Another New Post At

Here’s a link to the latest blog at my rockhounding site:

I know I am concentrating lately on all things rock related, rather than writing itself, but it’s all part of working on my book. I’ll try to come up with some writing content soon. Thanks for your patience.

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New Post at

New post at

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Amazing Grace, The Future, No Despair and Dying

It’s been three decades since my insomnia, bad dreams, and nightmares started. And my daytime anxiety years before that. Although I don’t long for death, I long for its peace. Unless I am cast into hell, my thoughts return to a stanza in Amazing Grace:

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the life I enjoy. It would be more satisfying without my troubles, but everyone has their own private nightmares stalking them. In the end, I have my art and the means to conduct it. We’ve all made it this far. As the  song reminds us:

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

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The Inadequate Index — Another Writing Time Bandit

A book writer may have thirty or forty books aiding  his or her research and writing. I certainly do. Unless one has years before deadline, it is impossible for a writer to read each book cover to cover, for the purpose of gathering three or four quotes from each one. Instead, we rely on indexes, which too often are inadequate.

Right now I am pushing through The Desert Reader, edited by Peter Wild. It’s a collection of writings about the Southwest and it is an excellent book. But Wild has a different orientation than I do, consequently, his index is lacking for my work. He has excerpts from Peter Banham’s Scenes in American Deserts and the quotations I am interested in are on the creosote bush, the background plant of the desert Southwest.

Creosote is ubiquitous on the desert floor and it possesses no thorns. But its sharply oriented branches can puncture the sidewall of a truck tire and it is stiff enough to whip the paint off a passing vehicle. For these reasons and others I want to mention creosote in my book. But nowhere does creosote appear in its index. Instead, one has to read the entire book from cover to cover, or fast scan it, in the hope of finding something on point.

Years ago in writing a telephone history I quoted from the biography of an engineer who worked for fifty years for Motorola. He had invaluable, first hand insights on the development of that company. All 125+ pages were without an index. I am sure I was the first researcher to cite his publication because I eventually read the entire work. That book is and remains closed to the world of research without an index. The only hope is that someday its pages are scanned and made searchable by machine.

All of this is a long way of saying to keep to books with good indexes, lengthy ones, ones that will help keep your writing on track. A book with no index should not be considered unless it contains material so original and so unavailable elsewhere that a great effort is worthwhile. Books lacking an index are yet another unexpected bandit that robs us of our time.

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New Post to

On indoor photography and light boxes: (external link)

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Collage: The Poor Man’s Art

Collage is for people like me who can’t draw and don’t have much money. Some construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, and old magazines. Although artists like like Matisse and Ella Richards (internal link) produced fine art with just scissors and paper.

Every few years I get the urge to collage. This is tonight’s creation. The age old question: when to stop? I could fill in every blank space or leave them blank. I may want to fill in everything.

Because I was impatient I didn’t get acid-free paper. This black background paper will eventually fade, becoming a dull gray in between the images. But every graphic needs room to breathe, so perhaps it’s best not to cover much up.

Let me know if you collage and I may be able to post them here.

Click here or on the image to call up the full size file.

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Today’s entry to Read all about phyllite and photography!



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