Cosmic corn down the lane

Consider a few pages as an appetizer. May I deliver the full-course dinner?

We’ll catch up, as we can, After the Revolution.

Ken_Westerfield_Santa_Cruz_Ca._1977This group living did have some advantages to speak of. Like the garden. One prime summer afternoon at the Campsite down the lane behind the house, folks sat down at utility spools turned on their sides and at a long table built of old boards on sawhorses. Nita and DL had already strung a long cord of prayer flags.

It was a festive sight when Rusty dished out the first of their own homegrown corn-on-the-cob. “Wanna bite of corn,” he grinned as he passed the platter around.

“OK, sure, mmm, MMM! Wow! That’s the best corn I’ve ever had!”

“You know, it’s the new hybrid containing both silver and gold, butter and cream, white and yellow kernels in the same ear.”

“Hey, this stuff is really good,” everyone exclaimed. Wink even ran back to the farmhouse, yelling all the way: “Irma! Irma! Ya gotta come try some of Rusty’s great corn!”

And she concurred, “Umm, hey, that’s fantastic corn! Best corn I’ve ever tasted!”

The rest of the summer Rusty kept getting an earful of compliments each time a visitor shared the table. Hungry grins kept declaring his hybrid the best corn in existence.

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Trails novels, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

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Beneath the mellow surface

My novels Hippie Drum and Hippie Love candidly revisit an era too often considered only in stereotypes. In reality, whatever happened in that brief outbreak nonetheless changed American culture forever. Some who participated came away with little more than memories of youthful excess, but for others, the clashes were profound and life-changing. For all of its commonalities, everyone was affected differently, each one in ways that cannot be denied.

Occupy contains a core of old hippies. Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.
Occupy contains a core of old hippies. Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

Here’s what happened in one circle.

If it weren’t for his weakness for chocolate chip ice cream and other questionable pleasures, he could have run for governor and won. Without losing anything, he had gained so much more in the proposition. He had tapped a collective desire. Instantly, all the used paper tissues, strewn-out clothing, unsifted cat litter (which had somehow reappeared in the ensuing month, despite the cat ban), cigarette butts, magazines, newspapers, and empty beer cans and bottles – most of which belonged to Wink and Irma, anyway – vanished from sight.

Strangely enough, so had Wink and Irma. They possessed a telepathic early warning system, alarming them to any danger, such as Men Working.

~*~

To learn more about my novels, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Sisters of mercy

This "hippie barn" would have been luxurious by the standards of my Hippie Trails novels. It wasn't far from the ashram I knew, either. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli  via Wikimedia Commons.
This “hippie barn” would have been luxurious by the standards of my Hippie Trails novels. It wasn’t far from the ashram I knew, either. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli via Wikimedia Commons.

When DL drops in on one older friend while hitching across the country, he winds up landing both a room in a rundown farmhouse rented by a diverse band of hippies and a job in town. He soon finds that one colorful introduction leads to another, as well as range of shared and often unintentionally hilarious encounters. What begins in flight from one evolving hippie chick leads to a sequence of others, each of them adding to his self-discovery, growth, and healing. Just who was a hippie chick, anyway? And who was a dude? And where did they all wind up going?

She’d worn a swimsuit under her sundress. DL went in as he usually did when he knew the faculty wives weren’t expected. “Hope you don’t mind,” he laughed.

“I’ve seen it all,” she answered.

He could see she was an excellent swimmer, leading out far over their heads.

And then the lightning cracked and thunder boomed.

~*~

To learn more about my novels Hippie Drum and Hippie Love, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Each hippie was different

Of course you know them as hippies by their long hair and outrageous attire. Or do you? As DL observes while living on their ramshackle farm, each one is different. Every droll introduction leads to another, especially in his quest for romantic recovery and companionship. Drawn together by dreams of Peace, Love, and Equality as much as cheap rent, even before dogs, cats, and chickens enter the picture, what they find when their summer of mountain lakes and partying fades is a winter of harsh reality. For some, like DL, the melancholy conflicts also lead to amusing delights, bittersweet disclosures, and wisdom the following summer. To say nothing of a lifetime of questioning and magical memories.

HippisAs my story continues:

In the midst of his cooking, Mylin looked out, open-mouthed as if a political rally had just tromped through the living room. He stared out and realized that DL was sitting there completely naked. DL, who was usually off somewhere else. It was the first time DL had sat there like a pot of gold. Everything was out of place. Well, maybe there were simply some improvements in design. Irma came in and pinched DL’s arm and ass: “You’re always so solemn,” she deadpanned, just to see him smile.

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Drum novel, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum

A private Woodstock

They live together, more or less, on a hardscrabble farm. Some are college students; some, dropouts. One’s an Army veteran and a few work full-time careers. They’re drawn together by dreams of Peace and Love as much as cheap rent, even before dogs, cats, and chickens enter the picture. Of course you know them as hippies by their long hair and outrageous attire. But when their summer of mountain lakes and partying fades into winter, critical differences threaten their circle. Through it all, as the newest resident discovers in his quest for romantic recovery and companionship, one introduction leads to another, on the farm and in town, all eventually blossoming in delightful or bittersweet disclosures and wisdom the following summer. It’s a private Woodstock to remember. Come, join the circle as Hippie Drum relives its magical dance and rhythm.

1024px-Susquehannariver1Move to an old farm, even for nothing more than cheap rent, and you’ll encounter a host of unanticipated consequences. When the band of hippies first toured the property, somebody noticed the unoccupied chicken house, equated a farm with a ranch, and voila, their new living arrangement was cast as an Egg Ranch. One they quickly tagged Ranchos Huevos, from the menu at the local diner. Never mind that the formal name is Huevos Rancheros, a popular Southwestern dish of eggs and tortillas with garlic and cheese. Maybe they’d even raise their own onions and tomatoes and peppers to complete the recipe.

But first they needed a reliable source of inexpensive eggs.

 ~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Drum novel, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum

Before winter sets in

Many sit in a loose ring on the grass, while others drum, dance, or strum on guitars. The thrumming itself evokes an awareness of Tribe in a glimmer of an alternative American Revolution based on Peace, Love, and Equality. For DL, his guardian angel Nita, and the other inhabitants of one ramshackle farm, that beat leads to a summer of mountain lakes and partying before winter unmasks core differences that threaten to splinter their household. What some uncover in the upheaval opens into delight, growing purpose, and wisdom the following summer. To say nothing of a lifetime of questioning and bittersweet memories.

That night, Jabez showed up with a full painful beard. Irma was the first to notice when Jabez whimpered into the house. “Wow, that dog’s got some really wicked thorns in his nose.”

“Lemme see,” Mylin coaxed in a fatherly voice. “Come on, Jabez, be a good dog. That’s nice. Uh-oh, that’s not so nice.” He turned to explain. “I thought at first they might be black locust thorns, from the trees down below us. But they’re not. This is gonna be rough; we got porcupine quills. Gimme a pair of pliers, will you, DL?”

Black locust thorns would have been bad enough. DL knew they can puncture tractor tires. Porcupine quills, with their fishhook barbs, were entirely novel to him. While Irma and DL sought to calm Jabez, Mylin expertly plucked each barbed spine from the large puppy’s nose and mouth. Jabez cried, squirmed, backed away, listed, whined, whimpered, and kept bleeding.

Then Rusty arrived, scratched his head, and reflected. “You know, we haven’t seen Rudy for a while. Maybe he’s trying to hump that porcupine!”

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Drum novel, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum

Shades of utopia

Listen to its inner beat and you’ll find it’s about much more than long hair, marijuana use, or war resistance. Sometimes it’s a basic search for the ecstasy of love, as DL’s bittersweet sojourn delivers. And sometimes it’s their overlapping circles of comrades. Meet some of the kids who rent a ramshackle farm together, and some of their friends who don’t. Rejecting the social norms of their parents, they set off in pursuit of a more utopian society or, at the least, personal freedom. Everyone jumps into the swirl with personal expectations, and with outlooks ranging from idealistic to cynical, but what they do disturbs the world. There’s comedy, theatrics, color, and even disillusionment. We now call it the hippie movement. Hippie Drum relives its unforgettable dance and calling.

Melanie Safka on the Mr. Softee" free stage at the Powder Ridge Rock Festival in Connecticut, August 1970. Photo by Armandd via Wikimedia Commons.
Melanie Safka on the Mr. Softee” free stage at the Powder Ridge Rock Festival in Connecticut, August 1970. Photo by Armandd via Wikimedia Commons.

As my story goes:

When he developed his film, he realized he had caught little of the unconventional beauty he remembered. But what he had on film suggested much more to come. Next to Ramona’s steamy convergence of earthy import, the roommate Suzanne appeared spectral and insignificant. With her lithe body, long neck, flaxen hair, ivory skin, and round eyes, she normally would have been the center of DL’s photographic focus, or at least an aesthetic counterpoint to Ramona’s tangy imprint.

While the two females formed exquisite, complementary opposites, it was Ramona’s gravity that allowed a moon like Suzanne to orbit – one DL already felt tugging at himself. Like the moon, Suzanne had ways of disappearing in the night, if she so chose.

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Drum novel, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum

More than the sound

My book is a drum. Its story, the sound. It’s an invitation to join with DL and his guardian angel, Nita, in their unfolding dance both on the ramshackle farm they share with a circle of hippies and in their straight workplace. All followed by a lifetime of questioning and bittersweet memories.

This cornfield at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Freehold, New Jersey, has the right feel for the events in my novel. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
This cornfield at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Freehold, New Jersey, has the right feel for the events in my novel. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Folks finally discovered the joy of feasting together. Perhaps it was a matter of strength in numbers. Perhaps it had to do with a new option regarding where to place a spread; there was a choice of the newly claimed Campsite out back or else they could hold off the daily poker game long enough to transform the dining room into, well, a dining room. So it went from a chicken feast one afternoon, an uncommonly solemn affair, what, considering all of the butchering and defeathering beforehand, all overseen by Mylin, to a pasta repast the next, part of his strategy for overcoming a lot of hostile feelings ranging from dirty dishes jamming the sink to toilet paper missing from the roll.

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Drum novel, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum

Off into the air

A ring of hippies. A drum. A household. A circle of comrades and lovers. The rhythm of living together. The call. A rippling circle in a pond. Dancing. Thrumming, swaying, flowing the way smoke does. Off into the air. A history. An unfulfilled promise. Or many.

1024px-Wyalusing_Rocks_view_of_the_Susquehanna_RiverAbandoned as it were to this band of hippiesque rustics who desired nothing more than to live and let live, the Ranch emanated a Rip Van Winkle spell that seemed to defy much of the twentieth century. It wasn’t that its inhabitants could do without their Volkswagens or electric lights or even their stereos and running water. Rather, the Ranchers were rediscovering some simple joys from another era. Instead of watching television, they congregated on the gravel apron in front of the barn, where they then plunked themselves down in battered wooden rockers and salvaged aluminum lawn chairs. Nobody did much of anything there except talk quietly, observe the motion of billowy clouds and the aerial acrobatics of swallowtails and bats, maybe pick at guitar strings or tap on bongos and hum along or sip whatever brand of beer happened to be the cheapest that week. Somebody might whittle or mend clothing or shell peas, depending. Life couldn’t have been mellower.

~*~

To learn more about my Hippie Trails novels, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Catching the beat

The hippie drum evokes a sunny ring of musicians and dancers in ecstatic release. For DL, his guardian angel Nita, and the other inhabitants of one ramshackle farm, it’s also the beat promising Peace, Love, and Equality, an urgent call that leads to a summer of mountain lakes and partying before winter unmasks core differences that threaten to splinter the household. Nevertheless, out of the discord a few come to an intensified rhythm of delight, purpose, and wisdom flowering the next summer. Followed by a lifetime of questioning and bittersweet memories.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Returning to the apartment, he was summoned to Rolf’s room. “Come here, I want to show you something.” DL thought it sounded ominous, even before Rolf opened the closet door. What he noticed first was the absence of clothes. Instead of shoes on the floor, there were drums. Not just two or three, either. They came in a range of sizes, from ones that would fit in a lap to one that could accommodate four or five players. He started pointing. “That’s a djembe, and the one next to it’s a okonkolo,” he said, moving on to a doubek. Most were made of wood, even rare wood, as Rolf insisted, but there was one with a bronze body and another of clay. The closet wall displayed straps he could use when needed. “You play most of these with your palms and fingers,” Rolf explained, “but some you play with drumsticks or even bones. Human bones, by some Tibetans.”

~*~

To learn more about my novel Hippie Drum, go to my page at Smashwords.com.

Hippie Drum