How many times have you walked away from a writer's critique group feeling dismayed and demotivated? The kindest among us will be less heavy-handed with a new writer, but even the best writers are not so confident they can handle hearing their "baby" is ugly. No matter how positive our intentions, if people leave a critique feeling deflated, it's not working. And this happens far too often.
Remember your first spelling test? Did the teacher circle all the correct answers in red? No. We've been taught from an early age to focus on what's wrong. The best teachers and parents try to correct behavior in a loving way because they know it's hurtful to a child to be constantly criticized. But the operant word is still correct. When dealing with adults, our drive to address problems, set targets, and work to accomplish them has created a culture of problem-centered improvement, where feedback is focused on what's not working well.
By pointing out what needs to be corrected in others' work, we may unintentionally create the "Golem Effect," borrowed from Jewish folklore about a creature meant to protect Prague that instead destroyed the city. When a group engages the Golem Effect, efforts to improve writing will demolish motivation.
We can invite the "Pygmalion Effect" instead, where positive expectations influence performance positively. This approach was named after an ancient sculptor who fell in love with a female figure he'd created from ivory. When he kissed the statue, she came to life. Our goal in critique groups is to help each other become better writers, and our positive approach to critique is the "kiss" that brings each other's work to life.
Read the work carefully before writing comments.
get to know the author's voice and style
develop a general feel before noting specifics
approach the work on its own terms, not the way you would write it
Write comments in third person; address the work, not the author.
Call attention to punctuation/spelling only if certain errors predominate. Instead of offering a re-write or copy-edit, trust the author to learn from the comments and decide what to change, or not change.
Let the author know what's strong in the work. Though hearing what you "love" or think is "terrific" may feel good, those general comments don't improve someone's writing. Point out specific strengths, with examples, in several of these areas:
figures of speech, word choices, metaphors, similes, imagery
style, voice, rhyme, rhythm, pacing
line breaks, stanzas
Then offer A FEW specific and nonjudgmental suggestions to improve the work. Saying what's "wrong" or what needs "correcting" will tend to raise defenses. Instead, focus the author's attention on how the work could be better written. Think in terms of possibilities--ask yourself "What would be the solution to this perceived problem?" For example:
Instead of "You've used this phrase too often," try "I see this phrase several times in this piece; it could have more impact if used only on page 4."
Instead of "This is too general," try "More concrete details here would increase the work's somber mood."
Instead of "This is a cliche," try "A fresher word would grab attention here, such as (example from author's work).
Instead of "This paragraph is confusing," try "This paragraph could show more clearly who is speaking."
For this submission period, we are requesting fiction of under fifteen hundred words. What am I looking for in the shorter fiction submission? Here are some suggestions that will catch this fiction editor's eye:
1. Make every word count. Examine the writing for excess adverbs and adjectives. For example, consider the following two sentences that say the same thing with different words:
"The bigger dog really likes the little dog. "The Labrador plays tug-of-war with the chihuahua."
2. Use active voice construction over a passive voice to employ clean, smooth writing and reading. For example:
"My article was published by Time Magazine.' "Time Magazine published my article."
3. Maintain balance and pacing. Sentence length, comma position and verb constructions will affect the overall rhythm or pacing of a piece of writing. Pay attention to each and how they sound when read aloud.
4. Story structure: stories demonstrate action, consequence and change via conflict. These elements give a story its structural arc. Otherwise, we are writing an anecdote or tale. Something must happen to someone or something. These elements apply to the short story and the very short story, whether plot or character driven, and even when under fifteen hundred words.
5. Keep point of view and tense consistent. Unless stating a truism, if you start the story in present tense, keep it there. If the story is from the narrator's point of view, stay in the narrator's point of view.
6. Dialogue works well in a short story but keep the "tags" to a minimum unless there are more than two people. Simple tags like "he said" or "she said" or "they said" for transgender stories, work better than "She screamed loudly." If the dialogue is short, one tag might be enough. For example:
She held his glance. "I thought you knew." "I had no idea. When did it happen?" "Last night. The tree fell on their bedroom." He looked down at the floor. "I can't believe their bad luck."
7. Demonstrate through action. Instead of "She felt terrible," consider "She paced around the room, touching each of its four corners with trembling fingers."
8. Fiction isn't just about entertainment. Writing is an art. Art offers the truth as the artist sees it. Significant truths are shared through short fiction and the world is often made better because a writer has shared his or her world view.
9. You can break the rules in experimental fiction. As short fiction editor I am fine with someone breaking the above rules; however (yes, there is a caveat), be certain the narrator's voice shines through the narrative. I respond with excitement more to a writer's voice than to any other fictional element.
10. Voice results from language and style choices. Excellence in writing relates in great part to the writer's voice.
Find what gave you the emotion; what the action was that gave you the excitement. Then write it down making it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling as you had. Ernest Hemingway (cited in The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass).
All writers are familiar with the adage "show, don't tell," but showing isn't necessarily based on action or dialogue. "... a state of being can be presented without emotions and, despite that, cause us to feel quite a bit," suggests Maass, but only if we're reading about "the big stuff... Only when a situation has heavy emotional baggage will readers pick up that baggage and carry it."
In Bacopa Literary Review 2017's Fiction Prize winningIgnis Fatuus, and More, at Eleven, Chad W. Lutz writes subtly about the big stuff, starting with the title itself, ignis fatuusmeaning something deluding or misleading.
The overt text presents Joan Conte, morning anchor at Fox19 News Now, reporting the appearance of the 2,722 ft. tall Burj Khalifa, formerly situated in Dubai, at Linn Street and Sycamore in Downtown Cincinnati.
This fantastic event provides a framework for the author's emotional subtext about a white-male-privileged social system that's racist, sexist, and anti-gay.
When assistant producer Anjay shows the TV image of fifteen thousand people thronging the streets at the building's base, taking pictures on their cellphones, he thinks,My God, have there ever been so many white people in Over-the-Rhine?
The phone calls pouring in include assurances "that the half-mile-high building was, in fact, a supranatural Trojan horse transplanted by ISIS, and that Cincinnati was about to become the epicenter of a thermonuclear war."
Conte, who's been promised for five years to feature her deeply researched piece on race relations, is overpowered once again by money-hungry executives: "It's excellent journalism... just not the story that needs to be told right now. I hope you can understand our decision." Than a not-so-subtle threat that she can't afford to lose her job: "Going through a divorce can be tough, Miss Conte, especially when there are kids involved."
Most subtle is the subtext of Abby, the twenty-something, bespectacled intern who's being given the runaround. "I got you a latte during the commercial break so it's still hot... Miss Conte? It's Abby... My pronouns are They/Them/Their..." waited for a reaction, any reaction; waited and waited and waited and then... thinking that both the woman on stage in front of them and the reasons they'd deluded themselves to coming back for another day of this going-nowhere internship, well, they were both f-----d."
According to Steph Shangraw in LGBT Fiction, the challenge of gender-neutral pronouns "creates a serious dilemma for an author of narrative fiction who wants to be inclusive and respectful" because readers jolted out of the flow will have more trouble losing themselves in the story. Yet, it's also the author's job "to blaze trails and set examples... That's the power and responsibility that come with storytelling."
It's the rare person who's immune to a well-told Irish story, and many of us have been trained to expect the quality of voice found in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.
Creative Nonfiction Editor Susie Baxter found this voice immediately in Paddy Reid's work. To know this author, however, is to go far beyond his ability as a writer and storyteller.
A passionate advocate for causes he believes in, a community worker who counsels and teaches literacy and memoir writing in the inner city of Dublin, Reid made it clear from the beginning that if he won a money award for his contribution to Bacopa Literary Review, that award should be distributed locally to people in need.
As the son of a so-called "deserter" who grew up an outcast in Ireland, this author's particular crusade has been to show the effects of Irish communities shunning their men who joined the British army to fight Germany in World War II, while the Irish army stayed neutral. Reid's father and others like him could not find work after the war and struggled to feed their families. Eventually these men were fully pardoned and their unfair, unwarranted treatment deplored, but not until after his father's death.
Reid's story, "Starvation," awarded Honorable Mention in our 2017 collection, begins with a quote that captures the quality of life for Rosie Flanagan, whose husband Kevin has been blacklisted for years by Irish employers and his British Army pension recently cut off:
You can be mad without screaming or ranting or raving. You can be quietly mad. Mad without banging your head off the wall. You can be sitting in a room, listening to the doctor, nodding your head when you're supposed to.
Rosie stood in the dim hallway, waiting her turn to see the doctor. She hated the old Portside Dispensary, with its cold rooms and heavy smells... The black mold growing in the corner... I'm afraid I'll hurt the children. She wanted to say it again, but had caught herself in time. If the doctor lost patience with her he could have her committed to the madhouse. It had been done before to women in the docklands who suffered with their nerves. Don't give him any excuse to put you away, Rosie... Three months ago, she had stood before a rubbish chute on the top balcony of Liberty Row. Her, just staring at the tip handle for ages, holding the sleeping baby to her chest with one arm. She jerked open the handle. From here it would fall forty feet into a collection area. Just a few seconds and it would be over. She leaned forward to drop it down the sloping chute. As she did so, the smell of rotten fish hit her like a physical blow. No. She pulled back, gripping the child tightly....
Paddy Reid lived in the US for more than a decade and published memoir and short stories in literary journals such as Connecticut Review, Sou'wester, and Primavera. He received the Anton Chekhov Award for Short Story from The Crescent Review in 1996, and won First Prize in Factual Memories in the competition and collection, Original Writing from Ireland's Own.
We've celebrated the unique talent of Charlotte M. Porter before, applauding her imaginative use of language in writing that "sweeps enthusiastically through poetry, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, fiction," with examples from her poetry and fiction.
In this post we bring you Porter's Flash Story Honorable Mention for a creative nonfiction piece that will rearrange your ideas about dreams. Notice Porter's unique voice and poetic near-rhymes in the first paragraphs of "Terminal Trance":
Disguised as moderns, poets Homer and Dante duped me with a junket to the Netherworld, an alumni reunion in Hades. I arrive, revive, await Homer in hip hop, Dante in high tops. What a gas! But no. My escorts are grim, thin as shadows.
One is my handsome brother Michael. The other, a former beau always late, a pretty fellow I'll call JoJo. Both lacking likeness to album photos seem taller in black manteaux, their eyes dull cupped candles of souls departed.
In dark dress, too, mine with hood, I lug two drab duffel bags, which a person my size has to slide on well-traveled floors.
Sorry, camp gear, says Michael, younger brother lost to cancer, too tired to lift--he the college batboy with metal plates in his arm, magnets for true North, our family joke, now rusty under skin so grey.
Through her dream travels, she loses and finds and loses her brother:
Call me Sisyphus, but you try pushing duffels across raft of air-filled mattresses. I falter, and Michael disappears. Has JoJo pulled him between creases of my visual field?
Was JoJo always after Michael, not me?
Through sheer will, I bring my brother back, for an instant in existence. His black coat stands grand against the milling crowd. I blink. He's gone--too big for me to see. Or too fleet like river flux or flame on silk.
Jojo and his yoyo coins evaporate. He, always beyond my ilk, the darling thief dream released through ivory and horn to steal sweet kisses. If this is closure, must I wake?
In what has become an elegy to her brother, our clever prize winner uses travel gear as a telling metaphor in her final paragraph:
A cur guards Hades, but my trusty dogs fail to keep the dead in place as I tarry on the Styx, ferry my stone-cold brother without toll for those duffels--his luggage, my baggage.
Anyone who's been a long-time caregiver has experienced the mixed emotions inherent in that role. Having cared for my mother the final sixteen years of her long life, I know the quiet tug between strength and fatigue, compassion and anger, willingness and rebellion. So it was my personal and professional pleasure to support Editor Susie H. Baxter's 2017 Creative Nonfiction Prize award to Raphel Helena Kosek for Caregiver's Journal: How to Survive, or Not.
Kosek wrote so movingly, in fact, we also nominated her piece for a Pushcart Prize.
Described by the author as "one of the most honest and heartfelt pieces I've ever written," Kosek's three-part essay begins, "The Caregiver Addresses Herself at a Distance:"
The night path so often covered between your mother's house and yours falls like reprieve, like freedom, when you are able to leave her--pajamaed and ready for bed--return to your own world. . . Never in all your sixty-one years have you counted the air so sweetly. . . the next step, next breath, next page, word, desire, longing, gratitude--a swell rising like the tide, sand unresisting sweeping you along the sea of night where you are washed from your mother's bitterness. . . .
Then "Taking Stock:"
. . . my mother slowly heading towards immobility next door in her house where the rituals of dressing and undressing, mollifying and tolerating, are endlessly repeated. . . No happy burden here. Age knocking at my door, I am still the rebellious teenager inside questioning, how did this happen to me? I want to take drugs, sleep too long, head into the woods. I don't do any of that. . . I am a monk in my skin. . . Aware of life's unexpected bits of sweetness, I hoard them like jewels. . . .
And in the final section, "Barking Dog in the Night:"
Stranded on the island of night, I try to navigate to the next minute, next moment. A neighbor's dog is barking but without urgency. . . He has been left out or let outside. . . My husband, more tired than I, has gone to bed. . . Now the dog and I are left to contemplate the vast universe that steams and dreams around us. . . If I try hard enough, I might arrive at some profound thought, but like the dog, feel no urgency to do so. Restless, I send some tentative feelers out--my bark to verify my existence. . . .
You'll find Kosek's eloquent, prize-winning piece in its entirety
"How can this series. . . staffed by hundreds of unpaid volunteers across the country, have survived and thrived for decades?" Because "Spirit will never be quelled, certainly not by big bucks and bluster." And indeed it's true. Bacopa Literary Review 2017's unpaid volunteer editors have thrived on this year's spirited entries and we're proud to announce our Pushcart nominations:
Stephanie Emily Dickinson, "Excerpts from the Trakl Diaries"
New writers often come to my classes on "writing memoir" wondering where to begin, how much to tell, and how to structure a memoir. "Don't start at the beginning," I tell them, since you cannot remember that day." There are, of course, exceptions to every rule: if one's mother died during childbirth, for example. Begin instead with a person or experience that had a significant impact on your life. Details about one's birth can be worked in later.
I had the same problems when I started my own memoir. I thought I would focus on my rural childhood (I grew up on a tobacco farm in North Florida). I could hardly wait to get away from the place and thought I would take the story up to the day I escaped as a bride.
"Wake up girls! Get outta bed!" Daddy yelled. Awakened from a nightmare, my half-awake eyes searched the cold, dark room. Dim moonlight shining through the bare windows helped me make out Daddy's flailing silhouette as he yanked quilts off my sisters and me. He grabbed my arm as I scrambled, trying to climb over Patsy and Anetha and off the cot we sisters shared. In my three years of life, I'd never been more scared. My heart pounded. That night had started out like any other.
In the kitchen after supper, soapy water dripped from Mama's fingertips into the chipped enamel dishpan as she lifted her arm to brush loose strands of permed dark hair off her forehead. She couldn't stand hair in her face. Bangs like Patsy had would have annoyed Mama no end. Curls like mine that dangled to my eyes? Pure torture for Mama. "C.G.," Mama called to Daddy. "How 'bout bringing in a washtub so the girls can take their baths by the fire?" Through the kitchen doorway, I had a clear view of Daddy, sitting in a straight-backed chair by the hearth. Logs blazed. Daddy was studying a lesson in his Sunday school book that lay atop his open Bible. Expecting him to look up and answer Mama any second, I stared at the crown of his head. His hair was nearly as dark as Mama's except when the sun or firelight hit it just right. Then, you could see sparkles of auburn. His barber clipped it short, as if Daddy still trained with the Florida National Guard. With his hair only an inch long, he didn't need to plaster it down with Brylcreem the way most men at church did theirs. Daddy didn't even need to comb his. You couldn't tell if he did or didn't.
Daddy had been talking about adding a kitchen sink and pipes that would bring well water into the house and take it out again -- "indoor plumbing," he called it. Our grandparents, who lived just up the road, had all that in their new house, built in 1944, the year I was born. They even had an indoor toilet!
My childhood memoir does not, however, extend to the day I became a bride. I wrote the stories out of sequence -- almost anything that came to mind. Deciding later what to include, what to leave out, and when to stop the memoir were my big challenges.
Eventually, the stories themselves dictated where the end should be, making me stop before I had even met the man I would marry. So, I say to those beginning a memoir, just keep writing your stories; the story itself will help you figure it out.
The idea of human memory as a folded or patchwork process is familiar to those who read and write braided essays . . . the "threads" combine thematically to form a more complete and pliable piece of nonfiction . . . in handfuls that don't abide by chronological time. Sarah Minor, "What Quilting and Embroidery Can Teach Us About Narrative Form, Literary Hub, 9/22/17.
The best memoir has a clear focus, theme, and takeaway -- something heartfelt, universal, and true. But if recollections are forced to be linear and sequential, there's a risk of oversimplifying the complicated tapestry of life. And this is not true only of nonfiction. Contemporary novels have also left the sequential story structure behind, some by alternating points in time, some by alternating chapters by different characters, the strands then formally braided or at least implied. One fine example is Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, a tapestry woven from five voices: Orleanna, Leah, Ruth May, Rachel, and Adah.
Writing about this technique in creative nonfiction, Brenda Miller suggests braiding is more than a mosaic with fragmented and juxtaposed pieces:
. . . it has more of a sense of weaving about it, of interruption and continuation, like the braiding of bread . . . What I'm hoping is that by the eating of this bread together we begin to respond to a hunger unsatisfied by everyday food, unvoiced in everyday language. We'll begin to formulate a few separate strands; we'll mull them over, roll them in our hands, and bring them together in a pattern that acts as a mouthpiece to the sacred. "A Braided Heart: Shaping the Lyric Essay," pp. 14-24, Writing Creative Nonfiction, Carolyn Forché and Philip Gerard (Eds)
Its break from traditional sequencing is one of the many attractions of Emily Hipchen's memoir, Coming Apart Together: Fragments from an Adoption. Even her title evokes an image of parting and reweaving. Readers will admire her writerly brilliance and identify with her experience even if not an adoptive parent or adopted child. One needn't have had a wild and crazy childhood in Texas to fall in love with Mary Karr's The Liar's Club or been a poverty-stricken boy in Ireland to be fascinated by Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.
The following excerpts from Hipchen's memoir show what Brenda Miller describes in "A Braided Heart" as ". . . separate parts intersecting, creating the illusion of wholeness, but with the oh-so-pleasurable texture of separation."
An early strand in the book is from the author's near present:
Fifteen days ago came the call . . . What I hear is a woman's voice. I immediately think "New York." I immediately think "foreign, unknown, stranger," and tune out all but anything that might be important. The timbre of the voice is deep, it has a girlishness to it though, an under-giggle of helium, so I think "young" . . ." Your father my husband and I would like to talk to you. Will you call us? . . . "We love you very much." There are beeps almost as meaningful as what she says, a hiss of tape. Who loves me? Who. I replay and replay, working the pieces together.
Soon we read a strand from her imagined infant self, only six months after her birth:
Six months ago I was born. Six months ago I was named Mary Beth Delany by the woman who labored thirty-six hours in darkness and daylight to have me and then let me go . . . She set her face into the winter light, moved her left leg, her right leg, and found that she was walking . . . and from the arms of a nun I stretched out my sloppy fists and smiled toothlessly, grinned and grinned and grinned as I did for every stranger, since everyone was a stranger . . . and they took me into their family, and began calling me . . . Emily. Their daughter.
Then we're back to a near-present strand:
On one of the first days I have contact with Anna and Joe, my father explains about sports . . . He unwraps his arm and stretches it across the table as if the limb were my gift . . . And says, "These are pitchers' arms." And says, "These are your arms." They are, emphatically.
Another strand from the past, the author now in elementary school:
In fourth grade was the Mendel project. Genetics. Monks and sweet peas. The project consisted of this: a worksheet on which each student was to record all the ways in which he or she resembled his or her parents . . . I told the truth: I was adopted . . . Thus verified, I was given something else to do. I sat all week alone . . . dreaming of my birth-mother coming to gather me . . . .
And a strand that holds both present and past:
I can remember being a child and dreaming my imagined mother alive . . . a better mother than mine, not so short-tempered, not so difficult to understand, not so other-than-me . . . But this is what I struggle with now, here, since it seems paradoxical, since it violates some substratum of feeling I can't yet excavate: for all the trouble I've had and caused, for all that it's taken me to get here, to be thirty-five years old, to be what I am, I can't wish the undoing of it, of any of it. To do so would unmake me.
A later strand frames an internal braiding of the author's own story with that of her newly discovered Aunt Elizabeth:
I am the daughter Anna's sister Elizabeth never had . . . I tell her, "It is difficult, you know, seeing my face walking around everywhere else. After all these years of not knowing . . . [Joe] says Aunt Beth ran away from her family when she was eighteen. . . [her story] becomes the companion piece to my own leaving, it has motives I comprehend . . . the powerful sense of having some control over one's own destiny. . . Our stories overlap and braid . . like mine, her father was violent and controlling. . .
As we near the end, Hipchen reflects on the various parts of her braid:
I wonder, as I sit writing this, this the story of one event's impact, how much of my understanding of what happens to me and to everyone else is really more just our seeing, through the dimness in which we sit, the shadowy outlines of things passing by rolled-up windows, too fast really to be more than blurs, too unfamiliar to be anything but what we imagine them to be?
Bit by bit, she weaves all together, admitting that some of her braided work must be imagined:
. . . The woman who gave birth to me, the man who helped make me, and the five children they had after me became names and faces to me, exited my unconscious and became incarnate . . . The struggle is in telling a true story when there are so many different kinds of truth, so many different angles, voices, possibilities, nothing linear, nothing really straight and tellable . . . How impossible it all is . . . But you know that's the thing about telling a true story, I think. Usually, to tell it at all sensibly, actually say what's true, you have to line up the bits and pieces you can just about see distinctly and imagine the rest.
Finally, I could find no better mouthpiece to the sacred in this compelling memoir than Emily Hipchen's own words:
We are all children looking for our lost parents. Or lost parents, looking for our children.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ". . . Read this book if you want to understand and experience the tangled knot of love, anger, self-doubt, and courage at the heart of adoption memoirs. . . ." ~ Rebecca Hogan, Editor of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies and Professor of English and Women's Studies, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The intersection of arts and political activism are two fields defined by a shared focus of creating engagement that shifts boundaries, changes relationships and creates new paradigms... a space where valuable insight can be found through reflection and sharing. ~ Art and Politics, The Power of Creativity and Activism Across the Globe," Annette Blum, Huffington Post, THE BLOG, 03/21/2016.
We live in an age of environmental concerns, political dissent, divisiveness, war, discrimination, and suffering made personal by instant internet access. No wonder poets, writers, and artists seek meaning and provide inspiration through their creative efforts. Certainly our 2017 contributors have rendered art that will bring readers inside life's deepest truths.
Delving first into the deeper blues, whether reading of the unknown lost, the well-known, or those known only to our writers--fathers, mothers, siblings, children, friends--you'll wonder if your heart's response is more joy or sorrow or a mix of both. Omit the sparrow and the thought / of bird remains. . . So it is with loss, writes Sally Zakariya. (Click here and scroll down to "Up From the Tropics" to see "Theory of Omission," from which these lines are borrowed.)
Exploring life's unexpected bits of sweetness, we admire the wild bite of stars, hug a baby close against fears of an unknown future, heal addiction in our dreams, recall as children how we were good help even though we also peed in the family pool, remember vividly such characters as Stephanie Dickinson's Velma, whose voice was a laughing gull's.
We still believe in love, that feeling every time you dazzle in the shine of someone new, being touched as if our scars are beautiful, even when love is like a blade, when we fear we might drown, when we pay a fine, when we ponder ways to lose a guy/girl. And we hope, with Tamara Adelman, that being alone with a lover in nature will provide some reassurances.
Our contributors, at liberty to sink caution, bemoan news that's about what sells, lying to ourselves while others wake up to violent explosions. They grieve coming-out children who hear echoes of "abomination," challenge the message for young girls to be patient and pretty and sending boys to war who would rather be foraging for berries. Then a reprieve in "The Soloist" by Andrew Brown: What would divide us meets in her radiant throat.
These writers and poets are concerned about earth's well-being, the only home you ever knew. In a world that's ending, just once more, as though any generation could avoid its end by consuming the next, mothers carry their children through waist-high water, streets full of soda cans and road signs, trees uprooted like a jumble of giant pick-up sticks. Still, some believe this is only a test. We are lulled by the blue rush of the surf and we nail old shoes in trees for homeless birds to live in. If anyone felt desire,Clif Mason assures us, the wind would blow again.
The final section features work where buzzing of bumblebees is the soundtrack, their honey a sovereign remedy, a muffle-hush falling when mountains breathe mist. While driving in boiling turnpike traffic we see: Suddenly--sheep! We feel with each bloom its thin green legs, see hummingbirds careen in plein air, watch the powdery glitter of snow. We believe, with Jim Johnston, that the seeds of courage are planted in darkness, and from there they must grow. . . if we do not want to call the darkness home.