Oak and Lotus?

oak and lotus green

I live in Raleigh, North Carolina - self identified as "The City of Oaks".

I live as a type of American Buddhist that does not actually exist yet. Buddhism has taken about two hundred years to integrate into a society, and has only be present in the United States for about one hundred years. It will be closer to Zen, but will not be Japanese. It will be very close to its Hindu roots, but will not be Indian. It will be an American Zen, by some other name. I won't be around to see it, but in the meantime I can be here, now. Here, now. That will be the form it will evolve into. Many people find the symbol of Buddhism to be the lotus. The blossoming from the mire, the beauty in the plain.

Oak and Lotus is a one-man band. It is what used to be called 'kitchen-table' publishing. It was founded many years ago to meet the need to publish and promote my own work, but has grown to incorporate the work of other people. Some of it is just in cooperation. Some of the contributions are professional and recognized with percentages paid based on sales.

Some is done in service to the Buddhist concept of serving the community, in cooperation with friends who do the same work.

But, ain't no "us". Just a "me" who wanted to make things available.

A Tree in the Forest

There was a time I thought I might be a good columnist. I do have a way with words and have been able to communicate emotion, which is the bare minumum to keep writing worthwhile. I have always been involved in communication.

  • I started publishing cartoons in a local newsletter (for the Twilight Club in Crozier Junior High) at 11. Then through three high schools and the underground press of the 1970s.
  • I began selling paintings at 17. I did not stay with paintings for very long.
  • I began to train as a journalist in high school and it was my first major in college. I published in several underground newspapers, but also in the Los Angeles Heral Examiner, and my reporter background connected me to KPFK, in Los Angeles.
  • I became a radio announcer, voice over, board engineer, producer, and third rate comedian at KPFK, Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles. My board engineer days included the science fiction program HOUR 25, MUSIC BLACK AND WHITE with Nawana Davis, and the folk music program FOLKSCENE with Howard and Roz Larman (and an uncountable number of live and location guests, pickin' and grinnin'). My comedy included the NIGHTANGELS, SUNDAY GUMMIES, and ADAMS & ROEBUCK (with late comedy partner Gregg A. Roebuck), the last of which was carried on several Pacific Northwest stations for a while.
  • During my KPFK days I wrote my first novel, A SONG OF ORPHANS and sold it to the second publisher to see it. Then, during a drunken transcontinental phone conversation un-sold it. He told me to keep the advance - that was what it was wroth to him to never have to talk to me again. The book went through three more drafts before it finally wound up with Oak and Lotus – and is part of the reason for the existence of Oak and Lotus. [Go to the page for SONG OF ORPHANS]
  • My friends at KPFK became more interested in radio theater and were active with David L. Kreb's DIMENSION OF IMAGINATION, which evolved into the RADIO HEYOKA WORKSHOPS at KPFK, then the independent AMERICAN RADIO THEATER and NEWRADIO projects. We trained new talent using the talent of the "golden age" talents of people like Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, Edwin Duerr, Peggy Webber, Sam Edwards, Cliff Thorsness, and several dozen other talents who loved the medium. We were set to premiere a week of pilot shows - the week that Mount St. Helens exploded. We could not find the money to re-produce a new set of distribution tapes for another try, They are a whole separate, sometimes difficult-to-tell story, which may be told at some point.
  • From radio I moved into stage with a political play, THE MAMA LAW, whic permiered the night Ronald Reagan was elected, and continued through many small theaters in L.A., a short stint as writer-in-residence at THE DEJA VU COFFEEHOUSE THEATER in Hollywood, with a cycle of more than 20 plays in less than three years, followed by another stint with TRANSFORMATION THEATER in the San Francisco Bay Area, and finally as a simple playwright with products and staged readings around the country (which is represented in my collection of published plays with Oak and Lotus. [Go to the page for PLAYS]
  • In my middle age I became involved with a hobby that most people come to in their teens and twenties - role playing games. I became invovlved with SKYREALMS OF JORUNE, and games from other publishers, but it was Jorune that actually capture my heart. It became my personal dreamtime and over the years I have made many attempts to revive that passion. The new Oak and Lotus releases represent the first time I have had an actual crew working with me and represents the best presentation of that world I have mustered to date. [Go to the page for JORUNE]
  • For reasons of my own, and because I have watched the twelve step process of Alcoholics Anonymous save the lives of several people really close to me, starting with my father, I decided a good outlet for the service my brand of Buddhism demans was through Twelve Step Recovery. With authors around the country, and drawn from more than sixty years of indepentend writings by many, many authors, new materials became available. It is not part of a profit-motive project, but tied into the service as called for by 12-Step structure, and my personal beliefs. EVERYTHING for this branch of the project is released through Creative Commons "Share Alike, Full Attribution, No Commercial Use" license. Files can be Creative Commonsdownloaded in image, PDF, or MP3 format. Those files can be shared, without charge, to anyone you like. Printed copies, however, are handled through 'print-on-demand' technology aren require people to cut down trees, make paper, brew ink, run the presses, run the bindery, package up the bound books and ship them too you - none of which is covered by 'service'. The part of what you pay over their actual cost is minimal to the project - less than 50c on most printed edition (the one hard cover book pays almost $2 into the project). All of that goes to pay the bills for domain name registration and hosting services, which are not covered under service. (To date we have realized less than $90 over the past eight years of the project. It has yet to pay its own way) [Go to the page for TWELVE STEP RECOVERY]
It's me. Sitting in my chair at my computer, relying on contact through the internet to create the books that qualify under this background. There are no assets to seize, no pots of money to be gained. Just me. Ain't no 'them' - just me.

Which is also part of my Buddhism.