The Wrong Kiiid Died

By on Feb 21, 2021 in Essays | Comments Off

Four o’clock in the morning before the world wakes up; freshness in the air, the light beginning to peek through the darkness of night, headlights on, radio off. Mumbling my lines, I drive reasonably fast. Sixty miles per hour is reasonably fast; no tickets for me. Wind tossing my hair, gray by now, slight elevation of spirit, a sense of purpose in the air, driving to work; not any kind of work. Film work, the movie business, so different from the usual notion of work, offers a certain degree of adventure that most jobs do not. Meanwhile, plenty of time; nerves aren’t frazzled,...

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Biography Year

By on Oct 4, 2020 in Essays | Comments Off

Twelve individuals were born in my mind last year. My project went like this: I read one biography each month—some from my pile of the unread, and some that I heard about during that year. The subjects of these biographies, living and dead, mingled in my mind and became defined by the people, places, and ideas that were important to them. They went from being two-dimensional faces with names attached, to characters with three-dimensional personalities. As I got to know them, they seemed to get to know each other, connecting on places and interests they shared. I mind-mapped each, and...

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By on Mar 29, 2020 in Essays, Poetry | Comments Off

Met a lovely woman recently at Sunset Hill Park. Rosalind was seated facing west on one of two benches at a bend in the footpath overlooking the Shilshole Marina, Puget Sound and misty Olympic Mountain range beyond. I acknowledged her and took a seat on the empty bench in the shade of a Japanese Pine tree a few feet away. She commented, I commented on the remarkable weather. Typically a strong prevailing wind blows from the north down along the bluffs, but that afternoon was different. There was a palpable air of tranquility about the park, even the most raucous and territorial of resident...

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Eight Days in Prison

By on Jan 13, 2019 in Essays | Comments Off

This is just an experiment. Let’s be clear about that right up front. I don’t want you thinking this is going to be a regular thing. This is a one-time-only day-by-day account of my life (such as it is) in an Illinois prison, over the next few days. Maybe a couple of weeks. I’m not sure yet. I should give you a background about myself. I was born on March 23, 1969, right before the Summer of Love. My name at birth was Nicky Joe Elliot. That’s what was on my original birth certificate. I know what you’re thinking: a totes legit name for a convict. It didn’t...

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Past, Present, Popcorn

By on Nov 19, 2017 in Essays | Comments Off

As a child in the 1970s, I often felt out of place, as if I were a weight hung around the household’s neck. I loved sports, but I equally loved board games, comic books, literature above my reading level, and Star Wars memorabilia. My parents never discouraged these pursuits and, indeed, funded some, but they never really understood them, either. My father and I played football and baseball in our yard and hunted deer and squirrel in the local forests, but if I wanted to play Monopoly or talk in depth about Spider-Man, I was on my own. My mother seemed harried, always on the...

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The Church of Los Corales

By on Nov 5, 2017 in Cuttings, Essays | Comments Off

The cold wind was unexpected. After all, it was the middle of July, and this was the Caribbean. The church of Los Corales was cemented into the side of a mango-covered mountain just west of Santiago. It was not nestled like most mountainside churches; rather, it was cemented. A new building for an old generation. White painted cement, a slate porch, and frosted white doors. Around the church, there were a few strikingly new houses owned by returning Americans, and a bodega that filled at eleven in the morning and was empty again soon after.  On that day it was raining. A heavy downpour...

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