July 19, 2015


Yesterday was Gail’s funeral.

My wife has known Gail and her family for 30 years, maybe a bit more. Kristi and I have been married almost 21 years, and we lived in Gail’s neighborhood for about 13 years.

I don’t know how to grieve the loss of Gail.

I don’t think I completely grieved the loss of Billie Sue. She died a few years ago, and my family had known her and her son for about 30 years.

I don’t think I adequately grieved the loss of my grandfather.

I don’t think I fully grieved the loss of my grandmother.

I don’t think I entirely grieved the loss of my other grandmother.

Maybe I’ve done a better job accepting death, my own eventual death and the eventual deaths of others. Having really thought and wondered about death a lot, too much, I might have gotten to the point at which…

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Thoughts on Theatre

Do you go to a theatrical experience for the length of the piece or the quality? A simple question that may sneak up and inform the way you live:


“As it is with a play, so it is with life—what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is.”

– Seneca

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Interesting Literature

A brief introduction to one of modernism’s most important early poems

T. E. Hulme (1883-1917) was an influential poet and thinker in the first few years of the twentieth century. He left behind only a handful of short poems – our pick of which can be read here – but he revolutionised the way English poetry approached issues of rhyme, metre, and imagery. Few before Hulme had thought seriously to liken the moon to a child’s balloon or the ruddy face of a farmer, but Hulme was resolute that poetry, in the hands of the Victorians, had become stale and old, and needed to be reinvented.

In many ways Hulme’s masterpiece is the following poem, ‘The Embankment’, written around 1908-9 while Hulme was an active member of the Poets’ Club (later the Secession Club) in London:

The Embankment
(The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night)

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The title of this post is my spin on the following book excerpt.

Michael Hyatt writes:

“Most of us have spent a lifetime ignoring — or even suppressing — our intuition. I don’t know if this is a product of modern rationalism or American pragmatism. Regardless, I believe intuition is the map to buried treasure. It is not infallible, but neither is our reason. And it can point us in the right direction. We need to pay attention to this inner voice.”

— from Hyatt’s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

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Two quotations pointing in the same basic direction.

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” — Bukowski

“One must be drunk…. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time that breaks your shoulders and bows you to the earth, you must intoxicate yourself unceasingly. But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, your choice. But intoxicate yourself.” — Baudelaire

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Good approach!

Robert Pimm

So you want to write the perfect article? Welcome. I’ll tell you how.

The essential starting point is to have a clear central message.  What are you trying to say?  What’s your point? Clarity on this makes everything which follows much easier.

My companion piece “7 tips for writing the perfect article” explains how to decide on your message; focus on readership; and ensure what you’re writing is relevant.

Once you’re clear on what you want to say, it’s time to get started.  “The best way to start work is to start work”.  Structure is everything.

Many journalists use a simple template.  There are lots of ways of doing this; but the following, based on advice from a US journalist friend, has worked well for me in numerous feature articles during my time as a freelance journalist.  A worked example is at the end of this…

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I recently purchased my own copy of “The Chapel of the Thorn,” and I intended to read it and write a review this summer. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting review from A Pilgrim in Narnia:

A Pilgrim in Narnia

Brenton Bodleian MugshortLibraries are sacred spaces. I have had the opportunity to make pilgrimage to some of these storied cathedrals. I sat in contemplation at the Edwin W. Brown Collection at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, not even sure what I would find. I traveled the 20 hours to New York to work with the original handwritten manuscript of The Screwtape Letters in the Berg Collection at the Public Library. At General Theological Seminary in New York I went through The Guardian, years 1941-45, reading C.S. Lewis’ publications of Screwtape and The Great Divorce, and watching for readers’ comments. New York is an amazing town.

I spent a couple of days at the Toronto Public Library where they host the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy. It has all those old SciFi magazines and paperbacks, but also the research notes of Margaret Atwood, and a full collection…

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“The stories of Hans Christian Andersen don’t always have endings that allow the characters in them or the reader much closure. You can’t predict the ending of Andersons’ fairy tales. They teach you to retrospect though. “

digital writing portfolio

20.11.14 Jessica Chehade

You’ve heard, or read, or watched the stories of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Princess and the Pea. You might also recall, The Emperor’s New Clothes or Groove as it is now commonly referred to. The origins of these stories come from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. And what a master storyteller was he.

The other day, my friend and I were discussing Disney and other animated films that we loved –‘cause who doesn’t love a bit of animation? – When we decided to re watch Thumbelina. Not remembering a whole lot of the story other than it features a pretty little thing no higher than an inch who falls for a Fairy Prince, and also a Spanish, busty, lip-sticked toad. We thought what better way to spend the evening than revisiting one of the loves of our childhood.

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the irresistible fleet of bicycles

The Inverness Almanac welcomes submissions — by June 1, 2015 — of:
essays, photographs, artwork, stories, poems, ecological observations, plant profiles, mushroom recipes, histories, graphs and maps, interesting rocks, animal encounters, accounts of bird migrations, planting timelines, remembrances of Arch Rock, rain dances, your tracks in the mud, your fallen leaves, your astronomies, astrologies, mythologies, the tale of your journey into the forest, into the underworld, into the bioluminescent bay on a ghost ship in the night, your lyrics, calendars, missed connections, adorations, and contemplations.
black and white photo of a beach and ocean shore

Tell a story, tell a dream, tell a secret. Light, darkness, and everything in between, with a fall/winter theme for the Alamanac’s next issue.

Email submissions by June 1, 2015 to

Mail print submissions to PO Box 712, Inverness, CA 94937.

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Griffin at San Marco Basilica, Venezia, Italy -- Venice A griffin on the exterior of Basilica di San Marco in Venice, Italy, October 2014

Photography of a griffin on the exterior of San Marco Basilica in Venezia, Italy -- Venice, Italy A companion griffin at Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy, October 2014

Learn more about Saint Mark’s Basilica here.

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Of course, the best-known Inklings were C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. But they weren’t the only Inklings.

During the past year or so, I’ve re-blogged a couple of things by Sorina Higgins, a scholar of the life and works of Charles Williams.

Like Williams, another lesser-known Inkling, Owen Barfield, was a powerful intellectual and imaginative force within the group. The literary output of Williams and Barfield suggest each core member of the Inklings was extraordinary, if only two members were blessed with incredible book sales and international name-recognition.

While Higgins has reasons to call Charles Williams “The Oddest Inkling,” Barfield also might seem a bit odd to Tolkien and Lewis fans.

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the following short documentary film about Barfield. It includes an interview with Barfield in his older age. “Owen Barfield: Mean and Meaning” is well-worth the time of any…

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