Dean Clough

March 18, 2024

Portico Darwin: Writing from A Real Writer



<1 Minute Read

Good morning and happy Monday.  Sure, I fantasize about being a professional writer, vs. whatever it is you want to call this shit show.  But that doesn't mean I don't know what real writing is.

As evidence, everyone gets a break today.  You from my droning, me from having to pretend I can write.  Instead, you get my favorite author, on a relaxing topic.  Relevant, too, since I returned from one just a little over a week ago.

Here is the late Philip Roth, on the awesomeness of cabins.  

And no, I'm not dying.  I'm just jealous that I will never be able to express myself like this.

How did the idea of a cabin maintain its hold so long?  

Well, it’s the earliest images - of independence and freedom, particularly - that do live obstinately on, despite the blessing and bludgeoning of life’s fullness. And the idea of the cabin, after all, isn’t ours. It has a history. It was Rousseau’s. It was Thoreau’s. The palliative of the cabin. The place where you are stripped back to essentials, to which you return - even if it happens not to be where you came from - to decontaminate and absolve yourself of the striving.

The place where you disrobe, molt it all, the uniforms you’ve worn and the costumes you’ve gotten into, where you shed your batteredness and your resentment, your appeasement of the world and its manhandling of you.  The aging man leaves and goes into the woods - Eastern philosophical thought abounds with that motif, Taoist thought, Hindu thought, Chinese thought.  

The “forest dweller,” the last stage on life’s way.  Think of those Chinese paintings of the old man under the mountain, receding from the agitation of the autobiographical.  He has entered vigorously into competition with life; now, becalmed, he enters into competition with death, drawn down into austerity, the final business.

That is from I Married a Communist, the second novel in Roth's 3 volume American Trilogy series.  It was preceded by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Pastoral, and followed by The Human Stain.

The last is my favorite novel, and all 3 are Textbook examples of the best of American literature.

As opposed to London Calling.

Have a great week.  


Speaking of literature London Calling, the noted literary critic Professor Howard Blum Esq. has weighed in.  While we were enjoying cocktails this past Friday afternoon on the sun-splashed veranda at Presidio Bowl, the estate attorney to the stars made it clear he's waste-deep into it.

As in "What is this shit?"

And to that, I say:  At least Lara Mohair likes it!

It’s more extreme than even I expected!  Which makes it the best chapter . . . so far!

And we haven't even had our passports revoked.  Yet.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Here's another great and very sadly, dead writer.  Featuring both "Cabin Down Below" and "House in The Woods," here is Tom Petty and Wildflowers.

About Dean Clough