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

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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

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Finalist, Oregon Book Award

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

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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
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The Unofficial Dave Barry Blog
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The Hive
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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
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"A wry writerly blog named in honour of a minor character in a minor Shirley Temple film."

Real Writers Bounce
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2020 Hindsight
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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
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This Girl's Calendar
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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
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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?

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Not just a housewife!

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

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Maintained by Bonnie Burton of

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

Flogging the Quill
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Man Bytes Hollywood
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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.

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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."
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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?"
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The Writing Life II

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  
[from a memoir in progress]
A saying goes, “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.” The Army Language School was the exception to this rule.

I entered class R-12-80, the school’s 80th 12-month class in Russian. Classes were six hours a day, five days a week, and for the first several months a Saturday morning language lab was added. With such intensity and focus, you learned Russian whether you wanted to or not. I wanted to.

The school kept studies from becoming boring in several ways. Every hour we had a different instructor and a different lesson or focus. Classes were small, ten to a section, and after the first month the sections were defined by one’s placement in monthly examinations. The top ten scores became Section A, the next ten Section B, and so on, placing you always among those who were learning at a similar rate. In time, I found my own comfortable level, deciding it felt better to be at the top of Section B than at the bottom of Section A, and this is the placement at which I graduated.

The emphasis in our language studies was on understanding Russian first and speaking it second. Learning to read was less of an emphasis since a primary activity for which we were being trained was to translate intercepted communications of the Russian army stationed in East Germany.

Each morning at 8 a.m. we had to face the class in pairs and recite from memory a short conversational dialogue in Russian. In the beginning, it would go like this:

Good morning, Mr. Smith.
Good morning, Mr. Jones.
It is a beautiful day.
Yes, it is a beautiful day.
How is your wife?
My wife is fine. How is your sister?
My sister is fine.

And so on, for several minutes. As we advanced through our studies, the dialogues became more complex in grammar and vocabulary, near the end of the year using specialized technical words we might encounter in our work. For example, Mr. Smith might take apart a Russian military rifle and name each part for Mr. Jones as he did so.

The 8 a.m. dialogue, the knowledge that you’d have to face your colleagues and recite it first thing in the morning, kept you on your toes. The variety of teachers, with their individual personalities, accents and teaching styles, kept studies varied and engaging. All the same, I found myself rebelling against what began to feel like brainwashing, studying the same subject with such prolonged intensity and repetition. I am serious when I say I learned Russian despite myself.

Once our Saturdays became free of lab work, giving us full weekends off, I began to appreciate the surrounding area of Monterey and Big Sur. Several of us rented a large bare room above a fish-cleaning facility on the wharf, located directly across from Angelo’s Restaurant, which we turned into a “party pad,” our weekend home away from the billets. We partied and occasionally picked up girls to join us. Someone stole several cases of C-ration bread in cans, which complemented the Red Mountain wine we bought by the gallons. Bread and wine became the weekend staple. We all thought our pad was quite romantic, even though we had to use the public restroom down the wharf. The few girls we picked up, however, were never as impressed with our digs as we were.

Occasionally I would hitchhike to Berkeley on a weekend and visit some old haunts. On one such occasion I got stranded near San Jose and couldn’t get a ride for the life of me. This was another of those accidents that would change my life forever.

5/06/2003 03:46:00 AM | 0 comments

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