The poet, philosopher, and comedian Michael Bernard Loggins does not have a cell phone number or an email account because he “wants to participate in life.”
Instead, he carries pens and markers with him as he takes the bus around the city to his favorite places: Adobe Books, the volunteer-run punk record store Thrillhouse Records, and, McDonald’s. At all of these places, he hangs out and writes notes for people on small sheets of paper. He also writes in his notebook and philosophizes with those around him “What is your biggest fear?” he sometimes asks.
Turns out, he has a book on the subject. It’s called Fears of Your Life. The book, which has gained popularity after being picked up by NPR’s This American Life, describes more than 180 of Loggins’ fears, including “Fear of toys that comes on by itself without anyone touching it,” “Fear of being lost,” and “Fear of authority and punishment.”
Loggins was born and raised in San Francisco and grew up in a family of nine children at a housing project in the Western Addition. His childhood was “half-bad, half-good,” he says.
At the age of six, he began writing as a way to express his emotions and pent-up anger against his brothers and sisters, who he says made fun of him.
Loggins, now 60, eventually ended up working for many years at Creativity Explored, an art program for adults with disabilities. He now has two published books: Fears of Your Life, and Imaginationally, an illustrated dictionary of words he came up with. During his interview, he came up with the word “fondable,” which he says means the “quality, enjoyable, fun time parents spend with kids.”
Loggins self-describes as a Black African American; a good, truthful, and joyful person. For him, “life is a mix of nuts, raspberries, cranberries, almonds, and cookies, and bananas and pears, if you consider it that way. Life is a mix of different kinds of categories.”
Heather Holt, one of the members of Adobe Books, said that during the pandemic, they all worried about Loggins. The store was closed for three months and they had no way to contact him. But eventually, he showed up. “It felt right again,” she said.
“Michael, you are prolific,” Holt told him, as she sorted through the hundreds of pieces of paper he left behind at Adobe Books with notes on them, some in black, and others in red ink. “This was his red period,” she explained as she paused on a note which read in part:
“LIFE IS A LOT HARDER AS IT IS ALREADY. LET LIFE COME MORE EASIER.“
Another read: “COVID 19 IS SUCH A VERY UNRELIABLE AND WRONGFUL CONCEPT and so much of a SCREW-UP.”
Loggins’ books can be purchased at your local bookstore, or from the artist’s page on Creativity Explored.
Michael’s books are published by local San Francisco publisher Manic D Press, and his work is appreciated everywhere!
So happy to see that Michael is thriving and productive. Thanks for writing the article. If you are reading this, much love and good vibes to you, Michael!
MBL is a SF treasure.
Thank you for this article and photos. I’ve known Michael for so long and I miss seeing him as I’m not in San Francisco any longer. Such a joy to spend time with him.
Glad to hear Michael is doing well and still inspiring!
So nice to see Michael get some love here.
So great to see Michael. I miss working with him at Creativity Explored (and running into him at Adobe, on the street, etc.). Thanks for the article!
Michael’s work at Creativity Explored is wonderful. I gift friends with his books all the time. He’s one of my favorite philosophers!