Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy


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The Writing Was the Easy Part

I am a technological toad. As in, I can never find the right place to put the thumb drive into the computer. Or if I luck out, figure how to get stuff from the computer onto the thumb drive. I need to haul my step-daughter down into the basement – amidst her giggles – and beg for help. Not just one time – every time.

Imagine, then, my journey into the world of self publishing. I thought writing the story was the hard part. But…….no. It’s the uploads and jpegs, the mobis and pdfs. It’s trying to understand the step-by-step directions, having been assured as to their ease of that understanding. It’s the asking for help on my Facebook writer’s group, asking to have it explained to me like I’d just dropped onto the planet and understood not a word of its language — and still not having a clue when people have coddled me and easy does’d me, it all still sounding Roman.

I read and heard that I could self-publish for free – after having sent my first ever novel (kind of a 52K word novella) to five publishing houses – start spreading the news in NYC and cheerio to London – and when I received rejections and/or silence, I turn to the pay-us-and-wewb_cushman_front_1600x2400‘ll-publish-it-for-ya publishers and was bullied a little here and there, and didn’t have the money for that anyway, it turns out.

By the way, that’s my first novel right over there on the left side of the page. It’s titled “Ring Around the Rosy” and it began as a short story submission for an on-line magazine requiring an apocalyptic setting and at least one character with a disability, but quickly raced past the word limit, and slowly, very slowly, with a six-month break in the writing during a big lifestyle change, it got done, now with three characters with a condition considered a disability, apocalypse or not. Or, don’t dis my ability.

So, anyway, I was strongly encouraged to turn to CreateSpace, a free self-publishing entity part of the Amazon world, for both paperback and ebook publication, and stumbled upon other similar services including IngramSpark and Draft2Digital. Well, as I’ve indicated above, I was simply incapable of figuring out how and doing the simple things they asked me to do. With the story collecting (internet) dust, and remembering a conversation I’d had with a friend in Oakland, CA when I visited back in the spring, I turned on-line to an outfit called Fiverr. It basically a business that offers the services of people from all over the planet to do their thing, whatever thing it is that you need them to do. For me, to get going, I primarily needed help with creating a cover (my skill level – none) and formatting my Word document for pdf and mobi uploads (moi skill level – ditto).

As fortune would have it – and doesn’t fortune smile on techie toads – I hired a woman in England, name of Victoria, to create a cover, including the spine (wouldn’t have thought of that) and back cover. That’s it up there, the end of the world as we know it landscape with Rosy in her chair, Teddy with his Down Syndrome, nerdy Matt the attendant, Felix, Marvin, well, all of them. It’s quite beautiful and it thrills me to look at it, and it coast me $25. Then I was fortunate to find another young women, Beenish Qureshi in Pakistan, to create the appropriate formatting for both paperback and ebook requirements ($50).

The writing of the book extended somewhere beyond a year and a half, and the finding and messaging back and forth with the Fiverr women has been going on maybe five or six weeks now. As I write this, January 12, 2017, my book – My Book – is live for sale on Amazon as an ebook for Kindle,and a couple of glitches and proofs away from a paperback you’ll be able to hold in your hands, sink back in an easy chair, and join the kids’ adventure.

Someone must have kissed this toad.

(By the way, they’ve given me an Author Page at Amazon and you can find the book there – www.amazon.com/author/wbcushman )

(One more By the way – the writing was a lot of work. It wasn’t, in fact, easy. Just way easier than all this other stuff.)

 

 

 

 


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We Gives and We Takes

 

Yesterday afternoon, Sunday, I was sitting in a gay and lesbian self help group (of sorts). I was welcome, I’m always welcome there, though I’m neither gay nor lesbian. One of the group topics cyrynehxuaaomdibeing discussed was the idea of self care. I didn’t have anything to say during the meeting, but I did do a lot of thinking, and sometime within that hour I came to the realization that my level of self care — usually pretty darn good — has dipped considerably since the night of November 8. My usual countenance of joy and possibility and wonder has, in large part, been replaced with a profound sense of sadness and disgust and ongoing judgement, with equal parts depression and anger added for taste. Soul sickness. I left the meeting determined to be better to and for myself, and be nicer to myself, without sacrificing any of my ongoing commitment to fight the powers that be now, and are coming to be more, the racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic bullying meanness that Donald Trump and his legion of darkness represent.

Anyway, just a little Dear Diary stuff there. What I want to talk about here, a powerful response to any mote of sadness or feeling of disempowerment, is all the potential action we can take, as Mario Savio said so eloquently back in the Berkeley day, “… to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.” So, how can I protest? – Let me count the ways. Here’s an old high school cheer – “Stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight.” There’s that.  For this piece, though, I want to focus on the suggestion that we give – we give to all those who oppose the Dark Lord; and that we take – we take from all those who stand with him, with bigotry and injustice.

Donate money to those who fight the good fight, those in need more now than ever of support and solidarity. Thankfully, the list is long. Here are a few I suggest:

Planned Parenthood – The war on women is going to ramp up in a big way, now, under the leadership of those who chuckle at sexual assault and believe only God and their righteious selves know what’s best for you and you and you. This isn’t pro or anti abortion, but about providing young women, all women, with information and assistance and support. Back when I was doing youth work on the streets there were many times when I referred, and sometimes drove, tennage girls to Planned Parenthood in their effort to not need an abortion, to need need treatment from one STD or another, to have someone to talk with. War was declared on this organization all through the Republican primaries and now beyond. You can help.

The American Civil Liberties Union – Attempts at voter supression and voter disempowerment are likley to have a field day under the emboldened “if you’re white it’s alright” legislators and judges, including the Supreme Court, these next four years. The ACLU will stand up for the otherwise voiceless.

The Southern Poverty Law Center – This organization, founded back in the 1970s by a couple of lawyers who have been receiving death threats since then, tracks and reports on white supremacist and paramilitary and other hate groups, including the father of all hate groups, the KKK, and when the opportunity presents itself, usually and most sadly when someone has been killed, takes individuals and organziations to Court and, oncw_ivhwwqaaekfp occassion, bankrupts them. It’s a certainty with Steve Bannon whispering in Trump’s ear, with Jeff Sessions in charge of “justice”, the Law Center will be more in need of support than ever. Like the people it defends.

The Human Rights Campaign –  As the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, HRC has vowed to continue its fight to press for and defend equality for all. The group currently represents more than 1.5 million people in the LGBTQ community, many of whom feel more threatened than ever by a Trump-Pence White House.

Yes Magazine – Describing itself as 20 years of Solutions Journalism, Yes Magazine publishes in depth news stories and features about the ongoing needs of marginalized people everywhere, as well as the creative solutions that individuals, groups of people, organizations, and communtiies bring to those problems. This month features a story on where to make a difference in each of the 50 states. The magazine is an encouraging and informativimagee collection of hope, and buying a subscription will help.

These are five options, opportunities to do something and feel good doing it and stand up for what’s right. Here is a link to these and other worthy organizations, and the way to contribute to their efforts:   http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/11/how-to-donate-to-planned-
parenthood-and-other-charities.html
   You can go to  YesMagazine.org  for a subscription.

The past week I have made small donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as to The Trevor Project, about which you can read in the New York Magazine link above. They weren’t for much, because that’s my story at the moment, but it felt good to do something good.

Now, as for the Taking, it seems I’ve run out of space. Clearly a direct way to take is to boycott — goods, services, businesses, corporations, sports teams, etc. I have a few in mind, but as I’ve run long, I’m asking readers of this blog to offer their own suggestions. Please leave your boycott plans and opportunities in the comments section for all to share. You will be taking action.

I’ll close with a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes“I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.”not-in-our-town_final

We keep on keepin’ on
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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Poverty_Law_Center


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Scatttered, yes, But Clear.

There aren’t many people I feel connected with these days. As I make my day through the world – my world anyway. It’s accurate to say that there are very few people with whom I would want to spend any time. I have some friends – not many – but I do have some, and I cherish them. I think that at this point in my life, with many more years behind me than ahead, my choices, the way I’ve lived my life, my gypsy lifestyle, how I am as an introspective, comfortable being alone, re20140817_090403latively asocial character — well, that has resulted in very few friends, almost no one calling me, writing me, emailing me, texting me. I say this as, Walter Cronkite use to say, that’s the way it is. If you hear a “poor, pitiful me” in this then I haven’t written clearly, I haven’t said what I want to say.

And what I want to say – and saying it right – is a thing for me now, as a writer, a pretty big thing. I’m not always clear about it, exactly what I want to say or why I want to say it (for instance, I spent a long time yesterday writing a post for today’s Blog and then woke up with some doubts and after asking myself – What’s the goal? – I decided to throw it away. I’m not sure it was what I wanted to say, and clearly it wasn’t how I wanted to say it.) But it’s the goal.

The title of the post I wrote yesterday was “Not My Tribe”, and the point I was trying to make, in a rather deluded meandering way which including calling out all my Portland friends and fellow artists for not showing up at Saturday’s family Art Show, but that really wasn’t my goal and it is what it is, because what I was trying to speak to was my complete sense of distance from most of the people in this Country today and in particular people who support and voted for Donald Trump. As in, at this point in my life, the accumulation of all the experiences and all the people and all the feelings and perceptions, the whole stew, I have nothing in common with, other than the giant USA zip code, those people. They are not my people. They are not My Tribe. I wouldn’t want to sit next to them at a bar-b-que, I wouldn’t want my time at a coffee shop messed with in some casual conversation, even an overheard conversation. I have no use for bullies and racists and people insensitive to the joy of difference and the bedrock principal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, the idea that people have a right to live their lives and love who they want, the crazy notion that its possible there’s not an even playing field for everyone in these here States, despite what the haters and the venture capitalists and hedge fund managers and white supremacists and the ‘Christian Right’, and the legion of poor white people who have been hoodwinked all these years to believing that it is “us against them”, when in fact they’ve got the “them” wrong.

Anyway, this post is how my mind is working, barely, these last two weeks. Disorganized, unfocused, a particle collider of thoughts crashing through my head. Crying sometimes, infuriated more, helpless and hopeless and then all positive about sticking it to the man. The Man.csnbly0waaagpqo

Only a few things feel clear. I love my wife, my best friend. I cherish the few friends that I do have, and the larger group of people in my life, a bunch on Facebook, that I was lucky enough to meet and get to know along the way. I’m grateful I grew up in the town I did, with its large percentage of people of color, so I didn’t have to grow up despising or fearing people who look or act different from me because that’s what someone told me I was supposed to do,  and through my whole life I’ve been too lazy and stupid to bother to figure it out for myself. I’m thankful I’m not one of them.

I’m clear about my Tribe. Crystal. And about doing my part to stick it to The Man. Every day, in every way. To wrap my arms around liberty and justice for all. Yeah, I might be scattered these days. Wicked. But, I know right from wrong.


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Which Side Are You On

 

It has been hard to think these last five days, for me. To string together coherent, relatively connected thought. I haven’t been able to do it. I have found myself crying periodically, or on the verge. Mostly I have felt angry, that’s been the prevalent feeling, and I don’t like feeling that way. It is contrary to my very nature.

I was very fortunate to find myself in Oakland, California last Tuesday, 20161109_124252and for the two days after. I got to watch the election with maybe my closest friend, and another close friend, and some friends of theirs, my wife with her own friends up in Marin. Tuesday night it was disbelief sliding into fear. Wednesday morning I sat with my friend and we both had woken early, unable to sleep, and we both were experiencing physical pain symptoms, and we both had no clue how to proceed, how to go forward, what to do.  He was there when my wife called and I wept on the phone talking about the pain of moving away from people whose hearts have become heavy with anger and hate, even, and cold. Later that afternoon, Wednesday, my friend brought me to a trauma center to sit in a healing group, and I cried some more, and he did too, as did lots of people, taking turns going around the circle, many teachers, not knowing how to talk with their students, parents struggling with conversations with their children. The fear, the Big Fear, the suicidal ideation upon us. Being there helped. But not a lot.

Earlier in the afternoon, before the group, I had taken the BART from Oakland over to Berkeley, at Shattuck, and walked up through the UC Berkeley campus, finding a sit-in in progress in front of Sproul Hall, an echo of more than 50 years  from the time of the quote below, and I sat down on the concrete and stayed there for a while, and that helped too. But not enough.

And before that, even, on my way from the BART to the campus I passed a young Muslim woman sitting on the sidewalk, holding her daughter, a cardboard sign asking for food, and I walked past but then stopped and took out a dollar and went back and gave it to her. The next afternoon, walking with my wife who had been delivered to Oakland for our flight back to Portland, I told her about that incident, and as I did, talking about what I hoped was some degree of kindness and compassion, I also realized that my action was a direct affront to the new world, in fact, a Fuck You Donald Trump, and for me, then, came the realization that I would — and will — take every single opportunity going forward to say and do and feel and act and share Fuck You Donald Trump. (FYDT). That helped more.

My good friend who lives in Costa Rica sent me an email yesterday in which he noted that they were sending in the clowns. I wrote back this morning and said, in addition to the clowns, they were sending in the Nazis. And it brought me back, for the umteenth time the last five days, to the posts I’ve seen on Facebook, many written by friends, and newspaper stories, encouraging everyone now howling at the moon to lighten up, take it easy, tone it down, even, God forbid, give the guy a chance, he’s our President now, we’re all in this together. I can almost picture this group – Bannon, Gingrich, Palin, Giuliani, Ingraham – sitting around in the West Wing saying those very things. Kumbaya.

My friends and others urging restraint and toned down rhetoric and let’s all work together are coming from a place of White Privilege. Easier for them to say. And arrogant. The campaign was never about making America great again. It was about making it White again. Male again. Straight again.

Anyway, taqeykkzceaakupdhis is what I think, this is how I am feeling. Everyday, in anyway possible, my job is to FYDT. I recently read the autobiography of Cesar Chavez – La Causa – and it’s clear that while marches and picketing and lobbying all mattered, mattered a lot, what brought the grape and lettuce growers and their police force and political friends to their knees were the Boycotts. It’s the money, Stupid. I’m going to spend the next few weeks researching which companies and corporations are behind this clear movement toward “alt-right” fascism and do my part to boycott and encourage others to boycott. And I’m going to sit down and stand up and march and howl and, mostly, write, write, write. Not be a silent partner. Not be complicit.

All of my Blog posts for the foreseeable future will be about the ways I personally discover to FYDT.

 


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This Week’s Post Will Be

It’s late Monday, the Blog post is scheduled to be up on Monday and here I am, just coming to this page, fairly brain dead like I’ve felt the last few days, gruel for a brain, with no focus for this piece. I’ve been highlighting musical groups and individual musicians from my childhood and slightly after-that-past, so I’ll come up with tunes from my two most favorite wombailey-popupen singers in a moment. But first, I was struck by something I read in Jack Kerouac‘s “Desolation Angels” this morning, so I’m going to quote a couple of paragraphs here. This was written in 1964.

“But the ‘ferment’ in the Middle East we could all see was not as simple as our passports indicated, where officials (1957) had forbidden us to visit Israel for instance, which had made Irwin mad and for good reasons judging from the fact that the Arabs didn’t care if he was Jewish or whichever as long as he came on cool the way he always does anyway. That ‘international hepness’ I mentioned.

“One look at the officials in the American Consulate where we went for dreary paper routines was enough to make you realize what was wrong with American diplomacy throughout the Fellaheen world — stiff officious squares with contempt even for their own Americans who happened not to wear neckties, as tho a necktie or whatever it stands for meant anything to the hungry Berbers who came into Tangiers every Saturday morning on meek asses, like Christ, carrying baskets of pitiful fruit or dates, and returned at dusk in silhouetted parades along the hill by the railroad track. The railroad track where bare-footed prophets still walked and taught the Koran to children along the way. Why didn’t the American consul ever walk into the urchin hall where Mohammed Maye sat smoking? or squat in behind empty buildings with old Arabs who talked with their hands? or any thing? Instead it’s all private limousines, hotel restaurants, parties in the suburbs, an endless phoney rejection in the name of ‘democracy’ of all that’s pith and moment of every land.”

Boom chuckalucka!! There it is, written as only Kerouac could, btw the reference to “Irwin” a pseudonym for Allen Ginsberg. The arrogance that is so prevalent – so THERE for anyone noticing. Randy Newman sang that “they all hate us anyhow”,  www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTfGn5yx5o0 and Jack right there laid it out for all to see why. Holier than thou. How much trouble has the planet been caused by a “holier than thou” attitude? Think about it, how different would things be, for all of us — the whole granite planet — with just a little more decency, a little more respect, a little more trying to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, a little more kindness and tenderness and compassion.. Maybe it’s too late now, maybe we, us all of, have pushed and bullied each other so long that “dropping” the big one is inevitable. I think that sometimes. But I hope not.

Which brings me to my first female singer, my all-time favorite singer (any glauranyro5ender) ever — Laura Nyro. Since I plan an entire post on her not far down the road, I’ll just say here that long ago she was encouraging us all to “save the children”. www.youtube.com/watch?v=E21KH_YOk7Y  “We can build a dream with love.” That’s what she said, and sang with all the soul and strength and courage and noticing and writing and living that made her unique and so important. Ask all the groups who recorded her songs for hits. Ask her fans, like my friend David Parr in San Francisco. We both were privileged to see Laura perform at Boston’s Music Hall way back in 1970. Just Laura, a piano, and a rose. Here’s Laura covering a King/Goffin song, her soul so alive here, best version of this song ever: “Up On the Roof”  www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTNjX7l7-go

The other day I went to get something in the closet in the bedroom and when I was leaving the room my wife Susan asked me to close the closet door, which I’d left ajar. When I asked her why, she said this — Monsters. How cool is that? And understandable, in a genetically imprinted way. Monsters in the closet. Monsters under the bed. Monsters just outside the front door in the fog. My wife is a bright and hip and sharp woman of middle age, and she still knows that there just might be monsters in the closet. Just another in an endless list of reasons to love her. What’s in your closet?

godzilla-1954Which makes me think about my own childhood and Godzilla and Mothra and, later, Jaws and the Alien. And that somehow, for some reason, there is something more comforting with these movie/book/make believe monsters than the real ones roaming the streets and banks and government halls. Which makes me dream about better times and dreaming dreams and, voila, Cass Elliot. Dreaming:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz4ne-9UUjQ   She’s maybe my second favorite female singer, with the Mamas and Papas and on her own. Here’s another from Cass, who like so many, left us way too soon.  “Make Your Own Kind of Music”   www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2LyY5DVJhQ      And this wordy thing with her bandmates: “Words of Love”  www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIY0eu-AGdU

mama-cass-elliot

And to think. I thought I didn’t have a thought.

But these:

We can build a dream with love

Words of Love

Save the planet.

 


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A Day, A Daydream

spoonful-1I awoke one day early last week with these words on my lips: “There’s something special ’bout six o’clock.” They were just there, no reason to be, I have no explanation. Then a couple of days later someone commenting on a previous Blog I’d written about The Byrds said this: “I was a Byrd’s fan, possibly as an extension of The Lovin’ Spoonful, my high school heroes, taking “Magic” and “Darling Companion” to a psychedelic level.

Hmmm. Two distinct Spoonful flashbacks out of the clear blue on an anonymous week in September. Where else to go, but here.

First this: “Darling Be Home Soon”   www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXjzOpz4Cyw

There was something very special about the music playing through radio speakers and on turntables when I was a kid. Maybe everyone feels that, I suppose they do, some type of ‘imprinting’. Our open to experience, fresh ears, big eyes, the dancing, the singing along in a friend’s car, gunning it through back roads, cranking up the sound in the beach parking lot. Summer days, radio days, good days. That’s how I remember it, and that time and place and the scene with all its sensory input, it comes back when I hear those sounds. Those songs. And how could you ever go wrong, or failed to be thrilled, with the songs of The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Listen: “Daydream“, “Summer in the City“, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice“, “Rain on the Roof“, “She Is Still a Mystery“, “Did You Ever have To Make Up Your Mind?“, “Darling Be Home Soon“, “Do You Believe in Magic?“, the aforementioned “Six O’Clock”.

John Sebastion, Zal Yanofsky, Steve Boone, Joe Butler – They burst on the scene in 1965 with “Magic” and were done as a foursome with 1970s “Younger Generation“. Do you know that last one? “And hey pop, my girlfriend’s only three. She’s got her own video phone and she’s taking LSD.” Like them or not, those lyrics could never have been written in any other time. If you’ve never heard this wonderful song, here’s your chance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbPiWwNeiKE 

Two songs reached #2  in the Billboard 100 – “Daydream” and “Make Up Your Mind” – and one made it all the way to the top – “Summer in the City“. Maybe of interest or not, but for a fun reference and blast from the past, here are the top 10 songs in The United States the week ending August 13th, 1966, when “Summer” took the top spot: 1) Summer in the City; 2) Lil’ Red Riding Hood – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs; 3) They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa – Napolean XIV; 4) Wild Thing – The Troggs; 5) The Pied Piper – Crispian St. Peters; 6) I Saw Her Again – The Mamas and the Papas; 7) Sunny – Bobby Hebb; 8) Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones; 9) Somewhere My Love – Ray Coniff and the Singers; 10) Sweat Pea – Tommy Roe. The Spoonful’s “Summer” held the top spot for three weeks that summer, and was joined in the top 10 during that time by “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love” – Petula Clark, “Sunshine Superman” – Donovan, “See You in September” – The Happenings, “You Can’t Hurry Love” – The Supremes, “Yellow Submarine” – The Beatles, and “Summertime” – Billy Stewart. You remember that one – Bdddddddddddddddddddd  Ha!  www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2J5FjopWqM

spoonful-2So, here:

You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”  www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iyBhPzuZZc

 

Do You Believe in Magic?”  www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGCVwk6bgeo

 

Anyway, this began with me waking up the other day with some Lovin’Spoonful lyrics the first thought I had, 5:35 in the morning, on my way to the chair and the coffee pot and the recliner and the books and the morning pages and all of it.  This song:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTGTOHeegDo

What’s your favorite Spoonful song? Please leave anspoonful-4answer in the Comments.


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Bread Crumbs

The guy behind the counter was playing jazz when I took my coffee to a chair in the Just Bob Coffee Shop on Alberta in Northe20160916_142455_hdrast Portland last Friday. It was just after two in the afternoon, and while there was the occasional customer lining up at the take-out counter, most of the seats in the shop were empty. Mostly I didn’t hear the jazz music playing, and when it would intrude into my consciousness every once in a while, I’d ignore it. Jazz is not my thing. It’s funny, my non-appreciation of that purely American music form, because it was a favorite of The Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, one of the writers I most revere, and try to borrow from as a writer. He wrote like jazz, these long, often connectedly discombobulated riff of words, sometimes making up new words to suit the flavor of the riff. Like jazz.keruoac

Which isn’t really the point, other than saying I love Kerouac and don’t like jazz.

There was a woman sitting in one of the three stuffed chairs in the shop — I was in another, facing her — and she was reading a paperback book, a softcover to be exact, and squinting my eyes I could see the title of the book was “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?” She herself was a black woman, young, maybe mid 30s, and was taking notes in a bound notebook like the one I carried in. Mine was for recording any ideas I could brainstorm for the 11th and final story in my collection of Astoria, Oregon tales. (None happened to arrive while I was there.) So, I shifted tasks, and asked The Universe for ideas for future Blog posts — like this one — and the thought came to me to play detective — Buddy Cushman, Coffee Shop Sleuth — and follow the woman’s book wherever it would lead me.

When I got home, it took quite a while from NE way down to SE where I live, with Friday afternoon city traffic, but it was sunny and hot and I was playing, very loudly, one Tower of Power song after another, so the trip was not only tolerable but, in fact, a wicked blast, rolling, singing, howling, party on wheels (think The 52s “Love Shack” www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SOryJvTAGs ) Anyway, at the computer dr-tatumI googled the book from Just Bob’s and learned it is a highly valued thought piece on race and race identity and relations in the Country, collective experiences and perspectives written by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, the President of Spelman College in Georgia. Here is a ten and a half minute review, very thorough and interesting, of the book and its author. It’s worth a look and listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_l5bO9KZrY&list=PLlFqqfHxQmjOGUX3oN6On3kJW253lUGRx     I now have the book on order from The Multnomah County Library system.

What can be more important than how we live with, and value, each other?

The woman with the book left before me, and I sat there looking at the sun stream through the multiple front windows of the shop. At some point the barista behind the counter changed the music and I instantly recognized the opening descending bass and violins of The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee”. Hard to imagine anyone doesn’t know the song, and certainly anyone who grew up in the 60s. I mean, the empty sidewalks on my block are not the same.

I was struck, wleft-bankehen “Pretty Ballerina” came on a couple of songs later, about the so-often-highlighted black and whiteness of the world — of the day. The woman and her book, it’s black title, and now a thoroughly ‘white’ sounding pop group from 1965 New York City. After another song I walked up to the counter and asked the guy what exactly he was playing. Turns out it was a “best of” collection by The Left Banke called ‘There’s Gonna Be a Storm: the Complete Recordings 1966 – 1969’. A
couple of songs , white poppy little things, stood out to me — I’d never heard them, shame on me, especially working in a record store most of those years and holding The Banke’s debut album in my hands many times. So here they are, for your listening enjoyment, and maybe they are long-time favorites. “She May Call You Up Tonight”:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZSlF2AkrS4   and “Let Go Of You Girl”:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=POdiO1xOg-E

Way cool. And maybe all this matters not a wit to anyone but me, Buddy Cushman – Coffee Shop Sleuth. Oh well. And by the way, as Oakland’s Tower of Power — a strong example of what glory we can get when you combine black and white — since they helped me along my way home, I’ll end with one from them. Thanks for showing up.

“So Very Hard To Go”:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9BRqGpppJw

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