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Like everyone, I'm whipsawed between the good and the bad these days. What's going on in Washington is more than embarrassing, it's dangerous. But my personal life couldn't be better.

Here are some good and bad D's:


Donald Trump Jr. can't keep his story straight. Lies and evasions pour out of the White House like syrup. It will take time for the whole story to emerge, but the Trump campaign's collusion with the Russians will eventually take this president down. But it will be a long and ugly fight.

One of my favorite quotes in all this blizzard of information came from a friend of Trump's. He said that Donald Trump "would lie about what day of the week it is, just for practice." And that from was a friend.

Can you imagine the furor if any of Hillary's people met with the Russians?? Fox News and the right-wing hate-noise machine would have already built the gallows and be screaming "TREASON!!" It's still all hard to believe, and it's happening right in front of our eyes.



I finally delivered the manuscript of my new novel WHEN I GOT OUT to my publisher, The Story Plant.

I've never worked so hard on anything in my life. I worked hard on WHAT IT WAS LIKE, but I think I worked even harder on this one. People liked my first book, so the stakes and the bar are even higher on this one. And because it's the end of the story of the kid in WHAT IT WAS LIKE, it gives me a chance to "finish" the first book while making something special -- an individual's epic -- with my "bi-ology."

But this new novel stands alone. It's a sequel in the sense that the story is extended, but you don't have to have read the first book in order to enjoy the second. In fact, I can see where reading the second book first might be better. I'm just happy how it's all turning out. I'll have this one big book: WHAT IT WAS LIKE/WHEN I GOT OUT ... and I'll have had my say.

In these last few weeks, I felt like both the race horse and the jockey, whipping myself toward the "finish" line. Of course, there is no "finished" when it comes to a novel, especially a long, involved novel like WHEN I GOT OUT. I could potchke with it forever. (Is potchke an acceptable literary term?)

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Happy Unhappy Fourth of July

This is one tough Fourth of July for the USA, considering who is occupying the Oval Office. It's still like a nightmare, or a hallucination. So many bad things already: the firing of James Comey ... the Gorsuch appointment ... the travel ban ... the destruction/undermining of the EPA and the State Department ... withdrawal from the Paris Accords ... the unfilled ambassadorships ... the everyday degradation of the office ... Jared and Ivanka ... Michael Flynn and Roger Stone ... Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller ... Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer.

And it's going to get so much worse. He's been in office for barely six months.

RESISTANCE is the most patriotic way I can think of celebrate this Fourth of July.

RESISTANCE AND MEMORY. Let's use this Fourth of July to remember the great things about the USA.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights ... baseball ... Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson ... rock and roll ... the Grand Canyon ... Hollywood movies ... the civil rights movement ... Broadway musicals ... the suffragette movement ... Central Park and all the works of Frederick Law Olmsted ... soul music ... the Yosemite Valley ... basketball ... jazz ... Ellis Island ... the blues ... the American Civil Liberties Union ... the interstate highway system ... the underground railroad ... Cape Cod ... putting a man on the moon ... state fairs ... the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison ... the gay rights movement ... the Ivy League ... New Orleans food ... Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech ... Big Sur ... the Great American Songbook ... the Statue of Liberty (merci, France) ... the New York City skyline ... the Brooklyn Bridge ... the Everglades ... New England clam chowder ... Title IX ... the polio vaccine ... the public school system ... the Triple Crown ... NPR ... the EPA ...Niagara Falls ... Social Security ... the coast of Maine ... pecan pie ... the Pacific Coast Highway ... Key West ... family farms ... the labor movement ... the skies of New Mexico ... county fairs ... Times Square at night.


A few of these Republican senators might be all that stand between the American people and the willful destruction of the medical safety net for millions.

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Heavy Metal Woman

While I'm racing to finish WHEN I GOT OUT and get this long-promised ms. to my publisher Lou Aronica of The Story Plant, I want to take this blog to celebrate the work of my friend, the sculptor MARSHA PELS.

Marsha is a renowned sculptor whose work has been shown in galleries, museums, and collections all over the world, from New York to Dublin to Australia. She was awarded the Prix de Rome for Sculpture from the American Academy in Rome and a Fulbright to Germany to work on a site-specific Holocaust Memorial. Many years ago, I was lucky enough to I get Marsha to make two site-specific works for our house: a sculpture that wraps around a back corner of our house, mounted to the wall, and a trellis (actually, two trellises) for a planter on the outside of our guest house.

Both these works are of an organic, natural design, are made of bronze, using the ancient lost-wax process, and are very beautiful. Marsha's installations are valued throughout the world, and we have two.

The "tree" that wraps around the corner of my house casts the most interesting shadows on the stucco at sunset. And the trellises against the guest house explode with roses (white and red) twice a year to complement Marsha's bronze roses. I love how Marsha's works have merged with nature, changing with the seasons and the light.

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