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May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins… Escape from LA, Part 1

All of this started playing out 16 years ago today – thought I’d bump it back to the top of this blog to rekindle the memories…

Escape from LA
by Roger Darnell

Wednesday, May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins

As I sat at my desk at the end of the business day (night) on Tuesday, I knew I really needed to get some sleep to be ready to start loading the truck bright and early the next morning; surveying my office, though — still largely intact — it finally also sunk-in to me that I needed to get it packed, once and for all. Fast forward to 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning: I’d worked all the way through the night, the office was 98% done, the house was a scattered array of semi-packed boxes, furniture and closed boxes, all ready for the truck, and we were off to pick up the truck from Budget in Van Nuys on Sepulveda Blvd., the same place where we’d returned our truck from the 1998 move West. This truck was a little bigger — a sign that the move was a success? — and the car carrier, destined to transport our Honda Accord back across the country, may have been the same one we picked up from New Orleans on the previous trip. Beth had slept very little as well, so the recollection of truck-packing day is a little blurry. We were smart enough to request a couple of movers to come to our house at 9 to load the truck, and by 11, they were done. By 5 p.m., Read more

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Rare Air Episode 10 and September 2015 desktop calendar

Today is September 7, 2015 – the Labor Day holiday Monday here in America. As I understand it, this is a “day off” that was purchased through the efforts of hard-working, far-seeing, community-focused people who were passionate about many things. Together, they were determined to protect their core human rights, and those of their working-class peers, in ways that would benefit their entire generation – and others to come – for eternity. I see that Americans have been commemorating their victory for almost 130 years now, and as wonderful as it is to enjoy this spectacular gift, it’s even sweeter knowing that dedication to hard-work – and appreciation for it – are built-into our future.

Last spring, my own drives to do work and then to honor it led me to the interesting crossroads where “Rare Air” began. Suddenly, there are now 10 episodes, where each one represents a sort of holy meditation to me, while also hopefully holding some meaning for you. This new one was photographed last Saturday during an annual pilgrimage for our family, where luckily we’ve been invited to join a lovely group from Valle Crucis and Boone, North Carolina, a few hours’ drive away in Sapphire, at the one-and-only Camp Merrie-Woode. This classic summer camp for girls is also an idyllic getaway during the off-seasons, and every year when the fates align, we happily stream our ways there in late summer to play, feast, catch-up and make new memories together. Read more

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Nov. 21, 1998: Character

In November of 1998, Beth and I were living in our Barrington Way townhome in Glendale, California, which hosted us and our cats nicely enough through a very exciting and challenging time. Going back to Arc of the Poet, that was our critical California move in the so-called “Fame and Fortune” era. While I was extremely thankful at that time to have landed on the staff of Crest National in Hollywood, my film industry dreams were still very personal, and I pressed on to the best of my abilities on every front. Externally, I continued to “swing for the fence” by submitting my best writing up to that point to places like the Guggenheim Foundation, to competitions, literary agents and contacts I thought might take an interest in the projects or the talent behind them. Internally, even at that time which is now almost 15 years in the past, I had identified a “next level” goal: writing a novel. Maybe if I had won that 1999-2000 Guggenheim Fellowship I applied for in late 1998, I would have made more progress.

Today, that objective remains very high on my list, and my nine-year-old son Riley is just one of the writers in my life who is showing me how it’s done. Through his fourth grade class, he is participating in National Novel Writing Month. He took off at the beginning of November and has been piling on the words.

Another real inspiration for me is my father-in-law Bill Martin. His sixth book has just gone off to the publisher – so the first paperback edition of “Rio Pecos Compound” is just a few weeks away. The adventures continue on the “Tales of Mason” website: http://williamfmartin.com

With all of my writing experience, when I look at long-form fiction writing, my vision splinters into a great number of facets. I feel the responsibilities as designer, architect, resident artist, builder and storyteller, for starters. And as these pieces are organized, then comes the time to put them into action. In the past, I have been able to move characters forward within some pretty interesting narratives; solid choice of subject matter is imperative. That is where I have found myself many times over the years, ready and willing but needing to write the right thing.

I have a guess that when the alignment occurs, it becomes sort of sublime. Below is a poem I wrote on 11/21/98. Amid all the outward amplification of myself happening at that time, inside I knew I had to write engagingly and thoughtfully. So many words can go into something – each must hook, tantalize, convey and deliver along the way toward somewhere worth going, for some reason. I usually wonder this: What’s the reason?

Character
by Roger Darnell Read more

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Fifty words

My family members and many close friends are participating in a special project where words are essential. An early version appears here with more updates coming soon. This one is written by Lila Ridings-Darnell, Heather Turner, Bud Ridings, Tiffany Eakle, Cheri Wynn and yours truly and designed using http://wordle.net.

And here is the final version, featuring additional input from Bob Bingham, Connie Bingham, Riley Darnell, Bernice Lurkins, Jim Darnell, Peggy Darnell, Mike LaHood, Joel Ridings, Nell Thacker, Ann Kiefert, Kristianna Bursa Myus, Sherry Ridings, Laura Darnell, Speed Jenner, Victoria Lynn Soden, Molly Gaffner-Jones, Richie Ridings, Linda Ridings, Bart Ridings, Mike Stoecklin, Liesl McVey Gaffner, Jane Davidson Zappia, Denise VanTassel Smith, Dianna Darnell Rist, Marti Reeser, Sara Jacobs Contevita, Beth Darnell, Judy Davis, Sandy Holzhauer, Michelle Munich, Terri McClung, Jane Hilliard, Cristy Willman, Barb Davis Ridings, Rachel Ridings, Jerry Gaffner, Daniel Ridings, Janice McFarland, Kalonie Farley Caulk, Martha Smith, Melissa Schumacher, Teri (Cruthis) Boehm, John Darnell, Marshall Mollet, Carla Mollet, Susan Darnell, Amelia Darnell, Claire Bowling, Dorothy Ridings, Dan Clotfelter and Nancy Clotfelter.

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May 17, 1996: The Bridge Holds

I wrote this poem exactly 17 years ago today. It was several months after the excitement of working on NBC’s seaQuest had given way to some different kinds of fun for Beth and me, but about 18 months before we surprised ourselves and everyone we knew by moving to California. This was written in May (always a favorite time of year), and much to my delight, those days were mostly spent handling very fun freelance production assignments (for example, shooting with Randy Baker for NASCAR), rewriting a screenplay for a futuristic thriller, and writing, editing and submitting poetry to top literary publications.

The Bridge Holds
by Roger Darnell

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2012 photo update

Here’s where to find our newest family photos. Over the weeks ahead I plan to add others from our trip to America’s legendary Theodor Roosevelt, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks.

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May 23, 1992: Hoot Owl Holler, Episode 2

On the 20th anniversary of the best day of my life (the day I married Beth Kiefert, and she became the now-celebrated Beth Darnell), it’s a sincere pleasure to invite you to enjoy this second installment of “Hoot Owl Holler.” In this video presentation that uses more footage shot by my dear cousin Bart Ridings, you can hear some of the fun-loving wise-cracking from our loved ones who gathered together on May 23, 1992, in Greenville, Illinois, for our wedding. Also shown are too many others who are no longer with us: They are all missed greatly. On we proceed through life, still recalling the words we printed in our program, and the high sentiments which set the tone for what has so far been a spectacularly wonderful adventure together.

Joy, Shipmate, Joy!
by Walt Whitman

JOY! shipmate—joy!
(Pleas’d to my Soul at death I cry;)
Our life is closed—our life begins;
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last—she leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore;
Joy! shipmate—joy!

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May 16, 1992: Orlando party for Illinois wedding

On May 23, 1992, Beth and I were married in Greenville, Illinois. Since we were residents of Orlando, Florida, at the time, on May 16, we had a pre-wedding party for our Central Florida friends. Here’s some of the photographic evidence from a very fun get-together that we will never forget. Thanks for the great memories friends!

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May 4, 1992: Twenty-Five and Going

I wrote this poem just a little over twenty years ago… a day before my 26th birthday, and a few weeks before Beth and I were married in Greenville, Illinois. It’s quite amusing to me that I mentioned feeling like I was 46, as that’s the age I am now; for the record, it feels very different than I guessed it would at that time. The good news is, it’s even better than I expected.

Twenty-Five and Going

by Roger Darnell

I’ve put off the great Chinese thinkers
for another year, at least.
Taken up being a fiancee.

Read a lot of Bukowski. That was a good idea.
Feel like I’m forty-six, only
twenty-six.

My poetry stacked up… sort of thin.
The 25-year-old poet was buried.

But so was the 24-year-old. So what?
The word years is losing significance.
On an abacus it would mean beads.
On my awakeness, it means

Memories, feelings, fears, understandings.
Understandingness.

My mom gave me some of her work. A lot of it.
I think that means something. Praised me —
in a letter, not the poetry — as being a good man.

Now that’s something. I don’t care who you are —
that’s something. I’m getting married. Think it’ll be
something, also. Proud. I’d admit it.

And going! Going now, as the pen pauses…
perilously….

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