Happiness is more within our reach than most people seem to realize. There are many time-honored ideas and practices we all can embrace to help us increase the joy of living. This project is dedicated to John Lerew, a friend who recently passed away too young, and it’s offered as a simplified formula for achieving happiness by being momentous.
Written, produced, directed, photographed and edited by Roger Darnell: All rights reserved.
Today, Beth, Ann, Grace, Claire and Amelia are in Washington D.C., for what I am calling the “monumental” Women’s March on Washington. They are among many of the people I admire most in the world, standing there together in D.C. – while thousands and thousands more of “us” are uniting in solidarity in cities across America.
Why do we march? Today’s Women’s March on Washington sends the new presidential administration this message (among many others): Women’s rights are human rights.
While I am not there today physically, I am fully with my people in spirit: I stand with them today and always. And for my part, here are my answers:
. I support Read more
Complete blackness veils Armstrong, sitting in age-old spot in space once known both as “living room” and “office” by owner of long-ago disconnected home, now set in increasingly bad neighborhood in suburban East Los Angeles. Dull sound like chirping crickets is all Armstrong knows besides black vagueness, odd lights and vacant memories.
Crickets raise subtle din in reality, just as depth of night slides past nanosecond by nanosecond.
Moon invades home through windows in living room and front door, and in kitchen’s door and above its sink. Foreboding shadows of night filter home’s front rooms and dusty, aging contents as though radiating darkness in through thick trees outside. Faint light-wisps trace former owner’s abandoned living room furnishings: couch, chairs, tables, light fixtures, full bookshelf adorned with old-fashioned slide and movie projection equipment, each one aiming out its concave lens in starved surveillance.
Oscillation fans also from by-gone era further decorate far wall.
Set in corner against near wall is fifty-inch flat panel television monitor with 1930s-style radio receiver set on top.
Near there, centered on main wall, is desk… upon which rests 27-inch LCD computer display, keyboard and trackball – all wireless – and below which stands slim computer tower, plugged into lifeless power strip and other small, important-looking devices. Inside CPU is Armstrong… or at least, was. Whether or not he will ever again be remains unknown. Read more
Having recently learned about Canada’s tar-sand mining operations, I have found them to be a monumental man-made disaster. In Alberta, the depth and impact of this immoral business grows daily, expanding exponentially, with devastating consequences for the earth and its inhabitants; just some of us now, but eventually, everyone. Right now, the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline venture is on a fast-track to approval in America, promising to bring crude from Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast of Texas – at high risk to our air, water and other precious natural resources. Many people are unaware of this story, which boils down to greed versus responsibility. Unfortunately, the blame for “allowing this to happen” touches us all.
It’s very easy to think this issue is not too important, but right now, lobbyists are pushing KXL through very easily. Their backers are set to win, and get richer and richer, at what expense to our environment? Fueled on by unlimited demand for oil and more oil, all those influences ensure oil companies continue turning massive profits every year at the expense of our environment; after all, those corporations are only doing what our laws and actions allow them to do.
It seems clear that only people can protect nature, and although we might reasonably expect our leaders to do so, if we don’t raise our voices in concern, they really cannot stand up and fight. Sadly, I feel that the damaging effects of the planet-altering tar-sand operations occurring inside Canada’s Boreal Forest speak for themselves. Of course, to those making money in that business, negative environmental impacts are trivial compared to tantalizing “jobs” and so-called “energy independence.” Many accept those claims without thinking and seem ready to defend KXL to its bitter end. Respectfully, we invite everyone to stop this madness and help us pursue new sustainable energy solutions. We should not risk trashing America’s natural resources!
Next, please go to tarsandsaction.org to learn the latest about the catastrophic environmental armageddon underway in Canada by oil companies, the misleading claims coming from those companies, powerful lobbyists in America and even some of our most respected leaders… and the irreversible toxic assault set to escalate against America’s natural resources if we don’t stand together now to stop it. Those behind this site are also organizing a demonstration in Washington D.C. on Nov. 6, so this is an excellent time for you to weigh in and help us advance this critical cause in your own ways. Please act soon, as the President may issue his final order granting or denying the KXL pipeline as early as November 1, so we have no time to lose.
Thank you very much for your attention, your peaceful, thoughtful action and leadership, and any constructive feedback you wish to share.
More than ten years ago, after relocating to the Blue Ridge Mountains and making final preparations for parenthood (we actally studied The Bradley Method), Beth and I launched into this current phase of our love story. Experiencing life’s joys and sorrows together over the next couple of years, while diligently tending to my business and supporting personal projects for many members of the family, I wondered what was to come for the creative writer. In 2002, I made up an answer, in the form of a new writing project named Ramble. In it, I aimed to address my personal challenges, write simply and seek new focus. From the beginning, these words have appeared at the top: “This document will hopefully grow in the weeks ahead to represent a journey: the rediscovery of the writer inside a person caught up in his life as businessman, husband and parent.”
Going mostly on instinct, I limited each line to 38 characters, wrote the first entry 73 lines long, and planned to make each subsequent verse one line shorter. If all went as hoped, I figured the final line would be something significant, even if most of the others might be forgettable.
Leaping ahead to the present, Ramble has been somewhat miraculous to me; as you might expect, it changed dramatically over time… and so have I. For the first, longest verses, I vented in detail about momentous developments, including some of the bigger political and global issues of those days. Progressively, I grew more and more daunted in facing the need to communicate things of real importance concisely. For anyone arriving at a crossroads in life with ability and time to write, I encourage a similar writing challenge. If you don’t have years and years to devote, begin with a five-line poem, then count down four, three, two and one: In my experience, it’s a productive approach at focusing oneself. Read more
A good number of great people have expressed at least some appreciation for my writing over the years. Since long ago, many believers have expressed confidence in these abilities, and I feel that their belief is essential to who I am. When I think about what’s to come for me as a writer and artist, I’m inspired by the idea of honoring each of those individuals, and all others interested in my words. Gratefully, I’ll carry on.
In the summer of 1995, I joined the production crew of the primetime NBC television series “seaQuest” at Universal Studios Florida, and began an adventure I’ll never forget, helping produce 13 episodes with a Who’s Who of spectacular production and entertainment industry talents. We were in Orlando, making headlines in all the top national trades well before the first episode of “SeaQuest 2032” hit the airwaves featuring Michael Ironside, Roy Scheider, Michael York and scores of other hot and rising Hollywood stars.
Autographed by Jonathan Brandis.
I earned my job from the prolific television producer and director Steve Beers, by committing to handling script distribution and revisions for all the producers and writers, just as I’d done for him and the other producers on “Fortune Hunter” the previous year. That show for Fox had made a big splash and also involved serious heavy hitters, but seaQuest was a phenomenon… a massive franchise for NBC, Amblin Television, Universal Television and all the other industry all-stars involved. Read more
In the spring of 1995, I was trying to be many things to many people, and those wide attempts to stretch, please and succeed consumed so much energy that more than once, I was caught unprepared for the results. Especially for my inner-poet, it was a mad time.
That January, I had sent the following letter to Tom Tilford at Midwest Poetry Review to thank him for publishing Ethereal Stones, share more work and continue building our relationship. The sticky note he returned with my letter appears below. Read more
Thank you very much for your interest in this thread, and my ongoing adventures as a poet. This project revisits the experiences of the past 20 years for posterity, your entertainment and hopefully some enlightenment as well. This is part 11, and number 15 is the last entry I have outlined. In finishing the series up over the next several weeks, I have a few more stories I hope you’ll enjoy.
The following lines are from An Essay on Man published by Alexander Pope in 1734.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right. Read more
I may never become famous as a result of a poem I’ve written. I reluctantly accepted that probability some time ago, but only after mounting great, concentrated efforts designed to place my poetry within well respected literary publications… most of which failed.
I’ve always been a sincere fan of my mother Lila Darnell’s direct, powerful and stylized creative writing. Through my high school and college educations, exchanges with many other colorful and smart friends and family members, and lifelong exposure to magazines, radio and cable TV broadcasts, I developed a pretty strong sense for good poetry, and where that odd form of writing fits into the world. In my early 20s, I was introduced to the works of Charles Bukowski, who appeared to me as a 360-degree representation of the life of a successful poet… and who wrote books I loved instantly, due to them being so human, approachable, funny, well written and good. Read more
In the summer of 1993, I was very proud to be the husband of Beth Darnell, a homeowner in downtown Orlando, and a genuine communications industry professional making some headway as a writer, producer and photojournalist. My campaign efforts pitching my original creative entries into literary publications produced no other significant results, until one day a poem came back with this kind note (click for full-size) attached.
I could have wept. Here’s the poem it was attached to. Read more