True words are not beautiful
Beautiful words are not true
Good people do not quarrel
Quarrelsome people are not good
The wise are not learned
The learned are not wise

Tao Te Ching

Everything I planned came as a complete surprise
There were no intermissions so I walked out before the end.
They say my life is interesting, but I don't believe them.

Bob Kaufman

Beyond the Parrot Man

Parrot in ProfilePeople tend to think of me as the “parrot man.” When they see me on the street, they often say, “Hey! Aren't you the parrot guy?” I always fess up, but the fact is, my involvement with the flock ended years ago. Before I encountered the parrots I was on a journey, and the parrots were part of that journey. There was something I needed to learn from them. Having learned it, I moved on. I still watch out for them, making sure that no one is exploiting them, and I always will. But the parrots never depended on me for their day-to-day survival. It would have been disastrous for them if they had. They are wild, self-sufficient creatures. And, as anyone who visits San Francisco will see, the flock is thriving. There are currently more than 200 of them.

My Work as a Writer

TypewriterThese days, my preoccupations are those of a writer. It's been a natural progression for me. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a novelist. But making a living as a writer seemed too hard. I also came to believe that literature was dying. So I abandoned that dream and went into the world to live my life, never imagining that the path I followed would bring me back to writing. I have one published book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and I'm currently working on Street Song. Whenever I find the time and energy, I work on my blog, Views From a Hill. My intention here is not simply to have fun with words and to tell stories—although those are two of the few joys that writing brings. What I want is to help make this a better world. We're in pretty bad shape right now and getting worse. We humans need to change before we do ourselves and everybody else in. I believe we'll have one more chance to turn things around. But it may well be our last one.

My wife, Judy Irving, and I have an e-mail list that will keep you up to date on our various creative activities. It's called Mailings are infrequent. If you'd like to sign up, click on the address.