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Showing posts from July, 2009

The Wind in the Willows & Love of Place

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Kathleen Cain begins her review of Standing in the Light by Sharman Apt Russell (Bloomsbury Review, May/June/July 2009; http://www.bloomsburyreview.com/) this way: “I’ve been waiting for this book all my life…I am urged to awe that equals spiritual fervor in the presence of Nature.”
What is it about Nature—Nature with a capitol N as depicted in Sharman’s new book—that moves us so? How can the physical world cause our spirits to have such passionate responses?

On May 4, 2009, Time Magazine chose The Wind in the Willows as its “Book Pick for the Week.” This classic children’s novel, a compilation of stories told by the author Kenneth Grahame to his four-year-old son, was first published in America in 1909. One hundred years ago! Yet here we are today, still falling in love with Mole and Rat and Badger and Otter and yes, even arrogant Toad—creatures great and small who live charmed lives full of missteps and dangerous escapades at, or near, the River. Not just any river, but THE River. A…

Mushrooms, Growing Our Writing, and Parabola Magazine

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Wine kept cool in dark cellars. Whiskey aging in oak barrels. Bread dough set out to rise on the counter. A chicken breast marinating in soy and ginger. The lacy white filaments of a mushroom root buried in damp compost. A poem fleshed out, then tucked away in a drawer. The germinating seed of a short story. The landscape of a novel unfurling after a dormant winter. All these things do better given time to ripen.


We’ve had abundant moisture this spring and early summer. The Rocky Mountains are awash in wild flowers. And wild mushrooms. They’re everywhere. Sprouting stubborn caps in gravelly soil. Pushing up through needle-covered ground beneath ponderosas. They’re in the sun. In the shade. Under logs. Next to rocks. Growing in between the bunch grasses and among the penstemons.


Several years ago, the Wyoming Center for the Book asked many of the Wyoming Arts Council literary fellowship recipients and a few other notable authors living in Wyoming to write essays for the anthology Deep W…