My ten top stories, the ones that keep finding new readers

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You guys surprise me, you readers. Looking at the stats for my stories what I see is that the stories you like are all over the map. You visit stories about crappy movies I worked on, tales of fast cars and bikes, childhood memories, thoughts about photography, a mixed bag for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I’m the one who remembered them, asked them what they were about, wrote them down. But now, seeing them all together in a list I wonder why out of everything they are the ones that call you over time.

I don’t have a ready answer to the question though, so let’s leave it for another day. Instead, here’s the list so you can ponder it for yourselves. Here are my top ten stories in terms of reader response, your favorites over time. If you haven’t read these stories already give them a try. …

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Liz — object of my blind desire

When I was younger, all I knew of women was of my overwhelming desire to possess them. Women were glorious creatures. Kissing and fondling them achingly important, sleeping with them, tasting them, having them with their arms around me on the back of my motorcycle or sitting snuggled close to them in my car beyond nameable. I did anything I could imagine to win their favor. I showed off, played smart, played my bad boy card, played whatever seemed most likely. What I didn’t have was much curiosity to know who they actually were. As far as I knew I already knew them — because I wanted them. It would be fair to say that the actual woman was not very important. The person way second to the pheromones and attributes that blinded me and the fantasies I lived in. …

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Looking up Powell Street from Market. See the Crane Hotel on the left? I lived there for fifteen bucks a week in 1960

In 1960 I left Chicago with two other guys and we drove across the country to Los Angeles. I’ve told that story already at … The first Place I Lived in LAso picking it up from there…

…Billy and I headed up to San Francisco in my tired old Plymouth. I was excited and ready for adventure but the long days in the car had left Billy with little appetite for more. Once we hit the city Billy told me he was done. He wired home for money and headed back to Chicago on the train. That left me with the car, a box of clothes, and a few bucks. It seemed ok somehow. I was eighteen, thought I knew the streets, and thought I knew the answers. I guess in some sense I did. …

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John Simmons, ASC — opening night at the Perfect Exposure Gallery

When this thing is over there will still be gas stations and liquor stores, and places to eat fast food. Doctors and grocers will survive, and a host of others, but I’m afraid a lot of the galleries will be gone.

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Not all of them of course, the richest and most successful are going to make it — but the smaller ones — the ones that were lifestyle businesses or labors of love, most of them will be gone. In time, new ones will spring up to take their place. …

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Looking East, Highway 108 near the Sonora Pass

What pleasure there is in being out in the world. I just came back from a week in the High Sierras, staying (carefully) with friends in their cabin and making pictures of mountains and desert towns and the roads that connect them. I was careful and stayed distanced but still had the exquisite pleasure of seeing new faces and talking with strangers, a fresh stimulation of all the human senses.

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Lunchtime on the road, Wellington, NV

If this sounds daunting, we took a few steps to make it less so. All the driving was day trips, so no motels, and we drove with food and water in the car, so no restaurants. Instead, we searched out little city parks along our way. We found them empty, with clean bathrooms and pleasantly shaded tables. In lieu of a motel, for the longest stretch, I brought a blanket and a pillow and napped on the grass after lunch, something worth doing even when this crazy time is over. …

Sharing lies and misinformation even by accident is a good way to kill someone now

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A friend sent me a well-made video recently about breathing warm air to kill viruses in the sinus. It seemed plausible and the video didn’t look like the work of a crackpot, but oops! Once I checked out the guy (who claimed he was a doctor) it became clear he was not a doctor of medicine but rather a “Futurologist”! Want to trust your life to a self-proclaimed futurologist? Not me, and no medical professionals either. My friend who passed this information on meant well but reliance on it could hurt people or worse. I did what I do nowadays. I wrote him privately, told him he had been burned by bullshit, cited the correct information and asked him to take it down right away. He did. If he hadn’t, I’d have commented on his post and called the BS for what it was. …

fear is further away when you are walking in the landscape, and for a little while, we didn’t want to live in fear.

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Joshua Tree

Life has inertia. It rolls on even when we tell it to stop. I make pictures and tell stories, and that keeps me busy and gives me a sense of purpose in the world. But now, that world has gone away. We told it to come to an end a couple of weeks ago, and it did. That makes sense, of course, it just doesn’t “make sense” to the me that is always doing things. …

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These days, the skies are the hues of Technicolor Hollywood

These days the skies of Los Angeles are always blue, amazing blue, the blue of Renaissance painting or travel magazine illustrations. The virus that keeps us out of our cars has reduced traffic by so much that our smog-free sky is revealed. This is the Los Angeles we remember, the one that brought us here to live by the millions, the traffic easy, the skies impossible shades of blue.

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In the late afternoon light, the layers of old Los Angeles are all revealed

Darcy and I walk about in our neighborhood, chatting with the neighbors, smiling at their children, making hugging arm motions from a distance. We are happy for human contact. …

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It’s been busy this morning lying on the chaise; warm breezes stirred my skin, spring brought life to plants around me.

I’ve been watching a squirrel make her way along the powerline before jumping to the Elm tree at the back of the yard.

On the Elm tree, she darts forward, unconcerned by its height, unbaffled by its maze. She comes closer to the Sycamore, pauses. Leaping into space, she lands on its branch, saunters to a place high over my head, peers down to see if I am comfortable.

Watching her, I understand I am the only creature in the garden with a voice inside that says, “why haven’t you done anything today.” Why me? …

The roads and towns and the people of Central Kansas

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1974 Laverda SFC 750

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Stories I've Been Meaning to Tell You

Stories, pictures and ruminations about life, photography…

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