Wastelander '08 Prologue
Dear Constant Readers,

I can't adress you all (my mind is not functional enough to remember all your names) (and I don't know all your names since so many read and don't comment), so if I miss you, don't be angry. OK? OK!

Hey Anonymous 1-50 (friend and enemy); Beatriz; Bill; Bonnie; Cathryn; Cesar; Cheryl; Cinder; Clarke; Dalia; Dave Duty; Diabla; Dirk; Ed; Esteban; Fishtrappers/Cabin 20 Participants; Frankie; Grace; Janna; Jasmine; Jay; Jennifer; Jo; Joffroy; Juan Sanchez; Karma; Kikelomo; Lakshmi; Lurkers; No Name Here; Olivas; Poage; Prudence; Red Charlie; Reverend Mike; Rich Villar; Robert P; Sarah; Takomabibelot; Warrior; Wendyleo; White Eagle; writing students;et al:

"Can I tell you about
the space out there,
the gifts gods
give to astonish days?"

--W.R. Wilkins

Here comes a big fat Wastelander's Notebook for Summer 2008.


What is it? Lots of blog readers have snooped and come aboard this bus (I think Rich Villar said that) recently, and may not have seen a Wastelander before. (They're posted in the massive archive of way too many writings on this blog, if you're interested.) Here's what the Wastelander is not: it is not poetry. It looks like poetry, but it's not. Think of it as a supple and playful form of instant writing, as close to experience as I can get it. Flash! Pure soul on the page. Perhaps the closest thing I can think of is Kerouac's "prose sketching" that Neal Cassady suggested. There's a swell little book of these sketches available.

I have said elsewhere (in my secret and favorite book, Wandering Time) that Walking=Writing. Also, in spite of $5.00 a gallon gas, Driving! If Cinderella drives a lot and I wear out pen after pen sketching everything I see. If C is not at the helm, then I have to see it, think it, and hold it till the next pee/gas/M&M/sandwich stop. Good for the brain. Keeps the senior dementia at bay.

At its worse, I guess it could be a "how I spent my summer vacation" exercise. But I love the freedom and the room for strange little tiny miracles to pop like dragonflies and grasshoppers hitting the windshield. Miracles are pretty small, usually. We're too busy earning paychecks to notice them.

But once you start to sketch, they crowd in all around you.

Why "Wastelander"? I have taken this awesome word on for myself. Like, "rock star" was taken, dude. Being in love with words, I always scour old and used bookstores. I found Homer Hogan's amazing Dictionary of Modern American Synonyms somewhere for fifty cents or a quarter. I love books that have out of date hip words. They're a hoot.

As is my habit, I looked under "Writer." Among such gems as "double-dome," "goose-flesh peddler," "inversionist," and "sob sister," was the fabled "wastelander." You know, guys'n'gals who ply the trade of T.S. Eliot. But hey--I'm always wandering the wastelands like poor Max the Road Warrior, or Liver Eating Johnson.. It just fit.

This kind of writing was well-suited for the wastelands, too. So there it was. A gift from above.

How and when. I first learned to write like this at Tony and Pam's donkey ranch in Holy Colorado. I just could not find any way to write the saqme ol' damned cliches in a fresh manner. You know--Rockies! Skies! Bluebirds! Coyotes! Hawks! Rain fall and sunlight! Windmills! Big western wind! So I gave up the tired narrative thread, dropped the adjectives and the adverdbs and the self and tried to just let words move...well, like that afternoon storm rolling along the high prairie.


It's an experiment. But it's loads of fun to write, and people seem to enjoy reading it. I hope to collect all these into a couple of sketchbooks one day. So watch this space--new revelations from the road spirits will come soon.

It just takes...a long...time...to enter the data! And to cut out the happy crappy nobody wants to read. Just going for movement and joy with no rewriting.

JOY! Hell, I'm too cranky for that right now.

Love, L

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