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Thirty Years Ago While in San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center, though, Leary had already set forth on his new career. He listened every Sunday to KGB disc jockey Gabriel Wisdom's program of "neo-spiritual and scientific" exploration, and he became enamored with the idea of using the airwaves to gather passengers for his next big Trip. -- "TIMOTHY LEEEEEARY," Richard Louv and Carole Snyder, October 14, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago You have to wonder if Harold Gee isn't spreading himself a bit thin, trying to put out an occasional journal called the Party Paper on no capital with precious little publishing experience and no staff, and moonlighting as a go-go dancer. It's especially difficult to understand him as a writer-editor-publisher when the fact is that he can't remember the last book he's read to completion. -- "AND NOW FOR SOMEONE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT," Bob Dorn, October 8, 1981

Twenty Years Ago At the age of about 15, I started stealin' cars and stealin' beer and all that stuff. Well, one night three of us stole a car from the Mobil gas station in Ocean Beach, and we were ridin' around, and coming through Old Town, a police officer pulled up next to us in an unmarked car. We didn't know he was a police officer, and we asked if he wanted to race and everything, and he flashed his badge at us; we were just startin' to come out of Old Town and hit Highway 8. -- "MY LIFE OF CRIME," X, October 9, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago My high school freshman English teacher told the class he had a very good friend he'd invited to visit. Miles Davis. The class grew quiet. Miles who? Only a few recognized the name or knew he was a musician or knew that the music he played was jazz and the instrument he played it with was a trumpet. This was the late '60s. Who was Miles Davis compared to the Temptations or Marvin Gaye? -- "PEANUT BUTTER AND REEFER AND KIND OF BLUE," M. Corinne Mackey, October 10, 1991

Ten Years Ago I have often been asked why in my family four of us turned out to be writers. My brother Paul is both a novelist and travel writer, as I am. We both write essays. I write poetry. My brother Joseph, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa, wrote a novel in 1983, Black Coconuts, Brown Magic. Peter, our youngest brother, is an Arabic translator of note, but he has also written several books about Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. George Orwell in his essay "Why I Write" offers several major reasons why one chooses to do so. He suggests that loneliness has a lot to do with it. ("I think my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued," writes Orwell.) Were we lonely and undervalued? All children are, to a degree, even in large families. Maybe especially in large families. There is also the compulsion to remember, to want to remember, in a very real way to need to remember, to record. -- "I AM CRITICIZED AS BEING HARD TO READ. HE IS THOUGHT TO BE CYNICAL. I SHOULD PUBLISH MORE BOOKS. HE PUBLISHES TOO MUCH." Alexander Theroux, October 3, 1996

Five Years Ago Juan sleeps on my couch. I've known him since I was young. Our lives took different directions. Last night he knocked at my door. "I'm sorry to bother you. I need to stay with you tonight."The day before, he explained, he waited in line for five hours to cross the border.

"The immigration officers have to type everyone's name into a computer. But they don't know how to type. It takes them forever. They're afraid of terrorists coming into America. The Arabs are making me suffer." -- TIP OF MY TONGUE: "CHILIS," Max Nash, October 4, 2001

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