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January 2002


Previous Issues

January 2000
February 2000
March 2000
April 2000
May 2000
June 2000
July 2000
August 2000
September 2000
October 2000
November 2000
December 2000
January 2001
February 2001
March 2001
April 2001
May 2001
June 2001
July 2001
August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001

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

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We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Sunday, January 20, 2002
Kafka's Kastle (Bruce Taylor's Condo)

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

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Art Sharing
Sunday, December 9, 2001

Karen Stein read her poems "The Kitchen Shrink" and "Terra, Terra, Terra". Chad Roberts read chapters 2 and 3 from his book in progress, Once, I Called Prison Home. (Chapter 2 is in this newsletter.) Calvin West read his poem "Long Distance Runner", (reprinted in this newsletter.) Mike Pryor performed his musical pieces "I Can Tell You're a Girl", "Long Yellow Crayon" and "Personal Compuberty". Bruce Taylor read his short story "A Child's Christmas in Seattle (with apologies to Dylan Thomas)". Katie and Duane were wonderfully gracious hosts in their beautiful and creatively-decorated home reflecting "Christmas Past". Carl Sloan announced his "Washington Action Chess Champion Award". Lida Sloan, Roberta Gregory, Seiko Olson, Bob Olson, Pippin Sardo and Jane Kay provided an appreciative audience.

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Other Stuff

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the last newsletter the Web site address for Sarah Byam's column was wrong.
Please note the correct site address is: www.tuppenceworth.ie
or, if you want to go directly to her column: http://www.tuppenceworth.ie/columns/sarah_list.htm

Bruce's retirement is still scheduled for the last week of January - first week of February (as soon as the paperwork goes through). Details of the party will be in the next newsletter.

On January 3rd the Seattle Writer's Association had a panel titled - What You Need to know About Getting Published This Year. Guests were Talebones/Fairwood Press editors/publishers, Patrick and Honna Swenson as well as Marti McKenna of Scorpious Digital Publishing.

Bruce's novel class will be starting again in early February at North Seattle Community College.

Bob Olson will be autographing and selling his book, Memories With a Christmas Attitude, at the Writers on the Beach writers' conference in Ocean Shores, WA, Jan. 25, 26, 27, 2002.

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: Mortal Mammals That We Are

In light of recent events, and upon re-reading my last editorial, I can see, hopefully, that I was wrong about the potential quagmire we were getting into regarding Afghanistan. I really do hope I am wrong. Nothing would make me happier. But as of this date, December 7, 2001, uh, hey folks, it ain't over yet: we are now in our "Third National Scare of Something Bad Could Happen At Any Moment". We're all left to wonder - oh, Gods - what? Bin Laden followers have claimed that if he is captured, it would be the signal for "Something Really Nasty" to happen. Oh, goody. More destruction in a society that is already self-destructive. But I guess what I was really trying to point out in my commentary, given the "Mortal Mammals That We Are", is that the terrorists have, inadvertently, done us a favor. The WTC shock was really, on one level, about our Narcissistic Invincibility which has been stripped away and we all, every one of us, stands utterly fucking naked in the terrible eyes of the Beast called, "The Capriciousness of Chance", deciding, arbitrarily, whether we live - or die. Pretty scary, huh? Damn right it is. Mortality doesn't seem to sit too awfully well with our Narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, never-ending, puberty culture that says anybody can be president (ummm, "but," as I said in the first novel, Edward Dancing on the Edge of Infinity, "what do you do with 287 million presidents?") The flawed idiocy of Narcissistic Immortality was truly revealed on Sept. 11, 2001. Revealed in New York? Yup. And maybe also to be revealed again in - perhaps - Seattle? San Francisco? Denver? Chicago? Where next? Hey, guess what? We're mortal. Maybe the greatest success there can be, maybe the greatest gift of art - is to be a humane, non-narcissistic, non-sociopathic human being in connection with oneself and with others -- hence the planet, hence the universe, hence totally in love with one's life, hence all life and creation. In my other book, Kafka's Uncle, the hero Anslenot keeps asking himself, asking the universe, as he wanders through a battered, broken and busted world, what it all means. He turns to the sky and, on his behalf, the stars begin to arrange themselves in a message. Just then, a clown in red, white and blue grease paint comes marching along in a noisy, distracting parade: cannons fire, lights flash across the sky, clouds roil, fireworks go off and what Anslenot needs so badly to read, he can't, and thus can't get the message he is so desperate, so hungry for. The message he so badly needs to read and hear, a message so important that even the very stars that shine have taken pity on him and arranged themselves to form it, is: "Love is the only thing that makes tolerable the knowledge of our mortality."

Postscript: on November 29, 2001, George Harrison died. Wherever you go, you see the Beatles' impact - fun, play, not afraid to dream, to dare, to create, to be and - to die. And wherever you hear their music, for two or three minutes, you become a bit more thoughtful, see a little farther beyond the now, and have a sudden glimpse of the world as a-hell-of-a-lot more lovely than you could possibly imagine. Thank you, George Harrison, for giving us beauty, for there can never be enough people to remind us of it. Thank you for being here, this place, this time. Thank you.

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Chapter 2
of Once, I Called Prison Home by Chad Roberts:

Setting down in my cell that night, taking in the events that had occurred throughout my stay here in the past few weeks, I heard some unusual sounds coming from the next cell. They were the sounds of stifled screams. A young teenager got too cocky with one of the guards and this was his punishment. To be celled up with three pedophilic black men.

As I lay restlessly in my bunk, I heard the helpless pleas. "Please no! Please, don't do this! Why are you doing this to me? You're hurting me!" Then, more muffled screams into his pillow. My anger mounted. I arose from my bunk and paced the floor like a caged animal. I stopped in front of my washbasin. Standing there, staring at nothing, my silent anger rose. A hand was gently placed on my shoulder. I quickly turned to confront the man. My cellmate lifted his hands even with his shoulders in a submissive gesture. He retrieved his hot pot (a type of coffee pot) placing coffee in it, adding water and plugging it into a wall socket. Then, he walked to his side of the cell and spoke in a whisper.

"Listen youngster, my name is Harold." He motioned with his hand for me to sit as he pulled up his wooden stool close to me. He spoke like a father would to his son. "This has been my home for 35 years! You're a stand-up kid! That's why I'm going to school you - and you will learn. Think of me as a schoolteacher and yourself as a student. You've got the basics down. You don't back down when some idiot gets in your space. I like that. It tell me you have heart. There are not very many people like you and me in this place. There are only a handful left around. Most people would rather snitch than stand up for themselves. You stand up for yourself. Do you understand what I'm saying?" "Yeah," I replied dryly.

"You have learned the language of this place, this society behind bars. There are two types of people here, the weak and the strong. The weak are inmates who are snitches. They include rapists, child molesters, child killers and wife beaters. The strong are convicts who mind their own business and when trouble comes to us we deal with it. Listen, there are principles that convicts live by and don't veer from! Understand? They are not just rules. They are a discipline.

The three biggest rules are: one, don't snitch, regardless of how you've been wronged, two, don't rape anyone, the rape of another man is worse than the rape of a woman, and third, stay to yourself, mind your own business. Remember, this is an "us and them" game." He pointed past the bars. "They are the enemy! Anybody with a badge, power and authority over another man, and abuses this power, is also the enemy, period!

You see they are all guests in our house. We can kill or destroy them at any time! This is our leverage. So, you see there is a common respect between us and them." Harold pointed beyond the cell bars. "Always remember that there are rules and there are policies, whether you agree or not does not matter. So, understand the action and be willing to accept the consequences. You will get a good example of this tomorrow morning."

I lay in my bunk taking in what Harold had just taught me, trying desperately to drown out the muffled screams in the cell next to mine. I tossed and turned. Harold got up from his bunk and handed me his Walkman and headphones. "Thanks," I replied relieved. I was listening to Time Has Come Today by the Chambers brothers. At some point I fell asleep.

As the metal bars slammed hard against the metal frame of my cell, jarring me awake, I looked up to see Harold standing with several other convicts. They saw me and quietly walked to the next cell. They were carrying something in their hands that I could not quite make out.

The pedophiles in the next cell lay silent, unaware that several good-sized men were in their presence staring at them sleeping and clutching in their hands the wooden legs broken off their cell stools. I got up and stood in the open frame of my cell door peering down the tier. Then, I heard the impact of wood hitting flesh, followed by blood curdling screams from the three rapists. This beating went on for several minutes. When my cellmate and his companions walked out of the cell, I could see the blood soaked on their shirts and pants. They were carrying the teenage kid with them. He appeared weak and unable to walk on his own. They were taking him to the infirmary.

Harold stepped into our cell. As he stood in the center of the cell, the cell door slammed hard behind us. Slowly he stated, "Always accept the consequences before you accept the action! I don't have much time before the goon squad shows themselves. So, listen up - I've got a job for you."

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A Poem by Calvin West

Long Distance Runner

Keep running, keep running - no matter what
scrimmages or detours occur along the way.

The end of your path is attainable.
He's already prepared the way with provision
and grace to overcome and hurdles sent, self
constructed or simply provided to give testimony
to your growth and merit of accomplishment.

Now that you are nearing the final stretch on
this eighth-plus course and frame of time,
know that your path is clear, despite any possible
appearance of obstacles yet ahead.

Any hurdles I've caused, those you've made, and
the ones others have erected have and are all
being surmounted because your faith is in Jesus.
He is the only true lover of our souls. He
renews your strength that you may mount with
wings like eagles.

This very lover of your soul enables you,
enables me, and any in life's journey who,
despite hurdling obstacles along the way,
keep running and running with the faith that
He provides.

You know that He is the hope of your calling.
Does He not show you, I, and all who believe
in Him that the RACE is to those who yet TRUST
in Him, Jesus, our Savior and Lord, the author
and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that
was set before Him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and now sits down at the right hand
of the throne of God?
Long Distance Runner, continued

Keep running Keith, keep running for the prize
of the high calling in Christ Jesus who gives
you the endurance and the strength to finish
your course.

With heartfelt emotion
and brotherly love

(Editor's note: This unusual poem was written to personally inspire the Christian faith in an ex-con struggling to make it on the outside. It was written by his religious mentor who motivated his faith and hope in prison.)

[Pantarbe Editor's note: This is an excellent example of the concept behind Pantarbe.com -- one's mythos, belief system or culture influencing one's creative works.]

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Another Poem by Carl Sloan


Help me O muse
sing the sad death
of a poet buried
in a paper slide.

Massive manuscripts
notes, novels,
letters, limericks
sonnets, sagas
clips, quotes,
came cascading down.

File or die,
the coroner cried.

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Last updated:  Febuary 28, 2002