How much time do you need to spend checking your email? And how many times a day do you need to check your email to survive?

ll 048 Ashford Castle

How much time do you need to spend checking your email? And how many times a day do you need to check your email to survive?

Here in Ireland we have very limited internet access. Which has turned out to be wonderful because we have time to think. Time to write. At least when we were in the cottage there was time to write. Since we have been here at Inish Beg, we don’t have time to write but the participants are writing. Which is good. Jen Kohan and I are teaching classes on how to get published, and the writers here are writing 1000 words a day. We’re discussing what functions as the enemy of writing. Email is the enemy of writing. As Neil Gaiman says, One day I woke and realized that I mostly emailed and that I wrote for a hobby.

At dinner tonight, we met the owner of our restaurant who knew more about American politics than any of us did. He knew the politics of Minnesota, of Wisconsin, of California and of New York. He predicts that Hilary will be president in 2016 as long as she can keep her health. Most of us were very pleased to hear about Hilary. I would love to see a woman president, and if we are going to have a woman president I want it to be a really smart woman, and I want Hilary. This is a country of little men who are afraid of women, afraid of gays, afraid of African Americans, terrified of Muslims. Americans fear what they do not understand, and Islam is very high on the list of things most Americans don’t understand.

Europeans and Asians love to travel and have enormous curiosity about the rest of the world, but many Americans fear the rest of the world. The idea of people who might think differently, live differently, worship or marry differently, raise children differently, all of this is simply too frightening for Americans.

I like being here in Ireland and feeling my life breathe. We will be here in Ireland four more nights and Sunday night we will sleeping in our beds in California and the race will start again. I hope we can continue to breathe and write.

The English bulldog named Ruby who lives on the property continues to amaze me. Her legs are short, her belly low to the ground, her tail hangs down and most adorably, her tongue sloppily hangs out of her mouth. There is a forest of bamboo, there is a collection of antique cars, there are many vines growing over the trees; the clematis is in bloom, the walls are covered with moss and flowers. There is an orchard, and trees grow along the wall of the vegetable garden, small apple trees that are full of fruit. Ireland is in full bloom, wet and green and tick with stories. But it is almost time to return to the desert.


George Bernard Shaw “Comstockery is the world’s standing joke at the expense of the United States. Europe likes to hear such things. It confirms the deep seated conviction of the Old World that America is a provincial place, a second-rate country-town civilization after all.”

Anthony Comstock “George Bernard Shaw is an Irish smut dealer.”

Americans fear sex; the French love sex. We’re more like the English than the French.
We all fear what we don’t understand. The sight of the nude body; the belly, the hips, the loins, the curves, the moist underbelly of pleasure. Giving and receiving.

Anthony Comstock, crusader for righteousness, convinced Congress to pass the Comstock laws denying anyone in the U.S the right to birth control, knowledge of birth control, to any pictures of nude people sent by U.S. mail including medical text books.

If you grow poppies, their papery petals opening in your flower garden, that is legal. If you know how to make opium of these poppies, it is illegal. If you own hemp seeds to feed to your birds, that is legal. If they fall into the grass and grow, that is a crime.

Anthony Comstock loved his mother who died when he was ten. Married an older tiny woman who wore only black, became the landscape. I imagine them, retiring to separate bedrooms after a frigid dinner of corn, peas, turkey giblets.

We’re all subject to God’s laws. Anthony Comstock had 3000 people imprisoned. He died a hated man. Except by one young admirer who found his work and methods exceptional… J. Edgar Hoover.

Comstock pored over thousands of pornographic photos. Willing to subject himself to evil to rid the world of filth and purify mankind. A Christ like character, not appreciated in his own lifetime. Unlike Jesus, not deified since. Like Jesus… hated.

My son tells me the world’s all haters or players. Which are you? Comstock was a player for the Christian team. If you fail to appreciate someone purifying the world of sodomy, condom usage, oral sex, you’re a hater.

Some of you know how to make opium from the poppies you grow, have pictures of naked women, have used birth control and taught others to do so, have practiced sodomy. Same sex sodomy is illegal in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Some of you are not even Christians. Some of you have medical textbooks in your libraries. Some of you have practiced oral sex. Illegal in Georgia. Reach your hand in your clothes. Whatever you find there is obscene.

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