“Ass in the chair is the only rule of art.” Donald Murray

Ernest Hemingway and Donald Murray

What I continue to learn! Why I am inspired by these giants of writing.
I have experienced 6 weeks of Monday night classes at Donald Murray’s home in Durham. I sat in as a want to be writer with writers of varied experience in his living room. I worked on a Friday night deadline for 6 weeks and held to it. The secret Don said was to write. He did not believe in writers block. He said to start with a word and go from there.

I have experienced 7 weeks of a class: Ernest Heming way: The Paris Years. It has been an ever changing and interesting experience. I only knew of Hemingway from his book The Old Man and the Sea and the short stories The Hills of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. I was amazed and inspired by all three works.

So I have gone from The Paris Years to the Portsmouth Ideas and enjoyed the ride. As Sir Robert said on the first night of class, that it is ‘’Like a river ever flowing, ever changing.” I have discovered that the more I read of EH and DM the faster the river flows, quickening the pace of change. There is so much to learn so much to mine for the craft of writing.
Mr. Wheeler also quoted Donald Murray, “I have to fight the tendency to think I know the subject I teach.” Ernest and Donald were now forever intertwined in supplying inspiration after that first night of class. I left that night enthused and looking forward to my readings and the next class.
I read of generations passing and searching for meaning in “The Sun Also Rises” and immediately realized a connection between EH and DM. They were both great observers of what is happening all around them. Murray had said in class that to be a writer one must see what others do not and craft a way to let them see what they missed.
I learned that there have been countless biographies on EH since his untimely 1961 death and that as a Journalist, Travel Writer, Short Story Writer and Writer of novels that he had squirreled away lots of writing. He did this despite being a womanizer, a drinker, a sportsman and a husband and father.

As a Journalist Hemingway covered stories for the Kansas City Star and then as an expatriate freelance writer covering post war Europe. I found that he learned valuable lessons there about writing in a concise manner. From the 1954 book, The Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway the Early Years by Charles A. Fenton much was gleaned. Ernest Hemingway was a working newspaperman both intermittently and for long intervals during the years Oct. 1916 and Dec. 1923. Other influences were War, Travel, and Sport. His work habits were extensive, sustained and purposeful. He wrote expatriate fiction in 1922-3. In a very real sense his apprenticeship never ended. Hemingway had durability, he was demanding, always growing and had rigid discipline when it came to writing. He said to a friend in 1949, “I’m apprenticed out at it until I die. Dopes can say you mastered it. But I don’t know nobody ever mastered it, nor could not have done better.” [At it]
Hemingway only worked at the Kansas City Star for 7 months but the rules from the papers style sheet book had 110 rules which stayed with him for live. Language and words could never from this point be lightly regarded (pg. 32). In 1940 Hemingway said, “I’ve never forgotten them, no man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides by them (pg. 34). Some rules were simple; like never use old slang, avoid use of adjectives, and use short sentences. The only way to improve your writing is to write. The English language yields to simplicity through brevity (pg. 43). Charles Fenton an English Instructor at Yale said, “It wasn’t the literary hothouse of Paris in the 20’s that shaped Hemingway so much as fledgling High school journalism in Oak Park, Ill. and the newsrooms of Kansas City and Toronto.”
Journalism was writing for the moment; as such it was doomed to the death of topicality but the fiction writer by adding invention to experience gave his work the possibility of enduring life. Hemingway granted that it was okay to begin in journalism because it lumbers you up and gives you a command of the language, it was good practice. [Read Paragraphs pg. 232 and 225]

Notes:
Hemingway peaked early, burned out early, copped out and exited early missing a head, yet left a body of work. He lived his time fully but not a full life because you must finish the journey and he up and quit. He left a mess for others to decipher. He was another casualty of another lost and searching generation.
“Old’ man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you. I need someone to love me the whole day thru. Ah! One look at my eyes and you can tell that’s true” (Neil Young). I am not Hemingway but I do write. I am only alive because I put up a fight to survive. I mine for the words and a heart of gold. Pray I do not lose the spontaneity. Did EH become so tough because his name was Ernest or because he was? EH and DM were both bears of a man. Their paths may have crossed. DM knew of EH’s work and work habits and quoted them in his writing notes. DM went out with his writing boots on dying a day after submitting his last column for the Boston Globe. EH left us too early after burning out. Both lived full and humanly complete lives of observing and learning and writing it all out. Each part of the story gleaned from focused observation and from attempts at learning lessons. The jumbled beginnings of a journey jotted down from viewing another lost generation. From Donald Murray, “Ass in the Chair is the only rule of Art.”

Works Referenced:
(Weber) (Fenton) (Phillips) (Murray)
Fenton, Charles A. The Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway-the Early Years. NY: Viking Press, 1954.
Murray, Donald M. Welcolm to the Writer’s Craft. Writing Guide. Durham, NH: Donald M Murray, 2006.
Phillips, Larry W. Ernest Hemingway on Writing. NY: Scribner, 1984, 2004.
Weber, Ronald. Hemingway’s Art of Non-Fiction. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

Mike Gordon Band: From Neptune to the Flying Monkey

Neptune Theatre--Seattle

Neptune Theatre–Seattle

Flying Monkey logo

Mike Gordon Band

Mike Gordon Band

Mike Gordon Band

Mike Gordon Band

Out there in the atmosphere that surrounds this world we live in there are connections which emanate, propagate and reach back to us. I believe that we are all connected somehow and call this intangible ‘string theory.’ How we live our lives and the decisions we make can strengthen or weaken these connections. I believe that the connection of communication through music is one of the strongest bond builders we can find. Live music is ‘truth’ and you can not fake it. Something happens when musicians play their trade for an audience. We become one with the beats, rhythms, sound, lyrics, and emotions in motion. Each in our own way yet sharing this musical truth.

Mike Gordon Band

Mike Gordon Band

Jam bands starting with ‘The Grateful Dead’ nationally and ‘Max Creek’ local to the East Coast developed a faithful following of fans with their own magical connection in ‘playing with the band.’ The gathering of music loving clans grew up with this music and connected to it as often as possible. Some followed the bands around on their tours. They all came for the real true connection and communication of live music. The music was shared as groups of friends and acquaintances bonded in ‘Rock and Roll’ moments which became marking points on the long winding crazy road of life. The constant was the music, the band, and connection. The faithful followers gather still as new generations join in the groove.

The Mike Gordon Band is now finishing up a tour with Scott Murawski the long time guitarist from ‘Max Creek’ as his prime sidekick. The road continues on as these Gurus of groove spread the truth of live music and expand the connections in a gathering of the clans of faithful jam band followers at each stop. The Neptune Theatre in Seattle and the Flying Monkey Theatre and Performance Center are old theaters reclaimed and renovated for such gatherings. I was fortunate enough to score a couple of song lists where you can see the abbreviations used for the songs played. The lists are always on stage for each performance. A small reminder that the intangible connections did occur and will continue into the future.

Mike Gordon and Scott

Mike Gordon and Scott

Flying Monkey logo

Plymouth, NH
Flying Monkey
Mike Gordon, Scott Murawski, Tom Cleary, Craig Myers, Todd Isler

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014
Doors at 6:30PM, show starts at 7:30PM
Flying Monkey – 39 S. Main St, Plymouth, NH 03264, Plymouth, NH venue website
Phone 603-536-2551

Mike Gordon Band Flying Monkey Songlist

Mike Gordon Band
Flying Monkey Songlist

Set One
Another Door
Surface
Only A Dream
Loon
Twists And Bends
Say Something
Just A Rose
Voices

Set Two
Morphing Again
Long Black Line
Mississippi
Black Tambourine
Spiral
Walls Of Time
Jumping
Paint
Soul Food Man

Encore
Cities

Neptune Theatre--Seattle

Neptune Theatre–Seattle

Mike Gordon Band Neptune Theatre Songlist

Mike Gordon Band
Neptune Theatre
Songlist

MAR 21 2014
Seattle, WA
The Neptune
Mike Gordon, Scott Murawski, Tom Cleary, Craig Myers, Todd Isler

Friday, Mar 21, 2014
Doors at 8PM , show starts at 9PM
The Neptune – 206-467-5510 – venue website

Set One
Babylon Baby >
Cruel World
Yarmouth Road
Long Black Line
Pretty Boy Floyd
Are You A Hypnotist??
Tiny Little World
Emotional Railroad
Different World

Set Two
Sound
Dig Further Down
Ether
Cities
Say Something
Meat
Jumping
Normal Phoebe
Face

MIKE GORDON – OVERSTEP (2014)
by officialmikegordon
PRE-ORDER ‘OVERSTEP’ NOW ON 2-LP BLUE VINYL OR CD: bit.ly/mg_overstep On February 25th, ATO Records will release Overstep, Phish bassist Mike Gordon’s fourth solo studio album (joining 2003’s Inside In, 2008’s The Green Sparrow, and 2010’s Moss). Most artists have a fixed ritual or routine that they rely on to inspire their efforts from concept to fruition. Gordon tends to establish general goals, and then eschew routines for creative experiments. One of his goals for Overstep was to trust himself to relinquish control, which he accomplished by sharing songwriting duties with guitarist and longtime collaborator Scott Murawski (who also tackles lead vocals on three of the album’s eleven tracks), and by handing over the producing reins for the first time in his solo career to Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo, Pixies). Gordon invited a few new players into his sandbox, including legendary drummer Matt Chamberlain (Jon Brion, Fiona Apple), who fleshed out previously-recorded drum machine parts on actual drums. The result is a diverse but tightly knit family of sturdy rock numbers that manages to sound grounded but sophisticated at the same time, and raw but carefully considered. Overstep’s opening track “Ether,” which begins as distant industrial noise that’s gradually replaced by lush guitars and welcoming vocal harmonies, serves as an invitation to the listener to set aside current preoccupations and come along for a 49-minute “reality check.” Gordon draws inspiration from an astonishing variety of sources, from the natural world to the emotional world to his often persistent visions. Like Gordon himself, the album is full of contradictions, juxtapositions, and surprises – which is exactly what his fans expect. Mike Gordon will celebrate the release of Overstep with a North American headline tour that will kick off at the Westcott Theatre in Syracuse, NY on February 28. The run will include shows at New York City’s Webster Hall (March 1), the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles (March 17) and the historic Fillmore in San Francisco (March 18). The bassist/vocalist will be joined on the road by his band – Scott Murawski (guitar), Craig Myers (percussion), Tom Cleary (keyboards) and Todd Isler (drums). A new repertoire is augmented by hints of secret synesthetic mad scientist gadgetry on and around the stage.

. 1. Ether
• 2. Jumping
• 3. Tiny Little World
• 4. Yarmouth Road
• 5. Say Something
• 6. Face
• 7. Paint
• 8. Different World
• 9. Peel
• 10. Long Black Line
• 11. Surface

2/28 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theatre 3/1 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall 3/2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer 3/4 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club 3/6 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel 3/7 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE 3/8 – Chicago, IL @ Park West 3/9 – Madison, WI @ Barrymore Theatre 3/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theatre 3/12 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall – NEW DATE ADDED 3/14 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre 3/15 – Park City, UT @ Park City Live 3/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ The El Rey Theatre 3/18 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore 3/19 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom 3/21 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune 3/22 – Vancouver, BC @ Rio Theatre 3/28 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues 3/29 – Plymouth, NH @ Flying Monkey – NEW DATE ADDED 3/30 – Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theater – NEW DATE ADDED 4/4 –

Mike Gordon and Guitarist extraordinaire Scott Murawski

Mike Gordon and Guitarist extraordinaire Scott Murawski

Photos and the write up of the new album are from Mike’s website. Neptune and Flying Monkey logos are from those websites.

Pawtuckaway Wetland Beavers

All pictures taken with a NIKON D50 digital camera

Pawtuckaway Wetland Beavers

I am aware of our mortality and strive to make the most of each day. We can’t take it with us so we must walk our paths with love, hope and understanding.

The paths taken on walks in differing season give me pause to take in the lives of some of my natural neighbors. The Beaver population in the wetland system of Pawtuckaway State Park has fascinated me for the years lived in its midst.

Enjoy the simple things and you can feel the grand connection to it all. The old stone walls seen all thru New Hampshire and New England were put in place slowly, stone by stone walls were made day by day.

They framed old forest and field, stream river and lake shores.

The stone walls were made with great effort and persistence. They held the makers hopes and framed their dreams. The walls are not unlike the beavers den and winter food supply, it was all part of survival.

We can’t take it with us, but just as the ancestors we can leave our focus.

Whether framed in stone or words or decisions it remains after us,

Weathered by wind, water and time

With stones added and landscape shaped by those who cross this path.

This den is downlake from where I live. The branches you see sticking up are the tips of a winter food supply that is reached underwater, OUCH!

2Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

A one foot radius tree that the beaver is working on in an attempt to get at the rest of the tree. If only they could climb it would be easier.

3Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

Closeup of the tooth marks and work that goes into downing a tree with your teeth. I get tired of chewing downing a large meal!

4Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

The beaver has cut all of these sections in an attempt to down one tree which is still hung up in another tree. This shows the persistence and determination to survive which is inate in nature.

5Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

A closeup of the beaver den and the nights snack material.

6Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

I leave you on this path with the stream that fills the pond. This beaver has built a house with running water! Peace to all!

7Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

Frigid Footprints Etched in Time

Frigid Footprints Etched in Time

Time to reflect find meaning

Ready and gather strength for future seasons

Time to live in a present moment built on the past

To find bliss each day in just being

In feeling hoping loving

In gently holding to patience and faith

Touching natures surround unbound

Time is infinite change in an expanding universe

Like the lake surface blanketed in snow from transient storm

Change in flakes and crystals of water mixing moving gathering

Little twisters of white move in gusty gestations

Infinite equations of changing destination and motion

Eyes watery and face worn with lines of season old and the days cold

Manmade mirror of glass in shore side ice rink

Altered the blanket by pulling it back for gliding space

Tuck in the edges to border and shape

Sore eyes gaze in wonder from weathered countenance

Great spirit of nature and all uses a whisk brush of gust

A vehicle of wind and a wispy medium of snow

To draw-paint a picture in the tenor of the season and flux of time

Transposing a lake shore rink into an ever changing etch a sketch image of life

Shaken by wintry blast infinite design is cast

Daily Prompt: Back to School , A post to the SNHU school newspaper

In 2008 I returned to University and majored in English Language and Creative Writing. I joined the school newspaper (the old elephant in the room.) This is one of my posts published in the newspaper.

Pothier_Creative_Story-telling Dream Free write

Ken Pothier_11/26/2009

A Story-telling Dream

I had a storytelling dream. In it I was camping on mother earth with father sky above me. Alone, but for the spirit of the ancestors surrounding me North, South, East, West, Above and Below. Felt in the knowledge and magic of medicine animals. I wanted to write, but there wasn’t a way. I was consumed with the need to get my feelings and observations recorded, to tell a story.
I then proceeded to observe, read, feel all of the great spirit in nature around me. Dusk came over the dream and I could not record what was felt in the subtle and palpable lessons of the land. I spent last light organizing the campsite getting ready for the night.

Alone, but for want of a way to write,
But for want of a fire to light,
But for want of a means to share,
It could have been a good dream.

I awoke with longing and frustration in my being. In a life tinged with sorrow I could not shake the feeling of the dream.
If I could not write:
I could live with it, carry it, carry on, and not put the heavy load of feeling down.
I could make a blanket of my tears for they roll down and carry salt of the earth.
I could leave signs, in the bank of streams and water’s edge of lake and ocean, where waves of wind, water, and time could wear them away.
I could etch my life sketch in stone, but there is too much to say, and words alone would consume the day.
I could read signs of nature and learn to live in wilderness on my own.
I could watch the seasons pass never knowing when it’s my last.
Could I not write?
Feelings, emotion, experience, knowledge, and lessons learned, would stay lost in time.
Though experienced and felt, never seen, not thought out, and only mine.
Dark and lost in shadow, never letting in the light of memory and time perspective,
Never leaving a clue to how I found my way as pathfinder.

Out on the lake appeared a lone snowmobiler, having a day with some time and a fresh coat of snow to play on. He circled the lake in an outline of the shore. Curved in at coves around the circumference and out where the land reaches to meet the snow covered ice.
A sixty acre oval repeated counterclockwise over and over and over, until it began to look like the concentric rings in the wood of a tree.
Carefully the task was completed, parallel journeys in time, close but never the same, he marked his time on the lake while I fashioned a dreamed story.

One man found a good rhythm in space and time, and beat out a path for all to see, until waves of wind, warmth, water, and time slowly take it all away.
Could I not write…? The day would be held only in memories, of the one who felt it, of the one who observed, and gone forever as they fade away.

Could I be a storyteller…?
Last light of sun’s rays break the clouds, and spotlight one man’s circles of time in motion…
As a work of art, in a rhyme of time, space, light, and words.

Dreams and signs can show the way…
See them, feel them, and own them-live as a warrior, storyteller, and pathfinder.
Tell the tales…etched in time…Hanta Yo…Go Forward…

© Ken Pothier

### 593 words

Poem–A Search for Healing in So Much Sorrow: Writing 201:Poetry: Future

A Search for Healing in So Much Sorrow

The light both rises and falls on hopes horizon

So much sorrow and too little truth,

Need with so much greed

Sometimes I mourn for these sad days. These troubled times and the human race

My Big Dawg ‘Bruce Springsteen’ playing on the radio

Singing about ‘Devils and Dust.’

I write of broken hearted rust

In a search for healing I

Find revival in songwriters’ words we are

‘Born to Run’ from ‘Devils and Dust’

Find spark from song and the

Common ground of the common man

With a ‘Boss’ who lives truth from ‘E Street’

To Main Street

In stories of real people,  the

Heart of a country

So far removed from mindless spin of zombies

The right that is wrong

Sometimes you must mourn for the people of this world

All alone together

‘Devils and Dust’ filling our souls

Tough to breath and to know your roles

Dream our dreams and fulfill our goals

Come together, communicate and connect

A day at a time one step forward, two back

Dreams held and drifting we must

Resist, believe and persist in clouds and blue sky and in Shadows and light

Souls in danger with spiritual cost

Lives at risk with spirit lost

Strive to maintain faith and learn to love as we touch each day

The Shadow of our dreams, those we love and those whose love has touched us

Sadness of our own and those we wish to reach

We give our all each day alive but alone

To go down in dreams each night

Awake looking for the morning light

Cherished grace of charity and compassion

Quiet in our desperation

Energy spent with little residual

Sore wounded scorched spirit

Soul searching

Heavy load train of thought and emotion

Going too fast to just stay on track

We move up the next hill just to see hopes horizon

Hold on

How much sorrow can we bear?

Before doing determined best

Yielding we just put it down

Where the light both rises and falls

“God bless us and save us”

Grandfather said through Two World Wars

And through a grandson

“Great Spirit of all bless us and save us” from the greed and hypocrisy

So much sorrow

Help us to resist, believe and persist

Strive to maintain faith and search for healing

Learn to love as we live

Cherish grace of compassion and charity

Come together, Communicate and connect

Find the courage to believe in yourself and in others

On common ground

Where irreconcilable differences

Diminish, disperse and disappear

On hopes horizon

The place where the light both rises and falls

{Attribute: spark to years of listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band and the rest to the genes inherited from the ancestors}

Hard Wood Writing–Poem

Hard Wood Writing

Feeling lucid under pressure
Moments of sheer horror and panic do pass
Drawn on ousted emotions to draw-paint words to paper
Form scenes opened felt by me
Acts of art for others to observe-see
A word play called ‘New Hope Spring’
On a clean cool clear and cloudy canvass of Papyrus
Framed pages with words
Book cover borders
Times Temperaments Torments Trusts
Loss and Rebirth
Felt and Palpable on written page
Hopes spring grows and flows
Words in mahogany and oak
A writer’s true rings of hard growth memory
True to a vision of what has come to pass
Hard Wood Writing on soft textured page of one person’s past
Written Word Etched for Eternity by Scribed Survivor
Mahogany Voice Rises from Oaken Experience
From scribbler to Scribe the Survivor Crafts
The soft subtle textured pages of a life’s
Lessons Learned and Shared
Now and Then