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)

Saturday, January 21, 2006  
Despite my love-hate relationship with the theater community here, I like many things about Portland. One of them is that it has a 24/7 jazz station (actually out of nearby Gresham). On Saturday and Sunday mornings they play Dixieland.

What is it about Dixieland that even the blues makes you feel good? I used to cry in my booze listening to Little Walter and other Chicago blues artists. The blues in Dixieland makes you stomp your feet, even if the tempo is slow. The music somehow raises my spirits, no matter what the emotional content is.

I want to write a dixieland chamber opera, whatever that is. An opera with an appropriate story and the musical feel of dixieland, yet within the opera genre.

In two years, probably, we are selling out wonderful little house at the edge of city limits and buying a condo somewhere closer in to services within walking range. Maybe we'll cross the river and move to Vancouver, Washington. Washington is a more progressive state than Oregon is. Most folks think the opposite but they don't know their history. Free blacks taking the Oregon Trail immediately fled Oregon Territory for the Washington Territory, where they could own land. In the 1920s, the KKK elected the governor of Oregon -- not over race but over the public education issue, the KKK being staunchly anti-Catholic. Bottle bills and assisted suicide are the exception, not the rule, in Oregon political trends. Oregon has an especially dismal record in supporting the arts. On a per capita basis, it's down at the bottom somewhere. That's why I was so blown away as a juror for Illinois, learning how much the arts commission there supported the arts. I remember seeing the states ranked some years back and Oregon was next to last.

Like many states, such as California, Oregon is at least two states in terms of value and belief systems. Here there is Portland and the upper Willamette Valley and everywhere else. So it's misleading to talk about state trends when you're in the liberal progressive zone, I admit.

The best things about Portland are its free public transportation system and its location, just a short drive to snow and beach, desert and rivers. My friend Dick, an Idaho patriot, used to say, "I like Oregon but I hate Oregonians."

For me personally, the best thing here is the university. This has become my true home in Portland. No love-hate here, all love. If we move to Vancouver, I can still take public transportation to the university. I think I'll keep teaching until it stops being fun. This year has been one of my best so far, in terms of my own enjoyment of the work at hand. I think the students are getting better. No idea why but it sure seems that way. Good students are a joy.

1/21/2006 10:12:00 AM | 4 comments


Weren't you developing an idea for a Dixieland Chamber Opera at one point?

I'm still interested.
Yes, such an idea is on the back burner.
Hi, Charles.

You are seriously considering moving to Vancouver from Portland, because you like the state of WA over OR???

How does Vancouver USA stack up against Portland, culturally and otherwise?

-eric p
Vancouver per se is not more "cultural" than Pdx -- but it's next door to Pdx, so nothing is lost. The state of Washington funds the arts so much better than Oregon, that I'd have many more grant opportunities, etc, should I want to take advantage of them (which I don't think I would). It's a personal thing. I want to leave Portland yet be close enough to teach at PSU and avoid divorce (my wife would never go too far from Pdx) ... so Vancouver seems a good compromise. But so would McMinnville, say.

Vancouver, by the way, is an up and coming place. The time to have moved there was 3 or 4 yrs ago, now it's "discovered" and housing costs have skyrocketed. It has the best, most modern movie house in the state, called Cinetopia. Pdx will be copying it soon I'm sure.

Only neighborhood left in Pdx that is like NW in the 70s and early 80s is St John's and N along Mississippi Ave, the new avant-garde arts scene. Everything else is gentrified and yuppiefied and overly priced. Great for young stock brokers, though. It's becoming their kind of town.
Post a Comment

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

This page is powered by Blogger. __The Writing Life