25th & 26th April, 2009
South African concert dates announced.
Click here for details.
The Hague concert date announced. Click
here for details.
Amsterdam concert date announced. Click
here for details.
Photo by Jay Hagan 11/08
©2008 All Rights Reserved
A Thought for Today
Don’t squander your strength on worry.
TO BEGIN WITH
It’s that time of year again. The past several weeks I’ve gotten around
a hundred notes from students doing term papers on my work; it pleases
me a lot and I’m only too happy to answer their questions. Last week I
printed a letter from a music major at Leeds University in England and
to start of this edition of Ask Rod, here’s a query from a drama student
at New York University.
MORE QUESTIONS FOR A UNIVERSITY PAPER
Dear Rod, My name is Grace Glass; I'm a Drama
student at New York University. I'm almost finished with my essay class,
thank goodness, and our final essay of the year is to be about a modern
artist of our choosing. I chose you because I've admired your work for
years. I've always loved music best and I've been a closet poet since I
was twelve so I suppose I recognized something of a kindred spirit in
you. My professor really encouraged me to reach out to you with a few
questions. I'm a very shy person, but eventually I worked up the courage
for this e-mail. My questions are below, I'd be honored if you'd answer
one or all or any of them. Kindest regards, Grace
Dear Grace, Here you go. Thanks for asking and for the compliments.
What's the most pleasurable way for you to spend
Adding a few more vinyl LP's to my collection.
What are some ways people have habitually
I don't feel misunderstood. People either 'get it' or they don't.
Fortunately enough people seem to have gotten it over the years to
enable me to continue moving ahead through the decades.
When did you first think, 'Ah! The real New York'?
The minute I hit the streets of that one of a kind city on foot.
What will you admit is an undeniable pleasure of
being an American?
Just being here. I'm not ashamed of taking the advantages and pleasures
of my country for granted because so many people before me have lived,
worked and died to make it all possible.
What do you tell yourself to do with your face
when you are being photographed?
Make faces, or wait for the photographer's instructions. There is no
such thing as a natural photograph unless you are unaware of the camera
Which household chore is good for the soul? Which
should be avoided at all costs?
Watering the plants indoors and out. As for chores to avoid it must be
the sorting of piles of accumulated junk since over the years I seem to
have become an expert at it. Ah, but I wish it wasn't so.
Can you describe a book or album cover that
fascinated you in your youth?
Walt Whitman's “Leaves of Grass.” The Beatles Butcher Shop cover which
had to be recalled and pasted over -- but not before I got my copy.
What is the difference between April and
September, knowing that both contain the mild weather of the turning
April signals the beginning of the year and September the wrapping up.
Since I was born in April it was a beginning for me too.
Good luck with your paper Grace and don’t forget to send me a copy.
Incidentally, don't be put off by feeling shy or introverted. Everyone
is. Some of us just keep it a secret better than others.
eGAD! LAST WEEK TWITTERING, WHAT’S NEXT?
Hello, I’m ever hopeful that all of Rod McKuen’s
books might at some point be available for the Amazon Kindle eReader, or
at least in some format that can be converted for use on the Kindle.
Please tell me my hope isn’t in vain. I have the hardbound editions and
would love to also own the digital versions. Thank you. All the best,
Dear Pamela, While I own all of the rights to my books I haven't yet
explored the idea of making them available on Kindle eReader. It's a
thought, but with so many other things in the works this "Army Of 1"
hasn't got around to contacting Amazon yet. Guess if enough people are
interested Amazon will contact me and I hope they do. Thanks for asking,
Pamela. All My Best, Rod
Hello, I do hesitate to call you Rod, it seems it
should be Mr. McKuen - you know, out of respect. I was unpacking a box
of books, and there you were staring up at me. Oh, my how you filled my
mind (heart and soul) during the 70's.
The albums have long disappeared, but the books will never leave me. I'm
getting older now, but still young enough to stop and let you speak to
me as only you can. Thanks for this moment, thanks for being a part of
my life. With care, Maggie
Dear Maggie, And thank you. It not only takes two to tango but a writer
without a reader doesn't mean very much. Glad for the rediscovery and
even more pleased that we're both still here to appreciate it.
Believe me, during my seventies I'm still delighted you stumbled onto me
during the 1970's. All my best to you & thanks for taking the time to
write. By the way, since we’re old friends so to speak I see no reason
for you to address me as “Mr.” Warmly, Rod
AMSTERDAM IN MAY
Hi Rod, You know, it's only a short ferry trip
across the water to England from Amsterdam. Any chance in the future you
might do that? I have a lovely living room you could appear in :))) xx
Dear Annie, We're still working on a London appearance. Who knows, maybe
next year. But since it's just across the channel how about you hopping
the pond this year to Amsterdam. Just a thought. And, thanks for the
personal invite. Warmly, Rod
FROM AN “ARMY” VOLUNTEER
Hi Rod, At the age of 16, working at the Salvation
Army, I stumbled into your work. I found a book of yours called "Listen
to the Warm". I brought it home, read it, fell in love with your words,
and have been hooked ever since. I am 27 now. At some point I found your
page, and I read it almost daily. I want to thank you for keeping up
with your page, and hope for many more years of reading it. It brings me
inspiration, and some times it's like medicine to my soul. Thank you!
Jodi, Philadelphia, PA
Dear Jodi, Thanks for your nice note. It's interesting that you found
"Listen To The Warm" while working at the Salvation Army. I consider The
Army my spiritual home since you may or may not know I was born at one
of The Booth Memorial Homes operated by The Salvation Army.
With everything else that goes on with any typical life sometimes it's
tough keeping up with the site since every column I write for it takes
the better part of a day –– but I enjoy writing it and based on the
feedback I get I feel it's really worth the effort.
All my best to you Jodi and thanks for the kind words. Affectionately,
THE CONSEQUENCES OF HATE
Here is what Michael Savage; owner of Rockstar power drinks has to say
about gay people and children with autism. I say we boycott them and not
give money to his hate.
"You want me to tell you what makes me sick? When I see two puffy white
males kissing each other, I want to puke. When I see two women kissing
each other, on the lips, as lovers, I want to vomit."
"When you hear "human rights," think only one thing: someone who wants
to rape your son. And you'll get it just right. OK, you got it, right?
When you hear "human rights," think only someone who wants to molest
your son, and send you to jail if you defend him. Write that down, make
a note of it."
"...children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that's my
position. They're raping our children's minds."
"You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of
the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's
what autism is."
Dear Grant, I knew there was a reason I only drink Red Bull.
I'd certainly beware and advise my readers to do the same of Mr.
Savage's "Rockstar” drink if it pumps up that kind of hate speech.
Not that he'd pay any attention but for the stupid, supercilious Mr.
Savages edification; autism is a recognized ailment that sadly affects
millions of children worldwide. It's also been proven many times over
that children are more likely to be molested by Uncle Fred than the Gay
Guy down the block.
If the "Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much Michael" is disgusted by
women kissing women he has nothing in common with the overwhelming
majority of so called Straight Guys who in poll after poll (and not just
in Playboy, Hustler and Penthouse) confess to being turned on by Lesbian
behavior. A word to the wise Mr. Savage: curb your enthusiasm for
visiting Gay Bars if male on male and female on female love play causes
you such mental anguish.
As for the rest of us Straight, Gay or I Dunno Yet's you can bet we
won't be hoisting any ROCKSTAR energy drinks. And, if my supermarket
carries his bottled piss I'll switch to one that doesn't.
But wait, here's a better idea. Lets hit this harbinger of hate where it
really hurts; those of you with Costco & Sam's club Memberships how
about dashing off a letter to their headquarters asking these large
volume purveyors to stop carrying ROCKSTAR drinks. You can Google their
I'm against boycotts as a rule but hate speech in any form has to have
its consequences. I, for one, can't have the motto "It doesn't matter
who you love or how you love but that you love" and not practice what I
preach. Love, and I mean it, Rod
HOW TO GET ‘EM
I have the “Live In London” CD, where can I find
other music you have recorded?
Dear N. Shooshan, Since so many music stores have gone out of business,
the best place to get any of my CD's, LP's, Books etc is still
Even if it's something that isn't listed on the site Ben can usually dig
it up for you. Thanks for asking, Sincerely, Rod
THE CATCH MORE FLIES WITH VINEGAR APPROACH
Since I can only assume that this is an email not
monitored by Rod McKuen, I would appreciate it if whoever, if anyone,
checks this email address, would at least send a reply that shows it was
received. If not, whoever does the website should remove this fictitious
email address. Thank you in advance for the courtesy.
My name is Bob Siqveland. I have in front of me, a signed copy of Listen
to the Warm, dated 1967. I have been an ardent fan of yours since then,
and I too have recorded and written music. I will turn 65 next month,
and my passion in life has been to write a novel. I did write a stream
of consciousness book in 2003 and self published. I was at that time
very disenchanted with my faith and the Catholic Church in regard to the
cover up of Priest pedophiles, and entitled my book, The Immaculate
Erection. You could Google it if inclined. In any event, I have just
finished what I believe is a worthwhile story and Book which I have
entitled, The Wilderness of Time. In the book I would very much like to
quote your song, The Hunters, as it describes a woman who “hunters”
would find to be vulnerable prey.
My question to you would be, what would I have to do to get your
permission to quote your work in my book?
If that is not a possible, I can perhaps edit it out, but even a reply
from you would be a thrill for me.
I hope you are in good health and have many more years to bring your
passion to your fans.
Here, here now Bob, Why the hostility? Is that any way to ask for
permission to use one of my works in a publication of yours?
Otherwise, thanks for the kind comments. FYI, your assumption is wrong.
I'm the only one who monitors or reads my e-mail. I'm not sure what your
beef is unless you feel I've been a few days late in answering your
request. With several hundred e-mails a week you can understand why I'm
sometimes a bit tardy when it comes to paring down my responses and
never quite emptying my e-mail box.
Here's the skinny on the use of my song lyrics and/or poetry in books.
If a major publisher is involved the fee is usually around a hundred
bucks with a check for the use being made out to The Elizabeth Taylor
AIDS Foundation. It depends really on how much of the work is quoted. Of
course the source and copyright information has to be included.
Any reprint requests should be directed to:
who administers The Stanyan Music Group Copyrights and other McKuen
Again Bob, thank you for writing and your obviously prolonged interest
in my work. Most of all good luck to you with your own writing –– your
novels, stories and music. Kindest Regards and wishing you an early
Happy Birthday. Rod
Rod: If you could have anything for your upcoming
birthday, what would you chose? Warm wishes, Joyce McConnell
Dear Joyce, I know I should really be unselfish and wish for world peace
or an end to hunger but after thinking it over for about a week here’s
‘my druthers;’ I’m in good health, reasonably happy and somewhat content
so If I could have anything I wanted for my birthday this year my wish
is for about 35 more of the same so I’ll have time to complete the
various projects I’ve started and those I’ve yet to hatch up. All My
Best Joyce and thanks for asking. Rod
RM April 24, 2009 Previously unpublished
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