The Writing Life: reflections by a working writer. The Writing Life

Reflections of a working writer, a university screenwriting professor, and the editor of Oregon Literary Review.

Posts from past seven days. For others, see archives (below).

Video welcome (AVI, 9.8M)


Site Feed.

Looking for permalinks? Click on time after each post.

Search this blog:

Find any book

Project Gutenberg
Online Free Book Catalog (classics, world lit, etc.)

AA Independent Press Guide
A free online guide to 2000+ lit mags and publishers.

Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing and Tinseltown Too
Extraordinary free info useful to writers when marketing.

Preditors & Editors
A guide to publishers and publishing services for serious writers, including info on scam agents.

Free screenwriting software
Cinergy, a script editor, free from Mindstar Productions. Easily write your screenplay in correct format.

Recommended screenwriting books
Some important reading for serious students.

Spec Script Writing: An Annotated Example
Short guide to correct screenwriting format and writing style.

Today in Literature

The New Yorker

The New York Review of Books

NY Times Sunday Book Review

Make a post


Looking for permalinks? Click on time after each post.

Technorati Profile

Charles Deemer

Oregon Literary Review

MFA, Playwriting, University of Oregon

Writing faculty, Portland State University (part-time)

Retired playwright and screenwriter.
Active novelist, librettist and teacher.

Email: cdeemer(at)yahoo(dot)com

The eagle flies!


Literary archive

The Sextant Press

Personal home page

Electronic screenwriting tutorial



Finalist, Oregon Book Award

Practical Screenwriting

Love At Ground Zero


More books.

Blogs by (mostly) creative writers:

"Can We Talk About Me For A Change?"
Playwright Debra Neff Nathans

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a weblog for writers (resources)

Silliman's Blog
Ron Silliman, contemporary poetry and poetics

Maud Newton
literary links, amusements, politics, rants

Darren Barefoot
Technical and creative writing, theatre, Dublin

Rob's Writing Pains
Journey of a struggling writer.

Mad, Mad World
Cara Swann, fiction writer, journalist, "reflections on humanity, random news & my life."

Random musings on a writer's life and times.

Barbara Flaska's compilation of the best online articles about music and culture.

Write Of Way
Samantha Blackmon's written musings on writing (composition and rhetoric).

Alexander b. Craghead: blog
Writing, photography, and watercolors.

Rodney's Painted Pen
Rodney Bohen's daily commentary "on the wondrous two legged beast we fondly refer to as mankind." His pen runneth over.

Frustrated Writer
This one named Nicole.

scribble, scribble, scribble
Journalist Dale Keiger teaches nonfiction scribbling to undergraduate and graduate students at Johns Hopkins University.

The Unofficial Dave Barry Blog
The very one.

The Hive
The official blog of science fiction / horror author Terence West.

William Gibson Blog
Famed author of Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic: The Screenplay.

The Word Foundry
Joe Clifford Faust's "blog of a working writer: tracking writing projects, musings on the creative process, occasional side trips into music, media, politics, religion, etc."

A Writer's Diary
By Cynthia Harrison, who has the good sense to quote Virginia Woolf: "The truth is that writing is the profound pleasure and being read the superficial."

Bow. James Bow.
The journal of James Bow and his writing.

Michael Montoure's weblog about writing, primarily horror and speculative fiction.

By David Henry, "a poet's weblog from Aberdeen, Scotland."

Modem Noise
By Adrian Bedford, a "fledgling Pro SF Writer, living in Perth, Australia."

"A wry writerly blog named in honour of a minor character in a minor Shirley Temple film."

Real Writers Bounce
Holly Lisle's blog, "a novelist's roadmap through the art and ordeal of finding the damned words."

2020 Hindsight
By Susan.

downWrite creative
Phil Houtz's notes on the writing life.

Vivid: pieces from a writer's notebook
Blog of Canadian poet Erin Noteboom.

The Literary Saloon
The literary weblog at the complete review.

Rabbit Blog
The rabbit writes on popular culture.

This Girl's Calendar
Momoka writes short stories.

Twists & Turns
Musings by writer Michael Gates.

Plays and Musicals -- A Writer's Introspective
A blog by John D. Nugent - Composer, Playwright, and Artistic Director of the Johnson City Independent Theatre Company

The American Sentimentalist
"Never has any people endured its own tragedy with so little sense of the tragic." Essays by Mark W. Anderson.

Screenwriting By Blog
David C. Daniel writes a screenplay online. "I've decided to publish the process as a way to push myself through it. From concept to completion, it'll be here."
Official site of occult fiction author Sean-Alonzo, exploring symbolism, alternative history, philosophy, secret societies and other areas of the esoteric tradition.

Crafty Screenwriting
Maunderings of Alex Epstein, tv scribe, about life, politics, and the tv show I'm co-creating.

Letters From The Home Front
The life of a writer, 21, home schooled, rural living.

Venal Scene
The blog of bite-sized plays inspired by the news (by Dan Trujillo).

'Plaint of the Playwright
Rob Matsushita, a playwright from Wisconsin, "whines a lot."

I Pity Da Fool!
Glenn's adventures in screenwriting.

Time In Tel-Aviv
Hebrew modern literature at its best, by Corinna Hasofferett.

Big Window
Robin Reagler's poetry blog.

John Baker's Blog
Author of the Sam Turner and Stone Lewis novels.

The Writing Life With Dorothy Thompson
What goes on during a writer's busy day?

The Rebel Housewife
Not just a housewife!

Barry's Personal Blog
A running commentary on writing and the writing life.

Bonnie Blog
Maintained by Bonnie Burton of

Writer's Blog.
By easywriter. "From the walls of caves to cyberspace."

Flogging the Quill
Pursuing the art and craft of compelling storytelling, by an editor, Ray Rhamey.

Man Bytes Hollywood
Sharing tools, strategies and resources for the screenwriter's journey.

Mad for the smell of paper
A writing journal.

The Writing Life
A blog by Katey Schultz.

It Beats Working 9-5
A screenwriting blog by a young Canadian screenwriter.

Stealing Heaven From The Lips Of God
Writer & Artist, Dee Rimbaud reflects upon politics, religion, art, poetry, the meaning of life, the nature of God and why toast always lands butter side down on carpets.

Robert Peake
Heart and Mind, Fully Engage ... a poet's website.

Sidestepping Real
By Ren Powell, poet, children’s writer, essayist and editor.

Suggest a writer's blog

plagiarism blog

The Writing Life...
"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."
J.D. Salinger

"All my best friends are writers and are dead."
A friend over beer, Berkeley, winter, 1959

"And it came to pass that all the stars in the firmament had ceased to shine. But how was anyone to know?"
The Half-Life Conspiracy

After October 31, 2006,
new posts are published at

The Writing Life II

(Posts archived here are from 01/10/03 - 10/31/06)

Monday, May 05, 2003  
Fort Ord
[from a memoir in progress]
In the end, the jig was up. I had to shit or get off the pot. I decided to join the Army, not the Navy, because it required only a three-year enlistment, not four. Because the recruiter had a quota to fill, he put me in the Army Security Agency (A.S.A.). I had no idea what this meant and how much this decision would influence my life. I was just tired of hitchhiking into Oakland every day and was ready to sign on the dotted line, going wherever fate would send me.

First I was sent to Basic Training at nearby Fort Ord. To my surprise, I loved it. The hard physical training brought out the jock in me again, so much so that I played quarterback on the company flag football team. I was a good soldier, one week being selected as the Recruit of the Week.

I recall only one bad experience in Basic, and it resulted from my failure to tell my parents I had joined the Army. They had good friends in the Bay area. During a visit, they drove over to Berkeley to surprise me as well – and this is when they heard from Quentin that I’d joined the Army.

I learned later my mother practically went into shock. Not only had I quit college again, for no reason she understood, but I had disgraced our Navy family by joining – the Army! They tracked me down at Ford Ord easily enough, and Dad, a retired Naval officer, pulled rank to pull me off the firing range so I could spend some time with the family.

This was not a pleasant meeting. I was nervous, Mom was upset on the verge of tears, and Dad was confused. Only Bill lightened the moment, looking at me as if I were some kind of hero to be wearing Army fatigues. As a kid Bill always loved uniforms and costumes.

After promising to write them often, I managed to get away in less than an hour. It was too late to be sent back to the firing range, so I got sent to the Mess Hall instead, where for hours I scrubbed at the biggest and greasiest pots and pans they could find, my reward for having an officer father who could pull rank. For a while a sergeant called me “Captain’s boy” but I took this in stride and let my deeds, not my reaction, prove that I was a good soldier. The sergeant eventually appointed me to be a squad leader.

I loved Basic Training. Used to getting up early as an amateur astronomer and used to physical activity as a jock, rising before sunrise to jog a few miles was an activity I enjoyed. After living so long as a hermit in a tree house and meeting such interesting characters on the road, I enjoyed the camaraderie of guys with backgrounds far different from my own. I liked being quarterback of the company football team. I liked the responsibility of being a squad leader. Under different circumstances, I might have become officer material. But the gods once again had other plans for me.

When we got our orders at the end of Basic, I was disappointed. I was looking forward to getting out of the country and seeing the world. My assignment took me no farther than across the bay to the Army Language School in Monterey. I felt like I’d been given a raw deal until a sergeant explained to me that my orders were a gift, that I’d graduate from my school in Monterey with a promotion to Specialist-Four, making the rank more quickly than the rest of the guys in the company. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, he told me.

I spent a short leave with my parents, who had recently moved to Oregon under the false impression that this would help my brother’s asthma. Suddenly, with orders to learn Russian and become a translator in the Army Security Agency, I was in their good graces again. This was the Cold War era, the Soviet Union was our arch enemy, and it must have seemed particularly patriotic to be trained as a linguist doing intelligence work. I saw myself more as a victim of fate than a Cold War hero, of course – it was a recruiting sergeant’s needing to fill a quota and the luck of drawing orders that sent me to Monterey, not personal patriotic fervor. All the same, it felt good to be going off with the support of my parents again.

I reported to the Army Language School in October, 1959, without expectations. For the next twelve months I would study Russian. But I also would learn something other than a foreign language. I would learn that I had an incredible capacity for drinking alcoholic beverages.

5/05/2003 06:24:00 AM | 0 comments

Comments: Post a Comment

Sketch says, "Happiness is sunshine and a bone." Posted by Hello

This page is powered by Blogger. __The Writing Life