Randal Houle

Location Vancouver, Washington
Occupation Cemetery Sales
Website http://randalhoule.com

About Me

I was born in the high desert, surrounded by fossil beds and rainbow mountains. I witnessed an exploding volcano cremate itself in a glorious eruption. The smelt were the first to go, once making the river turn silver, then the Salmon... then organized labor collapsed like a faltering lava dome. The lumber and paper town I grew up in built a shopping mall on the ashes, then devolved into a tribe of box stores and called it growth.

It's not really surprising, since the town was built on swampland, filled in with dirt that had been excavated from a mountain that was once a Native burial site.

Shall I own the past that was never mine? I had no choice, none at all, it's not my fault. I'm not responsible.

i live in the present
while embracing the past
and plow forward
into the ever-present
which is the only way a plow works

i fish when the fish come
and think when they do not

i believe in
not being too specific
about beliefs and creeds
absolutes blockade learning
answers made in certainty fosters ignorance


i have two children
and two step children
they are growing
and this is their world
it's not the world i inherited, but it's theirs

i am not done with it, though.

Why do you write?

I write in the Pacific Northwest (of the USA). I was VP-Programs for Willamette Writers and taught novel and character for Clark College in Vancouver, Wa. Most recently I have been a reader for Timberline Review a new literary magazine based in Portland, OR.

The physical world inspires me. The natural environment of this ground in particular runs in my blood. There may be something genetic, or maybe it's just accidental, but it is there, nonetheless.

When I watch people, I wonder what their lives are like when no one is looking. I wonder what events led them to stroll through the mall on a Tuesday afternoon - alone, yet surrounded by hundreds of other equally alone people. I get it when a cat crouches low in the grass, or a squirrel pretends to hide a recently obtained treat in five places before burying their treasure - but humans are not completely instinctive, and yet not without it.

I used to ride my bike to the only bookstore in town. It was always summer (because that is when I had time to go) The air inside stuffy, musty-hot. I poked through the hazy-dark (there were few windows and even so the light diffused and reflected off the particulates in the air) I read the oldest books first (because I thought somehow that time would run out for the fragile pages and if I didn't read them, they would die without friend or family)

There was a time when I would sit at an old Formica-topped kitchen table - a legal pad before me, the lines like rows of freshly turned soil - my pen nearly ready to drip ink in a sort of sowing seeds way. These fields were always left abandoned, fallow - only a few times the whole operation was wadded up and thrown away.

After that, came a time of escape - of creating whole new worlds to explore. Then came writing for challenge - for money, for fame.

Now I write because I enjoy it. Because I cannot imagine not writing. I know that sounds cliche, but you asked and I told.

I write for selfish reasons. I write for the young boy (yes, males will still read in the future) fifty years, maybe longer, from now. He makes his way through dusty stacks and finds my words - he nurses them and keeps the worn binding company in its final hours.

Randal Houle's Wall

Kitty Boots – Jul 23, 2016

I, too, derive inspiration from nature. Thanks for reading and commenting on Marine Forecast.

Kitty Boots – Jul 16, 2016

Thank you for reading and commenting on Exploring Physics.

Marcus Speh – Dec 27, 2011

Randal, thank you for your comment on "For Carol". I also really loved your declaration "Why Do You Write" on your profile page, especially the ending. Cheers from Berlin, mate.

Foster Trecost – Aug 20, 2011

Hi Randal, Thanks for reading and commenting on Eight States Away - I really appreciate both! fos.

DJ Young – Aug 04, 2011

Hello Randal - thank you for the welcome. Good to see a fellow Portlander.

Robert Vaughan – Jun 19, 2011

Randal, thanks so much for your recent comments about 3 Short Shorts. I appreciate it.

Robert Vaughan – Feb 07, 2011

Randal, Thanks for your thoughts about 10,000 Dollar Pyramid. I really appreciate it.

Jack Swenson – Feb 07, 2011

Randal, so you are a Carver fan, too? Thanks for your comment on my little story.

Cherise Wolas – Nov 08, 2010

Randal, I loved your comment on Unpacking Sentences, as a slice through lava cake - that's a great image. So glad this piece worked for you and thank you for the fav! Are you nanoing?

Bill Yarrow – Nov 02, 2010

Thanks for reading "Convictions," Randal. Always appreciate your responses.

Matthew A. Hamilton – Nov 01, 2010

Thanks for the fav for Musical. Glad you connected with it.

Con Chapman – Oct 29, 2010

Randal, thanks for the read. I doubt there will be reviews, but you've prompted me to at least look. Cape Cod is pretty dead in the winter, the old joke being in the summer you can fish and drink, and in the winter you can't fish.

Meg Pokrass – Oct 27, 2010

Randal, thank you for reading and commenting and favoriting "Dog Mornings" I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

George LaCas – Oct 24, 2010

Thanks for your comment on "The Money Tree" - GL

Foster Trecost – Oct 13, 2010

Hi Randal, thanks for the read and comments on MVMR, I really appreciate it. foster.

Matthew A. Hamilton – Oct 10, 2010

Thank you for reading Phantom Soldiers. Yes, I agree. I had a full page, but didn't like it, so decided to see how it would look as a 55 word story. Will battle the longer version these next few weeks.

Kathy Fish – Oct 10, 2010

Thanks for your comments on "Searching for Samuel Beckett" Randal.

Cherise Wolas – Oct 08, 2010

Randal, thank you so much for reading Redux - Things I Should Have Done #4 - newly retitled as Heartbreak Waiting To Happen. The fave is appreciated as are your comments about the arc of the men. Many thanks.

Bill Yarrow – Oct 05, 2010

Thanks for the comment on "Son of Uncle Sam." Glad you liked the poem, Randal!

Kait Mauro – Oct 04, 2010

Thanks for commenting on "Paperwork." :)

Julie Innis – Oct 03, 2010

Randal, thank you! Love yr bio - great to meet you here.

Johnny Dantonio – Sep 27, 2010

Hi Randal! Thanks for reading and commenting on Calluses ... I'm pretty new to Fictionaut so I'm just catching on to seeing comments and replying, but I love interacting with other writers, so your comment means a lot!

Matthew A. Hamilton – Sep 24, 2010

Thank you for reading Rivals. Glad you liked it.

Jack Swenson – Sep 21, 2010

Randal, thanks for reading & saying such nice things about "Naked Ladies."

Daniel Passamaneck – Sep 21, 2010

Randal, thanks for checking out the "too fast to be fat" essay and for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it. It made my day to read your comment. Of course, some days are more easily made than others but it was good to hear from you.

Michelle Elvy – Sep 20, 2010

Thanks, Randal, for the comment on Escalation. I am so pleased those 55 words work! I had lots of fun with this piece when I wrote it for 52|250.

Paula Ray – Sep 20, 2010

Thanks so much for your kind words on Turtle Summer. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. Nice to meet you :)

James Lloyd Davis – Sep 20, 2010

Randal, thanks for the fave on "Class of '65."

Walter Bjorkman – Sep 19, 2010

Hey Randal, thanks for reading The Last Time. Whhheeeat was how the idea for this flash started - my recollection of a derisive use of it as that's all there is in Kansas & nothing but. I decided to go the other way,make it sensuous, then the rest. Flash does that.

Cynthia Hawkins – Sep 02, 2010

Thanks for your comments on "Mosaic Thief," Randal. I appreciate it!

Kim Conklin – Sep 02, 2010

Thanks for the very kind words on Responsible. I'm glad it struck a nerve.

Jeff Geiger – Sep 01, 2010

Thanks for welcoming me! I might upload a real pic later on, but I sorta look like this…I look forward to uploading stories. Never done anything like this before, just heard about it from mashable.

Randal Houle – Sep 01, 2010

Lon, careful what you wish for... hahahahaha

Robert Travis – Sep 01, 2010

Thanks for the welcome! :)

Lon Koontz – Sep 01, 2010

I can't wait to spend more time here!

Donal Thompson – Sep 01, 2010

Thanks for your comments on 'Now'.

Matthew A. Hamilton – Aug 31, 2010

Thank you for reading Afghanistan. Much appreciated.

Cherise Wolas – Aug 31, 2010

Thank you so much for noticing and for the birthday wishes, yes, it is my birthday today!

Bill Yarrow – Aug 31, 2010

"Thank you for reading my stories and for your wonderful and helpful comments."
Sure, my pleasure.
"congratulations on the nomination."
Thanks, Randal!

Sara – Aug 29, 2010

Randal, Thanks for your note on my little short. (For some reason, I only now received email notification so sorry it's taken me days.) I loved what you wrote and appreciate you so much as a reader.

Matthew A. Hamilton – Aug 27, 2010

Thanks for reading my Three Haiku. Yea, 4 lines, 20 words.

Michelle Elvy – Aug 27, 2010

thanks, Randal, for the comment on Time to Rest. It came together for both Oil and 52|250 all at once - gotta love it when that happens.

Susan Tepper – Aug 26, 2010

Randal, thanks for your comments on "burned", you got it the way I meant for it to be taken

Bill Yarrow – Aug 17, 2010

Hi, Randal. Thanks for faving and for the great comments on "Self Alaska." Really appreciate them!

George LaCas – Aug 15, 2010

Or how bout "Purple Micro Godot Dot"?

George LaCas – Aug 15, 2010

Hi Randal, glad you got a kick out of "Godot is a Heart-Breaking Figment" - your laughter is the highest reward. - George

Cherise Wolas – Aug 14, 2010

Thank you for reading and faving In The Lake. Your comments on my work were just marvelous, and I will treasure your words!

Bill Yarrow – Aug 12, 2010

Thanks for commenting on "Augustinian Prayer Sonnet," Randall. Appreciate the fav!

Kim Conklin – Aug 01, 2010

Glad you liked the joke! Thanks for the comment, and I appreciate the read!

Rene Foran – Jul 18, 2010

Thank you for commenting on "fire and ice". I really appreciate any input and suggestions that you may have. As I am just getting started I need all the help I can get.

Juhi Kalra – Jul 18, 2010

Randal, Thank you for your response on "Foundation". Isn't it always the way. Peace

Rae Bryant – Jul 18, 2010

Hey, Randal. Thanks for the read and comment.

Bill Yarrow – Jul 18, 2010

Hey, Randal. Thanks for your poem about my "Found Poem"!

Michelle Elvy – Jul 18, 2010

Yep, happy endings are important. Sometimes. Thanks for the comment on Bedtime Story, Randal! Good to meet you here and at 52|250!

Sara – Jul 11, 2010

Randal, Thanks very much for kind note on Crystal. I'm so happy to hear it continues to work with each read.

Cherise Wolas – Jul 02, 2010

Randal, thank you for reading Lake Chelan and feeling that story. I am so glad that the events of my story happen frequently in Washington State. I so liked what you wrote on your wall.
Just so you know I had read Dear Planters a while ago and my comment didn't stick, but I will write it again!

Stephen Carter – Jul 02, 2010

Hi Randal,

Thanks for reading The Naked Man of Barcelona and for your kind words. Glad you got a few laughs out of it.



Chris Okum – Jul 01, 2010

Thanks for reading my story, Randal and thanks for the kind words.

Teri Pastore – Jul 01, 2010

Robert, thank for your warm welcome! Yoo Hoo for Portland Writers!

Teri Pastore – Jul 01, 2010

Robert, thank for your warm welcome! Yoo Hoo for Portland Writers!

Richard Godwin – Jul 01, 2010

Thanks Randal,I look forward to reading your work.

Sara – Jun 28, 2010

Randal, thanks so much for reading and commenting on Girl (I know it's not exactly uplifting.) Welcome, here. I look forward to reading your work.

Darryl Price – Jun 14, 2010

Hey Randal. Welcome.

Robert Vaughan – Jun 14, 2010

Welcome to Fictionaut! I am psyched to read your work.

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