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October 2000


New Online Design

To start our new era of FOKUS newsletters, several suggestions from various members have been incoporated into this new, online look. For the web curious, the underlying difference between this and previously posted issues is the removal of HTML tables that had braced the page in its defined layout. This layout worked well and was much applauded -- however, users with monitors and print setups with a resolution less than 800 pixels wide found their newsletters truncated on the right. This new appearance utilizes the earlier and more flexible HTML ability to word-wrap and reallign elements on the page depending on the dimensions of browser windows or systemic resolution. Finally, the current issue will continue to be posted on this main Newsletter page. Below are links to previous Newsletters, which are still in the old format but will be madeover according to this new one during the weeks ahead.

For technical support for these newsletters, please e-mail: arachne@pantarbe.com

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Previous Issues

January 2000
February 2000
March 2000
April 2000
May 2000
June 2000
July 2000
August 2000
September 2000

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We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Sunday October 8
4-9 PM
Bruce Taylor’s remodeled condo (Kafka’s Kastle)

For directions: Please phone Bob Olson, (425) 747-3879.

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Art Sharing
Sunday September 10, 2000, Kafka's Kastle

Larry Lewis shared his current cartooning ventures, including a new satirical mini-comic book on the prejudices we all hide. His illustration “Miss Permission” on the last page of this newsletter [below], is part of a contracted project he is working on. Frank Abraham read part of his novel, Tynda Tales. Pippin Sardo served her “chopped chive pesto on pasta”. Roberta Gregory read a biography she is preparing on Opal Whiteley. Steven Cox read from The Winds of Juan de Fuca. Bruce Taylor read a new short-story titled “Morality Play” developed from the unusual dictionary word “attic salt”. Bob Olson read his short story “Pheasant Hunting” that is enclosed in this newsletter. Our appreciative audience also included: Clayton Jones, Carl and Lida Sloan, Jean Fields, A. Sacks, Aaron Varhova and Seiko Olson, who did not have time to teach the origami she had planned.

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Other Stuff

A proposal: Due to the incompatibility of different software applications and the vagaries of various internet providers, a lot of you haven’t been receiving your newsletter via e-mail. So, we are working on a two-fold solution:

  • First, we can go back and send you newsletters via “snail mail” and, to defray cost, ask for a $15.00 annual subscription. This is just about exactly what it costs for 12 issues of the FOKUS newsletter to be printed and mailed to you. (Bruce has probably shelled out an average of $400.00 per year on postage/printing costs. The work of composing, editing, transcribing from discs, preparing mailing lists, etc. has been completed, at no cost, by Bob, Pippin and, formerly, Patrick Swenson. Bob has also helped pay for mailings in the past, to the tune of approximately $175.00 per year.) At $15.00 for an annual subscription we would credit those of you who have already contributed toward the payment of your first annual subscription. We would also like to offer a few honorary subscriptions to the best-selling authors and booksellers/promoters on our mailing list.
  • Second, for those who wish to continue to get their newsletter free and on-line, Benjamin A. Miller puts our FOKUS Newsletters on his web site, Pantarbe.com, every month. By checking this web site approximately one week before each monthly meeting, everyone with Internet service can read our newsletter at no cost. We would prefer to offer you this access to our newsletter instead of trying to contact you by e-mail, because this has caused a great deal of hassle when internet providers weren’t operating or someone didn’t have the software.
  • This time we are sending all of these newsletters out “snail-mail”. In future, please let us know how this will work for you, and whether you would be willing to pay for a subscription or prefer to read the newsletter on Pantarbe.com.
    Online Publisher's Note:
    All possible effort will be made to post FOKUS Newsletters here in a timely fashion, and in a manner compatible with most of your computer systems.
    For technical assistance, please email: arachne@pantarbe.com.
    For questions and issues on newsletter content, please e-mail: fokus@pantarbe.com.
    Also, (my plug...) while you're here, feel free to explore Pantarbe.com, a web site sharing the same spirit of creativity as FOKUS. For more information on Pantarbe.com, please e-mail: info@pantarbe.com
    -- Thank you, Ben Miller

    On the morning of Saturday, November 4th, Bob Olson will be presenting a two-hour mini-workshop on creative writing at Covington Library, 27100 164th Ave SE, Covington, WA. All ages welcome. Bob will give some writing exercises and read some of his own work, including an excerpt from his book, Memories with a Christmas Attitude, which has become popular in King County Libraries.

    Bruce will be teaching Manuscript Critiquing and Marketing at Shoreline Community College, starting Monday, October 2, and he will also teach his novel writing class at North Seattle Community College, Tuesdays, starting September 26th. Call him for details (206-323-5483).

    Bruce has just completed a new novel, My False Memories with Myshkin Dostoevski Cat.

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    Bruce Taylor's Editorial: Tribal Rules

    So, Todd Christoffel and I were planning this hike over Labor Day – and the weather pooped out on us. So, we decided to go over to his cabin to meet potential renters for the cabin – and to finish Julia Cameron’s new artistic “self-help” book, The Vein of Gold. It’s tough, and an awful lot of work because it goes much deeper than The Artist’s Way into the area of “creative recovery” and how to maintain your sanity and integrity in a culture that sees expressions of creativity as just various forms of existential washing machines. I could say more, but I think Ms. Cameron says it best in one of the last sections of the book titled, “Tribal Rules”. This gives you a real sense of her take on the Artistic Process:

    “It is my belief that the creative spirit within each of us is the medicine necessary for our own and planetary healing. I believe that we intuitively know this and that this is why we are gathering together to work tribally, as the artists we know at soul-level we are, to reclaim our divine birthright and our right to guide and co-create our planet’s future.”

    Artist’s Tribal Rules

    Survival Rule Number One is Acceptance:
    “I seem to want to be an artist.” Accept the fact that you’re an artist and stop second-guessing yourself. Just do it.
    Survival Rule Number Two: Don’t judge it.
    Focus on process, not product.
    Survival Rule Number Three: Defend your Process.
    Sooner or later, you’re going to run into somebody who won’t want you to do it, or will want you to do it only a certain way. Consider the source. Are they making your art? Do what you need to do.
    Survival Rule Number Four: Never Let Anyone Tell You What to Create.
    Create for you. Create something every day.
    Survival Rule Number Five: Maintain your Creative Health.
    Artists are athletes. Creativity is like distance running. Log ten slow miles for every one fast mile. Consistency, process, builds stamina: what horse people call “bottom”, or what we might call the bottom line. This brings us to:
    Survival Rule Number Six: Grieve Your Losses.
    In any creative life there are losses. Some of them are grievous. Only one thing makes them go away – more creativity.
    Survival Rule Number Seven: Create for Revenge.
    Be a spiritual midget. Skewer the bastards. Create right at them.
    Survival Rule Number Eight: Remember the Part of Us That Creates Is an Inner Youngster.
    Allow your creative child to have playmates and play things.
    Survival Rule Number Nine: Find Your Believing Mirrors and Stick Close to Them.
    You deserve a cheering section.
    Survival Rule Number Ten: Ignore the Odds.
    We are all equally sourced in an abundant Universe. Our dreams come from the god within, and that god has the power to fulfill them. Trust yourself. Accept divine help from whatever human source offers it, remembering always that God is the Great Creator, and artists love other artists.

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    Story By Bob Olson:

    Pheasant Hunting,
    Dog Kill, Road Kill, Kill Kill

    Dog Kill, road kill and Kill Kill are my most memorable experiences with pheasant hunting. One must be careful. Roasted dog kill might cause rabies from an infected canine. You really must know how old road kill is before eating it. And, my acquaintance, Kill Kill Delaney, is the best argument I know for gun control.

    I was seven on my first pheasant hunt. We were not thinking about pheasant as my buddy Jock and I walked through cornfields in early November 1937. Our playful dogs, Bing and Lucky ran ahead of us. Suddenly, about one hundred feet in front, the corn stalks rustled loudly and this huge feathered something ran and flew at my face. Lucky jumped and grasped the beast by the neck, downing and killing the first wild pheasant I’d ever seen. I recognized the creature for what it was from pictures I’d seen. I’d been told that hunting dogs flushed the birds from fallow fields, and that a wise bird was not likely to take to the sky and be shot. Instead clever pheasants would take off low to the ground, so that getting a shot at them was difficult for hunters. Having my wits about me, and especially proud of my yellow chow/retriever Bing (named after crooner Bing Crosby because of his soulful eyes) I said,”Jock, did you see that? Did you see that? Ol’ Bing just flushed that bird right outa the field, right into the jaws o’ Lucky!” Jock replied, “Your Bing’s no hunter. He’s just a stupid mongrel. We’re lucky we had my English retriever Lucky. Lucky just jumped in the air and brought that ol’ bird right down.” “Oh yeah”, I said, “Lucky’s so dumb he runs with his mouth open, and he just happened to have his mouth open when the pheasant ran right into it.” “Ran into it!” answered Jock. “Lucky jumped five feet in the air and caught that ol’ pheasant right on the fly. Lucky’s some hunter. Your dumb Bing nearly scared that bird away.” “Scared away!” I screamed, “That’s bird flushing. Jock, you don’t know anything about pheasant hunting.” So we argued as we took our quarry home. To settle our differences, and honor both our dogs, Jocks’ mother cleaned and roasted the bird and invited me to dinner. Lucky and Bing were treated to leftovers.

    My adult daughter Trilla loves to ridicule one of her dad’s “pheasant hunts”. One late afternoon in 1965 I came home with a big bird, then cleaned and dressed it myself. That evening I announced, “Mom has cooked us a pheasant dinner tonight.” Seven year old Trilla was very curious. “Dad, Dad, did you go pheasant hunting? When did you go pheasant hunting? You came right home from school. You didn’t have time to go pheasant hunting, did you?” My wife Seiko gave Trilla an abrupt “no more questions” look as she frowned at me. We enjoyed our pheasant dinner and did not want to turn Trilla’s appetite at the time, so we only told her later about how her dad bagged this particular meal. As I drove home from school over country roads a large bird flew right into the front bumper of my car. “Pheasant school” had taught him to fly low to avoid gunshot but he had not learned how to avoid an “autoshot” missile while crossing the road. This bird was mashed dead between the front bumper and body of my ‘57 Chevy. He didn’t look too mangled, and my mouth watered as I made the decision. We’d have roast pheasant for supper. My road kill was very tasty.

    Wild pheasant makes a delicious meal. You need a big one to have much meat and it tastes a little like duck or, less so, like the dark meat on a chicken. I’ve heard it said that wild fowl, such as pheasant or quail, should be marinated in a sauce containing vinegar to remove a gamy taste. This is best with hare or wild rabbit, but I don’t think it is advisable with fowl. Roasted pheasant, particularly with a stuffing of wild rice is a hungry mans’ delight.

    In late October,1967 my friend Dan Willis brought his boss to our fallow cornfields to hunt. Somehow his boss, Mr.Curt Delaney, reminded my of a soldier, Wowee Levitt, that I knew in infantry basic training for the Korean War at Fort Lewis in March of 1952. We called him Wowee because this is the way he expressed himself in his hyper antics. “Wowee!” he would yell, stripping the guts out of a battered tree trunk with fire from his BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle). One day we were on a thirty-mile hike, packed down with full field gear. Wowee got to playing around with a hand grenade fastened to his pack. “You don’t suppose they give us real grenades do ya Bob?” he asked me. I didn’t reply. “I wonder.” he said. Then he removed the grenade, pulled the pin and threw it into the marching soldiers ahead, yelling; “Live grenade! Live grenade!” Everyone scattered, throwing themselves into the dirt on both sides of the road, as the grenade exploded. Thank God, no one was hurt. Wowee was arrested and given a general discharge from the Army.

    I call Curt Delaney Kill Kill Delaney because his enthusiasm for our pheasant hunt so reminded me of Wowee Levitt. Dan brought three two-barreled shotguns for our hunt – one for each of us. Delaney was excited. He was quite a braggart and I sensed trouble before we set out. Kill Kill told us he had quite a gun collection, everything he could get his hands on legally or illegally, even assault rifles and Russian Army pistols. However, his knowledge of guns, and especially the shotguns we were using seemed very limited. He told of hunting moose in Alaska and an encounter with a grizzly bear that was pure malarkey. Dan had to explain how you broke the chamber open, loaded the shells, pulled one, then the other trigger to fire both chambers while bracing yourself for a backfire that could knock you over, then how to break the chamber open again to expel your spent ammo. We practiced a few times without firing the gun. Delaney was rather awkward. When we went into my cornfield Dan was several steps ahead to flush the pheasants. (We didn’t have hunting dogs.) Kill Kill would say, ”There’s one! I see one over there.” And I’d have to caution him, “Quiet down or we’ll never get close to a pheasant. Pheasants are stealthy; but you’ll know when one really comes up. And, FOR GAWDS SAKE, don’t shoot until I tell you to!” Kill Kill quickly turned his head to and fro, to and fro, anxious, oh so anxious for the first shot. All of a sudden Dan flushed a pheasant. Kill Kill aimed right at Dan and I hit his arm just as he pulled both triggers. Kill Kill shot himself in the foot and screamed like a fire siren. He limped, holding on to our shoulders, as we went to our car and drove to the hospital. We either scared the pheasant to death or some of Kill Kills scatter shot spread wide enough to kill it. Dan credited his boss with the kill and took the wounded Kill Kill, with his bagged pheasant, home to Mrs. Delaney.

    Although I am familiar with weapons I have never kept a gun in my home. I disagree with the NRA. There are too many Wowees and good-intentioned Kill Kills, as well as curious, creative children, to even consider home as being the place for a gun.

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    Comments From The Experts

    “I never read a book before reviewing it. It prejudices me so.” Sydney Smith

    “I like criticism, but it must be my way.” Mark Twain

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    Rix's Cow Joke Questions

    What would you call a cow who has quit giving mile?
    Ans: A Milk Dud.

    What would you call a cow walking through a field of tall grass?
    Ans: Udderly Tickled.

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    "Miss Permission" by Larry Lewis

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    For a bit more by Larry Lewis...

  • Lewis Arts & Letters
  • Pantarbe.com Visitor Show

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    Last updated:  September 30, 2000