It was three years ago today…

Inventing the Myth as I Go

Where am I heading and how will I get there?

You are welcome to come along for the ride. Try not to fall off as we round the curves…

I have tried to do this blog thing before and haven’t managed to develop the discipline to make it work…Blame it on the Floyd County Group of Bloggers for this new try. Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd Blog is inspiring me to begin again in the creation of the myth that is my life. Give me a little time and I’ll try to tie up the loose ends…

via Day One of the next stage of my life… | North Carolina Mountain Dreams.

And  I am still trying to put the words together that will tell the story I want to tell…Three years down and a lifetime to go.

Daily muses have moved to CoffeeMuses.com. Stop over and sit a spell…

Sunday Morning.

On this Sunday, the Memorial Day Eve so to speak, Patry Francis is back with one of her personal short stories that are so powerful the reach into your soul…Do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing.

THE LAST LETTER: A Short True Story


Signs of Human 4, originally uploaded by zachstern.

When I entered high school, there was a war going on. Every night the local paper printed the addresses of soldiers who wanted to get mail. I wrote to every name on the list, and used my babysitting money to send them small gifts.

Source: SIMPLY WAIT: THE LAST LETTER: A Short True Story

Fred First has posted the first part of a piece on patriotism. I find myself in agreement with most of what he has posited in this piece. The only addition I would make to his comments is in adding a “higher ideals” component to the definition. To me, one of the biggest things this country has had going for it over the years is the notion that we can do better…We expected to be better than we actually were. We held ourselves to a higher standard than we held others. Somewhere in the past few years we quit holding ourselves to those “higher” standards and that’s where we are beginning to lose our way. Fred points a way to refind those ideals by rediscovering that tie to place, that tie to home, that tie to country. We will only return to those “higher” ideals when we hold ourselves and those who “lead” us and the companies we allow to sell to us are held to the same “higher” standards.

“We the people” were the words used to found this country. “We the people” have given our lives and our living to making this country strong. “We the people” developed the “ideals” that have led this country through two hundred plus years of wars, disasters and lives. “We the people” will continue to move this country forward, not always well, sometimes with stumbles, sometimes with great arguments, but, always forward if we hold ourselves to the same high ideals our parents and grandparents held themselves.

Go, spend some time with family. Think on those who have sacrificed so much for this great country. Think on those that still sacrifice daily. Give thanks for all of them. Raise your own sights to the higher ideals…Have a great patriotic weekend.

Spring – The first full day.

“In pursuit of happiness, the difficulty lies in knowing when you have caught up.”
R.H. Grenville

I feel the need for a change of pace on this Wednesday morning.

For many years I tried to develop a habit of journaling and could never carry it through for more than a week or three. I tried morning pages from the “Artist’s Way” book, but again, I could or would only make it through a few weeks before dropping it. I have always felt a need but never strong enough to develop the necessary habits. If you look at my profile you will find that it says I have been on Blogger since April of 2001 but I’ve only had a little over 200 profile views. I guess that would make me somewhat of an old timer at blogging, but I feel like a total newby. I do not know how many different times I have tried to start a blog only to give up when the habit didn’t take hold. From the looks of this try though, I may have continued long enough to actually have set the habit.

I see that Julia Cameron has a website up for “The Artist’s Way at Work“. Looks like a new place to explore. There is also an “Artist’s Way” Community at another site.

My time this morning is growing short, so I need to hit the emails…

  • What a difference a day makes…Blue Ridge Mountain temps are back down in the low 40’s this morning
  • There seems to be an upside for the White House to the AG Scandal…We aren’t still hearing about the scandalous treatment of the wounded veterans or Plamegate or Katrina or any of the hundreds of other fiascoes hosted upon America by this Administration.
  • ‘Tis the first (full) day of spring…Go see Garrison about what that means in Poetry.
  • Wandering through the log of visitors to this site is always a lot of fun. It never takes a lot of time, few visitors each day. I am always surprised there are as many as there are. What always intrigues me though is the geographical data. Why did someone visit from China? Was it random?

Kate at Cider Press Hill introduced me to an old concept that is newly named for me but well practiced for years… Commonplace Books. What a glorious name for a concept that’s inherit with the way my brain works. I have always kept notebooks, both paper and electronic, full of quotes and other bits and pieces of trivia pasted and copied onto the pages. To think, I have been creating Commonplace Books for years. Now that I know that this is an accepted self-publishing form of book-making, I will practice it with more respect for the tradition.

Along those lines, this quote was posted as appearing on a bumper sticker without the attribution. I find it fits well with my philosophy of life and personal mythology.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

Sunday Morning Muses

You have to love this time of year…Don’t you?

Last evening we were running the AC to dry out the house after a week of humidity and temperatures in the upper 70’s, something had to give. It did. Luckily, I checked the forecast before going to bed last night and switched the thermostat to the heater side.

Even with the AC side set higher than I like and the Heater side set lower than the wife likes we are eating up the Kwh this year already.

Even the flowers outside can’t quite figure this year out. Last week one of my Angel’s Trumpets was blooming all over. There must have been over a dozen big white blooms on the plant. Then came the freeze of the last week and all of the blooms shriveled up and hung limp and brown. Then came the week we just had. And the blooms on the plant that hadn’t been burned completely…They returned. And this last week, they were joined by the Azaleas around the house. All winter long, there have been a few honeysuckle blooms on the vine in the yard…Not many, but at least a few all winter long.

It seems like a long tradition of weather myths here in the Houston area, but like all myths, there is that kernel of fact that feeds the life of the myth…It rained on the Rodeo Parade. I haven’t looked at the records. I am sure they wouldn’t bear up to the weight of the myth, but, every time it rains on the Trail Riders it makes the news in Houston. Many years ago (many, many) I made the trip through the parade route in a covered wagon after making many of the overnight camps on the trail (I couldn’t ride for a couple of reasons: no horse and school). By best friend’s brother was on the ride and we would meet at their campsites each night for a few hours before heading home for school the next day. Then on the last night before the parade we joined the Riders at Memorial Park for the night. The next morning we pulled on our boots and hats and bummed a ride on one of the wagons for the ride through downtown Houston. For some reason, every year at this time, I relive those long gone days…I wonder just what pushes those memories to the surface?

Another of my shots from Friday.

Have a great day, and I’ll catch ya’ll down the way.

Sunday Morning Muses

You have to love this time of year…Don’t you?

Last evening we were running the AC to dry out the house after a week of humidity and temperatures in the upper 70’s, something had to give. It did. Luckily, I checked the forecast before going to bed last night and switched the thermostat to the heater side.

Even with the AC side set higher than I like and the Heater side set lower than the wife likes we are eating up the Kwh this year already.

Even the flowers outside can’t quite figure this year out. Last week one of my Angel’s Trumpets was blooming all over. There must have been over a dozen big white blooms on the plant. Then came the freeze of the last week and all of the blooms shriveled up and hung limp and brown. Then came the week we just had. And the blooms on the plant that hadn’t been burned completely…They returned. And this last week, they were joined by the Azaleas around the house. All winter long, there have been a few honeysuckle blooms on the vine in the yard…Not many, but at least a few all winter long.

It seems like a long tradition of weather myths here in the Houston area, but like all myths, there is that kernel of fact that feeds the life of the myth…It rained on the Rodeo Parade. I haven’t looked at the records. I am sure they wouldn’t bear up to the weight of the myth, but, every time it rains on the Trail Riders it makes the news in Houston. Many years ago (many, many) I made the trip through the parade route in a covered wagon after making many of the overnight camps on the trail (I couldn’t ride for a couple of reasons: no horse and school). By best friend’s brother was on the ride and we would meet at their campsites each night for a few hours before heading home for school the next day. Then on the last night before the parade we joined the Riders at Memorial Park for the night. The next morning we pulled on our boots and hats and bummed a ride on one of the wagons for the ride through downtown Houston. For some reason, every year at this time, I relive those long gone days…I wonder just what pushes those memories to the surface?

Another of my shots from Friday.

Have a great day, and I’ll catch ya’ll down the way.

“Success goes to those who tell their story to the marketplace”

I was reading in Ripples this morning where David was discussing a conference on Sustainable Development held in Abingdon, Va. The following quote really jumped of the screen at me…

Ripples: post-corporate adventures: Sustainable Economic Development for Southwest Virginia?: “Governor Kaine emphasized this point near the end of his speech. ‘Success goes to those who tell their story to the marketplace.’ In a sense, that was the underlying theme of the entire conference, telling the story about the regions assets in a way that would attract tourists and investment.”

That says it all about the organizations and businesses that have managed to involve me to the point of being a walking evangelist for them. It was the story that first brought me to try them, it was the reality of their living the story that keeps me going back, and it’s the belief in the philosophy that created the story that I seem to connect with.

One of the very first “stories” that brought me to the area of the Blue Ridge Mountains we now call ours, was the story of the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. I stumbled on their website and read the history long before I planned that family trip to North Carolina. It was their story that set the location for our first visit. And it was the daily stops to sit on the porch and sip a ginger beer that helped make the stay a success.

During the planning for that trip, I first read the story of Grandfather Mountain and the love of one man for a “place” and the transformation that love brought to a mountain over the life of the man…which is why the recent death of a man I hadn’t ever met was like losing a member of the family. May you rest peacefully on the mountain, Hugh Morton.

And it was the story behind the rescue of the Orchard at Altapass (and speaking of serendipity, as I started writing this paragraph Bill Carson’s “Story of Altapass” popped up on my computers MP3 player) that led me to make the trip to visit that institution on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, where Bill piled me into his vehicle to run down the road to visit the graves of the McKinney’s who first settled there.

It isn’t just the stories though that makes these places special, it’s the people involved in living the stories today. And to all of you who are involved with these groups, I want to say thanks for being so very neighborly…It’s what keeps us coming back and keeps our “North Carolina Mountain Dreams” alive.

p.s. Just as an explanation of what makes the fact that Bill Carson’s “Story of Altapass” playing at the exact time I was typing the paragraph about the Orchard such a coincidence, my MP3 player is set to shuffle and has a playlist that contains over 5000 pieces.

“You are the storyteller of your own life…”

I was going through some old files today, cleaning out the clutter that accumulates when you aren’t being particularly observant, and I came across a bunch of slides I printed from a Tom Peters presentation. The one that spoke to me immediately was a quote Tom had attributed to Isabel Allende. “You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not.” That one sentence, in its simplicity, pretty much lays out a whole life philosophy. The only addition I would make is it takes an audience for the legend to become mythical. From my observation it is only in the eyes of your friends and loved ones that the story you live can become the legend that become myth through the retelling.

Anyway for the time being her quote will have a place of prominence on this site…and as a unsolicited plug, I finished her new book “Zorro” a couple of months ago and happily endorse it as a very good read.

WHERE I’M FROM

Fred First asks “Where Are You from?” and adds a template to help answer the question . Check out his page and make your own life poem.

Where I’M From by Gary Boyd

I am from books by the dozen that started me dreaming, from Lava Soap and bare feet in summer always dirty.
I am from the Deep South, coastal plains and high clouds; sky as big as the whole of existence; sun and heat, humidity and rain (sometimes at the same time).
I am from the oak, the broad shade of summer; large comforting limbs for imaginary castles: height in a world that lacked hills.
I am from potato soup and corn bread, from Linville’s and Sewell’s and Pearson’s.
I am from the men of shiny skulls and mother hens who ruled the roost.
From Indian Princesses and Sooners (they thought).
I am from Baptist traditions with new age tendencies. Looking to the Far East for a guiding set of principles I am pulled in different ways.
I’m from four generations of Texans coming from North Carolina via many routes, pinto beans and bacon and biscuits.
From the great-grandmother who died too young, the grandfather who didn’t mind the questions I chattered, and the father who was always gone.
I am from the pictures my mother keeps safe, the history I have tracked down in courthouse basements and now pass on to the cousins who care, the old bibles hiding in sock drawers that listed those who came before me who I never knew.

Why I’m doing this…

For a number of years now I’ve been trying different methods to get in the habit of journaling. I am not sure what it is I am trying to do here; I don’t know what keeps me going back to the books and mags on journaling…Something keeps pushing me to say something and I guess the only way to figure out what is to just go ahead and try saying something…

I have been watching (and reading) blogs since almost the beginning, give or take a year or so, maybe. I remember stumbling onto Ev and Meg way back when they were in startup mode. I always thought they were on to something. Now, I’m getting to a new place in my life and find the urge to do my thinking in the “blogosphere” more compelling. Most of the blogs I have been reading in the past four years have tended to be political, but, now I am finding that I don’t like being mad at the system all the time (even though I believe I should be). So, for the last few months I have been reading a different group of blogs, what some are calling “location blogs”.

These blogs remind me of one of my favorite local newspaper columnists, Leon Hale. Leon has been writing a column here in Houston for my entire life (just to set the record straight, I was born in 1954). He started with the Houston Post and then moved to the Houston Chronicle before the Post folded up it’s tent and left the city with just one paper. If you would like to check out what I think a pre-computer blog would look like, take a look at his writing. I always thought Mr. Hale must have one the best jobs there was, even though I never could figure out how he managed to keep coming up with new stories. Can you imagine, three to four stories a week for over 50 years…go on take a few minute and check out his patter. It’s definitely a Texas voice from the last generation, but it has stories to tell.

Because I have felt a call to the mountains of North Carolina, and the area of Valle Crucis, North Carolina in particular, I have found myself becoming involved with a group of bloggers from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The first blog I discovered was Blue Ridge Blog by Marie Freeman. Marie’s photo’s of the Valle Crucis and Boone area keep bringing me back to the Mountains. Marie’s site led next to Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd. I am in the process of reading Fred’s new book “Slow Road Home” and working my way back through his archives, both of which are giving me inspiration that maybe I too can have a life after the corporate world.

All of this is causing me to reach way back into the ‘70’s and some of the things I remember from the Nearing’s books. Maybe it’s time to start my own five year plan for getting into those mountains I have come to love…So Marie and Fred, I’ll be seeing you down my own “slow road home” some time in the future…

Maybe the real question is do I have something to say that anyone else wants to here…The only way to know is to say what I have to say and see if anyone reacts…so the journey begins.

Day One of the next stage of my life…

Inventing the Myth as I Go

Where am I heading and how will I get there?

You are welcome to come along for the ride. Try not to fall off as we round the curves…

I have tried to do this blog thing before and haven’t managed to develop the discipline to make it work…Blame it on the Floyd County Group of Bloggers for this new try. Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd Blog is inspiring me to begin again in the creation of the myth that is my life. Give me a little time and I’ll try to tie up the loose ends…