Studs Terkel

Only one report in the news that I can find on his death.

But three blogs are reporting it.

Is it true?

NPR confirms it.

And The Nation follows up with this short piece.

I Write Entirely for you!

It's Friday.

The New York Times Book Review section has arrived in the mid-afternoon mail and I delight in the review of Words in Air. Undoubtedly most of the well read know Robert Lowell, but how many are also familiar with Elizabeth Bishop. I was introduced to Bishop's work sometime in the 80s by one of my three singularly brilliant mentors: Sr. Dr. M. R.

What Michel and I had in common is the love of our mutual friends, the Drs. N, books, good food, travel, history and penetrating the unknown whether that was a gene, a word, an edifice in the South of France, or our children's hearts and minds.

Regretfully, we share no correspondence, but we did exchange books and Elizabeth Bishop's "The Complete Poems " was one of several I have retained over these harsh, long years of separation. In 1998, Michel returned to Brasil after taking first one, then a second retirement from the Pasteur at the ripe, energetic age of sixty eight. Perhaps it was his roots in Brasil that exposed him to Bishop's voice or just his thirst for more.

Now in this compilation of the Bishop and Lowell correspondence, I am once more reminded of the magic of personal correspondence and how occasionally letters can be a spyglass into the life of the great and ordinary.

My own most ordinary life is bereft of these penetrations because of my fool-hardy eagerness to erase the past. In that haste I destroyed by fire most of my own correspondence with friends and foes, and 80% of my journals.

This vandalism took place even knowing that they could be used for reflection and this in spite of the fact that I wanted to compile something that resembled "I Send You this Cadmium Red." The letters and art exchanged between the remarkable John Berger and John Christie transported me into their intimate world for one long afternoon of reading at the Community Bookstore on an off Friday, not so different than today, with their amusing, intellect exchanges. I was so taken by their correspondence and the bridge it built between them that I searched for a writing partner who might ignite and share a similar passion for the visual with only mild success.

Now, "Words in Air" reminds me of that sense of longing to be not just known but understood.

The intelligence of the unintelligent

Like George Monbiot of the UK Guardian, I wonder on this side of the pond, why intelligence is a damaging credential to many in these here United States of America.

One of the dirtiest campaigns...says Judis

So, is it among the dirtiest campaigns?

I'd say in my life-time, and I've lived my share of elections, this is definitely comparable to '88, and reminds me of '64.


Giving Rhodia a Good Grade

A few months ago I picked up a hand full of assorted journals from a FPn member, one of which is this Rhodia Notebook (RH-16521).

It is 80g, not the 90g I love in the Clairefontaine pads, but and this is a good but, it takes well to fountain pen ink--no bleeding, no noticeable feathering and it can be used on both sides of the 80 pages--making it a true 160 page notebook.

Like a steno pad, it flips up and can be turned for writing on the alternate side of each page--no big deal for me, but perhaps a challenge to some.

It, like the Clairefontaine 6155 is lined--not my first choice--but I'm beginning to get accustomed to writing with the lines while not necessarily "staying within them."

A quick search reveals The Daily Planner as the single source for this particular notebook and sells for $6.25/each.

It looks as if ShiptheWeb also carries this notebook.

Free: Medicine Cards

Complete set of cards, no book, free for the asking. Postage only or trade.

Greyboy and Blueboy Pelikan M200s happy at last

My handwriting has changed so much that these days I really prefer a wider nib.

I sent back a B nib to Chartpak as it seemed to be writing fine and today I received just what the two pens needed--width. They are writing like two charms.

I inked them up, cleaned the older nibs and wrote with them for ages on my Rhodia reporter--smooth no bleeding, smearing, feathering.

The only problem, and of course life has its obstacle courses, is the older Pelikan nibs (circa 1989) are flexy and these are not.

Pity, but it might be a good trade off.

Thank you, Abi.

I would love to get one more war-time Pelikan. However, it doesn't look good for the Pelikan 100 as I'm not willing to pay the going prices on the 'bay.

Perhaps the Goddess will look upon me favourably as there is one up for sale now that looks like it would be perfect for my small piston collection.

It's time says, "The Economist"

Final verdict from the prestigious The Economist is we endorse Senator Obama.

New Hampshire's Senate Race

Of the upper six, I've lived for various periods of time in the last 30 years in all but New Hampshire. In the summer of '07 when I was scouting New England for a relocation and frequently drove over the Hinesdale (NH)-Brattleboro (VT) bridge to Peterborough, Keene and Sharon for day trips, New Hampshire nearly got added to my list.

In the early 1990s, these towns were affordable, quaint and sparsely populated. By 2007, Peterborough was a show-town, Sharon an overpriced art community and Keene a food lover's paradise with some of the very best eateries around.
Although it is difficult to put into words, each of the New England states are unique and have their own character. And New Hampshire is no exception--perhaps more conservative, more buttoned down than Western Massachusetts or Brattleboro, less down under than Belfast (ME), seemingly more White Collar than the Blue Collar reputation of Rhode Island and probably not as affluent as Fairfield, Connecticut.

Now here we have another tight race.

I suspect it is the very changes I saw in Sharon, Peterborough and Keene that might contribute to a change in how folks in New Hampshire may vote this year. The geographic re-distribution from the Middle Atlantic States to New England and even from one New England state to another has increased exponentially.

In just six days we'll see whether it will remain Republican or Independent, or go Democratic.

King of Swords (Spades)

Where am I now and where am I going?

Since facilitating the PW workshop on Saturday, I've been in a quiet place of unconscious and occasionally conscious introspection. Nothing material has really been accomplished and my time has been slipping through the hourglass with much pondering, some worrying and a few moments of wonderment.

The pondering is focused on "what to accomplish next and how?" The worrying is about the state of the economy and my own limited resources.

I appear to be consumed with news, good and bad and particularly about the election. I am convinced that the Republican ticket will be bad for the economy and very bad for me. I worry about the outcome and don't feel more heartened by the number of robo calls I am getting from the Democrats.

Today my phone rang and I picked it up to hear former President Clinton's voice encouraging me to vote the Democratic ticket. In the last week I've heard from the Governor, the Democratic Party, our local Congressman and now a former President.

In previous years, I was registered as an Independent--it was difficult to do otherwise. Now that I've enrolled in the Party, these calls are both fascinating but also telling of how folks are scrambling in a hardscrabble election year.

It doesn't put my mind at rest, but rather unnerves me.

The wonderment is how small things can be the best of all.

This week I received my Pelikan M200 nibs from Chartpak and had a terrific conversation with Abi on the phone today.

While 40,000 of us had an 18-hr power outage, I had a wool cape I bought at a yard sale for five dollars to keep me warm indoors.

And finally today I signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time. I have had friends and acquaintances attempt to write a novel in 30 days, but it didn't appeal to me. Now I've signed up, not necessarily with the intention of writing a novel in thirty days, to jump start my lagging daily writing.

Imagine: Spanish painting of King Solomon (perhaps in an old tarot deck).

A touching look at Boulder, Colorado

This came into my mailbox today.

I must say having lived down the road from Boulder, Colorado in neighbouring northern New Mexico it was a pleasure to see this video.

Some times I wish I could wrap the universe into a small globe and carry it around with me.


Another hilarious look at...politics and the big "P"

Maureen Dowd is funny, but this scenario is just plain hysterial and makes one wonder how true it might be.

18 Hour Power Outage

At 7.22pm last night just as I finished cooking but before I turned off the oven, the world turned black--we had a power outage.

I have one telephone that doesn't require electricity, but everything and mean everything in this house is power-dependent--the oil burner, the water heater, the oven, the everything.

All year I've had plenty of candles, and flashlights strategically placed around the house so I could see well enough. I went down to the cellar to see if it was just a question of a switch when the one working telephone rang. "Yes, we have a neighbourhood-wide power outage," my neighbour said. "Are you all right?"

I felt fine, that is until around 8am this morning when the house started to get cold. By noon I was considering going over to J's house in Sullivan County to sleep or go down the road to Liz' to sleep on the floor--they have a terrific wood burning stove.

Just as I was putting on another pair of socks, I saw something flicker. A light? Yes, a light, then more lights, and then clarity of what was on when the power went out--the oven for one.

Eighteen hours without power is a mighty good lesson on how dependent we are on the unnatural. Now what to do about it?


So one of my community members found this...somewhere.

Fiddle with the screen and perhaps have a few laughs (that is if you find Sarah Palin funny).


Daniel Smith's new catalogue - Travelogue journals

These Travelogue Series journals (Daniel Smith's new catalogue, page 75) look similar to the Global 's at Finearts--but clearly are different because of their size and shapes.

I'm not ready for a Smith order, but if I find myself placing one, I might add one of the square 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 red journals to an order.

Price 12.99.
Colour choices: Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue; Gadmium Green and Vermillion Red.

The Senator arrived...and not one elected

It seems to be a good pen, has a smooth B nib and is a piston.


I loaded him up with Diamine Umber--this colour really shines with a wider nib

FREE: Oracle of the Bible - Tarot

Also offering free this deck entitled Oracle of the Bible for the price of postage or a trade.

Picasso at the Palace

From the days of my first box of 72 crayolas until today, I've always enjoyed drawing, painting, illustrating--in fact nearly anything creative.

I was fortunate to have a superb art mentor early in life and a group of friends who like me explored the corridors of the Metropolitan Museum the way other teenagers explored shells on the sand at Brighten Beach on a summer Saturday morning.

Picasso was not one of the artists we admired then, and was more likely to be on 53rd Street, off the Avenue than at the Metropolitan on the Park.

Then I went to Paris.

I think it was a later visit, not my sojourn as a student, that presented me with another look at this artist, recognize and appreciate how he grew from a boy with a different box of crayons to an imaginative explorer of the canvas.

I probably would be on line at the Exhibit, even today, in the snow, if I were close by.

Imagine: Self Portrait, Picasso, 1907

The Love Tarot - For the Cost of Shipping

I have a copy of the Love Tarot, among others, that I'd like to gift for the price of shipping or a modest trade of paper, ink, etc.

Anyone reading who might like this deck w/books?

Palin for 2012

Yes, it appears that with seven days until the Election, and no sure victory either way, the talk in the media is that Governor Sarah Palin may be preparing to run for office, that office in the White House, in 2012.

And just as naturally I have an opinion.

I stay out of the chatter on FPn because I got hot just reading some of it, and gave up my moderatorship on another forum because I could hardly contain myself when I read not right versus left arguments, but statements that don't, didn't and can't make sense.

What scarces folks about other folks being smart?

I've never figured it out, not really figured it out, and now that we have a woman running for Vice President who can't name one single newspaper she reads, doesn't understand the role of the Vice President, doesn't appreciate the US Constitution, has no sense of the social democratic process, can't add or subtract the impact of shopping at Neiman Marcus and race baits openly, I understand less.

Am I an elitist? Am I left of center? Am I educated? Do I live on the East Coast of the US? Have I travelled and lived abroad?

Yes to all those questions.

And the fact that we find the Joe the Plumber story compelling enough to suggest that the snow-mobile Queen of Alaska has the credentials to be president just makes me want to gag (and I haven't eaten yet).

Why do we pride ourselves on mediocrity? What is it about the everyman that makes every man think it is all right to be uneducated but make a million, or that going to Yale or Columbia on a scholarship makes one an elitist?

How Dirty is Dirty Enuf?

It is hard to believe the lengths to which the GOP, or its allies, are willing to go to catch up or catch the Presidential ring.

With 75,000 reported calls to Pennsylvania residents with a new smear, and one that never, and I repeat never hit the airwaves when either of the Bushes ran--and they were in business in Germany in the 30s--this one is not over the top--but nearly tops them all.

Pennsylvanians, I hope you ain't listening!


Musical Politics

Taking it back....with Barack.

Listen to the sound.

A political day...Chafee

I started to think about Republicans I knew or know and Lincoln Chafee came to mind. I was sad when he lost re-election in '06, very sad.

When I lived and worked in Rhode Island, a state as small as my county today, it was impossible to not know everyone--and that included our elected officials. From Providence to Newport, Wickford to Jamestown, the small and large circles met at watering holes, restaurants, beaches and at lunch.

The smallness and intimacy also made it possible to call upon your elected officials for assistance. The then Senator John Chafee, Lincoln Chafee's father always returned my calls, as did other elected officials, but some with more concern and interest than others. Senator John Chafee cared about his constituents.

Now I realize Lincoln Chafee was among the early endorsers of Senator Obama.

My Greatest Fear for 2008

An assassination plot announced today on MSNBC and just picked up at Huffington.

The chills of '63 and '68 are too close.

Down Georgia the attack is increased against the GOP

VetVoters have this to say.

Senator Margaret Chase Smith ... 50 years ago

It was politicians like the Senator from Maine who made me proud to be a Republican in 1967.

It was politicians like President Nixon who turned me into a Social Democrat.

Route 191 - The Campaign Trail

Driving in rural America is like looking at a painting, winding roads, clapboard and stone houses, autumn colours, a horse farm, some sheep, cows grazing and even a few goats here or there.

Stopping at the new Rileyville Country Store, starving and noticing a sign for a bagel, I learned just a little more about my community and how John McCain can win Pennsylvania.

From my house in a tiny hamlet to the real town 22 miles away 90% of the lawn signs shout in blue and white "McCain-Palin" and it only as you begin to enter the town of Bethel that the blue and whites turn to "Obama-Biden" so when I waited for my bagel to toast I got into one of those country talks at the counter.

Sure enough the two store owners are voting McCain. "Nope, Obama isn't experienced enough. Yup, there really are a great number of those folks here, more than there used to be, and McCain has been there (Washington) for a long time and is a hero."

So, we are prejudiced; we are under informed and the area is Republican, conservative and ready to vote in another 4 or more years of the same old same old.

8 of Wands

After weeks of a poor sleeping pattern, I may be getting back to a regular rhythm. I was up with the sun and able to tune into Democracy Today and a true sense of morning.

I also have all commitments to others, editors, and participants behind me, for the next few weeks. Perhaps the time will open up and provide me with a glorious personal artistic avenue.

Off to town!

Image: Nova Tarot

Financial Times...yes, endorses Obama

Normally endorsements are not a penetrating indicator, but some of Obama's recent endorsements are so telling, I am startled into thinking..."perhaps, just perhaps, he will win."


Why McCain Won!

What an interesting article, Why McCain Won, online in Newsweek.

So interesting it chilled me and I had to light another white candle.

Yes, symbols again: white candles for hope; green for material reward, etc., a practice I adopted from an old friend when I lived in Providence and split myself between science and phenomenology.

Now what I'd like to believe is the positive polls showing Obama in the lead. And it appears many of my neighbours, or rather acquaintances, want to believe he will win, too.

I received an invitation today, "Hold the Date" - November 8 for a celebration. Updates after November 4.

And here is Obama in the lead.

And McCain looking forlorn.

Politics...not as usual

TruthDig posted this on their 24 October update.

A group of scholars have called on the Politicos to cease and desist their negative campaign strategies. Commendable but 9 days short of the election, and months after the vitriol has already either sunk to the bottom of the ravine behind my house or risen to the heights of those flocks of bird I've been seeing.

Anchorage Goes Obama

When a General endorses a candidate, we think...military.

When a strategist endorses a candidate, we think maneuver.

When a disaffected campaign manager endorses a candidate, we wonder what happened behind the scenes.

Now what should we think when Anchorage's leading newspaper endorses the other candidate?

PW Workshop

Day 1-Saturday, 18 October--With the aid of index cards I started making notes for the PW workshop on Saturday, 25 October. I finished reviewing the introduction and Chapter I.

Day 2-Sunday, 19 October-Listened to 3 of the 4 Bach CDs. Read and made notes on Chapter 2 and the beginning of Chapter 3.

Day 3-Monday, 20 October-Listened to part of the 4th CD--it appears it is an educational overview of the Brandenberg and not usable for the workshop. Continued reading and making notes on Chapter 3.

Started to prepare the handouts
- Bibliography
- PQ and four concluding questions
- Meaning of proprioception

Day 4-Tuesday,21 October-Nearly finished Chapter 4. Working through notes and tried to print them on card stock or labels. I don't have a good enough match to make this work--will have to hand write the notes. Finished writing notes through the third chapter.

Day 5-Wednesday, 22 October, At mid-day I caught up with reading and writing up notes of Chapters 1-4. Finished Chapters 4 and 5. Organised and nearly completed the bibliography.

Day 6-Thursday, 23 October, Finalise the bibliography and other hand outs.

Day 7-Friday, 24 October, Finished chapter 6, printed hand-outs, organised materials; prepared basket of all materials, plus coffee

Day 8-Saturday, 25 October, stop at Liz' to pick up ream of paper; The Workshop at Beaver Cottage

Outcome: Successful, attendance good, weather bad, gave myself a good grade.


Stolen...from another fountain pen user's blog

blog readability test

The sense of hysteria is very real

What I felt yesterday appears to be a reality. Folks all over the country are feeling and experiencing great losses.

I myself felt a hard ball in my stomach yesterday when the cash register rang up twice as many dollars as I had intended to spend at the super market. And that was after I shopped carefully and picked up more 2fers than I generally do.

Is anyone really in charge of this financial disaster?

Can we count on a government now when we have experienced so little real leadership in recent years?

And frankly I wonder who is in charge! Or if anyone is at the helm to this seeming sinking boat!



There is something in the air that smells like hysteria.

My mailbox is overflowing with sales notices and sensational news, much of it about the upcoming election. Eleven days to go.

With my predilection for dystopic thoughts, this hysteria might become contagious.

However, tonight I feel calm. Is it about to storm or am I truly in control?

Queen of Cups

When I worked in Boston as a public health advocate one of several specialties I was introduced to is PNI (psycho-neuro-immunology). I was working with a very disenfranchised group of HIV infected and affected folks whose needs transcended just a simple palliative or a medical prescription. PNI was one of several approaches we explored and one that I often wished I had studied in medical school.

I often see how PNI plays a role in my own life.

Tired, sleepless, restless and somewhat stressed, I've developed a cold or even a flu. I was fine the day before, no sign of illness and then suddenly yesterday I could barely keep my eyes open, concentrate or focus. I lost one entire day in keeping up with my schedule for tomorrow's workshop.

And if I look at this cold or flu objectively it is all tied to emotions--the Queen of Cups.


..On writing

As the days creep closer to the workshop I am giving on Saturday and I review the material, I realize how much I miss the soft winds of inspiration I once held in my head and my hand.

It's been too many years since I took the time and gave myself the pleasure of the leisurely Write.

I thought after leaving academics I'd sprite to the finish line and write a novel. I started one the sabbatical year of 1992. I nearly finished it in 1997 when my computer crashed, the disks nearly deteriorated and the upgrades of both hardware and software appeared to conspire against me.

When I retired from public health, again it was my goal to pick up the rapier. I didn't! Instead I traveled on and off for two years as if I were mimicking a vagabond or taking the path of Gurdjieff's Meetings with Remarkable Men. Neither a vagabond nor an earnest philosopher, I find myself penning non-fiction for a faceless audience and realizing it is not a substitute for personal writing.

Will the tide turn after the workshop and as I settle into the wintry months that have already begun here beside the Delaware?


Edith Wharton's pen

On a trip to Taos in 2002, I splurged and spent two nights at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House sipping coffee in the well appointed dining room, gazing through the trees at the mountains and sleeping in the Willa Cather Room.

Willa Cather is an author I admire. Not only had she written My Antonia, but I later learned of her book about New Mexico, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Four years later, I read and followed the Archbishop's route searching for a peaceful retreat.

If memory serves me, my thinking back then was perhaps if I slept in Cather's bedroom, and drank coffee in a room where D.H. Lawrence and Georgia O'Keefe supped I might become so inspired that I'd come away with fodder for a good tale.

A life-long symbolist, I cherish the notion that a bed can become a novel, and that perhaps a fountain pen can be transformed into an essay.

So, with this in mind I thought, "What about a Conklin."

Not only did Edith Wharton of Ethan Frome fame use one, but it appears none other than Mark Twain did as well. Wharton's Age of Innocence won the Pulitizer.

However, like so many offerings on the 'bay, the watch and snatch guys have outbid me on this pen. I could add another dollar or two in the remaining hour but I won't and can't justify it.

I'm trying hard to hang fast to the less is more even with this offing and reserve my funds for the three Vinnys I outlined earlier: a Pelikan 100, Waterman 12 eyedropper and a lovely Soennecken piston.

A Soennecken came up on pentrace yesterday but something about another black pen stood in my way of purchasing it and I let her go.

Lovers - VI

Today's card.


Orion--not in the sky but on paper

One of my goals: an article in Orion!

With a grandfather who was a farmer, an eco-biologist environmentalist daughter and living in the "real" America, rural dairy farm land, I've been struggling with my City and Country Mouse persona.

But I've been talking to the farmers hereabouts for about six or more months and have pulled in some for a coffee and beer chat to mull over our region's future.

Even Ray up Cemetary Room has agreed to talk.

Where once we had more than 4,000 dairies, we now have just 101 actively producing and distributing their products.

Can we save these remaining producers?

King of Swords (Spades)

One of my many challenges before Christmas is to paint the Princess Room, the name my grand-daughter gave it when she visited last time. I am saving some Princess wallpaper for her, but hope to have it done up in earth colours before Santa Claus arrives.

So, the entire second storey is in mini-chaos including the absence of an end table where I would normally have my current reading material and a tarot deck.

The Golden Tarot has become my back up deck and tonight after a long, insightful talk with my child, I pulled the King of Swords after fetching it from its unfamiliar corner.

Then I went back to my note-taking for this Saturday's workshop.

Daily Planner Reports...on paper

With so many distractions, I don't want to allow myself to click "buy" without knowing what it is I am getting so I make phone calls or send emails. I did both and contacted The Daily Planner to inquire whether the RH e-pure has the same paper as the Clairefontaine 6155 pads.

It appears they don't.

They responded today in an email to say that the manufacturer states that the 6155 is a better quality paper.

Now there is nothing special about this pad, but the paper is exactly what pleases me for notetaking.


Fountain Pens to Sell

Parker Duofold Centennial, 1988 - $200.00
Spider Set (Laban Labrados) - $60.00

Something to be more than concerned about.

How will the economy affect the 401k, Social Security folks?


Is anyone wrong?

In West Virginia this means a great deal

The statements described in this article mean a great deal as hate messages escalate and robots send out frightening messages--a reminder of how psychology can and does work.

Here in my equally rural county, we see the divide but fortunately except for some very limited and isolated incidents as neighbours we remain united more than our party affiliation.

Page of Swords

With four Bach CDs, one proprioceptive writing book, the sun, 24 candles, and a good night's sleep, I create the space in which to think about how to present the PW workshop next Saturday at Beaver Cottage.

Ad lib didn't seem appropriate this time as sometimes I falter in my "off the cuff" presentations so I've decided to review all the material, re-read Linda's book, take notes, make a suggested reading list for the participants and come as prepared as possible.

Mary will set up the cottage, provide light beverages and perhaps some dessert. I will bring some of my new coffee beans, the material, and a ream of white paper.

I wish I had thought about calling Linda ahead of time and asking if she wanted to send some copies of the book to sell to the participants.


On the continuing subject of journals and a diary, too

Here are two journals and/or diaries that caught my attention.


Native America Calling

One of the radio programs I miss in the morning is Native America Calling, broadcast often on Public Radio, Albuquerque (NM).

Queen of Wands

Sometimes it just takes one word, one action, one memory to reclaim the dream.

On my bookcase I have one such reminder, "It's never too late to change what you want to be when you grow up."

It may be late in the game, but I think I have at least one more shot at bat.

Invited to participate in another book yesterday, getting the white room set up for arting is overdue.

So dear fountain pens your mark must be swift, sharp and at the ready for a final push towards completion of those projects I initiated. The list is long, the time is short and procrastination is dangerous.

With the Ace of Wands in one hand, and the Queen in another, I just sent out a note to the community network for a retired leather jacket so that I might be able to formalise the 1945 journal project done informally with the Dark Materials group and place it into a proper context.

The major art projects I started and failed to complete due to my recent peripatetic lifestyle are now in individual clear plastic bins.

Inventories have been taken, wish lists examined, soul searching explored and motivation clear.

It's time to begin.

Photos: Wheel of Change (Ace of Wands); Touchstone (Queen of Wands)

Post endorses Obama for President

How much sway does the Washington Post have these days? Will their endorsement make any difference?

Here they state the reasons for their endorsement.