Thursday, March 27, 2014

cherry blossoms

A gray rainy day today
the cherry trees are blossoming
the flowers taste like pie

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

circus attraction

There were a lot of elephants in Bellingham in
July 1942. Just weeks before the July 28th circus,
there was a different circus at the fairground.
This circus featured a wedding.

Basho crow

A Basho poem on a scroll from 1680s.
Right now in my new book, crows are
flying over 1942 Bellingham.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

the circus field

An aerial photo from 1950
shows the big field where
the circus popped up in 1942.
This is the corner of the field
and photos show what the fairground
looks like now...I-5 rushes through
elevated above what used to be
grass and trees and elephant ghosts.


trolley fossils

Here's where the old trolley line
runs underground into tar in

Monday, March 24, 2014

circus 1936

This weekend I watched a favorite
Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936)
which has some great circus train

Friday, March 21, 2014

circus 1942

"Bringing joy and cheer
to a troubled world"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

milk bottle caps

I keep these two wooden
milk bottle caps in the pocket
of the blue Milk Man coat I wear.
Inspiration for my 1940s writing.

3 signed books

There are three signed copies of
SAINT LEMONADE for sale at
The Whatcom Museum store in
the Lightcatcher building on
Flora Street, downtown Bellingham.

circus and chaplin

another peek at my new novel
in progress....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

movies and milk

This is a page from
the Bellingham Herald
in summer, 1942
also playing in my
next novel

See my old post for more on Moontide:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Been writing my new novel set in 
Bellingham in 1942. I love those
trolleys! You can still see their 
tracks in some places in the city. 
I'll get a picture of that soon.
Of course, I had to have a character
be a trolley conductor.

Monday, March 17, 2014

the radiator

Today I was walking through
the library and I noticed something
missing. They took the radiator away!

I drew a picture of that amazing old
radiator for SAINT LEMONADE:

It's sad to see beautiful things get torn
away, fortunately it still survives on
page 102 of my book.

UPDATE: I found out what they did with
the radiator. Threw it in the dumpster!
Now they can cover the space over
with a wall...they obviously never
read Edgar Allan Poe's short story. 
It's ironic that when I was drawing it
last summer, Paul Piper came up to me
and I told him I was drawing it before
they destroyed it.Wouldn't you think
something so magically historical could
be kept in a library as a reminder?

Thursday, March 13, 2014


It's been a while since I've read
William Saroyan, but I just had
lunch with Jake and he reminded
me to read those short stories again,
especially the one titled "The Circus."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Here at the Library it's Finals Week
and that means the arrival of dogs
for stressed-out students to pet:

However, there's one 'dog'
you may not want to pet...
goes by the name of 'Cuddles'...


I finished reading Matt Phelan's book
BLUFFTON on the bus this morning.
A very beautiful book about one of my
heroes Buster Keaton and his childhood
summers in Michigan many moons ago.
At first I was worried that it might be
similar to the book I'm writing right now,
especially with the elephant on the cover!
But not to worry, it's a wonderful tale
all its own.


Last week I wrote to America's poet laureate
Ted Kooser, appreciating his life's work and
inspiration. I know he worked a long time
in insurance before he could make a living
as a poet. I told him I just got out of an
hour and a half meeting, kept comfort by
his beautiful book, Local Wonders. I just
got this postcard from him. A true gift.
As he says, "I always looked at my
insurance job as a means of supporting
myself as a poet, and that kept me going."

Monday, March 10, 2014


writing my new book. Being at work makes it hard.
I can only write on my breaks. I'll be in that world,
getting a few pages into my notebook then I'll have
to return to the library job. But I carry the book
around in me, thinking about it, waiting to return there.

Friday, March 7, 2014


I'm starting a new notebook.
There's a story going in me 
like a movie: an old train is
moving along towards town
the rails are clicking, it's 
getting closer...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Plumbing Follies continues...
That kitchen sink, the bane of my life,
tried once again to lure a plumber.
I even called one, but just as I was
digging deep into my wallet
Eric called and offered to help:
Going under my house has become
a second home to us, all those tree
roots biting into your knees as you 
shuffle in the dark among the pools 
of leaked swamp water and there was 
the culprit...the dripping water pipe.
Of course the pipe was rusted tight
and I got the pleasure of using Eric's 
reciprocal saw or The Widow Maker
as it's more commonly known. 

Fortunately, the operation was a success
we installed a new eight foot section of pipe
and got out alive. I'm very thankful to Eric
for his help and in his honor, here's
the drawing of his alley that appears in
SAINT LEMONADE on page 38:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

sink poetry

Spent Saturday fixing the kitchen sink. 
After taking it all apart and cleaning the pipes
I had to call Eric to borrow a snake. (That's 
a drawing of his alley that appears on page 38
Note the bungee cord--it's a quality job. 
Not calling a plumber means the money saved 
can go to printing my next book,
a big collection of poetry.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Anatomy of a Snowman

This is all that's left of the bowing snowman
however, it just started snowing again 
so maybe its mighty powers will be