To all readers…

This letter is being written almost a year since I underwent recovery from a stroke, one of those rare occasions when, for months, I lay helpless in hospital. Eventually, I was transferred to a hospital in my former home in Ojai, by the friendly hosts of their ‘recovery’ place in this town in which I have lived for the past few years. Naturally, my former home has been reoccupied by its owner, and all my stuff now sits in storage.

So it’s a new life for me—here I am at a venerable 87, looking and feeling at least ten years younger, thanks to the friendly herb—and I have to figure out what I can do. I have already offered to turn my new hosts’ monthly newsletter into a mini-magazine, a task I would joyfully undertake for anybody as it takes one of my very few skills. Apart from interviewing the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, and Woody Allen (and many others celebs) I have written 21 books and worked for half a dozen daily newspapers, including the London Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, daily papers in Toronto and Tokyo and the New York Times.
So here we are in 2015 and in a few weeks I’ll be 88 and looking 78. Why don’t you drop me a line and tell me if my writing is worth paying for, and if so how much and how often. The new Wilcock magazine’s future will depend upon a small group of future readers.
And whatever happens thank you for your attention in the past.

John Wilcock
Ojai, California

—your faithful servant, John Wilcock

• • •

Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the rabbit

Over the past two and a half years, my combined medical and support costs have been more than $230,000. If you’d like to help, use the Paypal donate button, and thank you. —JW

Roommate wanted

credit: tiny house blog

Dear reader,

About seven months ago, much to my surprise, I had a sudden stroke which temporarily took away my memory and to a large extent incapacitated me. I’m now a lot better but still prefer the computer to the typewriter and hope soon to resume the weekly column which first appeared in the first issue of the Village Voice of which I was a founder all those years ago.

A stroke is a curious malady which tends to incapacitate in some ways but leaves the rest of you unchanged. I read dozens of magazines to get the material for the weekly column and soon plan to resume doing that. I’ve written well over 1,500 columns so far, many of them from the scores of countries about which I have written all-too-soon dated travel books.

Anyway, to get back to the subject, when I get out of this place, in about a month’s time, I’ll have to start looking for a new place because the greedhead owners want to sell the house for much more than its worth, which means we’ll all have to find new digs that we can afford.

So now is the time when it makes sense to share a place with somebody, with me paying half the rent and utilities. I’m highly responsible and easy to live with. In addition to my weekly column, I have done interviews with Marylin Monroe, Steve Allen, Woody Allen, Marlene Dietrich, and dozens of others. Subjects of my travel books include Japan, Mexico and Greece, to name only a few.

What would be fabulous would be to share space with a writer or artist but that’s not essential, of course. Just some easygoing type with a sense of humor will do fine, although I enjoy working with other people no matter what the project might entail.

So there it is. Maybe if you know somebody for whom I’d make a good roommate—any sex, any age, anywhere—have them sift thru my columns or my website wherein can be found much of my life.

send a comment to John



Letter from the Editor:

AFTER ABOUT five months in hospital, I am finally beginning to see the future which I hope will bring me back into the real world. My mind is fine, though lacking memory to the extent that i fail to recognise authorship of things that I wrote mere months ago. My hearing is almost useless without hearing aids; my sight is restricted to an area than begins about one inch to the right and stretches to about three inches to the left if I keep my head still. This means that when I read, I have to move my head at least once to read every line which is unfortunately not fast enough to read a subtitle before it is replaced by the one that follows it.

Fortunately I have written at least 500 columns since I went online and surprisingly many of them seem to be relatively timeless so that they remain readable even a couple of years later. I still cannot write legiby without a computer and on this only very slowly. But I will respond to anybody who writes to me and my friend David will continue to fill this space weekly with golden oldies.

—Blessed be, John Wilcock, Sept. 12, 2014

“Are not there little chapters in everybody’s life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?”
—William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair


In Visual Terms…

We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know.
—Daniel Kahneman

Cheshire Cat: If I were looking for a white rabbit, I’d ask the Mad Hatter.
Alice: The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no…
Cheshire Cat: Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction.
Alice: Oh, thank you. I think I’ll see him…
Cheshire Cat: Of course, he’s mad, too.
Alice: But I don’t want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can’t help that. Most everyone’s mad here.
[laughs maniacally; starts to disappear]
Cheshire Cat: You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.
—From Alice in Wonderland


In Visual Terms…

It seems that my particular form of perceptual challenge is called homonymous hemianopia.

Hemianopia means blindness in one half of the visual field. The most common form of this is homonymous hemianopia, which means that the vision loss is on the same side of each eye. Research shows that eight to ten percent of stroke survivors have homonymous hemianopia.

It’s as if when i attempt to read, I’m looking through a partially closed door into a room, or in my case, the page beyond. I fully well realize the completely-furnished page exists out there, and yet I can only glimpse what’s behind the door by craning around the opening to get a peek. The term ‘hassle’ doesn’t do justice to qualify the exertion required to read across a single line of text.

This past week I was evaluated by an opthalmologist for this condition. Confirmation of any diagnosis is now making its way through the healthcare system, and I will one day hope to have a more definitive understanding of this perceptual malady, as well as access to any and all available remedies. Meanwhile, my neck muscles are getting a real workout.

And , as promised, I turn to you, my friends, for any insights or experiences that might open the door a bit wider …

Birthday Boy!

John turns 87 on Monday, August 4th. Happy Birthday John!!!

On Saturday, August 9th we’ll be taking John out on the town in Ojai to celebrate. Details to come. If you’d like to join us, let us know and once we have a count, we’ll send out details!

Here’s John’s contact info:
The Gables of Ojai
John Wilcock
703 N. Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023

The Beginning

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I have been a columnist and travel writer for the past seven decades, and have written and videotaped my way around the globe in the process, and have been fortunate to make the acquaintance of some very interesting people along the way. To date, the most curious and mysterious travel destination turns out to be the state of my own health. As a seasoned traveler, I would regularly think nothing of packing a small bag, heading to the airport, and being whisked off to some far-away land, to arrive, look about, and begin the process of orienting myself to the remarkable everyday of “somewhere else”.

Three months ago I experienced in medical terms what’s called a stroke. defines a stroke as “a sudden loss of brain function caused by an interruption of blood to the brain.”

What’s curious about this “condition” is that I now find myself both in my own self and yet also in a very odd state of inhabiting this body of mine.  In the realm of my brain, I still have thoughts and  I still ponder a great deal, much the same way as has been the case my entire life. That seems to be the boundary of the landscape I am familiar with as a result of this reduced blood flow to my very own “Grand Central Station” back in April. Beyond  that horizon, the landscape could easily be mistaken for Mars, or Neptune, or the room next door.

I choose to explore this new land with you, both for the same reasons I have always traveled and written, and also to exploit you, the community of readers, for  reckonings in this new landscape that currently seem to me elusive.

In the next week I hope to return to my computer and join our exploration in earnest. —John Wilcock