Category Archives: Who Am I?

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William Faulkner Reviews An Uprising of Angels

The unheavenly, inexorably scorching sun beat down on a more than dusty road—a road beyond dust, connecting the past and future, beyond the irrepressible earth itself, into a throat parched dryness and heart stopping swelter of an afternoon from another era, another day, like the Los Angeles slum ridden and dark secret hidden neighborhoods in the book I was reading as I sat by the side of that dusty, dusky, infernal road to hell and back, my back against a weeping willow tree and a damp rag from mopping my brow in my hands, hands gnarled and shaking, angry hands as angrily I read about a riot and the never to be ended, never should have begun struggle of the races against each other that reaches deep into the nation’s past and soil and soul, from the South I knew to the western Pacific shores I didn’t, into a huge metropolis beyond anything I ever experienced, being from a postage stamp sized county in a state swarming with hatred and despair and immutable actions, unsilent words, unspoken deeds and bitter emotions, emotions rambling through centuries and eons of human relationships and uncivilized civilizations, only to end up carrying that weight of race and flesh and skin, those battles never unfought and never finished, into a riot of universal size with gangs of great-great grandsons of slaves and slaveowners, of sharecroppers, storekeepers, and barn burners’ descendents exploding once more, uncontrollable, irreconcilably turning streets into bloody highways saturating the dust and filling the skies with smoke and flames as if nothing has ever been learned and nothing could ever be learned, for how could it, if all that I have recorded and written about men and their hatred has never been assimilated into hearts or souls but rather turned out and ignored, my words having meant nothing to these Los Angeles men and their furious undiscriminating unassailable dispatching of death and destruction all so very many years since I myself  toiled my fingers on pen and paper, ink stained to pass a message that’s been unread, unlearned, uncared for, since as Baldwin writes, this riot erupted, this cataclysmic abysmal unfathomable eruption of hell’s deep darkness onto the earth where men still walk and breathe and live yet must fight and struggle with themselves and others over what, if not their own beyond interminably terrible destinies and drives, desires and indefatigable selfishness where justice is damned and no one is safe in their homes, their skins, their lives, all lives reduced to the rubble beneath  the passing years’ feet and I, myself, in my legacious state of misfortunate fame or infamy can neither affect nor change, despite all the books, all the stories, all the writing I did, so that Baldwin now must take up the pen and once again, as I and others before him have, to record the impossible, impenetrable, unending and unfailing misery befalling the never innocent at the hands of the always guilty men who fail to get along?


Ernest Hemingway Reviews An Uprising of Angels

Baldwin sent me his book and I read it. I read it sitting on a verandah with cold beer and cats on my lap. I read it in one sitting as the sun crossed the grey clouded sky and faded into the horizon. The ocean turned black as the light faded and night fell. I drank 7 or 8 beers while I read it. The beers dripped their condensation on the pages of the book and now the pages have beer stains that will remind me when I read it again where I was and how I enjoyed the crisp clear beer while reading Baldwin’s book.

His writing is clean and crisp like the beer I drank while reading it. His story goes down smoothly like the beer. I started reading with little interest because I don’t like big city people who have problems they bring on themselves because of their stupidity and laziness. But something about it kept me reading. It was the danger, I suppose. The guns and the violence and the danger are all things I like in a book and in life.  I also like writing about war. It brings out a man’s true character. This book is about a war. A war in Los Angeles in 1992 between some good people and some bad people. The good people are not all good and the bad people are not all bad. That is the way with people.

I like the way Baldwin writes. He understands that life must be lived and fears faced. I have been through war and the riot of 1992 was a war. The bell tolled for many and no one came out of it without a wound. But some took the wounds and used them. They felt them and studied them and were true to them. That is life well lived. This is a book about life.

Baldwin tells me we share the same birthday. That is an interesting fact. I like facts because they are sharp and hard and cannot be denied. I don’t like it when people try to deny facts. Such people do not know themselves and do not understand life.

I would take Baldwin hunting some day if I could. I bet he’d be a good hunter because his eye is clear and sharp and his words cut fast and sharp, like hard flat stones skimmed across the surface of a calm cool lake.  His characters go out too far like Jake and Santiago and me. I like that too about his book. His characters know how to live and they know how to die.

I’d like to meet Baldwin and see how he lives. But I’m dead and my verandah and beer and cats are all far from the earth that he and all the people alive now still live on. I don’t live there anymore. I put a rifle in my mouth and pulled the trigger. But I won’t talk about that. There are many things that should not be talked about. A man and a writer must understand that what is not talked about gives a story and his life even more meaning. You have to know a lot to leave a lot out. Baldwin’s book leaves a lot out. That’s what I like about it most.

So I will never meet Baldwin and drink a beer with him and take him hunting. That is too bad.  We could have had a good time together. At least it’s pretty to think so.


A Brief Frictional Fictional Interview with Myselves

EGO: We’re here tonight with ourself, Marc D. Baldwin, author of An Uprising of Angels. Thanks for inviting us all to speak our mind tonight, Marc.

ID:  Yeah, thanks. We’re all out of our mind, that’s for sure. That’ll be pretty clear to everyone who reads the book.

SUPEREGO: Don’t blow our cover, all right?

I: What do you care? You always were trying to take us all down with your compulsive behavior. Like the time you…

E: Zip it, Id.

The trio stare each other down. With a wry smile and ominous chuckle, Baldwin marshals his selves into one for a moment.

I: Okay, me first.

S: As always.

I: Damn straight.

E: Cut the crap, you two. Just tell the readers why we wrote the book.

I: Why else? So we can let our schizophrenia run wild. The 5 main characters are all us. We seek pleasure. We love darkness. We like to live a little. You know. It’s cool. Right?

S: Why is everything always all about you?

E: Really. Stick to the fiction: the book. It is fiction, right?

I: Oh sure…of course…definitely, right? All made up. Total fiction. You know that.

They share a big laugh, face full of memories making various micro- appearances.

E:  Okay, here’s the deal: We just wanted to make sense of the senseless, right? The worst riot ever in America. Chaos, horror, anarchy. Why? Why did it happen? Because King’s attackers, the cops, were acquitted? Or was that just an excuse to riot and loot and burn and kill? Macetti, now he’s got it down. He and Gunther, they’re heroes, trying to protect the hood from the bad guys.

S: That’s absurd.

E: Me? Absurd? Id’s the absurd one, not me.

I: Got that right. But at least I know I’m absurd, pal. You don’t. You and your phony image of respectability and decency. Don’t make me laugh. You might have the world fooled, but you don’t fool me. You’re closer to being Rayhab and the gangstas than Macetti and Gunther. But they’re all messed up too.  And what’s really the kicker in this book, in our whole life, really, is trying to make sense of the senseless. That’s the definition of absurdity.  Right?

S: Yeah, but you have to try. That’s what Anwar did. He tried hard to help Ishmael avoid getting into gangs. And he tried hard to live a good, straight life.

I:  Gimme a break. He just wanted to screw Sonja. You know that. You set the poor sap up for a big fall….

S: I totally disagree!

Superego flips off Id and looks for support to Ego, who just shrugs. What can you do with a runaway Id?

I: Yeah? Whatta you know about racism, bro? That’s the ultimate absurdity and evil. I’m just part of a white guy, doing my own thing and trying to keep out of my own way. Like most people in L.A. before, during and after the riot. Just trying to get along, man. Live free or die. Don’t screw with me and I won’t screw with you.  Screw with me and look out.

E: Big tough guy.

I: You got it, bro.

S: You make no sense, as usual. I mean, yes, racism is a big part of the book, of course. As it was a major cause of the riot. But really it’s about all people. All colors and ethnicities of real people caught in hell. Trying to survive. It’s good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, love vs. hate, legality vs. criminality. In a word, life.

I: You just love dichotomies, that’s your problem. The world ain’t all black and white, pal. It’s all shades of grey.

S: Like a Motown winter’s day….

I:  Ya know, I could live without you just fine, ya know that? Do whatever I want…

S: Put ketchup on your beans?

I: Yeah. That’s right.

E: Okay, okay. You guys are killing me. Literally. I’m the one who wrote the damn book. It took all my strength to suppress you two long enough to get the words down in some kindof order. And I say Uprising’s about everything we’ve ever known. We’re all in this book, right? All of us, all of everybody. Everything we know, right? Am I right? Everything?

S: Or nothing at all, maybe. Kinda like the whiteness of the whale. The big Moby.

I: Or the blackness of the universe.

E: That’s what I’m saying: it’s about all or nothing. You in or you out? Hold em or fold em. Kill or be killed.

S: There ya go. That’s what it’s about. For real.

The trio nod and bump fists. At peace with one another. For the moment, anyway. Just trying to get along, like Rodney King wanted.



Approaching Reality, Encroaching on Truth

One of the biggest problems most people have is they think they know what’s real and true. Their reality is the reality; their truth the truth.

Wonderful, Awful Words

A dog is a dog. A house is a house. A job is a job. We can all agree on those words representing the things to which they refer. Right? Common realities and truths. Right?


What specific dog are you talking about when you say “dog”? I hear “dog” and I may picture a kennel full of mutts about to be euthanized, while you may be thinking about Fido who slobbers on your face and makes your heart race with joy.

A house may be your house, a dozen houses, a row of them on skid street. My house may be a home, full of warm memories, making me cry about my little gone girls all grown up and living far away.

Your job might be a dream or a nightmare, what you’ve always wanted or never wanted. I think of “job” and there’s a dozen car lots and a few teaching positions, but mainly now sitting at the computer writing emails and processing editing work.

Writing my novels and these blog essays isn’t a job for me. It’s a pure kick of joy.

The Words Mean What They Don’t

Point? Our realities and truths are definitionally dependent. Words denote and connote. They try to refer to specific things—a dog, a house, a job—but they always refer to very different actualities in our individual brains.

So what you think of one way (cool dog, a house is a house, rotten job), I think of another (dumb animal, my house as my home, my job ain’t my life).

Everybody attaches different denotations to every word. So every reality is different; every truth contingent. (No, I am not a radical relativist. I’ll discuss the distinction another time.)

And connotations? Holy cow, Harry Carey. Just as every word evokes its own specific representation (your word “dog” means something different to you than my word “dog”), every word triggers emotions, feelings, memories, associations.

Take the Rodney King L.A. riot of 1992. It may mean nothing to you: no emotions, no memories, no feelings whatsoever. You can bet it means more than just about anything in their lives to thousands of people who lived through it. The emotions run strong; the memories are seared in their soul’s flesh.

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, Round and Round….

So your reality and truth is not my reality and truth. But neither of us is necessarily living in a false world or delusional mindset.

We’re just figures of speech, really. Humans as metaphors, with lives like words—open to interpretation, closed to conformity. Gliding and sliding down an endless slope of signification, where one thing leads to another—eternally.

Not buying it? Then let’s hear another theory for how 10,000 years of human “communication” has led to this current state of global uber-miscommunication that has us all teetering on the brink of total annihilation.  How else to explain it but to blame it on the words themselves? And our failure to compose them into compatible realities and cooperative truths.




New Site, New Blog, Same Old Me

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new site for me–and I’m feeling good.

Greetings, one and all: students, clients, friends, and visitors alike!

This blog’s website will eventually contain my body of work. Not my body, just my work. I can’t fit my body in a blog, darn it. Maybe someday. Then I could just kindof live in the blogosphere. It might well be where I truly belong.

But for now, this site will just contain details and documents related to my teaching career, my businesses, and my writing. But not my kids. I can’t blog them either. Would if I could because they’re my greatest creations (thanks be to God, of course) and what life’s all about. Truly.

Whenever students have asked me through the years, that’s what I’ve always answered.

“Excuse me, Dr. Baldwin,” they’ve said. “What’s life all about, may I ask?”

Smiling sagely, I’ve always answered, “Raising your kids to be better than you.” In my case, that hasn’t been so hard for my kids, actually–since I’m pretty damn flawed.

So I’ve always followed up by telling my students what’s really hard to do in raising your kids, and for yourself as well: “Love life, love God, love yourself, and love others. Always give everything you’ve got, every day and in every way. Live a principled, decent life where no one can say too much bad about you. Be good, kind, loving, and busy. Work hard, play hard, and never give up.”

As I’ve alluded, I’ve failed at just about all of that advice at one time or another. But I’ve gotten better over the past decade, I think. Trying to learn from my mistakes and pass that wisdom on to my kids. That’s all any of us can do, right? Keep trying to be better.

So, check out the bare bones facts in my bio, if you like. Briefly, here’s a bit more of what I am and do:

Professor: Since 1975, I’ve taught English comp and lit, reading and writing. Check out some of my lectures in Powerpoint. You may need to use the Safari browser for them, since I made them before 95% of my students had even heard of online classes. So the programs I made them with (Impatica and the like) are dinosaurs. I just don’t have the time to redo them all. Sorry.

Businessman: Edit911 Editing Service has become one of the world’s best editing services since I started it in 1999.

Writer: I’ve written a bunch of scholarly articles I’ll be posting here, in addition to information about a novel I have coming out soon–An Uprising of Angels. That’s just the first of 3 more novels and a short story collection I’ll be publishing. I’ll also have links to many free books about writing and publishing. All kinds of good stuff. Hope you enjoy it!

Visit often. Join the Tribe on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin (see the homepage).  I welcome suggestions or constructive criticism. Working hard and always learning is my life. Here’s the inscription I want on my tombstone: “His first day off.” Or as R.W. Emerson said: “Produce! Produce!”