Writers

No description set for this profile yet.

Users registered past week
0,0,0,0,0,0,0
Recent Updates
  • Post is under moderation
    Ken Hartke
    Ken Hartke created a new blog post, The Fading Season

    The Fading Season

    Posted in Blogs on Wednesday, 22 November 2017

                                                             The fading season —                             when all the trees have darkened                             but before the snow —                             I build a fire in the grate                             and find that unfinished book.                                       The new morning chill                                     draws me to the coffee pot.                                     The fire still has warmth.                                     Today’s sky is bright and clear,                                     best spent walking the canyon.                                               A fresh breeze picks up.                                             Fallen leaves drift in the current                                             like fishing boats                                             heading out to fill their nets.                                             They sail past the green heron.                                                       The November night                                                     dark and calm — not yet freezing.                                                     The Leonids pass                                                     flashing and fading in streaks                                                     of yellow among the stars.  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott commented on the blog post, A rickety bridge

    Thanks, Di. :D

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Rosy Cole

    Sorolla: Virtuoso of Painted Light

    Posted in Blogs on Friday, 17 November 2017

        Let there be no mincing of comparisons in this assertion. Not Turner, not Monet, painted so directly blinding shafts of sunlight as has this Spaniard.  James G. Huneker   An imagined monologue as the painter briefly reflects on his life, his brush skimming and darting over his latest canvas:   A sensation of first light, fading, fading, and shadows pulling away to take on form and presence. It was not the future our parents envisaged. Swiftly, cholera spread its miasma and despatched them to oblivion so that my sister and I, both infants, were pitched onto a sidetrack as though it were tailor-made. Early on, I was bemused by what could be achieved with pencil and brush to chase a glimpse of eternity in the everyday. I became fascinated by the co-dependency of light and shade, landscape, mood and the soul of portraiture brought to telling life by finely nuanced brushstrokes that were somehow dashed off with the flurry of a promissory note. Go to nature with no parti pris. Just see the picture that is coming. The more I practised, the more I learned the language of light, how it dances through the moments and how agonising the challenge to work at speed and capture the essence of the scene. We painters can never reproduce sunlight as it really is. I can only approach the truth of it. Impressionism is not charlatanry, nor a formula, nor a school. No, amigos, I should say rather it is the bold reserve to throw all those things overboard. Valencians are an exuberant people, vibrant and volatile, ever questing for liberation yet eager for governance that respects their history and drips the milk of human kindness. We are a people of opposite passions who have found the sweet spot. We blaze our identity on street and terrace, in garden and taberna, stamping our characteristic rhythms, strings quivering with fumes of ancient nostalgia. The spirit of the gitano fires us. Yet do we honour our religious rituals and enjoy our well-rehearsed fiestas. Outdoors and in, our life is imbued with the sacred. I limn the bloated sails of the fishing smacks and Galilee shimmers like a mirage, two thousand years eclipsed in a burst of radiance. It is my special delight to paint en plein air, under a benevolent sky. Indoors, inspiration fades. I am disoriented. I quest for the grace that illumines. Always, this coast teems with interest. I see the tide-washed innocents, baptised, scrambling ashore, as though born into the transcendent reality they were meant for, all joy and hope and glistening skin, as though they know where they've come from and where they are going. They do not hesitate as adults do. Even the disabled ones, stricken with polio, aren't conscious of handicap. They are seized of the moment. Ah, Valencia! Valencia! I am fortunate to be grounded in my family. To paint my dear wife, Clothilde, and our lovely children between commissions marks the milestones of our journey and confers a deeper knowledge of each one of them. Well, the art world fêted me in Paris, in Madrid, in London and New York. The Hispanic Society of America wants the atmospheres, traditions and vivid hues of authentic Spain to warm themselves by. A rare and challenging accolade that must serve to cement my legacy. But as Cervantes says: An ounce of reputation is better than a pound of pearls.       The picture must radiate light, the bodies have their own light which they consume to live: they burn, they are not lit from outside. Egon Schiele Light is a thing that cannot be reproduced, but must be represented by something else – by colour. Paul Cezanne   You have the sky overhead giving one light; then the reflected light from whatever reflects; then the direct light of the sun...in the blending and suffusing of these several luminations... Winslow Homer It seemed to me that it was possible to translate light, forms, and character using nothing but color, without recourse to values. Pierre Bonnard     Oh mysterious world of all light, thou hast made a light shine within me, and I have grown in admiration of thy antique beauty, which is the immemorial youth of nature. Paul Gauguin The light constantly changes, and that alters the atmosphere and beauty of things every minute. Claude Monet      

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott created a new blog post, A rickety bridge

    A rickety bridge

    Posted in Blogs on Friday, 17 November 2017

    A slow sway pinches out a crying creak. It wavers and reverberates, motions in the belly as a slug of up and down. Yet there’s no whiff of breeze on a night where exposed roots choked by moss and lichen, and blades of grass tinged in dew sing in choral frets. A stench of heavy fog squalls in as dense cumulonimbus clouds brimming in thunderstorms, lightning and intense, heavy rains, smothering everything two steps ahead. The way forward is only over worn, wooden slats of the narrow platform that vanishes into grey. Tattered, thin ropes tied to the platform and knotted for something to hold onto appear as mystical fraying fibres that float into that same invisible. Clutching them gives little confidence of their stability and peering into the nothing below that merges into the nothing above, spins that motion in the belly to groggy vertigo. But in that empty unknown of underneath is a concealment that whispers magnitudinous esoteric breath. It’s there, somewhere, intentionally unseen but fused in super powers of nourishment and cherish. Darkness becomes darker, a blackness of dull dread smothers the light of the moon. What it cannot do though, is hinder the fullness of energy from the orb of night that governs tides and emotion. It penetrates that dull of dread as the sun penetrates to suckle the earth. Now to move, begin crossing these lopsided slats of old, no matter their dilapidated state or the huge holes in between. Move. There’s magic on the other side of the unknown. Trusting in that magic is imperative. One step forward, use the trembling to shift from a cement that’s cured beyond its use by date, beyond the malignant. Such effort, such force needed when no force can be found. War drums hum stories of dire. Breathe deep. Tune into those ropes and staunch buttresses standing quiet and resolute beneath. They’re there, powerful and strong as boulders rooted deep in love and care. Boulders of black and white … this is how it is. Boulders of nurture and coaching … you’ve got this, I’ve got you. Boulders stark with no qualms of question, all netted in silken thread studded in diamond particles. A fibrous strand can sometimes loosen and the sway of the bridge swings to groans of pitching pain. Unicorns flounce and battle narwals in pristine points, ferrets flop up and down by the magic of a wand, round and round, tails curling over heads amongst schools of frenzy scattering at the circling of ominous danger, blurring all sight with a mass of silver-laced bubbles zapped by glints of moonlight … despairing gasps, desperate grasps … pushing through catches breath upon breath. Breathe, draw from those stands of buttresses below when no sight can be seen. Another breath. The bridge begins to steady. It’s now or never for that first heave of foot forward. Go. In shaking shimmy, the bridge steadies. The safety nets await amongst fairy flutters and flickers, regardless of how long or short the drop below might be. A step forward and the tilt is greater than imagined, propels to clasp for ropes to stop from going over. Palms burn. Concentrated effort in the bracing for stability detracts from the alert needed of the gaping gaps. Sigh. A glance behind to caressing fog, a sensuous tingle. The beginning’s obscured, gone. Silence blusters within the squeaks and groans. Moving forward is ominous and one foot steals the next step in quivering shiver without thinking or effort, without control. Dolphins battle lions battle sparrows on mass. There’s no turning back. Knowing those quiet supports surround, even in the dreams of the gone, can prompt forward movement. Trust in the magic one cannot see or understand is all that can be and there comes a point where only doing will suffice and belief in the doing becomes the only way forward. And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Sue Martin Glasco

    Finally Fall Coloration

    Posted in Blogs on Tuesday, 14 November 2017

    Although I had admired a lovely large tree across our lake with yellow leaves for a couple of weeks, I kept wanting to see some reds and bright orange colors. Other trees in our yard and those across the fields were mostly still green. I remember when we used to be able to count on bright-hued leaves by the middle of October, and I noticed the last couple of years that was no longer true. I thought maybe it was just our region, and then I read that autumn coloration is arriving later elsewhere also. But finally a week ago, I looked out the kitchen patio door towards the lake to see the maple Gerald planted in the yard when we moved here, and it was at last a brilliant red. On beyond the maple was a Bradford pear tree Gerald planted that was now lovely with deep wine leaves. Rains and winds came, and the maple looks all snaggly now with half its red leaves on the ground, but it had brought me a proper measure of pleasure before that happened. I drove through that blinding rain to Katherine's one night; and driving home later after the rain stopped, the blacktop road glistened with red and orange fallen leaves shining in my headlights. Even better, a breeze would ever so often blow more leaves down to shower me with additional loveliness in my car lights. Although the maple is worst for the wind's wear, the pear tree with its crown of wine leaves is still there to please my eyes. The trees in the woods across hills and meadows surrounding us have gradually turned from green to mostly brown. If we were able to walk under them, I expect there might be some brown leaves to shuffle through; but like our pear, these trees seem to be clinging onto their leaves for a bit longer. As much as I enjoy the coloration, I am also fond of the beauty of bare stark branches, which I've always associated with November. Maybe now with global warming, those bare branches will wait to decorate the sky until the latter part of November. Our son-in-law finished his harvest over a week ago before that heavy rain came, and we are grateful for his good crops and a completed harvest. With memories of the fortunately rare years when weather made harvest impossible until after Thanksgiving or even Christmas, there is always a certain anxiety until the crops are in. Perhaps our worst year was the one when Gerald was still combining in late February after he had made a trip to northern Michigan to buy tracks for the combine. Horror stories of farmers' combines stuck in mad that year stick in our memories making an early harvest that much sweeter. My summer was full of tests that mostly turned out good. (A false positive on a sonogram necessitated an angiogram, so I was grateful for that good report.) Now I am finally able to have time to start physical therapy tomorrow to improve my balance. One morning last summer I woke up to find that the arthritis and other problems in my right knee were joined by arthritis and tendinitis in my left foot, and that day I had to start using a cane to walk safely. Those pains have mostly subsided on their own, but I still need that cane when I am away from the house. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to walking better yet after physical therapy. I also tire easily, and it has been necessary for me to realize that I cannot go to town and complete four or five errands in a half day as I have done all my life. Such adjustments do not come easy for me. Gerald helps me more than he ever needed to in the past when he was working 12 hour days or longer. I think his gardening is over for this year; we ate the last tomato from the fridge two days ago. I failed to wrap up any green ones in newspaper to use on Thanksgiving Day as I often have in the past. Yet now he is busy doing such things as replacing 16-year-old faucets or putting back up the large wire shelf in the garage, which I've used for a clothes line when clothes come out of the drier. (We learned there is a limit to how much weight that long wire shelf could take when he washed and dried a summer-full of shirts worn for only an hour or two, and I suggested hanging them there temporarily before they went back in the closet. When Gerald walked out the next morning, the shelf was down and the shirts were on the garage floor. So I have now taken off that wire shelf the antique shoe last that belonged to my father. Daddy used to have it secured on a stand in our basement in Jonesboro, and he sometimes put half soles on our shoes when they wore out. I like to think he inherited the last from his father, but I don't know that. It is small to fit inside the shoe, but very heavy since it is made of iron.  I like seeing it and holding it and thinking of my father, but I think it is probably time to give it to a local museum.) Gerald received a phone call from his Union County friend Irma Dell Eudy Elkins telling him of yet another death of a high school classmate. I had a small grade school class, and five of my closest friends have been dead for a few years now. They did not live close enough to see them often, but I miss knowing they are out there with their minds holding many of the same memories I have. And I miss not hearing from them at Christmas--or at all. I do not consider death the end, but losing people from your life here on earth is a natural part of growing older. Frequent deaths are to be expected at our age just as leaves fall off trees as winter approaches. What happened in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, is not a normal or expected occurrence, and we Americans must determine to put an end to it. Such massacres are not occurring in Japan or European countries, and we have a responsibility to stop them here. I liked seeing a post from one of Katherine's friends down in Nashville. Her photo showed a handful of postal card messages to congress. That is a small action any of us could do.  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Ken Hartke

    Thanks for the comments. Rosy -- I look at this sort of social conversation as a healthful thing for mind and body. When engaging absolute strangers in an extended conversation there is less talk of politics, religion or hip-replacements. I think we crave social interaction of this sort. I've always been a writer and therefore a spectator and listener and less of a talker but living solo for the last ten years has changed that somewhat. Stephen -- yes I think there is a civilizing effect if the topic and direction allows it. There are social divides that get in the way but, with any luck, the uncivilized conversations are rare. Sometimes, among the people you know, there are topics that you have to avoid.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, First Song

    This is almost like a memory of birth, reviving those sensations, but translated in imagistic terms. To me, it speaks of a longing for the realm we came from, glimpsed in the shadowy abstractions and tumult of our daily lives.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Rosy Cole

    Oh Ken, how rare that is! A gift. What a lovely sojourn in the byways and an unexpected exchange of engaging stories. I always feel that convivial conversation is like an excursion in itself. You feel uplifted, as though you have visited other places, with other scenes and atmospheres. Truly a lost art since modern life starves us of such opportunities.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans created a new blog post, First Song

    First Song

    Posted in Blogs on Saturday, 11 November 2017

                    To that which moves, to that which moves,          Which penetrates the universal shine         And shimmy, Roundabout, where other isn’t Within, without, non-centric circle thing,       All light that which in most the light begins       Nor knows, nor can, who descant; Because in drawing near to what is dear       Our swallowy mind perspires and jealous folds       Into itself where memory cannot go. Truly whatever the realm holistic      Powerful treasures, body and mind,     Mind of which I thee sing. Apollo, creed of the living     Vessel me in thy talented power      Bower of joy and sound! One sum, it adds up to nought,     For me for you for both     Swim to the center and cry. If you can imagine, you, and breathe      In deepest drawing scent     While I watch in awe and innocence. Ten cents a dance, the best   That I can do, shadow of the realm   Stamped in my brain, blessed, so what. Once there was a tree and a crown   Underneath it all and nevertheless leaves,   Which shall you choose, O! So seldom, Father, so seldom, do we,   But we try, we have to try and   of human inspiration can we? So back to the leaves and so forth,   They fall all over the crown,   Where is it I say? I say But no one answers. Maybe better voices,   better voices after me, after me.   Alleluia. Please respond!  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stephen Evans

    I have to say that I am not much of a conversationalist, but I admire those who are, and believe there is a civilizing effect to being able to converse amiably.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Ken Hartke

    Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation

    Posted in Blogs on Friday, 10 November 2017

    As luck would have it, I was going to spend last Saturday night in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I drove my daughter to the small town of Deming (about an hour west of there) where she could catch the Sunset Limited heading east to New Orleans. Rail travel in this country is designed to fail but those of us who choose to ride the rails make the best of it. That’s not the topic of this little essay, though I may touch on it again. As my occasional readers might know, I am fond of old hotels and, if given the option, I will choose to stay in an older hotel in the middle of town than in a Holiday Inn Express or Motel 6 out by the interstate. I’m a preservationist and I encourage efforts to keep some of these classic places going. I was initially disappointed with Las Cruces because there didn’t seem to be any older hotels other than the palatial spa/country club. Finally, I saw a listing for a place called the Lundeen Inn of the Arts. Descriptions were murky, but it seemed to be a cross between an art gallery and an inn or a bed and breakfast. It was only for one night, so I chose to stay there. I’ll save the full-dress description for another time. Just picture in your imagination a large, though semi-hidden, Spanish-Mediterranean house sitting back behind a courtyard wall and surrounded by large trees. Once inside, the walls were covered with paintings and I could see that the structure rambled off in all different directions and to various levels. The front desk was unattended – not a person in sight. I rang the bell about five times before a little girl, about seven years old, came down stairway. She went off to fetch her grandmother who arrived breathless but smiling from the back yard. This was Linda, the lady of the manor, so to speak.  We had a brief chat on where I was from and how my trip was going. As we talked she was deciding what room I should have. She decided on the Georgia O’Keeffe Room – upstairs at the end of the balcony overlooking the two-story great room and dining room. Georgia never slept there but the room displayed her paintings – or rather prints of her paintings. Linda is about ninety years old and has lived in this house for fifty years. Her husband was a prominent local architect who purchased the property – two older houses back then – and re-worked them into this intriguing and somewhat convoluted inn. Linda’s husband died a couple years ago but she is carrying on with the help of her daughter who does most of the heavy lifting (but stays in the background). I’m the Vice-president of the New Mexico Architectural Foundation but was somehow unfamiliar with Mr. Lundeen or his work – so Linda filled me in. He was quite accomplished, was a colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright, and was responsible for several local buildings in Las Cruces as well as preservation work on some of the old churches or adobe structures in the area. Most of what one sees at the inn is his work – done by his hands – and it is impressive and obviously a labor of love. We talked of architecture for some time and I learned that Linda was originally from Albuquerque and had a lot of stories about what was there fifty years ago and what has been lost over time. She still is upset over the loss of the 1902 Alvarado Hotel – a grand Harvey House establishment that served as the city’s train station. The hotel was demolished around 1970 and, frankly, I’m a little upset about it myself although I never got to see it. She and her school-girl friends would sneak the several blocks from the high school to “lunch” at the Alvarado and pretend that someday they would be of the proper society to travel and stay in grand hotels. Linda, an artist in her own right, had gallery shows in Paris so I suspect she made it. Linda had work to do, and so she sent me off to Old Mesilla, the original Spanish community south of town to see the plaza and basilica church. There was an Indian market in the plaza and I ended up buying a hand-woven rug as well and stopped in at a little cantina for a beer and local color. Local color is not what it used to be since everyone has a cell phone to stare at. Linda’s husband had reworked a local adobe house into a fine restaurant on the Mesilla plaza – the Double Eagle – and she encouraged me to go in and see the place. It was my choice for supper and it was not disappointing in terms of food or architecture. The place was a little eclectic with crystal chandeliers hanging from Spanish colonial ceilings and a huge walnut bar. Like many old New Mexico adobe homes, the place is somewhat broken up and it reveals itself to you as you explore. There’s no “open concept” design in these old places so you must wander a little. My night at the inn passed quietly. There were other guests at the inn although I didn’t meet them or even know they were there until morning. I’ve since seen online reports from other travelers that my room (mine and Georgia’s) was haunted. You couldn’t prove it by me. It was very comfortable, and I slept well. Some folks have wild imaginations. I met the other guests the next morning. One gentleman was from Albuquerque and was there buying a small condo next door in an adjoining building (once part of the inn). There was a young writer from New York City who was in New Mexico to capture material for a writing project.  There was a retired English professor and his librarian wife from Alamogordo. He now is a volunteer park ranger at White Sands National Monument. Lastly there was me, endearingly eccentric as always, and also Linda, our hostess. We began talking around eight in the morning over coffee, continued through breakfast and on to about eleven o’clock when we realized that the day was passing us by. Linda had lots of stories about various celebrities who stayed at the inn…some good and some bad. A movie was filmed there some years ago and movie crews are notorious for not paying their bills. I can imagine the place being the setting for a novel. Our young writer was enthralled with New Mexico, a common reaction. Her friends in New York think she will move here – she says no but I think she is hooked. She was not much of a morning person but came around after about a half hour. She has written screen plays but nothing we had heard of. Her parents came from Iran back in the days of the Shah’s regime and then couldn’t return home after the revolution. The English professor is not a writer but has several ideas and notes for writing projects. He is mostly engaged in the park ranger work these days. He spoke of a French couple and their son who went on a hike through the White Sands desert a while back with only a small amount of water. The mother turned back but became disoriented. The rangers found the mother first and luckily checked her digital camera to learn that the father and the boy were also out in the dunes -- somewhere. The parents both died from the heat and dehydration in just a few hours, but the boy survived. The desert is beautiful but can be lethal at the same time. Our young writer friend was heading to White Sands that afternoon, so she was given advice and several water bottles. Our conversation went on like this touching on many subjects but avoiding others. I’ve not talked with people this long in recent months when the topic doesn’t stray to politics. Not this time – no politics and no religion, which are often entwined topics these days. It was a very pleasant experience. It was a comfortable space with people who had no urgent schedule or agenda other than to enjoy the company and the morning’s conversation. The only other place where I’ve encountered this openness and social commitment to lengthy conversation has been on long-distance trains (I told you I’d be back to this, eventually). A passenger train is a community on wheels. No one with an urgent schedule would choose to travel by rail across the country so they are generally open to meeting new people and sharing in conversation, often for hours…or miles. That is a lost art in this country. We are controlled by technology or the calendar or the clock and are too self-absorbed to even have the inclination toward meeting strangers and getting to know them. There are few venues left where this can happen. My daughter walked the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela a couple years ago and related the interesting transient friendships and conversations she had with other pilgrims. That harkens back to Chaucer and his pilgrims on the road to Canterbury. We really are social animals and need to get back to the idea that our fellow pilgrims have something interesting to say.  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Evening Walk

    Thanks Ken! I agree.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Ken Hartke
    Ken Hartke commented on the blog post, Evening Walk

    I love this description -- sometimes we have to stop to take it all in.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Sue Martin Glasco

    Social Life Slowed by our Age

    Posted in Blogs on Saturday, 28 October 2017

    Aging brings frequent doctor checkups—teeth, eyes, hearing aids, heart, INRs for blood thickness, etc. etc. Then add the fact that doing the minimum of what needs doing takes forever, and we get slower every year we age.  At least some of us do. The result is that our social life has slowed down considerably. We do not get out much in the community any more, and we hesitate to invite people over for a specific date since we might be called into town to help take care of Katherine on that date if an aide fails to show up. My dad used to say if people invite you over and do not set a definite time, they may not mean it. I think he was only partly correct. We love it when people drop in and find us home. We have enjoyed some social life this month and are grateful. It does us good to be around others and hear their stories and experiences. It makes our limited life less limited! An unexpected family reunion was our first event this month! My mother-in-law's maiden name was Godwin, but her father died soon after she was married. Gerald is not even sure if he actually remembers Nathaniel Godwin or maybe his one memory is just of a photograph of him as a little boy sitting on his grandfather's lap. Mom Glasco talked about her family and cousins, and I remember meeting one cousin decades ago. We also were briefly in contact with some Godwin relatives that Gerald's sister Ernestine found online in Saint Louis. That is how we found his great grandparents' graves in the Creal Springs cemetery several years ago. We were surprised since the Godwins we knew about had lived at Pomona. Since we live so close to Route 166, I invited these Saint Louis folk to come by the next time they visited the cemetery, but they never did. However, Gerald's cousin Irma Fay (Wenger) Brown met a Godwin relative at a funeral visitation recently. He turned out to be a custodian at the school across from my childhood home in Jonesboro. That meeting resulted in an invitation to their annual Godwin reunion. So on a recent Saturday, we took off for the Devil's Backbone park in Grand Tower on the banks of the Mississippi River. Although very windy, it was a beautiful day, and the drive through the hills and farm lands was beautiful. We stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Murphysboro to obtain our contribution to the pot luck, so it was a work-free outing for me, which was good since I was having some leg pain. We were able to see all of Gerald's Wenger cousins, and we met lots of nice folks there and learned a little more Godwin history. I wish I could hear better in crowds, and I might have learned more! Last weekend we were delighted to hear that Jeannie was planning on coming down since she had not been able to come in August. She brought lots of school work with her despite working late Friday night. But I always enjoy visiting with her as she sits handling her kids' art work helping them get ready for their next step—the current project is making sketch books. Since she has over 500 students (K-5) at two different schools and is expected in some cases to teach from a cart, it sounds to me that it is an impossible job that reflects the lack of respect too many have for the value of the arts. Nevertheless, when I hear her talk and see the kids' work, I am positive her students are learning more than she can guess. In talking with the kids about books, she found they knew the word “spine,” but since the kids are computer literate, she was surprised they did not know about fonts. She took back a arm full of old magazines from our house to help her students discover different fonts. Before Jeannie arrived on Saturday, Gerald invited me to go with him and our birthday granddaughter Brianna and her mother to Carterville. Gerald had been planning for some weeks that he wanted to buy her a new Bible for her birthday. He had recently met a knowledgeable clerk at the book store there that helped him buy two new Bibles, so he wanted Brianna to meet this clerk and have his advice. Brianna is by nature a thoughtful person, so she listening thoughtfully and considered carefully before we left with her new Bible. Mary Ellen made some Christmas gift purchases, and I knew I was getting old because I resisted buying a single book. (Every time I was tempted, I remembered the pile of half read books awaiting me in our living room and told myself not to add until I finished some of them.) After lunch at a nearby family restaurant, we returned Bri and her mom to their house as Brianna had plans to dress for Halloween parading with her brother Trent in Carbondale. (They went as Dexter and Dee Dee in memory of their childhood when Trent was always involved with some scientific project and Bri was the annoying little sister.) We went home to anticipate Jeannie's arrival. On Sunday, Mary Ellen and Brian invited us to celebrate Bri's birthday by having lunch at Kay's Sugar Creek restaurant in Creal Springs. Many years ago when Gerald and I used to go down for Sunday lunch or Friday supper at a little cafe on the opposite side of the street, Kay's was closed and seemed at that time mostly open for noon-day meals for seniors. I had not even realized they were open again on Sundays. (And for all I know, they may have been for years.) It had been several decades since we ate at Kay's—I only remember one Sunday dinner there with a favorite pastor and his wife way back then. So last Sunday, we walked in to the typical country-style cafe with a cozy friendly atmosphere and only a few tables occupied. A blackboard told us that Sunday dinners gave you a choice of fried chicken or chicken and dumplings with two sides. I debated and ordered the dumplings, which surprised me by being served in a bowl, more like a soup than the usual dumplings. But the down home ambiance was charming; we had not been there long when a fellow Crab Orchard school alum walked in, and Jeannie and Mary Ellen enjoyed a brief visit with someone they'd not seen for years. The best part, however, was lingering after we'd eaten. Jeannie asked her daddy some good questions that brought out some family facts and stories I'd never heard. Our sweet waitress was more than patient; and with plenty of other tables for those arriving after us, we felt no need to hurry and depart. I've always been fascinated with the history of Creal Springs, where Gerald's grandfather Ben Glasco attended the Academy to earn his teacher's license and where my grandmother Sidney Martin attended a church assembly that was held there in the 1920s, I think. (Gpa Ben chose not to use his teacher's license since farm hands earned a larger salary! So not valuing education has been with us a long time. Nevertheless, I understand that Gpa Ben would have neighbors gathering in since he took a daily paper and was able to read it and keep up with the news the others wanted to know in those days without even radios. He also was considered an excellent mathematician and ready to help figure interest and other farm sums. I always admired this trait in Gerald's dad also.) Jeannie left us Monday morning, but we had an evening to look forward to. Gerald's high school class of 16 no longer has planned reunions, but when their Wolf Lake class valedictorian and his wife come down from Peoria, we are grateful that Irma Dell Eudy Elkins gives Gerald a phone call and an invitation to meet other classmates or relatives who get the word and have dinner with Harold and Jean Stark at Anna's Mexican restaurant. The service team there is so kind and attentive and they have a great reserved room for us. Even in our separate room, I have a great deal of trouble hearing. Since others there had the same problem, I did not feel out-of-place as I sometimes do when I have to keep asking for repetitions. I always enjoy catching up with Shirley Miller to ask her about their small church in the village of Reynoldsville. Houses on the west side of highway have been torn down long ago and their property absorbed into one large farm. With that area in a flood plain, no new houses can be built on the east side either. So the once thriving small village church of decades ago has seen young people move away and older people die off. But a local dozen or so residents still faithfully attend, and I love to hear all about their worship and mission activities. For example, they bought 22 pairs of tennis shoes for local school children who needed them. They are prompt with needed food or errands if they see a need. If you are going to have car trouble on Route 3, try to have it near Reynoldsville. Their congregation stands able and willing to help those with misfortune on the highway. This tiny congregation is not made up of highly moneyed people, but Shirley says they have no problem paying light and heating bills and for a young man gaining experience preaching for them. I have heard of small churches having difficulty securing a pianist, but Shirley prevented that problem years ago when she and her husband gave their daughter piano lessons as a child. She has no idea when the congregation will no longer be there, but she is enjoying the present time, and I enjoy it vicariously. Gerald's special social outlet has always been “breakfast with the boys.” And so this morning, he made time to drive down to Union County to eat breakfast with his one remaining brother and his nephews and who ever shows up for breakfast at wherever the current gathering place is. Getting to see little Jentra in her spurs preparing for the horse show at their arena this afternoon was a special treat for him today. As usual, I slept late, and he brought the family news home to me. Despite aging problems, we have enjoyed the social life we have been blessed with this month. We are grateful to have the energy to visit with others and hear their news—if we keep our hearing aid batteries changed and if we sit close with enough concentration!                  

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Evening Walk

    This bench is where my father and I would sit, resting for the turn home.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans created a new blog post, Evening Walk

    Evening Walk

    Posted in Blogs on Wednesday, 25 October 2017

    The slant of light gives all a clarity. Emerald silhouetted leaves quake against the lustered sky as folded   wings congregate in glimmered shelters, light and shadow tangled in the branches.   The path curves, and we, dimmer now, and chill, stepping closer, hand, hand, turn for shelter and repose, but somewhere further on we see shivered light spill redolent evergreen.

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Katherine Gregor
    Katherine Gregor created a new blog post, Yellow

    Yellow

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 22 October 2017

    I need yellow in my life.  Its unadulterated joy.  Its sunshine.  For me, joy is most definitely yellow.  Not lemony, with a green undertone.  Not a darker shade with a injection of mustard.  Not the distinguished, pale, almost ivory variety.  But brilliant, sunny, golden and unashamedly direct.  Like a smile.  Not a glamorous, camera-friendly smile but a grin that takes over every muscle in a face, and doesn't give a damn about how the light falls on it, totally un-self-conscious, unbridled, full of teeth, wrinkles and dimples.  Like the glowing petals of sun-worshipping sunflowers in a Tuscan field.  Like the spring-heralding daffodils on a Cambridge College lawn.    I have cut out the word JOY from sunflower-yellow card, and pinned it to the board above my desk.  Yesterday, I bought myself a bunch of yellow roses, and trimmed the stems at different lengths before arranging them in a cobalt blue, earthenware pitcher.  They catch my attention as soon as I come into my Scriptorium, ten buds looking in every direction, one of them brushing against the corner of my laptop screen.  My eyes yearn for yellow.  My lungs long for a deep breath of yellow.  My skin craves sunlight.  Over the past few months, I have been crocheting small, deep yellow lozenges.  One or two at a time, while watching television or listening to the radio.  When I have finished the ball of yellow wool, I'll buy another one, burnt sienna perhaps, or forest green.  Perhaps by January, I will have enough lozenges to make a Harlequin scarf to brighten up the grey English winter days.  But whatever colours I choose, they will have to make a good team with the first, the original deep yellow, the burst of sunshine. I find brown grounding and comforting.  Green makes me feel elegant.  Red is for when I'm not afraid to be noticed.  Grey is for slouching over my translations.  Blue is for calm, orange for inspiration.  And yellow is for rejuvenation, regeneration, for courage, for success.  For happiness like a cloudless, sunny sky.  For warmth, for strength, for courage.   For the unstoppable joy of the sun. Scribe Doll

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Virginia M Macasaet
    Virginia M Macasaet created a new blog post, Sunday Moment

    Sunday Moment

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 22 October 2017

    A few months back I accepted a new job that has since kept me very busy. No complaints.  Just very busy.   Writing unfortunately took a back seat. Thoughts about writing would come to mind then I’d forget.   Something about work always got into the way. Today is a conscious mindful effort to sit down and write.   How I miss this moment! Where do I catch up from?   A favorite cousin suddenly passed away at age 59. Dad at 91 has been waking up and thinking about his travels.   Having lost a loved one all too soon I told myself, “gotta do this one last time for dad!” Without hesitation and with doctor’s clearance I booked us a weekend flight to an old haunt.   Where I live, a short trip to Hong Kong has always been the next best thing to a long flight. It’s not going to be an easy getaway because dad requires strict and close attention.   Nevertheless, it’s going to be fun and memorable! Something I’d like to do for dad as time is not so much on his side at his old and tender age.   The weekend break will serve me well too. I tend to get very caught up with the demands of my job.   I love it but it eats a lot of my time! Fortunate in the sense that being single, I can dictate my time.   The girls have their own schedules and they aren’t home much of the weekend. Therefore, keeping myself busy, whether work related or something else, is perfect for me.   Just as I am about to take off for the carwash, thought I’d sit down and talk to myself. So here I am, just sharing bits and pieces of what’s been happening in my life.   It’s all good.  I am well.  Most of all, very grateful for the good fortune and peace I now have in my life.   I forgot to post this earlier. Back now from lunch with dad.   Bought him some doughnuts to go with his coffee. Still have a few hours to go before sunset.   Gotta dash out again and finish off what’s left in today’s list.

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Monika Schott

    Thanks, Stephen. It's an important part of history. It must be captured.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Monika Schott

    Thanks, Rosy, that's a lovely thing to say. I am enjoying it and why shouldn't I share the joy! The stories are fascinating and so rich, which is ironic given the simple pleasures, although very hard working life, of back then. As you say, it wasn't so long ago and yet it seems a lifetime away.

    Feel very lucky to have the chance to give a voice to such a unique story and spirited community.

    View Blog Post →
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.

Latest Comments

Monika Schott A rickety bridge
18 November 2017
Thanks, Di.
Diane Rampertshammer A rickety bridge
17 November 2017
Pure poetry - very evocative - you are a painter with words..Di
Ken Hartke Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Thanks for the comments. Rosy -- I look at this sort of social conversation as a healthful thing for...
Rosy Cole First Song
12 November 2017
This is almost like a memory of birth, reviving those sensations, but translated in imagistic terms....
Rosy Cole Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Oh Ken, how rare that is! A gift. What a lovely sojourn in the byways and an unexpected exchange of ...

Latest Blogs

                                                         The fading season —                             when all the trees have darkened           ...
      'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.' Virginia Woolf     I know w...
A slow sway pinches out a crying creak. It wavers and reverberates, motions in the belly as a slug of up and down. Yet there’s no whiff of breeze on...
Although I had admired a lovely large tree across our lake with yellow leaves for a couple of weeks, I kept wanting to see some reds and bright orange...
                To that which moves, to that which moves,          Which penetrates the universal shine         And shimmy, Roundabout, wh...