BAY FRONT PRESS

 AN INTRODUCTION
    
I’ve said a prophet is not without honor except in his own land.  Well, Jesus Christ actually said it, but it shows I'll steal material from anyone. If a prophet is without honor, what chance does the average man have?  How about the average clown?  Yes, I've sometimes done my share of clowning.  It's not always been by choice. The original title of one of my efforts was "The Reluctant Clown." 

An influence on my thinking (and hence, writing) has been  the works of Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and a whole line-up of people like Marek Hlasko, Hemingway, Buddha, numerous serious poets and song writers and the sayings of Jesus.  Scripture is where you find it and all scripture is inspired.  I understand if you find my short stories obscure or maybe obtuse.  There is a concept called therapeutic metaphor.  I write with that in mind—however, I am the target of the therapeutic part.  I am the impatient patient. I'm just still trying to figure out the answers to some questions that have come to me over several late, lonely nights. The original title of one short story collection was "It's Been This Way For All My Days." I'd like to believe I write in parables.  I may be the only one who sees it that way.   They may also be essays in phenomenological ontology—an attempt to study being through an examination of the observable world. That's my explanation anyway. You decide. I believe the average artist has a better chance of exploring the nature of being than even the best of scientists.  

Truthfully, "Time's winged chariot hurrying near" remains the reason for my apparent urgency.  Illness looms over the human condition.  Novels get shortened to mere stories.  It's a lot like life. Marvell got it right about the chariot hurrying near.over 300 years ago.  It applies just as much today.

The conclusion is  out of our hands anyway.  After all, no matter what one does, no one gets out of this thing alive.  And maybe the answer to everything is that there is no answer. Camus once wrote that Sisyphus is a tragic hero simply because he is aware of everything that is happening and will happen.  Camus came to the realization that the real question is why we don't commit suicide in the face of this absurdity. He and I came to the same conclusions.  Camus imagined Sisyphus happy.  We both chose to live. (He died in an auto accident and I don't like the taste of gunmetal.)

The spirit of the times (I love the word zeitgeist) seems to say life can be bizarre.  It's like we've  come to the conclusion there is no meaning. Buddhism teaches us to spread loving kindness and this in itself will be meaningful.  Jesus would later take up this approach to life. We please ourselves by pleasing others. Father Thomas Merton said he hoped his desire to please God did indeed please God. We all do the best we can with what we have.  

My real concern is one that Soren Kierkegaard called "The Sickness Unto Death."  Before I ever encountered the works of this great existential philosopher, I had already recognized this sickness unto death as simply the human condition.  On one end lies despair.  This despair is made tragic because we are conscious of it.  At the other extreme is Kierkegaard's one main noble truth—the need for a personal relationship with God.  We do not need people or treasure.  We need to mine our own perfect and imperfect gems from deep inside ourselves.  We are accountable only to our conscience—to our own sense of morality.  We need a code to live by and it must be honest.  We must never abandon the pursuit of decency, honor and love. We must avoid living in the bad faith Sartre warned us about. We must be true to ourselves.  These are the things I tried to illustrate in my writing. 

Maybe my writing really is obscure or schmaltzy to you.  Fair enough.  You write for yourself or you write for profit.  Any guess which way I went?  One of my fictional characters said that her writings have meant the world to her.  My efforts mean the same to me.  Bob Dylan lamented how so many younger singers tried to sing the Blues to get into the pain and despair the songs spoke to.  Dylan sided with  the real singers for whom the Blues were a way to attempt to rise above the reality they faced.

This description is intended to be included on the jacket of the eventual hardbound edition.  I repeat several stories and poems in more than one book because they fit into more than one scenario. This is intentional as in my editorial opinion they seemed to belong in more than one site.  In 20/20 hindsight I'm now not so sure about the concept but I have left them on this internet version because they are already printed in hard copies.

These books comprise the hand I've been dealt.   Please click on the link under each cover. I'm low tech.  I'm not sure what devices can be used to read these other than a computer.  You are seeing a first draft of sorts.  It doesn't really matter that I haven't closely edited the copy.  He who edits his own writing has a fool for a client anyway.  Hard copies of each book are available.