Semi-random Boulder gathering of Bolder Writers

Court Merrigan and Donigan Merritt with Fat Tires in Boulder

Today appeared the first semi-regular, randomly-held, potentially-occasional gathering of bolder Boulder writers, who do not actually live in Boulder; both members present. In spite of the Christmas colors shirts, it is not Christmas.

Court, well-known participant in Donko’s (half) dozen, turns out to live not all that far from Boulder, Colorado, where I have spent the last couple of weeks, and drove down for a holiday weekend trip to the mountains with his mother, wife, and gorgeous daughter, stopping off for a Fat Tire lunch with me on the way. Photo credit to Court’s Mom.

Discouraging words were exchanged.

Next semi-regular, randomly-held, potentially-occasional gathering of bolder writers will be held in Buenos Aires.  Watch this space.

Addition: Here is the street performer mentioned in the response to Tracey’s comment.

Street performer on Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado

I can do this, too! (Well ... maybe not)


15 replies »

  1. What makes you think that?

    Your name was raised, but not in vain.

    Court is interesting, pleasant company. Next time we should shoot for a longer meeting.

    • I bet he is interesting. He demonstrates a wide-range of interests and knowledge on his blog. My name? My grandmother would have said, “I knew it cause my ears were burning.”

      I spent my morning hauling parts of the old kitchen to the city dump. One now has to back one’s trailer in over ground so rutted and warped it looks like Martian landscape. These machines with studded metal wheels larger than I am tall growl up the slope of debris, crushing broken cabinets, tar-black railroad ties, discarded two-by-fours splintered around fistings of nails, faded plastic toys, and simple household garbage sloppy in tossed bags until the entire mountainous mound is crushed together into long, sloping hills of trash. They cover the out-facing hills with bright green sheaths of foam that are purported to hasten the fruiting of seed grass. Some day I’ll drive by those plump green hills and think how beautiful things are.


    Well done Court for making the trip, you two look very relaxed there. I’ve just shown this picture to my family and hope to add a similar one of my own if Don and Holly ever make it back to Europe.

    Cheers me dears.

    • In that case, maybe we can have the next semi-regular, randomly-held, potentially-occasional gathering of bolder writers in either Vienna or Rome, because if we go back to Europe after Buenos Aires, one of those two cities is most likely. (In case Rose doesn’t abscond back to Oz, a third option is Mexico City.)

      Court and I were about to have lunch in this photo — he got a meatball sandwich, which looked like a pot pie to me, and I got a hot salami, provolone, tomato, and onion sandwich. The name of the beer is Fat Tire (in case you are still wondering, Rose).

      An odd thing happened. Court and I abandoned his Mom, wife, and daughter, who did tourist things along Boulder’s long pedestrian street (Pearl), which was jam-packed with booths and registrants for Monday’s “Bolder Boulder,” an annual 10K race of some repute around here, so we could bitch and moan about writing and publishing without boring them to death. Eventually we got hungry and started walking up Pearl looking for a place to eat. I recalled from prior excursions an airy pasta place at the far west end of the street and we headed for it, passing by the dozen of so restaurants and cafes between. When we reached the place, Court took out his phone to call his family and let them know where we had ended up, then looked up to see them in the open window of the restaurant watching us — they had chosen the same place and were finishing lunch as we arrived.

      Later, as we parted — they to a holiday weekend in the mountains, me back to Granddad world — we came across a guy balancing atop a ladder, who then hopped aboard a tall unicycle. I have added those two photos to the post above. Court’s 2 & 1/2 year old was fascinated from her perch on Dad’s shoulders. (I have pictures of Court’s family which I will not post here, for obvious reasons.)

      See what you missed, Tracey?

      • Our day will come and when it does the table will hopefully be crowded with some very familiar faces and names. Until then, I’ll raise my cup of tea to you both and wonder yet again at the far reaching power of the Internet.

        Nice pictures of the street performers thanks for adding them.

        • I thought so.

          Give some consideration to a place like Buenos Aires. It is quite a literary city, filled with artistically-inclined folks, grand cafes, and a large community of ex-pats, including many writers, for when you need language sustenance. It even has good weather, and you would be in your home hemisphere, less likely to get confused over which season it is.

          The drawback is that it’s a damn long way from where English language publishing happens, although the Internet (one of its few redeeming values) diminishes that distance.

          Poor Court. I probably got onto one of my discouraging jags with him. But if you are a writer who can be discouraged from writing, then you might try pumping gas or going to law school or something, instead.

          Are you going to try to get a publisher for Jack while you are down south?

  3. The distances between us often amaze me, so I’m reminded by this post of how quickly they can also collapse. In a way, they collapse with each post and comment on this blog, don’t they?

    I think I’ve eaten at that establishment before.

    • I have spent much of my life at great distances apart from both family and friends. I think about that sometimes. Just yesterday, by email, my wife and I noted how much of our lives we have spent exclusively in our own company, and how quickly we flounder apart.

      I can’t remember the name of the place, and I know it has changed names since I ate there a few years ago. Now it’s something like Pasta Ray’s or something with Pasta in the name. I think it might have once had California or pizza in its name. It is almost the last, if not the last, restaurant on the north side of Pearl at the west end. Our waitress was a way cute, smile flashing, college girl who used abundant and pretty cleavage to finagle quite a tip out of a couple of old farts.

      Many writers are circuit riders. I am not. The circuit riders often find themselves in the same place at the same time where they have mutual adventures. I am not a social writer because I am not essentially a social person; one of my old friends has called me a misanthropic hermit. My wife is my best and favorite companion, and beyond her companionship lie dragons of the unknown.

      Most writers I have known are real pieces of work. I do not have the patience for them. I am barely tolerant of self-indulgence. I blanch in the presence of artistic pretensions.

      A prelude to noting that Court was entirely pleasant company, appearing to be one of those rare writers who does not stack all his baggage on the table between you. I bet we do this again.

      • Just back from the mountains late last night. It was a pleasure meeting Donigan in person and also, Don, you’ll be pleased to note that after we parted ways my daughter asked about 10 times where you had gone. So I guess you made an impression.

        Yes, discouraging words were exchanged but they were nothing you didn’t know already if you weren’t a writer: less about publishing, per se, than about how the entire world of reading seems to be in a death spiral, Harry Potter notwithstanding. I hope we are wrong but there seems to be scant evidence at hand that that is the case. Nonetheless I have upped my daughter’s nighttime quota of nighttimes stories from 4 to 6. Man, is she going to hate me when she’s a teenager.

        It was good hearing some war stories from past days of publishing – novels and screenplays and agents and editors. It gives you some hope, however misplaced, that you’ll have some of your own someday. Thanks for the meet-up, Don.

        • I bet you had pretty bad weather that first night… it was very stormy down the slope. But it’s been warm and beautiful since.

          Your daughter probably wondered about me because I did one of those “now you see him, now you don’t” disappearances. One minute she sees me standing there, then she’s watching the street performer, looks back and I’m gone. Children think everything adults can do is magic.

          We spent too much time talking about things we cannot control — that’s why it’s called bitching and moaning — and not nearly enough time talking about our lives and work. Nabuduce (next time), as the Slovaks always say.

          As an aside, I finished the new Raymond Carver biography a couple of days ago, and want to strongly recommend it as a cautionary tale to the writers here. Besides the overt cautions, there is also a lot of good stuff about life among the literary folks of my generation (with great Iowa stories), the one just preceding yours. I was never a fan of Carver’s style of writing (or was it Gordon Lish’s style of editing?), but his biography has stuck in my head.

  4. Writers who are pieces of work might be a good future post.

    Circuit riders are those writers who make all the writers’ conferences; usually they are more writing teacher than writer. Check out the writer names appearing on conference lists and often you will see the same names, randomly disorganized, on all the lists, and more often than not, you have never heard of these people nor ever seen anything they may have written. They are the circuit riders.

    The origin of the term is religious: a century or more ago, when America was almost entirely rural, with widespread small communities, there were preachers who rode (on horseback) a circuit through these communities, spreading the Word. I thought the term fit writers cruising from place to place making much of their living spreading the writing word to needy ears.