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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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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
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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.

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scribble, scribble, scribble
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A Writer's Diary
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Bow. James Bow.
The journal of James Bow and his writing.

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

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Modem Noise
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Phil Houtz's notes on the writing life.

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Momoka writes short stories.

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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

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

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Glenn's adventures in screenwriting.

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Hebrew modern literature at its best, by Corinna Hasofferett.

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Robin Reagler's poetry blog.

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The Writing Life
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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.

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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."
J.D. Salinger

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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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After October 31, 2006,
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The Writing Life II

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

Sunday, May 21, 2006  

Memories of Ramblin'
I first did my Woody Guthrie show "Ramblin'" at Artquake in Portland, in a huge tent filled with hundreds of people. I think it was probably my largest audience, though a couple of college performances later may have been as large. On the other end of the spectrum, I did it for two in Bend at a fund-raiser for an alternative newspaper; and for zero one night in Canon Beach. It happened this way. I got a call in mid-week to ask if I could fill in for a weekend cancellation at the Coaster Theatre or whatever it's called, I said sure. Friday and Saturday night shows. I was working at the magazine at the time, so rushed to the coast after work. Friday night -- nobody showed! I did a sound check for Saturday (I got paid anyway, so it wasn't a big deal) and walked out -- and saw the marque, which said "Cancelled" in big red letters. They forgot to put up the new show! They did Saturday morning, and we filled the house that night.

Another memorable non-performance was at a central Oregon resort. Damn good money, and they wanted a 30-minute version. I had built the show in modules: I could do any 10-min. increment up to the full hour show. Well, the guy before me, doing a slide show of the SF earthquake, never got off stage. The poor M.C. kept coming to me, can you do 20? 10? Should we run late? I confessed, look, as long as you are paying me, I can just go to the bar and have a very good time, thank you very much, so I never did do the show. Of course, I spent a good portion of my fee at the bar.

One of my favorite gigs was in Eugene, upstairs in a cozy room with stuffed furniture, above a coffee shop. Small house of about 50. Very intimate. They booked me for a weekend, it filled up, so I stayed on weekends for several months, then got tired of the drive from Portland.

I did the show from LA to Seattle and most west coast points in between. With Jim Wylie, our best gig was at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Probably this.

Did it at the lunch room of a mill. Did it on the 4th of July in Orofino, Idaho. Did it at a lodge overlooking the Columbia River. At too many schools to mention.

It's funny how this all started. I wanted to apply for a grant as a playwright to the Metropolitan Arts Commission. They didn't fund writers at the time. But a poet I knew got a grant. What's up? Oh, he said, they funded my readings, not the actual writing. I didn't tell them I hadn't written the poems yet! So what could I perform? Woody Guthrie! I got the grant to perform it, having given them a tape of a few Guthrie songs I did. Amazing. Then I listed all the songs I knew and the ones I needed to learn. I got Guthrie's journals and copied all my favorite passages. I put everything in piles according to subject. My first script was for a three-hour show. About this time I'd seen a wonderful one-person show by an actor whose name I can't recall about Jack Kerouac. Wonderful -- except it was two acts and should have been one. The material got repetitive. Same with Guthrie, I realized. I was determined to hack this sucker down to one hour so I could do it without intermission. It was hard but I persisted. God bless the chain saw!

I got the grant for ten shows. These were so successful, the Metropolitan Arts Commission called and asked me to apply for an extension -- and by the way, off the record, you didn't ask for enough money, we'll give you twice what you got the first time. Wow. After that, I booked it myself, sometimes passing the hat, sometimes getting upfront money, from a little to a lot. During the 80s I took it everywhere I could think of.

Nice to have a CD for the memories, although adding Wylie didn't happen till I resurrected it in the 90s.

5/21/2006 10:02:00 AM | 2 comments

Hi, Charles.
The actor who wrote and performed the one-man Kerouac show, "Confessions of Jackie Dolouz" (sp?) was Todd Oleson.

I also remember your comment, "If a six-foot Norwegian [TO] can play Kerouac, then I can play Guthrie!"
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