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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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Ron Silliman, contemporary poetry and poetics

Maud Newton
literary links, amusements, politics, rants

Darren Barefoot
Technical and creative writing, theatre, Dublin

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Journey of a struggling writer.

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

Random musings on a writer's life and times.

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

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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.
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Momoka writes short stories.

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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."
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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?"
The Half-Life Conspiracy

After October 31, 2006,
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The Writing Life II

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006  
Varmints II
Looked over my libretto -- and I like it. I love the ending. After double-crossing one another galore, the gold-seeking varmints are attacked by Indians for digging up ancestral bones and most of the varmints are killed.

(MUSIC. The scene is washed over in red light, heat and fire.)


Every lout deserves
A proper death
With oratory, song
Even a prayer
Though a life be full of lies
A corpse is nothing to despise
It doesn’t hurt too much
To sing a hymn


All I ever wanted
Was the best
Just like the tycoons living
On the hill
But pap worked for a small pittance
And I got no inheritance
Everything I got
I had to steal


I don’t want your pity
Not a smidge
You can stick your pity
Up your arse
We navigated with our wits
Scratched out a living bit by bit
Your husbands always picking
Up the check


When you’re dead there’s nothing
To be done
It doesn’t matter what you
Have to say
When the next wave comes around
We’ll be rotting in the ground
Quite without a mem’ry
Of all this


All day blood flowed deep
Into the land
The very land that offered
All the gold
And only two of them survived
And managed to escape alive
A poet of the west,
A broken man.

(Red lights fade. SPOT up on McGuinness. At last he has his cigar.)


Never have I seen such a massacre
Never have I seen so much blood
The Indians showed little mercy
They fought as if fighting for their Soul

I awoke to horrid cries and screaming
I was too afraid to wander down
Staying on the floor, I feigned death
Feigning death, I somehow stayed alive

For months I thought I was the sole survivor
Until I saw an item in the press
Hiner had obtained his fame and fortune
In London, called the Poet of the West

(CROSS FADE to Miller, fully buckskinned, in London as the Poet of the West.)


I sing of the West and I sing of the greed that makes a man act outlandish
And all for the lure of Oregon gold — that's Oro Oregono in Spanish.
Into the deserts and mountains they come, like hornets swarming to honey.
They sacrifice home and family and friends, and all for the greed for money.
They dig for days and weeks and months til blisters turn to stone.
As hard as ore their hands become, and muscles 'round their bones.
A nugget here! A nugget there! Nature lures them well,
And so they dig and dig again, how long we cannot tell.
They found his bones in a deep long hole across the desert sand.
His hand clutched 'round a sterile stone, a pick ax in his hand.
But here's the telling mark, my friend — though the stench was strong and vile,
This miner felt no grief or pain — his lips were in a smile!
And in the desert sand beside the grave wherein he sprawled,
In careful printed hand, this very message had been scrawled:
'Yes, a sinner rotted here, whose greedy smile has vanished,
Who lusted after Oregon gold!' — that's Oro Oregono in Spanish!

(Off Miller, back to McGuinness.)


But I had trouble sleeping every night
I could not share the truth of what I saw
The stench of burning flesh remained with me
The screams became the chorus of my life

For a while I thought I would recover
I would learn the meaning of all this
The meaning seemed to be a constant trembling
The meaning seemed to be the lack of sleep

The meaning seemed to be that gold is evil
When it consumes a man’s very soul
But how can greed be evil when so common?
Who would have the will to deny gold?

The meaning seemed to say that sometimes living
And staying in this world is worse than death

(CLOSING MUSIC. McGuinness joins the quartet of the dead, as …)


Extree, extree!
Read all about it!
Massacre in Canyon City!
Indians on the warpath!
Extree, extree!


We are the dead

Our rotting flesh
The buzzards’ treat
Killed because
We dug for gold
And found instead
Ancestral bones

Arrows from
The savage bow
Rained upon
Our weary flesh
And struck us down
Our scalps removed
An honored prize

Mourn for our
Disfigured souls
We are the dead

(All the other characters come out.)


We only went
Where greed will go
We only sought
What greed will seek
Since greed is good
We’ve done no wrong

We are the dead
Who did no wrong
We are the dead
Who did no wrong.

8/01/2006 02:47:00 PM | 0 comments

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