Gold and Going Away (Revised)

Little is more coveted than gold. It has been that way for thousands of years and it will continue that way. Man’s attraction seems genetic.

Civilizations and people have risen to great prominence with it and an equal number of societies and people have been destroyed by it.

Gold infects with fever on first discovery and does not leave. `

Further discoveries set a miner’s path. A miner may know family, work, love. But distant hills and streams now command a melancholy, unfulfilled longing.

As Kipling put it in The Explorer:

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated—so:
“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges—
“Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”

The miner goes. If only in their mind, they go. Their last discovery may be two months old and two thousand miles away. But gold fever still burns.

That miner may now be at a desk or talking with friends at a restaurant, however, they are still in those hills or on the banks of that river. Hold a miner as friend. But understand that they want to leave, if at least for a while. If they aren’t already gone.

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Lord Walter’s Wife by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

To quote Thackery, “unlawful passion, felt by a man for a woman.” True, but incomplete. More like a lecture by a woman. An admonishment to a man on his duplicitous behavior and judgment when a woman expresses passion towards him. The kraken reference earns bonus points.

Browning is best known for her Sonnets from the Portuguese. I’m sure I’ve looked at Browning before but I can’t find any posts by me on her and I am sad.

I wish I could find a reading of this. Anyone know of one? Anyone want to try it? Send me your audio file . . .

Update: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz penned this poem: You Foolish Men (internal link), which undoubtedly influenced or emboldened Browning with her writing.

Lord Walter’s Wife

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861)

”But why do you go?” said the lady, while both sate under the yew,
And her eyes were alive in their depth, as the kraken beneath the sea-blue.

“Because I fear you,” he answered:–“because you are far too fair, And able to strangle my soul in a mesh of your gold-colored hair.”

“Oh, that,” she said, “is no reason! Such knots are quickly undone,  And too much beauty, I reckon, is nothing but too much sun.”

“Yet farewell so,” he answered;–“the sunstroke’s fatal at times.
I value your husband, Lord Walter, whose gallop rings still from the limes.”

“O, that,” she said, “is no reason. You smell a rose through a fence:
If two should smell it, what matter? who grumbles, and where’s the pretence?”

“But I,” he replied, “have promised another, when love was free, To love her alone, alone, who alone and afar loves me.”

“Why, that,” she said. “is no reason. Love’s always free, I am told.
Will you vow to be safe from the headache on Tuesday, and think it will hold?”

“But you,” he replied, “have a daughter, a young little child, who was laid
In your lap to be pure; so I leave you: the angels would make me afraid.”

“O, that,” she said, “is no reason. The angels keep out of the way;
And Dora, the child, observes nothing, although you should please me and stay.”

At which he rose up in his anger,–“Why, now, you no longer are fair!
Why, now, you no longer are fatal, but ugly and hateful, I swear.”

At which she laughed out in her scorn,–“These men! O, these men overnice, Who are shocked if a color not virtuous is frankly put on by a vice.”

Her eyes blazed upon him — “And you! You bring us your vices so near
That we smell them! you think in our presence a thought ‘t would defame us to hear!

“What reason had you, and what right,–I appeal to your soul from my life,–
To find me too fair as a woman? Why, sir, I am pure, and a wife.

“Is the day-star too fair up above you? It burns you not. Dare you imply
I brushed you more lose than the star does, when Walter had set me as high?

“If a man finds a woman too fair, he means simply adapted too much
To uses unlawful and fatal. The praise! — shall I thank you for such?

“Too fair? — not unless you misuse us! and surely if, once in a while, You attain to it, straightway you call us no longer too fair, but too vile.

“A moment, — I pray your attention!—I have a poor word in my head
I must utter, though womanly custom would set it down better unsaid.

“You grew, sir, pale to impertinence, once when I showed you a ring.
You kissed my fan when I dropped it. No matter! I’ve broken the thing.

“You did me the honor, perhaps, to be moved at my side now and then
In the senses,–a vice, I have heard, which is common to beasts and some men.

“Love’s a virtue for heroes!—as white as the snow on high hills,
And immortal as every great soul is that struggles, endures, and fulfils.

I love my Walter profoundly,–you, Maude, though you faltered a week,
For the sake of . . . what was it? an eyebrow? or, less still, a mole on a cheek?

“And since, when all’s said, you’re too noble to stoop to the frivolous cant
About crimes irresistible, virtues that swindle, betray, and supplant,

“I determined to prove to yourself that, whate’er you might dream or avow
By illusion, you wanted precisely no more of me than you have now.

“There! Look me full in the face!—in the face. Understand, if you can, That the eyes of such women as I am are clean as the palm of a man.

“Drop his hand, you insult him. Avoid us for fear we should cost you a scar,–
You take us for harlots, I tell you, and not for the women we are.

“You wrong me: but then I consider . . . there’s Walter! And so at the end, I vowed that he should not be mulcted, by me, in the hand of a friend.

“Have I hurt you indeed? We are quits then. Nay, friend of my Walter, be mine! Come, Dora, my darling, my angel, and help me to ask him to dine.”

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The Content Mill as Crime: A Look at Urban Writers

May 12, 2023 Update: If you’re really desperate to work for these fools, try using the A/I tool ChatGPT to produce your content. You’ll get nicely done writing in literally seconds on any topic imaginable. If they say it’s A/I generated, e-mail me and I’ll give you a hint to defeating the latest detection schemes, principally the method used by Good luck.

Original article:

One cent a word. Going up to two cents a word.

I once did a number of writing jobs for They’re a content mill and I was paid $25.00 to $35.00 an article, depending on if I supplied photographs. Articles were about 750 words.

Although that was the lowest I had ever been paid for my writing (I think my best was 73 cents a word for American Heritage), I accepted it because I could pick the work, I got a byline, and it was resume building while I did other things.

Today I got an automated invitation to apply to Urban Writers. (external link) Another content mill. Fine.

The application started out well because they preferred a knowledge of SEO, CMOS or other style guides, and whether one had recently finished an MS of at least 20,000 words. All that meant decent skills which implied decent wages.

Totally wrong. A penny a word, advancing to two pennies a word.

Outrageous, disgusting, and totally disrespectful to the writing community. My cat can’t live on a penny a word.

In my years of editing, I found the fastest writers could complete 750 words in about two and a half to three hours. That includes simple research. Other writers might take six to eight hours if the subject was complex.

Given that time, a penny a word means $7.50 for three hours of work. That’s $2.50 an hour provided the text doesn’t have to be rewritten and if it passes Copyscape. That’s not poverty wages, that’s prison pay.

Send out query letters instead, apply to other employers, volunteer to write articles for a local newspaper, do anything but buy into this built in misery. I’ve written on this before (internal link).

Oh, and they need an editor:

“Are you willing to working [sic] directly with an Editor?”

Nice. I doubt I would capitalize the word editor, either. But I’m sure they want perfect copy for that one cent a word. Not only are these people criminal, they’re illiterate idiots. The rest of their pitch was as pockmarked with grammatical errors and poor English as was their opening. Enough said.


Keep Your Well Intended Advice to Yourself Unless . . .

Regarding Mental Health

Keep your well intended advice to yourself unless you believe the person you are talking to. Otherwise, your advice is not well intended at all.

A woman I met a few days ago said she could wake herself from a violent dream or nightmare. I said I could do that if the nightmare wasn’t too bad but not an especially severe one.

I explained how in the grip of terror, of getting my arm cut off, or watching my best friend get beaten to death, that I rarely know that I am asleep. Shock and pain takes over and not the intellect.

She then went on to recite a variety of things that she had tried for better sleep, along with things she had heard about. She seized on diet, how I hadn’t tried vitamins or cooking certain things. Lady, I don’t want to hear it.

Over the last thirty years I have tried every medication, talk therapy, and hospital technique possible for my nightmares. Along the way, medical practitioners and even friends try to place the blame on me for their favorite solution not working.

I didn’t try hard enough. I don’t want to get better. These dreams aren’t life threatening. (internal link) They’re not real. Go to hell.

To back up, I didn’t ask for a supernatural power to break my brain. (internal link) I wanted none of it and I did nothing to cause it. I suffer from it, from something I couldn’t even imagine happening. I refuse any more to take blame for any of this, especially from those who have no idea what they are talking about.

She wasn’t trying to help, she was trying to prove that she was smarter. She knows better. She’s more clever or insightful. I’d be cured if I only listened to her.


Where’s the trust? I accept without question and in full faith that all of the methods she outlined work for her. Great. I do not question that at all. But she questions my honesty and intellect when I say those practices haven’t worked for me. Where is the mutual respect? There is none.

Unless you can accept a person that has accepted you, keep your so called well intended advice to yourself. Because all you offer is arrogant, hurtful, and demeaning crap. Buy them a nice dinner instead or give them some flowers. And then shut up!


Wake Up, Wake Up. We’re Almost Home.

“Why don’t more bands tour with a choir?”


Damien Jurado’s haunting voice hints of Boz Scaggs gone into the mystic.

Jurado wrote this along with Richard Melville Hall.

I’m not afraid of going home. (internal link)

“… I’ll decide
In a moment’s time
To turn away
Leave it all behind”

We’re Almost Home at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles in 2014.

… I’ll decide
In a moment’s time
To turn away
Leave it all behind

… So we climb
So we’re all are told the line
The crowd is home
The treasure found

… So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home
So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home

… Time to scout
When I was a child there
I know at heart
To be at your side

… So we climb
Somewhere I will draw the line
I dream it, too
The stars were mine

… So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home
So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home

… I’ll decide
In a moment’s time
To turn away
Leave it all behind

… So we climb
Somewhere I will draw the line
The crowd is home
The treasure found

… So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home
So let it go

Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home
So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home
So let it go
Wake up, wake up, wake up
We’re almost home

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When Did the Modern Writing & Poetry Era Begin?

When Did the Modern Writing & Poetry Era Begin?

After World War II.

A clear line exist between writers and poets who established their reputations before World War II and those that came after. I don’t read many of the latter.

Modern writers I do like are Ginsberg, Kerouac, Dylan, Joan Didion, Hunter Thompson, Bruce Chatwin, and Paul Theroux.

Notable among them is a freer and often experimental style that pre-War writers lacked. (Joyce was certainly the exception.)

The old masters stayed within fixed prose styles so it was good that a rain soaked wind touched a landscape increasingly dry.

Still, I don’t read many post-war writers. They lack the power and sometimes majesty of Conrad, Tolstoy or Melville. The era of great writing may have passed, as did the era of classical music.

We still have good writing but how much approaches art?

Can anyone pen this today?

“Towards thee I roll, all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

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Annie Hall and The Inner Monologue Well Displayed

A friend couldn’t recall the inner monologue scene from Annie Hall so I looked it up.

We are used to movie characters talking to themselves when they are alone but it is much rarer to see this between characters when they are physically together. Especially this example with its wonderful subtitles.

“I’m not smart enough. Hang in there.”

Superbly well done!

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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold: Book versus Movie Script

A novel and its screenplay well demonstrate the skills of revising and editing. A book must be pared down to fit a film’s run length and to eliminate much of the scene setting in a novel done with words and not visual cues. A terrific author, a terrific scriptwriter.

Script by Paul Dehn

“Paul Dehn (pronounced “Dane”; 5 November 1912 – 30 September 1976) was a British screenwriter, best known for Goldfinger, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Planet of the Apes sequels and Murder on the Orient Express. . . .” (external link)

Girl: “How can you turn the world upside down? What rules are you playing?

Leamas: “There’s only one rule — expediency. Mundt gives London what it wants so Fidelier dies and Mundt lives. It was a foul, foul operation but it paid off.”

Girl: “Who for?”

Leamas: “What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They’re not.

They’re just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me. Little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives.

Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong? Yesterday I would have killed Mundt because I thought him evil and an enemy. But not today.

Today he is evil and my friend. London needs him. They need him so that the great, moronic masses you admire so much can sleep soundly in their flea-bitten beds again.

They need him for the safety of ordinary, crummy people like you and me.

Book by John le Carré

‘How can you turn the world upside down?’ Liz shouted suddenly. ‘Fiedler was kind and decent; he was only doing his job, and now you’ve killed him. Mundt is a spy and a traitor and you protect him. Mundt is a Nazi, do you know that? He hates Jews … what side are you on? How can you…?’

‘There’s only one law in this game,’ Leamas retorted. ‘Mundt is their man; he gives them what they need. That’s easy enough to understand, isn’t it? Leninism — the expediency of temporary alliances.

What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives.

Do you think they sit like monks in London balancing the rights and wrongs? I’d have killed Mundt if I could, I hate his guts; but not now. It so happens that they need him.

They need him so that the great moronic mass that you admire can sleep soundly in their beds at night. They need him for the safety of ordinary, crummy people like you and me.’

Richard Burton at his best on film. A low key rant that rival’s Nicholson’s performance in A Few Good Men. (internal link)


How Do You Put This in (0r on) A Resume?

I’m looking for online work again as a writer or editor. Maybe both. Or a lot more as I did for my last employer.

I made this video a while back to show the number of things I did for inFocus. Problem is, it is so boring I doubt any employer would watch it. But this is real life which is often boring.

Yet, if the employer doesn’t want to watch the video, how do I write these job duties and descriptions up in any form that someone would want to read?

Oh, here’s a current rewrite sample and below it a fuller discussion of same:

Click to access Farley-Ontra-Final-02.pdf

Discussion (internal link)

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