THIS ONE DOES IT
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A Thought for Today
Don't wait for love, but do attend it when it comes.
The other day I was going over an email that I had written to a friend and in it I mentioned the Flight Plan from August 30, 1998. August 30, 1997 was the date I ended one life and started another. One year later I was reading Rod's Flight Plan and it stuck in my memory enough for me to comment about
it to a friend.
I went back and read that Flight Plan tonight to see what had captured me so. As I did I decided to send it to you as a recommendation for Some of the Best. It contains the kind of information that people who are finding Rod again enjoy reading. Also it captures a little of what Rod must be
feeling as he again gets ready to publish a new book.
I sure am anxious to see the new ASPTL. Love to you and yours and keep up the wonderful work, Ken.
Thanks for an
interesting choice, Rita. I can think of absolutely no reason why favorite
Flight Plans can't feature in this column so I'm delighted to re-publish
this one today.
By now most of
you have received "A Safe Place To Land" the book and I hope
you're enjoying it as much as I am. For those of you who don't yet have a
copy, place your order now by clicking on the link below:
ASPTL from Stanyan By Mail
full Flight Plan from August 30, 1998.
My first book, "and autumn
came. . ." was published in 1954. A friend, Bill Henderson, paid for it to be issued
by a small vanity press.. I met Bill through a really close chum, Bea Sandy. Well, she was
more than a chum, I had a crush on her that to this day has never ended. Alas for me, but
good news for the poor, downtrodden and disenfranchised, she chose Christ as a husband.
That is to say, she became a nun.. Talk about competition, I never had [pardon the pun] a
Sister Mark is to this day a close friend and confidante and but for her prayers and
advice I'm sure I would have strayed more than I have. And God and Sister Mark know I've
strayed as much as some and more than most.. She always believed in me and spread the word
and so thanks to her and Bill, just as I was finishing boot camp at Fort
autumn came" was published.
A modest 500, maybe less, copies were printed. There wasn't any fanfare & I don't
remember receiving any royalties, but I purchased a lot of copies at $2.00 a pop and gave
them to friends and was thrilled to see my work in print. Friends seemed to like it or
said they did, fellow GI's, I'm sure considered me a pansy or at best an odd ball.
"What the hell is a poet?. . .it sure ain't no manly occupation." In an effort
to 'make a man out of me', I'm sure my share of KP, guard duty & cleaning the latrines
might have been an over share. Still don't know if it worked in the army's eyes or even my
own.. [Another story for another time]
Fourteen years later, my brother Edward and I pooled our meager finances and self
published "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows." Most of you know the rest. But
old loves die hard. "and autumn came . . ." was my first love & first
child.. Around that time I met a young artist and designer named Anthony Goldschmidt and
he and I decided that AAC should be re - released but in a special way. He would hand letter
the entire book and provide illustrations.
designed with fine linen binding, boxed, numbered, printed on only the best art paper
measuring 14X14'' and contracted to be printed by The Jeffries Lithograph Co. of Los
Angeles, who specialized in printing banknotes. It would now be described as a coffee
table book to sell at fifty bucks a copy---and even at that price, we would lose money. [Hey, Tony's a genius & doesn't think small..]
The more I looked at the original $2.00 book, however, the more I began to pick at it,
didn't tinker very much, but probably too much. Ain't hindsight wonderful. Part of the
caveat to the new edition stated "In this current edition several lines have been
tightened, a poem deleted and a half dozen phrases rewritten, otherwise the manuscript
remains exactly as first published in 1954." Hmm.
Today for The Flight Plan I've chosen a poem from AAC to reproduce in its original form
& in the revised form. Write and let me know what you think..
Aside from all this, I can't possibly ignore this chance to
thank the Late Bill Henderson for his getting me off the ground as a poet, Sister Mark for
always encouraging me to live my dream and the talented, visionary Tony Goldschmidt who
I'd give anything to work with again. And we will.
- August 17, 1998 previously unpublished
Don't forget this is your
column so if you have a favorite McKuen song or poem (or Flight Plan)
you'd like to share, drop me a line at email@example.com
and I'll do the rest.
- Ken, Johannesburg,