gary Snyder’s bits and pieces from Japan and so much more.
+ Their bookstore has a variety of rare additions, one-offs, special treats (I picked up a first edition of Allen Ginsberg’s Indian Journal on my visit).
So to recap, do one or several of the following:
* Go check out their website to see their mission and the big hearted folks running the show
* Purchase a membership (various levels/prices)
* Maybe buy yourself a little something nice, or a gift for someone else
* Kick them down some extra cash
* Sign up for their newsletter for campaigns & updates
* Spread the word to keep the goodness rolling
You got any questions or thoughts? Let me know.
And of course if you’re seeking unique Beat literature related content, I have dozens of podcasts, various essays, scrapbooks, maps, and so on for you to peruse.
PS shared respectfully knowing lots of folks are in tough financial situations and there’s lots of requests rolling around for various dire situations – in spirit of solidarity, safety, and abundance.