Writing is a habit that, once formed, cannot easily be broken. I have spent most of my years regularly engaged in the stubborn practice of putting words together, as betokened by the varied examples that are gathered here.

Close Enough for Rock'n'Roll (Chapter 1)

If I had gone ahead and jumped off the bridge that night, as I nearly did, I would not be stuck in this damnable fix now, trying to figure out what to do with my life. Read more

Winthrop Bemoans His Fate

Winthrop's usual steadiness of temper was shattered, however, when he happened to break one of his shoelaces. Read more

The Sudden Disappearance of Thurgood Q. Fentermock

One morning in the first week of May, Mr. Thurgood Q. Fentermock put on his best suit, calmly walked out of his house, sauntered down to the end of the street, turned left at the corner, and was never seen again. Read more

Summer of Love

I was growing up in the Bay Area in those days, living out my teen years in the stale confines of a quiet suburb that was an hour away from San Francisco, and I can remember, with a fond clarity that has never dimmed, going across the Bay Bridge to get my first look at the happenings in Haight-Ashbury. Read more


As soon as The Beatles had whipped out their final song, "Long Tall Sally" (with Paul McCartney pushing his voice to its highest register, in the unrestrained mode of Little Richard), they said goodbye to their screaming fans and ran off the stage, using an armored car to make a hasty escape from the ballpark. Read more

Leonard Cohen: A Philosopher and a Gentleman

When the poet, novelist, songwriter, and singer from Montreal, Canada, appeared in Portland on December 8, 2010, he occupied the center of the stage in a manner that was austere and dignified, displaying a quiet stateliness that well befitted his longtime standing as both a musical philosopher and a worldly-wise gentleman. Read more

The Truth About the War in Iraq

The repugnant truth is that America killed tens of thousands of defenseless people in Iraq, including many thousands of women and children, in an ill-conceived war that has left a permanent stain on the character of every American who failed to raise a voice in protest. Read more