This Backwater Babylon I Call Home


The author Armistead Maupin, in his novel, “More Tales of the City,” once referred to the San Francisco Bay area as an “incestuous backwater Babylon”;  and those of us fortunate enough to live here will tell you we wouldn’t have it any other way.  As with many others who have fled previous lives to start new ones here in this wonderful metropolis, it was the initial “Tales of the City” television mini-series and the entire “Tales” series of books that made it all too easy for me to leave Chicago that early spring, a long time ago.

And so, with tremendous gratitude to Mr. Maupin, I begin Backwater Babylon, a blog that will include, among its postings of news, commentary, music, and pictures of my dog, occasional tributes to these magical cities by the Bay – this backwater Babylon I call home.

(Photo: Allan Davenport)

In the web that is my own, I begin again…

And so I begin again.

Several attempts at blogging over the last several years have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. One blog belonged to a friend, who seemed to lose interest after Howard Dean left the 2004 Democratic presidential primary contests. I started my own blog later that year, but my writing output suffered from peaks and valleys, with creative spurts lasting several months before I would scale back or stop all together.

My latest self-imposed break started in July of 2009 following a health scare. What I thought was a heart attack wasn’t (my heart is relatively healthy, thank you), but the ordeal took a lot out of me physically, as well as mentally. As a result, the writing suffered.

The thing is, over the last few years I have felt as if my brain isn’t getting enough exercise. Sure, I read as much as I can, but writing always seemed to get the endorphins flowing; blogging kept me sharp and focused. I have missed it, and have been yearning to return for a while.

Today I launch Backwater Babylon. Essentially it will serve as an amateur magazine-type blog: a combination of news and opinion on issues of the day, music posts, movie and book recommendations, pictures of my dog… you get the idea.

I am not the best writer in the world, but I enjoy it immensely. The late screenwriter, Stirling Silliphant, once said, “The secret to writing is to write, write, write, and then write some more.” And so I plan to do just that. I don’t expect to overload WordPress’ bandwidth, posts won’t appear every single day, the blog will be built slowly over the next few weeks, and my intent is not for Backwater Babylon to become some big overnight internet sensation.

Simply, it exists so I can write.

And with that, I begin…