recent odds and ends
Edward Abbey would have been 87 years old today. I miss his voice.
"It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, and at foreign powers beyond our borders, and at those within our borders who question the prevailing order. Easy. And it pays. Ask the official guardians of the Soviet literary morality. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home: to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own government, his own culture. The more freedom the writer possesses the greater the moral obligation to play the role of the critic. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a show repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver. Whereof one fears to speak therefor one must be silent. Far better silence than the written word used to shore up the wrong, the false, the ugly, the evil. When necessary the writer must be willing to undertake the dangerous, and often ridiculous, and sometimes martyrlike role of hero or heroine.
That’s all I ask of the author. To be a hero, appoint himself a moral leader, wanted or not. I believe words count, that writing matters, that poems , essays, novels - in the long run - make a difference. If they do not, then in the words of my exemplar Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the writer’s work is of no more importance that the barking village dogs of the night. The hack writer, the temporizer, the toady, and the sycophant, the journalistic courtier (and what is a courtier but a male courtesan?), all of those in the word trade who simply go with the flow, who never oppose the rich and powerful, are no better in my view than Solzhenitsyn’s village dogs. The dogs bark; the caravan moves on.”
- from The Writer’s Credo
- portrait by John Blaustein
I could do alright this year by sticking to this list. Or half.
2013 was one for the books.
Lessons learned. Some downs, but mostly ups.
I couldn’t have written a better script.
Thanks to those who read these rambling posts.
Thank you to those who have shared their time and ideas.
Thanks to those who have given me a good kick when I needed it.
Thanks to those who have given me fresh eyes on edits.
Thanks for the kind words, and encouragement.
Thanks to new friends.
Thanks to students and teachers.
Thanks to the people and organizations who have supported my work.
Thanks to my family, and Dea, and those who don’t ask why.
Finally, thanks to you photographers who are making good pictures - full throttle with sincerity and conviction.
I’m inspired, and challenged, every day by so many talented and hard working friends.
Here’s to rolling the rock up the hill in 2014.
Miner Pride mini books. Color laser printed, cardboard box cover, two-sided tape & masking tape bound with vintage Dymo label tape title. 100% imperfect. #diyphotobook
2014 should see more of this kind of imperfection…hopefully.
A few outtakes from my two days in Gustavus, Alaska this summer, with Dan and his family.