Monday, June 30, 2008


So…how was your weekend? Things were low and slow around El Casa Móvil De Pennington this weekend, but there’s absolutely nothing unusual about that. It’s always low and slow around these parts and it’s news when it isn’t. Low and slow.

I am experiencing something rather unusual, though… a massive case of writer’s block (WB). Every so often I’ll get a minor case of WB, events where my words just don’t look right to me, or instances where I’ll pound out three drafts of the same post and ultimately reject all three before moving on to something else. It happens to everybody, in greater or lesser degrees. But this case of WB is different, in that I look at my usual sources and don’t see a damned thing I think is worth commenting on, or posting about. Or, to be somewhat clearer, I don’t have anything to say about the things I see. There are alternatives to musing over the news and one of my alternatives is the usual, customary and (sometimes) reasonable re-telling of a war story. But that doesn’t seem to be working, either. My fickle Muse has apparently decamped and left me wondering what the Hell is going on here. Maybe she (my Muse) hooked up with Lin’s Muse and the two of them are out gallivanting around dusty northern New Mexico honky-tonks, flirting with the cowboys, showing a little leg, and getting said cowboys’ hopes up. But she sure as Hell has left ME high and dry… the bitch.

There were times past when that ol’ bugaboo WB would literally scare the livin’ BeJeezus out of me, times when writing was my rice-bowl, I was on deadline, it was 0230 hrs in the morning before a big piece was due and… nothing. That kinda thing is really scary, Gentle Reader, and the current case of WB is a nit by comparison. We’re not talking about continuing employment here, after all. It’s just a blog.

But I miss my Muse.


Here’s one small item, just to save this post from being a pure whine. Today is June 30th, and such is the title— “June 30th, June 30th” — of one of my favorite books of poetry by Richard Brautigan. Here are two examples of the 77 poems you'll find at the “June 30th” link:

"Cat in Shinjuku"
A brown cat lies
in front of a Chinese restaurant
in a very narrow lane
in Shinjuku.*

The window of the restaurant is
filled with plastic models
of Chinese food that look good
enough to eat.

The afternoon sun is pleasantly
warm. The cat
is enjoying it.

People walk by, very close to the cat
but the cat shows absolutely no fear.
It does not move.
I find this unusual.
The cat is happy
in front of plastic Chinese
food with real food
waiting just inside the door.

The middle of May, 1976

*a large district in Tokyo

"Taking No Chances"
I am a part of it. No,
I am the total but there
is also a possibility
that I am only a fraction
of it.

I am that which begins
but has no beginning.
I am also full of shit
right up to my ears.

June 17, 1976

Brautigan wrote “June 30th, June 30th” while in Japan in 1976 and the book was published in 1978. There are multiple coincidences in play here… first of all, Brautigan and I shared the same geographical space (Japan generally, and Tokyo, specifically) when he wrote these poems. Second, The Second Mrs. Pennington and I met during this time frame, and Brautigan published this book the year we were married. Third, TSMP and I shared a love of most things Japanese, so Brautigan’s observations were of great interest and brought joy to both of us, even given the fact he was (still is) one of my favorites. And finally… Brautigan’s been dead for quite some time now… as has my love affair with Japan, among other things.

It’s still nice to remember, though.


Today’s Pic: TSMP and I in a Tokyo sushi bar, December, 1991.


  1. I get WB too, Buck and I am not even a writer. One thing high on my priority list when I came to New Mexico was having time to write in retirement. Not just my little blog, but writing in journals, writing poetry and stories. So far I have barely written at all. Can everyone's muse be on summer vacation???

    Loved the picture of you and TSMP - everyone be sure to click on it so you can see how nice the subjects of the pic look. What a lovely couple. The sushi? Well....*UGH*.

  2. Join the club Buck....but I prefer to call my Head up the, attitude, etc, but it comes and goes. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason.

    Just keep on keeping on...this will pass as well.

  3. It seems to be going around. Writer's Block. I've had a bit of it myself.

    Funny you should mention Richard Brautigan. I was thinking about him today at work whilst composing some haiku. It called to mind this poem:

    Haiku Ambulance

    A piece of green pepper
    off the wooden salad bowl:
    so what?

  4. The pic is interesting - are there still places you'd like to go see in the world? Having never traveled overseas it is difficult for me to pick just one or two locations. Don't fret about the WB. You aren't experiencing it... it's just been a slow, semi-boring week for general info. (hot weather doesn't help much either). Do you have a wading pool? hee hee

  5. Want some cheese with your whine??????? As you can tell I have writers drought.

  6. I believe that all of the writer's block and lack of inspiration is a result of Mercury being in retrograde, therefore slowing down the transmission of ideas and information.

    I almost typed this whole comment with a straight face. I crack myself up sometimes. :)

  7. When all else fails, post pictures. That always works. By the way, who took the photo of you and TSMP?

    Amy, I did crack up before I got to the end of your comment.

  8. As with many writers (and folks who pretend to be writers, like me) I keep a notebook full of things I intend to write about someday. Those are for when my muse is loose and slutty. When my muse is having her monthlies, I keep a list of easy topics on which I know I can always bang out 1,500 words. In my case - The Celtics, Baseball/Softball, Bands I Enjoy, and other loves.

    The easy ones won't always thrill your readers, but they'll get rid of the block. Sometimes you actually come up with something worth reading. I bet you could give us 1,500 on the Red Wings right now, Buck :-)

    By the way, love the poems. I'd never heard of Brautigan until now. I'll have to check him out.

  9. Sharon sez: So far I have barely written at all. Can everyone's muse be on summer vacation???

    A lot of my regular reads certainly seem to be on a reduced posting schedule. It IS summer, after all. Yet I don't seem to remember the same thing happening last year. Mebbee it's time for me to check the archives!

    Pat: Thanks!

    Becky: Yet another Brautigan fan? How COOL! There aren't many of us around...

    Alison: Yes, there are places I've never been yet still want to visit, Rio de Janeiro and St. Petersburg being just two. And then there are my favorite places I want to revisit, London and Istanbul being only two, yet again. But... the wanderlust has definitely gotten fainter and fainter as the years go by. I think my world-traveler days are over. I also think I need a wading pool, if only to give the neighbors something to gossip about. ;-)

    Diva: As others have told me (about WB): this too shall pass!

    Amy: Like Lou, I almost read to the end of your first line without cracking up. I like your sense of humor, Girl!

    Lou: One of the sushi chefs took the pic. The Japanese are VERY good about things like that...

    Jim: Ya, you're right about the Wings. I most certainly could pound out 1500 words about them on most any day. But... The key difference between my hockey posts and your Celtics posts (aside from the fact you're a MUCH better writer than I) is there are more roundball fans than there are hockey fans. I can justify the Wings posts during the playoffs, but not so much in the off season.

    That Brautigan link I put up is a pretty good place to start, if you're curious about his work. There is LOTS of his poetry there, and a few excerpts from his novels... all of which are short and to the point, such as the point may be! I think Brautigan is sorta like single malt: an acquired taste.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.