But . . . . Earl?

Hurricane Earl cometh. A big blow marching up the east coast from the Bahamas north to Labrador. A circling brouhaha arising out of Africa and bound to shake things on Cape Hatteras, Nantucket, Long Island. And Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Nag’s Head, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Manteo, Roanoke. And First Landing, Hampton Roads, Willis Wharf, Accomack, Assateague, Ocean City, Long Neck, Cape May, Wildwood.

I must confess a certain titillation (although not sexual) at the thought of being caught in a hurricane. This one will probably miss Washington, DC, but something in my subterranean thrills at the images of flying tree limbs, smashed bonnets of red Ferraris , basements full of brown water, swimming brown rats, water moccasins.

I wonder why I crave thrills like that. On a trip to Europe I sat in a Barcelona hotel and visited with my boss and good friend, Arnie Carston, about venturing to Pamplona to run with the bulls. I was fifty- three-years old that year and a long distance runner and imagined myself donning those white get-ups with the bright red sashes the run-with-bulls people wear as they clamber over the walls and into the cobbled streets; the wild surges of adrenaline like a big cat bounding, bounding out of the chest cavity leaping up over the red tiled roofs and  . . . but we were in Spain in June and the Festival of San Fermin occurs from July 7 through July 14 and even though the thought of starring on Spanish national television; hooked, gored, then tossed in a bloody mess against a stuccoed wall was heady, the timing was wrong.

And here, in Virginia, I suppose we could vacate before the hurricane blows in and blame my chance at near death on timing, too. But I will be here in Northern Virginia when Earl (I wish this one had been named Fiona or Gaston, something more exotic) manages to roar by out there in the Atlantic somewhere close, but not close enough to do much damage here. In Vietnam I lived through at least two typhoons, both of which drove us indoors and suspended the killing for a day or two. We stayed cooped up in jarhead-green wall tents and got drunk one night on 200-proof Everclear rice hooch, and the platoon commander whom we sorely despised led a raid on the officers’ mess and we stole big two-gallon pales of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, and reveled in our crime and guilt and in not getting captured. In our drunkenness, we planned to murder the platoon commander, but we didn’t because we lacked the guts.

And the first year Betty and I owned our house in Sonoma County, a mid-December brawl barged onshore with ninety-mile-an-hour winds and eight inches of rain in twenty-four hours that flooded the garage, the yard and forced me into much hard digging to rebuild the French drains. The storm belied the benign non-violent reverence with which our little hippy town viewed itself. I secretly pined for something more visceral and vehement and with the storm, at least, I got it.

Once, in 1972, I stood outside in a patch of desert and watched the pending arrival of a July dust storm. I had watched many over the twenty-two years I had lived in Casa Grande, but this one was different. A dust cloud loomed miles high and as it swarmed out of the southeastern Sonoran, the mountains around town disappeared into the maw of darkness like tiny brown knolls. That was one Hades of a summer blow that battered Toltec, Eleven Mile Corner, Eloy, Blackwater, Sacaton, Santan, Casa Blanca, Stanfield, Peters’ Corner, Mobile. The sharp scent of wet greasewood mixed with the taste of dampened dust. When it smacked into us, it removed roofs, destroyed elm trees and Aleppo pines, shoved house trailers off their foundations and flooded the local Napa auto-parts store. The low spots in the streets caused my truck-motor to flood as I tried to barge across to the liquor store to buy a jug of Spanada. I recall standing out there as the threat of total darkness loomed just ahead. The pelt of little grains of flying desert threatened to peel my hide, so I retreated. The charcoal tint of the sky made my heart leap, then scuttle down inside my guts. The next morning I ventured out into the scattered  leaves and roofing and chunks of old-house siding out Thornton Road, and admired the telephone poles snapped off at the ground and tossed around like pick-up sticks as if a wild tornado had plowed through, throwing half a mile of barbed wire fence. Was a tornado buried in the fangs of that ferocity? According to the weather dudes, no way, but back then we believed everyone, except us young know-it-alls, was owned by the insurance companies who kept all their money in a big brown bag (thank you John Lennon) and didn’t want to pay any claims. Then I got more sophisticated about business and money, but now I wonder if my 1970s simplicity was so off base.

Once in New Mexico, Betty and I lay in our bed in James Canyon and listened to the frightening crash of thunder as it roared off the southern Great Plains into the Sacramento Mountains. Rain and hail berated our old metal roof and shattered my dreams of search and destroy missions. Water poured around the foundation and I thought I heard the sounds of distant combat as the storm barreled west. I crept out into the misty cold of early morning and listened to the breath of something deep and sinister. Bright flashes of light gathered on the bottoms of the storm’s remnants that clouded the yellow-pine-and-red-fir-topped ridges. The shimmering light flipped and punched, retreated, then attacked. I pulled on my Wellington boots and trod down the stairs and slipped in the black mud as I walked down the road and into an open space. Alas, instead of apocalyptic, the fire resulted from someone’s propane tank being stabbed by lighting and a fierce breath of flame leapt into the glowering dawn. I could hear the storm rolling off towards White Sands Missile Range as the volunteer fire trucks arrived and excited men began to yell. I thought about creeping closer, something about the mix of red and yellow flame, waning night, waning storm, waxing mist, the subtle flutter of elation hammering in my chest. But I didn’t. I listened to the men screaming as they tried to stop the momentary holocaust. Out in an adjacent meadow, three black-tailed doe browsed on the new growth of a Douglas fir. Four white-spotted fawns followed.

I wonder about this desire to test the limits of fear and disaster. One August night in Yosemite National Park, Betty and I and our daughter Sarah sat and watched a one-man monologue channeling John Muir’s words, something akin to this: In the furious moment of a winter storm, I leaped from the ledge above Yosemite Falls and trusting my faith, or fate, crashed into the top of a leaning hemlock tree and spent the night there, my arms wrapped around the top of the trunk, feeling the majesty of a hard blow, reveling in the wildness of the wind on my face. Right then I wanted that. I still do.

According to the latest hurricane forecast, tidal flooding is a threat all day. It will be hot, ninety degrees and with all the humidity caused by the approaching hurricane, Friday will be leaky and wan. The air quality will be orange…the sky and the threat level. Dangerous to breathe, if not for the short term, then for the long term. But I doubt the big blow will show much here. I could jump in the car and head east into the cold stare of danger, across the loud mouth of the Chesapeake and on to Assateague, but I have a blog to write, movie clips to edit, poems to read.

Carolina Wrens

Sunday morning Betty and I drove into Washington DC and visited The Wall. The weather dawned rainy and cool and most of the people around this center of world power still snuggled in their beds. Down at The Mall, the Potomac looked like a mirror that needed to be re-silvered. Big white and blue cabin cruisers cut wakes in the flat gray water.

Most of the people out were sweaty joggers, their hair matted with the humidity. The Washington Mall has a lot of wide, flat, sandy trails and lots of trees, and the view from Lincoln’s seat in his big white Acropolis-looking shrine on down to the obelisk-y Washington Monument can be quite stunning with the reflections of the morning cumulus mixed with cirrus clouds in the long pools. When we got there a faint sheet of virago draped the eastern sky, as if stranded above the Washington Monument’s apex.

As we approached The Wall on foot, bus loads of Asians showed up and people piled out and began to photograph everything in sight:  Lincoln, the Korean War Monument, the sky, the street.  And why not, Betty and I were downtown this morning to do some photography ourselves. We checked the books at the Vietnam War Memorial monument and found names of men I knew back in the 1960s. We shot some pictures of the names:  Aldrich, Claire, Jacques, McRae, Norman, Rivera, Ryan. The names I knew or served with came in groups on the panels—batched alphabetically by dates they died. Twenty-some-odd men on Jun 7, 1967, twenty-some-odd on February 25, 1968, twelve or so on March 6, 1968, twelve or so on March 30, 1968. There are about eighty names on that wall that I served with in Bravo Company and there are another twelve or so names of men I knew from my home town. And that doesn’t count the men I trained with before Nam who died there without my knowledge and I won’t go into the non-lethal casualties of both then and now that are not on the wall and so remain anonymous.

Betty and I first went to the wall on a sweltering July 2 night in 1993. There were busloads of us and a piper in a plaid kilt played bagpipes on the lawn just above the wall. My old comrades stood around and made speeches about loss and sacrifice. They pointed to the etched names and let tears drip from their tough old eyes. But not me, not me, not me.  None of that stuff bothered me.

Years later, in 1999 Betty and I went again. I stood down there by myself while Betty looked for a name in the books, and I was engulfed by the high walls of the monument. It’s like a canyon sometimes, remembering all those men, or boys as they were at the time. I remember on that particular visit I was looking for a Marine named John Armstrong, a black guy I went to high school with who was killed in March 1967, the week I got to Nam. Something about the May sunlight glancing off the smooth black surface burned my eyes and tears leaked out of the corners. I looked around to see who was watching me as I pulled my red kerchief out of my back pocket and wiped my eyes and cleaned my glasses, sighing in relief that no one I knew saw me at that moment, weak and exposed, remembering his big black frame smacking me into the turf of the football field the year I was a junior. I can’t really visualize him well in my mind after forty-six years, but something about the way he moved, the way he was built, reminds me of a razor blade, and his big smile, and how aloof he was to all us loud-mouthed white guys.

We went to The Wall in 2001, too, but I don’t recall much, except the reds, golds and oranges in the late October trees along the mall, the nip in the air, and the smell of wood smoke floating over the river from Arlington, Virginia. We went to the Iwo Jima Memorial that time, too, and stood up above the sculptures of that monument and looked through and over the power lines at all the monuments on the other side. Yes, monuments, monuments—a lot of monuments. Smoke still rose from the wound in The Pentagon caused by the September 11 attack. As I stood there looking at the replica of the photograph taken of the staged flag-raising on Iwo, I felt a great sense of fear and a great sense of sadness smothering us, our country. One of the things that bothers me now is that this sense of fear is still with us and I want to grab the lapels of my accumulated countrymen (metaphorically speaking) and scream out FDR’s words, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but we are frightened and cower behind our PCs and Wii games, and fail to see the world as something that spins on whether we are frightened or not. The world, history, time, physics, nor the universe give a damn whether we are frightened or secure.

This Sunday’s visit quickly saw throngs of people troop past the panels we photographed. The sun got out and glared down and all the Asians left off photographing Abe Lincoln and started walking down the mall. They passed us by with a certain reserve, maybe a reverence or so I’d like to think, the lilting music of their voices toned down to almost whispers.  Although none of them stopped to look at any of those fifty-eight thousand names. I wondered what they thought as they walked past chatting in their languages that sounded so much like the ones spoken by the men we killed, and who in turn killed all those men on that black marble wall.

When I got back from our Sunday visit I swore I wouldn’t write about any of this, but here I am doing it. We returned to where we are staying via Arlington and Alexandria and Annandale and when we arrived I wrote down the names of all the men I know who died at Khe Sanh when we were besieged. I wrote down their ranks—Private First Class, Lance Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Lieutenant–and the panels where their names are memorialized and the row numbers so Betty and I can go back with cameras and tripods and movie camera and shoot all of them, all of them, all of them.

I swore to myself I wouldn’t write about this. I said it to myself as I sat there and wrote those names and their locations on The Wall on the lined yellow sheet on the yellow pad. I will not write about this. And outside, the Carolina wrens picabooed their music, and the cicadas scratched out their claims to the big-leafed trees in the back yard. Some newly spotted fawns fed on the ferns. Somewhere lightning shattered. It thundered and showered.


This last week we meandered down the west side of Lake Huron and spent four days in Ann Arbor before motoring on to Washington, DC. While in Ann Arbor, we took a look at the University of Michigan campus and ate some pizza down by the football stadium—the Big House, as the locals like to call it.

At night we went out and chased fireflies around as they rocketed out of the grass below the oak trees and blinked at us with a ferocious and ephemeral lucidity. We discovered them at dusk, when their flashy lights seemed surreal, as if they wore special LEDs or had little flashlight bulbs installed in their abdomens. I’m not going to Google them and get the scoop, but I suspect they are so luminous because of something to do with sex, and yes, ultimately, survival.

Betty and I were in Ann Arbor to interview a couple of my comrades from the Vietnam War experience. Both of them are quite likely to end up in our documentary film, Bravo! (http://bravotheproject.com). Both men are undergoing or just completed treatment regimens for cancer probably brought on, or exacerbated, by their exposure to Agent Orange.  All of us, them and me, survived seventy-plus days of pure Hades-created existence, and now later for some to be gobbled by an affliction (or at least partly so) resulting from our own side’s attempts to make our fight easier is situational irony. Talk about friendly fire—but of a very long-range, delayed fuse type.

After talking to these men, I lay in bed all night throwing the covers off, then pulling them back on as I battled my memories and how they had been boys with big wide smiles and now wore grins that spoke a gallows humor, and a wariness that they cannot escape.

And I wondered again, as I have for forty-two years, about the mystery of war . . . its unfairness, its finality, its destructiveness, its general propensity to be inconclusive. I make this last claim because I firmly believe that somewhere In the future we will, in one national form or other, again fight Germans, Japanese, Spaniards, Vietnamese, Mexicans, British, Filipinos, Russians, Chinese, each other.

There are many mysteries to life . . . birth, death, love, hate . . . and there are many avenues which to drive the M-1 Abrams tank of understanding. Physics, Zen, Jesus, Allah, Brahma, the guy who exists in the sap of trees and the guts of bed bugs. And I don’t know which one is right and I’m not sure I care. But the mystery of it, the mystery of why one man, in war, will exterminate large numbers of people with whom he has no personal quarrel.

My liberal friends might tell me that it’s all a stunt of the military-industrial complex and the right wing Republican hard core neo-cons. And my conservative friends might tell me it’s a result of trying to make sure that we, as Americans, are able to hold on to our traditions in the face of constant belligerence from those who hate us. And some might tell me that it’s the will of God that we carry the cross of the West and Christendom to its ultimate pinnacle. I have problems with all of these philosophical treatments because long before Christ and military-industrial complexes and all the other modern mechanisms for promoting factional and national hostilities, we were pretty damned handy at wielding a short sword, parrying spear thrusts as we slashed another man’s guts open.

This killing business is as old as we are. There have been proven instances where gangs of chimps planned ambushes of other gangs of chimps and killed them with crude weapons. And before you chasten me for comparing men and chimps, like it or not, chimps are close to us in terms of DNA, so we might learn (or at least recognize) something from their behavior. War is as old as the species, and beyond, Homo sapiens sapiens, and before that Cro-Magnon, and before that Neanderthal and before that . . .

I’m not making excuses for war, and I’m not a lover of combat. I fought in one. It is primitive, my friends. Primal in its roots. I don’t like being frightened so thoroughly that you never escape that rapid beating of the heart, that moment of instant alert when a car backfires or a jet roars overhead. I don’t like having to stand on the precipice of sanity and decide if I am safer to go insane, or just shuck my shoulders and endure. The shaking, the dry mouth—perpetual dry mouth, the agony of it all imprisoned in the marrow of your bones. Never to be released.

And as for philosophy, when men fight in war, they aren’t fighting for all that high-minded stuff, they are fighting for their lives—it’s personal—it’s part of the prime edict—survive.  Fighting in a war is also about taking care of the man on your left, and on your right, because he is the man who takes care of you.  And while you are fighting as mates, like I did with those two men we interviewed in Michigan, something happens in the relationship, a bright stellar bond that flashes in the short time you carry on your tasks of shooting, maiming, blowing up, impaling that man on the other side, that man who has a wife, a child, cousins, sisters, a mother who wants him to come home too, just like yours does.

And here I am now, going out at dusk in Washington, DC, where we are now digging around in the Marine Corps’ archives in search of memories, hazy, now exposed to the sun so they can start to stew and stink and sprout all over again. Memories of events I had begun to think I had imagined are now being confirmed as reality. I was not nuts. I did see that, and that, and that, even though I wish I hadn’t.

At dusk, in DC, the fireflies are not out. And I want to see them, their bright, ephemeral flashes that last just a moment or two—that flashing.

A Panoply of Presque Iles

Thursday morning Betty and I rose at 5:30 to catch the sunrise at Marquette, MI, on Lake Superior. Clouds reared up somewhere on the east end of the big lake (the third or fourth largest lake in the world, depending on how you categorize lakes). We listened to the complaints of seagulls and cormorants who still sat on their nests. In the berths of boats, a gang of mallards, one female and her young, back and forth, zigzagged between the sterns of white and blue hulls. Masts speared the emerging day as the wind rippled the water, set the trees to waving in the slant of light.

An old man sat at a table in the grass, his lunch bucket beside him, his brown ball cap pulled down low over his eyes. Women jogged along the path that runs for miles around this bay where iron is shipped out onto the Great Lakes.  Iron ore made this country boom and it still does. Compared with the rest of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this town is wealthy.

As the sun rose, we watched it beat the thunderheads to a faint rose tint. Suspicious of our intentions, gulls circled as they hailed each other. They landed on the asphalt near our car and watched, then chased each other around and around, their webbed feet slapping the parking lot surface.

We photographed the reflection of masts, hulls, trees, clouds—all caught by sunrise light and flashed upon the rippling face of the blue lake, dark here, bright there, like the surface of a mirror in the protected places.

Wednesday was sultry as we left Duluth, Minnesota. Before departing we had red flannel hash with eggs over easy. Betty and I found where her great-grandparents lived in Duluth about a hundred years ago. Overlooking the lake, the house perched on a hill. She took pictures. Her mother lived there for a while in 1927, when she was a small child.

From there we wound across Wisconsin’s northern tip, stopped at a National Wildlife Refuge, saw ruby throated hummingbirds , cedar waxwings, black-backed woodpeckers. Mosquitoes feasted on our arms and legs. Clouds sailed across the sky, puffy and dark, they were welcome when they hid the sun’s anger.

The country is green, but snowmobile signs, skating rinks, bowling alleys, the harsh edges of weathered houses reminded us that the Februaries here will not be lush.

We went to Ontonagon, a tiny town settled mostly by Finns. We have a friend who grew up there.  We have lost contact with her. Her name was Hiltonnen, Sylvia Hiltonnen. The funniest, quick-witted of women. We have lost contact with her. My advice:  Don’t lose contact with those who are important.

They love red brick here, the color of iron ore, red, red, the rustiness of it pervasive in the multiple Lutheran and Catholic buildings in every large town. Every small town.

Yesterday morning as the Marquette breeze slinked around our legs, the bells at the big, two towered Catholic church pealed out a call to Mass. The sound echoed off the nineteenth century mansions built with iron ore money. They look across the water towards Ontario’s distant shore.

Last night we dined on white fish caught locally from the lake. Light and flaky and divine. Then we drove out to Marquette’s version of Presque Isle. Presque isle is French for being “almost an island,” and up north here in the land where the French first Europeanized the Americas, it denotes any piece of land that is almost an island. Michigan has more than one place so named. There are also Presque Isles in Maine, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, among other places.

While out among the white cedars, maples, spruce, white birch and pine, we photoed the sunset , the moonrise, the rocks and the way they caused the water to eddy. Mamma gulls fed their gray and brown youngsters who seemed to fake penitence as they slinked along, begging for a meal. They looked like mendicants getting ready to beat their backs with cats-of-nine tails on Palm Sunday.

This morning we knifed straight east across Michigan’s UP, crossed the Straights of Mackinac that flow between Lakes Huron and Michigan. We motored down the sunrise side of the state to Thunder  Bay. Canada has a Thunder Bay, too. Way up on the north coast of Lake Superior. (We wanted to go that way, but felt restrained by time frames.) On the way to our Thunder Bay, we visited another Presque Isle. This one with a working light house in operation  since 1871. The newly-painted white sides glanced light off the columnar shape of the beacon.

Tomorrow we return to civilization. Ann Arbor, where we will conduct more interviews for our movie.

The Last Motel Room in North Dakota

In his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig describes what it feels like to travel from east to west, from the lush summers of the upper Midwest to hard-case Montana. Betty and I experienced that in reverse, from the harsh sagebrush prairie of Montana, Missouri River, Milk River, Marias River, to the soggy, soaked land of the St. Louis River that empties into Lake Superior. From Montana’s river breaks, yellow chalk, yellow grain stubble, to North Dakota’s organized agriculture, every red grain of wheat in place, no rooms in the state except one? A ten-twenty-three PM find in Rugby, the geographical center of North America. Maybe it is fitting for two people so intent on seeing it all to get a taste of north, south, east, west on a different plain. Plain and simple. At this very spot, Rugby, step one pace south and you are south, one north, you are north . . . you get the picture, as they say. Old notions of North versus South, or east coast, left coast, southwest, go AWOL. Is there a need for regional chauvinism? And in the background, the click-clack of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
Chippewa, Cree, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, Sioux, Ojibwa—we motor through their lands:  Fort Benton, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Fort Totten, all the places we built to herd the originals out of their buffalo cultures and into our churches, our schools.
Coulees, breaks, badlands, avocets, American white pelicans, “Meth, not even once,” a double sun dog at Devil’s Lake—all morning long. Sunflowers both cultivated and feral in North Dakota and Minnesota, blackest of earth, monarch butterflies, a thunder magic at Minot, the lightning flashes gigantic, wild, around and across, jagged like the cracks in old bones. The sun beneath the sullen sky, sneaking in with the taste of lime, a green so pristine like the first light that struck the earth. Caught on the bellies of the telephone poles; the green, green fields of new-mown hay; the rolled up bales like big, three-dimensional periods; the bellies of the yellow grasshoppers, swarms and swarms caught in the vicious wind. A red roadster, eighty miles an hour, a texting driver, a child in the passenger’s seat, a red fox long-steps it out in front and somehow escapes his black wheels, our black wheels. A fox red like neon in the false approach of storm-forced night, a tipped-tale the color of white.
Breakfast with Paul  Zarzyski, the bard of Great Falls, Montana, a bard for every place and time, every genre.  His mate, Liz Dear, their dog, Zeke.  A Great Falls, Montana , Cajun food breakfast. The poetry of politics, philosophy, prosody, the aesthetics of wolves and the maw of the grizzly bear. Books, Montana mountains, bucking horses, rodeo poets.
The names of Minnesota remind me of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” (which I always felt was maudlinly sentimental—but the music of the words, the words!):
By the shores of Gitche Gummee

Of the shining Big-Sea-Water

Stood Nakomis, the old woman

Pointing with her finger westward . .

And the real words of Minnesota, not unlike Longfellow’s:  Minnesota, Minnetonka, Winnibigoshish, and Oshkosh.

Pointing eastward, from Boise to Duluth. Lake Superior; a hard, warm wind; rutabaga-filled pasties and the slick, enunciated “OOOOO” of “you,” “too,” “smooth,” “Duluth.”

Ken Rodgers

Ken Rodgers

Posted by Ken on Aug 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Author, Poet, Teacher
Featuring On-line and On-ground Classes—Creative Writing, Short Stories, and More

“Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.  Die knowing something.  You are not here long.”
—Walker Evans, Photographer 

Ken Rodgers teaches and writes in Boise, ID.  He has chased sheep across the desert, chased the enemy through the jungles of southeast Asia, run the head gate to capture cattle, pounded the keys of a calculator, pounded the keys of a typewriter, peddled mountain real estate, and tailed off recycled redwood at a finishing mill.

An award-winning author, Ken explores the region where poetry and prose meet. 

His poems, short stories and essays have appeared in Idaho Arts Quarterly, Eagle Magazine, The Farallon Review, 34th Parallel, Ascent Aspirations, Switchback, VerbSap, Absomaly, Tiny Lights, Fiction Attic, Roman Candles, and other publications.  He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco.  Ken was a Pushcart Prize Nominee, and was nominated for Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, California, as well as for inclusion in Best New American Voices.  His first book of poetry, Trench Dining (Running Wolf Press), was published in 2003.  Barstow and Other Poems, was released in 2008.  His latest collection, Passenger Pigeons, is scheduled for release in 2010.  

He has performed his work in libraries, hair salons, coffee shops, book fairs, wineries, movie theaters, colleges, pubs, book stores, and on public radio and television.  He has also juried several writing contests. 

Ken is a founding member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild which is an affiliate of The Cabin literary center in Boise.  He recently served on the board of both Big Tree Arts and True North Creative Learning Center.  Along with his wife, Betty, he was a founding member of the Literary Arts Council of the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in Sebastopol, CA, and together they have hosted many classes, workshops, and readings.  They have a married son and daughter, as well as two granddaughters. 

Ken is available to help you spice up your writing.  Whether you are a committed writer trying to start or finish a book, a budding poet, or a businessperson trying to discover better ways to express yourself, Ken’s instruction and advice are invaluable.  Working with him will bring dramatic changes to your writing.

From Ray Holley’s column, Main Street, of the Healdsburg Tribune:

“Healdsburg novelist Jean Hegland says this about Ken: ‘His commitment to writing spans many years, and I have admired his work for nearly that long.  He has a fine eye and an excellent ear and a huge and courageous heart.  Whatever his subject, his writing is always unflinchingly honest, and I’ve grown to depend on the way that honesty both scathes and celebrates the subjects he writes about.’”

Contact us to learn how to invigorate your creative writing.