My writing class

I decided to try and learn a littile more about writing so I signed up for a computer class on writing.  I had no idea what I should expect but I think I got into a winner.  The class began last Tuesday.  I am taking the class through the North Orange County Community College district.  I live in Orange County, California so I assumed that the other class members would be from California but that is not the case.  In fact there are only three or four from California.  The class consists of 40 students and they come from all over the world.  There are students from Korea, Japan, Austrailia, Texas, North Carolina. New York, Michigan and several other states.  It is a diversifide group with all different ages represented.  I am looking forward to the class.

Upon complettion of my last writing class the instriuction gave us a list of Authors fir our summer reading class.  I thought some of you may be interested.

Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
An American Childhood - Annie Dillard
When Memory Speaks - Jill Ker Conway
A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis
Gift of the Sea - Anne Morrow Lindberg
The Wounded Healer - Henri Nouwen
Cross Creek - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Night - Elie Wiesel
The Windows of Brimnes - Bill Holm
Writing to Change the World - Mary Pipher
Poetic Medicine - John Fox
The Third Chapter - Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Coming to Writing and Other Essays - Helene Cixous
River Flow - David Whyte
Dead Man Walking - Sr. Helen Prejean
A Moveable Feast -Ernest Hemmingway
To The Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Memoir A History - Ben Yagoda
If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland
Harvesting Your Journals - Rosalie Deer Heart and Alison Strickland

Any collection of poetry by these poets:

Rainer Maria Rilke
 Sharon Olds
Billy Collins
Maya Angelou
W.H. Auden
Mary Oliver
David Whyte


Chasing the wind

I wrote the following story for "Redroom".  The prompt was to write about "fire, air, earth and water as it applied to the Alchemist's theory that they were the fout components of life.

In a land somewhere in place I do not know lived a boy of an age that I was not told. He lived in house on a street in a city in a valley below a mountain and they all had names that escape me now.
The boy was smart and eager to learn so he listened to writers and poets and men of the cloth but most of all he listened to all the alchemists and the things they would say. He listened as they lectured and he listened to their debates. He listened as they discussed the elements of life which of course was Fire, Air, Earth and Water. He studied their words as they discussed which was the most important and the one above the rest. Fire, Earth and Water all had many champions but air, well air had only one. The many would scoff at the one making all sorts of fun but the one stood his ground and argued his point. Fire, Earth and water I can hold in my hand but now the air, just grab a hand full and see what you have. You see it moved with the wind and left your hand empty and you looking like sheep. Don't you see my dear friends we can all catch the fire and we can all catch the earth and we can all catch the water but only God from up above can catch the wind. And the Alchemists from all over the land had to agree that the one of the Air was more right than they so they offered a reward to the man that could catch the wind.
They issued a proclamation which said, "To any man who can catch the wind we will come together and turn a mountain of dirt into a mountain of gold for him to spend as he desires." The boy was excited because he had studied and he had listened and he knew if anyone could catch the wind it would be him. He knew where the wind came from and to that place he would go. It came from somewhere high in the mountain above and would be easy to catch when it was new. You see he figured that trying to catch the wind in the valley when it was old was stupid and naïve because the wind was too smart to be caught way down here.
So he left for the mountain and walked a long way and he was tired and thirsty and stopped for a drink by a small rillet. As he dipped his mouth and nose into the cool water he saw the image of an old man washing against the pebbles. He hadn't noticed the man before but now he was sitting cross legged and head bowed low just across the rill from him. I didn't see you there the boy said with awe and the old man grinned a one-tooth grin and said I wasn't here back then. Back when, the boy replied? Back when the wind was gone, the old man said. But no matter of me, why are you here? Have you come to see me? No sir, the boy replied. I came to catch the wind. But I am the wind, the one tooth man replied. Touch me and see. The boy reached out to touch the man and he was gone and then back again. There now do you believe the old man chuckled and his misty blue eyes flashed in the sun?
But if you're are the wind and you cannot be caught how can I explain that I am not a fool the boy whispered low. No my son you are not a fool because you came to seek the wind and you found the wind and you talked to the wind and now your wisdom is greater that all the alchemists in the valley below. You see my son the Fire, the Air, the Earth and the Water cannot be tamed. We are the essence of life and to tame one would be to destroy them all. We work as one but we work as all and when you teach the ones down there you will be looked up to as the mightiest alchemist of all.
So the boy returned to the village I have not named and became a man that knew the wind and the people looked up to him because even though he didn't catch the wind he was as the wind. Only the boy who was now a man had spent some time talking to the wind. And he had learned not to try and tame the Fire, the Air, the Earth and the Water and his wisdom and fame spread all across the land and he knew not to chase the wind.

When I was Nine

I was introduced to death when I was just a boy by my two year old neighbor, Timmy. Timmy was a strapping tow head toddler with lots of curiosity. I am sure Timmy never intended for me to see death at the age of nine. I can still remember Timmy running around his back yard, his blue eyes sparkling in the sun. He would laugh and giggle with his dad in chase, pretending not to catch him and then grabbing him up with a big tickle and a rub on his chubby belly with whiskered chin. No daddy, no Timmy would giggle and then ask for more.
Then one hot summer day when Timmy's dad was away Timmy could not be found. We all looked and yelled and checked all the neighbor's yards and houses. Have you seen Timmy? Timmy's missing everyone would say and another neighbor helped to look that day. Timmy's dad came home and the police were called and they all searched all over again.
Timmy's dad was scared and Timmy's mom was frantic and then someone, I can't remember who, found little Timmy Roebuck floating in the irrigation ditch behind my home. I was there when they pulled him out all wet and blue. The ambulance came and they tried to make him breathe and then my mom was crying and said. "Timmy is dead". I didn't understand death and I wasn't sure what it meant but I cried too. Timmy's gone to live with God they said.
They put Timmy's tiny body in a tiny casket in the house next to mine. My mom asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to Timmy and I was afraid to say no. We walked next door hand in hand. Timmy's dad was stern and Timmy's mom was crying.
My mom walked across the room to say goodbye but I was afraid to follow because I did not know what I would see. My mom said, "Come on and say goodbye" and Timmy's dad said, "Yes please, Timmy would like that."
I edged across the hard wood floor and I shut my eyes and did not want to look but my mom said, "Open your eyes and say goodbye, it will be alright." I opened my eyes and looked at Timmy. He lay quiet and looked peaceful and looked alright. I did not know what to say so I stared at him and then reached to feel his hair. It was blond and soft and felt alright so I put my hand on his chubby cheek to feel his skin. But Timmy's cheek wasn't soft and warm and didn't feel alright. It was cold and hard and felt like stone. Timmy startled my fingers and etched my mind when he introduced me to the stone cold feel of death when I was only nine.


where are you

I drift across my words
wondering where you are

I look behind a phrase
hopeing to find you there

a sentence about romance
opens to find you gone

I stare through verbs and nouns
and you dance before my mind

but yet a paragraph from my hand
seems not to touch your heart

maybe if I write a book
you will spend a moment with me



the sun and the clouds
tease my mind
with the game they play

will it rain
or will it not
maybe cold or maybe hot

an overt cloud
and a covert sun
take a coat

a covert cloud
with an overt sun
take a coat or maybe not

it is when
they change their minds
and switch at noon

and cause me
to shiver or sweat
and my mind to swoon

it makes me wonder
is that a fair way to play
why do they always want to ruin my day


set me free

the wind behind me
the sea below
a rock to hold me

from what, I thought
the wind, so cold to my flesh
yet so warm in my mind

the sea
so wet to my skin
yet so warm in my heart

maybe my rock holds
my mind
in some deep crevasse

waiting to be
whisked across
the sea

can my flesh
follow my mind
to the sea

maybe the wind
can make me a sail
and transport

my flesh... my soul
somewhere my mind and my heart
has dreamed to be



"the alchemist"

This  is my first attempt at a  book review and is only a reflection of my own personal feelings.  If you have read this book I would be interested in hearing your feelings.

I read great reports on the book and expected something spectacular.  Instead when I finished reading the book I felt cheated  I felt like I had been duped and had wasted my money and time.  I kept reading because I had heard such great things about it that I was sure it had to get better.  However, it didn't get better.  I was reading a story about a childish treasure hunt.   I found the book to be just that..... shallow and childish.

Maybe that is the problem.  If I had been reading it as a children's story or a fairy tale I probably would have enjoyed the book.  It is a good children's book but it is not to be confused with great writing such as "Aesop's Fables".  In fact I would classify "The Alchemist" simply as a book to be put on your child's first or second grade reading list.


special moments

a special moment does not
always need to be
of the eyes or of a sound or of a smell

but it must always be
of the heart

see, smell, listen
with your heart

special moments
are from your heart


448E 1010S

Where do you come from? I love this prompt. It seems every writing instructor uses that one at one time or another but mostly I have found it in the first part of every writing class I have taken. I always answer with the mundane. I come from where I was born and live. I was raised in Utah so I come from 448E 1010S.  That is the address of where I grew up and therefore the answer to the question.  But I know the instructor wants me to dig deeper.  The instructor wants me to write something profound.
I never have any profound, deep or clever things to say. This question always takes me back to a Ring Lardner book where one of his characters was asked the question and his answer was, “my mother’s womb,” and the character asking the questions replies with, “that’s mighty pretty country around there.”

So, whenever I get that question I always think about my mother’s womb or maybe it's Ring lardner's mother's womb.  Whichever one it is, I cannot use that since Ring Lardner used it 50 years ago.

So I always return to where I really did come from.

I come from the womb of 448E 1010S which is weird in its own right. If you think seriously about it, I really didn’t have much of chance with a beginning from a compass point.   It is easy to succeed when you come from a fancy place like 21 Arlington Place or 45 Downing Street but being wombed by a compass is a sure sign of mediocrity.

So where do I come from?

Oh well...." my mother’s womb". Sorry about that Ring.

About Me

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So Cal, United States
I am an apprentice writer of short stories and I also attempt a little poetry.