Making It

Today is a glorious day, sunny and cloudy and sunny. The storms that besieged us for the last few weeks are behind us, power restored after a few annoying outages. I had my teeth cleaned this morning by our cheerful hygienist and told my teeth were looking well. On my way home from the dentist, after a short walk on the headlands to revel in the sunlit beauty, I stopped at our tiny town library to get a book Marcia wanted, and to my enormous delight found my new book Good With Dogs and Cats: the adventures of Healing Weintraub on the New Books shelf.

I pointed at my book and gurgled, “That’s my book.”

The librarian replied, “We got a request for it, so we bought a copy.”

“Thank you so much,” I said, resisting my impulse to hug her. “I’m thrilled. By the way, the book is set in a mythical version of Mendocino.”

The librarian laughed. “Mendocino is a mythical version of Mendocino.”

“I changed the name of Mendocino to Mercy.”

The librarian rolled her eyes. “If only.”

Continuing homeward, I stopped at the tamale stand and got three scrumptious tamales for eleven dollars – such a deal! – and drove home thinking I made it. My book is in the Mendocino library. And I wasn’t kidding.


There was a time from 1978 to 2000 when several of my books were in libraries all over America, and I was glad, but not thrilled. Nor did I think I’d made it because those books were in libraries. Indeed, I felt strongly that I had not made it, despite the availability of those books to anyone lucky enough to stumble upon them.

For reasons far too complex (multi-generational, societal, delusional) to spend precious hours writing about, for most of my life I thought making it was to be world famous, to make boatloads of money, to have my books made into movies and my songs recorded by Bonnie Raitt and used as soundtracks for major motion pictures.

Then there came a time (coinciding with my turning 60 and the advent of social media platforms on the internet which I eschew) when no one in the movie business and no one in publishing would even take a peek at my creations. After several years of adjusting to my exile from the mainstream, I embarked on a path of self-publishing and producing my own albums of music with minimal success in terms of sales, but vast success in terms of enjoying the process and feeling I was giving my best to the world, such as I can.

Finding my book in the Mendocino Library today took me back to a moment in 1978 when I was twenty-eight and had just published my first novel Inside Moves. I was standing on a corner in San Francisco waiting for the light to change when I noticed the woman standing next to me reading a book, her eyes wide with delight as she read. Then the light turned green and the woman closed the book so I was able to see the cover. Inside Moves.


Good With Dogs and Cats: The Adventures of Healing Weintraub just got two wonderful reviews on Amazon. Success!


Dear Healing

As reported here not long ago, Todd has a new book out entitled Good With Dogs and Cats: The Adventures of Healing Weintraub. Paperback copies, e-book editions, and audio book versions are available from various purveyors of such.

Todd has had several positive responses to the book from readers he knows and readers he doesn’t know. He has yet to get many reviews posted on book sites by readers, but he is hopeful such reviews will eventually begin to manifest and help spread the word.

Today Todd got an email from his old friend Colin addressed to me, Healing Weintraub, asking for advice about his dog. Todd contacted me on Colin’s behalf and I dictated my reply to Todd to forward to Colin. Here is that correspondence for your reading pleasure.


Dear Healing,

I was referred to you by my oldest and dearest friend, Todd Walton, who said you are the only one who can help me with a problem my wife, Karen, and I have been experiencing with our now 10 year-old mini Aussie, Lexi, and offered to forward this to you.

First of all let me state, unequivocally, that she is a wonderful and exceptionally bright member of our family. She is friendly with visitors and with other animals she encounters on her walks around the neighborhood, and on hikes with us and our friend’s dogs, but she barks uncontrollably whenever a dog or a horse, for some reason, appears on our television screen. I don’t know how much television you watch, as I know you have much better ways to spend your time, but dogs have become extremely popular supporting players on both shows and commercials over the past few years.

At first, it was very cute to observe our little Lexi watching a show along with us, and then barking and approaching the set whenever she spotted a dog. But it’s getting old and, being old ourselves, her inopportune barking often causes us to miss essential plot elements. Any help or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

I am including a recent photo, with the hope it might help you find a solution to our problem.

Thank you, in advance, for taking your most valuable time to help us. Please give our best to Jahera, Tova, and all of your animals.




Dear Colin,

Todd read your letter to me over the phone. I don’t have email. I dictated my response to him to send to you. Here it is.

So your brilliant dog thinks the animals on television are things to respond to. How wonderful. The most drastic solution, which I don’t recommend, is electro-shock with a small cattle prod every time she behaves this way. This would render her an emotional wreck for the rest of her life. Another possibility, also not recommended, would be vision-altering glasses for her to wear when she’s watching the telly with you. However, she might throw up during, and be seriously disoriented for hours after.

The simplest solution is to stop watching television. Assuming you don’t want to do this, I think the best thing to do would be to sequester her in another room when you know the programs you’re going to watch have horses and/or dogs in them. In the event a dog or horse appears unexpectedly in a program you’re watching with her, cover your ears when she starts barking and sing There’s No Business Like Show Business with great gusto.

I hope this helps. By the way, Todd is nearing completion of the sequel to the first volume of my memoirs, and it’s a doozy. Thanks so much for writing. I will give your regards to the other members of the collective.

Sending best wishes to you and Karen and Lexi,

Healing Weintraub, advocate for the four-legged


Here are hot links to help you secure copies and/or write five-star reviews of Good With Dogs and Cats.



Barnes & Noble


Apple Books




D.R. Wagner

The poet and artist D.R. Wagner died on the Winter Solstice 2023. I just got word from his neighbor in Locke on the Sacramento delta. I cried and cried when I got the news. D.R. was my good friend and a constant in my life from 1980 until I moved from Sacramento to Berkeley in 1995, after which I saw him occasionally over the years until 2010. From then on he sent me announcements of his newest books of poems, and I would send him word of my new books and albums of songs.


In 2009 I self-published my novel Under the Table Books and Marcia and I went on a road trip from Mendocino to the San Juan Islands and back giving performances of our music along with readings from my books. We read in friends’ living rooms, libraries, and bookstores, our final performance taking place in Time Tested Books in Sacramento.

For this ultimate performance I prevailed on my three favorite Sacramento poets – Ann Menebroker, Quinton Duval, and D.R. Wagner – to read their poems that appear in Under the Table Books, a novel of stories set in a fantastical anarchist bookstore. The finale of the novel is my favorite D.R. Wagner poem The Milky Way, which I will append at the end of this remembrance of D.R. That evening when all three of those marvelous poets read their poems to enhance the evening was an apex moment in my life.


I met D.R. shortly after I moved to Sacramento in 1980. Because of the recent success of my novel Inside Moves, the Sacramento Poetry Center asked me to read with another writer to benefit the poetry center, which I did. Quinton Duval hosted the gathering after the reading, and that is when D.R. and I first collided.

We liked each other immediately and not long after I was asked to join D.R., Bari Kennedy, and Pat Grizzell for what would become the annual Sacramento Kerouac reading. D.R. and I enjoyed performing together so much we decided to put together a two-man show combining poetry, stories, music, projections of D.R.’s fantastical petit point creations, and various combinations thereof. We eventually performed as a duo seven times, and always had a great revelatory time together much to the delight of our audiences.


D.R. was the most prolific poet I’ve ever known. I’ve only read a tiny fraction of the poems he wrote in his life, yet I’ve read several hundred of his poems. I have many favorites stored on my computer for easy call up. The moment I begin to read one of his poems he is here with me, an ebullient spirit glad to be sharing what arose from his mysterious artesian source.

His petit point creations are in many private collections and art museums, and one of them is the cover art for my novel Night Train in which a fictional version of D.R. appears.

 D.R. was a true cat, and by that I mean every word he wrote and every stitch he stitched came straight from his heart and soul.


The Milky Way by D.R. Wagner

We live in a spiral arm of a spinning

Field of stars. We whirl around, a carnival

Ride, full of birds, loves, emotions, endless

Varieties of things unfolding in seasons;

Full of bells and an endless weaving of hearts.

These connections ride upon our consciousness,

Demanding constant performance from us.

Each of us, most royal and majestic as night,

Vile, vindictive and spoiled even before we speak;

Sorrow and joy, the way we sound our name.

We endure all of this, our lips kissing each moment,

Crushed, elated, misunderstood, praised for things

We do as part of ourselves, damned for these same things.

There is no road, there is no plan. Only love

Survives. Everything is forgiven, finally.

Understanding limps behind the parade,

Always late, always burdened with qualifications,

Always abandoning every opinion and argument,

Leaving each of us our place only, describing

This place, the swirling arms, the myriad ways

We twist ourselves to achieve

This weaving, this carnival of love.