Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

Unwritten

"Ah you still ask me for that unwritten letter always due, it seems, always unwritten, from year to year, by me to you, dear Lidian, -- I fear too more widely than you mean, -- always due & unwritten by me to every sister & brother of the human race. I have only to say that I also bemoan myself daily for the same cause – that I cannot write this letter, that I have not stamina & constitution enough to mind the two functions of seraph and cherub, oh no, let me not use such great words, -- rather say that a photometer cannot be a stove. It must content you for the time, that I truly acknowledge a poverty of nature, & have really no proud defence at all to set up, but ill-health, puniness, and Stygian limitation. Is not the wife too always the complement of the man’s imperfections, and mainly of those half men the clerks? Besides am I not , O best Lidian, a most foolish affectionate goodman & papa, with a weak side toward apples & sugar and all domesticities, when I am once in Concord? Answer me that. Well I will come again shortly and behave the best I can Only I foresee plainly that the trick of solitariness never never can leave me."

From a letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson to his wife Lidian, written during his 1848 visit to Great Britain

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Ah, subtext, the mainspring of all good writing. This is quite a revelation, though I don't believe Emerson was insightful enough ... Read More
Saturday, 14 October 2017 16:26
Stephen Evans
Interesting reading! As you know, Emerson is part of my intellectual pantheon. I was struck by this letter, found it heart-breakin... Read More
Saturday, 14 October 2017 19:13
Stephen Evans
And that being said, I will certainly bow to your deeper understanding of early 19th century marriage conventions. ... Read More
Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:48
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8 Comments

A Transcendental Journey

Twenty years ago today, I started a journey across country that I'm sure changed my life and helped me become, if not a serious writer, at least serious about writing. The journey continues, and I am grateful for both the mountains and the valleys.

Here is a little bit from A Transcendental Journey:

We know we're awake because our eyes are open.

By late afternoon, I was ready to stretch my legs. Following a particularly long swell of highway, I reached the top of a bluff. Spotting a rest stop across the highway, I pulled across and into the parking lot.

Set back a few hundred yards from the edge of the bluff, the building was long and low, mostly one big room, with a massive rectangular information desk in the center manned by several busy aides. Beneath the windows, low slung metal racks brimmed with brochures describing every attraction you could imagine, and many you couldn’t.

I strolled outside the building towards the bluff. The grass was tall, not Really Tall, but enough to hide a snake or two. So I kept my head down heading toward the brink. At the edge of the bluff, I looked up.

The slope fell sharply away hundreds of yards to where the Missouri River engraved a broad S through the grasslands. Beyond the wide impassive river, the brown flat earth stretched to the curve of the world, melding into a white horizon unguessably distant. But it wasn't the distance that held me to the spot.

There are qualities that belong to a place, that inhabit its essence and mark it in the memory. The quality of this bluff was Blue.

Blue has many names: azure, sapphire, navy, even cornflower. I have never seen a cornflower, or any blue flower for that matter. But cornflower blue I can picture in my mind: draw a luster from the earth, blend in sunlight, sift in moonlight.

What I saw from the bluff was not any blue I could imagine: not azure nor sapphire nor navy nor cornflower. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can't picture it. But I can remember how it felt, dodging my eyes and seeping unfiltered through the pores of my skin: Blueness, essence of Blue, narcotic Blue. Manifest Blue. True Blue. Transcendental Blue.

But there were two blues, not one.

We see the sky as blue because the blue electromagnetic waves of sunlight are shorter and are scattered more easily by the dust in the atmosphere. But nothing about this blue seemed scattered nor did sunlight seem required. Standing there, I realized that I had never truly seen a blue sky before. A stain had been washed from the stratosphere. Blue shone through.

Bodies of water are blue when they reflect the sky. But the Missouri had a different recipe that day, independent of the firmament above. Take a sea, fold it over and over and over like a translucent sheet, then glaze it in a tawny bed of grass. That is Missouri Blue.

Go to the Missouri River crossing.

Stand on the bluff on a cloudless day.

Blue lives there.

Copyright

© Copyright Stephen Evans 2017

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
This is so beautiful, my favourite passage in the book. So pleased you chose to share it with us. Thank you.
Sunday, 10 September 2017 17:40
Stephen Evans
Thanks - I think it is my favorite too. Crossing the Threshold.
Sunday, 10 September 2017 19:33
Nicholas Mackey
Beautiful writing, Stephen and thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us
Sunday, 10 September 2017 23:25
1812 Hits
8 Comments

I'm Writing a Limerick about William Faulkner

What rhymes with Yoknapatawpha?

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
You've flummoxed Google, Steve, which I know is your very particular skill. However, here goes: Last evening in Yoknapatawpha, th... Read More
Friday, 01 September 2017 15:39
Stephen Evans
That's better than anything I thought of!
Friday, 01 September 2017 16:48
Ken Hartke
Mashugana?
Saturday, 02 September 2017 16:27
990 Hits
3 Comments

Lands Away

                    There is no Frigate like a Book

                    To take us Lands away,

                    Nor any Coursers like a Page

                    Of prancing Poetry – 

                    This Traverse may the poorest take

                    Without oppress of Toll – 

                    How frugal is the Chariot

                    That bears a Human soul.

                                                Emily Dickinson

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
Sadly, my ship too often sails without me! In the words of a poem my Dad taught me: TIME, you old gipsy man, Will you not s... Read More
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:09
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1 Comment

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Latest Comments

Rosy Cole Paris, 14 Juillet
08 August 2019
Yes, I feel confident that 'The Government' does not essentially represent the British people. When ...
Stephen Evans Memory
29 July 2019
Very kind!
Rosy Cole Memory
28 July 2019
In view of the above theme, I feel bound to add this:Back in the theater again after too many years....
Rosy Cole Memory
28 July 2019
Some mischievous ambiguity here :-)
Katherine Gregor Paris, 14 Juillet
25 July 2019
I don't blame the Queen or the monarch. They have little say in Government decisions. I hold Her M...