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A Problematic Entry

I really don’t quite trust what I am about to do here, but I’m going to do it. A few of you — a very few — know Road Angels, my 2002 book about travels down the West Coast. In it I tried something very different from my other books, both in tone and in content. I wanted to take a look at the American dream at the turn of the century; to paint a series of pictures of people and places from the Canadian to the Mexican border that, when added up, formed a snapshot of our national psyche as revealed by the coast that I call “the end of hope and the beginning of dream.”

The book received some strong critical praise, then disappeared like a stone in the ocean. But such is a writer’s life, and one moves on.

The reason I am going on this long prologue is because I am going to post here an unpublished section that was meeant for that book. It never got included because the length of the book necessitated cutting off the coastal journey at Big Sur. This has to do with La Conchita, California, which is just south of Santa Barbara. It is where the devastating mudslides are taking place.

The reason I say that I don’t quite trust this posting is because the tone seems insensitive in light of what those people are suffering. But it also seems tremendously relevant in a dark sort of way.

Know this as you begin: this piece was actually written in 1996. La Conchita had experienced devastating mudslides the year before, though without the loss of life.

What follows is the unpublished essay, “God’s Bowling Ball — La Conchita, 1996.” You are the only folks ever to have read it.
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Contacting me

I’ve been told by some of you that you can’t figure out how to make comments on the website. This is unfortunate, and I’d like to explain the situation.

Due to astonishing amounts of spam, I’ve had to shut down the “comments” section. Somehow, the masters of cyberjunk have figured out how to randomly attach to websites, and through links or whatever, can increase the amount of junk you receive in exponential increments. If I open the “comments” section, your individual comments will within a few days be lost beneath a sea of offers for mortgages, sexual enhancers,cheap loans, prescription drugs from Canada, and various herbal compounds that promise to cure cancer and guarantee that you can lose 15 pounds in 15 minutes. A couple hundred of those, and you’d give up on the comments yourselves.

So, instead, we’ve set the system up so you must make your comments by hitting the “contact” button.

I hope this helps those of you who have been wondering how to make comments. Sorry for the problems.


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