Friday, February 29, 2008


There are sometimes these days. Today is such a day for me. I want my “MOMMY!”

She's in the kitchen. She seems to spend a lot of time there. I shuffle up and lean into her, while she's stirring something in a pot on the stove. She looks down. A smile on her face. She lifts my chin , strokes my hair, and asks, “What's the matter, don't you feel so good?” I shake my head. She feels my forehead. Wipes a tear from my cheek. “You must be tired. Maybe something is coming on. Come.”
She draws up a reclining chair from the other room, puts in a blanky, and settles me down. I lean comfortably into the cushions while Mommy starts to boil some water and fuzzes about. While she is cooking up things, she tells me little stories, and sings me songs. Songs are stories too.

She sings about the little cradle softly rocking in a tree. It has flower curtains. Two tiny birds built it together with love and expectations. And look how intricate and delicate. In it are two little eggs. Two baby birds are born. Mommy Jay sings a song in purest ecstacy, a song so very, very sweet . And the tiny cradle gently sways like a ship on the rolling sea.

She sings about a green valley full of little flowers gently swaying in the wind, to the sound of a murmuring waterfall. The water softly sprays every little flower, even the very smallest one.

She sings about a poor, little robin red breast in the snow coming from a forest, so hungry, knocking on a window of a house, and a little girl opens and feeds the little one sugar and bread crumbs It then flies back to the forest, but comes back every day.

Mommy comes to my chair and sits down on the arm. She puts a tray in my lap with a soft boiled egg in an egg cup, the one that is decorated with a yellow chicky, and a bowl with hot cream of wheat porridge with lots of sugar. Mmmmmmmm!!!

While this winter is dragging its feet, sending more frost, more snow, making walking into tricky exercises, me feeling tired, sluggish, stick in the muddish, wishing for sunny days when I can run out in shorts and a t-shirt, bare feet in flip-flops, hop on my bike...

This particular stubborn winter day, waiting for spring... not knowing what to wear, tired of all those winter outfits, not knowing what to eat, tired of winter dishes...tired anyway...

Is it a wonder that I want my “MOMMY?”

I send my writers friends this lamentation. I cannot read or answer comments. See previous posts for reason.


Wild thing is puzzled. What she posts, seemingly gets published, according to the blog message. But it does not get in the comment column. Wild thing cannot find Larry's posting, copied and pasted from his e-mail on spirits. This is going to be another attempt. There she goes into cyber space witout guarantee it will land where it is supposed to go.

This is a leap year. today is February the 29th. Simon is butting my elbow. Thinks it is time to go for a walk. Brrrrr. I am holding off a bit. Yona is romping around in the snow. He goes out through the windows slightly left ajar. Brave cat. I closed the register so not too much heat will escape. It's freezing in my computer room.

Well, see if this will go out to my blogger friends. I be so pleased when it works.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How to Make a Link

Larry will now demonstrate how to make a link, for example in the comments section. Of course, when we are posting on the blog, it is very simple. You just click on the "Insert Link" icon, and it
does it for you once you have pasted in the URL.

But what if there is no "Insert Link" icon? How do you make that go?

Like this. You must make an HTML code. The words and symbols for the code are so:
Insert Name of Site

Now, what Larry has just done here is demonstrate that you can't use the code (properly) in a demonstration, because the code will try to turn it into a hyperlink.

Larry must break up the code into bits to tell you. He must also use a different symbol at beginning and end so that it doesn't turn into real code. So Larry will replace these symbols: < > with [ ] OK?

ie: [ is the same as < and ] is the same as >

So, the first part of the code is this:
[a href=

Next, insert the URL between quotation marks, followed by ] :

After that, you type in the name of the website, or the text that you want as the link:
Here I Am

And you end the link with:
[/a] (The slash always indicates "end")

So now Larry will show you the whole link, with brackets instead of <> :
[a href=""]Here I Am[/a]

As soon as you put in the correct symbols you get the link:
Here I Am

Larry remembers that M@ showed us how to do this a long time ago. There are simple codes for bold, italics and underline.

Using the bracket version:

bold is [b]type what you want[/b] :
type what you want

italics is [i]type what you want[/i] :
type what you want

underline is [u]type what you want[/u] :
type what you want

Oh, one further hint. If, for example you make a post and put a link into it using the "Insert link" icon, you can then click on the Edit Html button and it will show you the code that makes that link. The a href stuff and everything.

And another piece of trivia. If you right-click on a website, the context menu will have a line that says View Source, or View Page Source. If you click on that you will get to see all the code that makes up that web page. Just what you wanted to know, eh?

That's all the code Larry knows. Go away now.

And practice.

Blogging ruins chili dinner

There I was, blogging wildly in my head, creating all those witty things I would post in my latest rant - all about why people who go outside their house to work think those who stay in their house to work have much MUCH more time on their hands... that somehow they don't really work... oh, I was rockin' & rollin'... sling-shooting and ping-ponging thoughts... all the while multi-tasking... defrosting hamburger in the micro-wave... nuking away.... Why do people think POETS AND NOVELISTS have all that available time????? And don't people value creative writing as ACTUAL work... rather than hobby???? Smush up defrosted hamburger in bottom of the slow cooker.... find that envelope of chili spice mix amongst all those dirty dishes on my messy counter... Let Farleydog out into the yard to pee.... sprinkle chili mix on smushed meat... open can of diced tomatoes and pour over mix... Why do people think they're gonna write some day in the FUTURE as opposed to RIGHT NOW????? Maybe because it's such hard WORK in the present.... LOLOLOLOL! Plug in slow cooker... fiddle with settings....push low for 8 hours.... clean up counter.... hand wash dishes... find chili mix still in its envelope in a shopping bag???? WHAT DID I PUT IN THE SLOW COOKER????? AND CAN I EAT IT????


new post

This is just wild thing trying out if she can post. She did not receive Larry's post. It's not there. She wondered if her freaky computer is acting up, which it does in many annoying ways. For one, trying to get to the blogs she has to struggle through a jungle of 'insecure' messages, warning after warning about, among others, that her security certificate is either expired, or not installed. Checking that out, she sees that the security certificate is good 'till May 28, 08. ????????????

Anyway, here she goes, see if this will post.


What is writing, really?
One time I replied
writing is cursed.
African pygmy children emerge
from huts made of leaves
without knowing a single letter.
One time I replied
pygmy children are cursed.

Those children are cursed by their illiteracy
while I am cursed by my ten thousand books.

Ill-advised, those who think this world
is nirvana.

(Poem by Ko Un from Songs for Tomorrow: A Collection of Poems, 1961-2002 published by Green Integer.)

Larry thinks the poem is a challenge. To what? Perhaps intellectual arrogance. To Buddhists, too.

In the Chan tradition, the phrase "ten thousand things" is often used to refer to...basically everything...the world of phenomena. Ko Un changes this to "ten thousand books". In the context of the poem, then, he gives it a double meaning.

Ill-advised, those who think this world is nirvana. Again, a challenge. The doctrine tells us this world is nirvana, if only we knew it. Un points to the answer, Larry thinks, because he realizes that at one moment he sees the curse of writing, the next he sees the curse of its lack.

Where is nirvana to be found?
The compulsion to choose steals nirvana.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The spirits behind the writers

It all started with a little email to the Talers of Dove:

Hello Dove Talers! A tip for tipplers:,0,6073273.story?track=ntothtml
From the Los Angeles Times

Here's the article that link goes to:

The spirits behind the writers

Understanding the great scribes' fondness for alcohol.
By Joseph Tartakovsky

February 27, 2008

Horace reports that the 5th century Athenian poet Cratinus, in a light-hearted defense of his famed intemperance, declared, "No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by water drinkers." Cratinus wasn't entirely kidding: Legend says he died of grief upon seeing a full cask of wine break into pieces. And writers of subsequent ages have taken his sentiment to heart. Wherever you find the pen-and-ink set, drink is an emblem of vivacity and wit, at times regarded with semireligious reverence.

Why do scribblers make drinking their second art? For one thing, it primes them for their task. In 1714, a young Alexander Pope, in an affectionate letter to a lady, began, "Most Divine! -- 'Tis some proof of my sincerity towards you that I write when I am prepared by drinking to speak truth." Keats, in an 1819 letter, described how "ethereal" claret "mounts into the brain" and makes one "a Hermes," god of, among other things, eloquence. "A good sherris-sack," said Falstaff (speaking, no doubt, for Shakespeare himself) "... ascends me into the brain; dries me there all the foolish and dull and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery and delectable shapes which, delivered o'er to the voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit." Well, perhaps.

Drink rarely causes a writer to underestimate his talents. And tippling is a handy excuse: Inspired writing produced under the influence is still inspired. But you wrote a tissue of nonsense? Well, one overindulges.

Hart Crane wrote many of his curious poems while comprehensively lathered. You'd never guess. In the early 1980s, Norman Mailer was asked by director Sergio Leone to write a screenplay. Mailer showed his enthusiasm by locking himself in a hotel room for three weeks with a case of whiskey. Leone, says a biographer, recalled hearing Mailer in his room "singing, cursing and shouting for ice cubes." He did not use the script.

Prudent writers learn to take more out of drink than it takes out of them. Kingsley Amis, in a 1975 interview, prescribed a glass of Scotch as an "artistic icebreaker." John Mortimer told the New York Times that an early morning flute of Champagne "sets my brain racing." A roommate of Tennessee Williams reported that the playwright rose early and set his typewriter clacking, after fortifying himself with a martini, a bottle of red wine and a somewhat incongruous pot of coffee.

Some writers have found even deeper use for alcohol. Tennyson, according to his friend James Knowles' 1893 reminiscence, would "look upon his bottle of port as a sort of counsellor." When the poet received the letter offering him the poet laureateship of Britain, he brooded inconclusively until finally composing two letters -- one accepting and one declining -- placing them on his table and resolving to decide which to send after finishing his bottle of port. He accepted.

The writer's life is solitary, but not the drinking writer's. In his 1975 memoir, "Here at the New Yorker," Brendan Gill portrays the magazine (where he worked for 40 years) as a society of first-class bingers. One colleague believed that vomiting was, like shaving and showering, a natural part of any morning routine. Edmund Wilson drank at lunch until he couldn't stand; A.J. Liebling once fled a burning restaurant but not without securing his bottle of brandy; Wolcott Gibbs lugged buckets of premixed martinis to the beach and stored them in the sand.

But there can be a dark side. Booze was the downfall of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, after it “pickled their brains,” in the words of John Irving. Ditto for William Faulkner, Eugene O'Neill and Dylan Thomas, drinkers with writing problems all. "I'm Catholic, and I can't commit suicide," said Jack Kerouac, "but I plan to drink myself to death." Which he did, checking out from liver cirrhosis at the age of 47.

Is there really a muse in the bottle? Christopher Hitchens, an empirical student of the matter, says the connection is "oblique," but he observes that the "word 'spirit' preserves the initial intuition of the 'inspired' that was detected by the Greeks."

Intoxication, if not the source of literary creation, creates a cerebral aura congenial to it. It recasts the glare of life in a softer hue. It soothes anxiety and other stultifiers of reflection. It warms the mind and thaws thoughts frozen in timidity. The fruit of the vine does not give us insight but aids our discovery of it; it can allow you to eavesdrop on yourself.

The trick is to find the golden mean between exhilarating and dulling the intellect. Cratinus' belief that only bad verses were written without wine seems too appealing to be untrue. But the best verses no doubt arise when, the wine low in the bottle, Dionysus is still steady enough to dance to the tune of Apollo's lyre.

Joseph Tartakovsky is associate editor of the Claremont Review of Books.
Copyright 2008 Los Angeles Times (Larry sez: please note © !)


Followed further emails:

From Wild Thing:
Mmmmmmmmm, does that mean that I should dip deeper into alcoholic beverages to make it to the poet's hall of fame?

From Xena:
Very funny, Larry! (Believe it or not) for me, wine and writing don't mix - kinda like driving. Too many accidents! But of the literary kind. However, editing circle's another thing.... *smile*.

I have discovered that I can set up my yahoo page to bring me five news articles a day related to poetry (yeah, POETRY NEWS) and another five for writing news. It's been fun and even enlightening to read the articles. Here's one news-related issue that I found fascinating. Copyright nuts have been so squeamish about letting anybody read/have any of their words for free. Online postings posed a problem from this perspective. Lock down sites? Make people pay to access your writing online? The problem is all of that is so restrictive - why would "surfing" readers do that? I heard a blogger speak once (can't remember his name - but a very popular blogger) who said he found when he posted his articles in his blog straight from his newspaper column - no extra pay for him or the newspaper - people tended to search him out in print too. It increased print sales. The same is being proven with online books. People download the writing for free, but then tend to search out book copies, and/or buy the books for friends. In other words, online free downloading increases books sales. Publisher now are putting some books online - the whole thing - for free. Here's the news article link to read more:

Again from Wild Thing:
Well now you say so, alcoholic spirits make me feel tired and a bit dizzy. Never felt inspired to write, like when I am between sleeping and waking, and words and sentences just float in. You think it is a man thing? Do they need the courage, more so than a woman, to let go of their inner self? I knew a good guitarist and lyric writer, who I often invited to parties. He would not perform untill he downed a good amount of beer. Remembering writers/poets get togethers, it was mainly the men who were sauced already right from the start. I am open to be proven wrong about that.
When I get an AHA out of what someone has written, book, poetry, I am so pleased about it. I like learning. I like to see my own feelings confirmed, expressed the way I could not. When I write I always hope that it is worth sharing. That it may help someone else who reads it, in his/her thought processes, and that they in turn pass it on, by sharing in converstion, in writing or vocally. That to me is pay. I agree, Marianne, that opening your work up for free sharing, may help rather than harm you. I always seek out writers that have touched me. I want to read more of their material. those are the books I buy for gifts.

And Larry:
POETRY NEWS? What exactly does that consist of? Of what, exactly, does that consist?

Seriously, Xena if you click on edit in the module on your Yahoo page, it should bring down a box that says "Email Module". Send me the link for those two modules, please. I missed them somehow in all the options for News, Sports, Politics, Useless Diversions...

Re: drinking & writing. Yes, it loosens the tongue, but tends to disorganize the thinking, no?

Re: online novels. I've downloaded gigabytes worth of online literature, plus other stuff, pages & pages, and it collects on my computer because I have difficulty doing sustained reading on the computer. Lots of reading, yes, but working thru a novel? Tough to do.

As for the other part, all my writing is free. So far. I've seen sites where people surround their material with copyright signs, dated, little messages saying, "This is my poem. I wrote it and it belongs to me. It's thin at the beginning, becomes much thicker in the middle, then thins out at the end. That is my poem, and it is mine." On the internet? Good luck! If you post it, someone will copy it, even if they have to type it out by hand.

And Xena:
Hey Wild Thing, you've thrown down the gauntlet to the men writers out there! LOL!

Larry responds:
Larry will respond for the men. Is it an aspect of the artistic temperament? (What is the artistic temperament?) This phenomenon is not just confined to writing, of course. See my blog posts about Amy Winehouse. (And then there was Janis Joplin...) And you can see that it is not confined to men, although those two examples were musicians...

The artist struggles with two great difficulties...first, the battle to express accurately what one wishes to express...the personal struggle for self-fulfillment, let's say. And then second, the wish to share it with others...and have it accepted and appreciated. Failure in either one of these may drive you to drink. And success might as well, because success is the prelude to imagined failure to live up to both one's own and others' expectations in the next project...

Larry has a second thought: (his first second thought in decades)...
This is a discussion that should be going on on the much-neglected Dove Tale Blog! You writers, you!

Xena agrees:
I agree. Larry, do you want to translate it over? Post your email as a blog, and I'll translate Wild Things and my comments to the blog after? And everyone else, come join us!

And one final from Xena:
Go to the part at the top menu where it says personalise this page. Go to content. Then search poetry and writing (separately). Lots of feeds (that's the right word?) come up. Kinda nuts... Anyway, for my yahoo page...

Here's the link for poetry:

Here's the writer one I have:

(Larry decides to do the whole thing himself, cuz he likes to be in, his Gmail gives him automatic easy-to-follow threads...)


What's all this for? Well, mainly because there are several interesting possible conversations going on here!

  1. The question of drinkers who write, with all of the subtexts involved in that, including gender differences, and how useful is it to write while drinking...
  2. The question of online publication, giving it away for free...
  3. Why do writers write anyway? Is it just for the exposure? What constitutes pay?
  4. A "technical" Internet conversation about RSS feeds and Personal Home Pages and how do you get your news.
All of which deserve some attention and consideration.

You may now comment or post your own post.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thoughts on Editors & Editing

In an odd way, the exchange between writer and editor encapsulates the process of growing up. The act of writing is godlike, omnipotent, infantile. Your piece is a statement delivered from on high, a pronouncement ex cathedra, as egotistical and unchecked as the wail of a baby. Then it goes out into the world, to an editor, and the reality principle rears its ugly head. You are forced as a writer to come to terms with the gap between your idea and your execution -- and still more deflating, between your idea and what your idea should have been.
From an article by Gary Kamiya entitled "Let Us Now Praise Editors". You can read the rest at

Monday, February 11, 2008

Larry Luvs Toys

Larry luvs toys. Internet toys. Or what are currently being called Web2.0 toys. That means applications that run entirely on the Internet. Storage on the net. Working on the net. Bookmarks on the net. Networking on the net. Uploading. Sharing. Writing.

In fact, Larry's using an Internet toy to write this very post. It's called Windows Live Writer. And here's a screenshot to prove it:

Live Writer 021108

Larry's not sure, but he thinks you can click on the screenshot to make it bigger. There, if that works, you will see an exact duplicate of what he's just written.

So now Larry has demonstrated two toys. Windows Live Writer and another program called Screenshot Studio.

Now, first, Live Writer. This is perhaps not strictly a Web2.0 device, since you have to download some kind of software, which installs easily. Then you can configure it to publish automatically to your blog.

Essentially, Live Writer is a WYSIWYG text editor, or word processor. But it goes somewhat beyond basic word processing. In fact, it has all the tools that the Blogger editing page has, plus a couple others. You can download plug-ins that expand the capabilities of Live Writer, such as "Insert SnagIt Screen Capture," which Larry guesses is a function similar to the Studio Screenshot application. (And here Larry has to say, he hasn't been able to get this plug-in to work, even though the program says it's enabled and he's downloaded it about 3 times and installed it just as many times, but when he tries to use it, a box comes up saying it's not installed. Conclusion: there are still bugs to be worked out.) One thing you can do with Live Writer that you can't on the Blogger page is to insert a table. Not the four-legged kind, but the tabular kind. Like this:

Live Writer Four-Legged Table

You can also insert events, maps, pictures, videos, hyperlinks, and tags (which this blog is not currently using, but could be.)

There are several of these Word-type applications available on the net now, including many of the Google applications like Google Docs, ThinkFree and Zoho. These latter two are in fact much more than mere word processors. They qualify as genuine office applications. And what does that mean? It means you don't necessarily have to spend the $700 that Larry spent on Microsoft Office. These apps are free! Did Larry say free? Yes, free! As in free. And speaking of free, if you want an office suite on your computer that's maybe not quite as powerful or flashy as Microsoft Office, but has the advantage of being free, check out Open Office.Org. Larry uses this all the time rather than Microsoft Office (which he paid $700 for...) This is not to say he doesn't use Office. He does. Just not for everything. Like, for example, creating pdf files, which you can do with Open Office!

These online applications have one big advantage. As long as you remember your login name and password, you can access them from any computer at all that has an Internet connection. All of them allow you to upload documents as well, and to share them. So, for example, you could do a collaborative writing project by establishing a group who all know the password, then edit the document online, save the versions and (in the case of Google, Larry believes) even publish it online. (And for this purpose, though there wouldn't be any money involved in the publishing, there is another site called Scribd, specifically for uploading documents which can be shared to a wide audience.

There is also one big disadvantage to these programs, however. Because they're online, and they're free, there is always the danger that the companies sponsoring these sites will one day go out of business. And then you're SOL, unless you've backed up your files. (Of course, you can always back them up on some other free online site!)

And speaking of backup. How about your bookmarks? Ever lost your bookmarks? Larry has lost his bookmarks. Suzy Homemaker has lost hers too. Larry has since learned how to back these up on his own computer, but he has also invested time (but no money cuz it's free) in an online bookmark service called StartAid. This is a cool bookmarking service, that loads into your browser as well as being accessible on a separate webpage. (Once again, accessible from any computer at all.)

Yes, Larry luvs toys. Actually, the one he loves most is his Firefox browser. If you are still using any browser other than Firefox, you are missing a whole world of functionality. Larry doesn't even know where to begin. So he won't. There are so many people working on add-ons and little improvements, pimping it up as they say, that it makes your head spin. All in the name of productivity, or functionality, or efficiency, or just plain fun and the sheer joy of surfing. Seriously, forget about Internet Explorer. Forget Safari. (Larry uses this too, but it just doesn't compete.) Forget Opera. (Larry just started experimenting with it, but it doesn't look like it quite makes it either...) Get Firefox. Do it now!

Larry luvs his toys. And he's now going to use his Windows Live Writer toy to post this on Dove Tale Writer. (Hope to hell it works...)

Friday, February 08, 2008

New Layout

Larry has changed the template. Larry was given the power. What good is power left unused?

Change is the only sure thing. So Larry changed the template. The layout has changed. The landscape altered.

Is the change satisfactory? Does it meet with your approval? Only time and the comments section will tell. Many other changes may be changed. The change may even be changed back. No problem.

Larry likes the change. Why? Because the new layout is very clean. It's called Minima Stretch. And it is. Minimalist. But sophisticated. For sophisticated literary types. Dove Talers.

The look of the template is not the only change. The template is in fact the "new" Blogger-style template. Which is already not new, but about 2 years old. Users will notice some differences. Maybe. You still sign in and post the same way. However, when you are signed in to the blog, you will notice new little graphics on the blog. Like the wrench and socket wrench. Click on these and you will find yourself on the editing page. You need not concern yourself with these. Unless you feel like editing something. There will also be a link on the top right of the page that says "Customize". Click on this and you will find a feast of options and things you can add to the blog.

Change it. If you don't like it, change it back. Delete. Repeat. Edit. Alter. Customize. Preview. Experiment.

Or just write a post. That would make the Secret Bloginettes sing joyous hymns to the God of Bloggery.

Larry has finished now. Go forth, ye Bloggeroonies, and multiply.