Happy Happy Happy George Harrison’s Birthday

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGKPHFrHVVY

May you always walk on cloud nine
May the gnomes in your gardens always be grinning
May your Wellingtons never be heavy
May you always have a ukulele handy
May you always know what life is
May you always be best friends with your mate
After he just boinks your wife
When I say love one another
You don’t have to take it literally
But anyways
May your guitar never weep
May the sun always rise
And always handle each other with care

Today is George’s 71st birthday! I wish it were a national holiday. We could celebrate by sitting cross-legged while learning how to play sitar.  However, I can’t sit cross-legged due to spinal fusion surgery so I’d have to stand and play the tambourine.

There are only a few songs that make you stop whatever you are doing or thinking and experience the moment. “Here Comes the Sun” does that for me.  Of course, the majority of George’s songs does that to a fanatic like me but that song I’ve heard since the womb.  Today’s kids have heard Mozart in utero. I heard the Beatles.  So there.

I must lead the creative life: my correspondence with Ray Bradbury

“Tom! Come see the play next Sat night. -Ray” Bradbury thought I was a guy named Tom which was perfectly all right with me.

Ray Bradbury died this week. and his death couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  I had been out of the routine of writing every day because as most insecure writers feel, I did not know if what I think means anything new or important.

A quote by Bradbury flashed through my mind a few days ago.  Sometimes that happens before I learn of someone dying.  I don’t think it’s a sixth sense, it’s more kismet.  The quote is from Zen in the Art of Writing:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!”

His routine was to write a thousand words in the morning (the landmine) then spend the rest of the day editing (putting the pieces together).

About 3 years ago I was mesmerized by an English teacher friend who had been corresponding with Bradbury for years.  I thought I’d give it a try and send him two of my poems.  He sent them back to me with this note scrawled:

“Tom!” AI (I think) Thanks! – Ray” I guess my handwritten name might have looked liked Tom to the 89-year-old Bradbury.

He included the next item which is my favorite piece.  It’s a brochure about Fahrenheit 451 in Spanish.  You can see the ragged edges, where he cut it to fit into the envelope I included with my poems:

“Tom! Love!”

Here is the play he invited me to, Falling Upward:

Although I included an envelope, I mistakenly forgot to include a stamp.  Luckily Bradbury had a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe, whom he referred to as “Ray’s Papa.”

In a story he tells on his website about how he became a writer, he talks about meeting a magician named Mr. Electrico at a carnival:

Mr. Electrico was a fantastic creator of marvels. He sat in his electric chair every night and was electrocuted in front of all the people, young and old, of Waukegan, Illinois. When the electricity surged through his body he raised a sword and knighted all the kids sitting in the front row below his platform. I had been to see Mr. Electrico the night before. When he reached me, he pointed his sword at my head and touched my brow. The electricity rushed down the sword, inside my skull, made my hair stand up and sparks fly out of my ears. He then shouted at me, “Live forever!”

It was then, Bradbury said, that he knew he must lead the creative life.  And through that creative life, he did exactly as Mr. Electrico commanded him.

our Easter painting

easter egg prepping with white crayon

dipping them in our vinegar and food coloring concoction

letting them dry on a paper towel

adding a minecraft creeper egg to the mix

the eggs drying leave a painting behind

a hippie's tye-dyed dream

and viola! the planets collide together waiting for breakfast peeling

flat stanley in hawaii

Flat Stanley here again!  Thanks to my friend Tony I visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Yay! I'm in Hawaii!

On the front lawn!

Bobby Brady? Where are you?

Check out my hula dancing, y'all!

I'm stuck in a tree!

Then I flew over here. Can you spot me?

Now for a relaxing walk on the beach.

Hey, that water is getting kinda close.

What does "Oh no, Mr. Bill" mean?

Whew! I'm okay.

I think I'll try some surfing...

Uh...maybe not.

I think it's time to come back. Thank you Tony and thank you Hawaii!

 

the secret world of flat stanley

Cover of "Flat Stanley (picture book edit...

Hi!  I’m Flat Stanley!  One day a billboard flattened me (don’t worry, there’s a happy ending) so I’m able to travel the good ol United States through snail mail.  Thanks to my friends Bud, Mark, Tom, Gwen, Mary Katherine, Rowdy, Sarah, and Steve, here are pictures from my travels.

Special thanks to blogger Slim Paley for helping make the pictures look extra special!

I hit the road by crossing a bridge in Burlington, Iowa. Hang on!

Finally, I jammed with a band called Two 4 the Road. Rock on!

retyping the classics with hunter thompson

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Image via Wikipedia

I watched the Gonzo documentary before going to bed so naturally I dreamed of Hunter Thompson. He was with me at a party with all the young dudes as the David Bowie song goes.

I convinced these young men that Hunter was alive and well and within these 4 walls. They all got up to talk to him like teen girls with the Beatles in 1964.

I learned from the documentary that he had a sweet side which you can see in the way he touches his chin in an episode of To Tell the Truth. Both of his wives said he had a vicious side, like when he screams at one of them to find his g–damn medicine.

I also learned that Ralph Steadman, Hunter’s illustrator, is not a crazy person. I mistakenly thought so based on his work as you can see here:

image via signatureillustration.org

He appears normal and well-spoken, like a nice gentleman you pass in the supermarket as shown here:

British cartoonist and caricaturist Ralph Stea...

Image via Wikipedia

In the film Hunter said he typed the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby) over and over just to get the flow. Did it work for him? Obviously.

So to get over the dreaded writers block that possessed me over the holidays I’ll do what Hunter did with the Gatsby.

Instead of writing I rewrite.

I checked out classics from the library by authors like Bradbury, Faulkner, Conan Doyle, and Fenimore Cooper. What a way to feel like the author to retype their words, to see what they saw and what made them get it all down on paper. You don’t get that by just copy/pasting.

So because of Hunter sneaking into my dreams I remembered the most vital part of writing: rewriting. I’m ready for more trips into the subconscious as long as the Steadman drawings stay at home.

kodak easyshare by flowers and candlelight

Who knew Kodak could be so…romantic?  I used the Flowers and Candlelight options on my formerly buried treasure Kodak EasyShare:

portrait of a dying rose

view from the table

flower mom with her little ones in tow

view from the top

inviting some friends to the party

but sometimes prefers to be alone

not sure if we're in the pink or feeling blue

a curious pup looks for the neighbor

salmon or melon color?

shadows creep where thorns make their home