Here is David, a friend of Mary Ann Tharaldsen and Crew at Cornell, that I put in the Wold Newton family, that should include the works of Thomas Pynchon. The CC went far – but not far enough. With the loss of Richard Farina, there was no going further – enough! We rest on our laurels lining up our regular paydays. I’m glad I got my crew to – retool! Why not write a story about the world Richard and Mimi – would have – tripped in? A young couple invent the New Oz. There is some serious name-dropping going down around David.
Mary Ann drove up from Oakland to see David, and dropped off my dog. I was living near Blue River that burned down in a fire. We drove her father’s Thunderbird cross county.
On Sunday, my friend Kevin and I sat down with David Shetzline, author of Heckletooth 3, one the greatest overlooked American novels of the last 50 years, and talked of Heckletooth 3, and other matters, for over three hours. It was easily one of the top moments of my many years reading, studying and writing about Oregon history and literature. It’s right up there with interviewing Dr. Cameron Bangs of Vortex I fame and Maurice Lucas, the bad ass Portland Trail Blazer.
Thank you David, for sharing the remarkable story of this incredible novel, your writing career, and other stories that probably deserve novels or films.
(And thank you to his daughters Andrea and Erika for arranging the meeting.)
Published by Random House in 1969, set in and around the mythical coastal town of Sixes and the Oregon woods, which happened to be engulfed in fire in the plot, Heckletooth 3 is a classic, a forgotten classic, that never saw a paperback edition, was never reprinted, and is almost impossible to find except for a few rare copies. It’s pretty much been purged from Oregon libraries except University of Oregon’s.”
Shetzline received his bachelor of arts from Cornell University in 1956 and his masters in literature from the University of Oregon in 1997. His dissertation was entitled “Quantum Dialogues: The Rhetorics of Religion and the Metaphors of Postmodern Science (English, 2000). He served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, in addition to being a ditchdigger and a student at Columbia University. He wrote in “the Cornell school” of writing in the 1960s with Thomas Pynchon and Richard Fariña. This school of writing has been defined as having three preoccupations (1) socio-political paranoia, (2) concern with environmental degradation, and (3) awareness of popular culture’s unique impact on the American mind. In addition to Pynchon and Fariña, the Cornell School would also include Mary F. Beal, to whom Shetzline was married. The Cornell School could also be said to include, or be influenced by, Vladimir Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut. It stands in contrast to Cornell’s older literary traditions, such as the literary traditions represented by E.B. White and Hiram Corson.
His first work, DeFord, was published in 1968. DeFord is dedicated to the memory of Fariña. Reviewing DeFord, author Thomas Pynchon wrote, “What makes Shetzline’s voice a truly original and important one is the way he uses these interference-patterns to build his novel, combining an amazing talent for seeing and listening with a yarn-spinner’s native gift for picking you up, keeping you in the spell of the action, the chase, not letting go of you till you’ve said, yes, I see; yes, this is how it is.” DeFord was a seminal contra use of geography as a metaphor.
Heckletooth 3 followed the next year as DeFord, and was noted as a lead text in the new ecology movement of the 1970s. Of Heckletooth 3, The Whole Earth Catalog wrote, “[t]here are some writers and books that I only hear about from others. William Eastlake is one. So is David Shetzline, notably for his forest fire novel Heckletooth 3. Ken Kesey went on about it to me years ago. And last week Don Carpenter firmly put the book into my hand. Well they’ve got my agreement. My summer logging the Oregon woods tells me that Shetzline has the work right, the fire and the men right. He especially has the language – Oregon laconic. It’s an introspective action-novel about virtue. I mean, about detail.”
A short story, “A Country of Painted Freaks” appeared in the Paris Review in 1972. Shetzline also conducted the critically acclaimed memoir interviews of William Appleman Williams in 1976, entitled Typescript: A Boy from Iowa Becomes a Revolutionary.
Shetzline was friends with both Fariña and Pynchon. As Shetzline noted regarding the relationship between Fariña and Pynchon, “I think Tom recognized that Richard had a magic with language, that he was genuinely gifted, and I think Tom recognized that Richard worked with his gifts, he worked consciously to hone them. Tom always hung back. You didn’t find out much about his writing from him, but he was always complaining that he wasn’t getting enough writing done, and that is the tip-off that somebody is absolutely haunted as a writer. Richard knew Tom was as serious about writing as he was. I think Pynchon was also fascinated with Richard’s effect on women, which was powerful. Pynchon developed a capacity to appeal to women who would then sort of go after him.” In the foreword to Greening the Lyre, David Gilcrest described Shetzline as “a true artisan of the pen and fly rod, has earned my respect and thanks as an exemplar in all things philosophical and anadromous.”
He is currently an organizer of the Wickes Beal Studio, in Oregon.
Blows Against the Empire is a concept album by Paul Kantner, released under the name Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship. It is the first album to use the “Starship” moniker, a name which Kantner and Grace Slick would later use for the band Jefferson Starship that emerged after Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen left Jefferson Airplane. From a commercial standpoint, it performed comparably to Jefferson Airplane albums of the era, peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and receiving a RIAA gold certification. It was one of the first two albums to be nominated for a Hugo Award in the category of Best Dramatic Presentation.
I awoke from my Old Man Nap and exclaimed;
“This is my life? Holy shit! I took on Scientology – and lost?”
According to Leah Remini the disappearance of your child by Scientologist is designed to shut your ass up – but good! It surely throws you off balance – and puts you on the defensive. They knew I had a blog. If I wrote anything NEGATIVE about them, then I may never see my MINOR CHILD….again!
For some reason, Tim O’Connor popped into my mind. I am still trying to figure out why he didn’t want me to put any of his poems on my blog. His famous father died two years ago, and I wondered if he was writing a biography – and my famous sister would be in it. Christine and Tim were lovers for a short while. Was this more grabbing from THE PILE full of narcissistic nutrients? Infant Melba has been – hauled off by a total stranger. This could be a case of stalking because when she finally made contact she started ragging on Rena Easton – my muse!
What the fuck!
“What’s your mother’s name? I want to see if she is related to Royal Rosamond.
“I’m not going to tell you!”
Anyway…Tim is the reason I was detained by a LA Cop in a Hawaii shirt and cut-offs as I came down the escalator in the Greyhound bus depot. I was put in this little room and accused of being a professional demonstrator on my way to Oakland to be with Phony Joanie at her protests at the Oakland Induction Center. Joan and her sister, Mimi, were arrested and put in Santa Rita. My cop took out a truncheon and was going to work me over – while I was in handcuffs. He was stopped. I was taken to jail where after two days I am taken to a detective room and shown pics of Tim O’Connor;
“Do you know this guy?”
“How did he get your driver’s liscence.”
“I dont know!”
This was true. I had gone to visit my family and Tim was living with Vicki and Rosemary. His father threw him out – again. He wanted to go see a band on the Strip and borrowed my license to get in. He did not tell me the next morning he got arrested for Marijuana procession. The LA cops are trying to pin that bust on me. I told them to do a match of the fingerprints – which I believe they already did. They wanted A NAME for The Phantom of the Strip. This is the dude that doses Mafia Max. He went to the same school as my sister and knew all the actor’s children. Did he know River Phoenix? I never confronted our family friend who looks like Doc in Inherent Vice. and lived in Venice and played on the boardwalk. Tim played at my wedding reception. How did Mary Ann get involved in all these Hollywood types.
Two days ago I discovered my facebook friend lived in Concord around the time the Prescos did. He tells me he had a 50 Caliber machine gun pointed at him when he and a friend sent rockets soaring into the air. He said he had just read the story Mutiny about the black navy men that were tried for treason after the huge explosion at Port Chicago. Mimi was in Concord protesting, and tying to stop munitions trains from eventually delivering white phosphorous to Vietnam. Mimi lived in Marin where I founded MARIN SHIPMATES that I want to see funded by the Buck Foundation as part of BLM. Two days ago I posted on General Loyd Austin being made head of our armed forces. Is he going to be a Uncle Tom for Uncle Buck – who is also the money Uncle Sam gives the military every year and is being held by Big King Buck. WTF!
Write your new VP, Kamala Harris, who was a District Attorney for Oakland and San Francisco, and bid her to look into these matters where the military took on U.S. Citizens who were legally protesting. One man got run over by a train in……CONCORD…..by
UNCLE SAM BUCK
Did Beryl Buck ever meet, or see, Mimi Farina, who was a good friend of my ex? Where are Beryl’s things and letters? Did she ever buy a ticket to go see Bread&Roses?
Above is a pic of where B&R was located in Mill Valley in Marin Couty. Mimi lived on Mount Tamalpais. Mimi created the ideal charity. She is the model for all Buck Foundations. Instead we get a dude playing with his expensive toys.
Sydney Morris screwed up the Brett Weston creative legacy. I had my mother call him and he and Stacey were about to throw away our family photos.
“Do you want them?”
“Of course I want them!”
These are fucking lawyers! They should be banned from getting near creative people.
Mimi died on July 18, 2001, at her home on Mt. Tamalpais in Mill Valley, California, surrounded by her family and close friends. Her vision lives on in the form of Bread & Roses today.
The Mission Statement for this inspirational program is as follows:
Bread & Roses is dedicated to uplifting the human spirit by providing free, live, quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. Our performances: enrich the soul and promote wellness through the healing power of the performing arts; create a sense of community for our professional performers, in a non-commercial setting in which they can donate their talents to inspire and be inspired; provide an opportunity for non-performing volunteers to contribute a variety of skills and resources that support our humanitarian services and increase the impact of donor contributions. In carrying out this mission, Bread & Roses seeks to create a social awareness of people who are isolated from society, and to encourage the development of similar organizations in other communities.
Here is the apartment my ex lived in with Thomas Pynchon. It has “ECLIPSE” written all over it!
Don’t you think he is keen on the Buck Hangars and this Nazi talk? Mary Ann Tharaldsen was Christine Rosamond’s sister-in-law. She got Tom a job at Boeing. I bet your Bob Buck makes Pynchon – even more paranoiac! There’s “DOOMSDAY” written all over Bob.
“Engineering physics, the hardest program at Cornell, was meant to supply Cold War America with its elites—the best and the brightest, junior league. One professor called its students “intellectual supermen”; Pynchon’s old friend David Shetzline remembers them as “the slide-rule boys.” But after less than two years in the major, Pynchon left Cornell in order to enlist in another Cold War operation, the Navy. He once wrote that calculus was “the only class I ever failed,” but he’s always used self-deprecation to deflect inquiries, and professors remembered universally good grades. Tharaldsen says she saw Pynchon’s IQ score, somewhere in the 190s. So why would he leave? He wrote much later about feeling in college “a sense of that other world humming out there”—a sense that would surely nag him from one city to another for the rest of his life. He was also in thrall to Thomas Wolfe and Lord Byron. Most likely he wanted to follow their examples, to experience adventure at ground level and not from the command centers.
What finally smoked him out was Richard Fariña’s wedding to Mimi Baez, sister of the famous folk singer. In August, Pynchon took a bus up the California coast to serve as his friend’s best man. Remembering the visit soon after, Fariña portrayed Pynchon with his head buried in Scientific American before eventually “coming to life with the tacos.” Pynchon later wrote to Mimi that Fariña teased him about his “anti-photograph Thing … what’s the matter, you afraid people are going to stick pins; pour aqua regia? So how could I tell him yeah, yeah right, you got it.”
After Fariña’s wedding, Pynchon went up to Berkeley, where he met up with Tharaldsen and Seidler. For years, Pynchon trackers have wondered about Tharaldsen, listed as married to Pynchon in a 1966–67 alumni directory. The real story is not of a secret marriage but a distressing divorce—hers from Seidler. Pynchon and Tharaldsen quickly fell in love, and when Pynchon went back to Mexico City shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Tharaldsen soon followed.
In Mexico, Tharaldsen says, Pynchon wrote all night, slept all day, and kept mostly to himself. When he didn’t write, he read—mainly Latin American writers like Jorge Luis Borges, a big influence on his second novel, The Crying of Lot 49. (He also translated Julio Cortázar’s short story “Axolotl.”) His odd writing habits persisted throughout his life; later, when he was in the throes of a chapter, he’d live off junk food (and sometimes pot). He’d cover the windows with black sheets, never answer the door, and avoid anything that smelled of obligation. He often worked on multiple books at once—three or four in the mid-sixties—and a friend remembers him bringing up the subject of 1997’s Mason & Dixon in 1970.
Tharaldsen grew bored of the routine. Soon they moved to Houston, then to Manhattan Beach. Tharaldsen, a painter, did a portrait of Pynchon with a pig on his shoulder, referencing a pig figurine he’d always carry in his pocket, talking to it on the street or at the movies. (He still identified closely with the animals, collecting swine paraphernalia and even signing a note to friends with a drawing of a pig.) Once Tharaldsen painted a man with massive teeth devouring a burger, which she titled Bottomless, Unfillable Nothingness. Pynchon thought it was him, and hated it. Tharaldsen insists it wasn’t, but their friend Mary Beal isn’t so sure. “I know she regarded him as devouring people. I think in the sense that he—well, I shouldn’t say this, because all writers do it. Writers use people.”
Tharaldsen hated L.A., and decided to go back to school in Berkeley. “I thought they were unserious sort of beach people—lazy bums! But Tom didn’t care because he was inside all day and writing all night.” At the moment, eager to break with his publisher, Lippincott (and rejoin Cork Smith, since departed to Viking), he saw Lot 49 as a quickie “potboiler” meant to break his option with the house—forcing them to either reject it, liberating him, or pay him $10,000. They paid him, defying his own low opinion of it. In his introduction to Slow Learner, a later collection of his early stories, he’d write that with Lot 49, “I seem to have forgotten most of what I thought I’d learned up till then.” Now it’s required reading in college courses, a gateway drug to the serious stuff. Which, of course, was his next book: Gravity’s Rainbow.
In 1982, at the height of U.S. intervention in the Central American Crisis, Concord Naval Weapons Station was the site of daily anti-war protests against the shipment of weapons to Central America, including white phosphorus. On September 1, 1987 U.S. Air Force veteran and peace activist Brian Willson was run over by a Navy munitions train while attempting to stop the train by sitting on the railroad tracks outside the compound gates. He suffered a fractured skull and the amputation of both his legs below the knee, among other injuries. The incident that caused Mr. Willson’s injury were never prosecuted in criminal court, but a civil suit was filed and an out-of-court settlement was awarded.
In the days afterward, thousands participated by protesting the actions of the train’s crew and the munitions shipment including Jesse Jackson and Joan Baez. During the demonstration, anti-war protesters dismantled several hundred feet of Navy railroad tracks located outside of the base, while police and U.S. Marines looked on. Billy Nessen, a prominent Berkeley-based activist, was subsequently charged with organizing the track removal, and his trial resulted in a plea bargain that involved no jail time.