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Friday, January 6th, 2012
I can’t believe that it has been two months since I’ve written on my blog! Several events and pleasures have gotten in the way…the holidays, preparing a prospectus for the third edition of The Constructivist Leader, inertia, spending time with my new novel set in Taos, family, the magnetism of the sunlight on the ocean….
Yet, on December 20, friend, artist and writer, Giovanna Paponetti, inspired me to action with the announcement that the Pope has approved the cannonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Indian saint. Taos resident Giovanna is the author of “Kateri Tekakwitha, Native American Saint: The Life and Miracles of Kateri Tekakwitha,” the book that provoked the Vatican to act 30 years after Kateri was beautified (the last step before Sainthood). And, more than 400 years since Kateri had died. They awaited the confirmation of a third miracle, which came in the form of a young Indian boy.
Both Giovanna and Kateri are characters in my Taos novel, so of course, I find their adventures are fascinating. I would urge you to order Giovanna’s book and discover for yourself the mysteries of Kateri and talents of Giovanna.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
When we left the house at 6:30 am last Friday to share in the renowned San Geronimo Day (St. Jerome Day) at the Taos Pueblo, the air was chilled and the soft light of morning barely enough to guide one’s steps. But we knew that by the time the end of this long day arrived, we would be very warm indeed. We drove the half hour to the Pueblo and settled ourselves with friends at the base of the five-story pueblo near the grandstand and starting line for the race. Well, “race” doesn’t quite describe this ancient Indian ritual for the men, ages 7-70, ran in tandem, one at a time. No competition. It is said that this essential ritual keeps the seasons, as well as the sun, rotating around the earth. The sacred earth, Mother Earth, source of all life. “And what if you didn’t perform these rituals,” Carl Jung asked of Chief Mountain Lake in 1925. “The earth would become dark and everyone would die,” Mountain Lake replied simply.
As we stood waiting for the ritual, the sun sprayed across the multi-layered pueblo lined with women in colorful shawls. One of Taos’ brilliant animated paintings. The guests, mostly Anglos, lined up on the south side of the running area. On upright beams eight feet above ground, sat the grandstand wrapped in tree limbs with golden autumn leaves. A golden cross towered over the enclosure. Inside sat two priests, the leader of the Penitentes, and three Indians. Statues from the nearby St. Jerome Church had been paraded out after the 6:00 am mass and planted on the platform. The Virgin Mary–dressed in her seasonal gold colored satin– was joined by St. Jerome, the Indian saint Kateri, and Jesus.
About 50 Runners gathered at the base of the grandstand and readied themselves to run. Their bodies were adorned with white and clay-colored paint, brightly decorated loincloths (red velvet, blue satin, decorated with flowers, design, black, purple) feathers across their chests and in their hair. As each barefooted man stepped up to run, the men standing behind them rubbed his back with feathers to help him fly. The runners whopped and yelped—women trilled. They left the starting place as another runner returned and crossed the finish line of green and gold branches. One little boy tripped and fell as he left, but got up and continued. Runners left in a fast sprint, returning slowly, some walking. We understood the path to be about l/4 mile. Feathers lined the outer rim of the race and visitors were told not to touch them.
Relationships among the runners were helpful and caring—rubbing dust on the legs of returning runners, kissing a hand, patting a shoulder, rubbing with feathers, brushing hands with open palms. After nearly an hour and a half, everyone ran as a group toward the east, then back again, standing for prayer. As they paraded out, small candies were showered on them by the crowd. Those in the grandstand scrambled down the ladder and paraded the statues back to the church.
Next: Lunch with Indian friends on the Pueblo
Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Ok. Yes, we’ve been in magical Taos for more than 10 days to research the third novel in my trilogy and so busy with enticing experiences that I’ve neglected my blog. The weather is gorgeous, the sky an animated painting. Just a short rundown (then more details in the days to come):
• This past week special films at the Harwood Museum on Black Mountain College, Glenn Gould, How to create a gorge in a few million years.
• Interviews with several individuals who have been informants on the project, two dinner parties, three dinners out with friends.
• A reading and presentation on Millicent Rogers by local author Cherie Burns.
• An evening for the presentation on Awakening in Taos about Mabel Dodge Luhan.
Ali McGraw at a reception, then reading from Mabel’s memoir. Producer Mark Gordon stayed with us.
• The magnificent San Geronimo day at the Pueblo, including lunch in one of the homes on the site. Details on this next time.
• An interview with BBC for a special Lawrence in Taos to be aired on November 4.
• A visit by daughter Laura, and her husband Terry, for the weekend.
• My reading from Etruscan Evenings at the La Fonda Hotel, co-sponsored by the Friends of DH Lawrence, The Southwest Literary Muses, and the Moby Dickens bookstore.
Another busy week coming up, including a visit to the Lawrence Ranch with the BBC crew and author Geoff Dyer, then two days in Santa Fe.
Monday, July 25th, 2011
This spring for my birthday, we met friends Julie and Jim Biddle in Carmel. Julie is on the National Alliance for Reggio Children and was in California for the opening of the remarkable traveling exhibit of Reggio Emilia schools. It is now in Salinas at the Steinbeck museum through November 1. From there, it will travel to Vancouver, Canada, and Portland, Oregon. Whether you are in education or not–don’t miss it. I plan to visit again with my granddaughter, Chloe, at the end of August. Chloe will be a senior this year at the University of Oregon, preparing to be a teacher. The following is an except from the Wonder of Learning website.
“The travelling exhibition The Wonder of Learning recounts experience from infant-toddler centres, preschools and primary schools in the city of Reggio Emilia. This exhibition is offered as a democratic piazza calling international attention to the importance of education and schools as places for discussion and mutual exchange.
In continuity with the previous exhibition The Hundred Languages of Children, the aim is to reconfirm the values at the heart of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy and to recount the changes, innovations, and developments that have taken place. The exhibition speaks to all those involved in schooling, and to all members of the general public who believe that safeguarding educational processes and their evolution is of fundamental importance for society.”
Saturday, May 7th, 2011
Morgan and I are leaving for Cairo and Beirut this coming week. We are eager to return to friends in Egypt–and particularly discover how the revolution is going. Our friends have mentioned that some released convicts are looting cars on the road to Alexandria breaking into a few homes, and engaging in a few kidnappings. A major concern is the increasing power of the Muslim Brotherhood–not in reference to safety, but in terms of the future of governance in Egypt. We’ll be staying at the Shepheard Hotel and be more cautious than is our usual style. We’ll keep you posted.
The overall purpose of this trip is that I’ll be working in Beirut with TAMAM, an outstanding, inspiring school-based reform program based on an inquiry approach to improvement. What is most remarkable is that the program is turning education on its head: inquiry instead of memorization. Now, that doesn’t mean that students won’t memorize concepts, but it does mean that in these schools, memorization will no longer be the primary approach to learning. The pioneering schools–now in their 4th year–are in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon. In addition, guest from Morocco, Egypt, and Oman have been invited to attend.
More next week, Linda
Thursday, April 7th, 2011
The Friends of D.H. Lawrence: A Festival of New Mexico Writers
The Friends of D.H. Lawrence are staging their annual reading, “D.H Lawrence and Friends: A Festival of New Mexico Writers,” Friday, April 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.
The public is invited. No admission charge.
Readers will include actor and Taos resident Dean Stockwell who starred in the Oscar-winning film version of Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers.”
Storyteller/performer Roberta Meyers will do something from Frieda Lawrence, and author/educator Mirabai Starr will read from selected work.
In a fast-paced program, each reader will select a passage from a work of New Mexico literature and read for five minutes.
Other readers will include: UNM-Taos faculty members Ellie Behrstock, Bonnie Lee Black, Steve Fox, Marie Martinez, Anne MacNaughton and Susan Carpenter Sims. Also reading will be Ned Dougherty, R.C. Israel, Linda Lambert, Ralph Meyers and Kathy Pruitt.
Sam Richardson will emcee.
The Friends of D.H. Lawrence are a not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to preserving and fostering the rich heritage of creativity left by D.H. and Frieda Lawrencehttp://www.friendsofdhlawrence.org
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
What do gardens tell us about leadership? Would you rather work on Tuesday or Wednesday? This approach works well with any organization. Try it! Linda and Mary
Monday, September 13th, 2010
We’re in glorious Santa Fe right now, leaving for Taos in the morning. Many fascinating characters have materialized along the road, a few no longer of this world. One of special note is Mary Jane Colter, architect. The southwest’s Julie Morgan. Mary Jane designed all of the restaurants for the magnificent hotels along the Santa Fe line–later Route 66 as well. These hotels, run by Fred Harvey, became particularly notorious through the Harvey Girls (remember the film with Judy Garland?) In Winslow, we stayed at La Posada, the only hotel designed entirely by Mary Jane. Today we had lunch at the La Fonda Hotel here in Santa Fe, another fine blend of pueblo and Spanish architecture.
Ah, research is so demanding! Linda
Monday, September 13th, 2010
“I value the truth….”
You have done what I haven’t dared to do—write a novel, and a damn good one at that.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and all of the subplots and back-stories. It brought back some of my fondest memories of our all-too-short visit to Egypt.
If I were a devout Christian or Muslim, I am not sure that I would rush out and buy a bunch of copies for my intimate group of friends and relatives—but, as you well know, I am not a devout anything—except for the cult of the three-toed sloth.
Obviously, your powers of description and deep insight into your characters far exceed anything that I’ve done and I am a bit jealous. And I shall, from this day forward, visualize cutting up the Cecil ballroom like the slices of a birthday cake—complete with ceiling-trim icing….
Love, Osiris (Seymour Collins)
Sunday, September 5th, 2010
What is it about Taos, New Mexico? Magic is in the air: the Sacred mountain where God was created, the art of Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams, the birth of the collective consciousness of Carl Jung, daring novelists D.H. Lawrence and Willa Cather. Early Spanish history…the uncomfortable clash of animism and Catholicism. The Rio Grande snakes across the volcanic field underlying 12,500 feet of mountain. Taos is truly the top of the world.
On Wednesday we set off for Taos and will live there for three months to discover the magic that still reins, more subtly now than in the 20’s and 30’s. And, what for?
To research the third historical novel in the trilogy beginning with Cairo Diary: an Egyptian fable, continuing into Etruscan Evenings set in Italy and now showing up in Taos. The mysterious letters of D.H. Lawrence challenge Justine’s sense of self. What fun.
Keep track of our travels and discoveries on this blog….Linda