[Archive] [Indexl

MAILBAG 10.17.96

Subj: Ride the vibe.
Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 10:35 AM EDT
From: (Steve Wright)


thanks for the look into my words, although you spent *way*too much time
on it-certainly was appreciated though...(edited some lyrics for me)

Per usual, spent the better part of ninety minutes digesting the most
recent archive. Any new info to share on the possibilities of "What's
New" becoming your (yet another) baby? Seems like it would make for a
pretty seamless transition; Alan to you that is. How 'bout Dick's Six,
anything yet?

Big, fat Autumn-in-New England type day here....50's, crisp sun,
rejuvenating sort of weather. Reflecting for a second on the fleeting
thoughts of this journal update...New beginnings, new computers,
completions, upswings, in-laws, putting pain to bed. May I be so bold
as to add, the National League Playoffs, 40 degree sleeping weather,
cider-doughnuts and wave-nurturing Caribbean hurricanes to the mix?

Funny, I never feel the least bit guilty about sending you meaningless,
meandering letters like this; not the least bit. I think that's what I
enjoy most about this wonderfully weird thing we're all doing.


Dixix due soon, maybe next week. Dick came over this morning and we rapped a bit. I suggested a Dixpix every 3 months and he agrees. I don't think we need to worry about saturating the market - this is a different deal, a wanted item with a low but predictible sales potential for each release. 80,000 folks want each one. Actually I think he should release them oftener and he agrees with that too. Just keep 'em coming - six or seven years of Summer Tours all well recorded - and obviously people want the real stuff, not the nit picked vaguely lackluster perfect version paradigm which has slowed their presentation to the public for so long. I also brought up the subject of releasing videos (not some time in the future but NOW0 and he's been thinking along the same lines. Unfortunately, strategic business brains get in the way of getting this stuff in circulation. They think we need ties instead. Go figure.

Subj: reconnection
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 10:11 PM EDT
From: (Robert Auritt)

RH -
Its been a while since I've corresponded with you - we left off at what I
thought was an appropriate spot - a discussion of Chomsky that seemed
dangerously close to slipping into a discussion about Jung. Just read
10/1, I've not slept much in the past two days, so I can certainly relate
to your recent spat of insomnia. I've been itching to let you know that
I'm still out here lurking about. Our previous conversations were very
meaningful to me, they supplied me with the energy to strive towards more
creativity in my life. You often write about time providing an element of
perspective, and that is what I needed. Summer into Fall, its not just a
change in seasons its a change of mind.

I began to keep a journal with aim of putting it online. As I wrote I
instantly understood why you have a certain trepidation about putting this
stuff online, and for now I have chickened out of the online part -
although I am keeping the journal. I also began to take guitar lessons. I
feel funny being 25 years old and just staring to learn, but hey, if not
now when?

A while back you mentioned that you wished that this page would facilitate
some dynamic community activity (I'm paraphrasing). How about a page that
provides links to all the people who read your journal and also keep online
journals of their own. That way there could be a central spot where we
would all be able to keep tabs on each other. The only condition would be
keeping a journal - (so you wouldn't be listed if you maintained a home
page without a journal). I know it won't save Rex, but I thought I'd give
it a pitch.

Seems like a good place to stop for now -


very glad to change our previous subject.
I like your idea of listing links to people who keep journals on the web. I'd be willing to make space for such a list, but don't want to exert the effort to track down all the URLs that might be received to a serious query. Would you be interested in receiving URLs and reviewing them to see which journals are legit and which are less than serious attempts at the form? Then forwarding the ones that prove out to me for a second screening? I don't netsurf much but intend to look around more when I get my ISDN line in a month - will have to remember to be kind to slow loaders once the irritating days of waiting a minute and a half to see a crummy snapshot emerge on the screen are past. I think your idea is potentially very valuable. I certainly wouldn't want to limit the list to the GD community. Some sort of guide might be helpful if the list got very big - a typical entry on a link page to give a glimpse of the writer's sense of style. Or a bit of bio unless a writer desires anonymity because of the extraordinarily frank nature of the process of self revelation.

Let me know your ideas and availability for a bit of homework.

Subj: Re: 10/1
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 10:11 AM EDT
From: (Mark A. Landers)

I completely understand. You have a Herculean task by answering all of
the email you receive. I don't know if I could do it. However, if the
motivation exists, anything can be accomplished.

I also wanted to add how much courage I think you have by bearing your
thoughts and feelings on this medium. Having no preconception as to who
you were, I feel neither elated or disappointed from any expectations.
It is refreshing to see that you are a regular kind of guy who wrestles
and enjoys the cards that life deals.

If I might suggest something, when was the last time you purchased any-
thing from the local computer store? We computer guys are sort of like
long lost cousins to our clients. A perfect case in point is your .wav
dilemma. The expense of an extra couple hundred dollars incurred from
buying local is soon realized many times over by the support you can
receive from the local computer guy. The mail order companies do not
provide the value that exists from someone you would meet face to face.
Working in Nashville provide me many opportunities to work on Music Row.
Record labels, artist management companies, and various associations
work with me in lieu of mail order simply because they can yank my chain
when needed.

I am not saying that buying from mail order is bad. Many of my clients
make purchases from these guys. No consequence. However there is virtue
to keeping your money in the local economy.

I hope I have not deviated to far from the scope of your mailbag. I do
appriciate the dialog with you.


Mark A. Landers

I bought by mail order because I would have had to get on a waiting list for a PowerBook and my old one was desperately broken. I couldn't wait another two months on the chance they'd have one in for me. There are none available in the county for immediate purchase. I generally do all my buying locally for the very reasons you stated.

Subj: Oh Yeah
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 3:08 PM EDT
X-From: (Mona Pingree)

Now I remember what I was going to say!

Weird, how your life mirrors mine sometimes: Due to recent revelations,
I've done some new-starting, myself. Made copies of the GD tapes that have
been piling up, and mailed them on, wrote a review of Furthur (Saratoga
Show) for DDN - which would be my first published piece if they accept,
pulled 50 years of National Geographics out of my closet and built permanent
storage for them, answered way old email, finished up a dancing bears
cross-stitched bib for a friend with a new baby - AND mailed it!

To new beginnings!



to new beginnings and decent endings!

Subj: Journals and Archives
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 1:30 PM EDT
From: 103171.434@CompuServe.COM (Jesse W. James)

Hi Robert;

Remarkable job on the Web site, thanks. Just a quick note to let you know that I
feel it was not a good thing that you removed the previous six months' journal
entries from the archives. Thank God I read 'em all before you did. They gave a
sense of background that enabled me to understand and appreciate the evolution
of the site. I know that it's been there for a while, but it is my opinion that
there are still lots of people out there in cyberspace who have either not yet
discovered the site at all, or have not yet explored that aspect of it (it IS
rather vast, ya know!).

One of your expressed intents WRT the site is to "demystify" the Grateful Dead
organization. I think that the early jounal entries went a long way towards
achieving that purpose and should not have been removed. I think I understand
your reasons for doing so, "That was then, this is now", but the present is
almost always best understood in terms of the past, don't you think? Please
reconsider and put the past back in the archives.

St. Dilbert "dittoes" and all that fan stuff. Your work is appreciated far more
than you could ever realize.



Subj: Re: 10/2
Date: Thu, Oct 3, 1996 1:56 AM EDT
From: 103171.434@CompuServe.COM (Jesse W. James)


<<the journals will probably go up again somewhere down the line.>>

That's good to hear.

<<...they dictated the terms of the discussions...more than I liked. >>

I can see your point. However, they were for me at least, a logical first step
in my exploration of the Archives. I suppose one could "catch up" with the
discussions by perusing the mailbags, but IMO that is sort of like getting the
information secondhand. Having the early journals as a foundation of
understanding has helped me appreciate the discussions all the more.

<<I found myself discussing the same subjects over and over as new people read
the journals - it created a kind of planetary gravity from which I found it hard
to escape.>>

Hmm, therein lies the dilemma. I applaud your effort to answer ALL your email,
and from what understanding I have gleaned of you as person through both your
lyrics and the early journals, I think I can guess that using "canned" reponses
to questions/subjects discussed earlier would not be an appealing alternative.
However, by removing the early journals does this not present you with a similar
dilemma, having to answer questions and discuss topics where your thoughts and
feelings were clearly spelled out in a resource no longer available? Unlike a
"realtime" conversation, someone just joining the discussion could have access
to all that's been said before and therefore could theoretically avoid "beating
the dead horse" unless they had something innovative to add. Do we not all
better understand the present in terms of the past? Speaking for myself, I
didn't want to write to you until after I had explored all aspects of the site,
but found myself compelled to do so upon finding the earlier journals were no
longer there.

<<Have thought about editing them for the good parts - there's a lot of dross.>>

Again, speaking for myself, please don't. If you are to succeed in demystifying
the Grateful Dead (and like it or not, you are perceived to be part of the
Grateful Dead, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding), then we must be
able to know you, warts and all. And the fact is, you are appreciated,
respected, and loved...warts and all. You stated that the mailbag is like having
a conversation with a friend with many faces. Is not the true nature of
friendship the fact that our friends know us intimately and judge us not?

<<The way I look at it is I left my diary lying around open for a good long time
and decided to close it. I wanted to make a break with the past for my own
mental and creative health. I'd been thinking about it for some months before
deciding it was a necessary move for me.>>

So be it. It is certainly your call to make. I appreciate the privelege you
accorded me and all who followed the journal from its inception to its deletion.
I just feel that those who come after will not know you as well and for that
reason, the dialog may not be quite as insightful as it has been up to this
point. Of course, I can only see what you post, not what you have to weed out.
I'm sure it is a massive undertaking and for that I salute you, my friend.
Thanks for the effort, it shows.

Two quick items before I sign off. First, please tell Maureen that I really like
her woodcut that currently adorns the main page. Second, I took one of the side
roads the other day and came across Cupful of Rain. Whew! Has it been set to
music? If not, would you be offended if I took a whack at it? As a musician
(folksinger, I guess comes closest), I have never been strong at writing lyrics,
but have a pretty good ear for a tune. I promise no public performance without
prior approval (I'd mail a tape to the office).

Thanks for spending some of the coin of your time on this correspondence, I am
deeply honored.




your letter, along with several others, persuaded me of the error of my ways. My excuses aren't strong enough to stand up to your objections. The journals are back on line.

Subj: Trust
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 9:48 PM EDT
From: (Steve Silberman)


I was very disheartened to see that you'd removed the back issues of the
journal from your archive. One thing that earns trust in cyberspace is the
care and commitment with which back content is archived. Your deciding in
retrospect that there were too many "loose ends" is a case of your letting
the wrong part of your brain do the driving.

What your decision means is that, instead of enjoying each installment of
your journal as a pleasure which can be revisited and delected at greater
depth at other times, your readers must now anxiously download and archive
the damn thing themselves. One must also now be anxious about missing the
posting date, in case the author decides to substitute a new installment,
banishing the old one to cyberia.

Anyone who is active in this terrain is very very busy, and too
anxiety-driven for their own good already. The forthrightness and civility
of your journal is a respite here; your hindsight _pudeur_ is unnecessary.
There are so many pleasures that are swiftly and irrevocably lost, as
we've all ground our hearts against a stone learning this year. Please be
kind, and make the back issues of the journal available in your archive



OK - have it your way. They're back.

Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 11:54 PM EDT (Gail Edwards)

there's always something in the
journal that makes me laugh. like this:

"The only virtue of living longer is to prove something. Notice that about
oldsters? They've got something to prove. Prove it and you're out of here."

maybe your sense of humor sorta reminds me of an old friend of mine. he was
a writer too. he's gone, but he left behind a pile of journals. i am
hoping his daughter will send me august and september of '75, and i think
she will. recall one of our last meetings about 5 years ago i was trying to
remember some stuff, and he said, 'well i guess you could look in my
journal.' so i pulled the journal with summer and fall of '75. it just
hypnotized me, and i got lost in reading it. steve got kind of twitchy, and
finally he said, 'you know, i'm not sure how i feel about you reading that.'
still makes me laugh to remember how uncomfortable he looked. and the funny
thing is, i'd just finished reading some of the nicest things anybody ever
said about me!

well, i'm luxuriating in writing this email while remaining connected, which
i can ill afford these days, so enough. whatever it takes to keep your web
site online, i hope it happens, because i sure enjoy visiting! know what
you mean about september and early fall, by the way, and i got a feeling
good things are coming round the bend.


Subj: Re: your email chain letter
Date: Thu, Oct 3, 1996 8:04 AM EDT

so, umm, rh, when's this good luck supposed to start? i sent along
that email chain letter about the gloves and panties out, and umm, i
ain't lucky yet. i did get slapped, electronically, by a friend, for
sending it to her. and, well, last friday, i did pick up the first
santana cd (the one with the lion on the cover), and as i was walking
down the street, a car passes me, with santana's 'black magic woman'
blaring! it stops at a light, and i whip out the album, rush to car,
show it to the driver, and say 'i just got this - it's great f+ckin
music!' he smiles, the light changes, and he pulls away. a block or
two later, another car passes me, with more classic santana blasting
away. i smile, thinking about the two co-inky-dinks.

only later do i realize that the cd i bought does not have 'black
magic woman' on it... and i musta looked like a nut as i went up to
the car, brandishing the cd.

this was in nycity, at 4th by lafayette, so maybe i coulda fit in with
the scene... but i ain't feelin lucky yet!

so how's your luck doin? you gettin any from that chain email letter?

I-) ihor

Subj: The healing touch
Date: Thu, Oct 3, 1996 11:21 AM EDT
From: (Ronald Moore)

Dear Robert,

Glad to see that so many of us are healing well, as is clearly indicated in
the mailbag. Knowing that we are together in this eases the way, doesn't it?

Always thought GD was a rock and roll band. Still do. Didn't want to know
about all ya all's personal lives (not because I didn't care, but because I do
care), the songs were and always will be enough for me. No wonder things are
"down' around the offices, no more band. Phil, is being too tough on the
material. I know, cause I was there. Oh well, he never listened to me anyway.

It takes grace to face the harvest when the harvest is in decline. Even more
so when the fields are left untended. If I could get my arms through this
machine, I'd hug the stuffing out of you all.

Since you admitted reading the Jerry books, I thought I'd take a peek too. Not
wanting to fork over a red cent to whom I still consider to be grave robbers,
I thought I'd just mosey over to the closest bookstore and read for free. They
didn't have either in stock. I'm glad, yet still a little curious. Guess I'll
just let it be awhile longer. Besides, the only sex life I'm concerned with is
mine, my wife and perhaps that little redhead down the street!

Stella Blue.

Such a perfect song, perfectly played, perfectly sung. I'll always treasure
the memories of hearing it live.

Digging Orfeo. Trying to get my mind around it. Have some thoughts I'm working
on and will post same to Orfeo feedback when and if they congeal.

Keep moving forward, that's the thing. Glad you keep hammering that into them
that would coax you to turn around. Goddamn communist plot to steal your
precious bodily fluid. That's what turning around is.

That last entry in the 10.01.96 mailbag is a kicker. I came up with 7. How is
that anyway?

Rambling now, no direction in mind. Except to say it again.

Thank you.


Ron, didn't realize you'd been around the scene.

Yeah, the impression I get from the mail is that most of us have weathered the last year well and most have learned valuable life lessons. A few people still spinning out there but every once in awhile another pulls up out of the pits and notices it's a nice Fall day. Or a cold one, but real.

7 reasons to get out of bed is bigtime!

Subj: giants harp
Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 11:57 PM EDT
From: (Charles Rowe)

Dear rh,
Just finished reading your recent journal and request for
comments on Giant's Harp, and figured that was my q. I've been reading
it for a few months, though the last three chapters went by in the blink
of an eye, seemed like alot happened really quickly, and must say I
enjoyed the hell out of it. Resembled part song and part fairy/folk
tale. The internet is still new to me and has that very voyageur feel to
it, once it loses that I'm sure to chuck my computer, and this quality
added effect to your story, it felt like I was really going somewhere to
hear this tale. In short I, for one, would like to hear more of Jabajaba
& Echo's future, Elmo's too, and am curious about Lo's mother.
Also a comment of yours about the GD and how
dialogue(discussion?) played a large role in the earlier days interested
me and gave cause to wonder whether the Word, as your journal seems to
reflect, will lead a next move? Which also reminds me of another
question and that is concerning the phrase "Lyric Novel", which sounds
great, by my expression novels come off as too dry and lyrics too vague,
so maybe the boundaries between the two can dissolve? I think that may be
a good possibility to explore.
Basically, the mists are swirling around, I've got a sharp edged
sword and a neon light, but am not quite sure what to slice and what to
illuminate. However, your writings, lyrical and journal, help to make
things clearer bit by bit, and i do thank you for that.
Sorry for the length of the letter but i've been reading the
archives all summer, now fall, and will not be around the computer for a
few months so wanted to drop at least one letter of appreciation and
hope. Later, ct rowe

I appreciate your taking the time to review the Giant's Harp. Am working on an epilogue chapter which I hope to finish by the next posting - tentatively 10/20. I've gotten in the way of a habit with those characters and slip right back into the story with ease, specifically to tie up a few loose ends left dangling. What befell Jabajaba and Echo is another book in itself - for the time being I just jump ahead 18 months to events in Terrapin. The writer and the redhead are still caught up in adventures on the other side of the divide. But Elmo began the story and I think he should finish it. He slipped into the background as more dynamic characters stole center stage from him. Hope this note gets to you before you unplug.

Date: Fri, Oct 4, 1996 1:17 AM EDT

I was totally unaware that you existed up until 2 weeks ago. So in a
solipsistic sense you didnt!
But since discovering you I have been amazed at your capability of
merging the classic literary sense of thought with the non-verbal,
post-modern world view. Another way of phrasing it might be linear
collides with the cyclical. I attribute some of your expertise in
this unique junction to be a function of your age grouping and
education. You have been on the 'cusp' of the generational cataclysm
of the second half of this century. in between the GI's and the
Hippies.bridging the gap and speaking with both tongues...
I'm 47, always 'heard' the Dead but not an ardent follower and
until recently never paid attention to the I have all of
that to do and all of your words to ponder and for that I am grateful
to you for the opportunity.
Ever hear of the book, The Unquiet Grave, by Palinurs (pen name of
Cyril Connolly)? Here's a paragraph you might like: "'Fallen
leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness
than daffodils. Spring is a call to action, hence to disillusion,
therefore is April called 'the cruelest month'. Autumn is the mind's
true Spring; what is there we have, 'quidquid promiserat annus', and
it is more than we expected." bye for now....Dan in CT

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you behold much. Thank you for seeing my work in those terms. There is "much" praise, which is a pleasant noise, and there is "right" praise - where a person is viewed as actually accomplishing what he likes to believe he's doing. That's rare.

Date: Fri, Oct 4, 1996 10:43 AM EDT
From: (Pat Ashurst)


Thanks so much for being open and accessible. I am another of those who waited for each new installment of the Harp. Thanks for keeping Terrapin alive and growing. I hope you do go forward with a sequel. Also have been reading your journal and mailbag for about three or four months and consider it another of those great gifts that have come my way in recent years. BTW, my 11 year old son sent you snail mail at 'your office' for an English project - had to be a 'business letter' hand-written and snail mailed. If you can find it and can respond, great. I believe it's his first 'fan letter'. This could almost qualify for my first, but I did send one to you right after Jerry died. A friend in CT said he would give it to a bass player named Joe in New York who knows you well. Kept a copy, will re-send via 'net on request. May not seem like much, but it was a great catharsis for me and almost ?foretold? Giant's Harp reactivation and/or other activities, as there were entries regarding 'the muse' changing her voice and you broadening your outlets. Also bought Mystery Box and really love Sangre de Christo. Time for me to go for now.

reading your letter was a pleasant way to start the day. 8am - up and at it.
I've always had "other voices" aplenty it's just that they tended to fade in the glorious glare of the Dead. I just figured to keep at it and get that body of work done I felt was in me to do, whether anyone read it or not. Necessary for sanity over the crazy late years of the band. Am putting the results up regularly in the Archive since I find book publishing a tedious process. Write a book, edit endless galleys, fight with the art department over design, wait for years for it to finally appear and flop on the market. A little of that goes a long way. Dead fans never supported my endeavors outside the band work. This remains true. They read the journal and mailbag since they are GD related, but large parts of the Archive go largely unread, other than the Giant's Harp and the Orfeo files which have a small audience. But I don't have time to get demotivated. Never did. Too busy cranking it out. As you can probably tell from the amount of work that goes into the Archive, writing a few songs a year, if that, was hardly enough to keep me occupied.

Hope to have an epilogue for Giant's Harp ready by next posting. Working on it every night as soon as I've answered as much email as I feel I can honestly respond to - usually around 10 pm. Then if I have any energy left, I make a journal entry - unless I've already done so earlier. I took a vacation this Summer and worked harder than ever. If I hadn't always worked this hard, I'd question my ability to keep it up - but the truth is I worked harder still during the Dead's creative years. Probably wrote ten songs for every one that got recorded. Not having a computer in those days to keep files on, much of the work has gone missing. Remember going over to Garcia's house at midnight once, and, finding no one home, tacked the three page handwritten song to the door.

Subj: grammatical observation
Date: Fri, Oct 4, 1996 1:35 AM EDT
From: (Andrew Sohn)

Dear Robert:

Re: your 9/16 midnight posting: "a fair target to sharpen my claws on"
contains a dangling modifier. But then again, some modifiers are meant to
be left dangling, I guess. : )

A target fair, my claws upon which to sharpen.

Subj: You done good
Date: Thu, Oct 3, 1996 2:27 PM EDT
From: (D.L. Minton)

Perspective, accomplishment and hope

You must know that there is a legion of us old 50 something gorps out
here looking over your shoulder as you share your journal and answer
your mail.

With all the hubris that a lysergic veteran can summon...if there exists
a council of elders...I'm on it and we approve!!!

Wholeheartedly, unreservedly, and demonstrably.

You have handheld the lost 20 somethings, elevated the dialogue with the
30 somethings, and reminded those of us who are getting ready to receive
our AARP cards that being "nice" is not a character fault.

You drive this colloquy forward, wordsmith, for once in our collective lives we aren't a day late, and a dollar short...I think we are getting a jump on tomorrow.

Thanks for the ride so far, I think I'll stay on board a bit longer.


there comes a time when you can't find the answers you want anywhere so you write 'em yourself. There's a classic battle raging on our own homeground. I know that people have to support themselves, but if they try to sell out the vision we created to do this, I'm forced to fight with the one weapon I have: words. I realize there's no one in a position to do this but myself. My soul is so deeply involved with the messages we delivered that the battle is in some sense private. I don't like using words as weapons and am deeply conflicted by the whole mess. I believe that what comes of it is as important as what it was and is. I'm not worrying about T-shirts and stickers here. I'm worried about the name and the entity itself becoming, in time, identified with the cash cow image and questionable taste of blatant advertising - ending up as another graphic example that the idealism of the 60's, given tough financial circumstances, will sacrifice its honor for a buck. This I will defend. I am, in short, an extremist.
Thanks for your words of encouragement. Getting a jump on tomorrow is what it's all about.

Subj: Ken's Poem
Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 4:43 PM EDT
From: (Kazumi Hood)

Dear RH,

I've been checking out your generous / gregarious online correspondence with
anyone and everyone and have been tempted to send my regards for a while. I
still feel presumptuous sending this to you, and I'll try not to bore you too
much with my personal shit and how much your lyrics & the Dead's music has
meant to me, etc....suffice it to say that, "...I know you know that I know
that you know...", an ability, I've found, few have - this level of thinking
about and occasionally realizing "it" (maybe only 1~10% of the entire

I've been frustrated all my life in trying to find a few of the "1~10% Club"
to communicate and validate "it" with. The two people I could always do this
with are now both gone...My mother died suddenly of Encephalitis at age 44
about 10 years ago, and just last week I lost my step-father who raised me
since I was 2. He was a well-worn 59, but in the prime of his creativeness
working in computer graphics and desktop publishing.

My parents were alumni of the "Old School" of the Sixties. Both were
enormously talented people who, during the bulk of my formative years, said
"fuck it all, we're gonna put it in our arms". They got straight by the time
I was 7 or 8, but I've always and always will live with this first-hand
experience of "the life"... Indeed some of my most vivid childhood memories
are of my parents booting smack when I was 5.

My Mom and Ken raised me to be able to accept / deal with death, reality, and
with all this stuff, and dealing with Jerry's death the past year also has
helped prepare me, but now what I am finding most difficult to come to terms
with is the stark reality that the last link to the past and to where I came
from is now gone...

Anyway, to cut this lonnggg story short, I just wanted to send you a poem by
my step-father which I found while going through his apartment last
week...Sort of a self-eulogy (pls. scroll to p.2). I just wanted to share my
step-father's memory with someone who could relate, and I know/know of very
few people who can. It's also my hope that you will post this on your archive
so it can be shared by others who may be able appreciate and/or digest it!...

Thanks for the tunes and lending an ear/eye, Robert Hunter!


Jonathan, stepson of the Late Kenneth R. Anderson
(Email :


I will not commit nor trouble myself
Why, or is it how? the fools that sang
The deeds of kings who pled their cause in blood
Could usurp the crown with sanguine words
Securing it with songs to celebrate
The bounty of their eyes in a world
Of consummate dark and blinding light.

A siren song brings the hairy man to Titus' feast
To sate with abdications in drunken brotherhood
The fear of passing while he eats tomorrow.
And the lion drawn by watery tunes
To a Philistine couch whelps a billion bastards
Slave to bile and phlegm and waltzing
Under a banner no higher than their bellies.

We the people coprolites of an unholy feed
Made equal in Esau's bowels do hereby ordain
Narcotic dreams to stay the pain of lullabys
Resounding in the hollow crown to dirge
This glutton strangled self to a slow
And unmarked grave untried and found
Unworthy of a future or a past.

Hymns bedamned!
That's Roland's horn not Gabriel's I hear.
Are there any left to answer
Down the twisting chromosomes of time
Jason calls for another crew
Today was just a loan.
He expects to be repaid.

Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 12:30 PM EDT
From: (D.Collmer)

I have a very nice 85 Monroe tape that I'll send along to the office if I
ever get caught up on tapes I owe. Hit a wall this summer, decks crashed,
and I have quite a backlog at the moment.

The Sangre de Cristo happen to be near and dear to my heart, as I spent 5
summers, 79-83 working in the mts an hour or so east of Taos. I make
regular visits to friends I met there who settled in Albq and Santa Fe. Had
to join the BSA to work there, wear an ugly green uniform and everything,
but it was more than worth it to spend so many days and nights walking
those mts. The Wasatch here in Utah are more spectacular perhaps, but they
never have moved me as much as the Sangre. I _still_ miss that patch of
country I know so well at Philmont. Finest times of my life. The drought
and fire reports this summer were pretty worrisome.
If you visit Santa Fe, you must must go to Ten Thousand Waves on the ski
basin road.
Sort of based on Japanese health spas, very classy, and not that expensive.
Cooking your body peacefully in hot water under the stars and the pine
trees. aaaahhhhh
If you visit Utah, go south, esp. the southeastern part. There is nothing
like the redrock country anywhere on the planet. Feeds my soul every time.
There is still a lot of country out there that is isolated. And despite
what our damned congressional delegation sez, some of us are ecstatic that
Clinton set aside the Escalante/Kaiparowits! Finally, a politician does
something I like.
so much for travel rec's.

take care, take some breaks maybe? well, enjoy yourself if you don't

debbie c


a fine list of places to go. I remember pulling over the bus with a bunch of us, including PigPen and Weir, to take a hot outdoor mineral bath somewhere between Taos and Santa Fe, then get out and roll in the snow. Heaven!

Date: Thu, Oct 3, 1996 1:41 PM EDT
From: am@spectron.COM (Alan G. Moses)

Hi Robert -

It's been an ongoing pleasure to encounter familiar non-GD
references in your journal and mailbag and the Orfeo
exchanges. Not surprising, since your lyrics have often
reverberated with parts of my life that might otherwise
have seemed separate from the joyful musical experiences.
Even so, it's been a kick to hear you mention other places
I've hung out: deconstruction and phenomenology, Freud and
Bloom, etc. (Makes it easier to imagine the Sailor, the Soldier,
the Storyteller, and Sigmund sitting around the campfire....)

So it was with a smile of recognition that I read your
brief comments about starting to homeschool with Kate. My
wife Nancy and I have been homeschooling with our two
children (Marina is 11 and Ethan is 9) for their entire
educational experience. It has been a joy throughout, and I
wish you as much with Kate. Learning is such a magical
thing, happening anywhere and anytime, and a beautiful
experience to share with your children. (Ethan got a good start
on thinking about what it is to work for a wage, the
history of the labor movement, and the folk song tradition
in our conversations based on his wondering who Joe Hill
was in Down the Road. How'd ya like to market the Robert
Hunter HomeSchool Curriculum (tm)? :-)

If you're ever interested in references for some good
articles (practical and theoretical) I'd be glad to
recommend some that I've found valuable. There are so many
different approaches to homeschooling that I want to be
clear about my biases: we're in the "unschooling" camp,
letting our children's interests and desires set the
structure of the learning experience. Since for us,
learning isn't about "schooling" and it isn't about "home"
(except in the larger sense of feeling at home to learn
anywhere in the world), "homeschooling" is a pretty weak
term for what we're doing; so, if during your homeschooling
experience your wordsmithy self comes up with a better
term, please share it.

Keep up the good work with the Archive. There a dozens of
things I could say about topics that have come up; since
they would mostly be comments along the lines of "I agree"
and "me too", suffice to say for now that you can count me
among the readers who enjoy thinking about the things
you're writing about, and reads not with a goal of building
an appropriate GD mythology, but rather likes the echos of
distant drums among the words. Thanks for all.

Alan Moses

there's another reason the meaning of lyrics is so hard to communicate literally. My reference points tend to touch upon areas subjects other than sex, drugs and the Grateful Dead experience.
I was reading Husserl's "Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness" when I wrote the section of "Terrapin" which has been recorded. Does this make me an egghead? Hope not. Just curious. I think of "Must've Been the Roses" as my Faulknerian song. "China Cat" is born out of some dire cross pollination of James Joyce & Edith Sitwell.
I naturally translate my insights and questionings into song, try to get to the essence with image, stripping away intellectual detail. I like your image of the configuration around the campfire. I assert, without blushing, that my work was Postmodern long before the term was coined. What once would be considered a strong traditionalist streak occurs in a context where tradition is largely dead. I tried to be part of a folk tradition which radio and recording have made impossible: contextual oral tradition. Granted, the Bardal art approaches absurdity in this day and age without the pretext of postmodernism.
In my early twenties I was struck with Hesse's image of the Glass Bead Game in "Magister Ludi." I decided to play it. The upshot is that what people can't readily understand in my work has been written off as hippy dippy tripping. "Eyes of the World" is a good example. - a young song about resolution of the subject-object conflict with overtones of Santayana. And, obviously, Fitzgerald's "Omar Khyyam" has influenced my world view since I first stumbled on it in the 10th grade. "Dark Star" owes as much to that as it does to Eliot's "Ash Wednesday."
I'm also aware that the lyrics have to stand alone, outside their particular blends of philosophical allusiveness. A story to hang it on helps. I expect, out of all the parts, I've amalgamated a view of my own over the years which is pretty consistent. But, of course, they are only one man's opinion of what goes on under the lid of a Box of Rain.

Your thoughts on home schooling are to the point. The icon of "schooling" is indeed suspect. Thanks for pointing that out.

Subj: Some good readingDate: Sat, Oct 5, 1996 8:49 PM EDT
From: (John Schaible)

Hello Mr. Hunter.

I just returned from a great (and very much needed) vacation. I spent
the week with a friend in Ithaca, NY. It was beautiful. The leaves
were changing colors and the sun was out the whole time.

During my vacation I had the opportunity to do a great deal of reading.
One of things that I did was to finish up reading The Giant's Harp. I
have a one word literary critique: excellent! I thought the story was
very interesting and told very well (how could it have been otherwise?)
I have printed off a few copies and spread them amongst some friends who
may get some enjoyment from it. It reminded me, slightly, of a few
other things that I have read. I have a collection of Sumerian literary
texts. Lots of fragments of little stories and parables. The Giant's
Harp did not remind me of these writings in as much as the story is
concerned, but more in how it is told. The other thing that The Giant's
Harp reminds me of, vaguely, is some of JRR Tolkien's writings, The
Silmarilian in particular. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Two questions
though. One, why did it take so long to finish? And two, will there be
any more to the story? You mention an epilogue in your journal, but I
can see much more being written, a sequel, hell, a whole series.
Anyway, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. I
couldn't wait for the next chapter to be posted. Keep up the good work.

John Schaible

the Giant's Harp took so long to finish because I put it away for ten years. After several drafts, I burned out on it - knew it needed a lot more work - and I had other things to spend my full time on. Always had it in the back of my mind to finish it, but the effort to do so would have to be considerable. One day I flashed on the bright idea of serializing it - promising it to people who would read it regularly and give me feedback as I went so I wasn't writing in the dark - you see, I wasn't at all sure of it. I thought it might be a colossol (sp?) waste of time - a bad novel is just as hard to write as a good one, and there's no way to really tell except by report. The report was good. People were interested - and eventually demanding of the last chapters. That made me feel very good and gave me plenty of motivating energy to write. Fact is, reworking a chapter to my satisfaction every two weeks took as much time as the rest of the Archive combined.
The Epilogue is coming along. I work on it nightly and will deliver it up next posting if at all possible. It provides closure on certain subjects which I feel were too much elided int the 21 chapters.
Your Sumerian estimation agrees with mine. I wanted a form that was old, or older, than the hills. The songs of the Schula help to establish the sense of antiquity. In putting them all in the mouth of one maid, I inadvertantly created a character of greater dimensions than I realized. The book is written as a narrative, a play, and as a collection of myth songs relating to a central legend, which sheds necessary light on the plot. The characters, though, are distinctly contemporary in their psychological treatment - which differentiates the Harp from ancient story telling and brands it postmodern.

Subj: Ten years ago
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 1996 8:21 AM EDT
From: (tdonaldson/PHTC/MEP)

Hi Robert!

Well, it was almost exactly 10 years ago that I met you and Maureen (actually 10
years and a few days-I couldn't mail you last week due to a variety of electronic
set-backs). You came to town as part of your solo acoustic tour, and played in
a small club here in town. Of course this isn't news to you but I'd like to
relate an amusing story about your performance. At the time I had a casual relationship
with the club owner (since discontinued) of using the club's tapedeck to record
the groups I was interested in playing on a given night. Of course, I was
totally into your performance, so at the start of the show I lurked as inconspicuously
as possible in the little booth behind the soundboard on the balcony, waiting to
startup the deck (then to split for the floor in front of the stage to dig the music).

You came up on stage and started to prepare to play (strap on guitar, etc.) and
as I was just about to hit "record", this cool blonde with a British accent comes up
and inquires what am I doing. Quietly freaking, I reply something to the effect that
I'm just "adjusting" some equipment. Maureen's no fool, she obviously knows a tape
deck when she sees one, and says "I don't think you should tape my husband", at
which point the crashing reality of whom I was trying to jive hit me. Just then,
you started playing. In desperation, I threw myself on her tender mercies and
said "how about this-let me record the show and we'll talk afterwards"-she shrugged
and said ok (yay!) so I hit the record button and got both sets and the encore.

Your show was great (quick recap: 1st set: Jack Straw, FOTD, Rock Columbia,
Rubin & Cherise, Aim At the Heart, Touch O' Grey. 2nd set: Brown-Eyed Woman,
Alabama Getaway, Amagamalin St., Ship of Fools, pause while you graciously permitted
a young woman speak about the ongoing Great Peace March from L.A. to Washington,
Promontory Rider, Easy Wind, Box of Rain. Encore: Scarlet Begonias>Ripple, Boys
in the Bar-room.) You talked a little about how your father had taught in our
town some 50 years ago, but that this was was your first (and I think only so far)
visit. It was also nice of you to let this girl rattle on and on about the Peace March
even though the audience, although sympathetic, clearly wanted the music to continue.

Ok, after the show, I went downstairs to the dressing room with the 2 tapes of the
show and hoping against hope that I'd be allowed to hold on to the tapes. You and
Maureen were relaxing and I babbled out my case. At first you were dubious but
I suggested a compromise: let me dub the tapes at home and I would drop them off
to your hotel that night. Oh joy of joys-you agreed. Man, what a rush-you even
autographed my tape cover and a poster! I zoomed home, spun a dub and at 3:30
am dropped off the master tapes to the front desk of the hotel.

So that's it. Maybe not that amusing, but that night-and your kindness-has stayed
with me for ten years. I hope the front desk gave you the tapes-sure would hate
you to think that I reneged on our deal. You haven't been back, and to judge from
your journal it seems that live performance-at least any sort of tour-is out. I am
indeed grateful that I had this little encounter with you.

Sorry that this isn't the usual sort of letter on deep literary topics or in-depth
discussion of your lyrics. I did have one question though-I saw a quote to the
extent that the Dead's mojo came in part from "resonance in the juxtaposition
of the words Grateful and Dead-had it been Cruel Potato we might have had a
different situation to extrapolate-or none at all". Do you still think that? Was
Cruel Potato one of the many names tossed about before Garcia looked in Phil's
Funk & Wagnall? Maybe it should be the name for the reformed band (plan A?)!

Thanks for your time to read this lengthy missive/blast from the past. If you'd
like to reply, my email is <> Take care and stay in touch
with that muse-she's been good to you lo these many years.

Tom Donaldson

I remember the gig well. Only time I played Pittsburgh. It was the first gig of a tour. Maureen and I got to SF airport on a dead run due to traffic and were told that the 12:30 United flight had been overbooked and since we hadn't checked in 15 minutes early we had to wait for the next flight at 6, which had an initial hour layover stop in San Jose, 70 miloes away, and a stop in Chicago. That plane left an hour late so we missed the Chicago connection. I will never forget waiting in O'Hare airport for the Pitt flight, utterly stressed, as they say, to the max. When we got to the hotel in Pittsburgh the next morning, around 10, we were told there were no rooms since we hadn't showed up the night before. Fortunately someone checked out and we got a room anh into bed before noon. About 2 the phone rang, waking us up from the sleep of exhaustion to inquire about doing a sound check. It may have been you and II may not have been polite, I don't remember, but the upshot was just say no to soundcheck. When we finally got to the club it was feeling like the end of an exhausting tour, rather than the beginning.. I looked at the place and realized that this gig was bound to be a disaster. And you know what? You provided the best sound I have ever had at a gig. It was positively rejuvenating! The stress of getting there melted away and I gave one of the three or four best performances of my life that night. I've always maintained that if you give me good sound I'll give you a good show. If the sound is bad I lose heart and overplay to compensate - I'm utterly dependent on what I hear over the system. Maureen, who used to bug the soundmen until my eq was right pronounced herself entirely satisfied. You saved my life, Tom.! If that gig had been a wash it would have been hard to pick up the pieces.We slept so well that night and left Pitt early the following morning feeling we would have liked to have had you with us. Didn't I offer you a job that night? If I ever tour again the offer is still open.


ps: hi from Maureen.

Subj: Re: 9/23
Date: Fri, Oct 4, 1996 4:22 AM EDT
From: (Don Defenderfer)


The debate continues about whether the sky has blue or whether blue has the sky.
I asked Hannah what would the sky be like without blue and she said "Stars."
An astrophysicist in the making.
I then got serious: "OK Hannah, what is love?"
And she said, "Love is singing." Just like that, without a moment's
thought or contemplation. I thought you'd like that answer.

Of course I would have pondered that question for ages before daring an answer.

I might have said love is the sea
or love is the rain,
I might have said
love is any one of a thousand grains
but i don't think I would have ever been as pure as her.

Are children wise, or is wisdom something we earn through toil and
struggle? And why does wisdom come to some and ignore others?
Fate is a strange shadow.

Well. The rainy spring continues here on the other side of the sky. It is
odd to have spring in October as it suddenly shifts centuries of northern
hemisphere poetry out of universal logic and into "a perspective." Trees
gaining leaves under October skys and farmers tilling feilds for summer
crops. Life in reverse.

Hope and faith being sown in the soft spring sun. And whatever the
harvest, love remains. Or something like that.

Time for a walk. Evenings getting longer.

Thanks for your thoughts.


>You'd have to ask Hannah, but quick,
>before she gets much older.

don't know about wisdom, which I associate with age and well processed experience, by definition, but kids often manage to deliver the compact, direct and utterly lateral statements associated with the sayings of the wise. They exhibit the beginnings of speech mixed with the direct perceptions of the pre-verbal, a combination soon to vanish and be replaced by fledgling attempts at sophistication. My daughter is 8 going on 18 now. We're homeschooling her this year (2cnd grade) to be on the safe side. Teaching her to read from Oz books. Trying to keep the wonderment factor alive a little longer than usual. Keeping the TV off because I don't want to raise another conditioned consumer. So far, so good.

Date: Sun, Oct 6, 1996 9:31 AM EDT
Subj: M41 "Seize The Streets" Afterglow

Those who read the earlier postings may be glad to learn that the Shepherd's Bush
extension road is now mainly recovered from the work of the experimental agrikultural
lobby, all except for some ugly track marks & a few unsightly, faded spray-can graffito.

The trees - specially imported, I believe from the path of the proposed M11 extension - do not seem to have taken ! Who'd have guessed it ? Seeds & saplings should always be planted during periods when the moon is in female or negative signs ; doubly important one feels, when layers of tarmacadam are used for mulching.

Pip Pip !


are the twice weekly random train shutdown strikes still going on in England? If so, the failure of the government to sanction pay raises is probably causing more stack-ups on the M41 than the amalgamated hippy-traveler-punk (HTP) subculture could effect in their fondest anarchic dreams.

Subj: Dylan and all of us
Date: Tue, Oct 1, 1996 7:56 AM EDT
From: 73227.1510@CompuServe.COM (Pete Shanks)

I dunno how many other people do this but I tend to
log on and catch up when I am at a loose end, which
usually means down since my active energy goes into
doing things.... So the fact that I have a lousy cold
and am kind of bored and in a limbo week, having finished
writing a novel and with a week to go before I fly back
to CA -- damn it, stand-by was the only way to go and I
wish I could -- just puts me in a strange space ... and
as usual reading the mailbag/journals twitches something
off ... hope you can take that as a compliment or at least
a thank-you!

Anyway I caught on a phrase about your defining hippie
(or helping to) and was amused and stimulated -- talking
with a friend a few weeks back about how come women can
often get self-defined as women but men dont as men,
mostly ... yes, yes, oppression and all, but it's a damn
shame ... and I said/realised that I spent a good while
self-defining as hippie, mostly I think for the sake of
having some damn thing to self-define as, and even though
I never did conform even to that one ... like my very good
friend (and ex) who took shit for wearing eye-liner in the
Haight, a little after the real scene actually, 69 maybe,
and insisted she was doing her own thing ... as she was,
in context....

BUT do I have news? I dunno, but it struck me that what
was front-page here may have escaped you there. Literally
front-page: the only story on the front of Saturday's
Guardian except for the Middle East was headlined:

It's alright, ma, I've just been nominated for the Nobel
Prize for Literature

Yup, it's true. ygoddalaff. The only thing funnier would
be if the buggers gave it to him. Not that he doesnt deserve
it -- he absolutely does, in my universe and probably yours --
but it's the juxtaposition of discordant universes that make
the whole thing so bizarre ... reminds me of when Ginsberg
and Vonnegut were indicted (OK, inducted) into the American
Academy of Literature or whatever and asked how it felt to
be honored by the establishment and Ginsberg said "But we
ARE the establishment" ... hmm ... half of me says "If only
it were true" and half of me says "Dammit I want people who
refuse to be accepted" but anyway Ginsberg's fine still...

Mind you, I really think Dylan should have been up for the
Peace Prize. Better him than Kissinger frevvinssake.

Anyway, it gets better. You can only be nominated officially
by an Approved Person (member of the academy, lit prof, etc).
Dylan was nominated, in response to a campaign organised in
Norway, by Prof. Gordon Ball ... of the Virginia Military
Institute. Yee-hah.

OK, Ball was at Newport 65 so he's got hip credentials right
... yeah sure ... and we all gotta work ... butbutbut oh it's

You recall that wonderful appearance at the Grammys when they
gave him a Lifetime Achievement award? Bombs over Baghdad and
he plays Masters of War (yes!) very loud (yes yes) and totally
raucous (yes yes yes) and gave that great little speech about
self-forgiveness ... so what the hell would he do at the Nobel
Prize ceremony?

I seem to remember Garcia had a line about old whores and bad
architecture getting loved if they hang around long enough.

Oh I'm glad I wrote this. Cheered me right up. You too, I hope.

toodle pip
pete shanks

nomination is great but I think winning it might put Dr. Bob (remember Harvard?) in a strange space vis a vis that part of the subcultural mind where he still reigns supreme as conscience and iconoclast. The prize is, after all, an icon. On the other hand, sometimes we do things for Mom that we might not do for ourselves. Prizes are bragging rights for Mom, and rightly so.

As for Allen's comment, very humble, but it just ain't so. He does, however, pull off the little old professor role convincingly.

You're bound to feel dragged out after finishing another book. You do write from deep down. Have you heard back on the last one yet? Get your agent on the case! It's great. What, no agent? I don't know for sure but I get the impression you finish 'em and toss 'em to the winds. Not very nice to the readers who don't get a chance to enjoy them. Editors will take forever if you let them.

Welcome back to the land of love and laughter, California - not a state but a state of mind.

Date: Sun, Oct 6, 1996 6:05 PM EDT
From: Montana386

On the day when I was born, Daddy sat down and cried
That's how my life began.

I have been trying to figure out why I feel (felt) so connected to the GD and why I feel such a loss now. Loss was such a frequent occurence in my early years it should no longer throw me for a loop. My nuclear family and the all important emotional connections consisted of my grandparents, my mother and my godmother - my guardian angel and confidant. By the time I was twelve these four people had died, one by one, while I could do nothing but watch helplessly. My grandmother died of a heart attack while she and I were walking on the street. My grandfather was carried out of our apartment on a stretcher. I never saw him again. I remember vividly how his canary let out the most god-awful scream when the stretcher went by his cage - and never sang another note. The worst was my mother dying of cancer and me not knowing what to do. The radio and my book were the only connections I could count on during those dark days. The day I buried my mother my godmother died in the hospital. Massive emotional shut down. I can still hear (feel) that switch somewhere deep inside my chest go click. It was over. No more pain, no more tears. No more feelings.

And now my own long strange trip began, practically concurrently with the GD's long strange trip. At 16 I found someone who believed in me, saw my potential, gave me a job and the opportunity to do something with it. Been with him for 30 years and counting. Got married (a sad failure) raised two beautiful sons (a deeply satisfying success)

Still, inspite of functioning well enough to keep it all together there was always that sense of being plugged in backwards - and that big empty space where other people had all kinds of emotions. That empty space turned out to be a huge canvas just waiting to be painted on. The painters being none other than the GD. And they filled the canvas beautifully. Again and again. With vivid colors and images - with hope, hope, hope!!! The GD tapped into the optimistic part of me that managed to stay alive that fateful day when I was twelve. It seemed like a work in progress. Rich in substance and nourishment. Too big for words.

This is what I am looking for when I see other bands perform live - and Robert - for me at least, it just is not there. It took these last 30 years of performing together and connecting with the audience to form and take shape and become what it was.

Thank you for letting me bend your ear again. What I wanted to do was throw you a clever line in response to your final 9/30 Journal entry >>help me on this one, huh?<< This is what came out. Nothing clever about it. And not the help you asked for. I guess we are all just stumbling along trying not to fall down while deciding on the next step.


well then I guess the place to look for the connection to the benign "Other" that you seek is not necessarily with another band. I agree nothing can replace what we had, so much of our youths having been accompanied by that configuration. Win, lose or draw, Garcia had a whole circus under his belt and the Dead died with him. No sense in trying to pawn any substitutes off on anyone. Like Jerry said: not too many people like licorice, but those who do like it like it a lot. That's the situation.

Seems to me you're continuing to mourn your early losses in mourning the Grateful Dead . . . taking up where you shut off, so to speak. Don't mean to indulge in any cheap psychologizing here, but that seems the essence of what you're saying. If my hunch is right, some early "grief work" is being taken up again and mixed with your unhappiness at the band's passing. Give it its time and intensity, there's a lot brewing there. At least you're not "shut off" but feeling it deeply. My guess is that you'll eventually emerge with a fine understanding and improved "affectability" -which is what psychologists call the capacity to feel with intensity across a wide spectrum of emotion. Such hard won understanding is generally used in the service of others. Happiness is discovered to lie in that direction, less than in self involvement. People often castigate themselves for the self involvement they innocently felt before a tragedy occurs, one which makes that self involvement seem mean, callous, shallow, uncaring. The tendency is to blame oneself for the selfishness and to feel it contributed to the fate of another. Say if you'd been smart enough to figure out a way to help your mother, instead of feeling helpless, then your grandmother wouldn't have died in reaction to her death.. And I assume her death killed your grandfather. It would be easy for a 12 year old to lay the whole chain of events at her own feet. The canary might well shriek to seal it with an unforgettable symbol. You might well seek outside yourself and find a will to live emotionally in a scene like the Grateful Dead, which loomed as a mighty and inclusive family. Non judgmental. Jerry might have been saved if people hadn't stood helplessly around unable to think what to do. And you might have been spared, a little longer, coming to full terms with your childhood grief - too large for a kid to bear; too large by far.

We study to become wise, but it doesn't work. Wisdom knocks us over the head, we fall down and are hurt, have a choice whether to lie there or stand. In standing we acquire knowledge, bitter or compassionate. Bitterness needs resolution. That's the ongoing work. There's no rest from these things until the grave, but there are moments of respite, free of recrimination, self or other directed.

Not knowing you, I can only extrapolate from the evidence of your few letters - so I might be off the mark, speaking out of turn, way out of line and out of order. But I know sometimes things happen exactly like that, so if the shoe doesn't fit, maybe it'll do for some other reader of this letter. Like Sonny Boy said "they don't call it the blues for nothin'."

Date: Mon, Oct 7, 1996 8:25 PM EDT
From: Acacia77
Subj: New York, New York - The City So Nice, They Named It Twice!

I can't even keep up with the archives these days. Being back to work is a little overwhelming and other obligations don't leave much time. Went to New York on Saturday with my girlfriend. Driving by Madison Square made me feel nostalgic. Had some great times there. Went to the Joseph Helman Gallery to see an artist my friend likes, Frank Stella. She said his paintings would be a good investment. Only $15,000.00 for one of them. I opted not to buy one. Liked most of the works in the gallery, but I still don't understand minimalism and the less is more approach. Guess that's why I'm not an art critic. I'll stick with Monet and Rodin. At least I understand them, I think. We traveled up to Columbus Avenue for a street fair and some people watching. I stopped at one of the tents that was selling beautiful hand-woven shawls and scarves. I had a Dead shirt on and the guy inside said to me "I started in this business by selling my scarves out of my van at Dead shows for ten bucks a piece." I asked him if he would consider selling me a scarf for ten bucks, for old times sake, he just laughed. I took his response as a no. Cut across Central Park to the Metropolitan to check out The Annenberg Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.. Boy, were my feet tired. The weather was beautiful and I had a blast. I love going to New York, but between tolls, gas and parking my pockets were sucked dry. Iím hopelessly addicted though and hope I can get up there one more time before the end of October.

While passing by Radio City I thought of an incident that happened when I was there for one of the Dead's 1980 shows.

My girlfriend and I arrived outside Radio City Music Hall on a Friday evening, two hours before one of the Dead's 15th anniversary shows. Having no tickets we began scouring the crowd for extras. There were thousands of people outside and it seemed they were all looking for tickets. We had only brought $50.00 apiece for tickets for Friday's show. It quickly became apparent that this was not going to be enough money.

We walked around outside for about an hour trying to find tickets, but with no success. The few we found were more than we could afford. As we approached the stage door entrance on the side of the building there was a group of about 20 people gathered in a circle, holding hands and chanting. While passing by the group someone reached out and grabbed our hands and said "come on in and get some good karma" and pulled us into the circle. We stayed there for a few minutes and then left. As we starting walking down the sidewalk my friend grabbed my arm and pointed to the ground. Lying there was a ticket envelope. I reached down and picked it up and inside was $50.00 in cash. In the middle of New York City with all these people walking around why did we find this ticket envelope, (karma?) we couldnít believe it. Now all we had to do was find tickets. As we rounded the corner we heard someone say "hey, are you looking for tickets?" There was a guy standing in a doorway holding two tickets. We said "yeah, we're looking for tickets, how much do you want?" He said "seventy-five dollars a piece." Well, just so happened that's what we had, so we took them. Second row orchestra, Jerry's side. We were in heaven. We knew the price was exorbitant, the face value was $15.00. I had never paid that much for a ticket and never bought from scalpers, but this was Radio City. I knew people that had waited in line for a week to get tickets to these shows, so we felt fortunate. We had a great time. Just one of many kind things that happened to me in my travels following the Dead.


p.s. Please pass along to your wife that I like her Sentinel blockprint on your page very much.

Subj: Re: 10/4
Date: Mon, Oct 7, 1996 5:03 PM EDT
From: (Gail Edwards)


procrastinator, procrastinator! that's me. all of a sudden life's gotten
busy, and i wonder if that means something's finally going to change for the
better, or that instead of failing at one thing, now i can fail at many.
what's that peter sellers Inspector Clouseau line, "and zat iz why i have
failed, where others have succeeded" i can relate.

perhaps nudity is not the best choice of words, but i think the idea's on
target. as i get older and life happens, i begin to feel it's less
important to be safe than it is to say the things that need to be said and
do the things that need to be done. putting that into practice is another

an online journal is without doubt a good idea, but it sounds like a hell of
a lot of work. i mean, i'd probably have to put together a web site, and
god knows that would take a lot of time and effort -- and then the real work
of writing would begin. already, just typing i have a greater appreciation
for the enormity of your effort! and in case i never said it before, i
think you've done an incredible job. i mean, you pack a lot of interesting
stuff in there -- the journal, interesting email exchanges ie. terrence
mckenna, your fiction. and what nobody ever remembers to mention, including
me, the large fonts and backgrounds are easy on the eyes, and it's real
quick to download.

well, thanks for the idea!

back to the more boring day-to-day, the current question being how to become
employed before depleting all my savings yet still manage to have a life.
here i find the zen approach of focusing on the task of the moment without
too much thought to immediate results or the future at least keeps me sane.
i certainly can relate to what the folks in the Dead offices are going through!


didn't mean you should actually do an on-line journal - just take a crack at writing and entry or two to see how it twists your head around to be both personal and public at the same time. If you write enough, you forget there's a dichotomy and a third self emerges that just says what it has to say regardless.
Thank you for noticing the thing about my web page I'm proudest of. Easy load. I'll spend hours trying to pare a picture down to the minimum. When everyone has an ISDN connection, then we can illustrate our asses off - for now, the proper form is minimalism - say much with little. One trick I used on the England journals was to put the travel photos way down the page, spaced wide apart, so they had a chance to load while you were reading the words.

Date: Tue, Oct 8, 1996 10:47 AM EDT
From: (Long Island Soundkeeper)

rh--hey there. I finished reading Giants Harp the day you posted it. I was
left with the same feeling I get everytime I get to the end of a great
book--"damn!' That's actually a compliment. I've read quite a few great
books, and become enthralled by the story, and for the time it takes me to
read the story I enjoy the privacy of hanging out in my imagination and
playing the story out...When it ends, its always too soon (although I
understand it wouldn't be right for it to go on and on-like a soap opera or
something, and the greatest of stories end in the perfect place to sustain
their point and leave possibilities). Anyway-at least in this case I have
an epilogue to look forward to (I hope)-it really would be a beautiful
touch, an epilogue for the Giants Harp. I didn't write when I first
finished reading the last chapters. I wanted to let that "damn!' feeling
subside a little first--it has.
Take care--anne

thanks for the over the top review! Working a bit on the epilogue every night. It's a good feeling to dip into the well of those characters one last time and see what comes up in the bucket. Surprises akin to Gia's revelations in chapter 21. Funny how this book wants to keep telling me things about itself.

Subj: Bad day at Black Rock
Date: Tue, Oct 8, 1996 2:30 PM EDT
From: (D.L. Minton)

On 10/4 you said
> David,
> there comes a time when you can't find the answers you want anywhere so you
> write 'em yourself. There's a classic battle raging on our own homeground. rh

tough day at the office, huh?
Your weapon against vision rape is more than just words... you set in
order the facts of the universe, sometimes with extraordinary eloquence
and grace. This unique function of human consciousness is the only
anti-entropic force extant.
I don't think you need any coaching from the peanut gallery on how to
deal with the business mess...just keep on upholding our collective
Hey...What's with "who-p;-p;", as my Mormon friends would say, it's got
me bumfuzzled.


thanks for the advice. Rather the definition: "This unique function of human consciousness is the only anti-entropic force extant." That rings like a bell.

Could you be more explicit about "who-p;-p;" Sounds like it might be some bad HTML - where does it occur and I'll go looking for it.

Date: Tue, Oct 8, 1996 1:15 PM EDT

robert, i have never been presumptuous enough to send a letter to a band member, feeling that i shouldnt impose myself on someone whose time and energy were already being parceled out in much greater amounts than should be required of anyone, but since i see that you have made yourself accessible through the WEB site, and have seemed open to receiving mail, well, here goes nothin'....
in 1969 i was 12 years old, living in the Bronx, NY... was aware of the "scene" through various older bro's and sis's of my friends, and was into the music of the Band, Stones, Airplane, Dylan, and the Fugs, etc... when one afternoon, i was taken to the NY Worlds Fair in Queens- no purpose stated by these friends to my parents - and whattyaknow, its a dead concert!!! talk about cataclysmic events in a persons life!!! that certainly changed mine... for the next 8 years , i was at every show possible that i could fit into my young teen lifestyle... numerous shows at the fillmore, portchester ny, jersey city, hartford, new haven, upstate ny... couldnt get enough... those 5 hour shows from 72-74 were the most amazing musical explorations i can ever imagine... by the end of 77 i thought all the fun had gone out of the music, there was no more spur of the moment flights of i got "off the bus" after a disappointing run at winterland in dec 77... i had a bunch of blindly obedient friends that stayed deeply involved through all the years , and i would shake my head sarcastically when they would come back after some 1986 show somewhere and tell me thet they had played " the greatest jackstraw ever", or some such blather... then in fall 89 i went back to some shows, and there seemed to be some spark there from the new "built to last" material ( in passing, let me say that for whatever its worth, i put that album right up there with the best dead albums) , so for the remaining years i "checked in" afew times a year and caught some amazing shows ( MSG 9/90 run with hornsby)..and some horrible shows ( giants std 94 & 95) ... got very very turned off by the scene that had developed on the outside, and by jerrys seeming indifference to his playing... (of course i didnt know why this was)... but as the saying goes "dont know what you had till its gone"... and now i find myself feeling a great big hole in my psychic middle... i have been a tape collector since 1969, and have virtually every dead show in circulation from 77 and before ( i also collect other bands, having over ten thousand hours of tape hanging around) so i have plenty of material to "rock my soul" whenever i feel the need... and i find that listening to the tapes is like going home... they get me through bad times, and help me celebrate the good times... and when i hear my 5 year old daughter walking around singing some of your lyrics, it just about makes me explode with happiness...
anyhow, this has turned into a rambling babble, and i am not sure why i felt like i should have written you in the first place with all this, but one final thought... if a person is the sum of their experiences, of all the people met, the places gone, the things done, then what i am today as a 39 year old is directly traceable back to that summer day in july 69 when i walked into the NYS pavilion in Queens and had everything turned upside down... that was definitely the seed of my lifetree, and i wouldnt change a thing.... i hope this wasnt too boring, i am obviously not a writer and this was a spur of the moment, not-very-well thought out spew... but let me wrap by saying "thank you"... for all the joy, the memories, the music...and as an inadvertant by-product, the life... and i wish you all the things that you would wish for yourself... thanks for taking the time, and please write back if you feel so inclined...


p.s. i have a great recording of one of your shows from the Main Point, Pennsylvania which i listen to fairly often... you sounded like you were having fun!!!

sounds like you got disenchanted about the same time I did. About midway through the 70's shows became a trial for me to go to. Before then I was there with every note, immersed in the adventure - the blossom was bloomin' and there was no telling what the flower would look like. But something indefinable that attracted me became increasingly rare. Not to say it didn't show up in a thousand instances right up to the end, folks say it did and I believe them.
On the other hand, maybe it was just that I was falling into disuse, my personal relations with these "Stars" becoming strained and less productive. Pig was gone, Keith hit the skids pretty quick, I never even got to know Brent. The drug stuff was no longer experimental, just stupid addiction. I'd break away and then wander back. Coteries became entrenched and the politics were insufferable. The understanding among the politicos was: all you needed to do to work your will was to get Jerry on your side - and the way to do that was to isolate him - the rest of us could go fuck ourselves. You can pretty well suss from Rock's book the kind of contempt in which he (and others) held everyone but the big G . They had contempt for him too, but it was tinged with astute respect for his actual power.
I think this Machiavellianism was the main source of the leaks in the dream. It conditioned everything. Jerry knew it for what it was and hated it. He retreated into dreams of his own, tried to make music apart from it, but the die was cast. He was like a lost dinosaur trying to fit into a trailer home. It's a wonder he lived as long as he did. And you know what? There was still a core of essential innocence in him, buried away deep - a wellspring of music.

Date: Thu, Oct 10, 1996 10:49 AM EDT
From: (Rick Cabral)

Hi, Robert:
Here's one from the left field the John Phillips tune
"Me and My Uncle," he sings of a card game:
"He starts spreading a game
Hi-lo jack, and the winner takes the hand."

Do you know the game? A version of poker, perhaps?
Also, do you have any knowledge of the song's origin? Purportedly,
it's written by John Phillips, but no real documentation exists, I
believe, according to Blair Jackson's "Roots."
Finally, have you ever met/talked with John Phillips? (Assuming an
affirmative) In his folk days, did his music touch on "cowboy" or
country themes?

There you go. As I said, strictly left field. By the bye, how's your
batting average these days? Love your stuff.

Gratefully yours,

Don Ricardo Cabral
Sacramento, California


don't know the game or the spiritual significance of the song or of John Phillips. But thanks for asking. I thrive on such questions. My batting average is .999 for 0.

Subj: random thoughts
Date: Sat, Oct 12, 1996 4:10 AM EDT
From: (Jeffrey A. Weyand)


while rummaging thru dead memorabilia after garcia's demise, came upon a
saved interview from crawdaddy magazine in early 70's. chuckled to see your
reference to the anticipation and total enjoyment of receiving daily snail
mail and the importance of it to your demeanor. and now this email thang
some 20 odd years later, don't need to don a sweater to get to this
mailbox, eh wot?

in this godforsaken instant gratification society, quite charming to notice
a longer cycle, speaking of some 20 odd years. in the early 70's we found,
wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world. and in the early
90s, the snake finally ate its tail: looked in the bottom and what did i
see, whole damn world looking back at the buddhists say...ahhhh!

speaking of longer cycles.....we are due and the conditions (accelerated by
pollution) ripe for another ice age. hey, can i borrow your sweater now
that you no longer need truck to the mailbox?

finally,(ahhhh), greatly intrigued by the reference to language as a
barrier to a long time Aikido practicioner (heavy
emphasis on zero mind), i've worked with people amazingly adept at
communication with nary a thought or word. methinks this fertile ground
.... can we dredge these skills into full consciousness en masse, and what
if we don't? if i may be so bold.... tell me all that you know, i'll show
you .......yup, if it's raining this must be washington, and i can hear
those phallic shaped liberty caps poking their slimey heads up out of the
cow paddies even as we speak....god, i love the fall, moooo!

no reply necessary, this is great fun...thanx for the forum (and, indeed,
for the past replies).

long life, good health

zero ventured, zero gained

with words we invent things to say in the word world. Beyond art and simple survival talk, words tend to politics. Not much to say on the subject. Our illusions make us human. Lack of illusion would make us less than human. Or more. Matter of perspective. There, I've said nothing in a controversial way. Some days I'd rather write Chinacat Sunflower - that's what I really have to say about things: objects relating to other objects in a space time continuum where non-clock duration is inexactly defined as "awhile". What do you do there? You look. What non-passive action can you take? You can ring something, like a bell; trade identities with objects or experience them in conjunction with the vaguely held borders of subject/objecthood.

What am I gonna do next? What do you mean? I'm doing it. But the more I explain, the more abstruse it all gets. I get caught in an explanation double bind, which is a different creation than the creation I explain. "What do you mean about what you mean?" You ask for an answer when you ask a question: therefore I reply rather than accept your invitation not to respond. And response is of two kinds: the point of view from which you ask the question and/or the point of reference through which I receive it. The rhythm is just as important, maybe more, than the object oriented appositeness of the answer. No question begets no answer and is probably a more satisfactory state of affairs.

Sun, Oct 13, 1996 3:21 PM EDT

Dear Hunter,

Cannot resist the temptation to plunge into the temporal in this major
way, major at least in the seeming. Little infinities whirl away each
moment, any of which could be the last, or THE MOMENT for which we have
been sent here, the defining moment as to whether all that went on
before was gaping reflex, or that freedom, that human home, in which
even the maddest things can step out, humble and happy and in good
company with all the other madnesses, themselves newly released and
happy for the company.

I've run far in another direction after getting the ball, trying myself
for desertion on numerous occasions, and then putting up a DAMNED GOOD
defense for myself, and winning acquital, or reprieve, to find that it
is here still ON THE LINE, even if it is quiet all around, even if
we're all so very tired- for on the other side of that tiredness is the
work that it anticipated and tried to forstall, but is the only way out
amid the glittering dead ends.

Your surreal history, as this site calls it, was on the mark. Humility
paves the way for greatness, which is not ours, except in sharing. We
who hang out here and at the other various nodes, electronic or further
refined, or down the continuum in the opposite direction-we are here
only for what we mean to each other. Our recognition of that is the
substance of our work. Our realization of that, concretely, in whatever
form it may take, is the stuff of our greatness and immortality to the
extent that we have it.

Here's an old poem, still ringing in my head and wanting out:

For Jerry

So you finally crossed over the line
for good, the line that had never seemed
so solid; where did that music come from,
anyway, or the music of the music? We were
grateful that that line was always so porous;
purposes streamed through it plentifully,
surprising you as much as us. We were all audience.
We are all players, now.
That line will take us through too one day;
we too will be grateful for those
who bring us life in their recall of our purpose,
of when the music played through us,
in their minds still dancing,
as in our minds you still play.

Much love,
Shmuel Klatzkin

thanks for a few thoughts that wrap around the soul like a warm feather blanket.

Subj: Over yer shoulders
Date: Sun, Oct 13, 1996 5:35 PM EDT

Best hyperspatial voyeurism I've had in a long temporal unit!

One gets the feeling, as I said to a fellow cybervoyeur, of sitting at the
Left Bank cafe table next to, and eavesdropping upon, a couple of Lost
Generationers who don't know yet for sure but suspect that even decades later
the literate world will celebrate the fecundity of discussion taking place

And the two of you have not yet actually met face to face, am I correct? I
believe I may have been present one evening at the Eugene Hilton when Alan
Trist was pitching the idea of Rilke translations to TM; was that the genesis
of this fertile meeting of the minds?

And such fine minds. So please put me on the reminder list.

Palindrome of the week: aibohphobia [fear of them]

Glued to my cyberseat,


nope. Dan did it, master of, asked both of us "why not?" and we agreed. No, never met. As for fine minds, it's all pretty relative isn't it? One man's mentation is another's dentation. Long as it gets where it's going - in this case your F. Scott Fitztable by the Seine - little else is asked of it. Thank you for your mind.

Date: Sun, Oct 13, 1996 10:14 PM EDT
From: ErickZ1040


We've actually met before. A couple of years ago, you did a reading in Seattle with Jim Carroll and Michael McClure. You signed my "Box Of Rain" book while complaining of the allergy attack that was making your immediate life rather miserable. I remember trying to push my Seldane medication on you, but you politely declined. I appreciated that you were cordial while feeling quite sick. For whatever it's worth.....

I really admire what you're doing with your section of the Dead Web site. When I was first introduced to the Internet, I envisioned that it could be a place where ideas, feelings, souls, etc. could be shared on a global level. The folks who invented the HTML code saw the Web as a populist ideal where anyone with an idea and the ability to transmit it through a keyboard could share his thoughts worldwide. Alas, the Internet has become an over-commercialized battlezone where millionaire Godzillas and billionaire Godzillas fight for control. It's nice to see that someone can publish his or her letters, poems, and lyrics and we can all become a small part of the process of intellectual discourse. I think that this is more in line with what the Internet should be about. Hopefully, a lot of people will agree after seeing your wonderful example.

The main reason I'm writing is in response to something I read in one of your mailbags. A guy (and I don't mean to single out someone in a negative manner) wrote something that seemed to be symbolic of what I found unsettling about the Grateful Dead experience. He was referring to the passing of Jerry Garcia and he basically asked you, "What are we all supposed to do now?" To my relief, you explained to him that it was now his turn to show the world what he could do. Your response reminded me of what Mickey Hart said to the masses at the memorial for Garcia: "We gave you the rhythm for thirty years. What are you going to do with it?"

My point, you ask? How did something that started out as a maverick, individualistic being become so warped over time to evolve into a massive cult of the personality? Granted, I am a relative neophyte when it comes to the Grateful Dead experience(about eight years, in terms of shows). However, my observation is that there was a clear division between what all of you were trying to do and how it was translated. The Dead audience never really escaped a clearly defined socio-economic sector, and that's ok. My experience of going to Dead shows reminds me of the scene in Monty Python's "Life Of Brian" where the crowd robotically chants, "We're all individuals". As soon as I got out of the car and had a sampling of the sights, smells, and sounds all around me, that seemingly-disordered-but-really-quite-regimented environment always made me think of that scene. You guys decided to fly in the face of convention and do things that those around you said could not be done. You were rulebreakers, and many who take your work to heart seem to be anything but that. To those who have scoffed at my appreciation of the Grateful Dead, I ask if they can recall the last time they went to a rock concert where the members of the band walked onstage without a clue as to what they were going to play or how it was going to turn out (unfortunately, no one's come up with a good answer yet). I've always said (to much laughter pointed at me) that the Grateful Dead were quite punk in that regard, and it's that spirit that drew me in (and I was weaned on punk rock before becoming immersed in the Dead). I donít mean to sound self-righteous and say that my experiences are of more weight than those of other people. It's just that I've always noticed the wide gulf and as time marches on, it only seems to become wider.

I don't mean to be completely cynical of the strong sense of community that's been built up. I've been the beneficiary of a great deal of this positivity, especially during times of my life where I really needed it. My observation is part of the larger cultural crisis we face these days. No one seems ready or willing to move ahead. We recycle anything we can for commercials, records, movies, etc. without having to give the ol' synapses a real workout by creating something new. Jerry Garcia drew from a myriad of influences like John Coltrane, Bill Monroe, and Chuck Berry to create something that was much different than a mere sum of the parts. It's hard to see that a 23 year old guy coming out of SF, 1996 is going to have the depth of culture that he could have in San Francisco, circa 1965. I guess I've always wondered what the gestalt was like on the Other Side of the Dead scene. The influx of literature that has come out over the last year indicates that Jerry was a most reluctant hero. Maybe I'm putting things in the wrong light by suggesting that when you were young men, you wanted to influence people beyond an appreciation of the music. In any event, you obviously did so. But do you find it puzzling that people are reluctant to get off the bus and perhaps drive their own vehicle for a while, even if it's a little Toyota?

Thanks for indulging the diatribe,


well, yes and no. I think your view of the lumpenmasses of the Dead might tend a bit to overcategorization. Certainly there are stereotypes and, as in most crowds, the stereotypes tend to provide an easy focus for generalization. However, as you look through the mailbag, notice the diversity of voices and the very different takes on experiences we've had in common.
There's a crowd hypnosis which the GD were very good at inducing. An ecstasy trance which was quite contagious. I guess blissed out people with their hands in the air all look pretty similar. There's a place where individuality merges with the mass experience which looks suspect to an objective bystander who isn't in the congregational mood. Heavy Metal cranks that out, it's beat induced and volume driven. The Grateful Dead did it with sophisticated music, rather than relying on the sucker punch. No mosh pit. And they tended to provide attitudes with which to view the experience which were less than totally mundane.
So, crowd phenomenon as a given, I think the common denominator of the experience was higher than that of your average crowdosaurus.

On another subject, you say that "the Internet has become an over-commercialized battlezone where millionaire Godzillas and billionaire Godzillas fight for control." I don't know where you go when you're websurfing, but I like enterzone & and a few other places I've got bookmarked. Just generally looking around, I see more scuffed brown shoes than spit shined boots. I think the "battleground" metaphor is something the press has picked up to have something to write about. It's like the guy with the biggest fleet of tuna boats saying "I'm the king of the ocean!" No way, man. The typhoon is king of the ocean.
That battle is more about computer software and peripherals than about anything that seriously impacts the gigantic sprawling anarchy of the internet. The tech wars keep us supplied with nifty stuff to make pages look more effective, but the slickest netpage hardly compares to a moderately costly TV commercial. I guess most of us feel a proprietary interest in Netscape, but in the end it's just one board of directors & shareholders against another. As long as the products keep improving and pricing is competitive who really loses?

Enjoyed your letter and find much to agree with, even if I did take opposite sides on several main points. Thanks for your positive comments on my page. I was looking for the same sort of thing you were on the net, couldn't find it and decided to write it myself. Just to have some fun, a few laughs, right? Well, it's the boss now, whether I like it or not. So I'm gonna like it as hard as I can. It was like going out for a pack of smokes at the corner store and never coming back.

Subj: It's alive!
Date: Sun, Oct 13, 1996 11:13 PM EDT
From: (D Collmer)

Just bopped over to, and took a look at "what's new" and "special
events". Nice! still chuckling.
Yup, we needed a touch of laughter, not to mention a bit of life on those
pages Billy K's page is a great addition, too.

Now if you could just light a fire under someone to put up the rest of the
Furthur pics, I'd really like to see the Orchard Beach ones. (A netfriend
got his picture taken there, and I'd reeeally like a face to put to the

yeah, I know, you're only human; well, it was worth a shot.

peace, laughter, ice cream


I emailed your letter to the two people most concerned with the furthur page, Alan & Tom. So much tech stuff going on the content got waylaid, but I think that's over now.
Glad you liked what's new & special events. The latter bites the dust tomorrow. Redundant, what with "hotline" & "what's new." Planning to make the "hotline" button into IRC & conferencing. Also maybe move the tour and events section into the DeadFile. Consolidate and focus. And you're right. There's definitely a lack of humor on the site. It's not right.

Date: Mon, Oct 14, 1996 9:36 PM EDT
From: Rain1Box

>dream of ours?
>>Something to prove that when dreams come true they run into the same problems and opposition as anything else in this world. But you just wake up from dreams. Reality you must attend to.

Very eloquently put. Can't say that I am not completely overwhelmed to get a reply. But you are obviously the most human and true element of the gd. My inclination has come to be to stay away from the band because I would probably be disappointed. But I am less hesitant about this medium.

You must feel a great deal of responsibility for many of the profoundly spiritual experiences that were attained at grateful dead shows after all, the words are able to find themselves lives of there own within 20 to 40 thousand people. All I know is that from my own experience I can only thank you with all that I have for the countless inspirations that you helped to me to discover. It was crazy indeed sometimes, but I learned the spirit of the ancients through the dead, and I feel like the dead were preparing me for the future and the philosophies of the past would be vital.

What the you and jerry and the band, had the ability to do was to combine all aspects of roots (mostly american, I guess) music into one completely original art form. This is a herculian task. It was the most successful to date. It will be a long time gone.

Now that the singer is gone, where shall I go for the song? I profoundly miss gd shows. I saw 97 shows over 15 years, my first show 15th anniv. show boulder, my last 8-9-95 soldier field. I started touring in 1990 and that is when it all began. As you know the spirit at a grateful dead show is profoundly strong. I remember in vegas '92 the lightning storms throughout the desert during drums and space and knowing after the third show that I would never be the same after the experience. My most fantastic night was cal expo '93 when I was visited by aliens. After this jerry said, "stranger ones have come by here before they flew away" and "Hey now, bird wouldn't you rather die, then walk this world when you're born to fly." I was ready to fly. It was a weighty space to be in. Time and again I would find myself in a synchronistic parallel masterpiece. Putting up with constant struggle to get a little further.

Now, I work at a law firm advocating rights for the disabled, yep. It is not quite as exciting attending to reality. I find myself looking toward the stars. I play guitar and occasionally delve into my former love of writing. I prefer to play gd and bob dylan though. Any time you want to jam when you in chicago, just let me know.



was it only 4 days ago I wrote the quote you start your letter with? It seems like weeks or months ago. Amazing the way time slows down when filling the hours with all the odd ends and details of internet pumping (a species of weight lifting performed with the eyeballs). Seems I've been doing my webpage for years. Others report the same phenomenon. I'm living nearly ten times as long these days.

I'll keep my mouth shut about your opening paragraph. Such high praise I can appreciate egotistically but would find hard to accept as realistic and retain any vestige of what passes for humility. I try to be true, but in the end it's all just a point of view, innit?

I take no responsibility at all for the spiritual hallucinations of the audience. I'm too busy having my own! Whatever you saw, you brought with you or you wouldn't be able to see it in the first place. You could find your truth at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box, if you loved Cracker Jacks enough.

Philosophies of the past are contained in all philosophies which spring from them. It's an ongoing project, provoked by Plato. Old philosophic absolutes enter the language and become the only way we know how to say anything. Freudian viewpoints have also achieved that distinction. What infiltrates the very architecture of the language is more problematic than simple dogma.

Where do you go for the song? East of Eden!

Date: Tue, Oct 15, 1996 2:40 AM EDT
From: PDohe65126
Subj: Is this thing for real?

..This is the first time I've ever logged-on to the "Net.".......I found my way here and I'm trying to figure out if this really works.

Anyways, will you ever be "touring" again? I think I'm the only person to ever go "on tour" with you (eg., '84 East Coast---Cambridge, New York, etc.)....Remember Jonathan Swift's when Cippolina showed up?!'s a shame that some things don't last forever......

It's also a shame that so many people confused Garcia the musician with Jerry the sucked reading the comments of some of his so-called "friends" after his passing.....

Thanks for EVERYthing,

Fritz -
that's just the thing about the net. It's NOT for real. We all meet out here in a kind of dreamtime and exchange thoughts and images, adjust our realities, hold mirrors up to ourselves for others to look through - and we do it at the speed of light. If I thought it was real for one moment I'd shut this damned box off and beat it hell for leather to the nearest shrink.

Sure I remember Cip showing up at my solo gig in Boston. But not till you reminded me of it. The couple of years I spent playing next to him onstage were an incredible experience. Funniest guy I ever met; bright and dry. One of those guys who lived to play, period.

I see you've been reading the same books I have. Well, you can throw away your library card now. You won't have time for that. You're on the Internet! What you need now is one of them ISDN cables, see . . .

Subj: Re: 10/10
Date: Tue, Oct 15, 1996 2:38 PM EDT
From: (Perry V Angelora)

Dear Mr. Hunter,

I wanted to thank you for a prompt reply...(If you wonder I am the
person curious about how you write songs...) You changed my perspective
from forcing out the words to having the words force themselves out.
It's a way alot of people write and learned to write, including me.
I just lost it along the ride....

Thank you and God Bless....

(You need not reply, this is just a thank you note :) and there are
thousands of people i'm sure you need to write back - so, Thank you
for your time... )

[Archive] [Indexl