15th & 16th March, 2004
Photograph by Donna Marie
A Thought for Today
We will always owe each other better
things than food and fuel.
E-Mail knows no holiday, so itís time I got back to answering some of
We have just got e-mail and you are among the
first searches we are making. We have loved "The Sea" since 1967 when we
first saw it on vinyl. It wore out many years ago. We now get the CD's
and give them to friends joining their lives together.
FAQ answered many questions for us, but we have wonderd since the vinyl
recording of The Sea what these lines mean.
Skipping flat stones on the water, but far to wise for sandcastles
Why would one not want to build sandcastles? What happens? Although we
have lived for a long time and spent 37 years together, we have not
experienced the feeling that would make us "far to wise for
I have so many questions of "Listen To the Warm". Maybe for a later
note, please? Thank you. Sandy
Dear Sandy, Age brings many things .. wisdom, disappointments,
tolerance, hope, disappear, joy, sorrow. A ying and yang for nearly
everything. But all in all, as I concluded a while back, 'age is
better.' One of the more important revelations that arrives with times
passage is that sand castles, no matter how well we build them, are
finally washed away.
Build your dreams and your realities of stronger stuff than sand, even
castles in the air have a better chance of returning than those we erect
at seaside. Warmly, Rod
THE WORD ACCORDING TO ROD
Goodness! Is Rod McKuen really going to read this?
I hope so. I am greatly disturbed by the fact that a catalog and on-line
merchandise discounter Heartland America, is advertising electronic
Bibles purporting that the recorded voice is that of Johnny Cash. I
ordered two of these electronic Bibles expecting to hear over 350
devotional verses read by Johnny Cash so you can imagine my surprise
when instead of that, I heard clearly, distinctly the none-other-like-it
voice of you, Rod McKuen. If you were not aware of this
misrepresentation of your recorded voice, Mr. McKuen, as of your reading
of this email, you now are. This would bother me greatly, if I were you.
People are disappointed - sorry! - to hear even your voice when the
catalog has informed them that they will be getting a Johnny Cash
product. And it is not the fault of Heartland America that this
situation prevails. The customer service representative I spoke with at
Heartland has fielded numerous complaints about the "Johnny Cash" voice
that is really Rod McKuen - though she did say I was the first to
identify the "imposter" as you, Mr. McKuen - however, when Heartland's
marketing department contacted the manufacturer directly with these
complaints, Franklin insisted that Rod McKuen's voice was that of Johnny
I am greatly sorry that I have to contact you regarding something of
this nature. A man such as yourself, an artist, whose written and spoken
word has been his livelihood would undoubtedly wish to maintain a sense
of "right livelihood" and would be shocked and dismayed to permit this
situation to continue.
What will you do about this? Surely your contract with the Franklin
Company never included a provision for something like this, did it? I am
sorry for you if it did. I am sorry the late Johnny Cash and his family.
This must be awful for them - as I am sure it is awful for you. Please
let me know how you will rectify this for the good of all concerned.
This is not a small deal - not to fans of Johnny Cash or Rod McKuen -
and not to anyone who respects the laws of fair marketing,
Thank you for your serious consideration of this serious matter.
Sincerely, Deborah Farmar
Dear Deborah, You are right, I am shocked and dismayed. Thanks for
calling this to my attention, but since I have never made a recording
reciting the scriptures you too must have misidentified the voice on the
disc. It would indeed be a 'serious matter' if a record of mine had been
purloined, though it wouldn't be the first time. However it is highly
unlikely that any spoken word recordings I have made might be mistaken
for the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke or even John. Perhaps the culprit
is Chuck Heston, Leonard Nemoy or Walter Brennen.
It's unclear to me what you mean by "Surely your contract with the
Franklin company never included a provision for something like this, did
it?" It certainly did not since I have never signed a contract with the
Franklin Company and have no idea who or what they are. Is there a
parallel universe out there somewhere and if so, which one of us is
living in it?
Frankly Deborah if I paid for Johnny Cash and got Rod McKuen I'd sue.
Now Walter Brennan . . . I'd have to think a bit on that.
I'm sorry that a faux Rod McKuen has caused you such agitation and
distress. I hope for the sake of your sanity you are able to mow down
the miscreant who, posing as J. C., claims to be reading the words of
that other great J. C. As for me, I'm off to catch a Mel Gibson flick [I
think itís called ďLethal Calvary V"] and I hope it will help me put
this whole sorry business behind me. Oh I'll recover but it will
probably take a fair modicum of meditation. Iím up to that.
Again my thanks to you for alerting me but I hope you will refrain from
contacting Roseanne Cash on this matter since having lost both parents
in the past year she has grief enough. With warmest wishes, Rod
RUSTING IN THE RAIN
Rod, I've searched Amazon and Barnes and Noble,
and neither has your new book of poetry in stock, What gives? Larry
Madden, Franklinville, NJ
Dear Larry, Thanks for asking but as a courtesy to my fans Rusting in
the Rain will only be available through the
Stanyan House web site for the
immediate future. Because there is no middle man, offering ĎRustingí
through the website makes the new book more affordable to those who
frequent A Safe Place to Land and Stanyan House with regularity. I will
do a few autograph parties over the summer in select bookstores and as
soon as we determine which ones you will read about it here first.
If Amazon & Barnes & Noble show any interest in selling Rusting in the
Rain, Iím sure Billy Iz or P. R. Midas will be glad to discus terms with
them. With the advent of the internet and private websites the book and
record business has taken on a brand new complexion.
Let me put it this way; my last book, ďA Safe Place to Land, Ē with no
reviews or publicity, (published less than 3 years ago and only sold
only through Stanyan House and at concerts) is approaching the 70,000
mark in sales. I can live with that. All the best, Rod
Dear Rod, Until I read Rusting in the Rain I
always thought Listen to the Warm and And to Each Season were your best
books. Rusting in the Rain transcends anything you have ever written. It
is your finest book. While Iím at it, it is the most erotic work of
poetry or prose I have ever read. Phillip Esterbrook, Portsmouth, NH
Dear Phillip, Melinda Smith was out here over the weekend for all three
concerts and I was lamenting to her that Iíve received very little
feedback on ďRustingĒ, but it is beginning to dribble in. If it feels
ďerotic,Ē well, I find life erotic and exciting. Thanks for the kind
words. Affectionately, Rod
FIFTY WITHOUT FEAR
I have collected your verse and books since
college days (way back when of 1969) And to think I am 50 now! LOL. My
mother died in Aug. 2003, and so much of her words, and works (Takes a
lot of words that makes works. Emotions, laughter, etc., I know you get
the point), reminds me of what you were thinking and said. I just wanted
to say thank you. Thanks, Katie
Dear Katie, Fifty is nothing to laugh out loud about, though I have to
admit it's hard for me to remember back that far. Still, I'm here to
tell you that like I once wrote in a song about turning 40 "It gets
better every year.Ē I still feel that way. My condolences on the loss of
your mother, losing a parent is never easy. Especially a mother.
I appreciate your thoughtful words and knowing that you have enjoyed my
work since 1969. Thanks again for writing and my very best to you in all
the things you do. Warmly, Rod
Did you happen to drive to the South Fork Ranch while in Dallas? While
traveling home, I encountered someone who looks much like you turning on
to the road by South Fork Ranch.
Our eyes met as his car turned the corner and I
was slowing at the light. He was in a small car that did not seem like
the mode of transportation someone of your stature would ride in, but
the question just had to be asked. Donna
Dear Donna, I did do a lot of wondering while in Dallas a few weeks ago,
but didn't make it out to South Fork this time. Thanks for asking
though. Cheers, Rod
It has been an reflective, exciting, frustrating, adventurous weekend
and I hope I can sort it all out for you (and myself) in the coming
days. Meanwhile sleep warm and donít forget to join Webmaster Ken on
Wednesday for This One Does It For Me.
RM 3/15/2004 2:24 AM PST
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