Act One: After receiving an MFA from an intriguing new hybrid program for television, film, and theater at Cal State LA, I began to teach writing at this second alma mater. I’ve loved it. Los Angeles’ Cal State campus looks and feels like a planetary crossroads and sounds like a tower of Babel. The students here are savvy, worldly, and remarkably focused. Many are the first in their families to attend university, and they pursue the work with grit, energy, and determination. I’m grateful for the new window on the world they afford me.
Act Two: The Trump tragedy and the battle against autocracy. Reeling from the shock of the election, I continued to teach, launched into my third novel [here’s an excerpt] and undertook an energetic program to lose weight and rebuild my body. All the above-mentioned projects I would categorize as survival responses to aging and the threatened collapse of state, culture and my mind. I hasten to add that the mind thing is not through attrition, but from rage, rage at ugly stupidity and inJustice. Fortunately, the horror in Washington seems to be sparking a powerful groundswell of demand for social and economic justice and the exercise of human, animal, and planetary rights.
Act Three: The Covid reality and the irrefutable message from the earth mother. In the words of Willy Loman’s wife, Linda, “attention must be paid.” In the words of playwright and better poet, Bertolt Brecht, “change the world; it needs it.” I’m working on both fronts. Stay safe, stay sane, and, as Congressman John Lewis suggests, “get into good trouble.”