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Newsletter


September 2001

Contents


Previous Issues

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We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Sunday, September 9, 2001
4-9 PM
Bruce Taylor's condo

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

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Art Sharing
Sunday, August 12, 2001

Bob Olson read four of his son Dean's imaginative contemporary English sonnets and his story (in this newsletter) "Expose - Americans, Tried, Convicted, Sentenced and Imprisoned - Without a Trial". Lida Sloan and Seiko Olson each presented us with music on the piano. Carl Sloan read his written review of Bruce Taylor's The Final Trick of Funnyman. Mike Monroe told a ghost story and showed a slide of the Valley of the Temples in Hawaii. Jeff Adolphson joined us for our meal. Mike Pryor provided our audience. Pippin Sardo and Roberta Gregory did a "show and tell" presentation of their vacation along the Oregon/California coast to the Bay area and Monterey. Roberta showed one of her Bitchy Bitch cartoons.

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Other Stuff

Bruce Taylor was a presenter at Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference, was also a guest at VikingCon SF convention in Bellingham and will be presenting a panel entitled "The Artist's Way" at "Write on the Sound", Writers' Convention Oct. 6 and 7 in Edmonds.

Bruce Taylor, President of the Seattle Writers' Association, cordially invites all writers to the first meeting of our nine-month program of the Seattle Writers' Association. We are delighted to have special guests, Brian Herbert, co-author of a new Dune series and Jack Cady, an icon of imaginative and scholarly writing and winner of the Nebula for Science Fiction, to talk about the perils, and joys, of The Writing Life. Yours truly will be the moderator, 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the basement of the University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle (in the Wedgewood district). $4.00 for the evening, yearly dues: $30.00.

Bruce can now be reached by e-mail at: mrmagicrealism@aol.com or brucebtaylor@aol.com. His website is: www.pantarbe.com/mrmagicrealism/index.htm.

Genie Dickerson contributed money for FOKUS Newsletter expenses. Thanks so much Genie.

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: Beware What You Wish For...

Snowyside Pass, elevation 9087 feet, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

It has been a grueling hike to get to this place and again, looking out over the vast glacial cirque with pea green lakes some thousand feet below us and surrounded by mountains of such shape and form, as if from a dream, I am awed and lost in the Magic of Wild Places. Again I realize that reality is so much vaster than we can possibly know, out here, sitting on this narrow trail blasted into the rock face, under the silent and sable sweep of vast blue sky. I am again under the spell of magic. And the funny thing about magic: it doesn't happen unless you believe in it, and you have to go out there and help make it happen. The Sawtooths didn't come to us. Publishers just don't appear. No gallery calls you up out of the blue to ask you for your work if you don't let the universe know you've done the work in the first place. The following is, in fact, true.

She came to my fiction writing class and when we went around introducing ourselves and saying a bit about our goals for the class on that first night, she said, "I've always wanted to write fiction and now I'm gonna do it."

I heard the determination in her voice and I said to her, "Beware. You just might get what you want. Are you prepared for that?"

She looked at me for a long minute. Then nodded.

The next week, she bounded into class and said, "I've just got to tell you what happened."

I said, "I think I know, but tell me anyway, I love to hear it."

"Well," she said, "I got home from work a couple of days after the class and was at my mailbox when this car pulls up and the woman on the passenger side rolls down the window. 'Can you tell me where Third Place Books is located? We've been to Edmonds and Montlake Terrace and we just can't find it.'

"'Oh', I said, 'it's in the Lake Forest Park Shopping Mall.' Then I asked, "Are you going for a reading?'"

"'Yes,' the woman replied, 'mine.' And we started talking a bit. I said I was taking this writing course and the woman was so delighted; the book that she had written, that she was reading from, was on writing and publishing fiction. She gave me a signed copy of the book and her phone number, and told me to call her anytime about writing and how to market it.'"

It was a delight to hear that, for things like that have happened to me so often. However, more often than not, in the past, I couldn't believe they were or could happen, for me. I wish Julia Cameron had published her book, The Artist's Way back in the seventies, but I guess she was just beginning to learn her lessons as well. What I have learned and what I told this student and the rest of the class was one of the concepts that Julia Cameron talks about in her book and that's the Creative U-Turn. And 99.99% of the time it has to do with those internalized family messages that have to do with permission or (more often than not), non-permission for us to get what we want out of our lives. It's as if I'd traveled to the last few feet of Snowyside Pass, then, unconsciously, not thinking I deserved to get up there to see my reward of the stunning view, I had turned back. In the past, I've done similar things. Finally, understanding why I did them (family message: don't grow up and leave us - we'll hate you for it and you'll wound us deeply. Nothing like a little fear and guilt to squelch development of a sense of personal empowerment.) But now, and in the future, now that I do understand that internalized family message, I can let it go and act as the empowered person that I am. And, the student that I talked of here? Although she didn't return to class, I sincerely hope that she hasn't done the Creative U-turn and hopefully is writing her heart out, because she dared to say what she wanted with all her heart and the universe said, "O.K."

To her, it most certainly did, as it has done for me, in more ways than I can possibly imagine.

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A story by Bob Olson: Exposé -
Americans Tried, Convicted, Sentenced and Imprisoned Without a Trial

Americans tried, convicted , sentenced and imprisoned without a trial. In what third-world country? No third-world country. These two Americans were tried, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned without a trial by fellow Americans. The first developed empathy for the underdog that directed the success in his life. The second continually faces the damnation of unjust persecution.

This happened to me as an American soldier in Korea shortly before the war ended. I was assigned to the supply office in an Engineering outfit just outside of Seoul. When I arrived at camp our Captain was on R & R. The executive officer, impressed with my college education, made me training NCO. Quickly I put together instructional programs on the use of equipment, health practices and human relations. I was so proud of the prestige that came with my new position. Everyone seemed to like me. Then our Captain returned from R & R and his executive officer was transferred to another command.

Captain Rogers seemed small-minded and mean spirited. I never got to know him, but I resented the fact that he made one of our black soldiers stand all night in the rain for some small misdemeanor while the captain, with some of his redneck buddies, laughed at the poor man's discomfort. Captain Rogers lacked discipline himself and maintained a slovenly command. Disorderly racism best described his behavior. I was relieved of my position as training NCO. The position was abolished and we had no training classes.

One day I was told to pack my gear. I was being transferred. Great! I'm being transferred to a better command. As the First Sergeant put me on the bus I noticed tears running down his cheeks. How strange. Then I noticed all my fellow travelers. What an unruly looking lot. Then I noticed an armed sergeant and two armed corporals, with raised rifles guarding us. What was this? We were taken to tents high on a hill that was strafed every day with North Korean rifle fire. A prison camp for American soldier convicts. The North Koreans must have felt we were comrades. They quit shooting up the hill.

So, I was a convict soldier with no idea as to why I was imprisoned. Our guards were told to demean us with the harshest treatment. So, they put on the act. They tried to make it appear they were following such orders, then, on the sly, treated us with respect and comradery. The sergeant in charge felt that he and his men were also being punished by this duty. When we had to go on a twenty-mile forced march, double time, he raced us out of the camp. Then, about one mile out, we quit marching, sat and rested on the side of a roadbed for a few hours. A truck came and picked us up, drove us two miles from the camp, and we ran home, looking bedraggled from our "twenty-mile forced march."

I got bronchitis and went to a MASH hospital. (I was born with a fused spinal column at the base of my spine and between my shoulder blades.) When the doctors saw my X-rays they had me shipped out of Korea to a hospital in Japan. Traveling alone I was given my own transfer orders. Only then did I read about my court-martial. Papers said that I had been tried, convicted and sentenced, for an undetermined amount of time, because I had stolen the personal belongings of another private who drowned in his own vomit on New Year's eve while our captain and his cronies laughed at his drunken antics. My court-martial was a complete fabrication! What could have been the captain's motivation to jail me? Then, I remembered that an ARVIN*, or South Korean, lieutenant had told me about being worried because his colonel required him to operate an illegal civilian moving business using stolen American trucks, painted bright yellow, that our captain had procured. Did Captain Rogers fear that I would be a "whistle blower"? (* Note: ARVIN and American troops were stationed together in separate barracks.)

I destroyed my false court-martial orders. During most of my remaining military tour of duty I was an acting Administrative First Sergeant. However, although I was always the first recommended for promotion, the United States Army only promoted me to Corporal during my last few months in the service. Later, I was told the Pentagon must have had copies of my phony court-martial. I was the only soldier I know who never received a "good conduct medal". Perhaps this is why I have been successful as an educator/counselor/writer.

Marvin Winlock* directed children's programs at the Spokane* YMCA over nine years ago. (*Note: Only the names of persons and places are changed. The rest of the story is factual.) When he discovered that the Y director was misappropriating funds intended for his program, Marvin was arrested for child-abuse before he could become a "whistle-blower". What a preposterous, unfounded accusation! Knowing that there was no basis for such an accusation, but still fearful, Marvin and his mother Marion fled to Canada.

The Y director had a private detective interrogate the girl making the accusation. She stated that she did not know who Marvin was. The detective told the mother to "think it over" and he would return later. When he returned, the mother said her daughter was accusing Marvin. Then, two other mothers accused Marvin. Their daughters denied that Marvin had abused them. Nevertheless, these mothers filed charges.

Marvin and his mother were enticed to return to Washington State on the promise that, if Marvin would sign a simple statement, he would be released. They never read the statement carefully. Once Marvin signed, he was imprisoned. Unbelievable as it may seem, he was tried, convicted sentenced and imprisoned without legal representation, and never having seen the charges brought against him. When Marvin was first imprisoned he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and forcefully treated with a dangerous drug that made him critically ill. Despite appeals, an independent physician was never allowed to examine him. After he nearly died, it was determined that he never had tuberculosis. Then, he was taken off this medication that left him with permanent liver damage. This appears to have been an attempt to kill Marvin. If Marvin plea-bargained and admitted guilt, the penalty for his "crime" would have been only months in the county jail. Marvin and his mother Marian have both faced death threats. Marian now lives in Canada for her own protection. When Marvin's lawyer first attempted to get documentation for the charges against Marvin the lawyer was told to "drop the case or Marvin would be killed". He dropped the case. For the last eight years Marvin has frequently been offered "freedom for confession".

Marvin has become prominent within the prison population instructing a variety of classes and leading the Toastmasters program as well as the ARC Project, which appears to be the most constructive rehabilitation program in the country. The ARC Project is especially appealing to convicts because state or federal money will not fund it and leadership is provided by successful peers that they trust. ARC changes the nature of offender rehabilitation because funding is dependent upon private contributions rather than tax dollars.

Marvin's false imprisonment has proved lucrative for three mothers. The insurance company for the Spokane YMCA awarded $400,000 each to the families of the three girls, and the judge incarcerating Marvin granted a 10 million-dollar judgement against him to the family of one of the girls who denied that he abused her.

While Marvin is due to complete his prison term in September he is slated for "civil commitment", which means a life sentence among incorrigible repeat offenders. To qualify for "civil commitment" you must be a dangerous repeat offender, who has demonstrated incorrigible behavior within the prison, and be so labeled by prison psychologists. Prison psychologists have told Marvin, off the cuff, that their reports do not indicate that he is of any danger to anyone. Nevertheless, he has been told that he could still be civilly committed unless a lawyer can obtain documentation of their true reports. Marvin and his mother Marian have not been able to get an American attorney and obtain any documentation for the crimes he is alleged to have committed. This makes it impossible for Marvin to legally defend himself.

David*, the ARC co-founder, was released from prison in December, 2000 and heads up the ARC Institute on the outside. The most recent harassment to David and the outside ARC Program has been through his probation officer. Three weeks ago he was required to obtain a daily pass from his probation officer to go to work. This meant a forty-mile drive to her office. By that time a good part of the day was gone and he would not be able to work at all. Then, the officer was gone for a week, so David could not contact her. At last she relented and gave David a ninety-day pass to work in three counties. But, there was a catch. David was expected to allow Buster*, who is due to be released from prison, to live on his property. This would be a clear abuse of probation rules and common sense. Buster is an incorrigible dangerous predator whose prison release is questionable. Buster is a daily threat to Marvin in prison.

Please believe this terror story. Pray for Marvin, Marian, David and all the other ARC followers who are persecuted daily for trying to improve their lives. Let me know if you can help. Legal representation is essential. You can call me for updates to this horror story. In addition to Marvin, Marian David and all criminal offenders are constantly harassed for ARC participation. This atrocious miscarriage of justice must be stopped.

Bob Olson
425-747-3879

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A Book Review by Carl Sloan -
The Final Trick of Funnyman and Other Stories, by Bruce Taylor

The first thing to decide about any book is whether the author's life should be spared, or whether the miscreant should be executed forthwith for the criminal misuse of forest products.

What can be said in Taylor's defense? I have known him for a number of years, and to the best of my knowledge he is not a horse thief. Besides, even if he were a horse thief, people today are far more concerned about having their cars stolen.

But enough of flattery. What about the book?

By the time I finished reading the second story, "The Attendant", it was clear to me that most writers are far more deserving of execution than Bruce Taylor. Technically, the book is well written, but what strikes me most is the courage. Taylor bravely follows his muse into the unknown. This is the way you discover new lands and Taylor does, wonderful new places of the imagination.

Rigid minds may back off. As a character in "The Attendant" says, "Confusion cannot understand. It wants only structure-now."

The tales are Kafka-esque, or would be if a whimsical sense of humor kept poking through Kafka's work. Not every piece is humorous; Taylor's imagination is too unfettered to be anything but wide ranging. (A fact that tells me he is not as focused on his obsessions as Kafka was.)

If Taylor does have a writing obsession, it is his love of setting ideas bouncing around in your head. His work is also infused with an awareness of the cosmic custard pie which one time or another splats across all our faces. In tales such as "Dr. Frederick's Last Task", he teaches us to laugh at the splat and enjoy the taste of custard.

Finally, in the interest of objectivity, I am tempted to commend the publisher for selecting Carl and Lida Sloan's award-winning surrealistic photograph of the author to grace the front cover of this edition, thus making it even more of a collector's item. However, modesty forbids.

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A Poem by Carl Sloan

WE DO PRETTY WELL CONSIDERING

We are
ninety-eight
point six
percent
genetically
the same as chimpanzees.

It's the latest science,
which history
confirms.

Bright guys
at the chess club
speculate that
our percentage of chimp
is even higher,
especially
after they lose a game.

Research says
even more humility
is in order.
Many of our
one point four percent
uniquely human genes
relate to
having less body hair
than any
respectable animal should.

My consultations
with cousin Ralph at the zoo
tend to confirm this.
Ralph grunts
that I should be
the one behind bars.
At which point
my wife
becomes discreetly silent.

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Last updated:  August 31, 2001