1978. I worked in a prison reform project for the American Friends Service Committee for four years in the San Francisco Bay Area. The day after I passed my doctoral comprehensive exams and oral defense, “Proposition 13” was passed: a major property tax reform event. The result was a hiring freeze at every level of higher education in the state. With a six month old son and spousal “responsibilities,” I was "reallocated by the mega-forces of The Invisible Hand" (ahem!) and found myself selling World Book encyclopedias door to door in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

All scholarly books were laid down. Academic research put on hold. A mythic turn—which I foresaw, back then, as only a slight deviation till I found a “real” job. Alas, success being its own demon, my sectarian fierceness … and foolishness! … brought me to national acclaim within this new world. I built huge sales teams and conquered LA’s multiethnic markets. My Hollywood office echoed with the dissonant sounds of trainers exuding salesman fervor in Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Spanish, Armenian, Thai and Russian. So, they sent me to revivify New England. I had stopped drinking, yet, I stumbled as those who reach for the Golden Ring oft do. Ah, the delicious seduction of Mammon! Ever the believer in Confession, I picked myself up, put on corporate vestments ... headed into telecommunications and the nascent computer world. Why not? Reagan was about to Ronald.

I would “retire” in 2008. Twenty plus years aping The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. At least five moves; three transcontinental. Filthy lucre and all that. But I kept at me.

1983. Or thereabouts. Somewhere in the mythic bog: from out the mist comes Her. It took me a long time to utter this simple word—with sacral fervency: Mother. It is difficult to recall, right now, how totally bottomed out I was. “Prison, Bottoming Out, Mother.” Again in Cross Currents, XXVIII, #1, Spring 1988. What “Resistance” was to the end of my faithfulness to the Catholic Tradition, so is “Prison” to the beginning of my wayward movement towards being an Earthfolk. “Mother” was liberating, but totally baffling. An alien phrase on the mythic tongue. And for years, that is all I had. Somewhere the novel I am not here to sing, I’m here to kill the dove was composing itself. {Referred to as Sing and then edited in 2008 to Kill the dove!}

My writing too me back to the first weeks outside of prison. Many long pipes: calabashes and fragrant odors. Too, too many empty bottles: whiskey, wine, Guinness and whiskey whiskey whiskey. From teeth-shattering femme relationships to the long lonely nights on the road for Corporate America, in hotels, motels and assorted unrestful hours, working at the text, no longer drinking nor smoking, another son. In time, I became “the writer in the basement”—the marriage was ill-fated. When I forget the Sixties: the innocence, the abandon, the implosion, the Trip, the Heart of Darkness, the buoyant paranoia!—I re-read Kill the dove!.

1987. Compelled as it was by its own inexplicable will, Sing had come to closure. Over 1100 pages—man, but I was cranking it out!

Step back, 1985. And so, then, miracles opened. In a taunt from Beyond, akin with the suddenness of the living death of my younger brother, Joey, so was my own youngest, Nicholas, injured and mangled by the cruel gesture called Accident: now known as the hand of the Shade Mother. A fall from his toddler’s car seat onto the garage’s concrete floor led to grand mal convulsion. Al the experts at Children’s Hospital in Georgetown doubted that that he’d ever sit up—yet he does. After nights on the floor, timing the grand mals with my heartbeat, feeling the cool dryness of the Beating Wings, at that time I was given as my own parents had received—a miraculous child. It was during the Super Bowl. Just a step onto the mythic landscape—in case I ever forget! “Two Boys.”

For my two boys I wrote “Vietnam Undeclared.” By now I had emptied my cup of despair. Lived through both the failure of Vietnam as a War and its failure as a Revelation. America was deep into Reagan Greed. “There is no I in ME!” Scions of Ayn Rand. So, what’s new? … If it hadn’t been a random contact with a Vietnam Veterans Against the War activist, here, Steve Sabom in Houston, a segment of “Undeclared” would never have been published in “Voices” a journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists. (Vol. 27, Numbers 1 & 2, Spring/Summer 1991—“Healing a Generation: The Vietnam Experience.”)

“Undeclared” is how I finally settled my Warrior talking. Jabber. Yadda. Blather. Hooey. But I got there. War as ritual. War as liturgy. My shared insight into the role of soldier and that of priest. I finally discovered all people as Family, Holy. I grasped the insights of What Is, Is Not and saw with my Catholic eyes what the Mass truly was. With an insight I almost wished I were not granted, I shuddered as I was—finally!—touched by the seething, lascivious, devouring, leering, licking, jerking-off Eros of the Holy Mass. Amen.

Every mythos contains remnants of what it has consumed, replaced, and considered eradicated. Sort of an Unintended Consequence like factor. So came The Bodywanderer. 1994. I had all gone this way and that. But—possibly the hedonism under my monastic flagellation?—I found mystery and delight under the hands of various masseuses. Verily, females not males, but so it goes.
Alfred and Luke. Know that the “fictional” writing, here and hereafter, is at the lip of consciousness. Enough to correctly finger the keyboard. Not much else.

From the first shuddering till the last lick and blast of ouroboric embrace, all is as revelatory to the author as to the reader. It is here that “presences” first throb. Yes, there is a Minnesota backdrop to all this, and some ventures into multidimensionality … hmmm, it is the first humbling of my erotic powers, as I were shown how crippled I was. All who had relished Free Sex...Good Dope...Truckin’....yeah, Rian and Sunflower. I became what I always was but did not see. Is not, is.

But becoming a bodywanderer is one way towards both sensual preciousness and the Earthfolk vision. If you’re not a Catholic you might think this not worth your while. Reconsider.