Showing posts from 2013

Spinning Gold from Straw: The Magical and Transforming Roots of Creativity

In the deep recesses beyond what we can see or touch , in the world where the Great Mystery dwells and where our greatest works of art germinate, are the intertwining roots of MIND, BODY and SPIRIT.  Our literature, our music, our paintings, our sculptures, our architecture, our textiles - all these expressions spring from the creative synergism between mind, body and spirit. How do we transform our creative visions into artistic expressions? How does the intellect imagine form, and then breathe life into it, animating it, imbuing it with spirit?  What magic ingredient gives one story the deep resonance of soul, while another lies limply on the page? To embody is to make manifest, to bring forth - whether on the page, on the stage, on the screen, in clay, or marble, or paper, with raw earth or molten glass, whether tempering steel or spinning gold.  In the classic Grimm's fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, it was the magic words of an old song that turned the spinning-wheel and sp

What We Carry: Tools of the Trade, OR Jennifer Egan, please meet Trail Dog Christine Byl

Photo by Gabe Travis Christine Byl lives on a few acres of tundra north of Denali National Park.   By the time she wrote Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods (referred to in Publisher’s Weekly as a “beautiful memoir of muscle and metal”) she’d been a trail dog for sixteen years – building, maintaining, repairing and designing backwoods trail.  Her MFA in fiction is from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Christine didn't grow up using her muscles though, unless you count brain work.  She was more of a Thoreau groupie.  "I didn't think much about what the body could do."   Photo by Terry Boyd Now, sinewy Byl states flat-out, “Tools make the woman. Once you learn the tools and develop the eye, once you discern your limits and strengths, trail work can be brute simple.   Dig trench.   Move log.   Roll rock.   Swing axe.   Yet, like any craft, it’s as complex as you ask it to be…”   Byl loves to kick ass, and she loves “binging” on Jennifer E

Ocean Tales & Mysteries of the Heart: Ozeki, Dybek and Jules Verne

I am thinking about oceans.  Fathoms deep. Wide as the sky.  Unknowable.  Watery gateways to the deepest mysteries.  I am thinking of pirates and fishermen and tsunamis and sixteen-year-old Japanese girls.  I am thinking of Captain Phillips and Captain Flint and of young Naoko Yasutani and her great grandmother Jiko, the hundred-year-old Buddhist nun.   I am thinking of floods and earthquakes and the men of Loyalty Island, of moral choices and immoral acts, of diaries that float across oceans to faraway beaches, of the women who find them.  I am thinking of the men who draw their livelihoods from the nets of hard times, betraying their sons with each ocean journey that leaves empty seats at the kitchen table.  I am thinking of my own father and mother. So powerful are the stories that harbor these images that I no longer care which of them is factual.  I only care that they are true. When fiction mimics life, and life mimics fiction, and the lines between what is factu