Thursday, January 17, 2019

Storm’s Coming

The wind woke me up early. I expected it. Not the wind, but to be woken up early and uneasy. It’s happening a lot. The weather is a physical manifestation of the nightmares that have been with me for a while now.

The wind shakes trees, moves in gusts and blusters. Threatening is a word. Leafless trees bend and sway. Some break. Those that break easy are long gone, victims of an earlier storm, lucky if they’d passed childhood in this reverting place.

It is a prelude to a bigger storm in a continuing crisis. Winter. Unsure of how to proceed the seasons of late have been uncertain and erratic. It is not a mix of hot and cold, good and bad, but all sinister, only a misplacement of danger, a blockage that collects and readies to cover everything in storm all at once and lingering to untimely change.

There was a time when such moments were beautiful to me, but some to the anticipatory thrill is lost in modern time. I see the only storm now, fearful and narrow. The posturing of clouds and rain— soon to be snow— is already taking a toll on nature, and life, and woken minds.

This storm will be big. It will alter things now and for long. Possibly permanently. It is coming. You can see it in the sky, hear it in the boughs, sense it in the air. Coming. Dread and wrath. This expectation is but a pause in the wrecking. Storms have never been so frightful before. The rules are changed, the game is fixed, the future is dark. 

It may only be two feet of snow, a few long hard painful moments forcing reassessment of insulation and economy, but I dread it. I remind myself that, eventually, it will retreat. Nothing is forever. Even if I will not see the conclusion, it will pass. Storms bring endings that must be endured so spring— hopeful, distant, undreamed of spring— may arrive and have something to do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Spring Semester Classes

One of my greatest joys is teaching eager ambitious focused interested writers. Believe it or not, I have found a perfect breeding ground for such rare and wonderful beasts: The University of Utah Lifelong Learning Program where I coincidentally am an associate instructor. Imagine that!

Lifelong Learning is an adult continuing education program, so all classes are open enrollment. 

Here's a list of the classes I'll be teaching this semester with University of Utah Lifelong Learning center.

All classes will be held at:

Continuing Education Building
540 Arapeen Drive (Research Park)
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

Space is limited so sign up soon.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 Reading Report

I missed it.

I had a goal to read fifty books this year and I didn’t make it. I tried though, and I came pretty close. I’m counting forty eight books I read this year. Here’s my list.

  1. Sea Child, Carol Nicolas
  2. Speaking in Tungs, Karla Jay
  3. Dark Age America, John Michael Greer
  4. Lonely Street, Steve Brewer
  5. Coronam 2, of Civilized, Saved, and Savages, Johnny Worthen
  6. Dandelion Iron, Aaron Michael Ritchey
  7. The Invitation, Oriiah Mountain Dreamer
  8. The Occult Book, John Michael Greer
  9. Centennial, John Michener
  10. Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman
  11. The Long Descent, John Michael Greer
  12. Cruce Roosters, Brent Michael Kelley
  13. Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera
  14. The Half Has Never Been Told, Edward E. Baptist
  15. Tiger Shrimp Tango, Tim Dorsey
  16. A Year of the Monkeys, (various)
  17. Shark Skin Suite, Tim Dorsey
  18. Coconut Cowboy, Tim Dorsey
  19. Goldfinger, Ian Flemming
  20. Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard
  21. Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  22. Spillover, David Quammen
  23. Go Tell it On the Mountain, James Baldwin
  24. Monster in the Shadows, Paul Atreides
  25. Love on Location, September Roberts
  26. Pope of Palm Beach, Tim Dorsey
  27. Everyday Witchcraft, Deborah Blake
  28. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  29. Are you there God, it’s me Margaret? Judy Blume
  30. Gold Coast, Elmore Leonard
  31. Coronam 3, of Heroes, Homes, and Honey, Johnny Worthen
  32. Red Rising, Pierce Brown
  33. Golden Son, Pierce Brown
  34. Fiction Can Be Murder, Becky Clark
  35. The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy
  36. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  37. Johnny Get Your Gun, Dalton Trumbo 
  38. Million Dollar Productivity, Kevin, J. Anderson
  39. Morning Star, Pierce Brown
  40. Rubberneck, Victor O’Neil
  41. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  42. Clownfish Blues, Tim Dorsey
  43. In the Wake of Captain Lord, Johnny Worthen
  44. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  45. Freak Kingdom, Timothy Denevi
  46. Factfulness, Hans Rosling
  47. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
  48. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

Total: 48

Some were audiobooks, others kindle, word documents and my favorite—supple bound paper, sensual and crisp.

My goal is to do better next year, but I'm pretty proud of this one.


Happy New Year!

Johnny :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cats at the Door

From the time I wake I up to the time I turn in, with only an afternoon nap to break the pattern, I open doors for cats.

I think I have them trained somewhat. They recognized that an open door is a temporary state. Now, after years of disappointing them, they will stare and ponder only a moment, contemplating the gap in the wall that leads from inside to out or outside to in. Quicker than they’d like, they will decide to go, or if they wait too long, as part of the terrible continuing lesson, the door will shut and they will have to come to terms with the moment passed, the act ended and their hesitation and decision.

After years of this, a lifetime in fact for I have had cats for most of my life, I cannot help but see the lesson they have tried to teach me, the one my modern anti-bug in the house, don’t want to heat the whole neighborhood sensibility has weaned from them.

And open door is comport. It need not be used to be a wonder. It is a philosophical totem of potential and choice. To stand on a threshold of an open door peering in or out, is a prayer of possibility. It is marvelous in concept, a future of prospects. Emotionally, spiritually, it is better to be there between choices than it is to choose. The act of being here or there and the shut behind you is a resonant sentence of missed chances.

The cats, I think have forgiven me. I have not stopped the prayer, I have answered it, but in brief seconds instead of long hours. It could last longer we know, this bliss of potential, limbus—in limbo—between two states, deciding, rejoicing, experiencing the magic of a crossroads, but we are limited by my impatience and the heating bill. I will rise and open the door for them a dozen. a score, countless times when I hear the cry, and I let them pass, doing what I can.And the cats will take their ecstasies in measure.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Flaner Four Block

I’m one of those writers who don’t believe in writers’s block. I don’t. There’s no such thing. It’s not about inspiration, I say. It’s about perspiration. Catchy, huh?

Even so, there’s still some kind of … shall we say, blockage… between me and my next project. It’s not inspiration. Nope. I am sure it’s perspirational.

I am a lazy man. I don’t mean to be, but it’s one of my traits. My life follows the path of least resistance mostly. I got a book out of that philosophy. Three actually. IT’s number four I’m staring at now across the distance of a keyboard and hesitating.

Starting a book for me is a commitment, and who wants that? My wife? Children? Me?

Yeah… that’s a shit argument. Like writer’s block itself.

Once I begin the book, you see, I have this system where I must write a certain amount each day. 1,666 for those of you following at home. The NaNoWriMo number everyone (but me) struggled to meet last month. I edited last month instead of writing, thinking December would catch me up. Yep, that’s how I justified it.

Welcome to December.

I have lots of notes for the new book, outline of sorts, first stories, scenes, jokes (It’s a Flaner novel), but it’s December and once I begin, I can start nothing else and I’ll kick myself if I fail to meet my words, which I won’t.

My classes are over. My presents are bought. My diet is out the window. I should be all set.

So why am I writing this blog?


Okay. Today’s the day. Today, right now. I’ll start Flaner Four. Real soon. Right away.

Once I get started, I know it’ll fly. But damn, distractions are so distracting and I am a lazy man.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and fans out there. I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Autumn morning in November

It’s getting worse. It’s gaining speed. Faster and faster. Inexplicable momentum. Time rushes by me. A moment and then another. Yesterday I was there and that, now it’s this. Here’s a fresh memory but numbered years ago.

Leaves litter the lawn. The tree is so tall, so many leaves. When did they,.. how. When did it get so big?

The days are cooling where last week it was summer, hot and sandy at a beach in Laguna. Grandma there. Aunts that no longer visit. Can’t. Dead now for years.

One holiday no longer bleeds into another. They flash like a strobe light. No time to anticipate, less to enjoy. Here and gone to the next. A gravity fed ride down down down to the end where we all go.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New year. Another year. Turn clocks forward and back. It doesn’t help. The rush, the speed, the minutes seconds, the days moments.

I don’t want to be immortal, I just want the time to slow a little, to let me catch my breath, let me breath, smell the perfumes, linger and pause. Pause. Now is okay. Let this be a while. Now. Now is not too much, is it?

It’s gone.