Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pow Wow

I was tired from a week of teaching and slept late. Allen got up early with the dogs and drove a few miles to Perrysburg and attended a Pow Wow. He returned after noon and I was still in bed. He'd bought me a cap, black with pretty feather designs on the front and back. I dressed and we went back to the Pow Wow. I got a piece of fry bread and split an "Indian Taco" with Allen. I bought a book about Native American mythology and the skull of a snapping turtle. After the Pow Wow, Allen and I got some tacos at Taco Bell and drove to a place beside the river.

We sat on the tailgate of the truck, looking out over the river. The river was low and you could see the rocky bottom in many places. Water birds stood on these rocky islands. Allen and I sat and watched the river. The sun went down. It was the best part of the day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dark Patches

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The Best I had done seem'd to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?

Walt Whitman.

Friday, September 21, 2007

In a Ditch

Tiny orange butterflies on the
ground in the wet part of a ditch

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New website

I am going to try this website on for size. It still needs work. Today I haven't been able to access the features due to "a busy or broken server." Also the contact feature does not seem to be working. Maybe they are just having a bad day. So far all the web builders I have been using are free. I like this one, drag and drop: it is easy. But if it isn't consistent I may have to eventually pay for a site.


Another thing you notice about Big Sur (and towns nearby) is how floral the landscape is. Top photo: a flowering tree in Carmel.
Bottom photo: succulent ground cover behind Robinson Jeffers's Hawk Tower in Carmel. By the way, locals call the house in the distance the "butterfly house" because of its odd roof. Someone told me this house is on the market for twelve million dollars.


Allen stands inside one of the redwoods at Pfeiffer State Park in Big Sur.

Everything at Big Sur humbles you, reminds you of your smallness.

The Ocean at Big Sur

Big Sur is primal. It brings you to an encounter with your deepest self. Everything there is about height and depth, the vertical; whereas here in the flatlands of Ohio, where I live, it is all about the horizontal, flat, seemingly endless space. The change of geological perspective was good for me. My room at Esalen was right next to the ocean. My windows were open and I could hear the ocean constantly. It was quite loud and utterly contagious.

The Long Journey, another view

This photo shows another view of the odd geological features that are sometimes found beside Highway One near Big Sur. This angle shows how close the rocky soil is to the highway. On the other side of the road, not visible in this photograph, is a steep cliff. At the bottom of the cliff, or course, is the ocean.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Long Journey

Along Highway 1, near Big Sur, California. This is me standing at the base of one of the most curious land features along this highway.

Many people come to the Esalen Workshops in order to put their experiences into a context. They want to express their pain without being trite or luridly confessional.

During my workshops, I saw people dealing with all the aspects of the human experience with perseverence, courage, and dignity. I saw people laugh (great celebratory laughter) and I saw them weep at what they had written. It all happened in the most supportive atmosphere I have ever experienced.

Big Sur is an excellent setting for writing because so much of what is going on in the landscape mirrors our own interior journey. The ocean and the rocks are important symbols of experience; however I found this roadside phenomenon to be most characteristic of people's experience at Esalen. This is not stone; it is a mixture of sand, clay, and small stones, shaped by the wind and the rain. It crumbles easily and yet it has a deceptive appearance of solidity. This geographical feature is right next to the highway, and it makes me recall one of my favorite poems by Theodore Roethke:

In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones. ...

--excerpted from "Journey Into the Interior" by Theodore Roethke

Something that happened at Esalen

She was tall and slender. She came into the workshop in a sleeveless blouse. She had a tattoo encircling her upper arm. From something she'd read to me earlier, I knew she had a dying child. She listened to my prompt and wrote for twenty minutes. She read. It was a delicate ending to the book she would someday write. I could see the book in my mind's eye. When she finished reading, I closed the book gently and put it on an imaginary shelf. I wanted to cry because the book was so beautiful and now it had ended.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hurry, hurry

Well, I had to scrap the website I had been working on for so long. I started building the new one. Hurry, hurry, if you want to see it, because I know I'll do something soon to screw it up. It has an excerpt from "Trash" on it.

I'll keep working on the site. Hopefully I won't have to scrap this one.

Click >here< to go to the site.

Strange Days

What a strange few days it has been. My mother-in-law died. I dislike the term, "mother-in-law," but it answers the question of relationship. I shall not say much, except what is obvious. We are all sad.

Meanwhile, my trip to California is coming up quickly. Some of the luster is gone because of the family tragedy. Allen even mentioned not wanting to go. My desire faltered as well. However, we are going. I will be teaching writing workshops again at Esalen in Big Sur. I have been looking forward to it for several months. Ultimately, I am happy to have the opportunity to see the Pacific Coast again. Brian (our son) will be living here and watching our animals.

My story "Trash" just came out in The Sun which has a new website. You can look at the contributor's notes of the issue that my story is in if you click >here<

Speaking of websites, for some weeks I have been trying to put together a website for myself. I had basically finished it except for a page where links got ruined. They still work but look bad. Now the site won't let me fix anything; it just keeps prompting me to make a new blog. I can't even delete the one I just finished. Oh dear. Maybe this is what I get for using a free service.

Strange days, strange days.

Posting is likely to be irregular until I get back on my pony again.



About Me

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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Epistle, by Archibald MacLeish

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych



Little Deer

Little Deer



Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back