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Photo by Bob Gentry ©2001
A Thought for Today
Good or bad luck is nearly always rooted
in good or bad judgment.
Where was the house on Stanyan
Street, when am I coming to England and how does your garden grow are some
of todayís topics.
After mentioning last week that Iíve asked Jerry Lonn to book Carnegie
Hall for Tuesday April 29th, 2003 for a 70th Birthday Concert, the first
two RSVPís that came in were from Ken Blackie in South Africa and Ken Ball
THE TWO KENíS & CARNEGIE HALL IN 2003
Carnegie Hall in 2003? Man, are you going to make a lot of people happy
when they read this, none more than me!
Remember me saying this is what I was waiting for? I'll be there. Blue
Skies, Ken (Blackie).
Rod: Come hell or high water, I will be at your 70th birthday concert!
Best wishes, Ken (Ball)
Dear Ken & Ken, Front row center seats set aside. Love, Rod
Afternoon, I visit your site quite often and decided to build up my
CD/book collection of your prose. I have many of your vinyl records
upstairs and will continue to treasure them and pass them onto my oldest
daughter who seems to want them as well. Your gift filters through
generations, which is such a delight for each member of the family.
The reason I'm writing is in your "Q&A" section of your website you
mentioned that if you put instructions on one's order for you to sign a
book, because it mentioned you drop by the office every two weeks or so, I
would wait for months if it took that long for one of my books to be
christened by your signature. I ordered one book and two CDís on April 29,
2001, today I was so excited to get my package. The book wasn't signed,
unless you are using some hi-tech invisible ink?
Disappointed yes, however being a fan since I was fifteen (now 46), I'm
blessed with having another book to add to my vast collection. I will
continue to purchase prose from you after all you showed me many ways to
love and I'll continue to catch the sun. Enjoy your evening, Karen E.
Dear Karen, My apologies for not signing your book. Dwight usually puts
aside signing requests for me and I get to them whenever I drop by the
office. Alas, being in the studio as much as I have lately I havenít been
able to get by Stanyan as often as I used to.
Dwight has been getting some negative feedback on the time it takes to get
out orders, so I think in the interest of speed some of those orders in
Rodís pile have gone out without being signed. If youíd like to send me a
couple of bookplates Iíll sign those and you can paste them on the books
and records you already own.
In the future Iíll try to be a little more conscientious, Karen. Thanks
for the feedback and for sticking with me. Cheers, Rod
A NEW VISITOR & THE CLASS REUNION
Mr. McKuen, I was glad to locate this site on the web. For years I have
wondered if you were still writing, as I have heard little about you in so
long. I discovered your poetry when I was in high school and still look at
your poetry when it comes time to rearrange the shelves.
The other day I pulled some out and marked a few pages for my daughter
that was looking for something for a special friend. She was impressed
with your writing.
As a high school teacher I am pleased to see you attended your 50th high
school reunion. Each year in our town the 50-year class is invited to
attend the current year's ceremony as honored guests. At this time I am
compiling their 50-year "yearbook" for them, it includes a past and
present photo with a short biography of the years since high school.
Sincerely, Anne Galeski
Dear Anne, Welcome to ASPTL. I debated about going to my class reunion but
in the end Iím so glad I did. In the talk I gave one of the things I
lamented was not remembering the names of some of the teachers who did so
much for me. They were such a positive influence on this daydreamer who
was out of class so much and hard to get to when he was there.
I was delighted when one of the organizers of the event sent me a complete
list, with pictures, of the 1951 faculty. The reunion was really something
and Iím afraid my speech stirred things up a bit, but you know me Ė no
punches pulled. I intend to do a full report on the evening and its
aftermath once all the photographs have finished coming in.
Based on my own experience I say to anyone who has doubts about stirring
up those old memories, good and bad, by attending a reunion, DO IT. You
wonít be sorry. Warmly, Rod
WHERE I LIVED ON STANYAN STREET
live on Stanyan Street during the 1960s? If so, what address? I'm
researching a building on Stanyan Street and don't want to miss an
opportunity to make an association of this type. Thanks. Christopher D.
McMorris Architectural Historian
I did indeed live on Stanyan Street and at more than one address. After
satisfying myself that Mr. McMorris was indeed an historian and not
someone writing a book, for the first time in memory I gave out the
addresses of my old residences. It turns out one of the buildings where I
had lived and completed ďStanyan Street & Other SorrowsĒ was the one he
was researching. We had a pleasant talk about it and the work he does.
Among other things it turns out that building was built the same year
(1828) as my current address.
PLEASE COME TO ENGLAND
McKuen I was bought up on "Listen to the Warm" which my mum and dad played
to me as a child, ever since that day I have wanted to see you perform
live....I am 38 now and the memories of my parents enjoying your poetry
are dear to my heart.
Will you be coming to England to perform for us? You would make a man and
his cat called Sloopy very happy! My very best wishes Neil Piddock
Dear Rod, I see you are back doing the odd concert
in the US. Have you any plans to return to the UK for some concerts? I
remember your sellout concerts in the 70s. We're not all dead, those who
attended way back then. I think your return would be very well received.
Kind regards, Michael Coulson
Rod: With all the concert plans I hope you wonít forget to book a tour of
Great Britain. Charles Fullam
Dear Rod, How soon can we expect you to make an appearance in London and
possibly a tour of the UK? Penny Roram
Dear Neil, Michael, Charles and Penny. OK, youíve put the pressure on me
and Iíll transfer it to Jerry Lonn my concert manager. Letís see what he
can come up with. The minute I know something concrete, so will you.
As you can imagine, I donít need to be talked in to visiting the UK. Luv,
MORE ON A SAFE PLACE TO LAND
Rod, Iíve read through ďA Safe Place to LandĒ at least three times and
havenít taken the CDís of the machine since the book arrived. This is far
and away your very best book; nothing else youíve done even comes close.
The CDís only add to the enjoyment. Do you plan to record any more of your
books in this manor? Rosemary Flemming, Atlanta
Dear Rosemary, Thanks for the enthusiasm. Iíd like to do a whole series of
books that contain CDís with them. Especially Ďscoredí CDís ala ďListen to
the Warm,Ē ďLonesome CitiesĒ & ďASPTL". Then too, Iím trying to get
funding to record all of my books unabridged and without a musical score
for the blind.
I had a beautiful letter yesterday from Larry B. on the book. I have to
confess that I think ASPTL is better and shows more growth than anything
Iíve ever written, but wait till you read ďRusting in the Rain.Ē
WHAT'S THE DEAL ON ASPTL?
the latest news on 'a safe place to land' book and CD? Are they available
any way yet? I would sure like to purchase both as soon as they are. I
check your sight every so often, but haven't seen any new info. Liz
Dear Liz, Hope by now youíve clicked on the Stanyan link and know that we
are indeed selling ASPTL. Here's the link:
Stanyan By Mail
THE BLUE FISHERMAN
Rod, Seeing you in Aurora was one of the most amazing nights of my life. I
wish I had taken my camera along, but I thought they were not allowed at
the concert so I left mine in the room. Rose's daughter, Jeri, took
pictures but they were lost in processing so I didn't get a picture of you
autographing my program. It was my first time to see you in concert. I
almost got a hug, but Rose decided to use your back as a scratching post
about the time I came around the table to you and the moment was lost.
Maybe next time.
The experience of hearing you in person was a bit overwhelming for me. My
body absorbed every note and I still hold them close in my heart. The Book
and CDs are simply spectacular! I have had to replace the batteries in my
personal CD player twice this month because I fall asleep listening to you
whispering in my ear. Now that I have said all the gushy stuff I will get
to the question I wanted to ask of you...
The Blue Fisherman painting that you refer to in Stanyan Street and Other
Sorrows, who painted it? I have seen such a painting once. It was hanging
in my aunt's living room. When her husband died his daughter from a
previous marriage took the painting. It must have been something special
to her. I would love to find a print and hang it over my McKuen
Collection. It has a prominent place in my bedroom in my new home.
I know how busy you are now (and I am overjoyed at the prospect of new
projects) so I will end by saying that you are still the Master of
emotion. Your poems are as fresh today as the ones I cherished so many
years ago. Only my eyesight has weakened, not your talent. I have to read
ASPTL with a magnifying glass:) Wish I could be with you in Riverton but
I'm afraid that one will be a distant dream. But, know that I will be
there in spirit, floating aloft with the colorful balloons. Warm Smiles
from Dixie, Storm
Dear Storm, ďThe Blue FishermanĒ is an original work and though unsigned
Iím sure there are no prints of it available anywhere. It still hangs just
off my bedroom along with ďThe Soccer PlayerĒ a painting I acquired around
the same period. Both have fond memories and have survived every move
since Stanyan Street forty years ago.
The special edition of ASPTL that contains the two CDís does indeed have
smaller print than my other books. Thereís a good reason for it though.
The Book & CDís were meant to be a single package with the same dimensions
as a compact disc.
Iím sure there will be future editions of the book that will conform to
those of my other books, but that may be a little while off. The book is
selling so fast right now that additional printings have been ordered, but
in the same format. We are keeping First Editions in stock for SBM
(Stanyan By Mail) customers as long as possible.
Iím collecting feedback on the book and will be publishing a FP based on
what Iíve heard so far. Thanks for the nice letter Storm. Luv, Rod.
How's things in the hills of Beverly? I've been eating Sweet 100's all
week and today got to sample the Green Grapes and Sungolds. The Green
Grapes are the size of a walnut and green inside and out - quite tasty.
The Sungolds are tiny and a translucent yellow - they taste like a cross
between a regular tomato and a Yellow Pear. Plenty of fruit on Mr.Stripey,
Wadda Tomato, and Brandywine but not ripe yet. Looks like it's going to be
a good year.
I've really enjoyed the new poems in the FP's. Just when I think you can't
get any better.......you do! Love, Ann
Dear Ann, This year you won the tomato race far and away. The sun here has
been so spotty that I have big plants & gobs of blossoms but only a few
dinky bits of fruit have set. By now Iím usually into my second crop, but
nothing even approaching ripe is peaking out from a single vine.
The sun in Bakersfield has apparently been a lot more consistent than what
weíve had down south. As the eternal optimist I bought some more plants
over the weekend in Santa Barbara and set them out yesterday, so at some
point Iím expecting that Ďbumper crop.í It will probably happen while Iím
away this summer on tour.
I also bought a few new Hostas to augment those that didnít seem to
surface this year. The Roses started blooming early and havenít abated and
the Daylilies are working overtime, so at least I have petals to augment
my green salads.
I love the tapes you sent. The movies are two old favorites and me
co-hosting the Mike Douglas show with Joan Rivers, Alfred Hitchkock and
James Brown was something Iíd totally forgotten. What a cast. Those indeed
were the days.
Iíve been writing a lot of new things lately and it seems to show no sign
of letting up. I only wish I could reward the muse with a ripe tomato or
two. As ever, Rod
Tomorrow June jumps in and with it the promise of summer. Sleep warm.
RM 5/30/01 Previously
the Lensic" benefit appearance in Santa Fe just announced.
Booking for "An Evening with
Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for
Concert & Appearance Details