The Official Site of Author Joseph Heywood
JoeRoads.com: The Official Blog of Author Joe Heywood
10 Aug

Happy Humpday

Happy Humpday, All!  BTW, my “handle” in my AF days was “The Hump,”  the derivations ow which shall go unexplained here. My writer and artist friends know how sweet the feeling when the juice spigot is full on and the pushing pressure more than enough for placer mining. Last week a friend regaled me with a surreal story of working for a standardized testing company in Texas grading 7th grade essays, this after his entire 300-person training outfit had been dumped by his employer of 20 years — in the interests of “shoring-up” profits. Said company was private and owned by one man and thus the explanation in the mythical  plain talk  many Texans allegedly pride themselves  in using was that the owner wanted more for himself —  so 300 had to go. Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim  would no doubt opine: So It Goes. But the riffing, down-sizing, dumping is secondary to the testing company gig. I’d mulled this for a week and wrote an opening sentence last week and Monday morning the whole first draft tumbled out, just over 6,000 words, and it’s even typed (oh my!). Has a working title of STANDARDIZED TESTING, which shall now sit for a while. Two summers ago I wrote approximately 50 short stories in the six months we had up here, but they remain hand-written, untyped, and stacked in a bin for the next short story collection I intend to call  UNCHARTED GROUND. Yesterday I knocked off another short story draft, a mere 1,750 words, this with the rough title of  THE LAST ANNUAL. Next in my head is a story I call BUGOO HOLLOPA’S PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. It’s a dandy story, based on true events from the copper country, and concerns a unique (peculiar?) reason for murdering a pal. When will I write that? After it  simmers long enough in the upstairs oven. And, I got a new chapter done on A SPORTING OF SKELETONS, the next Grady Service installment (No. 11). The word count there now stands just short of 65,000 words against a rough goal of 100,000, hoping to have first cut done before Labor Day for publication next year.   No intent to brag in this report: I offer it only to answer those who ask what it is we “do” up here in the woods for six months. Answer: Work. And you can’t even think about bragging until stuff is in print in the physical world. Until then it’s no more than idle thoughts in one’s head. But there are diversions here as well. This afternoon we shall venture up to the Quincy Mine for the annual rock swap atop the hill at Hancock. The meteorologists have projected zero chance of precipitation here in Alberta today, and yet, it is raining as I write this. Ah the beauty of computer models.  Finally, after all this prose, Lonnie and I were drinking morning coffee and  watching the birds outside our window this morning, and I picked up a pen and this  spewed forth. I am not a poet, but writing poetry forces one into thinking in images and writing tightly, skills the prose needs as well. And it’s fun. When the juice is on, it is truly on:

Airfield in Our Yard

Crack-voiced grackles and barky-barky blackbird formations glider-land on our grass.

Dozens of hovering hummers hoover our sweetshugahwatah,

Their motors buzzing like secondhand outboards.

Baby hairies careen and carom off the suet like random ricochets.

Nuthatches march rigidly straight up and down in their tuxedos.

Goldfinch canaries swarm among razzies and sissies.

Rosies mix with evening grosbeaks, who, for some odd reason, come here to eat only breakfast.

I would loathe to be the air traffic controller for this mob,

Who follow no rules but their own (and perhap’s God’s).

[Alberta, Aug 10, 2016]

Over, but not out. Yet.

18 Jun

Wolves as Poetry

Our neighbor Dick and his dogs Wally and Chester (chockie labs) have seen six wolves within 200 or so yards of our house over the past 10 days. We think the Alberta pack  has pups back in their rendevous area in the swamp west of here– teaching  their newbies to hunt beavers. Wish they’d ask me. I’d show them two beaves  that need to disappear because they keep jamming up the little trout stream. In any event it is nice to have them around, especially since they were here long before man was.  The following poems (pomes/ Poyms/ PO-Ems) reflect wolves and creative life away from cities and a lot of people.

Life, the  Shadow Journey

The wolf walks just inside the

Tree line and does not talk out.

It knows I know it knows that

When I enter there, the rules

Of out here slough away, melt

Like ice under sun. Within

The forest there are unwritten

Unsaid, life rules. You must

Die before you understand

They are there, much less adapt,

To talk wolf to the wolf as a wolf,

To climb up to the light you seek

You must first fall down

Into dark like death so thick

There only to talk wolf to wolf

A journey few undertake

And even fewer complete.

(Alberta,  Ford Village, June 18, 2016)

 

Wolf, Watching

I see him walking out there

In here, his mind makes

Its own path, leaves his pack

To be alone to explore

Shadows that leave no mark,

Pass like clouds, change shape,

Confuse the man’s mind, leave

Him asking am I this or that?

For which no answer exits

Thoughts travel like shadows

Pulling up tracks as they go.

I know he knows the answer

Is here, waiting as the owl waits

To swoop earthward when light comes right.

[Alberta, Ford Village, June 18, 2016]

14 Jun

Poem Thoughts: Tuesday Night Minwaajimo

Tuesday Night Minwaajimo

Here we sit on Indi’n time, (no relation to Greenwich)

In a classroom with two bearskins and an 8-point buck head

Not replicas, genuine taxidermitage the OppSit of avatars and Navstar.

The bulletin board is salmon-flesh-red with munido and dodem signs

Our chairs tan and black, with wheels to make us mobile,

Same as nomadic Anishnaabe, in the old life, when The People moved

From hence to thence and here to there,

From sugar bush to fish camp to hunting camp and back to sugar bush

Moving year-round in a musical chairs cycle.

Guitar picker in the corner but no band in the wings,

Behind us an infirmed microcephalic soul,

Howls with the voice and pitch of a  non-English-speaking seagull

I am grateful to not be on LSD or Jimmy Jones Kool-Aid, or DDT, never mind an LST

Surfing through bullet-riddled surf toward Tarawa, as many Indians did back

In Dubya-Dubya Deux. S’il voux plait, let our own origin story shine through here,

It is the job of poets to tell such Tells and Tales, both the long and the short of them.

We are here gathered here, Scribblers and like ilk, as tight as cats, as varied as the Cast of Cats,

All colors, hues and creeds and deeds,

My brethren are dressed in a plethora of footwear

From combat boots to bowling shoes. One girl has purpled hair

And smooth bronze flesh and I watch her purple dance,

While a poet recites his poem of Ten Cent Beer at a Mexican

Baseball game, losing me in the middle innings,

I was always a starter in my time, and finished my own messes,

Never relieved, not once in years, I am thinking of Nonbinary

Bozos, that new class of  neither AC nor DC,

I think they are mostly declared one way or the other in this tribe,

My mind is not in Mexico or Spain, but  in France

And dancing in The Finale, pronounced Pigalle,

The writers up front argue politely over who shall start and who shall anchor the nite.

(We out here couldn’t care less). And one of them crinkles a full cheap plastic water bottle ,

making it sound like small knuckles cracking, as if  that dreaded Torquemada were here interrogating children, stifling their screams.

These brother-sister are scribblers of the Earnest Earnest clan, Heart-On-Their Sleeves Lodge,

passionate neutrals in all but their own art. The girl with robin egg blue toenails has Matching accessories,( an art in itself, I am told)

Details  all the way down to her soles with paper-thin  color-coordinated flips of flops.

Indi’n women outside the classroom are talking about red clover

Better pick it now, cause there won’t be none in the stores.”

One poet looks like a  leading character from Lillyhammer, same hair, same long face,

but From Iron River, samish-samish as Norway? No matter:  Drink-Fish-Hunt-Do Drugs-Make Whoopie,

you know all that 80s stuff nobody any longer cares about, if they ever did.

Listen to the debate over who goes last last last last as

Poh-ehms, poyms float out at us like daisy-cutters, she says, “I squeezed their lives

Like pulp through a juicer and I love this line from a poem about writing obits for parents.

Entering long-term care homes, such things being like scouting,  you know, “Be Prepared?”

At least three faces in the mass mess from the bulldog countenance clan,

And the hemisemiquasiquaver voices snapping behind me is like old peanut shells

Being opened bare-fingered. Another poem about love spawned by the polar vortex winter

 “A couple years back.” It all reminds me of post-mission gatherings of eagles in the Takhli stag bar,

where bullshit and Salty Dogs reigned and urinals overflowed with the adrenaline from the day’s mission survivors,

all back safely from Downtown, a rare enough occurrence.

The gull boyman’s cadence has the throat-singing  tone of a hypertropic drum cadence

An Indian drum group would find easy to follow, “Let’s all welcome our  fancy dancers.”

The Indian writer with a maple syrup voice says something about someone asking her to

“Write me somethin’, out there, ya know how cousins are? (I don’t)

It’s like church, these gatherings, Et sine Deo in cubiculo,

With talk of  drunken uncles and aunties who wear no panties

And rage against The Man, Whilst dogs bark through open windows

And pickup trucks with broken exhausts howl and roar the streetway.

Warrior marks, the one writer tells us, we have to earn them as we can

And all I can think is IIII  and  I know that’s got to be wrong-minded,

And not her point at all. The path home, she keeps telling us,

Death we call it. people still coming in and out of the room,

And nary a single solo word as they come

And go said, I can tell you,  of Michaelangelo

This whole thing a play, our writerly culture on misdisplay

Do we know the  U.P.’s premier band of Chet and Jenny?

Dude that was 1981 – get Thou on with it. The gull laugh-coughs

Alternately, like switching political parties. This is all great fun

But I need supper sitting down, not standing.  

Miigwech.  Color us outta here, it’s cluckmeat for supper.

June 14, 2016, Written on the Occasion of the Authors’ reading for the Michigan Authors’ collection,

at the KBOCC Wabanung Campus,L’Anse, Michigan. This is the Second Annual Gathering, and it Needs

A Better Name.

 

12 Jun

Woodticking on Joe Roads

Past few days, batting about (woodticking) in the boonies. Some random photos follow.

Cecropia Moth on  birdeye maple back scratcher.

Cecropia Moth on birdeye maple back scratcher.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Too much trick or treating.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

March Brown spinners

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Power Line Sunset

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lupines

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Michigammee Rock Ledges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Forget-Me-Not beaver pond, the best of all worlds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beaver stump.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

brook trout water — cover…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beavers sometimes do not kill trees. Second growth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FMNs and Columbine (and too much sun for photographs)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scenic

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beaving Leavings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Moose Marsh in the Hurons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Painted Turtle Deposting Eggs in the Hurons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Pond With No Name

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shakspere On The Run

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poor Rock Pile, Mohawk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jambe Longue and Rootie, Mining Women

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mining Ruins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Smelling the Lilacs on Bumbletown Hill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On the site of Lute Babcat’s cabin — Bumbletown Hill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Razzie (Purple Finch)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rosie (Rosebreasted Grosbeak)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Writer’s Desk Overlooking Hummingbird Farm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Syl’s Cafe, Ontonagon, great breakfast spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wildcats

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hairy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Home Camo Bruce Crossing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Menges Creek Road

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Needs to come out of the closet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jacob’s Buck

05 Jun

Writerly Think

MTU FORD CAMPUS, ALBERTA VILLAGE, BARAGASTAN– Sunday June 6, 2016:  I am reading essays from Living With Shakespeare (Viking, 2013). In it, David Farr quotes in “The Sea Change,” lines for the character Antipholus of Syracuse (from The Comedy of Errors):

I to the world am a drop of water

That in the ocean seeks another drip

Who, falling there to find his fellow forth

Unseen, inquisitive – confounds himself.

 I read this over coffee as the rain pounds down. Moments ago an obviously pregnant doe paddled slowly along the lip of the shallow gully beside the house. Perhaps she slept in the long grass last night, hoping wind would keep the bugs off her, or perhaps she is looking for a suitable place to drop a scentless fawn. My attention is not on the animal. Instead I am thinking raindrops fall alone to disappear into the ground or in some cases to find other drops from which they form or swell existing liquid creatures which can wreak havoc until the creature’s natural life is spent (think of Houston recently, or Paris).

Farr is a playwright, screenwriter and a director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He writes of the words of Antipholus, “This wistfully fluid elasticity of self is a great challenge for an actor. To contain at one moment oceans of passion, at the next to feel as tiny as a single drop, to sense the hugeness of fate and destiny to be both agent and nothingness, this is at the heart the challenge of Shakespearean comic acting.” He concludes, “No one in Shakespearean comedy knows who the hell they are. All are in a constant state of becoming. And the performers need this liquid lightness, their unknowability, this strange magic.”

Fiction writers, (my brothers and sisters of the scribbling craft), like directors, share this state of searching and becoming in all the characters we noodle into life, but whereas action and change must be quite rapid within the confines of a play. The playwright can jump forward or backwards a hundred years between scenes but ultimately is limited to about two hours to get done what needs to get done.  

Fiction is more forgiving and more life-like, especially in a series where the author can long-game the table and expose (reveal?) character change gradually, over three or four books of a hundred thousand words each. In a series you write each book in the context of that book’s theme/subject, but with a critical eye on the span of life and change for recurring characters. Seldom do characters act or change as authors expect at the beginning of the series and this is in great part because life itself brings change to the author as the series begins to take form.

It makes one wonder – if one accepts we are “made in God’s image,” – if God (whatever name you prefer) feels change as he/she/it looks at how the characters God created are changing or have changed, or how much he/she/it wished they had changed. I have no answers here, only questions.

Human beings are actors in life’s drama. We all change, some of us consciously, some unconsciously, some of us dramatically and some of us in small measures. But all of us create narratives of ourselves that are most often not visible to our fellow actors, and which may or may not coincide with the facts we use in that narrative. This is why autobiography is sometimes considered so much fiction – under another name – and often not reality as it was, but as it is wished for – an exercise in wishful thinking.

Life is messy, chaotic, unpredictable and cruel (though chance has no emotion; it is only a cold-blooded extension of mathy concepts).  A grizzly kills a human to protect territory or for food and without emotion as we know it. The victim is no more than a messy result of chance and crappy location.

Shakespeare’s characters are us. They may dress and talk differently, but their inner lives are ours and one of the things that made Shakespeare great was that he was the first writer to truly express the minutae of the inner life of the characters he created.As his career went on his characters became more and more complex and we got to see and feel more and more of their heretofore secret inner lives.

We writers of today, all of us, are products of all who went before us and all of us are inheritors of Shakespeare’s way of doing things with his pen.

Consider this line from a short story I call “Out Here Your Name is Different.” In Shakespeare (often women, sometimes men) change their names for various purposes (ironically such changes happen in pastoral settings), often in a forest, which seems to me a symbol for outside the mainstream. My mind took this nugget of thought and began to assert mull-mode and I found myself thinking of my air force days and how we gave nicknames to each other, and how these names often replaced the names we used back in our home-base lives.

These nicknames existed only out there where they are both relevant and earned. I recall, for example, Hump, Zorro, Goose, Bear, Baby Huey, Mighty Mouse, and while I can remember these men I can hardly remember the real names of most others. It’s like we go into an artificial world and recreate something for only in that world, then shed it like a stinky uniform when we’re finished with it.

As I was thinking these thoughts a character came to me—not visually, just a voice, which is often how my characters come to me – and I hear this male voice telling someone, “Your name from out there means shit out here till you have a name of here for here. And when or if you finally leave this shit place here, for there, you’re here-name stays here because here-names won’t do out where there-names become their own here-names, copy?”

The short story will grow from this nugget of voice. Sometime over the summer, I’ll sit down one morning and let the voice carry on and reveal the story behind it. Now that I have the voice written down, I don’t worry about losing it. One reading later will put me right back into whatever it is going to become. Got two short story nuggets this morning, both from the Shakespeare essays.

Easy-peasy. This is not a job, it’s a way of life.

I read once that at the time of Shakespeare the English nation was yet struggling to emerge from barbarity. Tomorrow I’ll mosey down to  the courthouse in Crystal Falls to a hearing for a female murderer, who may or may not be a serial killer. Not sure yet what will come of my attention, a book alone or something for the series, but we shall see.  Here we are 400 years after Shakespeare, yet struggling to emerge from barbarity.

Over.

02 Jun

Year’s Reading List, Through June 1, 2016

1.N.Wilson. The Elizabethans. (2011) [NF]

2. Penelope Lively. Dancing Fish and Ammonites. (2013) [NF]

3.Charlie Lovett. The Bookman’s Tale. (2013)

4.John Colville. The Fringes of Power. 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955. (1985) [NF]

5.William H. Gass. Finding A Form. (1997) [NF]

6.Charles Clement Walker. John Heminge and Henry Condell Friends and Fello-Actors of Shakespeare and What the World Owes. (1896/2015) [NF]

7.Stephen E. Ambrose. The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of World War II. (1998) [NF]

8.Stephen E. Ambrose. The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany. (2001) [NF]

9.Stephen E. Ambrose. Citizen Soldiers; The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany; June 7,1944- May 7, 1945. (1997) [NF]

10.Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein. How Dogs Work. (2015) [NF]

11.Ralph Steadman. A Triography: The Balletic Art of Gavin Twinge. (2002)\

12.Randolph S.Churchill. Winston S. Churchill, Youth,1874-190 (1966) [NF

13.Kenneth Tynan. He That Plays The King: A View of the Theatre.(1950) [NF]

14.Kenneth Tynan. The Sound of Two Hands Clapping. (1975) [NF]

15.Kenneth Tynan. Profiles. (1989) [NF]

16.Kathleen Tynan, Ed. Kenneth Tynan: Letters. (1994) [NF]

17.Walter Raleigh. Johnson on Shakespeare: Essays and Notes, Selected, And Set Forth. (1765/1908) [NF]

18.George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. (1980/2003) [NF]

19.Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman. WAR DIARIES: 1939-1945 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke.(2002) [NF]

20.Eric Rasmussen. The Shakespeare Theft: In Search of the First Folios (2011) [NF]

21.John Lahr, Ed. The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan. (2001) [NF]

22.Robert Harris. Dictator. (2016)

23.William Manchester and Paul Reid. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 (2013) [NF]

24.Clark Davis. It Starts With Trouble: William Goyen and the Life of Writing.(2015) [NF]

25.Phillip DePoy. The Tao and the Bard: A Conversation. (2013) [NF]

26.Maria Konnikova. Master-Mind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes. (2013) [NF]

27.Mary Beard. P.O.R: A History of Anxient Rome (2015) [NF]

28.Jan Jarboe Russell. The Train To Crystal City (2015) [NF]

29.Gary Wills. Make Make-Believe Real: Politics as Theater in Shakespeare’s World (2014) [NF]

30.Thomas Babington Macaule. Lays of Ancient War. (2016/1842) [NF]

31.Vaclav Havel. The Memorandum. (1965) [PLAY]

32.Tom Stoppard. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (1967) [PLAY

33.Bio Notes/ A, Spiers, Preface/ M. Montagu. (Francis) Bacon’s Essays. (1884) [NF]

34.Tobias Wolf. In Pharoah’s Army; Memories of the Lost War. (1994) [NF]

 35.Logan Pearsall Smith. Unforgotten Years (1938) [NF]

36.David Searcy. Share and Wonder Essays. (2016) [NF]

37.Fiona Peters, Rebecca Stewart, Eds. Antiheroes (2010/2016) [NF]

38.Maria Konnikova. The Confidence Game. Why We Fall For It…Every Time. (2016) [NF]

39.Garry Wills. Making Make-Believe Real; Politics as Theater in Shakespeare’s Time. (2014) [NF]

40.Reza Aslan. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. (2014) [NF]

41.Elizabeth Kolbert. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. (2014) [NF

42.Machu Kaku. The Future of the Mind; The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind. (2014) [NF]

43.William Shakespeare. Henry IV, Part Two. [PLAY)

44.Phillips Oppenheim. The Pool of Memories. (1941) [NF]

45.Page Stegner, Ed. The Selected Letters of Wallace Stegner. (2007) [NF]

46.David Hajdu. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. (2008) [NF]

47.Bob Hicok. Elegy Owed. (2013) [P]

48.Jane Hirshfield. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays by Jane Hirshfield. (1998) [NF-Essays]

49.Payne Collier & Thomas Heywood. The Dramatic Works Of Thomas Heywood With A Life of the Poet, And Remarks On His Writings, Vol 1: The First And Second Parts Of The Fair Maid Of The West: Or, A Girl Worth Gold. Two Comedies. (1850) [NF & Drama]

50.Wallace Stevens. The Necessary Angel; Essays on Reality and Imagination. (1942) [NF]

51.Lawrence Durrell. Bitter Lemons (Of Cyprus). (1957) [NF]

52.John McIntyre, Ed. Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps. (2010) [NF]

53.George Steiner. Language & Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. (1970) [NF Essays]

54.Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Castle To Castle. (1968)

55.Joseph O’Brien, Ed. Eyes That Pour Forth and Other Stories. (2014) [SS]

56.Willie Morris. James Jones;A Friendship. (1978) [NF]

57.Tom Stanton. Terror in the City of Champions;Murder, Baseball, And The Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit. Lyons Press,. (2016) [NF]

58.Wallace Stegner. On Teaching and Writing Fiction. (2002) [NF

59.Michael Delp. Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of The Deadman and the Mad Angler. (2016) [Poetry]

60.M. Forster. Aspects of the Novel. (1927) [NF]

61.David Fraser. Wars and Shadows: Memoirs of General Sir David Fraser. (2002) [NF]

62.James Wood. The Nearest Thing To Life. (2015) [NF]

63.David Foster Wallace. Consider The Lobster And Other Essays. (2007) [NF]

64. George Orwell. A Collection of Essays. (1981) [NF]

65.L. Austin. Philosophical Papers. (3rd Ed) (1979) [NF]

66.Nathalie Babe, Ed. Cynthia Ozick, Intro. The Complete Works of Isaac Babel.(2005)

67.[NFL.Austin. How To Do Things With Words. (1955) [NF]

68.Ann Powers. Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America. (2000) [NF]

69.Andy Saunders. Battle of Britain: July to October 1940: RAF Operations Manual. (2015 [NF]

70.Natalie Angier. The Canon. (2007) [NF]

71.Neal Stephenson. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. (2012) [NF]

72.Kevin Wolf. The Homeplace (2016) [ARC for blurb)

73.Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. (1955) [NF]

74.O. Scott. Better Living Through Criticism: How To Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. (2016) [NF]

75. John LeCarre. A Murder of Quality. (1962) 

76. Tim Clayton and Phil Craig. Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain. (1999) [NF]

77. Christopher Bergstrom. The Battle of Britain: An Epic Conflict Revisited. (2014) [NF]

78. Richard Hough and Denis Richards. The Battle of Britain: The Greatest Air Battle of World War II. (1989) [NF]

79. The National Trust. Chartwell. (1992) [NF]

80. Tom Hickham. Churchill’s Bodyguard. The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (2005) [NF]

81. William F. and Elizabeth S. Friedman. The Shakesperian Ciphers Examined. (1957) [NF]

82. Andy Saunders. Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. (2014) [NF]

83. Jane Gallop. The Deaths of The Author. Reading and Writing in Time. (2011)

84. J.L. Austin. How To Do Things With Words.(1955) [NF]

85. Ray Bradbury. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon From the Cave, Too Far From the Stars. (2006) [NF]

86.Wayne C. Booth. The Rhetoric of Fiction. (1983) [NF]

87. Lilly Fischer Hellmann. Jumpcut. (2016)

88. Peter Turchi. Maps of the Imagination:The Writer As Cartographer. (2004) [NF]

89. Andy Saunders. Luftwaffe Bombers in the Blitz 1940-1941.(2015) [NF]

90. David Richarde. The Yellow Dog River: Magical Dialog of a Woodland Stream. (1997)

91. William Grange. Hitler Laughing: Comedy in The Third Reich. (2006) [NF]

92. Stephen Marche. How Shakespeare Changed Everything. (2012) [NF}

93. Roy Porter. London: A Social History. (1994) [NF}

94. E. Foley and B. Coates. Shakespeare- Basics for Grown-Ups: Everything You Need to Know About the Bard. (2014) [NF]

95. F.E. Halliday. A Shakespeare Companion. (1964) [NF]

96. Jacopo Della Quercia. License to Quill. (2015) [F]

97. Andy Saunders. Finding the Foe: Outstanding Luftwaffe Mysteries of the Battle of Britain and Beyond Investigated and Solved. (2010)

98. Rebecca Rovit. The Jewish Kulturbund Theater Company in Nazi Berlin. (2012)

99. John London, Ed. Theater Under the Nazis. (2000)

100. John Harris and Richard Wilbourn. Rudolf Hess: A New Technical Analysis of the Hess Flight, May 1941. (2014)

101. John Stow. A Survey of London. (1598) [NF]

102. Donovan Bixley. Much Ado About Shakespeare. (2015) [Lit Picture Book]

103. Ann Stalcup. On The Home Front: Growing Up in Wartime England. (1998) [NF]

104. Peter De Jong. Dornier Do 24 Units. (2015) [NF]

105. Pauline Kiernan. Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Most Outrageous Sexual Puns. (2008) [NF]

106. Andy Saunders. Arrival of Eagles: Luftwaffe Landings in Britain 1939-1945. (2014) [NF]

107. Maureen Walker. A Family in Wartime: How the Second World War Shape the Lives of a Generation. (2012) [NF]

108. Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince and Stephen Prior. Double Standard: The Rudolph Hess Cover-Up. (2002) [NF]

109. Trout Lake Women’s Club. Tales & Trails of Tro-La-Oz-Ken. (1976) [NF]

110. Seamus Heaney. Beowolf: A New Verse Translation. Bilingual Ed. (2000) [NF]

111. Paul French. Midnight in Peking. (2013) [NF]

112. John Le Carre. Absolute Brothers (2003)

113. Michael A. McDonnell. Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America. (2015) [NF]

114. John Le Carre. A Small Town in Germany. (1968)

115. Erich Maria Remarque. All Quiet on The Western Front. (1929)

116. Stanley Wells. William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction. (2015) [NF]

117. James Welch. Winter in the Blood. (1974)

118. John Le Carre. The Little Drummer Girl. (1983)

119. John Le Carre. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)

120).John Le Carre. Smiley’s People (1979)

121.Thomas A. Kempis. Of The Immitation of Christ: Four Books. (1890) [NF]

122. Frontis Lost. Book of Psalms (1892) [NF]

123. John Le Carre . Our Game (1995)

124. John LeCarre. The Little Drummer Girl (1983)

125. Earl L. Doyle and Ruth B. MacFarlane. The History of Pequaming. (1998)

126. Charles Olson. Selected Writings. (1950-1966) [NF]

127. Henry Kisor. Tracking the Beast. (2016)

128. Virginia Woolf. Orlando. (1928)

129. John Burdett. Bangkok Tattoo. (2005)

130. Jane Hirshfield. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. Essays. (1998) [NF]

131. Tom Carr. Blood on The Mitten. (2016) [NF, ARC for Blurb)

132. Peter Pouncey. Rules For Old Men Waiting. (2005)

133. D. Nichol Smith. Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare. (1903)

134. William Shakespeare. JHP Pafford, Ed.  The Winters Tale. (1607/1963) [PLAY]

135. Joseph Heywood. Ice Hunter. (2001)

28 May

Perusing Files and Cleaning House

 ALBERTA VILLAGE:  BARAGASTAN, Saturday, May 28, 2015 — Back in my suit and loose-tie days ( ended  May Day, 18 years ago) one of my many tasks involved gathering intel on social and political developments in all the 150 or so countries where we operated. Much good info was fed to the Home Office  by our employees, but we also relied on consultants and other means of keeping up with goings-on and focusing  intel concerns for the future. One of my primary sources was INTELLIGENCE DIGEST: A REVIEW OF WORLD AFFAIRS, edited by Joseph de Courcy, some of whose relatives created the Intelligence group in 1934 with the aim of helping American and British business interests look at current and future risks. It was pricy when I subscribed, $500 a year, if I remember correctly, but well worth the expense, which was a fly drop in the corporate budget. The fact that the pub had such a long life was a pretty damn good indicator of its intrinsic value.

 Jump now, today to be precise, and I found a pile of the old journals and was perusing them, and decided to share some of the observations that were being circulated way back in 1995 and 1996. The first of the two pieces makes me think immediately about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders supporters and all that surrounds those unexpected movements – think fruits of  mass frustration.

“Taming the Terrorists” — (2 Aug 1996) — Once it became clear that the Atlanta bombing was the work of international terrorists, the finger of suspicion turned automatically to American right-wing malcontents. Even if proved innocent of this particular incident, there is little doubt that significant parts of white conservative America are now sufficiently  resentful of central government as to be capable of throwing up occasional individuals prepared to resort to violence as an expression of their resentments. Given that America is the world’s most advanced democracy this needs some explaining to non-Americans.

The first thing to point out when considering what motivates such extreme action is that it is not in the least bit relevant whether the fears and resentments are justified. People are motivated by what they believe to be true not by what is actually true, and in backwoods America there is widespread resentment against a governmental system that is seen to be overbearing, particularly through the actions of such agencies as the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that minority groups that are considered less-deserving are seen to be pampered by the system.

The resentment of the conservative outsiders is further fueled by the proliferation of conspiracy theories (at the heart of which there is often more than a germ of truth) about the manipulation of American foreign and domestic policy by powerful and shadowy groups of Establishment insiders.

It is felt that administrations of all colours, certainly since Ronald Reagan gave way to George Bush, are manipulated by these interests and that the normal political process is no longer able to rectify what is wrong with America.

The Clinton Record

To all this is added the widely circulated reports about the misconduct – and worse – of President Clinton.

It is generally believed in conservative circles in the United States that President Clinton and his entourage are up to everything from drug running to murder, including killing White House aide Vince Foster (who is officially said to have committed suicide) and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown (whose plane crashed in Croatia) in order to prevent the exposure of past crimes.

Against such a background it is not difficult to see how the outsider is able to justify to himself the taking of unlawful action – even to the extent of shedding innocent blood.

The wider issues

But motive is not everything. Opportunity plays its part, and never have the opportunities for terrorism been better. Importantly, this point applies throughout the industrial world and not just in the United States.

Provided the target is a soft one, terrorism requires neither a great deal of money nor great expertise – and returns in terms of damage and created publicity received can be enormous.(The last IRA bomb in London caused $150M worth of damage – and it would be almost impossible to calculate how much a commercial operation would have to spend on advertising to get the amount of media coverage that the Atlanta bomb received.)

Furthermore, the downside risk is seen to be outweighed by the potential rewards. Anyone misguided enough to believe that their cause justifies the indiscriminate taking of innocent lives would not have trouble in persuading themselves that one day they might join the long list of terrorists now feted in the White House and Buckingham Palace.

Second article:

“Peace Treaties Do Not Mean Peace.” – 6 Oct 1995)

The lesson of history is that peace treaties are just so much paper. Peace is kept by the balance of power, not fine words. The latest accord with the PLO and Israel will be no exception and needs to be judged by the measures of realpolitik not romantic idealism.

…The romantics should re-read the history of the Locarno pact, the series of diplomatic documents that were initialized in Locarno Switzerland on 16 Oct 1925 and formally signed in London on 1 Dec 1925. There has never been a more handsome treaty. Germany, Belgium, and France bound themselves to recognize as inviolable their existing mutual frontiers and the demilitarization of the Rhineland. The three countries further pledged that in no case would they attack, invade, or resort to war against one another. All these obligations were guaranteed by Italy and England.

An in case that was not enough, by the Kellogg Pact of 1928 the world’s nations renounced war as an instrument of policy. Neither document prevented the most- destructive war in history.

Pretty damn good thinking and reporting for two decades ago. Why do I post this? Because I love among and write about the “Backwoods America De Courcy writes about and because all the sorts of things he is reporting two decades ago are common topics of discussion — not domestic terrorism – but massive social discontent and an integral part of the fabric of the people and stories I write about. Think about it.

Over.

27 May

Rivers and Rereads

Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, written in 1927 and published in Germany in 1929 then translated into English and published in the U.S. the same year. Remarque had trouble finding a publisher because of the explosiveness of the content, but the book became a massive best-sller.

Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front,
written in 1927 and published in Germany in 1929 then translated into English and published in the U.S. the same year. Remarque had trouble finding a publisher because of  the explosiveness of the content, but the book became a massive best-seller.

Most of the time we seem to be reading forward, always consuming new books and pieces, but sometimes it’s rewarding to go back and re-read something, especially something that had an impact on your, or which you remember as having an impact.

Somewhere it’s written we can’t step in the same river twice, which means the place is dynamic and so are we and this makes each time unique. When I was sixteen or so and just moved to the Upper Peninsula I read Erich Maria Remarque’s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. My choice from the base library, not something from the family or school. I was riveted because this was the time of John Wayne and Audie Murphy and World War II glory, war it all its Hollywood drum-beating.

Of world war I knew virtually nothing beyond some dates and barren facts. Then I read Remarque and was astounded at the sheer power and ugliness of soldiers trapped in what we would later refer to as “the shit.” Remarque was conscripted into the German army at age 18 and sent in to combat after minimal training. He was wounded five times, the last one putting him out of action and into the hospital for the rest of the war.

His writing is spare, almost like a newspaper report. Critics call it emotive and indeed it is that, but Remarque has  the eye and ability for the perfect odd fact to drive home his scenes. Here’s s fine example of what I mean. This is in the aftermath of a particularly brutal bombardment by French artillery: “Two were so smashed that Tjaden remarks you could scrape them off the wall of the trench with a spoon and bury them in a mess-tin. Another has the lower part of his body and legs torn off. Dead, his chest leans against the side of the trench, his face is lemon-yellow, in his beard still burns a cigarette. It glows until it dies out on his lips. We put the dead in a large shell-hole. So far there are three layers, one on top of the other.”

The story is written in first person and oddly the narrator almost always relates what others are saying rather than letting them say it; this technique doesn’t get in the way once you get accustomed to it. It would be frowned upon in most modern writing classes.

Most of All Quiet stays solidly among the comrades in battle and between battles, but Remarque also sends his protagonist home on an extended leave and here we see the glowy ignorance of civilians rubbing against personal military reality. This sort of disconnect takes place during and after every war, including our most recent misadventures around the globe. Here’s what Remarque wrote: “I imagined leave would be different from this….It is I, of course, that have changed in the interval. There lies a gulf  between that time and to-day. At that time I still knew nothing about the war, we had been only in quiet sectors. But now I see that I have been crushed because of it. I find I do not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world. Some of these people ask questions, some ask no questions, but one can see that they are quite confident they know all about it; they often say so with their air of comprehension, so there is no point discussing it. They make up a picture of it for themselves.”

Just like here, just like now and as we have a smaller and smaller percentage of combat vets in our population the distance of the public experience grows away from the realities.

On last example of Remarque’s detail. “The days are hot and the dead lie unburied. We cannot fetch them all in, if we did we should not know what to do with them. The shells will bury them. Many have their bodies swollen up like balloons. They hiss, belch, and make movements. The gases in them make noises…when the wind blows toward us it brings the smell of blood, which is heavy and sweet. This deathly exhalation from the shell holes seems to be a mixture of chloroform and putrefaction and fills us with nausea and retching.”

The books holds up very nicely upon rereading and I would recommend it to all who know little about World War I.

As an aside, the book was a best seller in Germany and in the U.S. and elsewhere and when Hitler came to power, Josef Goebbels banned and publicly burned the book and the move based on it were banned for Good Germans. By then Remarque was living in Switzerland. One of the main Nazi complaints was that Remarque changed his name from Remark to the family original of Remarque and that no “good German” would make such a change. The Nazis also claimed that Remarque had not served in WWI. His citizenship was revoked in 1938, and a year later he married his former wife to keep her from being repatriated to Germany and the two of them moved to the U.S. for the duration.

In 1943 Remarque’s sister was tried and found guilty of undermining morale because she had stated the war was lost. The court president declared, “Your brother is unfortunately beyond our reach – you however, will not escape us.” She was beheaded 16 Dec 43 and the cost of her arrest, prosecution, imprisonment and execution (495.80 RM) was billed to her sister Erna. Remarque was unaware of these events until after the war.

Remarque died in 1970 at the age of 72. All nine of his novels deal with the common soldier in military service ; all are worth your time.

Over

22 May

Potpourri

FORD VILLAGE, ALBERTA, BARAGASTAN: Sunday, May 22, 2016 –Yesterday in Marquette to sign books and browse. Greeted in the store by Owliver the Discerning Owl. And humans too. Photos follow the blog. Today was  pretty laid back, reading, etc. We Met Randy and Sally Clarke for dinner at the Hilltop. They are headed BTB after three days up on Brockway Mountain. Yesterday they saw 200 migrating hawks, today, driven on a south wind, 2,000 more, mostly broadwings, but a real mix of raptors. Got some great photos, which I’ll share when Randy sends them along.

With millions of living things (viruses,bacteria, etc) and species in so many habitats, we haven’t identified all on “our” earth and given this mass amount of pure biological mass, whey would there not be living things elsewhere in the universe? (Think Other Planets)

We look backward to Shakespeare’s time (he died 400 years ago this past April) and wonder how people then could have been so “ignorant.” Naturally we wonder how ignorant the facts of life from 2016 will appear in 2416. Far worse than the look-back from here, I suspect.

How many birds come to our feeders when we’re not there, or not paying attention? Some kind of corollary to “if a tree falls in a forest and there’s nobody there to hear it….”

Randy Clarke, while working at a nature center (Bay City I think, but might be wrong on this) remembers the sight of bird watchers, usually old women in sneakers and trench coats and he told himself then he never wanted anything to do with them.  Now he and wife Sally are two of them (absent  trenchcoats), ,but armed with donkey-dick sized cameras with telephotos that take shots that reach nearly to god and frames per second capabilities rivaling the canons on an A-7 in attack mode.

Dave Stimac and I took a buzz down to Kingsley North in Norway this week to replenish polish and grit and some other rock supplies for Daves bird’s-eye wood and rock gift shop here on campus. We noted on our return journey that Evelyn’s Curve Inn had burned down. Dave related how in the 1970s the joint had trailers “out back” staffed by prostitutes – real life bagnios in Cheeseheadland. Those days appear to be long gone from the far north.

Heard word of an interesting homicide case underway in Iron County and it seems to have some very Coen Brothers elements to it so will give this some professional attention and see what comes of it. Stay tuned.

Blackflies are out with a vengeance here. I got six in one day under my shirt. Awful. We hauled out the Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer and began making slurries to rub onto the bites and alleviate the itching. Until two or three years ago blackflies rarely bit me and when they did had not a lot of effect. Now I puff up almost instantly. Nasty. Adolph’s works effectively and quickly. Only drawback: messy when it dries and falls off your skin.

Hummer males are here and being sighted at about 100 a day. Females should be along soon and counts will jump way up immediately. All the migrations seem to be running late this year. Warblers are just arriving – about 3 weeks later than normal.

Think of anger as a tool – say a hammer—especially when you punch the cause of the anger in the snoot.

Folklore and farmers sometimes fall way short. Rule of thumb here is no planting until after the first full moon in June. But that moon this June isn’t until the 20th and the frost-free planting season hereabout is only in the range of 70-100 days with our location on the lower end. So we will plant and cover and keep an eye on night-time shenanigans. The unpredictability of weather is only one reason small farmers contemplate suicide. As Napoleon once said, “On se degage, et puis on voit,” which translates roughly to “It clears up, and then you see.”

Photos follow: Over.

Owliver.

Owliver.

 

Jen, at Snowbound Books.

Jen, at Snowbound Books.

Signing for Jan Sabin.

Signing for Jan Sabin.

My pal Marvin Roberson.

My pal Marvin Roberson.

17 May

Find the Mala, Count Your Mantras

Tuesday, May 17, Ford Center, Alberta, BaragastanNo I don’t know diddly-beans about Yoga (Yogi Berra, you bet, Yogi Bear, Yes, Yoga the metaphysical stuff, uh-uh). Yoga Journal is Jambe Longue’s Maggie, which she uses to help her keep her ouchy back from barking and seizing up. The mag features stories such as “How to Move Safely From Matsyasana to Camatkarsana.” I thought the answer would be to hire a competent moving company, but I turned out to be wrong. Really wrong, and my humor was not appreciated.

To be fair, the raggy-maggie has some good stuff in it – beyond pictures of rubber-limbed women – such as a piece in the June 2016 edition which offers seven tips for stimulating creativity.  What it actually says is “surprising ways to spur innovation.” Magazine writing always loves adjectives. Snark aside, here’s the list: 1. Take a walk; 2. Do a quick body scan; 3. Eat more fruit; 4. Let Yourself Be Bored; 5. Hit the road; 6. Leave Your desk messy; and 7.Start doodling. Immediate assessment, I already do 1-3-4-5-6 and 7, so I looked in the mirror, proclaimed “You’re fat!” So, I  increased the amount of Nos 1 and 3, so I’m now 7 for 7, right? Move more, eat less, what could be simpler than that?

I’d like to focus on No 5, Hitting the Road and as I read this I could hear the late Robin Williams (playing AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vieeetnaaam!) tell his elderly Viet students to “Hit the fucking road, Jack!” And all of them repeating as one, his precise instruction — like a good catechism class.

Seriously, travel, especially if you work to engage your new surroundings rather than just pass through them, is a wonderful way to open your eyes and find new things to see and new ways to see them and if you can dive deep into the local cultures, the creative dividends can be remarkable – especially if you get your butt off paved roads.

A few years ago Jambe Longue and I were in Gogebic County scouting scene locations for Mountains of the Misbegotten. We were over near Tula in Gogebic Co and after stumbling onto private property tried to find a road north into some country that I wanted my characters to travel through (and which is coincidentally laced with nice trout streams). First cabin after we pull onto the two-track there is a naked woman sun bathing on a front deck. Our arrival sends her scrambling and of course Jame Longue and I are howling and then we pretty much forgot about it. Could get more than a dozen miles north before poor road and my lack of nerve turned us around.

Put this memory in a little packet and hold on. Now let move to just this past weekend. Dave (MVB, Multiple Vehicle Boy) and Diana (Agate Vulture No. 1) Stimac asked us to go along while they made some business stops for their Nature’s Way gift shop her in Alberta.

We left here 0930 in Dave’s Ford 350 white “Land Yacht” (He calls in Fat Ass) and headed west, our itinerary being Ontonagon, Merriweather and Wakefield. After finishing business meeting in Onty we stopped for brunch at Syl’s Café and after Brunch stopped at the NONESUCH gift shop across the street where we saw a wonderful chainsaw carving of a bobcat. Yesterday I saw what looked like a similar one on my novelist pal Henry Kisor’s FACEBOOK posting and told him we’d seen one like it in the gift store. Turns out we saw the identical one because he bought it that afternoon!

At Syl’s I should point out that we saw not one, but two different priests having post-mass lunch with parishioners and of course I had to sketch them in my People I See in Public Sketchbook.

As we approached Merriweather (west of Bergland) we regaled Dave and Diana with our story of the naked sunbather and then we turned off the blacktop onto a dirt road.

“Hey,” I yelped at Jambe Longue. “This looks like the same road.”

She yelped back, “It is the same road.”

Then I saw the cabin. “Hey that’s the very cabin we saw with the lady on the front deck!”

And then Dave pulled into the driveway, grinning. “This is our destination,” he said.

Out came Jim white-bearded Jim “Agate Addict” Jim Collins. Great guy, very knowledgeable about agates and all sorts of rocks. His pal Jim (missed his last name) showed up shortly thereafter. Pal Jim is retired train engineer from Yoop, fun guy, very knowledgable, originally from Wisconsin. The agate addict lives in Minnesota but keeps this old trapper cabin as his man-cave. Wonderful place, will no doubt appear in a book at some point, which is another benefit of travel.

Naturally MVB immediatly regales the Agate Addict with the story of Mme Au Naturel and Collins is knocked backwards. “When was this?”

“Three years ago,” Jambe Longue says.

“You saw the woman too?” he asked Jambe Longue.

“Indeed I did.”

“Well it wasn’t my wife because she hates coming up here. I bought this place 10 years ago. My son is divorced by he’s got a new girlfriend. Or it might have been one of the women from the camp across the way looking to get away from “menfolk.” He continue noodling but no answer came to the fore and we went inside to start examining rocks and looking around. Then the Other Jim showed up. Not his wife on the deck either.

After the trapper cabin we moved on to Wakefield and then on the way home stopped at the giant stop and rob in Bruce Crossing  — grocks, gas,sporting goods, bait, all the good stuff—and I took a photo of custom camo truck paint job and went inside with my camera, my only goal to find a john but I got stopped by a stumpy little fellow with his toque pulled down like Eminem. “What you take pitchers of eh?”

“Whatever strikes my fancy. The plan is no plan.”

“Here I got a photo you won’t get,” he says and takes out his wallet (wrapped, like mine, in rubber bands) and digs out an old faded snapshot of trucks. “This as when they was building M-28,” he explained.

“You’re right, I won’t get a photo like that,” and moved on, but he followed. “Hey, take pitcher dat trap dere, you ain’t never seen one like dat before.” In fact I had. It was a large Connibear.

I said, “I know a guy owns a fur processing business and sells traps, downstate.”

I keep walking and he keeps shadowing. We are by the donuts now and he steps up past me to block my way, “You ever seen a trap eight or nine feet across.”

“Nope,” I said.

“I have,” he said proudly and competitively. Then, “M-28 needs to be four lane but these dumb motherfuckers from Bruce Crossing don’t want no traffic here nor no tourist money. They just want be left alone.”

No way to take a leak now without a shadow, so I bailed out and got back into Fat Ass. We were parked by the home camo job. Lonnie asked, “Who do you think owns that?”

I told her I had a pretty good idea as we pulled out and headed east for home.

May 10 Dave and I made a run up Pequamming Road, north of L’Anse to see the bartender at the Bella Vista Bar. The guy had been collecting and stripping huge spruce burls from the woods and wondering if Dave might be interested in them for his wood shop, so we went to look and from there went to the guy’s house over in Baraga to look at an even larger specimen. The man’s girlfriend came out and talked to us, Said she and her boyfriend took six hours to pull the damn thing through a beaver pond to their truck – on Mother’s Day. The guy told us when we met him he walks all the time despite having “two new knees and a basket on his spine. Worked construction and in the woods my whole life, paying da price now, hey.”

May 13 Jambe Longue heard all the birds scatter off the feeders and looked up to see a flash and then a peregrine falcon landed where it lorded over its prey, a rose-breasted grosbeak, and held its wings up like batman while it hammered the thing to death. Jambe Longue was fascinated. We’ve seen Cooper’s hawks do this at our place in Portage and once Bob Linsenman, Godfrey Grant and I saw an eagle do this to a hawk on the Trophy Water of the Au Sable, but this was our first time seeing a Peregrine in action. I’d read that their attack speed is up to 220 mph and they are a perfect mascot for the United States Air Force Academy. Go Falcons!

Our hummingbirds (hummers) came back to our feeders May 8, same day as last year. We love the bird and animal life around Alberta. Recently we took the dirt Menges Creek Road to town (we avoid blacktop at all costs) and were rewarded with a porky in an oak tree midday. It did not like my dancing around below to get photos, but remained aloft, trying to ignore my presence.

April 28 in the morning 0730 by our old house (Birch House)  Lonnie and Shagsper were on the morning walk when they spied a light-colored wolf running eastward through heavy cover, following a sort of trail and route we’ve seen them on before.  We live between two wolf pack (the Arvon and the Alberta) and animals go back and forth. Perhaps this one was looking to recruit for the Arvon Pack or looking love in one of those wrong places.  Wolves: Who knows what they think. We like having them around even though we have to take some precautions with the dog. This is the price of immersing in a place, rather than speeding along the blacktop and stopping in tourist motels.

My very first copilot, Terry Daugherty got in touch with me over the website while we were up here. He was watching a lacrosse game on TV and though, “My old nav played for Michigan State, I wonder where he is now.” So he got on the computer and found me. We’ll get together later this summer. Last time I saw him he flew an OV-10 for the Pennsylvania National Guard out to Kalamazoo and we had lunch. Before that we had met in Bangkok. I was there on 3-mo TDY and he was on a year assignment as a Forward Air Controller, working with a green beret A team, living in a primitive and remote compound on the edge of some jungle. He had gone from 220 pounds to about 160 and looked like he had just come in from the Bataan Death March as we filled up on fresh milk flown down from Japan daily. More on our adventures after we meet. We once flew formation together in F4Es, my pilot mistaking me for a pilot rather than a navigator. He nearly had a heart attack when he discovered the truth and I had our wing about five feet off Terry’s wing and my guy was pushing me to “get closer.” More on all that later. We both puked that day in our cunt caps.

Sometime after we got her, my computer gagged and downloaded Word 10.  In keeping iswthi the  Cardinal road rule of computer-crap-world, it didn’t ask me. Just did it, and since then I can’t print a damn page and only last night figured out how to dump photos from my camera disk to the computer. Compukers! Over. Photos follow. (I hope)

Hairy Woodpecker at chow.

Hairy Woodpecker at chow.

Custom camo job in Bruce Crossing.

Custom camo job in Bruce Crossing.

Negotiations (fancy word for bullshit)

Negotiations (fancy word for bullshit)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Agate Addict Jim Collins and MVB Dave Stimac engaging in banter.

Agate Addict Jim Collins and MVB Dave Stimac engaging in banter.

 Trapper cabin deor.

Trapper cabin deor.

Looks down from the balcony.

Looks down from the balcony.

Agate Vulture #1 (Diana Stimac) showing specimen skepticism (mark of a stone pro)

Agate Vulture #1 (Diana Stimac) showing specimen skepticism (mark of a stone pro)

Syl's Cafe, Ontonagon.

Syl’s Cafe, Ontonagon.

Dave and Da Big One.

Dave and Da Big One.

Dave and Spruce Root Balls

Dave and Spruce Root Balls

The wolfies' way of letting us know they are oot and aboot.

The wolfies’ way of letting us know they are oot and aboot.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rosebreasted grosbeak male, like the one the peregrine falcon grabbed.

Rosebreasted grosbeak male, like the one the peregrine falcon grabbed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View from the writer-reader's "desk" (also called the dining room table). Yes I'm rereading John LeCarre's ouvre this summer.

View from the writer-reader’s “desk” (also called the dining room table). Yes I’m rereading John LeCarre’s ouvre this summer.

Home   |   About   |   Blog   |   Tour   |   Links   |   Contact   |   Events   |   Forum

Copyright © 2008 Joseph Heywood. Design by C Marschke.