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, Memories of Guadalupe

    Memories of Guadalupe

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 29 March 2020

    Am I haunted by an old place or just by forgotten spirits?Guadalupe sits in the hot sun by the edge of the river.La Senora Guadalupe: Wind, cold, sand, sun and rainhave sucked the town dry leaving only a fading husk. A wandering poet with a camera is sometimes a dangerous thing. We get into troubling places with troubling thoughts and sometimes find ourselves where we don’t belong. Such was my experience on a recent brilliant January day. I was in pursuit of an idea and ideas are hard to pin down. Eighty miles is a long way to go chasing an idea and it is a long way back again – find it or not. On this day I didn’t capture the one I was after but was captured by another. Finding a ghost town in the desert opens a new Pandora’s box. La Ojo del Padre: the father’s spring provided fresh water.And the water brought wildlife and hunters and Indians.And then the Spanish soldiers and the friars and the settlers.And then the sheep and cattle. A common story in New Mexico. I vaguely knew it was there. I had heard stories and there is more than one lost colony out in the unforgiving desert. For some, we know how they were born and why they died. That is not so much the case with Guadalupe. Now empty, it was once home to a couple hundred people. Maybe they came for the scenery – it is stunning – but I doubt it. I was a man possessed, but by curiosity, and I stumbled backwardsthrough the dusty years. In 1870 the place was a speck by the springon the banks of the Rio Puerco. A few skinny cows, some goats,and maybe a wandering Diné poet chasing an idea? I was looking for something else entirely: an old pueblo ruin perched high on a mesa. It was elusive that day and for my own good I stopped climbing. It was a long way down and I was by myself. I have tumbled off cliffs before and was always lucky but this time I was spooked. I don’t bounce like I used to. The ghost town called me back from the edge. The town, Guadalupe, is named after Our Lady of Guadalupe but it was also known as Ojo del Padre after the spring and was named Miller at one point by the all-knowing postal service. No idea why. The last Postmaster was named in 1952 so there were people living there in my lifetime. There are people alive who hold memories of this place.  Just a few miles away there was another village: Casa Salazar, also mostly invisible today. It seems to have been more substantial than Guadalupe or at least known. John Wesley Powell showed it on one of his maps drawn in 1880. The Salazar family goes back to 1610 in New Mexico. But Guadalupe has a presence and a few melting adobe structures. Who lived here?  The town, now dead, was once hometo herders, farmers and “cow punchers” and something else.The Ladies of Guadalupe: were they fact or mere rumor.Who knows? They are all dead. Mostly forgotten...and gone? There are stories about the loose women of Guadalupe. It seems like a very unlikely place for a brothel but who knows. I combed the records that I could find but there were no hints of the story. There were a number of widows with children listed in the census record with no obvious means of support. There might be a story there, maybe not.  One remarkable thing was the staggering level of infant or child mortality. There must be a camposanto somewhere full of tiny graves.   Senor Cordova ran the General Store and the dancehall out inback. There were a couple musicians by trade. Antonio was theblacksmith. Manuel was born nearby in 1800, first under the Bourbon,Carlos IV, and then Joseph, the Bonaparte, and then the Anglos. That old Manuel saw the long march of history, but nothing changes. Hardly ever. The townsfolk spoke Spanish, probably the sixteenth-century dialect common in northern New Mexico. All were born here or close by. Few could read or write but some could and there were postmasters and burro-riding boy mail carriers. How letters found this place is a miracle. There was a teacher now and then – and a school for the few kids that were sent…very few. There was no priest or padre but there is evidence of a church, of sorts. Perhaps it was a Morada maintained by Los Hermanos Penitentes or a chapel visited by a circuit-riding padre. This was someone’s hometown for several generations.  It would be a hard place to love as a home, but times change and so do expectations. There is a mystery in the earliest census pages. A curious number of persons are living in families as “adopted” or tagged as “wards”. These were sometimes listed as servants or as farm laborers. Some were Indians. Slavery, as known in the American South, was a different sort of thing from what happened here. Genizaros were an ill-defined group of people who were held captive by the Indians but were purchased (or ransomed) by the Spanish settlers most often from the Comanche or Apache traders who passed through the area. They worked the farms and herds or were servants and their existence was somewhat akin to indentured workers but there were no hard and fast rules. The early census taker apparently paused and wondered what to write and settled on “adopted and “ward”.  After seeing the place and looking at the records I think these people could have left on their own if they chose to and maybe did -- they disappear in later records. I’m taken back to consider the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years. Forty years is a long time – generational time. Those that came out of the desert mostly knew Egypt and the time of bondage from stories passed down. They experienced great hardship. They went hungry, ate quail and other wild things. They lived off the land as best they could. They left a trail of those they had to leave behind. They got into trouble, but they found their way. The people of Guadalupe found their way. Cattle and sheep herding were their primary occupations. They liked to dance and make the best of things. They had a hard life and it got harder. They survived two world wars and the depression. There was a CCC camp nearby. There were some Anglo workers from Oklahoma during the dustbowl years. The place is a ruin now. Somehow there was the last straw and people moved away. It is going back into the soil. The desert owns everything. *   *   * The Home Place – 2020

    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, The Peaceful Place

    Hopping the fence - great image Ken!

    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, The Peaceful Place

    I find places, actual geographic locations, to offer the most powerful inspiration for my writing. Once experienced, they exist in your mind, perceived in a very personal way, and also in the real world, subject to all the forces of nature and man. It is comforting that these places exist even when we are not there, waiting, as it were, for our return. Unfotunately, some places are so remote I seldom get back for a second look. I wonder if they would have the same appeal.

    A Place Beyond

    There are places beyond the usual limits of space and time. We go there – when the time is right to see what is mostly unseen.

    This is not a different world or universe. You simply have to hop the fence. Step lively if you want to catch the fleeting moment. It is worth the effort.

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

    ‘chicks bloody well can surf’

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 29 March 2020

    I watched the movie, Puberty Blues, the other night. I didn’t mean to, just found it as I was scrolling through for a movie to watch. It’s an Australian, coming-of-age movie made in 1981 about teenage life in the 70s on the coast — the beach, surf, sex and drugs. Not sure much has changed! It resonates with my teenage years and is one I watched many times over. That’s saying something for someone who doesn’t like to watch a movie for a second time, let alone a third or fourth. The movie had already begun but a beach scene hooked me immediately, no doubt because of my love of the beach and water. However, what struck me about the movie was its ending. It finished on the ideal high that many storytellers strive for, that thought provoking scene that's interpreted through book, song, movie, music or any other creative means. It’s that hook that catches you inside, pulls you to kind of do a double take. The movie’s ending shows the two girls, Debbie and Sue, buying their own surfboard and carrying it together down to the beach where their ‘friends’ tell them that girls don’t surf. The scene is brilliantly set up to evoke the idea that the surf board is too heavy for one girl to carry, and requires two. Defiant, Debbie takes to the surf to catcalls and scoffs. The scene unfold with the two girls soon laughing as they swim out and surf the waves laying on their bellies. Their friends watch on in deriding disdain. Until Debbie stands on the board, that is. Suddenly, Sue’s boyfriend is smiling as Debbie rides the waves as a professional, which actor Nell Schofield does so well as a former teen surfing champion. The friends with Sue’s boyfriend, both boys and girls, are gobsmacked and watch in awe. You can almost see the penny drop in the girls that the impossible of girls not being able to surf, is possible. What’s more, the boys see it too. It’s such an empowering scene, for the female and the male, set up so beautifully by director Bruce Beresford and cinematographer Don McAlpine: Debbie in her skimpy yellow bikini showing the boys how it’s done, defying the unthinkable. It encapsulates a spirited rebellion that rises and leads to freedom, a liberation of the stereotypical of men and women in the 1970s. Baby steps, of course. Around the time I was watching the movie, I had just spoken to my cousin in Austria. The tremble in her voice was something I didn’t usually hear in her. She was exhausted and in bed early with a headache that night. The limitations and isolation imposed because of the corona virus were getting to her, symptomatic of what’s happening all over the world. It highlighted to me, that we’re all in this together. The whole big, wide world. We’ve become one. While vast lands may be separated by distance and water, we are one community facing a virus which threatens us. One united community. And together, we’re doing what we can to minimise its impact on us. We’re carrying our surfboard together, no matter how rich or poor or what colour our skin or religion we may follow. We’re sharing that load. Sure there are some that don’t. There are always going to be those that don’t, those that live on the fringes of any community, for numerous reasons. That seems to be human nature. It’s so heartening to see and experience the world uniting though, the kindness that’s been extended by so many, and the genuine care and help for one another. It’s humbling. It’s courteous and modest, sending us back to basics. While we’ve grown into a human race that is rich in materialism, we’ve been thrown back to basics where food, medicine and water are all that matter. And it’s happening to all of us. We’ve been forced to return to our homes and families, our friends who are our families, whether in physicality, online or over the phone. We’re thinking about elderly people and looking after them. And for those that have them, we’re spending time with our children. Sitting outside in the glorious sunshine with two of my sons last week, we wondered how some parents and children who don’t often spend time together may be coping with this new togetherness. The eternal optimist in me believes the intrinsic fibres between parent and child have no option but to reconnect, to strengthen relationships and homes. The problem will be, in the homes and relationships that are broken.  It fills me with such warmth when I sit in my spring blossom and peacock chair in the sunroom at dawn and feel the quiet and peace outside, with the French doors open to my Chinese Elm and birds chirping good morning. Only an occasional car drives by compared with the many that normally stream past on their way to work. Dawn in peace is a grounding gift. My sons had commented on the lack of traffic in our street too, as they tuned into the stillness outside. This calm that shrouds us, us as in the world where we humans have been forced to stop. Our busyness has subsided and work isn’t as important as it used to be. It’s as if the world is on pause for a chance to catch its breath. It’s been so wacky busy, it needed to catch its breath. Yet as each day passes, it pants more slowly and less so.   Many are anxious about where we now find ourselves. I like to see it as being in another stage of life that’s in a constant state of flux. Life is full of those, cycles of change, of difficultly and ease, challenge and triumph, and joy and sadness. Change is one of the few reliable constants in life. The key with any flux, flow or ebb in life, is to ride it out for it will shift. Take the action necessary to make the change, to come through it and be patient to believe that things will improve. I see many who are patient and accepting of this. Some panic in change and adversity. But that’s the polarity of life, of the spectrum of experience and people — positive and negative, pure and filth, disgust and captivating. Even that needs acceptance, of life’s adversity and polarity that is building now as a collective adversity, a world adversity. In any polarity, change and adversity, life continues. It’s a short life that we have and making the most of it and any situation we’re faced with is all we can do. Love. Kiss. Confront. Forgive and move on. And laugh, don’t forget to laugh, even in times like we’re in now, and especially in times like we’re in now. Babies are born, people die. Love blooms, relationships end. Some are still at work while many have lost their means to earn an income. People are stressed, some are panicked, others are unperturbed. And yet in all that, has come one of the greatest revelations: that of kindness and compassion extended to those in need, and to those that aren’t earning an income. Such fortitude emblazons. They won’t be beaten. It really sends my heart gooey when I think of the compassion around us right now. Yes, there are some desperate and hoarding and only thinking of themselves. But the giving out number them and in reality, compassion can only be extended to those in such panic for they’re in fear. Fear can be so consuming and at the moment, it’s consuming millions. Eckhart Tolle describes fear as thoughts where people project themselves into some future moment. If we try and pause with the world, sit in this quiet time to plant our feet on the ground and not get caught in the madness, we may become less fearful. Accept that this time now, is a pause in life. Plan for the future but it’s not possible to think too far ahead as these are new times unfolding in ways we’ve not experienced before. It's new for everyone. Deal with each day as it appears. Plan for the future but live in the day that exits. More easily said than done for some, I know. Compassion and patience is called for those struggling with fear and panic. Compassion and patience is giving, as the driver coming out of his truck to share his toilet paper with the elderly lady weeping when she couldn’t buy toilet paper, and in the tray of mince and bread left on an elderly woman’s fence and toilet paper left on a door step. It’s in the man asking people that had congregated after playing soccer at the local sports oval to move on and disperse, and those people doing so. And in the phone calls and facetimes, messages on every app possible, of people checking in on friends, family and neighbours, on those alone and isolated. It’s in the support groups and services established to help people unable to go out and buy food or medicine or simply can’t move from their home for anything at all. Organisations are making extra funding available to help people who have lost their income. Even businesses and banks are showing compassion, providing extra services without cost and deferring mortgages for those who have lost work. Business partners are supporting one another, offering jobs to those working for partners who have lost theirs. People are helping people. If you ever thought human kindness had left the planet, look around for it’s galloping in right now. Even my niece offered to help me. I giggled at first, then that gooey heart got going again. Such care. And love. The fragility of life has been waved before us. But flapping madly in front of that is the human spirit. It’s strong, alive and kicking, just as it was when Debbie and Sue surfed those waves at Bondi. We are a singular community bound in belonging by a virus threatening us, bound by a humanity that comes with humility. It’s a humanity emerging within humanity. I’ll finish my rambling in the spirit of humanity loving to laugh, with Lulu taking the piss out of Corona

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

    That's wonderful, Andrea. Thanks for sharing all that. Feel free to contact me at the Farm page with anything else: https://www.facebook.com/MetropolitanSewerageFarm

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

    Thanks so much, Chris.

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

    Thank you for commenting, Rosie. Please keep safe. All the best to you and Chris.

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

    How we need the stories of our cultural heritage! We need them more than ever before, and not only because of the latest global crisis. Thanks, Katia.

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

    A Story My Grandfather Used To Tell My Mother...

    Posted in Blogs on Friday, 20 March 2020

    My mother used to tell me a story which her father would tell her. My grandfather was Iranian (half Azerbaidjani, haf Turkmenistani), and this may be a Sufi tale...   When Noah was gathering all the animals onto his Ark, and old woman came to see him. "I beg you, Noah, don't let me drown in the Flood," she said. "Let me come with you on the Ark." So Noah promised that, once all the animals were on the vessel, he would go and knock on the old woman's door. Only he forgot. Once the rain began to pelt down, the waters started to rise and the Ark was carried into the seas, he felt the pangs of guilt about the old woman. Forty days and forty nights later, once the waters subsided and the Ark stood firm on Mount Ararat, and Noah let his family and the animals ashore, he remembered the old woman and strolled in the direction of her house. There it still stood. Surprised that it had not been swept away by the flood, Noah gingerly knocked on the door, which was quickly flung open. "Oh, so we're ready to go!" the old woman said, smiling. Noah was astounded. "But – but... How come you're still here? There have been forty days and forty nights of rain, and a universal Flood!" The old woman gave him a quizzical look. "Well, I did hear some noise outside but I figured it couldn't be anything dangerous because I knew you would come and pick me up, so no harm could befall me."     Scribe Doll

    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, The captivating soul

    The captivating soul

    Posted in Blogs on Thursday, 19 March 2020

    Tall or short, thin or round. Blue-eyed, brown-eyed, maybe even one of each for a touch of the unique. Blonde hair, brunette, curly or shaved head, egg-shell or olive complexion, toned or not, big or small, great and immensely tremendous. No, there’s got to be more, much more than the pink-iced façade studded in silver beads of sugar and laced in a string of fancy frosting. Brash and brazen, shy and bashful … an observer, a chatterbox, a listener, a really good listener for sure. Now we’re getting somewhere. Accomplished in the art of listening is a necessity. But more, there’s got to be more, something beyond the veneer of superficial. A listener and conversationalist, the epitome of a good communicator who can express thoughts and ideas. And feelings. Justly and rationally, and with reason and a sense of justice and fairness. And with an ability to think on the philosophy of life and way up its nuances. Thoughtfully. Someone that reads and can read to me and I to them. Head resting on lap, fingers twirling and swirling through hair. Sharing is caring after all. Birds call, outside breezes through dreamy aqua sheers as a gentle confirmation. Confident and self-assured, but positively not cocky. Not wanky or manky or any kind of minx ... no thanks, that’s just not for me. One who is considerate and gentle, understanding of others and shows compassion for their needs. It comes with a kind, generous and selfless spirit, a giving without expectation. That’s true nobility, in the giving. Now we’re forming a picture. The ability to be vulnerable too, with the capacity to manage that vulnerability as that shows full disclosure. Honesty. It’s an imperative that goes to the top. Honesty is the sexy. But so is the glint of cheeky grin and sharp wit, the super sexy. The fun, there’s got to be fun and joy and laughter, and a sharing in that. Time at the beach, for walking, swimming and lazing. Kayaking and snorkelling, sailing and wind surfing, the adventure in trying the new, seeing the new through eyes of awe. A crack of thunder, a hint of coming rain wafts through the window. Travelling, discovering new places, exploring cultures and all that makes up our world environment, the extremes of heat and ice cold, and those damn elusive Northern Lights! Riding through snow in little visibility, or motor cycling winding mountain roads lined in green terraces of water and rice and humidity. The chance for real breath, savouring it all until it seeps in and becomes part of you, forms you as an ever evolving you. Art and music, good food and drinks. Dancing, theatre, the chance for creativity to infuse any part of life and thinking you so desire, even in the simplest of things. Gardening and weeding, especially of the inherent and intrinsic. We all need it in our own way, as an appreciation of what is, and without the gluttony of the selfish. And in the experiencing of all that together. But, there’s more. There’s the sharing of the emotional that’s so vital. An emotional intellect. A sharing and understanding of the highs and lows, the distresses and successes. The bolstering and support. Mustn’t forget that, especially on those solo quests. Rain washes in to define a picture more rounded. And an appreciation and encouragement of independence. Independence to think and do, be the individual with an identity. And an independence to be found in the sharing as well. There’s such freedom in that, as the outstretched wings of the Pegasus. Wings unclipped. It’s the kiss though, that’s the real cherry on top of the icing studded in silver beads of sugar and laced in a string of fancy frosting. The kiss that can tell all, express a feeling that can’t be defined. And the embrace that can hold the weight of the world. That’s the gold gilding the cherry in a picture that’s simple really, of a most captivating soul.    

    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, The Peaceful Place

    The Peaceful Place

    Posted in Blogs on Saturday, 14 March 2020

    I come here often. About a quarter of a mile down the path behind my home, the trail curves and broadens into an asphalt circle. About 30 feet uphill from a tiny creek that wanders through the northern end of the park, the circle has three occupants: a woodenish bench, a large rock, and me. I say woodenish because it looks like wood but feels like some sort of composite material, much harder than wood and I suppose more durable. It is painted a wood brown color and is comfortable enough for the occasional visitor like me. The rock is about 3 feet by four feet, and maybe 18 inches high of some dark stone, sedimentary I think because it is formed in thin layers, shale perhaps, though flecks here and there glitter like diamonds. Maryland is home to a black shale deposit known as the Marcellus shale, which grew up about 400 million years ago when the state was a shallow sea. The rock has secrets, I can tell, maybe fossils hidden inside, but it is not telling, not me anyway.  It occurs to me that both rock and bench will be here long after me. They were here first, and so that seems fair. The bench faces east and the sun warms my right check, while the breeze cools my left hand. There is little noise from cars, and only the occasional plane overhead. Surprising for a densely populated area, the ambient noise is mostly natural.  I close my eyes to listen. There’s a wood dove behind me, a mockingbird up and to the right, a smaller sweet-voiced bird I can’t identify somewhere in front. In the distance the brazen call of the crows disrupts the serenity from time to time. The trees in their buds rustle quietly now – their voices will grow with their leaves. The loudest sound is the crackle of squirrels as they chase though the dried leaves, until the hammering of a sapsucker opens my eyes I turn to locate him. The red headdress makes it easy. A tall slender tree has fallen across the creek, only to be caught partly upright by another tree on the opposite bank.  The sapsucker is traversing the fallen tree looking for soft spots. The business of life goes on. I always think of my father here. We used to stop here on our walks in his last year; a great walker most of his life, it was as far as he could go, or maybe as far as I thought he could. But he didn’t mind stopping. I think it was peaceful for him too. I have had other peaceful places. This is the closest. The others are far away in space or time or both. Lake of the Isles was just down the block from our house in Minneapolis, and I absorbed its peace daily during the dissolution of my marriage. It was also gracious enough to inspire a story I have been writing for twenty years now. Some of the peaceful others I have only visited once. Mallory Dock in Key West – though you wouldn’t think to find peace in the middle of that circus atmosphere. It also inspired a story. A pond in Pipestone Minnesota where wings of  dragonflies conducted a symphony I could not hear. A spot outside Devil’s Tower, the quietest place I have ever been, where the deer and the antelope play.  Another south of Yellowstone where the white noise of waterfall enveloped me in solitude.    Then there was Jackson Lake, mesmerizing with the Tetons immense and unmovable offering a glimpse into timelessness.   All these I have celebrated in books, and hope to celebrate in person once more in this life. I can’t remember any I had as a child. Perhaps it was just my bedroom, where I hid away with my books. I was an inside child, asthma probably as formative in my growth as any factor. There was a tree in our backyard with a swing. Maybe that was one: I wrote a poem about it years later: The tall oak by the swing set in the corner of the yard, by the chain link fence that marked the beginning of beyond,  is there still.  I hadn’t realized before this how many of my peaceful places I have written about. They are important to me no doubt. I have a brain that is at best restless and at worst relentless. Imagining these places helps to calm me, to keep in check the unbounded notions I am prone to even now. I hope everyone has their peaceful place. We need them so much in this anxious, fearful world But if you don’t, feel free to borrow one of mine. I’ll be the one smiling when you get there.

    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, The Narrowing

    You're right. Truth is always paradoxical. Actually, the idea of limitless choice is an illusion anyway. At any given point of life, any number of pressures and influences force a decision, with our compliance or without it. Only one path can be taken and the consequences met. The modern Holy Grail of 'me and my choices' was never viable. If only...never was.

    View Blog Post →
    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, The Narrowing

    So true - and so paradoxical! - age is the ultimate lens - both telescope and microscope.

    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, The Narrowing

    When the way narrows, focus becomes sharper and dreams and distractions lose their power to seduce. Strangely, vision, empathy and insight expand.. We see the true value of the life around and within us. We glimpse attractive prospects and know there is little mileage in them, not for us, not for the journey we are committed to. And yet there is immense pleasure and gratitude and relief to have come this far, safely, when so much could have spelled utter disaster. The savouring of moments becomes precious.

    Like Ken, on energetic days, I'm 'a blur of activity', but worry constantly that on any given day, I might not be able to meet responsibilities towards others, not without a punishing exhaustion and sleeplessness. Pacing oneself is key, though in the modern world this is completely swimming against the tide. But I dare say it was always the case and not only for those in the 'golden years'.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

    View Blog Post →
    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, The Narrowing

    I am hoping for a burst of energy and courage like yours Ken. As you say - waiting to be rescued is not an option!

    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, The Narrowing

    Writing from somewhere on my seventy-second trip around the sun, I recognize the narrowing but have experienced it a little differently. At age 65 and widowed and solo already for seven years, I packed up and moved 1000 miles; more like fled the narrowing and general frustration of small town, midwestern life. "Oh how brave you are to strike out on your own at your age" my friends and neighbors said. My vision was of me dying in that speck of a place without actually trying to escape. Waiting to be rescued is not an option.. I, too, found a muse in a place: New Mexico. But the narrowing exists. there is sort of a ridiculous voice in my head saying "pace yourself - what will you do tomorrow if you do too much today? ". I can take a day's work and spread it over three days. My big job for the day was taking two pick-up loads of yard waste to the dump. I managed to drag out the trimming, raking and piling of the stuff to a three day job so today was the grand finale. I could probably have accomplished it all in one day. But it is all fits and starts and somedays I'm a blur of activity. Then I rest up.

    View Blog Post →
    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, Man hopes. Genius creates. 

    I was without a book at lunch, and keep a copy of collected Emerson in my car for just such occasions. I read this and it just struck me. Whatever I read of Emerson, which ever book or lecture I open, I find something that speaks to me. Just like Shelley.

    I do think Emerson would appreciate your post; for him, Genius was not something to work at or with, but something given from outside. He was much taken with genius, though I doubt he considered himself one. -

    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, Man hopes. Genius creates. 

    Have to admit that I'm glad RWE gave his successors permission not to be 'pinned down' by his often opaque and undisciplined prose :-) In those days, writers seldom considered the reader experience the way authors and editors are obliged to do now, but some did have a natural gift of compelling fluency. However, I'm tempted to think he just might agree with this in some measure :-)

    https://www.gr8word.com/index.php/entry/the-soul-of-genius-1

    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, The Narrowing

    The Narrowing

    Posted in Blogs on Sunday, 16 February 2020

    “ The summoning of Courage is the most dangerous of spells. For you cannot summon Courage to do one thing. You must summon Courage to do all things.” As I turn 65, I am increasingly aware of a Narrowing in my life, the sense that the parameters, the boundaries, have closed in, and will continue to do so. My life, which had been a pyramid, has become a pillar. I am the atlas alone atop the stone, bearing the weight of the decisions that have placed me here It makes sense in a way. The narrowing may have started soon after the most notable widening of my life. In 1993, I moved to Minneapolis. My wife and I had started our marriage in Washington DC, which was home to me. But she hated the traffic and her job and possibly me. So we decided to move to Minneapolis, her home of many years. I had hoped the move might rescue the marriage, but it didn’t. It did open my eyes in other ways, though, as moving someplace new can do. And Minneapolis, despite or because of the grand disruption of my life and plans, Minneapolis with its lakes and arts and smiling people, opened my creative heart, and the city became a muse. My mind, which had always been pretty open, waited for its own muse, and it was not long in coming. In 1997, after the marriage had ended in the mutual recognition that we had engaged in hopes unfounded in reality or personality, I took a solo car trip across country, a transcendental journey described elsewhere. This was I think the widest moment of my life, where any road seemed open to me, reaching its apex on a highway on the plains of South Dakota, as the limits of the world fell away, the road went on forever, and the moment was defined by freedom. But as I discovered on that trip, in choosing one road, others are let go. In the year or two that followed, I chose two roads. I chose to be a writer, and I chose to take care of family. I see now (though I did not completely at the time) that in making those choices I let others go. Marriage or any kind of romantic partnership was not included. Deep friendships in essence became infrequent companions in practice. No one asked me to make these choices. I made them, and I don’t question the choices now, because they seemed best to me then, and what good would it do anyway? Focus and necessity became my principles, though perhaps they were only a cover. Perhaps the Narrowing had already begun. My choices came with a cost, and that cost has become the Narrowing. My life is circumscribed into smaller and smaller limits. A trip to the store or Starbucks is my adventure for the day. I dream of travel, but the effort and stress and uncertainty seem beyond my powers. I don’t drive at night, or on the highway, or to places I don’t know. I have lived in this apartment for nearly twenty years, not because I like it (though for the most part I do), but because the thought of uprooting my life at this age, and from within this solitude, is daunting. I watched this Narrowing towards the end of my parents life. Once world travelers, wonderful friends, wide readers, their world became chair and bed, television and tray, doctor and hospital. I live in a retirement community and I see daily that my life is not the only one Narrowed. Many others around me have been, by grief, by isolation, by illness, by money, by age itself. The Narrowing in my case is based less on capacity than on fear. I see this. But so far I have not been able to work past it. As an intelligent person, I feel that I should be able to. I should be able to solve this problem. And sometimes I feel that I am on the brink. I am not sure of what–a widening, reformation, a renaissance? So far the brink is as far as I have reached. Yet other times, as I sit in my chair and listen to music or read or write, I have a vision I can only dimly apprehend, like the Xanadu of Coleridge (without the opium), a vague sense that the Narrowing is in its own way a transition to be embraced. As the pyramid narrows into the pillar, the atlas atop climbs higher. The base is more unsteady, and toppling is a twist away. But the scene is expansive. We see farther, and further. Beyond ourselves. And when the clouds dissipate, the view will be transcendent.

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

    Man hopes. Genius creates. 

    Posted in Blogs on Saturday, 15 February 2020

    The one thing in the world of value is the active soul,—the soul, free, sovereign, active. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains within him, although in almost all men obstructed, and as yet unborn. The soul active sees absolute truth and utters truth, or creates. In this action it is genius; not the privilege of here and there a favorite, but the sound estate of every man. In its essence it is progressive. The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they,—let us hold by this. They pin me down They look backward and not forward. But genius always looks forward. The eyes of man are set in his forehead, not in his hindhead. Man hopes. Genius creates.    Ralph Waldo Emerson The American Scholar

    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.

Latest Blogs

Am I haunted by an old place or just by forgotten spirits?Guadalupe sits in the hot sun by the edge of the river.La Senora Guadalupe: Wind, cold, san...
I watched the movie, Puberty Blues, the other night. I didn’t mean to, just found it as I was scrolling through for a movie to watch. It’s an Austral...
My mother used to tell me a story which her father would tell her. My grandfather was Iranian (half Azerbaidjani, haf Turkmenistani), and this may be...
Tall or short, thin or round. Blue-eyed, brown-eyed, maybe even one of each for a touch of the unique. Blonde hair, brunette, curly or shaved head, e...

Latest Comments

Chris ‘chicks bloody well can surf’
29 March 2020
Your words about what is currently happening to people inside this storm are perfect! ! I love you...
Stephen Evans The Peaceful Place
29 March 2020
Hopping the fence - great image Ken!
Ken Hartke The Peaceful Place
29 March 2020
I find places, actual geographic locations, to offer the most powerful inspiration for my writing. O...
Monika Schott Farm Reflections: The Hickeys
26 March 2020
That's wonderful, Andrea. Thanks for sharing all that. Feel free to contact me at the Farm page with...
Monika Schott Farm Reflections: The Hickeys
26 March 2020
Thanks so much, Chris.