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WALK, DRIVE, RIDE, FLY OR SWIM, JUST BE THERE!

A man, a horse and discoveries on every page

Real live actors will be reading Gable Smiled, a work in progress, on a real live stage!

I’ll have a Q&A with audience members after the reading.

(this is so exciting)

 

NH Writers Project Hatbox Readings

New Hampshire Writers’ Project Readings at the Hatbox Theatre is a semi-regular theatrical and literary event series where actors read entertaining selections from ‘works in progress’ by three NHWP authors, and the audience offers feedback, critique, and reactions.

This event will not only allow the author to “hear” some of their novel, story, or book, but also receive immediate feedback. The audience will experience new works from NH authors live and contribute directly to an author’s creative process.

General admission.
NHWP or Hatbox Members: FREE
Adults: $10; Students/Seniors: $7.

Hatbox Theater, Concord, NH

The Lonely Oak (a Tale of the Woods)

You understand, don’t you? It’s magic, after all.

 
Once upon a time, in a land almost too far away, there lived a tall, glorious oak. It wasn’t odd at all that a tall, glorious oak should live in this land for this land was a Woods. But this Woods wasn’t like any woods or forests you’ve ever seen before. Here the animals talked and flowers flew and trees moved wherever they needed. This was a magical Woods, unlike most others.

You understand, don’t you? It’s magic, after all.

This tall oak watched all around her. She wasn’t old as oaks go in years, but she was a wise oak just the same. She had been an oak all her life. And all her life she had seen things in the Woods. Good things and bad things, sad things and glad things. And everything she saw she held deep inside, deep where the blood of trees flows from the roots in the ground to the high crown of leaves that brace the sky.

One of the things she’d seen often was the love of others for the trees around her. This made her glad. “Someday,” she thought, “someone will come and love me.”

She waited for some time, through many seasons in fact. But no one came. Many came through the Woods where she lived and spread her leaves, but all that came seemed to prefer the shade of other trees. The tall oak watched this and wondered, “Is there something wrong with my leaves? Or my bark? Perhaps I don’t shade the world as I might?”

None of this was true of course. The oak’s leaves were among the most beautiful in the Woods. Her bark was clean and smooth and ran straighter than many other trees. Her shade was a peaceful relief to the small creatures that sought shelter under her.

It’s magic, after all.

 
But all this wonderful oak saw was the scores of others resting under other trees. “Perhaps I’m too tall a tree?”

And so, despite the fact that she was a beautiful oak, she let her boughs drop to her sides and twisted her trunk slightly, trying to make herself smaller in the Woods.

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One Turkey, Two Turkeys, Three Turkeys, Four

Advance…Turkey…I guess

Okay, so far just one; Gladys.

Gladys has been coming around the past few days. Every year, as Spring approaches, we’ll have a single Turkey come by.

We think the single turkey – this year it’s Gladys – is an advance scout. Maybe an advance guard.

But then again, Turkeys. She could’ve simply tired of all the other hen’s gobbling – it’s turkey gossip, you know, all that gobbling. And the things they say! – and needed some time by herself.

Whatever, Gladys has been stopping by, inspecting our yard, making sure the proper amount of seed is available, making sure all the other Old Ones are playing nice, keeping things sorted. One year Agnes aka The Aginator aka The Turkinator literally patrolled the yard. Whenever there was a wildlife skirmish, she was right in there keeping the peace.

And Turkey forbid someone should near her private pile of seed. Chippie War Dance time, that.

We’re making sure Gladys gives our yard her claw of approval.

One can never have too many Turkeys, you know.

Say hello to Gladys, folks.

 

The Augmented Man – Opening Quotes, Surface, In

The horrors of war never stay on the battlefield. They always come home.

The ideal experimental animal is man. Whenever it is possible, man should be selected as the test animal. The clinical researcher must bear in mind the fact that, if he wishes to understand human ills, he must study man. No researches are more interesting, more satisfying and more lucrative than those performed on man. Hence, it is up to us to forge ahead in our research on the most developed of animals: man.
— Mèdecine et Hygiéne, #637, April 1964

In all events, a healthy man does not have the right to be a volunteer for an operation which will certainly lead to a mutilation of the human body, or a serious and lasting deterioration of health. The patient cannot abandon to the doctor all rights to his body, over which he himself has only the right of usufruct.
— Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, Pope Pius XII

This experimentation can only be applied to informed volunteers who are completely free to accept or to refuse it, and can only be performed by a highly qualified person capable of reducing the risks incurred to a minimum.
— Acadèmie de Mèdecine

It is known that free consent is relatively rare. An atmosphere of suggestion, of persuasion, can easily be created, which will succeed in influencing the personality. Naturally, more effective means of pressure can be applied to subjects who are prisoners…This mentality appears to us to be rooted in a regression and a return to the mentality of human sacrifice characteristic of ancient paganism, of those human sacrifices made for a new idol…
— Psychopathologie expèrimentale, Professor Henri Paruk, P.U.F.

Senator Martha Astin (R.MA): “It sounds like you’re making nightmare monsters.”
Captain James Donaldson, ONI COS: “Yes, Senator. I am.”
Senator Martha Astin (R.MA): “And where do you get these monsters, Captain?”
Captain James Donaldson, ONI COS: “Well, ma’am, you start with those who are afraid of monsters.”
— transcript, Gang of Eight Advisory Committee, 310815-1437FF, ONI 17901

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Aros, The Love Hawk

Watchful, patient, attentive. Anybody notice that Love is a lot like Predation?

Earlier this week we were graced by Aros. At first I thought he was saying “Eros” so we called him “The Love Hawk.”

Turns out we couldn’t quite make out his dialect. Aros, not Eros. For a while we thought he was saying “Aeros” and to be honest, that might be correct.
Swyrlian, the Hawk language, is not the easiest language for humans to understand. At least not this human. And for that matter, his dialect is Northeast Woodlands, making it a little more difficult. It’s like Portuguese to me; quite fast. Everything slurs together. I keep waiting for someone to take a breath.

We did learn that Hawks always start their names with “A”. We spent time with Avis, Aris, and Avid. Opossums always start their names with the “O”. Don’t know which language came first. Probably Opossum. Predators always evolve once prey exists to prey upon. Evolve before there’s prey and evolution’s screwed up, not doing its job. Not a chance, that.

Notice that “A” pattern in the Hawk names? Avis, Aris, Avid, Aros? No idea why. It’s not obvious in the Swyrlian. Maybe Lower Swyrlian but not Standard.

Once we got the name right and tuned our ears, we apologized for the “Love Hawk” reference and Aros laughed (Hawk laughter can be chilling if you’re unprepared. They stare at you intently, their beak opens, their rasper tongue darts in and out. Sometimes their talons strengthen their hold) and said we were spot on, he is known as The Love Hawk among his aerial peers.

Spend more time making yourself someone somebody would want. You can’t be a predator unless you’re willing to be the prey. Especially in love.

 
That’s when he pointed out that humans are confusing to Hawk and, indeed, most Old Ones. Being in love is an act of predation. You are going after something, hunting something, tracking something, not for food but for that other great need, procreation. The skills used for one are the skills used for another.

Where humans – as usual – muck it up is not knowing the limits of one or the other. Love becoming stalking is no longer love and the hunter becomes the prey of their own confused desires.

“I’ve often heard humans say, ‘If I can’t have you then nobody can’,” he said. “Few say, ‘If you can’t have me then nobody can’ and the truth is ‘If you don’t want me somebody else will.’ Spend more time making yourself someone somebody would want. You can’t be a predator unless you’re willing to be the prey. Especially in love.”

Wisdom of the Old Ones, that.

Meanwhile, Aros…

 

Le Meas, Mo Charaid

One of the Last of the Goods Ones Moves On

One of my teachers passed on Sunday. It was right after breakfast. I stood by the backdoor, looking into the woods, and felt him cross over.

“Calum’s gone.”

Back in the 1990s I studied with two Celtic Teachers, Pahdeval and Da Fischer. They’d taken me as far as they could. Several hundred miles separated them and almost to the day they both told me I had to learn Gaelic – Scots Gaelic – to continue my studies because am Beurlad (Modern English) doesn’t support the concepts I studied with them.

Easy decision. Learn Gaelic. Could they teach me?

Yes, and there was another I had to study with, Calum Crùbach. In Alba Nuadh (Nova Scotia).

That’s a fairly big place. Where, specifically?

Falbh agus fios aige (Go and he’ll know).

Susan and I enrolled in a Gaelic summer school up there, an anniversary present to ourselves. We made lots of friends. One fellow, Malcolm, always seemed to be around. His humor was dry and infectious. He’d tell you a story straightfaced then burst out laughing when you caught on to the joke. He was a bawdy gentleman; courteous, gracious, considerate, always helpful, and would openly stare at a woman’s chest as if nothing else mattered.

It was a wonderful time and, as graduation approached, I had tshirts made up for the class, something to remember each other by.

I wasn’t sure of my Gaelic and he had a thick accent although he wasn’t teaching (he was studying pìob mhòr – traditional bagpiping). I asked him to help with my translations.

Happy to. He came up with a few translations that made advanced students laugh and blush. I asked Malcolm to translate “Don’t know the words, don’t know the language, gonna wing it.”

One teacher, a Scottish School M’arm if ever there was one (she was a Presbyterian minister’s wife and it showed. A lot), read one of the translations and walked away, shaking her head. “That’s not what it says, not at all at all at all.”

Tapadh Leibh, Malcolm (Thank you, Malcolm).

That’s when he corrected me. “Calum.”

Gaelic curses are a riot. Learn them. And be careful. They look a lot like harmless sayings…
…unless you know the people, the culture, the Way of Ocean and Earth.

 
Calum came from the Outer Isles and a line of Celtic StoryTellers. He had a tale for everything. Teaching stories, thinking stories, growing stories. Lore.

He asked me to help him translate fairy tales into a colinear Gaelic-am Beurlad to keep the language alive. He did it to teach me, more than anything else. To get me use to the rhythms, the meanings. The why of the Celts and Gaels, what cultural anthropologists know as the ceremony versus the ritual.

He taught me the traditions (fios agam) behind Scotch (if you think it’s just for drinking or celebrating, you…have studied differently than I have), the myths and not-myths of the Celts and Gaels. He taught me to sing the waulks, to summon the seas and quiet the earths.

He taught me how to see through the present to the past, into the deep past, and to respect the Old Ones of the Isles for choosing to reveal themselves to me and not to others.

He told me my name.

And he’s moved on.

Stad gu math, a’ Chalium.

Le Meas,
Eois