The Maryland Center for Public
Broadcasting was a great place to work back in the early seventies. The station
had started in downtown Baltimore in the late sixties and by 1972 when I joined
the firm, they were newly established in their headquarters building outside
the beltway. Sharon and I bought a house
nearby and she went off to teach each morning and I went to work nearby.
Having never conquered the
ability to just work one job a time, I found myself slowly becoming more and
more engaged in learning the craft of writing. That subtle obsession slowly
morphed into novel-writing each evening after work and finally the creation of
two western novels over a two-year period of time.
As par for the course, Sharon
encouraged me to try to get them published and I demurred and put them into a
filing cabinet instead. They never came to gestation until about ten
years ago. When my first novel morphed into a trilogy called ‘Apache Death
Wind’ and the second novel was reborn as ‘Apache Blue Eyes.’
Now going back even further in time, 50 years to be almost exact, I
wrote a parcel of poems and song lyrics during the mid-to-late 60s. Those faded
gray pages sat in the same filing cabinet until this last fall when coincidence
and circumstance brought them back to life. Such is the writing style of someone
who never discards anything written even in jest.
while back I wrote a blog entitled: Ode to a Broken Down Palace. It was about the first apartment building I lived in near the
University of Minnesota. The building was designed and constructed around the
turn of the century for a prominent Minneapolis industrialist. By the time I moved in, almost sixty-five
years later, it was a rundown boarding house chopped into several apartments.
period in my life encompassed what I now whimsically call my lost years;
roughly from 1961 to 1971. It began with my high school graduation on May 31st,
1961 and culminated in my marriage on July 31st, 1971. Ten years of wandering
and wondering about my life as it unfolded in twists and turns; some expected
and others not so much.
was during that latter period, in an old tired musty apartment, that my
creative juices really started to flow. From roughly the fall-winter of 1967
through the spring of 1970, I found myself going through a furious writing
phase. Poems, song lyrics, outlines for
novels and mind-stories poured forth, all captured with my ancient L.C. Smith
new job at KTCA television entailed some script writing and other journalistic
endeavors. But more importantly it meant I was interacting with a plethora of
wildly crazy, creative, free-thinking folks. It was the mid-sixties when almost
anything was up for grabs and challenges. I was living the life and not focused
too far beyond the next day.
were coming in and out of my life. Some were fleeting moments whose names are
still etched in my brain while others have long since been forgotten. The
Triangle Bar became my refuge from reality; a place to toke in the shadows
along with the stoners, drink cheap schooners of beer and leer lustfully at the
University Coeds all lined up neatly at the bar.
and scenes, feelings and emotions were coursing through my veins and piling up
in my memory bank. I found a wonderful outlet for expressing those sundry
images and imaginative scenarios on paper.
poetry was incredibly liberating along with the song lyrics for which I had
absolutely no skill whatsoever. Almost every night, I’d be hunched over my L.C.
Smith, pounding away at words and verses, sentences and paragraphs that kept
was like a euphoric rush of emotions spilling out of my consciousness. Most
nights, I became incredibly high on endorphins surging through my brain matter.
Good, bad, terrible and some not so bad material was captured on’ now’ old gray
sheets of paper. That episodic flash of creativity ultimately lasted for only a
short period of time. The resulting pile of papers were assembled, bound
together and filed away. Then life took a turn for the wonderful and they were
forgotten for almost sixty years.
new relationship had gained traction, this one for good, and I was on a new
path toward the future. Fortunately, those old stapled pages of poetry followed
me around the country before finally settling into a filing cabinet in the
basement along with other forgotten dreams and storylines.
idea of creating a book of my poetry evolved out of a play I had written during
the pandemic. ‘PTV’ is a semi-autobiographical play about my own early
television experiences. There were some wonderful personalities and characters
that lived in my world at that time. It was the mid-sixties and the vortex of
the social, sexual and political upheavals of the time. I thought it would be
neat if I could write some songs reflective of that period and the events
taking place in and around the station.
decided the first step in that process of song-writing would be to peruse those
song lyrics and poetry I had stashed away for all those years. I began to study
the material for anything I could use for ‘PTV.’ But the more I perused those ancients’
words, I realized they really captured a ‘time in my life’ and weren’t
appropriate for the songs I wanted to write today. But, I thought, they could
stand on their own as a testament to the times and my life back then.
was born the idea of a new book of poetry. I wanted this book to be different
from so many others that encompass black words on white paper and the author’s
feelings hopefully found somewhere within. To that end, I selected thirty
photographs from that period in my life. Vida has stylized them as watercolor,
pop, watercolor/ink versions of the original images.
idea here is to present an image, representative of that period, but mixed with
enounces that leave much to the imagination. I hope those images, along with
the words of my poetry, will stimulate the reader’s mind to wander and
more than fifty years of dormancy, it will be interesting to see those words
carved from another life and time back in print again.