June is an ambivalent month for me.
As a child it meant the start of summer vacation, and weeks spent at my grandparent’s beautiful beach home in Hyannisport. This was wonderful because it meant spending time with my siblings and seven cousins, a houseful of children of all ages, and loving—even adoring—grandparents, aunts, and uncles....more
This Tuesday was, by no means, a good news day. The night before was the tragedy in Manchester, England, at which a suicide bomber killed children at a pop concert.
But, sad as it is, that is not the story that moved me, on this beautiful Tuesday, to tears....more
On Thursday night, May 25, an amazing event will take place outside a BART train station in the Mission District of San Francisco, as it has every Thursday night for the past fourteen years.
If you were to pass by, you might not even notice what is taking place....more
Dinner party! Now that the garden is starting to look nice, and the cats are becoming less feral and more civilized, and Klopnik has begun to change (occasionally) out of his gardening clothes, the Storming Bohemian’s thoughts turn to socializing on the patio....more
My day job is driving on the ride sharing platform, Lyft. Several years ago, I retired from teaching school to devote myself to writing and painting and lived off savings until I couldn’t. Four years ago, I started driving Lyft so I wouldn’t have to take a straight job and could focus on my creative work....more
The Storming Bohemian is away this week, doing his taxes. He’ll return when Uncle Sam lets him loose again (next week)....more
In America, everybody, it seems, wants to be a success. Me, too.
Recently, I confided to a family member that sometimes, in moments of deep despair (fortunately they are fairly uncommon), I find myself contemplating suicide as the most sensible retirement plan....more
When I attended professional acting school back in 1986 (the MFA program at UC Irvine, I proudly remark), I had a teacher ask me once, “Charles, are you able to feel any authentic emotion other than anger?” I paused for a bit and considered the question, before answering, truthfully, “No....more
Poverty may have been beloved of St. Francis, but not so much by the rest of us. Nobody likes to look at advanced poverty, toothless and drooling, clutching the hands of children who have running sores on their filthy legs. Poverty is a crackhead who pisses on the pavement, and sleeps with fleas and stray dogs....more
Socrates: All men are mortal.
The Storming Bohemian: I’m a man.
Socrates: Right, so…
The Storming Bohemian: Uh oh....more
This week, I’ve found myself thinking about heroism. What makes a hero, anyway? Who should we choose for our heroes?
When I was around fourteen, I developed a hero crush on W. C. Fields, of all people! I was delighted when I read about the time he and John Barrymore gave a ride to a hitchhiker on a country road, and then threw the poor man out of the moving car when he began preaching at them for being drunk....more
Yesterday, walking home along the wet pavement twinkling under the sunshine, I spied a flock of no fewer than twenty-four wild turkeys parading down the street, mostly chicks.
I don’t see them today, as the rain has returned, and all is gray....more
Politics has become a bloated balloon on the horizon of our days, marked with the face of the Pr*sident, grinning under his orange corona like a demented sun-god, a raucous Ra. It burns....more
Today is the day that Pr*sident Trump shut down the American borders to refugees, green card holders, and non-citizens with paid for and improved visas—if they were from certain “Muslim majority” countries… It is also the day his administration made it clear that, going forward, “Christian” refugees would be given priority over all other refugees—and then denied the existence of a religious test....more
Thomas Merton, the most prominent Catholic monk of the 20th century, famously left the world to live a cloistered life at the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemini in rural Kentucky, taking vows and becoming Father Louis. As many will recall, he described his journey to the cloister in one of the century’s masterpieces of memoir, The Seven Story Mountain....more
In my last column, the Muse inspired me to write about dreams. And since then, I’ve been thinking about other types of altered consciousness. As a guy who often hangs out with Catholic monks, and who practices “Will Rogers spirituality”—that is, I’ve never met a religion I didn’t like—I take an interest in miracles and myths of all sorts, and the season of Christmas, Chanukah, and the winter solstice (the pagan Yule), which all speak of the miraculous arrival of light in darkness, is a good time to reflect on such matters....more
Do you keep a dream journal?
I started as a teenager, and continue on-and-off.
Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between a dream and a memory. Does this happen to you? Or am I confessing to something strange and pathological? Where is the line between pathology and creativity?...more
Oh better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly
Then play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart!!
–The Pirates of Penzance
At fifteen years old, I was a runaway. It was perhaps 9:30 at night, my first night out, having hitchhiked a couple of hundred miles north towards Tallahassee, when they rushed me to the emergency room from the teen center where I’d gone to look for a crash pad....more
Sunday: I work through the voting guide, propositions, and candidates, making my decisions. My partner, Argyle C, Klopnick (ACK!), is sure, now, that Hillary’s victory is certain. I ‘m not yet a believer. I think Trump is electable.
Monday: I’m catching the excitement....more
Oh my god, I’m stuck again. A truck in the muck. A cat up a tree. An explorer in quicksand. Winnie the Pooh in the door of Rabbit’s house. Trying to birth a column and needing a Caesarean. Is there any horror worse for a writer than a deadline?...more
The small town where I have recently landed is ugly and beautiful. Walk down the main street: there are a few old gems like an ancient and glorious Masonic Hall, now home to evangelicals. Several boarded up stores, ugly as can be, and some small town cafes: one for Giants fans, specializing in breakfast, pancakes and pennants all over the joint, one Mexican taqueria, one family pasta palace with red and white checkered table cloths and cheap chianti, and an old-school diner for burgers....more
One recent hot weekday afternoon, I told my partner—the guy who created the “Punk the Muse” logo and draws its cartoons—that I wanted to get out and about. We’d been sitting at home too long. Moon’s Handbook for Northern California revealed an abandoned mine, with a ghost town and an old Western cemetery, a half hour’s drive from our home by the Carquinez Bridge....more
Your Storming Bohemian is emphatically a child of the early 70s. At fifteen, I lived in a hippie commune under the guidance of an eccentric psychologist, later diagnosed as bipolar. All I knew is, he was hella fun. Dr. Bill wasn’t the sort to make a fuss about school attendance, regular hours, pot smoking, or style of dress (or undress, for that matter)....more
This week, your Storming Bohemian has moved to a new house. Again. And so some reflections:
There is much to be said for stability, I know. The steady quiet observation of the likes of Annie Dillard or Henry Thoreau evokes my admiration....more