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July 2001


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We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Sunday, July 1, 2001
Pippen Sardo's humble hovel (condominium)

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

What a time at Todd Christoffel's log cabin (luxurious house, actually) June 8-10 in the Methow valley. Wow! Cool but bright and sunny with a stray shower or two, an outing to Goat Mountain viewpoint: a six mile twisty drive up the side of a mountain to view the North Cascades and the Methow Valley from several thousand feet up, then, later, a short walk up the West Fork of the Methow River. Saturday evening, readings, music by Todd, and dancing and, of course gourmet meals - it was a grand experience. (Pippin's note for those who were considering going but didn't: BOY did you miss a GOOD time!! And I'm not really enamored of mountains! If we are lucky enough to be invited back, it is well worth it.)

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Art Sharing
Saturday June 9, 2001

Bruce Taylor read a speech he gave at Shorecrest High School and reread his story Insight. Roberta Gregory read from Mundane's World by Judy Grahn and gave out copies of Naughty Bits. Bob Olson read his story printed in this issue and shared information about Project ARC - a convict rehabilitation program. Carl and Lida Sloan showed a slide show with sandwiched slides of Todd and Bruce and experimentation with iridescent ribbon bows - Iridescent Essay. Todd Christoffel performed on his guitar presenting his new piece She Has a Love That Waits for You together with oldies and dance music. Pippin Sardo danced a flamenco piece solo. Preparation of meals was shared by Roberta, Bruce, Pippin, Todd and Seiko Olson who prepared a Saturday evening meal of hiashi rice. Bob Olson brought a birthday carrot cake to celebrate Todd and Bruce's recent birthdays.

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Other Stuff

Bruce gave a reading at the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library, May 17, at the About Time Reading Series. He’s also had another story (“Bats”) accepted for publication in The Vampire’s Crypt

Upcoming “Don’t Ask” Events:

  • Friday, July 6, Hopvine on 15th Ave. E., Capitol Hill, 9:00 pm - 12 am

    Bruce was a guest at the World Horror Convention in Seattle over Memorial Day, and he is now officially president of the Seattle Writers Association.

    Bruce has a story out in the new Talebones -- "You Know Who I Am by the Song That I Sing", as well as his story, "The Prey" coming out in Alternate Realities, and the story "Bats" in Vampire Crypt.

    Soon Bruce's web site for The Magic Realist Writers International Network will be up and running and Bruce will have e-mail.
    (FOKUS Editor's Note: boy, will he ever have e-mail!)

    [The beginning of The Magic Realist Writers International Network
    is up at Mr. Magic Realism here at Pantarbe.com.
    We are proud to host it.]

    Bruce will be on a panel (Fantasy Writing) at the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association on Fantasy, July 27, and in October he will have a panel titled "The Artist's Way" at the Edmonds Writers Conference.

    Future FOKUS meetings: (times and places subject to change)

  • August 12, Bob and Seiko Olson's Bellevue home.

    If you want to advertise something your are doing in our newsletter please call Bob or Bruce. This is an excellent free bulletin board for your announcements.

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    Bruce Taylor's Editorial: You Just Never Know

    So it's like this: very good friends of mine, Mike and Irene Munro, have a son, Dan, who goes to Shorecrest High School, where I went many years ago (class of '65). I was co-editor of the creative writing magazine, Tattoo, the first creative magazine of the new school. So. All these many years I had wondered if it was still being published, and lo, this year, I discovered it was, and was invited by the Munro family to get in touch with the creative writing teacher, Andy Barker. I meant to, but you know how it goes, how "Other Things" can get in the way.

    Several weeks ago, when trying to get a hold of Mike, I talked to Dan, who reminded me about Tattoo, and the fact that on June 1st, the production staff and contributors (Dan is himself a contributor), for Tattoo were having a little gathering of "thirty to forty" people for a celebration of the publication of the 2001 Tattoo. Making sure I got this information into the proper neurons in my brain this time, I, accompanied by Roberta Gregory, showed up in my white suit, white top hat, and little inspirational speech, and oops, there were, I was told, three hundred people there! I was on the program last to speak, and for three hours I heard the joy and talent that Tattoo has fostered in students as they read their works. Then, at the end, Dan went up on stage and said, "I'd like to introduce a friend of mine, Bruce Taylor," then he paused as he thought of what next to say. Some folks from the audience yelled, "Who is he? What does he do?" Dan spoke up, "He was the first co-editor of Tattoo," and he paused again.

    Suddenly the room exploded with applause, cheers, people standing, cheering, applauding. I was astonished, then delighted. After this went on for a few minutes, things quieted and I said a few words about how difficult it was being your own person in a corporate world that wanted you only as individual as their advertising defined you, in order to get you to be good, happy, politically numb/dumb consumers. That they were going into a world that was essentially hostile to art in the true sense of the word ART, as in connection, and that ultimately, they had to matter to themselves and to no one else. And I talked about the Grand Paradox: ironically, the more one looked inside one's self, the more one finds how similar one is to others, rather than dissimilar. After a few words like this, I read the following comments which, basically, told of what I have learned in all these years of being an artist:

    The Obligation
    (What I've Learned as a Writer)

    Speech delivered at Shorecrest High School, June 1, 2001.

    Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur C. Clark, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jack Cady, Terry Brooks, Greg Bear, Frank Herbert - all these people I have met. Only Arthur C. Clark have I not met face to face, although I had correspondence with him. Several are good friends of mine.

    So, is writing about meeting famous people?


    Writing is about vitally expressing who you are as a person and the fruits of such endeavor create a reality whereby the opportunities avail themselves to you to do extraordinary things and meet extraordinary people. But this is, in the end, only icing on the cake. The cake? That is creativity and the joy of being in touch with your inner artist/inner youngster and telling that child, "Take me to the places of which I've yet to dream!" And that child will take you there, and all you have to do is learn to give him or her freedom to do so and the permission and license to experience joy. And in so doing, your life will transform and you will engage in experiences you never thought could be in your province of life.

    But there is a secret to it all --

    You must have passion. You must never, ever, let anyone tell you that your dreams are not for you. Write and create with passion, with your being, with every single cell, neuron and dendrite blazing in energy and your efforts will be rewarded in having your authentic voice, and your integrity. Above all, it will bring you joy and a true knowing that you indeed belong here, this place, this time and you are creating a gift in watching yourself evolve and change just as the universe evolves and changes. And for a few decades you will have consciousness and a form to witness creativity around you in this stunning wonder of a world, this universe. Above all, you can tell others about this with a whoop and a yell and say, "It is truly marvelous!" For we all need to be reminded to take off our societies' blinders in order to see again how marvelous it all truly is. And your job as a writer, as a creative person, as an artist, is to remind us all again.

    So go forth with your talent, your writing and your passion and tell us again about love, the sky, the foaming sea, what it is to be human, about our similarities rather than our differences and the mysteries of the world that have fascinated us and human beings since the beginning of consciousness. For there are people out there who need and want to hear it - and, indeed, are waiting, waiting, for you to tell them.

    Please. Tell them.

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    A story by Bob Olson:
    Three Men Hiking

    Three lonely men hiked the trail. Each was isolated in the incidentals of his own life.

    The quiet one placed one-foot in front of the other in an orderly cadence, like an out-of-step march in the army. Hiking this long trail in the North Cascades appealed to his disciplined style. He sought the solitude and majestic beauty of these surroundings to bring his attitude in line with his pleasures. Hiking carefree another marched to a different drummer. As the sunshine dried the morning dew off his face and arms, he captured the warmth, feeding his innards like wildflowers on the path. His pace hastened or slowed at the whim of the moment. A more restless hiker followed the trail. This one tried to unfurl the frown on his brow. He pledged himself to relax and enjoy, turning a nature walk into exercise.

    Restless caught up with Carefree and their trail merged with that of Quiet. Three solitary hikers found themselves walking together. They had not sought company. Without a word of greeting, alone in their reveries, they continued up the trail with the health and wealth of men in the prime of life.

    Quiet thought of his family. He just had to get away now, with his mind uncertain and his life in turmoil. Quiet's father lost their farm to the "dust bowl" that hit Oklahoma in '36. Their good land just dried up and blew away. He left his parents in the Midwest after World War II and moved to Seattle to work at Boeing. He worked long, hard hours. Sometimes he was too eager to take overtime on weekends and holidays. His efforts were rewarded - a grateful wife, a son and two daughters, a nice home, a lakeside cabin, vacations every other year, a retirement to anticipate, and a secret girlfriend, for he wasn't always at Boeing those overtime hours. With practiced determination Quiet kept his life in order. He reflected: certainly his dad never had it so good. His father bet on God, good land, hearty crops, and lost. Quiet gave up trust for doubt with savvy. He had it all, but he wasn't happy. His girlfriend wanted more. His wife bored him. His kids rebelled. "Good Old Dad" had become "the Grinch of Bellevue".

    Carefree whistled a Beatles tune. He took a dried mushroom from his pack and munched. His mind fluttered as the bright mountain trail became a stream of rainbows. He thought of "the summer of love" -- Haight-Ashbury in '67. He just disappeared after the Chicago riots at the Democratic Convention. Hell No Vietnam! Hell! Hell! Hell! The hell with it all, Carefree went to Canada. He lived on the streets somewhere. He didn't know where - somewhere West. He'd left his girl, with the flower in her hair like the dandelion in his. Her belly was getting big and that might change his life.

    Restless pondered Fate, a "dot.com survivor", his feckless wisdom floundered as his wealth dwindled. He still had a job and an income - however uncertain. The economy was getting better, wasn't it? But nobody wanted to buy his Mercedes, and now he needed the cash. His adopted parents certainly couldn't figure him out. They'd squandered their savings on his college education. How could he, a thirty-five year old bachelor, afford a million dollar lakefront home when they were unable to pay off their modest mortgage. Restless, the "dot.com computer geek", didn't even have a girlfriend; but he sure loved himself. This forced trek up the Cascade trail ought to straighten him out. His frown deepened as his self-worth changed gears.

    Quiet stopped to rest and turned to Carefree as Restless joined them. Three silent hikers on the same trail at the same time. They spoke not a word. Quiet was the father, Carefree his son, and Restless the true son of Carefree. These spirits were only dimly aware of one another. For Quiet it was the early fall of 1956. For Carefree spring, 1970. And for Restless June, 2001. Did they ever learn anything from each other?

    If you can offer Bob an opportunity to meet with a class you teach or a small group you belong to, he would love to volunteer his services. Some of Bob's special skills and interests include: conflict resolution, value education, cultural diversity, storytelling, creative writing, near-death experiences and art expression. Bob has been fortunate enough to have worked with many of the pioneers in these fields. Please call him - - - - - Bob Olson 425-747-3879

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    Advice From The Experts:

    "The last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude
    in any given set of circumstances; to choose one's own way."
    Victor Frankl

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    Two Poems by Carl Sloan


    Rolling up the miles of life,
    in no hurry to get there,
    but I'm making good time.



    So what,
    if I was born
    slipping on a banana peel?

    "Mistake free" living
    breeds smug silence,
    makes it hard to hear
    the other guy.

    We need
    the sound of
    at ourselves.

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    Last updated:  July 7, 2001