Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Malachi Ritscher

As people learn of it belatedly, I suppose that there will be growing reaction to the protest suicide of self-described "spiritual warrior," Malachi Ritscher on November 3rd in Chicago. I suppose he hoped people would hear the message behind his protest before the November election. Everyone wants to analyze and explain away his act of suicide, but I, for one, respect his brave act of self-immolation where he must have hoped that his words themselves would blaze the truth. (If personal conflict had something to do with his suicide, his feelings about American crimes more than tipped the scale if he felt any debate in himself about ending his life.) Not dismissing his act of conscience with all of the analysis that will reduce it to something else, his final words deserve to be remembered and repeated. Here is the portion of them printed in an article by Ashley M. Heher (He has a much longer, perfectly cogent testament on blogs.chicagoreader.com/post-no-bills/ 2006/11/07/malachi-ritschers-apparent-suicide/ - 307k But there are already many entries available if you Google "Malachi Ritscher.")

"Here is the statement I want to make. If I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country. If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."

Collage: "Iphigenia"

For those who have ears to hear...

Friend, and fellow Hoosier, Rod Kiracofe, forwarded the following that he had received from his "cousin, Bev...She is active in the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker peace organizations."

Suppose Bush had chosen the Peace Corps to wage war on terrorism. We have spent $250 billion in Iraq, $1 million every 7 minutes. With that money, the Peace Corps could do all of the following:

* Insure 16 million children for one year
* Give 3.6 million children a head start program
* Send 1.3 million students to universities
* Place 478,000 teachers in schools around the world
* Build 248,000 housing units
* Fully fund global anti-hunger efforts for more than a year
* Fully fund world-wide AIDS program for 2 ½ years
* Ensure that every child in the world was given basic immunizations for 74 years.

War creates terrorists, peace converts them.

National Priorities Projects found that the cost of the Iraq war is now over $345 billion.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Behind the film BOBBY

My friend Carrie Heeter (MSU professor) researched the events around the assassination of Bobby Kennedy after seeing the movie. I am sure it will not matter to most people that the real people do not entirely mesh with the fictional characters. Carrie writes:

I was curious about the extent to which the movie was based on real people, so I did a search....

1.) Others at the Ambassador Hotel rally were also injured. Shortly after the shooting, it was reported that Jesse Unruh, Kennedy's campaign manager, had been hit, along with Paul Shrade, head of the United Automobile Workers union. Four hours later, added to the list were William Weisel, an ABC unit manager; Ira Goldstein, a California news service reporter; Elizabeth Evans, a political supporter; and Irwin Stroll, a teenage bystander.

2.) At that moment, history blurred. A .22 caliber pistol flashed and Kennedy seemed to waver sideways. Some in the room froze at the sound, but others, recognizing it, dodged and ducked. The gun barked again, and in that instant, speechwriter Paul Schrade spun to the ground, hit in the forehead. By this time, maitre'd Uecker had been able to catch the shooter's gun arm and press it down on the steam table beside him. Nevertheless, the gun continued to explode, a third time, a fourth time, and more, its barrel aiming straight into the procession. Rosey Grier, Rafer Johnson and others struggled to disarm the assailant and corral him. But, in the 40 seconds it took to pry the gun loose, all eight cylinders of the weapon emptied. Kennedy sprawled on the floor, spread-eagled and in pain. Behind him, Schrade writhed. Seven-year-old Irwin Stroll was clipped in the kneecap; ABC-TV director William Weisel grabbed his stomach where a bullet had entered; reporter Ira Goldstein's hip had been shattered; and an artist friend, Elizabeth Evans was unconscious from a head wound. Confusion and horror gripped the onlookers, some of them speechless, numbed.

"Come on, Mr. Kennedy, you can make it," pleaded busboy Juan Romero, who pressed a pair of rosary beads in the senator's upward palm. He bent down to hear the victim's barely audible voice asking, "Is everybody all right?" Would you prefer that I comment directly to your blog (as I have done multiple times this weekend) or just email you?


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Grand Canyon

Beginning with Mary Coulter's stone tower...

In between violent storms, final sunset turns the rain on the rocks to steam....

Evening's earthturn, and the blue distance becomes even more blue....

Talking to Power

Since beginning this list, others have offered good additions (you can read them if you cllick on "Comments" below this entry). I will try to keep integrating those suggestions into the list below. As I said, this is a fantasy that if I had the ear of Power, or could twist its arm, I would want it to work for certain things. Some new suggestions move this also toward a guide for our own individual behavior. Feel free to suggest additions to this list:

✔ The indigenous people who survived finally by forming The Six Nations were dedicated to the following principles (that include some of the suggestions I received) to keep in the foremost of their thoughts and to be the heart of their teachings, so that each principle might be prefaced with "Teach...": Peace. Equality. Respect. Love. Justice.
✔ Encourage a sense of wonder and discovery.
✔ Weed out racism -- one aspect of establishing economic justice for all. Take funds from war-making to create massive programs to bring opportunities and a safe environment to people of all skin colors currently in danger. Ha! To be ironic, one simple guide for the white power structure: Make all places places where "white folks" won't fear to go, and you will have eliminated racism AND poverty!
✔ Understand and protect Earth's environment and beings.
✔ Weed out sexism.
✔ Promote peace.
✔ Ignore the cynics. See that a Department of Peace becomes part of the President's Cabinet: Who would we include? Dennis Kucinich?
✔ Weed out ageism.
✔ Empower individuals to be healthy.
✔ Weed out homophobia.
✔ Create beauty and mystery.
✔ Weed out political hypocrasy.
✔ Promote kindness.
✔ Weed out religious hypocrasy.
✔ End the heartless and shameful fact of homelessness.
✔ Assert as ongoing fact a non-denominational political system.
✔ Ban the use of torture by the U.S.A. or its international surrogates.
✔ Eliminate Capital Punishment.
✔ Institute Single-Payer Universal Health Care
✔ Encourage celebration.
✔ Encourage celebration of differences of all kinds.
✔ If I may include my constant guide that I sometimes fail to live up to myself: Let us love, or at least respect, our differences, but treasure most what we hold in common.
✔ Never fail to remind people that certain USAmericans accorded book deals, lecture jaunts, and respectful introductions are former war criminals or involved in shady political or military actions. If we had a good communications system, their opinions would always be entertained with a reminder of those histories.
✔ Reverse the crimes of the Bush Regime (reinstitute Habeas Corpus, restore civil rights, restore the Posse Comitatus Act -- well, the list is much, much too long, but the editor of VANITY FAIR has maintained a comprehensive list -- and so have I.
✔ Institute voting by ranking of three candidates on the national level, and encourage it at the state and local level to break the dual-tyranny of the two-party impasse.
✔ Have all presidential primaries held on the same day -- Don't let the Iowa primary skew the national election toward the values of Iowa.
✔ Introduce youth progams, providing summer work for urban youths in the country, and summer work for country youth in urban environments.
✔ Introduce a year of national service for youth, whether in the Peace Corp, the military, or providing social aid in the U.S., as an opportunity for education, and an adventure, not as a duty. Call it The Challenge.
✔ In general, when jobs are scarce, give people public work with more than adequate pay. Much of our national infrastructure is a result of the WPA of the Roosevelt Era, and there is every reason to give despairing people, especially youth, a purpose and some hope.
✔ End poverty. Provide all citizens a living wage, not a subsistence wage.
✔ Promote and fund education -- Make "charter schools" unnecessary or no more superior than public schools. Pay teachers properly.
✔ Require commercial television and radio stations to provide greater education and exposure to the rest of the planet earth. Geography or any other subject can be made as entertaining as some of the crap currently being sold. Make obsolete the graffiti saying, "The USA learns geography through war."
✔ Get rid of the toxic elements in capitalism -- Promote awareness of the worst expressions and effects of capitalism, such as people looking at all things as having a price tag, human life seen as a series of advertisements, the training toward violence, stereotyping of people, etc., etc.
✔ People -- especially politicians: Be a future-thinker: Seek out now and eliminate the poisons at the root of some situation that will later become a problem that seems insoluable by peaceful means.

Perhaps, I will also integrate some of the ideas in the belief statement of the World Pantheist Movement (WPM) at http://www.harrison.dircon.co.uk/manifest.htm

Friday, November 17, 2006

I hope Fred Goldsmith's photography will receive greater exposure one of these days, and I am lucky that, wandering around with him, he sometimes needs a subject. On a walk through the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, we passed a tree that had the look of an elephant's hide, and, of course, I loved the tree, and he photographed me in front of the tree.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Southwest Photos - Part One

Here are a handful of the zillion photos I took in the Southwest while housesitting and catsitting for Patrick Christopher and Gary Denmark:

Did the architect have Magritte in mind when he created this opening in the visitors' center at the mammouth crater in Arizona?

On the Ildefonso Pueblo:

A moth in Jacona:

Stalking grasshoppers
among rosebushes, Luna
helps white petals fall.

For Children of the Turtle

A turtle wandered into Martha Hubert and Thom Burnham's back yard, and became a beloved presence in their garden, until a raccoon killed it. In memory of Martha's turtle, and how it survives as a meaning in her life....Not published, and so still a draft:


A continent lowers an arm –
a peninsula – that breaks away; becomes
an island. The island slips away,
a turtle that begins a journey of milleniums.

Where the land spreads and cracks,
rain creates a lake. Each ocean begets
along each drifting continent
a lacey edge of bays or inlets.

All await the turtle’s return – that
piece of earth none will ever see – a
perfect fit that might reunite and reveal
an image of the original earth, Pangea.

Or is it in each human, this turtle we await?
Children of the Turtle, we are whole
in our division, complete in the great Heart
discovered when the Earth fell apart.

-- James McColley Eilers, copyright 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Links

I use a Mac with internet access through Safari. Perhaps that is why I cannot create links on my blog, or it may have to do with my not being able to deal with the modern world and its technology. Unless or until I can create accessible links, I will simply keep adding them to this entry:

☀ The blogs or websites of friends and acquaintances:


☂ References:

If you are checking out possible lies and rumors, one site for that is Urban Legends and Folklore:

Archives of the New York Review of Books:

Archives of the Gay and Lesbian Review (they only give access to two or three articles per month):

♥ To contribute:

World Neighbors:

Save Darfur:

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thoughts and Images

(1) I opened the door on a day when the air was pleasant, and after a while I heard something one is apt to hear occasionally so near the bird sanctuary that is Lake Merritt, Oakland: A goose, not en masse in flight, but a lone goose taking a stroll in the neighborhood, its tentative voice the sound of a rocking chair on a porch as it hits a creaky board.

"Zebra Long Wing" butterfly

(2) As horror films are always at the top of the list of films U.S.Americans are seeing, why are THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO and CAMP JESUS not on the list? (CAMP JESUS does have moments of humor as when Rev. Ted Haggard thrusts his face in the camera lens and says things that reinforce the fact that he is a despicable hypocrit.)

(3) About Rape:

We know that rape is an act of violence, having nothing to do with making love. For the victim of rape and for society in general that terrible face of violence eclipses everything, but I have recently come to think that obscures the core of the matter. With the violence, the rapist has managed to obsfucate the truth, that his chief aim is not to cause pain, but to make someone feel worthless. Behind the rapist’s hatred and anger is resentment and envy – someone who feels worthless wants someone else to feel worthless, especially if he can symbolize them as all that he resents and envies.

Why try to understand a rapist? (“Just castrate them!”) Because among the things that torment the victim of rape is an unreasonable, but understandable desire to understand: Did I do something to cause this? Why in the world would they want to do this? So many thoughts, especially when accompanied by physical trauma, whirl around in your head for years, causing a general fear of the world, a gnawing insecurity about self, a lasting preoccupation with “I could leave this behind if only I could understand” how this person could assault in that way (so often it is someone close enough that one trusted them, and so trust was betrayed, and so trust thereafter seems impossible).

I think being able to have one clear and simple “understanding” might help a great deal. Thus, I arrived at “The rapist is someone who feels worthless and wants someone else to feel worthless. One must not let the rapist succeed. I am not worthless at all. My only flaw at that time was not a flaw, it was that I did not feel worthless.” (One must hope that people can learn, of course, that feeling good about yourself is no defense against those who are deep into hatred and anger.) It is good having dialogue with friends who cause you to discover new things. In this case, I was discussing with friend Fred Goldsmith the recent hate crimes in the Castro District, directed at gays, that have included physical assaults and rape.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Troublesome Inchoate Myth Called the U.S.A.

We are inspired or burdened by homegrown myths about U.S. America. (I feel compelled to write “U.S. America” at least once, not “America,” out of deference to friends north and south of the border who remind me that they too are Americans.) As if we did not have enough trouble remaining aware of self-generated myths, U.S. Americans need to be conscious of an overlay of mythical meanings projected on the country by people around the world, and still other visions that U.S. Americans imagine that others have of them -- projecting what we imagine others may be projecting.

We have countless representations about those who come to America and expect to find streets of gold and suppose that the U.S. Americans they meet will be like the characters they have seen on Father Knows Best or some other idealized, unrealistic portrayal of family life in the U.S.A. We glimpse the hopes and disillusionment of these desperate dreamers in films, from Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, and others, through the decades, on to America, America, The Godfather, and Once Upon a Time in America. I still have not read it, but I hear that Franz Kafka’s Amerika is a private imagination projected on that blank place called America. The U.S. even finds its way into the private mythology of William Blake; in his mystical (and politically progressive) realm he sees that

Washington spoke; Friends of America look over the Atlantic sea;
A bended bow is lifted in heaven, & a heavy iron chain
Descends link by link from Albions cliffs across the sea to bind
Brothers & sons of America….

In that verse Blake may have been the first to imagine “Angels in America”:

Fiery the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll’d
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
And Bostons Angel cried aloud as they flew thro- the dark night.

With life as it has been in Jerusalem in the last 100 years, it is odd to think how “Jerusalem” had the same unreality for a long time, and for many non-Jews, it was, like “America,” another word for “utopia” (or the “promised land” that every human, not just Jewish people, long for). Blake’s poem, “Jerusalem,” has that vision, and was set to music, and its thrill of hope for a green world to replace the industrial has become a grand, proud hymn that the English like to sing wholeheartedly – and, if it weren’t for the overlay of what Jerusalem has become – it would be the first anthem for the Greens:

JERUSALEM by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Among these dark Satanic mills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold! 
Bring me my Chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand 
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green & pleasant land

It would be an enormous project to compile foreign projections onto the U.S. in books, films, even history books. So often, a European fictional character, caught in a web of circumstance, escapes, at the end of a novel, to fabled America – like Mitya in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, whose choice is Siberia or America:

[Mitya/Dmitri, speaking to his brother Alyosha]: "I shall escape, that was settled apart from you; could Mitya Karamazov do anything but run away? But I shall condemn myself, and I will pray for my sin forever. That's how the Jesuits talk, isn't it? Just as we are doing?"

"Yes." Alyosha smiled gently.

"I love you for always telling the whole truth and never hiding anything," cried Mitya, with a joyful laugh. "So I've caught my Alyosha being Jesuitical. I must kiss you for that. Now listen to the rest; I'll open the other side of my heart to you. This is what I planned and decided. If I run away, even with money and a passport, and even to America, I should be cheered up by the thought that I am not running away for pleasure, not for happiness, but to another exile as bad, perhaps, as Siberia. It is as bad, Alyosha, it is! I hate that America, damn it, already. Even though Grusha will be with me. Just look at her; is she an American? She is Russian, Russian to the marrow of her bones; she will be homesick for the mother country, and I shall see every hour that she is suffering for my sake, that she has taken up that cross for me. And what harm has she done? And how shall I, too, put up with the rabble out there, though they may be better than I, every one of them? I hate that America already! And though they may be wonderful at machinery, every one of them, damn them, they are not of my soul. I love Russia, Alyosha, I love the Russian God, though I am a scoundrel myself. I shall choke there!" he exclaimed, his eyes suddenly flashing. His voice was trembling with tears. "So this is what I've decided, Alyosha, listen," he began again, mastering his emotion. "As soon as I arrive there with Grusha, we will set to work at once on the land, in solitude, somewhere very remote, with wild bears. There must be some remote parts even there. I am told there are still Redskins there, somewhere, on the edge of the horizon. So to the country of the Last of the Mohicans, and there we'll tackle the grammar at once, Grusha and I. Work and grammar – that’s how we'll spend three years. And by that time we shall speak English like any Englishman. And as soon as we've learnt it – good-bye to America! We'll run here to Russia as American citizens. Don't be uneasy – we would not come to this little town. We'd hide somewhere, a long way off, in the north or in the south. I shall be changed by that time, and she will, too, in America. The doctors shall make me some sort of wart on my face – what’s the use of their being so mechanical! or else I'll put out one eye, let my beard grow a yard, and I shall turn grey, fretting for Russia. I dare say they won't recognize us. And if they do, let them send us to Siberia – I don't care. It will show it's our fate. We'll work on the land here, too, somewhere in the wilds, and I'll make up as an American all my life. But we shall die on our own soil. That's my plan, and it shan't be altered. Do you approve?"

"Yes," said Alyosha, not wanting to contradict him. ….

I drifted into these musings because of an essay, “Reflections in the Evening Land,” by celebrated critic Harold Bloom, despondent about the Bush Era. He begins with a quotation from Huey Long, “the Kingfish,” who dominated the state of Louisiana from 1928 until his assassination in 1935: “Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy.”

Bloom quotes a distinction in Emerson that is echoed by our contemporary philosopher, Richard Rorty, contrasting the future-looking progressive with the reactionary’s aversion to change: “The United States since Emerson has been divided between what he called the ‘party of hope’ and the ‘party of memory’.”

(An aside: Bloom says, “I turn again to Moby-Dick, the national epic of self-destructiveness….Some of my friends and students suggest that Iraq is President Bush’s white whale.”)

Bloom refers to “The Evening Land,” a poem D.H. Lawrence wrote in Baden Baden before he came to live for an extended period in the United States. Lawrence’s verse rambles like Mitya’s speech, troubled with ambivalence about ambiguous and illusive U.S. America. Here are some excerpts:

Oh, America,
The sun sets in you.
Are you the grave of our day?

Shall I come to you, the open tomb of my race?

I would come, if I felt my hour had struck.
I would rather you came to me.

You have cajoled the souls of millions of us,
Why won’t you cajole my soul?
I wish you would.

I confess I am afraid of you.

The catastrophe of your exaggerate love,
You who never find yourself in love
But only lose yourself further, decomposing.

You who never recover from out of the orgasm of
Your pristine, isolate integrity, lost aeons ago.
Your singleness within the universe.

You who in loving break down
And break further and further down
Your bounds of isolation,
But who never rise, resurrected, from this grave of
In a new proud singleness, America.

Your more-than-European idealism
And then your single resurrection
into machine-uprisen perfect man.

Even the winged skeleton of your bleached ideal
Is not so frightening as that clean smooth
Automaton of your uprisen self,
Machine American.

Do you wonder that I am afraid to come
And answer the first machine-cut question from
the lips of your iron men?
Put the first cents into metallic fingers of
your officers
And sit beside the steel-straight arms of
your women,

This may be a withering tree, this Europe,
But here, even a customs-official is still vulnerable.

I am so terrified, America,
Of the iron click of your human contact.
And after this
The winding-sheet of your self-less ideal love.
Boundless love
Like a poison gas.

Does no one realize that love should be intense,
Not boundless.
This boundless love is like the bad smell
Of something gone wrong in the middle.
All this philanthropy and benevolence on other
people’s behalf
Just a bad smell.

Yet, America,
Your elvishness,
Your New England uncanniness,
Your western brutal faery quality.

My soul is half-cajoled, half-cajoled.

Something in you, which carries me beyond.
Yankee, Yankee,
What we call human.
Carries me where I want to be carried…
Or don’t I?
Your horrible skeleton, aureoled ideal,
Your weird bright motor-productive mechanisms….

Nobody knows you.
You don’t know yourself.
And I, who am half in love with you,
What am I in love with?
My own imaginings?
Say it is not so.

Say, through the branches
America, America
Of all your machines,
Say, in the deep sockets of our idealistic skull,
Dark, aboriginal eyes
Stoic, able to wait through ages

Say, in the sound of all your machines
And white words, white-wash American,
Deep pulsing of a strange heart
New throb, like a stirring under the false dawn that
precedes the real.
Dark, elvish,
Modern, unissued, uncanny America,
Your nascent demon people
Lurking among the depths of your industrial thicket
Allure me till I am beside myself….

“These States!” as Whitman said,
Whatever he meant.

In this verse, Bloom notes, D.H. Lawrence – half-afraid, half-attracted – was anticipating “his long-delayed sojourn in America which began only in September of that year, when he reached Taos, New Mexico. He had hoped to visit the United States in February 1917, but England [had] denied him a passport.”

We know how the fragmentary nature of the U.S. population (more a picture puzzle than a melting pot) helps us avoid the kind of simplistic polarity that leads to genocide in so many countries (Oh, yes, there was that Civil War), but the result of our looking at ourselves in a cracked mirror is what Lawrence sensed as an “integrity lost aeons ago.” To discover such an integrity, to have the beginning of an identity that could emcompass multiplicity, the U.S. to identify some singular notion that described its own population and landscape, and find a name like Canada, or Mexico, to have some name less mechanical as the Unitred States, some special name for its part of the North American continent? I suppose it would do a disservice to choose for a name some ideal concept like “Decency” or “Compassion” as political hypocrisy would soon tarnish a good word. Some have suggested that we chose some name used by the indigenous people, but, of course, the widespread tribes have many terms in their several languages for the human world as they saw it (although I would happy if the country asked the descendants of our indigenous citizens to choose a name for us). The name some tribes used translates as “the people.” As we are, I think the spirit of the U.S. would be more accurately described, not as “the people,” but as “the strangers.” Anyone got a suggestion for how to finally name The United States of America?

[Illustrations, by JE: Heart of the Storm]

Where I Used to Live

Here are words that I wrote while I was living there (before my final landlords went crazy and I was afraid to stay any longer), and a primitive photograph I took long ago that shows a portion of

The View From My Back Window, While I Was Living
On Rhode Island Street, Between 25th and 26th Streets,
San Francisco

I have watched a thousand sunsets flutter behind The Breasts
of San Francisco that the white invaders renamed Twin Peaks,
incising them with spiral roads. Near them is the radio tower
I call Galacta. A lovely female automaton, she constructed
herself without warning, almost overnight; stood up quickly,
legs firmly planted, rubies flashing at neck, ankles, and waist –
triumphant child of the powers that control communication
who concealed her hasty erection until it was too late
to object. She arrived quickly, but she will stay for a while.

What else I see from my back window changes very little, but
is the perfect theater for light as it changes hour by hour.
Below, the breathy freeway river surges around Potrero Hill;
this side of the traffic are giant letters atop a billboard
that the drivers see one way, but I read as the magic word,
ATOYOT. I see in the backyard just below my rear window,
the inner world of my dying landlord's garden. His life
is a meditative practice of carrying rocks and moving plants,
creating a maze of steps and terraces and quiet places to sit.
A child's horse rocker with battered paint is suspended
on wires from a twisted pine; the toy horse gallops
in the wind, plunging back and forth above a marble bench
that is backed with thick jasmine climbing up the pine.
Sometimes I go down to sit among the white stars of the
blossoms, in a dream-inducing odor strong as ripe bananas.

- James Eilers, copyright 2006



Jim Eilers ..... AKA James Eilers ..... AKA James Thomas Eilers .....
AKA James McColley Eilers ..... With subsidiary identities:
Jimmy Indiana ..... Elephant Sky/bread ......

From October: Why the Blue Elephant?

New to blogs, I managed to delete this October entry from October archives so I am repeating it in November:

Following the example of others I know, I have started this blog. Anyone who knows me knows that the elephant has been my totem for a long time. (Maybe I will get into that later.) Hence, I call it The Blue Elephant (how fortunate that the color blue has become identified with "progressive.")

The first time Frank Pietronigro staged his annual Intergeneration event, in June 2001, featuring several gay and lesbian performers, my one-act play TURNING was last on the program. The play was set in the Blue Elephant Cafe, and director George Birimisa suggested that the whole program be presented as if the various other acts were also taking place in the Blue Elephant Cafe. It was sweet and amazing (to my mind only!) that the private mythology of a writer who had been hiding for years should now encompass others -- from isolation to community -- which was true to the purpose of the Intergeneration event. In my own mind only, as I say, the all-inclusive Blue Elephant Cafe seemed to fulfill my preoccupation with the import of a Biblical story, where the egoistic, self-absorbed, scheming Jacob stumbles into his larger self, as a member of humanity, and thereby acquires the new name, Israel (forgetting modern politics for a moment).

So welcome to the Blue Elephant Cafe where you are encouraged to give the imagination free play. If you are reading this, you have decided to check out my blog at http://bluele.blogspotg.com. With this, I have stopped making entries for October. In the future I won't send out announcements that a new month's blog is complete. If you are at all interested, save my blog site among your bookmarks, and drop in to check it out at the end of each month, or whenever.

People who receive emails from me have read my closing sentiment--and they know that Jim Eilers himself falls far short of this sentiment, although he keeps trying!


From many years ago, a paper construction to represent another elephant slain by poachers: