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      THE PROJECT: TAKE TWO

Photo by Bob Gentry ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment

A Thought for Today

If you have time to waste, waste it on a friend.

 

Here's some more information on "A Safe Place to Land" book and CD set, courtesy of the mail bag.

ASPTL: THE BOOK & DOUBLE CD SET

Hi Rod: Very excited about ASPLT. I'll be at the March 8th concert. How much will ASPTL cost? Will you take Master or Visa? Thanks, Bob Ryan

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Hi! Rod, it's great to have you back... you've been missed. I think you're on a winner with your "A Safe Place To Land" book & CD offer. If the extracts from the book are any indication then it certainly is a 'must have' item. I just hope you put enough aside for those of us 'less fortunate' who are unable to attend your concerts.

I know you're busy so I'll keep it short, just thought it time to issue another big THANK YOU for all the love and effort you continue to put into all that you do. The new photo's not half bad either! ( s) Roll on April... so I can get my copy. Much love as always Shirley

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Hi Rod, Congratulations on the news about your new book and CD's! It seems we are going from a Rod McKuen famine to a Rod McKuen feast. I am very much looking forward to seeing and hearing your new works and wish you every success with the "relaunch" of your career.

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend your concerts, but Ann is going to send me your book and will tell me how fabulous you were at your concert.

I hope that you will actively seek out a distribution system for your new material, as it is the best way of promoting your work. It is very important that your books and CD's are readily available for the general public to buy.

You have made no mention of any forthcoming media attention. I trust that you will be doing some interviews and other promotional stuff. You are coming from a "standing start" which is always difficult to do, but once people are aware that you are back in the fold, I am sure that interest in you work will mushroom. Best wishes Alex Butler

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Dear Rod; In the early seventies a lover introduced me to your work. What an experience that was and how the words you wrote touched my heart and soul. When I lost all of your books during a move in the early 90s I was heartbroken.

Over the past years I have continued to watch for new publications to no avail. I was saddened by the loss of your work and had come to believe that you had vanished forever. How grateful I am that I was wrong. It was while searching e-bay for your work that I discovered that you are not gone at all.

Discovering your site was like finding an old lost lover. I cried. I have e-mailed your link to every single person I know and you have gained some new fans as a result. Your site is now my home page and the very first thing I read every morning. What beautiful words to wake up to every day!

I am so excited about the "Project". Please provide more information about when the set can be ordered from Stanyan by Mail. I want to be first in line. God bless you Rod and welcome back into my life. Wendy Ryan, Toronto, Ontario

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I'm not sure why I've had problems with E-mail but maybe if I make this shorter. I had tickets for your Madison concert and when it was cancelled I ordered immediately for the Aurora Concert instead. I am so excited about seeing you again as my boyfriend/husband and I attended 4 concerts in Madison and Milwaukee in the early 70s. 

After 29 years of marriage, we are apart as of Oct. and my son and daughter (ages24 and18) will be experiencing your beautiful work for the first time. We'll be in the 2nd row, left section and when you recite "Stanyan Street"; I feel that it will be for me. Thank you for coming back into my life. Love, Nancy Moore 

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Hi Rod, It's been some 30+ years. Is Ed still with you? Just saw where you were going to be appearing at the Scheer Forum the 8th and will be attending with my wife Monika, the tall beautiful blonde German. Sleep Warm (as you signed my book) Loyal George Truesdale The No. 2 Member of the Rod McKuen Fan Club - 1966, Loyal Truesdale

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Dear Rod, Just wanted to wish you good luck on your tour. Can't wait to see you in Aurora. Will be driving 7 hours from Cleveland, and I have never been so excited about anything in a long while. Love you new poems, and hope to get a copy of that new book / CD set while in Aurora. Best Wishes, or should I say, "break a leg"? Much Love, Randi

Dear Bob, Shirley, Alex, Wendy, Nancy, Loyal George & Randi. Forgive me for putting your letters together to answer, but they contain a lot of the questions and comments I've been getting since the announcement of the concerts and the "A Safe Place To Land" Double CD & Book Set.

First of all thanks to each of you for your good wishes. On busy days like this kind words go even farther than usual.

I have my fingers crossed that ASPTL will arrive in time for the concerts. If they do, the price for the double CD & book set will be $50 or $55. I wish it weren't so expensive, but it's still cheaper than buying a book and a 2 CD set separately. I'm not sure about the credit card situation, since the theaters will be selling them and getting a percentage. You might try calling the theaters.

I'm glad you like the new poetry and I hope you'll enjoy it even more now that I've set it to music.

Alex, I'm not sure that a couple of concerts and a new book & CD set constitutes the relaunch of my career. While I take my work very seriously I leave 'the career thing' to pretty much take care of it's self. I figure if I continue to work hard everything else will take care of itself.

This set is a kind of limited edition and is being put out by Stanyan Books. I doubt there will be much publicity or any TV appearances or book signings connected with its release. If later another company takes over the publication of the book (as it happened when Random House bought the rights to "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows" back in the 60's) there might be more publicity attending their editions of it.

Stanyan is still a relatively small company without the resources of the conglomerates that don't believe a book of poetry merits their attention or activity. Where have I heard that story before and how many years ago was it that Edward and I proved them all wrong by selling sixty thousand copies of Stanyan Street from our basement? Be honest, can you imagine a big company putting a set like this in mass production? 

Times don't change, only the faces.

Yes, Brother Edward is still here, George, and like me, looking forward to meeting Monika and seeing good old "Number 2" again. 

The concerts are an experiment and if they sell out there will be more. I hope those of you planning to attend will spread the word among your friends.

I'm always amazed Nancy when a husband thinks that after 29 years and two children there are greener pastures to be found. If, as I suspect, that's what happened. The laugh's on him since he's still stuck with himself no matter where he goes. You seem to be getting on with your life just fine and thanks for rebooking after the Madison cancellation.

Thanks for the continued encouragement Shirley and Wendy I'm sorry about the loss of your books but delighted you found this website.

I'm delighted you're coming, Bob & while I'm not advertising the fact, if you come back after the concert I'll be glad to sign your book.

As to wider distribution for my CD's, I'll be announcing a new venture with a major record label soon and it will include a number of my discs as well as other Stanyan products. There are a few other surprises on the way too. You know me Alex, I never put all the eggs in one crate. I'm delighted that Ann will be sending you a copy of ASPTL to far off G.B. She's a real sweetheart, one of several new ones I've met on the net. 

Thanks again to all of you and Randi, please be careful on the highway. I'll see you soon. Luv, Rod

ENTREATING THE MOON

WOW! I've always known what a great composer and poet you are. But it's so nice to have continuous proof that the verb "are" is the correct one.

There's always hope for the rest of us old geezers that maybe we aren't past our prime after all. Many happy days to you. Thanks for being there for those of us who aren't as able to express our emotions and feelings. As ever, Rocky


Dear Rocky, as one geezer to another if you liked "Entreating the Moon," wait till you hear it set to music. Cheers, Rod

IF YOU GO AWAY

Please let me know who had the big hit with "If You Go Away". Lots of bets on it. Thanks, Jerry Fine

Dear Jerry, Way back in the days when ballads could get arrested it was the beautiful and arresting voice of Damita Jo that made the charts with "If You Go Away". Thanks for asking, Rod. 

AIN'T IT WONDERFUL?

Dear Rod: One cat on a love seat, one husband comfortably ensconced on the sofa, one more cat with eyes half open -- wrapped in a warm blanket in the rocking chair. One wife -- at the end of a busy day -- cuddled in a puffy comforter (on the floor)-- ain't life wonderful. You bet. Love, Nan

Dear Nan, YEP! As ever, Rod

STAY OPEN

I've always enjoyed your work [for decades actually]. Recently I had the heartbreak of my fiancée breaking our engagement & finding she only used me to get into USA. She was from the former Soviet Union. 

I went all the way to Baku to ask her to marry me. How's that for "getting off the beaten path?" So right now, I'm digging all your books out for comfort. Any advice from your experience with broken hearts? 

Also how did you meet so many women on your travels? It seems most of your poems are to and/or about a woman. Pwise


Dear Pwise, To paraphrase one of my poems; "It's nice to open up the heart again and let a little hurt come in, it proves you're still alive." Most of us make the mistake of 'closing up' after a bad experience with someone we loved and trusted, or even worse we hold on to the hope that a romance that is over can be rekindled.

You were certainly taken for a ride but no experience, however unpleasant it may seem at the time, is totally bad. We learn from everything. Don't shut down, stay open. When you are about to commit to a relationship again (and I promise you it will happen again) take it easier, give it some more time and thought. Love, if it's meant to be, can wait out anything. 

As for meeting people, if you stay open and willing you'll attract more than you can handle. Remember though, baby steps first. Save the giant strides till both of you are sure.

I'm astonished that men travel from their own country to another thinking that somehow that nation's culture will supply them with someone they can bend to their own needs. Life doesn't work that way. Every bit of life is give and take. Look around, American women are a prize and they have the benefit of being brought up with the same culture and values as yours.

And this would apply to you, PW, if you were English, French, Polish or Latin. Of course there shouldn't be cultural barriers and don't consider my thoughts or outlines as strict. Tomorrow you might fall in love with a Japanese Princess and if she loves you back, I'll dance at your wedding. Warmly, Rod

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

I published the following a year ago today and there isn't much I can add to it.

Elizabeth Taylor is a friend and has long been a personal hero.
For two decades she has been the most forceful voice in raising public awareness and cold hard cash for the fight against AIDS. Beyond that she is a woman of passion and compassion for life, liberty and goodness in whatever she attempts to do and does. It goes without saying that she is a hell of an actress, but her personal acts of courage are an inspiration and source of strength to all who know and love her.

Tomorrow is Elizabeth Taylor's birthday and below is a poem I wrote for her in 1981. Happy Birthday, Elizabeth and sleep warm. 

                                            - RM 2/25/2000

Details of Rod's upcoming concerts and appearances can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Robert Alda o Erykah Badu o Lazer Berman o Michael Bolton o Buffalo Bill (William Frederick Cody) o Godfrey Cambridge o Madeleine Carroll o Johnny Cash o Fats Domino o William Frawley o Jackie Gleason o Victor Hugo o Betty Hutton o Margaret Leighton o Priscilla Lopez o Tony Randall o Witold Rowicki o Mitch Ryder o Sandie Shaw o Bingo Smith o Levi Strauss o Robert A. Taft, Jr.
Rod's random thoughts The promise is the promise. We seldom have to hunt it down. It finds us by its own direction.

The best way to cure a cold is to go to bed with a good book 
or a friend who's read one.

Love finds beauty in the plainest smile.

LOVING ELIZABETH
for Elizabeth Taylor

Having loved you all these years
at distance and close quarters
from the time when you were lavender-eyed
and velvet on an English countryside,
through triumphant trips in Tennesseeland,
as the snow fell in Gstaad, as a rainbow arched in Rome
through husband and husbands and gossip and gloss,
through childhood and girlhood and womanly calm
past Dorchester doorways and limousines waiting
at the curb of California bungalows . . .

In our rooms in Botswana, separate-apart
I grew and grow up loving you.

Through sickness and sorrow and sandpiper days
and nights when the fire of fear blazed on,
through years without seeing you,
the years when I watched you day after day
playing and posturing
and pouring for other the elixir of love
over my shoulder and out of my reach,
I have loved and love you with unswerving pride.
What I saw with my eyes, what I knew was inside
won all the arguments hearts have with minds,
did the deciding, overriding the lies
that logic holds up as unquestionable truth.

In our rooms in London, separate-apart
I grew and grow up loving you.

                    
  - from "The Beautiful Strangers", 1981
© 1972, 1981, 1988, 2000, 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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