Volume 9: 2007
5 February, 2007
by Robert Whitsitt
Every year I'm astonished once again at how long we've been doing this. We put out our first issue in May of 1999. We all lived in a very different year at that time. Oh, how very different! We were younger, of course (my father-in-law is about to turn 89 - you can do the math to find his age in 1999 - and I was only 52), but we were younger not just in years. We hadn't lived through September 11, 2001, the president was named Clinton, and we were probably not familiar with the terms Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. (If you want to know more about those, the Wikipedia article Religion in Iraq is a useful primer.)
Every year we get more submissions, which we believe is because we have earned a reputation of providing a good location for authors to display their works. This issue is certain to help our reputation, in my opinion.
Since I retired I have done several things to keep busy. One of the most rewarding is helping teach elderly people how to use computers. I do that with a group called SeniorNet. The place where I help is in San Jose, California (where I live), in a local library. There are about 250 students who take classes that range from introductory to detailed. Each class is 8 sessions of two hours each.
I suggest you look at the Web sites for both the branch where I teach (to see what is possible) and the national organization. If there is a branch where you are, you might consider attending classes or helping teach. If there isn't one, perhaps you could see if one or something similar could be started. My person objective is to make it possible for elderly people able to exchange photographs with their grandchildren by e-mail.
- National SeniorNet Web Site
- List of SeniorNet Learning Centers
- SeniorNet Learning Center of Almaden
- Course list for SeniorNet Learning Center of Almaden
Until you get around to that, spend some time reading this issue's works!
7 May, 2007
by Robert Whitsitt
I suspect most of our readers have a favorite section they first turn to: fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry. I understand that, because I used to have a favorite. After doing this for nearly 10 years, though, I've found that my favorite type is whatever I'm reading at the moment. In fact, I like the type of work I'm reading, in general, even if I don't particularly care for the specific work I'm reading.
For example, there is one poem in this issue that I don't particularly care for. However, I enjoyed reading it for the way the author created the poem. I can admire craftsmanship even if I don't really like the result all that much.
I encourage you to give all of the works in this issue a try. I believe this is one of the strongest issues we've ever put together, so even if one work doesn't appeal to you, I'm sure another will, even in areas you might not tend to turn to first.
6 August, 2007
by Robert Whitsitt
As is so often the case (because we keep getting better), I believe that this is the strongest issue we have ever published. We have stories by the best (including our eighth story by the venerable Irving A. Greenfield), some fascinating creative nonfiction, and poetry that even includes some humor. I think you should stop reading this and go directly to the Contents and start reading the works!
What, still here? Then I'll tell you about going to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In nine days we saw eight plays. We would have seen more, but that's all that were available. (We saw three earlier ones in a long weekend last May.)
- Romeo and Juliet
- The Tempest
- As You Like It
- The Taming of the Shrew
- Other Traditional
- On the Razzle - Tom Stoppard
- Gem of the Ocean - August Wilson
- Distracted - Lisa Loomer
All of them were excellent, as they always have been the seven years we've been attending. I'd like to comment on two of them.
Molière's Tartuffe is one of my favorite plays. In this production, the part of Tartuffe was played fantastically by Anthony Heald, whose name I did not recognize. Later we attended a talk by him and learned that he's been in seven plays on Broadway and many other plays, plus quite a few movies as well as on TV in Boston Public and Boston Legal. His most famous movie is Silence of the Lambs, where he was Dr. Frederick Chilton, the psychiatrist who kept Hannibal Lector in the dungeon cell. It is always exciting to an actor talk about a work (casually referring to Anthony Hopkins as Tony) and to get a glimpse into the effort it takes to bring a character to life.
The other play I'd like to comment on is Distracted, by Lisa Loomer. It is about a mother whose young son is causing problems at school, and who probably suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The play was funny and sad and perceptive. In the process of seeing this drama, we were gently educated about the disease, and also learned about the very difficult choices that parents have to make in this area. The play was strongly unrealistic in some aspects, with the characters occasionally addressing the audience, and even breaking out of character to briefly talk about what they were doing. (Something like this: "Listen, I have ADD and there is no way I could learn all these lines if I didn't take my Ritilin!") That sounds chaotic, perhaps, but the overall result was exciting.
If you even have some time, I strongly recommend that you check out the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Right now, though, go to the Contents and get started reading!
12 November, 2007
by Robert Whitsitt
Every issue I'm freshly astonished at how good Amarillo Bay is, and every year I'm yet again astonished that we are still publishing. This year, more than most, because next year starts our tenth year! I planned to keep at it when Jerry Craven and I started Amarillo Bay, but I hadn't really considered what that meant. It has been a lot of work, but the rewards (except financial) have been fantastic. I fully expect to continue it for the foreseeable future!
On a personal note, my wife has finally joined me in retirement. That is why this issue is a week late: we were traveling. I will try not to let our peregrinations interfere with upcoming issues, because I know many people look forward to the latest that our editors have chosen.
Happy holidays to everyone!
Go to Publisher's Comments Volume 10: 2008.