I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible - who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand. By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Writers—like artists of other mediums—often say that no novel or short story is really ever finished until it’s read. As an old novelist friend of mine used to say, great fiction is always a C, never an O—that is, it leaves some open space for readers, space for us to bring our own lives and experience into the work and make it real or whole or alive.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Now Garrison Keillor, another Minnesota writer, is not above taking some shots at Lake Woebegone's silly cast of folks, but he's nothing at all like Lewis. Some fine Minnesota critics have already parsed out the differences between them, I'm sure, but it seems to me that both writers have made a good living carving out Minnesota bumpkins, with this appreciable difference: when push comes to shove, Garrison Keillor likes 'em; Red Lewis hated 'em.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from all wordly engagements. You may safely say a penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shop-keepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them — as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon — I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.
Henry David Thoreau, "Walking"
Easy for him to say. The man took a two-year holiday beside a pond and did nothing but finish up some writing, sauntering in to Concord on Sundays to mooch meals from anyone who’d feed him. Four hours a day and more—just walking? Thoreau was no Calvinist.
Our vacation walks are sometimes like saunas. My shirt gets soaked every day, twice by rain, when we were caught out along the trails; but every other time by a bath of body sweat. Twice, heat stroke seemed just 100 yards off. Four hours of walking would lay me up for a day or two, but then the kind of preservation of health and spirits Thoreau is talking about isn’t a plain old constitutional. Besides, Thoreau wasn’t sixty years old when he parked himself in the woods either.
Listen to him:
But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours — as the swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise go in search of the springs of life. Think of a man’s swinging dumb-bells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far off pastures unsought by him.Okay, okay—consider me scolded, even if searching for the springs of life wasn’t what we’ve been doing. Thoreau, a thorough-going New Englander, shed his Puritanism rather well, but lost nothing of the preacher in the process. There’s lots of finger-wagging in Walden.
So what if we’re not Thoreau-scale walkers. I don’t really care. There are bike paths galore here, “up north,” flat and paved and richly accessorized old railroad beds that make wonderful places to walk. Wild flowers are just now coming into their own; and after an hour’s workout, one’s appetite well, sort of blossoms, too.
Besides, toting a camera and snapping pictures is great therapy because it forces the eye to look for beauty. As Thoreau himself might say, that's not a bad occupation. One could do worse things with his or her time.
And that statement, by this dumb bell, almost sounds like him. But I swear--no finger-wagging.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
“Hear me when I call”
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Hmmm. See that ball of fur? You guessed it.
All I know is that, if given the choice by my creator, I'd much rather be a chipmunk than a 'possum--and that, therefore, Sarah Vowell, John Winthrop, and the Holy Scripture are probably right: we're not all created equal.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The kids weren't, by definition, "orphans," really; they were kids whose parents couldn't raise them--for whatever reasons. Sometimes their time at the home was relatively short because Dad got himself a job and could support them once again. Sometimes, they were there until high school or later.
I wanted to see the stone and the place close up, so that's where I spent most of my early Saturday morning. Most of the shots are from the cemetery, even though there's only one of the stone I wanted to find.
Rarely do I see coyotes, but this morning a pair, oddly enough, but they weren't particularly interested in posing so the pics a dud.
As always, there was far more beauty out there--gossamer fog all over after a few days of rain--than I could get in a camera.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Anne--and her family--were far more German than Dutch. They'd fled Hitler in 1934, taking up residence in the Netherlands, where Otto Frank, her father, had business connections. When the Nazis occupied Holland, trouble followed, of course; and Otto took his family into hiding in July of 1942.
Just about everyone knows about The Diary of Anne Frank. Millions have read it. Think of the incredible stories of World War II--the flag-raising at Iwo Gima, the selfless heroism of hundreds of thousands on Omaha Beach on D-Day, the horror and frozen of the German assault at the Battle of the Bulge. Think of the histories of WWII already written, the novels--Catch-22, A Bridge too Far, think of the movies, South Pacific, Casablanca. So many stories, so much sadness, so much heart.
Only one non-fiction book in the history of the publishing has outsold The Diary of Anne Frank--the Bible. Who could have ever imagined that the diary of a girl in occupied Holland would be read by more people than any of the immense array of choices to have come out of World War II?
But it did. Why? I think William Faulkner had it right:
I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
16But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. . ." Deuteronomy 20