Jan 23, 2020
by Diane McCurdy, Film and Book Reviews
Who knew that Petaluma was such a hotbed of literary talent? For one, Marlene Cullen is at it again. This is the fifth book in her "Write Spot" series. She not only edits but contributes to the anthologies that her group creates. This edition is called Possibilities. The others are Discoveries, Connections, Reflections and Memories. Cullen exhorts her flock to "just write" and after every piece the prompt that inspired it is indicated along with a short biography of the contributor as well as advice on how to get ones muse energized.
While watching two kids a Petaluma resident
Decided to take on the sitting president
With parody and satire rendered Seussical
He has re-imagined the POTUS absurdical!
David Hightower insists the he is "not a writer". He was a day trader in the East Bay before moving to Petaluma. Since he spent a great deal of time as a stay at home father reading Dr. Seuss books to his two children, he became inspired. The subtitle of his book The Sun Also Sets is A Seussical Indictment of Trump. He doesn't like the guy. The book, for him, represents a catharsis of sorts, a way to relieve his frustration. It is not for children! The Paris Accords, the crisis at the Southern border, the killing of journalist, Khashoggi, reference to pay-offs to porn stars, Fox news, tariffs, the wall, deregulations — nothing is left off the table. The cartoonist deserves equal credit. Darren Nelson lives in west Marin. He is a singer, a songwriter and a lead guitarist. Initially he met Hightower at a saloon where he requested an extemporaneous reading of some of the more iconoclastic lines after which he fashioned a visual accompaniment. Then Hightower asked the bartender and a customer what they thought. It was a deal! Nelson's drawings are flamboyant, playful, irreverent — spot on.
Now at a glance these two artistic endeavors might seem to be polar opposites, the antithesis of one another; one silly and frivolous, the other personal and poignant. But, on closer examination there are some similarities. Superficially speaking they are both attractively packaged, slim and compact. The cover of Possibilities is draped in deep purple against a starry sky, almost mystic, looking into space for those infinite Possibilities.The Sun Also Sets is clownishly colorful with a circus like theme done in bright primary colors. Both are compelling. Here is a more integral similarity: the books each touch on the absurd. For example, in Possibilities there is a writing prompt about the "mysterious proliferation of gyms in Petaluma" which inspired a tale about a kind of sinister and sometimes terminal workout. Then there is a piece about fish having an animated conversation in an aquarium. The prompt of a photo of a bathtub elicited from one writer an existential type poem as it follow the progress of water from storm drain to sewer, to the laguna, to the river, to the ocean, etc. We are also introduced to a green man and an ode to a yellow broom as well. The absurdity of Hightower's book need no further explanation. Petalulmans seem to have a penchant for the fanciful. It must be in the water.
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