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A Thought for Today

Those who travel gentle in the world are seldom recognized as gentlemen by others. It matters not, for gentleness toward another human being is the thin line between personal success and failure for each of us.



Will you include some details of Rod McKuen's Book of Days and Month of Sundays in a future Flight Plan, please? Were they compiled in a book?

Also, what were the Folios that I have seen referenced in the Flight Plans?

I am an old fan who lost touch with Rod McKuen's books and music in the early '70s. After reading a pre concert article in a local newspaper earlier this spring, I have become a frequent visitor of "A Safe Place to Land" and I am interested in reading and listening to all that I missed in years past.

Thank you.

Deborah Sinding

Welcome to ASPTL, Deborah, you've certainly come to the right place if it's McKuen information you're after and boy, do you have a lot of catching up to do!

First up, your question regarding the "Book of Days and Month of Sundays". It most certainly was put together in book form and I can think of no-one better qualified to explain the concept to you than Rod himself.

Here's the introduction.

To the Authors from the Author

(Assuming many of you will write in this book along with me.)

Man has his seasons. His own times. And while nature makes the colors change, the moons, the tides, man is more accountable for change than he might know.

A Book of Days can be a diary, a collection of ideas, a series of dates to be remembered, a means of putting order into otherwise orderless life, a storehouse of maxims ( as well as Ďminimumsí ), a secret place to treasure private thoughts, or a book to help rekindle the hearts or mindís memory.

I have chosen to make my first Book of Days all of the above. Instead of starting with January and following the calendar year - I donít know anyone who successfully keeps a diary that way - I began this book with my favorite season, autumn, and worked from there through winter, spring, and summer.

You will find no particular year set out in this book, because the memories go back as far as my capacity to remember, the years covered are many. Besides, if you plan to write in this book too, itís unfair to tell you where to begin or where to leave off.

There is space set out for every day of every month, but if you want to remember whether the third of April of some year fell on a Thursday or a Friday, youíll have to remember to write it in for yourself.

For me, the best part of this book is the Month of Sundays near the end. Sunday is always a good day for me. For one thing, the telephone doesnít ring. Parts of the day can be given over to God and to leisure (sleeping late, reading the paper, playing with the animals).

Like everybody else, I have opinions on just about everything. Sometimes I keep them to myself; more often they wind up in my books, letters, interviews, and conversations. They change even while they are escaping. Collected here are opinions, a little philosophy, some truths Iíve learned, paragraphs that might be thought by some to be overly intimate, and ideas I felt like sharing. And there is plenty of room for your own ideas, memories, dates to remember, diary entries, and, right next to my thoughts, your arguments for or against.

Have fun. I did.

- from "Rod McKuen's Book of Days and Month of Sundays", 1981

"Folio" was a project, started in 1974, designed primarily to introduce new McKuen poetry prior to it's publication in book form. It was published four times a year and each Folio ran to a couple of pages, beautifully produced on high quality paper and usually including some wonderful illustrations. 

The great thing about the Folio series is that all profits were donated to the Animal Concern Foundation, a charitable organization originally founded by Rod.

Both of the above items are something any serious collector should make an effort to acquire and a good starting place would be Stanyan By Mail to see if Dwight still has stock available.

Thanks for your letter, Deborah, and have fun catching up.

The address for contributions to this column is, as usual, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you very soon.

 - Ken, Johannesburg, November 7

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays William Alwyn o Melissa Bell o Joe Bushkin o Albert Camus o Madame Curie o Balfour Gardiner o Billy Graham o Al Hirt o Dean Jagger o Dame Gwyneth Jones o Keith Lockhart o Jason and Jeremy London o Joni Mitchell o Barry Newman o Dana Plato o Johnny Rivers o Joan Sutherland o Leon Trotsky
Rod's random thoughts Perspective comes when poles are far enough apart to have horizons at both ends.

Once I thought dreams were exceptions, not the rule. But that isn't so - they are so plentiful that they ride by on air. You've only to reach out and snatch one from the mist, or from anywhere.

We are chained only by ourselves. Our thoughts and actions are our jailers just as they can be the liberating angels that set us free to be ourselves.


Cats have the best of it
I suppose they always have.
Curled up in autumn
back behind the stove,
swaggering through shrubbery
in the summer months
pirates seeking treasure
be it hapless mouse or moth.

When ready for some human contact
( usually as mealtime draws near )
theyíre friendlier to us than foxes
                   or the possum
but they do not extend lap dog submission.
A cuddle and a scratch behind the ear
                    is quite enough

Cats, I reckon, have it all
admiration and an endless sleep
and company only when they want it.

- from "Rod McKuen's Book of Days and Month of Sundays", 1981

© 1970, 1981, 1986, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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