Saturday, November 12, 2011

There & Back Again

Happy Saturday, friends!  I’m checking in as usual with a bit of an update on exactly how things are progressing here at Robert Frost’s Banjo Central, & I must say I’m hopeful that some good news is near at hand.

I got a call yesterday afternoon from the management of one of the subsidized housing complexes to which I’ve applied telling me that my name has come up on the waiting list & there is a vacancy.  Now, I have to admit a few things to you folks: first, I was entirely flabbergasted, as I didn’t expect such a call until at least some time well into next year; second, I had that heady mix of elation filled with a gnawing dread that somehow, something will go wrong, this will all come crashing down—in fact, I wasn’t going to post this good news feeling that to do so might somehow “jinx” me.  Of course, as friends who already have heard the news have pointed out, I am who I purport to be in all senses of the word, & as such am qualified for the housing.  & while my past may be undistinguished as far as the public record goes, that also means I have no significant “skeletons in the closet” that should affect this.  So I’m taking the advice of a good friend on Facebook & trying to “entertain success.”  I meet with the manager on Monday afternoon, & hope to know something certain by the end of next week—I must admit to a good deal of excitement about this prospect!

In other news: I decided a little while back to re-read The Hobbit & the Ring trilogy this winter, & just this past week I began this venture.  It really takes me back.  I’ve read the entire cycle at least twice before—once when about eleven & then again in my late teens or very early 20s.  The fact is, had it not been for the Tolkein books, my life might have taken a much different path, because I was so enthralled with them that I decided at age eleven (not ten as previously reported to a friend) to become a writer & composed an entire novel called The Township Travelers that was based rather closely on the events in Tolkein’s Hobbit—in fact this manuscript still exists, but it will not be posted to a blog near you! 

Of course, subsequent reading of the Trilogy made me expand my vision, & throughout my teens—even in the early years of my drug & drinking dissolution which lasted from around 16 to 23—I thought of myself as a fantasy author.  I read everything Ballantine Books published along those lines & more besides: from Lord Dunsany to Ursula K. LeGuin, & feverishly composed all sorts of fantastical scenarios.  Later I turned my hand to more conventional short stories, & around the time I sobered up, I began writing poetry almost exclusively.  Now you really know “the r4est of the story!”

So in addition to being the sub-title to The Hobbit, this excursion really is “There & Back Again” for me.  As I re-read the story, sometimes I wonder if I could see myself as a fantasy writer in my golden years.  What do you think?

How “there & back again” fits with this news about possibly having a place of my own in the not-too-distant future may be more difficult to express, but there is a feeling of “return” to this—return to a life I’d led earlier as a single person in San Francisco.  Of course, I’m significantly older now & much of my life circumstances have changed.  At any rate, it promises to be a true adventure.

Please wish me luck, friends!


  1. May this next chapter of your life be filled with comfort and joy :)

    Can you tell I am listening to my daughter practice Christmas carols?


  2. Hi Rene: Thanks so much--& for the "entertain success" comment! I will try to "let nothing me dismay!"

  3. I suspect the Lord of the RIngs will point you, not towards fantasy, but toward the road you've already started on. There are many wonderful songs in the trilogy, written, I know, by elves and hobbits and such, but faithfully translated by an ordinary, not very young man. Best of luck on your housing adventure. I have changed the name of my blog, based on a quote from Wallace Stevens. I know it will speak to you in your current situation. "From this the poem springs: that we live in a place / That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves / And hard it is in spite of blazoned days."

  4. Hi Mairi: Oh, I must stop by your blog & see that--& I see in G-Reader that you have a new poem, which I believe I'll read tomorrow.

    I wonder about where--if anywhere other than a nice time of pleasurable reading--the Trilogy might take me. I do feel a real need for my creative avenues to be shaken, but I can't tell how: whatever the way is remain dark to me.

    That is a wonder4ful Stevens' quote; how poetry fits--or fails to fit--with place is a concept close to my heart.

  5. Good luck (I think i wished you it on facebook, but a bit more can't hurt).

    I thought the title of the post looked familiar. As you say, it's the subtitle of The Hobbit.

    Love those books. Read them several times. Debate over here on radio a few years ago - which was the "best" book of the 20th century? The poll came down to Ulysses or Lord of the Rings. People were very definitely on one side or the other. I felt I was in a minority, liking both.

    You probably know CS Lewis' famous reaction to Tolkien writing LOTR: "Not more f*****ing elves!"

  6. Hi Dominic: A bit more good luck can't hurt, thanks! I hadn't heard that Lewis quote--how funny! But what about him & his Narnia books? I actually like those quite well, except the nihilism of the last one puts me off--I see it as nihilism anyway. I realize Lewis & I would disagree on that. Interesting choice on best two 20th century books, tho I'm not sure how I'd even begin to answer such a question.

  7. I am 'pressing my thumbs' for you. It's a German expression, which must be similar to the American expression of 'crossing your fingers' for someone. Anyway, do let me know if you want to get together for coffee sometime. It's been busy the last couple of months, but things are slowing down.


  8. Sounds like good new developments, John. Glad to hear it. I can't guess whether your recent and major changes would spark writing or make it harder. Seems to me it could work either way. Good luck.

  9. Hi Christine: Thanks so much! Yes, we've had lots of crossed fingers & wood knocking etc., so pressed thumbs are most welcome & appreciated. I would love to get together for coffee--you can drop me a line at my email, which is on my profile--please do!

    Hi Banjo52: Thanks for your good wishes. I tend to think that this transitional phase has probably been hard on my creative spirit--that's just the way I roll, as folk say nowadays!

  10. With whatever creative endeavor you work on, I wish you the best of luck and success.

    And if you do become a fantasy writer, I hope the hero(ine) of at least one of your stories plays a banjo.

  11. Wishing you the best! I just started following your blog last week, and I am loving it!

  12. Hi Joyce: Thanks so much for following here, & glad to hear you're enjoying it! I'll be sure to check out "Cereal Novels"--very good blog title!

  13. Hi HKatz: Sorry I missed that! I love your idea of a banjo-playing heroine in a fantasy book. It actually gives me ideas--not sure if they'll come to anything, but fun nonetheless!


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.