This Radiant Winter

Someone back east asked how L.A. feels about this big snow.

I explained that a small segment of the population (15%) seems to hate it, while a larger segment (55%) seems to appreciate the unprecedented weather  —  how it plasters the local mountains, and the way a passing winter storm leaves behind our shiniest, most-stunning days.

The other 30% of Angelenos are so stoned or so loopy that they don’t even realize it has snowed.

I don’t know where I fit into all this, and I’m really concerned about my son Smartacus, whose Holy Bible seems to be his cellphone. Won’t even look up at me as he wonders aloud whether I love him or not.

Dude, if you have to ask…

Honestly, as I make breakfast, he sits there on his phone, watching crude TikTok skits, or twerking teens who are setting back feminism some 400 years.

As I explain to him, my so-called “love language” is breakfast. Food is how his late mother poured her heart out, and now it’s the way I pour my heart out as well.

His mom also randomly hugged him and ruffled his hair. I don’t do much of that. But I will, on occasion, smack him on the butt or scratch his back.

Like many young men, he itches a lot.

“SHOWER!” I urge, which seems a reasonable request. If we had a pond, I’d just hurl him in.

Suzanne bought us some plush new bath towels, which might help with his itchiness. They are minky soft, the kind you get at the Four Seasons and think: “Really wish I had towels like this at home.”

Now we do.

Suzanne gets things done. I don’t necessarily hold that against her.

I explain to her that I tend to chip away at tasks, finishing them incrementally, one careful brush stroke at a time.

Know anyone like that? Don’t change them. Their emotional fly wheel relies on a meticulous  approach to simple projects. They are their own careful comfort zones.

Indeed, I make lists, study how-to videos, I ask around. “Hmmm, wonder if I painted the fireplace? Wonder if we took out the kitchen and put in a small brewery?”

I’m like the village blacksmith — if he produced one horseshoe a month.

Seems like forever that I’ve been talking about redoing the front yard. Apparently, our pet werewolf (White Fang) has grown bored tearing up the old yard, so I think it wise to give her a nice new yard to plunder.

Feel me now?

Personal note: I was in the midst of putting in new sprinklers when my older son died five years ago, and I’ll never forget the dozens of friends who showed up at the house to pay their respects, only to find trenches snaking this way and that, as if I were putting in a subway system.

Finally, my buddy (Big Wave Dave) came by and helped me finish the sprinkler system. Sadly, I’d become the target of random acts of pity.

Thanks again, Big Wave. What are you doing Saturday?

In my defense, in the last year I have finished a screenplay and a decent book that will come out in October, probably to lukewarm reviews, if it gets any notice at all.

Promise me you’ll never write a book. Really, you have a better shot at playing for the Lakers.

Unfortunately, the only thing I do quickly, and with any ease, is to write.

I don’t ponder, I don’t mull, I waddle right in with mixed results.

Listen, you could build a nice bonfire with the regrets I’ve had, or the apologies I never sent, or the calls I forgot to return.

I’m a hesitant man – hardly bold or dynamic, the way good men often are.

I mean, look how rosy I get when I drink. Ruddy as a sunset on Mars. Red as a Red Sox rally.

That is the sign of a writer, probably – a ruddy man with swirling thoughts and a very spotty ability to articulate them. Dear gawwwwwd.

Yet, “We are lonesome animals,” as Steinbeck noted, and we spend all our lives trying to be less lonesome.

So, once in a while, if you continue to write, you might produce something that lonely souls might cherish…some little phrase that will lift their tender spirits, as they think: “This goof really gets me. Is he mad? Who hid his lithium?”

Look, we’re all a little crazed, artists or not. Isn’t that great?

And on these radiant winter days, isn’t it fantastic to be so full of notions and passions and dreams that you don’t even know how to start?

In that case, you’re probably a writer.

For past columns, or for books, or for the handsomest damn gin glasses you ever probably saw, please go to Thank you.

13 thoughts on “This Radiant Winter

  1. Thanks for sharing your delightful notions, passions and dreams with us, along with wonderful pictures. You may not know where to start, but somehow you do and your thoughts come out in amazing word pictures that always invite a smile or touch a heart. You are the best at what you do. Can’t wait for the book in October! It’s the “bear book,” I hope.

  2. I remember when I was at George Air Force base in the Mojave desert in Victor ville looking at the Mountains covered with snow. For a guy out south west suburbs of Chicago it was breathtaking

  3. Finding your articles in my inbox is always the start of a wonderful few moments for me. And your observations – pure poetry. Today’s article reinforces that I too am a “writer”. I won the Pulitzer Prize….well, it felt that way when you quoted a phrase of mine in one of your essays. I couldn’t have been prouder – I’m now “published” by a world-class writer and observer of life in all its forms and phases. I now know that I have at least one molecule of greatness – not that my wife will acknowledge it. Oh well….I’ll keep trying.

    I think I’ll go shower and dry off with my super soft bamboo towels. I’m trying to save the world, one towel at a time!! It’s the least I can do. And I do mean the “least”. Thank you!!

  4. I’m in the 55%! A Foothills native. Old enough to remember our ‘49 Blizzard.
    I finally ventured out yesterday to try your
    “best tacos in LA “ @ Yucca’s in Pasadena.Tacked on to my favorite liquor store Gerlach’s. A mere mile from home.
    But I can’t help mess but to with perfection. I must add Pino Pica Toco Sauce to my carné asada.
    Must be the writer in me.

    I’ll buy the🐻book!

  5. Loved your photos of the snow on our local mountains. Last Sunday, February 26, I attended an outdoor party (actually a baby shower) on Broadview. That was the one day it didn’t rain or snow. How lucky was that!

    I’m also in the 55% enjoying this year’s weather–also old enough to remember 1949 when it snowed at our family home in Atwater Village–enough to make a snowman!

  6. These inside-out narratives are disarming, for few men are able to articulate their inner selves with such late winter clarity. The experience of many centuries welded into our genes tells guys that if you put your heart out there, someone will put an arrow in it, and it’s most likely not Cupid. As you note, this breeds incremental men, wherein certainty surely does not lie. Women have a different history, which possibly stems from a time when they could tell a man with a club,” Don’t kill me and eat me; we could have kids”. He, (as now) knowing nothing of anything, might think that might be an investment in the future; so he agreed. . By the time the light of many centuries had dawned, her inside-out facility was in full flower and useful display, a seminal strength of our species, and his was in widespread decline (all those arrows). How rare to be able to write your male inner self with such articulate honesty. The boy with the phone could learn a great deal from this; and maybe that’s the point of.not a few meals together., sans phone.

    As for not writing a book, or a few, one should make no promises (all those arrows). And as for the minky Suzanne, she seems an inside-out-inside book an incremental man would just have to open, and creatively write within—page by page by page…
    The diary of a love foretold.

  7. Lovely. And yes, I occasionally know the feeling you describe. It can be wonderful. Once you get through the agony. Which is, of course, one of the things that makes it so wonderful. And I promise to buy the book. At full price!

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