Rare audio of O. Henry, who would’ve been 150 today, on the secret of writing good stories.

I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets in writing a short story. The most important thing, at least in my humble opinion, is to use characters you’ve crossed in your lifetime. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. All of my stories are actual experiences that I have come across during my travels. My characters are facsimilies of actual people I’ve known. Most authors spend hours, I’m told even days, laboring over outlines of stories that they have in their minds. But not I. In my way of thinking that’s a waste of good time.

Open Culture has more background. Also see Kurt Vonnegut on the 8 secrets of stories.

True words here.

(via explore-blog)

Spanish Market and the Remains of Summer

Another Spanish Market in Santa Fe.  Another year of saying next year I will be with someone and we will hold hands and laugh at the people and the art.

Always next year waiting for her.

Spanish Market coming and going in Santa Fe is the lead up to the Indian Market and then the Fiestas and then the end of summer and the the cold will come back again.

Hopefully new doors are opening at the end of this particular summer and better things will happen.  It’s been a bad year for a lot of us.   

The end of this summer means the end of much more, though.  Good friends are leaving Santa Fe to seek their fortune.  I am moving on and away from someone and perhaps joining something that may become a completely new family.

Maybe I will write this summer down and write the people down and know that - as hard as its been - it’s been a year guided by stars.

Loveloution bus (Taken with Instagram at Santa Fe Farmers Market)

Loveloution bus (Taken with Instagram at Santa Fe Farmers Market)

Dear Diary, Part 3,000,000

It’s the Thursday night before Memorial Day and I have been skating on the happiness that is a gently warm Santa Fe evening.

I’ve been alone - save for seeing a good friend for a while earlier - for the first time in a while tonight.   In this particular case, alone means not being with the a person I have fallen so completely and crazy in love with that I almost don’t know what’s going on some days.

I have experienced this in a complete mirror-opposite way in the past.  I got divorced a long while back and I remember not remembering anything for most of a year.  The entire thing was terrible and despite any character-building things I may have earned on my way through that time, I don’t miss one minute of it.  But I remember kind of waking up one day - in the middle of the day - and realizing I did not remember most anything I had done for a good while because of the sadness and loss and regret a divorce after a long marriage delivers whether you want it to or not.

Now I’m in love with someone who may or may not be in love with me, it’s hard to tell with this one, and I have moments like now when I realize I am missing parts of my day because I have been so lost in thought about her.  I love thinking of her.  Her face can occupy me for hours like the paintings in the MET did when I spent a long Saturday one fall going from painting to painting bathed in beauty and the special light good true work brings to the world. 

This cannot last.  I don’t want to let it go.  She is so complicated yet simple.  When I touch her I feel like I am touching a new world so wonderful that I can only imagine its beauty and hope I can travel in it for a long long while.

If only I could say this to her.  If only she would believe it.

I read this story at Op Cit Bookstore recently.

Almost Supermoon, but Earlier

If the moon is just right and there is not much humidity and you stand in the right place, the side where the bronze of the kids playing tug of war stands, and look toward downtown Santa Fe, you can see a giant willow.  It’s spring and it’s branches are thin green spring tendrils and it’s like hair falling from a young woman’s face when you first meet her and there is everything to know.

I watched that tree for a good long while tonight and turned around and looked away from the Roundhouse and I guess it was Venus that was crouched above horizon out left of Los Alamos.

And there were the four old casitas that were real homes once, across Don Gaspar, now stuck between the government and a hard place.  They mostly look alike.  One has old trees in front.  They are old and pasted over with stucco like an old woman with too much makeup at a wedding, sitting and out of place wondering when it will be over.

A man walked by talking into a cell in his hand.  He was too far to understand.  The chatter of a human in the distance, spelled by a soft breeze.

Two cars drive past.  The right way.  One the wrong way down the opposite end of Don Gaspar.  Godspeed, you think.

You are just as all over the place.  Out of place, in love you left no space for, and wonder if you have to make space now.  Or not.  

That’s the way it goes now.  It was all or nothing once.  It’s not any more.

Born, Lived and Died

It’s too bad the line “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” has been used.  The line, of course, was facetious because the book it comes from did not praise anyone famous at all.  It honored the poor and the uknown.

A great painter - so many think they are in Santa Fe and aren’t - died last night.  His name was John Gregory Tweed.  His style was complicated.  Impressionism.  Pointillism.  An accurate depiction of light and color and how Santa Fe plays with it every day.

Greg, which is what we called him, was truly a painter and an artist in a town full of poseurs.  He was not a famous man.  I praise him.

He was a grand story teller with a dramatic New England accent and the stories of his life were like his paintings - full of details and grand gestures of emotion and feeling.

Greg had been sick a good while.  His heart quit him last night and he quit this Earth.  I’m not sure about his entire story.  Not sure enough to write much more about him other than to say he lived a dramatic life, a tragic life and the life of the truly real.

I hope when he took his final few steps across his beautiful living room - an old Santa Fe apartment mentioned by Willa Cather in “Death Comes for the Archbishop” and a bedroom used as a studio by Georgia O’Keeffe to paint - that he remembered maybe the bit of a favorite poem, or a song he loved or perhaps the voice of a love long lost.

Everyone dies.  Everything fades.    No matter what about the wheel of life and the repetition of death and birth and night and morning, it all ends for all of us.

There is so much I want to tell the world but fear of myself and fear of happiness has kept me from doing so.  

I will try and change that, Greg.  

He wouldn’t have listened to Springsteen, but I do.  So here you:

Now, baby, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact

But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

That we will see about.  

Cold Nights and Maui

I was born in Hawaii.  On Oahu.  I don’t remember any of it.  My father was in the Air Force and stationed there and just passing through like my family did the whole first 10 or so years of my life.  I’m glad that happened to me.  It made me a much stronger person.

It’s amazing what you learn when you are a kid.

I’m waiting to find out if I even have a chance at a new job that will give me the kind of salary I need to live like a two-legged man again.

However, I’m thinking I might move on if I don’t get it.  Like move on out of Santa Fe and leave her behind for good.  You can only love a woman who doesn’t love back for so long.

I’m thinking Maui.  I hear you can leave there on the cheap if you are willing.  My life can’t get much cheaper.  

So what about this Maui?  It’s an island.  It’s big-looking on a map.  Is there life there?

Maui man

The Saturday The Time Changed

We fall back tonight.  This morning we plunge into winter.  The sun did not rise today.  It laid down in a bed of thick gray clouds dousing Santa Fe with an icy rain that wants to be snow but can’t because of layers upon layers of warm and cold.

I am on a second pot of coffee.  Rare for me.  But it is one of those days.  Coffee in bed. Wondering how to get the stray phone back left at a friend’s house overnight.  A long, cold walk.  Too much time to think.

I look out my window now and see giant flakes fo snow mixing with the ice rain.  A terrible beauty.

This is a day for being in love and in bed and letting her pick the movie.

Santa Fe in the October Night

I walked home from the bar in the crisp autumn air.  It’s just warm enough to keep the hotels from firing up the pinion and coating downtown with its sweet smell.

The Vibrators were playing a seedy place called The Underground.  I remember being a teenager when they were brand new and raging on WRAS 88.5 in Atlanta.  It’s sad that they have to keep playing to stay alive, because they have nothing else to do with their lives.

Of course, I’m doing the same thing - playing along, living my life and doing what I have to do to stay alive.  There’s a sadness over us all tonight.  An October sadness of endingand no real beginning lying ahead.