Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giving thanks.

Today is the day set aside to do something we should do every day—give thanks for all the blessings we enjoy just for being alive. Things that are ours through no effort of our own. Things that should remind us that while the world may not owe us a living, it provides one anyway.
I am grateful today, as always, for the alphabet.
The twenty-six letters, symbols, scribbles, given to us who use American English have provided me a long life of education, employment, and entertainment. Numbers and I do not get along. But the alphabet, and all that comes from it, is an ever-present friend and companion. Just think of a world without the ability to share thoughts, feelings, ideas, knowledge, and more through a written language. It is beyond contemplation.
Despite the occasional quirks and complications inherent in using our alphabet, and despite the hatred, lies, and cruelty some fashion from it, I am thankful today for the wonder of the alphabet and the many miracles it lavishes on my life.
I hope I remember that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

My Favorite Book, Part 21.

A couple of weeks ago, while driving somewhere, I heard on the radio that Ernest J.
Gaines died. Hearing his name immediately called to mind A Lesson Before Dying, a novel I have read and re-read.
Most of what I write about relates to the American West. I make an exception here because this book is an exception—in that it is better, much better, than most of the books ever written in the world.
It tells the story of a man accused, tried, and convicted of murder, and sentenced to die for a crime in which he played no part, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The man is poor and uneducated, and the attorney assigned to defend him did so on the basis that the defendant’s ignorance and mental capacity made him little more than an animal.
Well, two old women are not having it. They want him to die like a man, not an animal. So, they convince an unwilling school teacher to visit the prison and educate the condemned man. The two men become friends, more than friends, and strengthen one another as execution day draws ever nearer.
A Lesson Before Dying is a gripping, heart-wrenching book more than worthy of the acclaim and awards it earned the author. It will haunt you for years. At least it has me.

Monday, November 11, 2019

See page 48.

The Winter 2019/2020 issue of range magazine is hitting the streets. On the cover, among other things, it says “One Heart” and “Gauchos & Buckaroos.” Both refer to a story I wrote that opens on page 48 of the magazine.
Featured in the article are two artists: Carlos Montefusco and Jeff Wolf. Carlos is from Argentina, where he has enjoyed a long reputation as a painter of the gaucho, the cowboy of his country. Jeff is a sculptor famed for his works of art depicting the buckaroo culture among American cowboys.
The two have become friends, brothers even, as they have explored rural life in their respective countries, and shared knowledge and history and meaning.
Find a copy of range and read all about it. It is an inspiring story of two artists who share one heart.