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I recently met a man who was rather wizened. His hair and beard were white as snow. He was bent over and not just from the bulging back pack he wore.  He leaned heavily upon a cane.  Still, there was a youthful air about him especially that twinkle in his eyes.  He entered the place where I was working and asked to use the bathroom.  Now even as I prepared to utter the standard words often uttered in the heart of Boston, he stopped me.  “Yes, yes, I know. You don’t have a public restroom.  But this is an emergency.” Isn’t it always, I thought.

But then he proceeded to share the nature of his emergency and so after making a quick call for coverage, I helped the gentleman to the bathroom.  It was a circuitous path down several small flights of stairs and around some corners. He moved slowly and so he and I had time to chat. And as he talked I could not help but remark, “Sir, you do have a way with words.” He laughed.  “Well, I should. I’m a writer.” As we eventually made our way back up the stairs, we talked some more. Once again I remarked upon his way with words.  He chuckled, that youthful gleam awful bright.  “Have you ever heard of The Pilgrim?” I hadn’t. ” Thumping his chest, he said, “Well, I write for The Pilgrim.”

I saw him to the door. We wished each other well and that was that. I forgot about our encounter until today, for some odd reason, and decided to look up his magazine.  I was not completely surprised but still a bit startled to see that it is a publication written by the homeless.  It’s edited by Atlantic columnist James Parker and published out of Boston’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul. You can read more about the publication via this link: http://www.thepilgrim.org/#!about/c69s

After reading several entries on the Pilgrim Blog, I almost titled this blog post “hard reading.” The writing is intense. Of the pieces I’ve read so far, one of the most moving passages, Adam Staggering, was written by someone who is no longer homeless but still adrift.  And then there’s The Bed Lottery by Ricardo.  The print publication must be filled with so much more and that is available through subscription.

I’m glad my path crossed with that of the wizened little man. I only wish that I had asked his name so that I might know which pieces he had written.

 

Image Source: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Head of an old man.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47db-ca87-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

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It’s hot off the presses, folks! Diverse Voices Quarterly, Volume 7, Issue 25.  I’m honored to have had one of my photos selected as the cover image … water flowing over leaves, a melding of colors.  Available online and for the kindle.  As always, this issue contains a wonderful selection of poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Brief reads to be savored, like Home by Debonair Oates-Primus and Ancestors by Lee Varon.  Enjoy.

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That thought crossed my mind this morning as I did everything except the one thing I needed to be doing — write, write, write.  But, eventually, I remembered that part of my creative process, especially when I am feeling stuck on a writing project, is to get up from the computer and to walk toward … something.  In this case it was toward a small table in Steve’s kitchen.

On the table is an eclectic mix of items:  an antique silver pitcher against which leans a postcard of Hiroshige’s Plum Garden, a small pot of basil, two pots of red peppers separated by a pot of Cuban oregano, lavender that needs to be replanted and some lemon verbena.

Nestled amidst all of these herbs are bits of pottery filled with fruits of the season, glass votives, an empty wooden basket, and another postcard, Romare Bearden’s Autumn Lamp (Guitar Player).

Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy sits open upon the table, too.  I think I have it for two more weeks from the library before I have to return it. It’s a good book that I think I am going to add to my Christmas list. I flipped through the book for a bit, letting my eyes dance over her words and images.  And then guess what?

I closed the book (after marking what I intend to try for dinner tonight).  I sat back down at the computer and began to put fingers to the keyboard, feeling just a little bit less stuck.  😉

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As a child, I loved all literary critters from Stuart Little to Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web.  I also loved the feisty young heroes in books like Little House on the Prairie, The Black Stallion, The Secret Garden, The Swiss Family Robinson and so many more.   I wanted to be those young people and see the places described in those literary worlds.  Those young people and those stories helped to shape my initial views of my country, the world, and of myself.  I think I turned out okay. 😉  But I do recognize as writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asserts in the following TED presentation how stories — or the communication of “a single story” — can have unexpected consequences at many levels.  In her eloquence on a thought-provoking topic, she raises both my awareness as reader and writer.  I hope you have a chance to view.

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Pens, Paper, Postcards

Pens, Paper, Postcards

The camera is not going away, but if I have one goal in 2013, it is to do more creative writing.  Without doubt motivation has come from my involvement with Talking Writing, a nonprofit online literary magazine featuring the work of writers and visual artists.  I know firsthand the commitment and dedication of the editors in helping writers dig deep. See for yourself by checking out the Winter 2013 Issue.  And meet the editors this week at the 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Boston.

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Are the holidays especially hectic for you too?  If so, I highly recommend you steal away to a quiet corner and read this image essay by poet and artist Donald Langosy.  A treat for the eyes and soul, I’d say. 😉  http://talkingwriting.com/image-essay-donald-langosy/

"The Metaphysician and Monsignor" © Donald Langosy

“The Metaphysician and Monsignor” © Donald Langosy

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