Hi, am back from 10 days at Kaiser Hospital; cut to the quick, it means, mechanical valve has quirks, all controllable by meds, and also, that the knowledge, service and love given by doctors, staff and all and my friends and cronies, too numerous to mention, incredible. Also met some soul stirring people; am home, weak, but happy.

Below is stuff sent to me by the writing teacher I revere, Jack Grapes

“Collective Writers of the Method Tango:

Sorry I’m a little late getting out the Fall schedule.
I’ll do the info part first, and the boring stuff last, since most people
I’ve found don’t read emails past the 5th line.
Oooooooops! this is the 5th line.

Well, if you’re not interested in the Fall Schedule for Advanced Class
Tango, you can stop reading now.
But For those of you who have persevered to this point, here’s the
schedule for the Fall.

Regular Beginning Deep Voice Method Writing Class starts Tuesday Sept 26th.
This class is full (maybe I could squeeze one more in).
If you were going to mention it to a friend, now’s the time.

ADVANCED CLASS SCHEDULE

Wednesday Morning Roundup begins October 4th, 9 am to 12 noon.
(two spots left)

Wednesday Late Afternoon/Evening Big Bang Singularity begins October
4th, starting at 4pm and going until the cows come home. Come anytime,
leave anytime, check guns at the door. This class is full. Sorry.

Thursday Afternoon 1pm to 4pm Juggular Syncopation starts October 5th.

Thursday Afternoon 4pm to 7pm Alligator Cummerbund starts Octber 5th.

Monday Night class starts October 9th, 5pm to 10pm. Same drill as
Wednesday evening, come anytime, leave anytime, check guns at the
door. Only one spot left in this class.

What about the Editing classes. These are not
process classes. No exercises. You bring work in a week ahead of time, and the class
has a week to read it and make red marks all over it and discuss it in
class the following week, with the goal being to make the specific
poem or piece of prose polished and ready to be published.

There’s only one spot left in the Monday
afternoon editing class which starts Oct 2nd, 3pm to 5pm.

There’s only one opening left in the Thursday Night Editing Class
which starts October 5th, Thursday evening, 7pm to 10pm.

Okay, that’s it. You can stop reading now.
I have to go boxing.
An ex-professional boxer beats me up for 5 rounds.
It’s the most fun I’ve had since Brenda Goldfarb kissed me in biology
lab while we were dissecting a frog.
Anyone want to join me sometime? It’s fun.
You put on the gloves, step into the ring, and kill your mother,
or your father, or both. Who needs therapy when the sweet science
calls.

Hope you’ve had a great summer and have geared up for the stretch run
to the holidays and beyond. I’m reading a book on the History of
Language, but it’s written in an ancient tongue so I can’t understand
a word of it. Also reading several books about the Thirty Years War
(including Wedgewood’s classic account), which–you guessed it!–lasted
more than thirty years. Hollywood is older than you thought. I have a
picture in my mind of a bunch of Austrian/German/French/Spanish/Danish
generals (the war had numerous combatants all over Europe)
sitting around in 1652 after the last battle saying, “Vel, ve can’t call it
the Thirty-Four Years Var, it von’t zell!” 1618 to 1648, just in case
you’re interested. Peace of Westphalia sent everyone packing. If
anyone ever asks you what was the Defenestration of Prague, the answer
is, that was when they threw the guy out the window, starting the
Thirty Years War, which really lasted 34 years. It was
the last war fought for religious reasons. After that, it was all
about nations fighting each other, not religions. Seems like we’re
coming full circle, though. As we are wont, to recall Santayana’s
famous dictum, to do. (“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat
it.”)

I’m also reading Richard Jones’ latest book of poetry. It’s exquisite.
APROPOS OF NOTHING. You can get it from Copper Canyon Press. I’m
swooning, it’s so good.

I’m also struggling to read Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER in French.
Bears no relationship to Billy Joel’s song “The Stranger.” There are
paragraphs in there that are pure poetry. But you know, you can find
poetry anywhere, even in a recipe for chicken soup. So Melville starts
Moby Dick with “Call me Ishmael.” Three unforgettable words. POetry.
For me, the greatest lines of poetry
are pretty simple, no more than three words. How’s this for a line of
poetry, no more than three words:
I’m reading a recipe for chicken soup that was published in a book that’s
about 100 years old. It’s an old Jewish recipe book. The first line of
the recipe is this:

“Get a chicken.”

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time.

After a long bout of laughter, I knew I’d read something profound, if
you really think about it. We all have our recipes for what we want to
do, the book we want to write, the poem we want to make, the symphony
we want to compose. We all forget the first thing. We’re so intent on
doing it sometimes, that we forgot the most important thing of all.

Get a chicken.

So here’s much love and best wishes I’m sending to you today, a
Sunday morning in September, clear skies, crisp light, zippy-de-do-da
leaves detaching themselves from tree brances with delectable daring-do.
A September morning in which my son Josh is practicing Rachmaninoff’s
“Prélude in C Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No.2” in the living room. A September
morning when my dog sits at my feet here by the computer, dreaming of
chasing other dogs over the green hills of South Carolina. Me? I gotta
get back to work on my book on Method Writing. And my other book on
the history of modern poetries that nobody’s gonna read (who the hell
is going to read a 1400 page book on the history of modern poetries
from Homer to the present day? but I’m in love with the writing of it,
so I press on). Me? I gotta get a chicken.

All best,

jack

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