Stan, Rice and Salt


Today started well and then got better. Eight hours and thirty-one minutes of sleep. Spinach omelette and coffee. Cardboard serial-plane sculpture of a gorilla well started. Then the capstone: Phoenix Art Museum presented best-selling, Hugo-winning Kim Stanley Robinson, who spoke with eloquence and humor about climate change and comedy.

I had met Stan more than twenty years ago. His mother-in-law and copy editor, Dorothy “Dot” Morrison, was a friend and co-worker with my then wife, Joni. For about fifteen minutes I had the privilege of talking to Stan about his novelette, and Robert Heinlein and his Scribner’s editor Alice Dalgliesh, and hiking, and stuff I no longer remember. I asked Stan which sf authors he admired, and he mentioned Edgar Pangborn, whom I had never read.

In the years between then and now, I read Stan’s THE YEARS OF RICE AND SALT and 2312.  I didn’t get too much into his Mars trilogy, for which he is most famously known, intending to binge-read it the way I did LORD OF THE RINGS one Christmas break in the late 60s.

Stan is a fantastic storyteller and exceptionally intelligent and imaginative. And here he was in town again, about to sign my copy of NEW YORK 2140. He looked up at me and I said, “I was a friend of Dot Morrison. I’ve met you.” He offered his hand to shake and I shook it. Then I showed him the page I’d worked on before and during his talk. It is festooned with quotes from the talk. “Hey, look what you inspired. Double acrostic.”

He half grinned and said “Right on,” his self-confessed Old Hippie coming out.

I didn’t want to Bogart my time with him, so after confirming that Dot, whom I’d lost track of, had passed on, and Stan signing my book, and my telling him I admired his use of the between-lives Bardo in THE YEARS OF RICE AND SALT, I said thanks and goodbye. He said he’d be sure to tell his wife about me, friend of her mother.

Here are the words to the double acrostic:

Resisting the lure of exclaiming Hélas

Incepting a zep’lin as Candle or Bra

Conceiving a model who posed for Maillol

Existence ain’t in the Bardo with Bardot


  1. I came here from the post you’d commented on, that was flagrant plagiarism of Erica Jong’s poem. You were kinder than I. Anyway, I found it a serendipitous occurrence. It seems somehow directed any time two writers, floating aimlessly through the enormous blogosphere should touch down at a common junction. I love your voice. I have written some acrostics, as well (though never a double and never with so rich a content). There is a playfulness about it that I enjoyed … and it tied together the rather cryptic statement to Stan about Bardo/Bardot.

    I’d love you to drop by my blogsite where tomorrow I’ll be posting scene four (and last) of a one act play in free-verse. The prior three scenes are archived (actually on my most recent posts list). I’m sorry–this request seems so scandalously self-promoting, but I honestly think you’ll enjoy the play. If you have the time, of course.


    • Thanks, Jay. I’m glad the gratified you took time to read some of my posts. It’s nice to meet someone who’s tried acrostic poetry.

      I did read the final segment of your SINS OF THE GRANDFATHER. I’ll wait till it fades from short-term memory and then find and read the whole thing from the beginning. It has a good flavor of mystery and underpinned oddness to it.

      It looks like we share a scorn for quotes without attribution, i.e. plagiarism. The plagiarist took the further step of accepting praise from readers who clearly thought the work was his. That to me is unethical bordering on criminal.

      Thanks again, Jay. Keep up the good creative work!

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