Who is this guy, J Rainsnow, and what is he about?

Well, I am the author of The March of the Eccentrics, as well as several other books, numerous stories, poems, articles, plays and songs, and the owner of two web sites: and

I date back to the 1950s, grew up in the 1960s and 70s, attained true nonconformist/countercultural consciousness in the 1980s, but failed to make a dent, underwent an intense period of spiritual exploration and self-discovery in the 1990s, and branched out and returned to the core of my 80's roots in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century.

I studied political science, Latin American studies, Spanish, and anthropology in school, and also graduated cum laude from the school of post-beatnik disasters.  Like many of my generation (following in the footsteps of the 60s rebels who we sought to both emulate and update), I succeeded in burning many bridges, torpedoing many resumes, and upending many possibilities as I chased my unruly dreams (which were both the sacred stuff of my life and my undoing), all across the landscapes of New York and its meeting points with the world.  My fondest memories are of the 1980s and 90s, which for me were characterized by my bohemian creative efforts in writing and music, linked to solidarity activism, all taking place in the context of a beautiful relationship, which was nonetheless always pressured by the economic demands of our society, which rewards conformity and historical passivity (we are supposed to just be passengers), while punishing anyone who says, "Wait a minute", not merely with a gesture, but with the way he lives his life.  During this time, I was blessed to have a wife who doubled my soul with her own sensitivity, experience, and spirit, with her books, with her songs, with her perspectives, with her life shaped by other lands (Colombia and France), with her gigantic heart (sometimes too strong, like punch with too much rum); she was my perfect complement, enriching me in all my weak spots and filling in the blank spaces in my worldview. For a while, we truly lived the dream of the young, aware couple, imbedded in mighty New York City at the center of the world's veins, working with others to pump transformative ideals around the globe while struggling to keep our heads above the economic waters of our own private catastrophe.


^ Here I am sometime in the 1980s with Olivia, 'la reina de mi vida', who is in a characteristically irreverent pose with mischief and life sparkling in her eyes and attitude, while I brood mysteriously in the background.  (I have since aged about 200 years, far too successfully making the transition from rock-musician-look to King Lear look-alike.)



^ Here is another view of Olivia (right), always a live wire, and her lively, generous-to-the-10th-power sister, Aura - part of the milieu which kept my life vibrant and energized in the 1980s.  I think of the line:  "No storm is too cold, no battle too fierce, no trial beyond your capability to bear, so long as you have a home to return to."  My friends and family in those days provided me with a wonderful home of humanness and warmth, both a refuge from big dreams (which can sometimes roll back on you and crush you), and an inspiration to continue dreaming.


^ They say nothing good can last, and for a while, that depressing maxim seemed to assert itself.  Over the years, my supportive environment slowly unraveled in the face of tragedy, loss, and attrition.  Aura disappeared, then another sister-in-law, then Olivia:  the joy-makers, the ones to be lifted up by my efforts vanished.  The full and colorful tree of life seemed to lose its luster, the branches of hope and faith became bare, and all that was left was a man who seemed to have bitten off more than he could chew and was now left alone to face the consequences of his poorly executed rebellion.


^ But that is when this book came to me - this book which I actually began to write in the 1980s but then was forced to put away, unfinished, in a closet, when the urgencies of survival surged high and stole from me the time and energy required to complete it.  As my youth seemed to fade in the years directly after 2000, this book which embodied my youth called out my name, saying:  "Return to me, and for a moment, you shall be young again!"  As loss left me desolate, this book which was a world unto itself, said:  "Fill the emptiness with me, I will be your new home!"  As memories of vanished friends and lovers tormented me, this book which was the force and power of life, said: "Write me, they will be in anything you do, in me they will live on!"  As sorrow weighed down on me, this book which was joy and the running stride of the human spirit, said:  "Come this way, and you will laugh again, you will dare again!"  As beautiful dreams seemed to recede beyond my reach, this book, which was the vehicle of a great dream, said: "Place me in the world, I will do more for it than all the signs you carried in marches, than all your signatures on petitions; I will do more than your youthful legs, your shouts, your clamoring in the prime of life, with embraces waiting at the end!"

And I remembered one of my favorite passages from the Psalms: "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come."  (71:18)

How could I resist the calling of this book?  The chance to rescue a life lived in vain, to rescue lost friends from their unjust fates, to resurrect a beautiful broken world with new chances to be made whole, and to make a positive contribution to the earth which was always the light in our sky, the aim of our generation: the destination that our path of love, our path of laughter, our path of sincerity, and our path of mistakes was meant to lead to.  As Victor Jara said:  "La estrella de la esperanza continuarA siendo nuestra... the star of hope will continue to be ours..."

Without stooping to write a conventional bio, I think this best captures who I am, and explains why I have written The March of the Eccentrics.  I hope you will read it, love it, grow from it, and meet me because of it, somewhere, sometime, so that I, too, may grow from meeting you; and together, with the time I have left and with the horizons you still possess, we may realize the dream of every conscious man and woman, and raise the human cause another notch.

J Rainsnow, Oct. 2014

Home   Marketplace   Blog   Art   News   Links   Contact