<>                            In the next three weeks I am scheduled for two library discussions of two novels published this past                                    year: at the Mabee Library at Washburn, Tuesday, November 23rd, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., and at the                               Topeka Public Library (as a Sunday Afternoon with a Kansas Author) December 5th, from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
I plan to open with a preview of coming attractions: my seven-year-old niece, Anastasia, reading the first story, "Benny Bunny's Berry Pie," from a collection of eight of my children’s stories that was to be published by my brother Russell’s The Cider Press by Thanksgiving (it obviously won’t be, but is on line at theciderpress.com).  <>

Then I plan to discuss my own novel, The Bridge of Dreams, which is also on line (at thebridgeofdreams.com), particularly the first two chapters that I read to you on line, as I do all the sonnets that open each of the 24 chapters (also available on a disc prepared by my grandson, Alexander, a senior at Topeka West High School.

  Then I will discuss the novel published this last month (by The Cider Press), Bob Woodley’s Cry to Dream Again, his Master’s Thesis at KU in 1962.  Bob was my office mate for 13 years (until he died in the summer of 1976, while I was spending the summer in Japan).  I still say he was the closest friend of my life. I will be talking mostly about the problems of preparing a 48-year-old manually typed thesis for publication as a book comparable to my own The Bridge of Dreams, and why the maps of Africa were chosen for the cover.


                                                         Cry to Dream AgainPicture of Bob Woodley     Back  of Book       


 I will close by reading a single sonnet from the 90-some in The Collected Sonnets of Robert N. Lawson (published by The Woodley Press, in 2004, as companion text to my novel), chosen by the winner of a drawing to win a free copy of that book.

            Everyone is welcome to attend either presentation.

The Bridge of Dreams
Colntents of The Bridge of DreamsFree Offer
Meet the Author
Plays published on this web site.Featured This Month
The novel The Sequel
Link to the Woodley press web site
List of Kansas Authors
Collection of poetry using formal patterns.
Essays on Famous Japanese authors.
Title of the Novel and the Last Chapter, Bridge 24
Hester, Countess, Cleopatra, Juliet

Robert N. Lawson

When I began, I planned to do three things in spinning my web on this my Web Site.

The first was structural  (did structure my life for two years) and central,
to self-serialize my 24-chapter novel, The Bridge of Dreams, a chapter
a month for the first two years of the 21st century.
I began doing that in January of 2000 with:

Preface Contents Bridge 1

and finished in December of 2001, with Bridge 24, having crossed

The Bridge of Dreams (for intervening chapters, go through Contents ).

As a continuation of that project, I spent the next two years on a four-play dramatic
adaptation of that novel, each a three-act play, based on Jack's four women:
Betty, Laura, the Countess, and Christine.
I began, in February, 2002, with Betty I: Pygmalion.  In December, 2003,
I added the last act of the last set, Christine III: The Bridge of Dreams.
(for links to the others, see Plays).

After publishing the poems of a collection of poetry I self-published in 2000,
Going Formal, online in 2004, I spent 2005 self-serializing a revision of
the 12 chapters of my second novel, The Sequel (to The Bridge of Dreams),
which I wrote on the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month
of November, 2004, posed by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
I began, in January, with Sequel 1: Romeo and Juliet and, for
December, added the last chapter, Sequel 12: Thomas and Phèdre.

For 2006 I was doing a second revision of that novel, a chapter a month,
and fixing the text, after a fashion, by running copies at Pro-Print each month.
(I stopped as I wrote my third novel, A Tale of Two Dairies, a coming-of-age
novel for Young Adult readers, in the last half of 2006, revising it in the
first half of 2007.  Having finished that, I planned to return to revising
The Sequel--the last half of 2007.  I keep promising--
but have fallen behind).

The second thing I decided to do was affirm my Kansas roots by introducing
other Kansas writers, one a month, most of them friends,
most of them published by The Woodley Press--and all with books in print.
Woodley Press LogoPicture of Bob Woodley
I began that in February of 2000
by introducing the friend for whom the Press is named, Bob Woodley
(added Chapter 5, "The Hunt," from his unpublished novel, Cry to Dream Again,
in September) and our most Kansas writer (in my judgment), David Tangeman.

For authors added from March, 2000, to September, 2009, see Kansas Authors.

The third thing I decided to do with this Web Site was to reach out that third of the way around the world to offer, an author a month, a survey of:
Japanese Literature
In March of 2000  I offered a Foreword, describing my own discovery of Japanese Literature in the summer of 1973, and the Introduction to a book surveying Japanese literature that I was working on, theoretically for high-school students.  In April I began discussing individual authors with an essay I had published in Inscape in 1974 on the availability of Mishima Yukio.  He was the best place to begin then, and, in my judgment, still is--was selected by The East magazine as the most important Japanese writer of the 20th century.  So Mishima is the dominant figure (for me at least)--is still the most available--and I added my Modern Noh Play, Mishima, in September, 2001, my essay on his novel, Forbidden Colors, in November, 2001.

But I then decided to pursue, for the next five months of 2000, not the full tradition of Japanese literature, which that short book for high school students considers, but, instead, as with Mishima, availability.  I presented an overlapping  history of 20th-century Japanese fiction, generation by generation, through five more of its practitioners: Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) , Tanizaki Junichiro (1886-1965),  Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972--Nobel Prize, 1968), (Mishima (1925-1970) would come here), Abe Kobo (1924-93), and Oe Kenzaburo (1935-Present--Nobel Prize, 1994) .   I elected to do this because modern novelists are easier for an American reader to approach, these writers are all major novelists, all available in multiple titles in English translation, and, while very different from one another, form a tradition the reader can easily come to understand.  I added Dazai Osamu (1909-1948), and Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892-1927), as two other important figures in my own experience of Twentieth-Century Japanese Fiction, before beginning the more general review of Japanese literature.

In December, 2000, I began to introduce the longer tradition of Japanese literature by considering the monumental classic, The Tale of Genji,  written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu exactly 1000 years earlier.  Then, for 2001, I began the chronological consideration of Japanese Literature, from 712 A.D. to the present, by presenting the first Japanese book, the Kojiki, largely through my translation of a contemporary children's book presenting one of the well known stories from that classic, followed by my favorite Japanese poet, who lived in the tenth century, Ono no Komachi, and a third great Heian woman writer, Sei Shonagon, who wrote The Pillow Book.  Then I moved to the Medieval Period by presenting my translation of Kamo no Chomei's Hojoki (for which I have an increasing fondness the longer I live), then the better known medieval classic, The Tale of the Heike, the military epic of the Heike clan from 1153 to 1181 that established the samurai values in Japanese literature that then run from the Noh drama of a century or so later through the work of Yukio Mishima.  Then I offered Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443), and the first of the three great Japanese theatre traditions, The Noh Drama, then the writer most closely associated with the development of the other two Classical Theatre Forms, Kabuki and Bunraku, in the following period, the "Floating World" of Tokugawa Japan, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, then the other two writers of the big three of that Golden Age of the Japanese Renaissance, the novelist Saikaku, and the poet Basho.  I began my close by offering the second item on Mishima, the Modern Noh play I wrote of that title, that was performed in four places in Kansas in 1983 (or that Jack and Jordan do in New York in 1973--before I wrote it).  Then I offered an essay I wrote a few years ago on the contemporary playwright Betsuyaku Minoru, four of whose plays I translated for my second Master's thesis in 1985, then another item on Mishima, an essay on his Forbidden Colors I presented at a professional meeting over twenty years ago.  I closed in December, 2001, with, a paper I presented December 8, 2001, at the Saturday Night Literary Club here in Topeka, Three Heian Women.

As I come back to work on this web site, the project I plan to take on in Japanese literature is a review of the early 20th century novelist Natsume Soseki.  I have revised the essay I wrote on him earlier, as part of the book on Japanese literature I planned for high school students.  Then I plan to review one of his novels each month, to complete a long essay (or short book) on Soseki,  since I now consider him the greatest Japanese novelist, and will be pleased to re-read his work.

To access the earlier essays on the Japanese authors named above, see Japanese Authors.

*     *     *     *     *

That was my game plan--modified en route.  As it happens, in the last two-thirds of my career at Washburn I found three largely extra-curricular activities (following Emerson's Law of Compensation) to replace the teaching experience in the Great Books of Western Literature I had watched evaporate around me:

1.   From the summer of 1973 to this very day I have been a student (and               sometimes teacher) of Japanese Literature (even if I've often neglected it).

2.   Then, at the beginning of Summer School, June 1, 1975, I began writing my novel, finally The Bridge of Dreams (but on that day the only thing I was sure of was that it would have 24 chapters).

3.   Then, with the death of Bob Woodley, in the summer of 1976, I became more active with local writers--as his surrogate.  We did the first Inscape published by Headwaters that fall (which contained the sonnet I now present as part of my comment on Bob).  In October of 1980 we established the Woodley Press in Bob's memory, which has now published over 40 books in this twenty-five plus years-- poems, plays and stories by Kansas authors--in most cases that author's first book.  In July, 2004, the Woodley Press published my Collected Sonnets (fifth edition), and it is still publishing one or two Kansas authors a year.

All in all, it hasn't been a bad trade-off for me personally, whatever it may have been for a generation of Washburn students, who have, indeed, in this academic open market, chosen for themselves.  Now, though officially retired for over fourteen years, I'm still offering these doors as opening into a Liberal Education from my side of the university, which, in the supremely open market of the world wide web, a passer-by may choose to enter--or, of course, may pass on by to more appealing sites.

I had originally intended to add supplementary items, as, way back when,
I linked Bridge 3 and Bridge 4 by providing Jack's script for

The Scarlet Letter I The Scarlet Letter II
but have no others in mind at present.

Robert N. Lawson bridge24@washburn.edu
Washburn University 
Topeka, Kansas   66621

Washburn University Crest