21 May 2017

Just Three Months Until The Eclipse

Here are some helpful links regarding the eclipse on Monday, August 21st.
That's just three months away! A mere quarter year!





Each site has LOTS of wonderful information available on the upcoming eclipse.

My hometown of Casper, Wyoming, lies in prime viewing position.
My own house is just a stone's throw from the very centre-line of the eclipse path.
So, here is some local information on the eclipse:




My family is planning an eclipse celebration.
Food, drink, games. Free eclipse glasses to the first 100 people to drop by.
Come join us, and experience the total solar eclipse!

Lunar Eclipse,  27-9-2015,
as viewed from my house, 
occurring in roughly the same part of the sky in which the solar eclipse shall occur.

08 April 2017

An Evening with Garrison Keillor

My wife and I drove to Laramie yesterday to see Garrison Keillor speak at the Arts and Sciences Auditorium at the University of Wyoming.

Mr. Keillor spoke of poetry and literature. He sang spiritual hymns and patriotic songs. He told of Wyoming and Minnesota, New York and Washington, even Billings and Pocatello. He recited tales of sex and of funerals and of murder ballads thrown out at Thanksgiving. He spoke of literature and of poetry. It is a poetic month, after all.

It was surreal.

Watching him speak felt just like listening to him speak.
I might have closed my eyes and imagined him talking--as I have so often since I started listening to him on the radio a mere twenty-five years ago or so--and it would not have appeared at all different than it did as I watched him pace the stage before me last evening.

His somnolent drone, sagely sharp in every sigh. His wry observations. His seasoned humour. His poetic flow. His storytelling. His storytelling. His tangential, spiralspun, wonderful storytelling.

He often refers to his efforts as those of a writer. (And any reader would know he's a better writer than me.) But, truly, he is a storyteller. As natural a storyteller as who ever did spin yarn enough to hold a few drops of soup--or who ever did carry his audience away, yet also carry them closer to themselves.

I missed the chance to have him sign my copy of Lake Wobegone Days. Still, I was glad for the opportunity to attend the performance, particularly with my wife at my side. And I was honoured to be part of a master storyteller's audience--to watch, and to listen.

Here is a link to The Writer's Almanac, Garrison' Keillor's daily offering of nourishing sips of literature, history, and poetry.

30 March 2017

Young Authors Program 2017

 Young Authors

This year's Young Authors Program was a terrific success here in Natrona County. There was fair turnout, and students presented fabulous work. Celebrations for both primary and secondary levels are scheduled for next week.

As building coordinator for my school, I helped judge students' submissions from Kindergarten to 5th grade. As a member of the Casper Reading Council, I also had the privilege of reading and judging the work of students from across the district, and at every level, Kindergarten to 12th grade. Each  and every piece impressed me in some way: style, voice, focus, breadth, fluency, presentation. I think back to my own work at comparable grade levels, and I am proud of the our students' achievement, often so much more advanced than ever I wrote as a "Young Author."

I am deeply heartened by the work of all our local Young Authors. The imagination and inspiration evident in their words promises to serve as a fountainhead of creativity for the burgeoning generation of new writers, as well as readers. Students' efforts--along with the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, guardians, and neighbours--help shine a magnificent light on the strength of creative writing in our educational community.


28 February 2017

A Question of Perception

How is it that so often the closer something is, the farther away it can be?

I suppose the horizon hides what lies beyond, and we may keep gazing away. But then, reaching ever onward, when we finally catch a glimpse of what awaits ahead, we get a true sense of every step we must yet take.

So close. Yet so far. And in so many ways...

I have been working toward a degree. Now with only a few weeks to go until I present my portfolio, I feel as far away from finishing it as when I first began.

Perhaps more pertinently, I have been waiting for the total solar eclipse to occur above my house since I first found out in the early nineties about its impending approach. Now, less than half a year to go--fewer than six months!--the day feels as distant as ever. The plans. The preparations. The prayers for clear skies.

Anyhow, I came across an article <pasted below> about how the eclipse is expected to dominate--astronomically dominate--social media. As well it should.

However, though it still remains far away, I can promise not to be partaking in the media blitz--despite my fortuitous vantage point, and even perhaps because of it. I shall simply be standing in my very own yard and staring into the heavens that day. No cameras. No recording. Only gazing away at the wonder above...fully present, and finally realizing the moment I had been so long awaiting.

19 January 2017

For the present moment

Here's a stave from a piece I'm currently writing. 
Perhaps appropriate.

Standing here at the very edge,
No ignorance be confessed.
Now no one's allowed to wonder
With one last step, what happens next? 


22 December 2016

Dreams Awakening

Yesterday seemed like an awakening...

I have a goofy tradition of having whoopie pies with the family whenever I publish something, whether story, poem, or essay.

We had whoopie pies yesterday but not because I published anything. It was in celebration for finally finishing a poem I had been working on for a while--sixteen years, to be exact..

It's a novel-length poem involving Dream. I began the piece back in 2000, planning to work on it every couple of months. I soon fell into the habit of working on it every Sunday. So once a week, no matter what else I had going on, I wrote on the poem. It became my touchstone work, the paragon that prepared me for all my other writing throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Originally, I figured the poem would take about a decade to finish. It ended up taking just a few years longer than that.

Still, finishing felt like an awakening...

However, I should clarify: I finished the first draft yesterday. I expect it shall take me two or three years more, working every Sunday, to edit it and compose the final draft. Perhaps it might even take longer. 

Another awakening awaits...

Nevertheless, when I do ultimately finish, I plan on sharing with my family another delicious batch of whoopie pies!

Image from www.foodista.com

 (These are not the whoopie pies I made. Mine were devoured before I could snap a good picture!)

30 November 2016

Within the Classroom Walls

I developed a Literacy Project for my degree in Library Science, and I've had the opportunity to begin implementing it in a local middle school class. It involves an author study of Ray Bradbury, a close reading of "The Veldt," performances of the play version of the story, and the creation of book trailers based on a chosen piece of Bradbury's work.

So far, the pupils have reacted fantastically to the unit. All but one did not recognize Ray Bradbury's name before we began. Now, many are clamouring to get their hands on his writing. Dark Carnival, and Fahrenheit 451 seem to be among the most popularly sought. Most students, it seems, love "The Veldt." It's proven quite the engaging tool for enhancing literary interest among the class.  

As we focus on the theme of technology's impact on human relationships and mindsets and behavior, it has been an educational delight to witness students engage with the writing of a true master, and even rather startling to behold them filling the room, like a technological veldtland itself, with their ideas and perspectives.

This is why I got into education.

Anyhow,  developing the unit, I came across a terrific rendition of Leonard Nimoy narrating "The Veldt."
Enjoy it at this link: https://archive.org/details/01TheVeldt

(Made available by the Internet Archive)

                                                                                    (image from morguefile.com)