Geez, you are leaving the U.S. and I never had a chance to take you up on your kind offer to visit and do a walking tour of Philly. I myself am also planning to wrap things up in the U.S. this year, I return from Costa Rica to the U.S. on July 10. Will be there about two months. Will you be gone? I would like to give you a couple of pounds of my coffee if you are still in Philly.
I am devoting a lot of energy to improving my farm and my house. My coffee crop should be very good this year. Harvest starts in September. The two thousand plus trees I have planted over 13 years are looking like real, big trees! I have created a small forest! The other side of the coin is how lonely and isolated I am here. Went to Ecuador again this year to check out moving there. Planned to stay 3 months but my friend and neighbor Richard died and as I had left my 4x4 diesel pickup at his house, I had to return pronto, before it disappeared or was stripped. . He was a very right wing watcher of Fox news but we managed to get along and just talk about things we had a common interest in, like the collapse of the dollar, the weather, local gossip, how bad the roads are, etc. He was 74, had diabetes and a heart condition but could not stop smoking even after a pacemaker was put in (I accompanied him in the ambulance to do translation that time) He was also a heavy abuser of sugar and coffee. Of course he hated Obama and loved Trump- We managed to talk about the things we had in common where we both liked Trump. I liked Trump because, comparatively, he was the “Peace Candidate” and wanted friendly relations with Russia and no more invasive aggressive U.S. wars of choice in Middle East. Joke was on me. And on Paul Craig Roberts. More likely Trump was forced to change by the manufactured Russiagate hysteria. But he sure chose a weird crew to enact his alleged agenda: people who publically had a very different agenda. Jesus, he probably chose Bolton because Bolton got a lot of time on Fox news, which is where Trump gets his ideas and reality from. Spare us!
Re the Pine Barrens:I grew up on the edge of it, first in Bayville and then in Toms River. Family legend had it that my great grandmother on my mother´s side went crazy and ran out the door into the Pine Barrens , never to be seen again. Maybe the Jersey Devil got her. John McPhee wrote a book on the Pine Barrens. I think I got my Dad to read McPhee´s COMING INTO THE COUNTRY on Alaska, but when I gave or loaned him the Pine Barrens book, he didn´t like it and didn´t finish it. My take was that he could not stand to see anything good written about the Pine Barrens, that it might be a place of interest, to him it was an unmodern decadent backward place to be shunned , a place where you rolled your windows up and locked your doors when you drove through it. No middle class in the old Pine Barrens.
Glad to see you sometimes upgrade from Yuengling´s to Guinness Stout.
“It would be most appropriate, I now think, to be killed in a place one has no business being at, and not as any sort of invader, but just a lost fool”
That almost happened to me in El Salvador during the war. I was a member of a Sister City delegation to a Sister City “Summit” meeting,of all U.S. Sister Cities, held at our sister city. For a few days we split up into two groups, mine went to Chalatenango Province, a very contested region, largely held by the FMLN guerrillas. At one point we visited a small town where we arranged to meet with the leaders of thetown. While they were being looked for, a photo opportunity arose: a small boy with a toy bandolier for bullets draped across his body. So we went around the small building where we were waiting so as to take his photo. Forgot to say that there was a skirmish, or battle, going on in the hills just outside of the town. That did not dawn on me til I heard a series of three bullets wiz past my head, inches away, I presume. Never heard the rifle fire, just the bullets going by. The others ran, I hit the dirt. A nearby campesina woman laughed and motioned me to come get behind her woodpile. I presume it was a Salvadoran Army sniper.
“Be confident that as you gain life and writing experiences, your thinking and writing will improve continually, and this ability to think better should be rewarding enough in itself.” Yes, isn´t that interesting the connection between writing, reading and the ability to think. John Michael Greer just wrote something about that. Very brave of you to choose to be a writer.
“What a Piece of Work is Man”, I believe Shakespeare wrote, according to my favorite book A SHORT HISTORY OF PROGRESS.
Seems to me that Derrick Jensen (or David Ray Griffin) already wrote the books I would have aspired to write had I dedicated myself to being a writer. And what effect did they have? About zero, I would say. I was an English major and, yes, harbored thoughts of writing the Great American Novel that would Change Everything. Just read somewhere that Ken Kesey died 17 years ago: Has timed marched on that much? I am 72. Now Tom Wolfe, who chronicled Kesey and Owsley and the Grateful Dead and their Acid tests has died too. I partook of the “punch” being passed out at one Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco in the late 60´s.
Here´s a funny story about a Grateful dead concert. A guy I knew who was a serious writer, (but very crazy, claimed he has seen through walls, and used this to shut you up if he disagreed with you or perceived that you were getting the upper hand in a discussion .”oh yeah, well I have SEEN THROUGH WALLS!” as in TAKE THAT MOTHERFUCKER!), usually in underground newspapers, he was a few years older, had been a regular journalist for a newspaper (perhaps before he took acid), he went to a Dead concert at the Fillmore West in SF. He was seated on the floor pretty near the front. As the night went on he was mesmerized by a beautiful woman dancing in front of him, Did I mention that she was completely naked? They made eye contact, they connected, he went home with her, or she with him. And she talked to him about Scientology all night. No sex.. Naked beautiful women are definitely good for recruiting new male members to a group or cult. Rajneesh in Northern California encouraged his female followers to have sex with men visiting the commune, he used to watch couples having sex.
“I've been to maybe 30 countries, and the only one that had the same level of vandalism and graffiti as the US was Germany”. Quito, Ecuador had a lot of graffiti. It’s a major city. When I saw all the graffiti I thought : “Ah, U.S. culture spreading throughout the world.” When I got to the remote mountain town which was my destination, it was quite pristine, until my first weekend there when spray painted graffiti appeared on buildings in one corner of town, It was the punks from the nearest city . People from that city come to the small town for the weekends. What a travesty to see this mostly adobe walled village be spray painted with graffiti. Now traitor Pres Moreno is going to let the U.S. military back in after ex-Pres Correa kicked them out.
“In the US, nearly all self-identified rebels only rebel in prescribed and heavily manipulated ways, which makes them pawns of the very people they think they’re rebelling against.” As far as I know, I could be wrong, but Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW as well as FAIR and founder Jeff Cohen have been supported forever by the Ford Foundation, infamous as a conduit of CIA money. Both of them produce a lot of good stuff, but…..they were selected by the Powers that Be to be the acceptable limits of independent left thought in the U.S., IMHO. Neither question 9/11. Nor does Noam Chomsky, who also put the kibosh on the Left questioning the official story on the JFK assassination. Not that he needs or accepts Ford Foundation funding.
And so other rebels leave the country and become small farmers in the tropics. Because they can´t get printed. Speaking of which: thank you so much for inviting me to contribute an article about my escape from the U.S.
Monday, May 28, 2018
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, and have returned to my native Saigon. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems soon to be released from Chax Press. I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.