19 February, 2001














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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001. 
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.

A Thought for Today

Conclusions are illusions made a little firmer.


Rod is on the road for a couple of weeks and will be back with you at the beginning of September.

NOTE: One week from today, Saturday, September 1st, Rod returns with brand new Flight Plans & the first one will contain a new “Love Letter Unsent.”

19 February, 2001

No matter what else I'm up to Ken always manages through thoughtful picking and choosing from past work to keep my presence felt here. For that I'm more than just grateful because it enables me to get other work completed. So thanks to Boss Blackie's industry and the fact that he really takes his role as Webmaster seriously I haven't been totally absent from this space for the last couple of weeks.

There certainly are a lot of projects in the works and they are varied. They range from my own nearly completed albums to those just in the planning stage, books in one stage of development or another and the production of a series of albums for companies other than Stanyan and involving a myriad of diverse artists and themes. Most of my work is done for the passion of doing it, because I feel it has to be done. It's always been that way or I would have been a lot more successful in terms of notoriety than I am.

Of course there is also the business of trying to earn a day to day living, only a rarified few artists and songwriters can afford to live on royalties alone. That's probably not such a bad thing, creativity ought to have a modicum or two of business involved with it. You know the cliché 'if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it . . ." If an artist produces something it's important to have a market for it, whether that market evolves by accident or intention. All of us feel we have something to say and without an audience we end up talking to ourselves.

I've been very lucky in that my audience has grown over a long period of time and I like to feel it is still growing. And, many of you have stuck with me. But having had to cancel one of my concerts yesterday because not enough tickets were sold is probably a welcome word of caution. Don't make your reach too long until the time is right. That time may not come until my recordings and books are again available at every book and record shop everywhere.

I've never been as concerned about selling my work as I have been about knowing it was readily available for acceptance or rejection.

It has to be a small miracle that I've gotten by for the past twenty years without a major book company behind me or an international record company releasing my albums on a regular basis. It certainly did not stop me from thinking, writing, producing, dreaming up and seeing through a number of projects. All that time, effort and money could have gone into building my barn but it went instead to continuing the studies and development of the architecture I know best; thinking up and putting down for others and myself the things I believe in. Honing the craft of saying simple things in different ways.

The latest "project" has been challenging and a labor of love from the moment it started. Whether it is greeted with hosannas or ha-ha's will make absolutely no difference in my life or the way I look at what remains of life for me. One thing is certain - it is totally unique and will be copied by many. That's fine with me. I pioneered the mass acceptance of poetry and proved that the spoken word can move millions and millions of albums out of the RCA and Warner Bros. warehouses. Few of my imitators made it, but of course that's the risk of imitation.

Here's what I've been up to. Here's what the project is.

Starting on March 8th at the Woodland Hills Concert the complete hardbound "A Safe Place to Land" book will be available in a slipcased edition that also contains two compact discs with 34 poems read against a full musical score and five songs, all but one recorded last week.

Why is this unique? Well, do you own or have you seen a 150 page book containing 61 poems with the added attraction of a double CD (each lasting over 75 minutes) read to a full symphonic score, slipcased and decked out in a beautifully bound inch thick package about the size of a CD? I haven't heard of such an animal or seen one, but it's been a dream of mine since book companies first assured me 30 years ago that spoken word cassettes of books couldn't possibly develop an audience. Yeah, right.

There you have it. The ASPTL set will only be available at the two concerts until the end of April when it will go on sale exclusively at Stanyan By Mail. Though I'm sure that later on if Amazon, Borders, Tower and Virgin somehow become interested they'll manage to find us. Naturally that goes for major publishers too but, as always, I'm pretty picky about choosing a permanent residence and, naturally, it has to have a barn.

It's hard not to be excited about a newly completed work, especially when so much labor and love went into it on the part of everyone involved. What's more, each member of the team on this ambitious plan; printers, musicians, arrangers, recording engineers, copy editor, art director, FedExers carting materials back and forth from Korea (where the book is being printed and the CD's manufactured) kept it all secret till I was ready to make this announcement.

Yes, I'm proud of the A Safe Place To Land Book and CD combo and I can't wait to share it. More details tomorrow and another unpublished poem if I get out of rehearsals early.

RM 1:10 AM, 2/19/01

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 Leonard Bernstein o Clara Bow o Tim Burton o Sean Connery o Elvis Costello o Billy Ray Cyrus o Don Defore o Willie DeVille o Mel Ferrer o Rollie Fingers o Althea Gibson o Richard Greene o Monty Hall o Bret Harte o Van Johnson o Ruby Keeler o Walt Kelly o Janice Klosowski o Kel Mitchell o Brian Moore o Regis Philbin o Allan Pinkerton o Claudia Schiffer o Gene Simmons o Tom Skerritt o Blair Underwood o Jose Van Damm o Ally Walker o George Wallace
Rod's random thoughts Need can drive you down the darkest alley and leave you there, beached and bloody, but still waiting for the next encounter...

Ego should contribute to life, not override it.

Patience comforts the poor and moderates the rich.


Love is such a fragile thing. It always is;
it never was. It's self-assured, misunderstood.
It wants to be an anchor but resents the chain.
It takes liberties while vowing to stay true.
It exaggerates while feigning chaste demureness.

It drives when it should walk, leaps when
it should crawl, and flies without a single lesson.
It pretends when isn't, doesn't know when is. 
It pleasures me, ignores another.
It insults me and curtsies to one just behind.

Love is real while being false. It waltzes by,
never turns while turning, turning on itself.
It is alive and dead, revived, and lives again.
It is granted to those who wait. Perhaps.
It is wishes, dreams, sometimes even actuality.

It is a supernova streaking while being only
superficial. Officially it's meant to bind. But
will not do so without help. It can save you,
enslave you . . . but never from yourself. Love,
the beginning of the end, the end as a beginning.

- from  "A Safe Place to Land." 2001 

© 1984, 1988, 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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