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My blog continues to evolve


Starting tomorrow, I’m trying something new: daily chapters of a new fictionalized series I’m writing, called “Tales of the Town.”

This means I’ll be transitioning away from the anti-Trump, all-the-time approach I’ve had since September, 2016. At that time, if you’ll recall, I had just retired from the wine business, and decided there was no longer any point in having a wine-oriented blog if I wasn’t even in the industry! Trump had just gotten the Republican nomination for president and, being aware of what a thoroughly evil, disgusting and dangerous person he was, I dedicated my blog to exposing his crimes and bringing him down. I thus became an early member of The Resistance, although we didn’t call it that until later.

It’s no longer necessary for me to write a daily anti-Trump blog, for several reasons. For one, with the end of the Mueller probe, we’ve entered a new chapter in the history of this regime (which I still trust will end soon). For another, The Resistance is now ingrained in the hearts and minds of countless millions of Americans. They no longer need to be rallied; they understand how corrupt Trump is, and everybody around him, and they–the American people–are well-prepared to carry the fight forward, for as long as necessary, until the crimes he has committed have been punished. So The Resistance is in good hands; it won’t suffer a bit if my small voice is temporarily quieted.

I had heard the good news that Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” is returning to T.V. That was always one of my favorite P.B.S. shows. I moved to San Francisco in 1979, roughly the time setting of “Tales,” and the show meant a great deal to me personally, as it did to many others. As I thought about the original “Tales,” it occurred to me to write a modern version of it: this time, the cast of characters would be set in Oakland, in the present time, and the action would take place primarily in the neighborhoods around Adams Point, the central section of the city I make my home.

I published the first chapter (about 900 words) on last week. Immediately, people began writing in words of encouragement. They seemed to like it a lot, and asked me to keep on publishing new installments. But then I ran into trouble with It was a problem I, and many others, have encountered before. Nextdoor is governed in each neighborhood by so-called “Leads.” These are people who can essentially do anything they want, for any reason or for no reason, without explanation, without transparency, and without being held to account. A sort of Star Chamber, they can remove posts anonymously, with no prior warning to the poster, offering no reasons whatever for their censorship, and no means of appeal. Quite often, these Leads appear to be bullies, enjoying the abuse of power in order to give their lives a little meaning.

Thus, they took down my “Tales of the Town” story. I was shocked–it was good, strong writing, it expressed my love of Oakland, and it had been liked by the readers! Yet there was nothing I could do. Leads refused to reply to my inquiries. So did their service department, in San Francisco. Because of their heavy-handed, authoritarian approach–so reminiscent of Trump–I was on my own. One of my readers suggested putting “Tales of the Town” on a blog. Well, I thought, I already have a blog, and a nice one, with good graphics.

For a couple days I struggled with this decision. I’ve been committed to anti-Trump writing on my blog for years. The work is very important. It’s been a driving motivation for me, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Giving it up was like amputating one of my limbs.

But I made the decision. Like I said, starting tomorrow, will focus on “Tales of the Town.” This doesn’t mean I won’t revert back to anti-Trump stuff, as the occasion warrants. But it does allow me to get back to the kind of creative, imaginative writing I love.

So there you have it! I hope you’ll enjoy reading “Tales of the Town” even if you don’t live in Oakland. Maupin’s “Tales of the City” appealed to millions of people who didn’t live in San Francisco. People want good writing, wonderful characters with rich, interesting lives, and fascinating situations. Maupin provided all that, and it’s my aim, too, with “Tales of the Town.”

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    I’ll take a look at your next Tales of the Town, although it isn’t the kind of fiction I usually read. However, I did like the first one I read (although until I read this I wasn’t sure what it was all about). And I do know what you mean about Nextdoor. There’s one for our neighborhood, and I have read complaints about the Leader policy.

  2. Nextdoor is cruisin’ for a bruisin’, as the old saying goes, if they don’t repair their broken and corrupt Leads system.

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