Advantage Bob?

Tor House is the name Robinson and Una Jeffers gave the house they built in Carmel, California. Tor comes from the rocky points they saw when visiting Dartmoor, England.  The home was important to his poetry. My house is important to my writing. There our similarities end.

He built his house. I live in mine. They built theirs with stone carved from the boulders of the coastline in Carmel. Someone built ours a long time ago and then more recently someone else put aluminum siding on it. I don’t even have to paint it and yet I feel ownership. Just by being present.

Robinson did all that work on his home and still had time to write. Very little of my home competes for my writing time. I think, “advantage Bob.” An advantage I have yet to capitalize on.  Maybe I should build a shed or something.

An Edge in the Prophetic

In “On Art”, an essay by Edward O. Wilson in the anthology Biopoetics, Wilsowrites, “I emphasize the expansive role of poetry to argue that whereas art and science are basically different in execution, they are convergent in what they might eventually disclose about human nature.”

How does that happen? Does it happen? What do they disclose about human nature?

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Robinson Jeffers’s Tower

Robinson Jeffers built a stone tower as part of his home in Carmel, California. Dr. Peter Quigley quotes scholar Theodore Ziolkowski as having said, “the tower was not the realization of an image long present in Jeffers’s poetry, just the opposite.”

The tower worked to produce the poetry.

Whatever our means of making poetry, how great it would be if all our homes “worked to produce” it. The home we have lived in for twenty years has done that for me. Most of that work was in my unconscious and is only now commuting to my conscious being.  All of it has been a joy.

A New Jersey Night 1963

“Where do I begin…on the heels of Rimbaud moving like a dancing bullet thru the secret streets of a hot New Jersey night filled with venom and wonder.” Bob Dylan, liner notes to Desire (1976)

Electric lights,

High overhead on poles,

Illuminated a young lady

Serenely confident

As she presented

A single  tap

To a golf ball

Sending it

Into forward motion.

Once spanked

By the beauty’s energy

The dimply sphere sparkled

In the same rays of light

That attracted

Squadrons of bugs overhead.

I stood transfixed

In fortune,

Hoping for words

Beyond my imaginings

To extend

The New Jersey night

Into more permanent bliss.


© Copyright 2014 Robert B. Ritchie

Fiction is as Strange as the Truth

In Story Engineering Larry Brooks  writes, “Theme in any story is analogous to health in our daily lives – the abundance of it vs. the lack of it defines how well we function. A state of heath – and theme – is always present, good or bad, valued or not. Bad health leads to a compromised life. A lack of theme leads to a compromised story.”

I am finding that memoir and fiction writing are closely related. I used to think only poetry could improve my prose, but memoir is producing ideas that are very convertible.

Writers have been in trouble for presenting fiction as memoir. I am surprised that it has not more often been the reverse.