Showing posts from 2018

The World Lying in Wait

    Another world is not only possible,     she is on her way.     On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.*                                                                         ~ Arundhati Roy   Sometimes, when I hike through the woods alone, I have the sense of being held, embraced by the grasses and trees, as if the arms of the earth are the boughs themselves and her golden heart is the wind whispering that all things are possible.  When I quiet my fretfulness, I can feel the breath of that other world, the world lying in wait, the world rooted in timeless wisdom about which writer Arundhati Roy speaks . I wish for all of us in the coming year a quiet moment each day in which to listen for the hope Nature offers, this eternal and optimistic whispering. I wish for all of us a quiet place in which to lie, heart to the ground, so that we might feel our own smallness embraced by our greatest ancestor primeval, so that we might trust the beauty

Pachinko: Why Reading an Epic Korean Novel Matters

I first became aware of Korea as an iconic setting for profound fiction when reading Paul Yoon’s award-winning collection of short stories, Once the Shore . Despite having traveled to over 27 countries by the time I was thirteen, I’m embarrassed to say how little I knew about Korea, or about Korean literature. Korea has once again risen to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness. Divided into two nations in 1948, the colonization of Korea by Japan began before 1910. Korea was ruled by the imperial nation of Japan until the end of World War II. Over 5 million Koreans were forced into labor, and (according to CNN), over 200,000 young Korean girls and women (known as “comfort women) were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military.  Which brings me to Korean-born American author Min Jin Lee, and her epic novel PACHINKO .   I met Min Jin Lee last February at Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore ’s annual Literary Feast. “I come from a working-class background,” M


The meaning of life comes to us, in part, through synchronicities. Yet it is up to us to recognize how these coinciding threads weave themselves through each day. Four such synchronistic events occurred for me this week. Here's a go at weaving them together in a way that deepens the meaning of each event and creates a more all encompassing tapestry...  THREAD #1: YESTERDAY , on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child (known as the International Girls Day here in the U.S.), our book club discussed Way é tu Moore’s ambitious and highly praised debut novel, She Would Be King Moore (who was born in Liberia) uses magical realism to bring to life the early years of her homeland’s history. One of the main characters, the young girl Gbessa, is exiled from a small West African village, left for dead after being starved and bitten by a snake, and yet she survives. Wayétu Moore’s story, too, is one of survival. In 1989, when she was five years old, she and her family

On Summer Hiatus

All Things Literary & All Things Natural is on summer hiatus during August and September. I hope these days, for you, are filled with the beauty of the literary and natural landscape, time with loved ones, and immersion in the creative landscape of your inner dreams.  Page

The Bones We Once Belonged To: The Lyrical World of JudIth Ansara

"Tell me a story," I ask, curled beneath a quilt on this cool summer day, and the poet opens her mouth and speaks to me of startled birds, and lavender seas, and of the thin brown legs of the becak driver who pedals her through the streets of Java on a wheeled cart he does not own. How much money do you make, she asks, and Aatif answers. ...                           oh not enough, not enough he says smiling                           most goes to the mullah who owns the cart  She tells me, this poet, that when she and her family decide to buy Aatif his own becak...                how his tiny toothless mother                           smiled and bowed smiled and bowed She tells me how, once he understands, the whole world breaks open, ear to ear. I imagine his smile. I imagine the toothless mother, smiling and bowing. Smiling Old Woman Portrait, Java Indonesia, Adam Cohn Curled beneath a quilt, on this cool summer day in Colorado, 9000 miles from Java, thi

Riding into the Heart of Patagonia: Weaving Together the Threads of Life

My suitcase is unpacked from Peru and repacked for Wyoming. The new lilac bushes are deep-watered; the flower box planted, and the rock garden’s perennials weeded and refreshed with new soil. My mare’s feed is sacked up and my corral group friends will check on her each morning while I’m gone. John is holding down camp, the granddaughters are healthy, and the heartbeat of Sarah’s unborn baby girl is gurgling along in a happy rhythm. These details form the connective tissue between yesterday and tomorrow. Life, for all of us, transitions one detail at a time, one heartfelt emotion after another. Literature, too, can transition us from one moment to the next, the stories we read threading their way through the patterns of our lives. Before I left for Peru, I started reading Nancy Pfeiffer’s memoir, Riding into the Heart of Patagonia , about a solo journey through the remote Aysen region of Chile. Nancy, an instructor for the nonprofit National Outdoor Leadership School (NOL