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Michael J. Solender

Richard Godwin interviewing Michael J. Solender at The Slaughterhouse, September 2010.

MichaelSolender.jpg picture by Richard_Godwin

Michael Solender is known to everyone who visits A Twist Of Noir, where you can find many fine examples of his chiselled dark stories.  If you don’t know what I mean check out ‘Seventy-two Hours Or Less’.

He worked for years in Corporate America as a Human Resources professional and is now giving worthy attention to his creative output that ranges from noir to music reviews. He is a consummate professional in his approach to writing and manages to achieve an edginess in his prose that is built on a carefully refined technique.

Michael met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about theatre and insects.

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Posted 6 years, 9 months ago.

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Ilan Herman

Ilan Herman’s first novel, “The Gravedigger”, is out now from Casperian. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander for PRATE.

LA: How long have you been writing, and when do you recall first thinking of yourself as a writer?

IH: Been a songwriter for thirty years and a novelist for about ten. Both flex the same muscle.

LA: Some writers describe a sense of having a “novel in them” or a “novel to get out”. Did you feel that you had a story you had to tell? Did you have a sense of nagging, did it prompt you to sit down and get started?

IH: Cliché as it may sound, I am but a prism to the tale, and probably to my past. They come together. I enjoy the alternate universe and miss it when it’s gone. Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago.

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Ben Tanzer

Ben Tanzer“What they struggle with is what they feel or don’t feel, the inability to communicate what they are feeling and how it is we connect with others.” Ben Tanzer, interviewed for PRATE by Peter Schwartz

P.S.: Ben Tanzer is one of those guys you meet and like within seconds.  He’s agreed to talk to me here and I’ve agreed to use my big boy voice.  Welcome Ben, why don’t you tell our good readers a little about yourself and how you can change their lives?

B.T.: You are very generous, and it’s clear you have picked-up on one of my worst not so hidden traits – I love flattery, both giving and receiving.  I would add here that I appreciate your interest in interviewing me and I think you look great today.  Is that a new shirt?  In terms of myself, I used to tell people that I was a founding member of Wham!, but they soon realized that was maybe not entirely accurate.  I blame Wikipedia for that and now I tell them I used to be Ric Astley.  Beyond that I went to the same high school as Rod Serling, albeit after he did, and if you forced me to pick whether I am a Star Trek person or a Twilight Zone person, I would choose the latter.  I also went to high school with Lisa Baylor who you probably don’t know, but wish you did.  I was interviewed on the debut episode of the now long defunct MTV Sports show.  Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 7 months ago.

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Tim Hall

Full Of It- Tim HallTim Hall is a writer and multimedia artist, also a journalist, editor, and publisher.  He is the author of two novels, Half Empty and Full Of It, a collection of stories, Triumph Of The Won’t, and the book-length nonfiction essay, How America Died. Interviewed for PRATE by Lynn Alexander.

LA:      Talk about the “Grandiose Failure”. You describe characters who have a sense of entitlement about success, perhaps a disconnect concerning their own practical limits. In addition to those limits, there is also the problem of numbers, which don’t really work in a would-be big shot’s favor. How did you develop an interest in exploring this theme, the ideas of grandiosity, entitlement?

TH: It comes out of my own upbringing, growing up with two very theatrical parents who despised each other so much that they were willing to sacrifice us, their kids, to satisfy their sadistic hatred. Neither was suited for any kind of business life, and certainly not parenting, but they were playing roles imposed on them by society and family pressures, and it destroyed them and damn near us. So that’s the basis for my morbid fascination with such people. Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 8 months ago.

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Felino A. Soriano

Felino A. Soriano is the author of a number of poetry collections, and the editor of Counterexample Poetics. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander.

Felino A. SorianoLA: You say that ‘philosophy’s vast history and rich language enhances the mind’s ability to articulate and think critically’.  You connect this to your practice of writing poetry. Do you mean in the sense of process, or the ways by which elements are incorporated into the construction of the poem?

FAS: The construction of a poem I am writing is never predetermined in the facet of existential idea, nor from the vantage point of isolated symmetry, meaning the connected balance between idea and language.  Philosophically, my endeavor is to examine surroundings, objects, colors, sounds, etc., through the metaphysical aspirations of ascertaining what is not readily seen.  This practice is performed through a conscious and concentrated effort into writing without the use of cliché.  When approaching a poem as I do life [existentially], the philosophy of the self is determined to promote the poem through critically thinking about what is in direct line with natural observation.  Observation is imperative; as is interpretation.  These realities must be in abundance when writing a poem, but too, can predict one’s life within the spectrum of success, when implementing these skills within a practical method.  Beyond the multitude of poetic metaphors available for say, a cliché subject as the sun, the authentic poet can write about this cliché, but unveil it to a reader as if it is a neoteric idea.  This is my intention, my scheme while writing a poem regardless of subject matter.    Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 9 months ago.

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Michael Jacobson

Michael Jacobson presents collections of asemic writing at his website- The New Post Literate. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander.

Michael JacobsonLA: When I think of your work, I think of the asemic writing- of course. But what else are you interested in? What other kinds of writing are you interested in?

MJ: I am interested in many forms of writing, from the beat generation writers, to the French symbolists, Graffiti, undeciphered scripts, xenolinguistics, sigils, etc. I think a lot of these different forms of writing have greatly informed & added depth & substance to my asemic writing. I consider my work to be a bead on a string with regards to the history of experimental literature, with asemic writing being the most recent bead added in a long string of avant-garde writing. Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 10 months ago.

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Richard Wink

Richard WinkUK poet, publisher, and freelance writer Richard Wink just finished a new poetry collection, Dead End Road, featuring over fifty poems, published by BeWrite. Gloom Cupboard is still going strong in it’s second year, and it seemed like a good time to pester him for some candor on the state of poetry, small press, and what we can expect from him next. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander.

Your new poetry collection will be available as both a print edition and an “ebook”. What factored into that decision, and do you see potential in the electronic media format?

I’m very much a traditionalist; I prefer the touch and feel of a book. I prefer to read from the page. I guess there wasn’t really a decision as such because I believe BeWrite are simply moving with the times and offering books in both formats.

The ‘ebook’ however has its advantages, both in terms of speed and immediacy, and I think very much that poetry suits the electronic format. At the moment ‘we’ (the worldwide poetry community) are still tinkering, trying to strike the right balance between the traditional and the future. I think there is room for both, in the same way that vinyl exists alongside digital music files, paperbacks can coexist with ebooks. Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 10 months ago.

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Freya Froelich

Freya Froelich, Interviewed by Lynn Alexander. Freya is a long time peace activist, environmentalist, gay rights advocate, and feminist although she is quick to clarify that she doesn’t agree with everyone aligned with all of these causes. Indeed, she has had some harsh words for people who claim to speak for everyone else, and her willingness to acknowledge the validity of different points of view without it becoming what she calls “a pissing contest” is something that I admire about her.

“Feminist women in America can only go so far with their complaints, as long as they continue to ignore their sisters around the world, who die for their privileges, they need to accept on some level that they are not immune to being included with the oppressors. And beyond that culpability, there needs to be action that is more than token.” -Freya Froelich

LA: When you say action that is “more than token”, what do you mean? What are some of your criticisms about the feminist movement?

FF: I mean exactly the way it sounds, token. Token is an insincere attempt to include people for show, at times attempted from a place of self denial. It gives a chair at the table, progress to be sure, but nobody listens to the token speak. Nobody gives real and equal weight to their concerns or particular expertise. These are often people included because of political correctness or phony white liberal guilt- but these same “enlightened” people ignore them. Ignore their concerns. You know? it’s all bullshit.

I won’t say that all feminists are this way, and I applaud feminists of color and others marginalized in the movement who speak out in critical ways so their voices are heard. Now I know many feminists are in denial about issues of racism, class, etc. as we can see in their apologies or accusations about the hysterical critics.

LA: What is a hysterical critic? I mean, I think I know what you mean but others might not. Could you give context?

FF: Oh, you know. Any time you are critical of some educated white woman who has taken lots of feminist theory and can talk circles around others- well if you are critical of them you are hysterical, reactive, emotional. And if you are not particularly good at expressing this discomfort, suppose you misstep a bit or your words lack their JARGON, you become the object of sneer, mockery, discredited. There’s a showmanship thing, not unlike what they slam in patriarchy. They get their dicks out and circle jerk too. They don’t even see how much they want to be like the problem. Maybe they have dick envy.

LA: Your partner was a painter, anarchist, feminist, often said that she refused to”play the games”. Always “the games”, as I recall. Do you play “the games’? As a couple, what did this remark mean to you?

FF: The Games are The Games, capital G, All Inclusive, weekend getaway from your soul to an alien hell where nothing around you is your own including your own life and physical being. The Game is the way we are pushed under the car. We both suffered as lesbians, in a time that women of your generation cannot relate to because you did not live it. Now gay people walk hand in hand and ask why we weren’t brave. What the hell do they know about fear, about living in fear, losing jobs withour reprisal, nobody having your back. Our bravery, when we could manage it, paved the way for the openness. But they dont remember that, just like they don’t remember that being Gloria Steinem back when she was busy being Gloria Steinem was not the same as being a feminist today. Modern people have this ungrateful way of chewing up their trailblazers and spitting them out. Sure, we can be critical. Early lesbians weren’t perfect, so we played the game. So what? Then one day B. didn’t want to anymore, she more or less dropped out. We turned to the land, turned to alternative sustenance.

LA: What is it like to see change, as it happens, social change? Milestones?

FF: Well remember that I lived through Pearl Harbor, segregation, civil rights, the counter culture, the evil eighties, the entitlement nineties. To see Obama, Clinton, Ellen, and so on is still this happy shock. It’s amazing, but we also have to remember that there is more to do.

LA: We both love Annie Dillard, you say that she is the earth saint, that she changed the way you experienced nature, gave you words for the miracles. Does this connect to your environemtnal activism?

FF: What it connect me to was a sense of smallness, made me wonder what right we have to feel so entitled to what we take. We are so self absorbed, wrapped up in our own miracles and distractions, that we don’t care about what we are doing. Yes, I think conservation is very important. Not only are we speaking up for nature, but future generations.

I mean, we talked about this. What right do we have to do this to our children? TO those who follow us?

And talk about being pro-life! These fuckers that care about life- where are THEY on the idea of ruining ALL life, why don’t they care about eliminating humans entirely? Wouldn’t you think these radicals holdin signs would be worried about destroying the planet? God’s green earth, humans made supposedly in his image? What about future fetuses?

LA: What are you proud of?

FF: I am proud of my work with domestic violence, with addiction, in mental health, in the not-so-sexy activism. I am proud that I never became the kind of person who was consumed with being an activist celebrity, “all about me”.

LA: So some use causes for their own fame, celebrity, to bolster their sense of being somebody? Is that so wrong?

FF: Ego, pride, accomplishments are not wrong. What is wrong is when small resources are squandered, when camps can’t come together, when it is about credit and not the cause or issue. You know how they get, how it gets. Nobody works together.

LA: The activist diva you speak of?

FF: Exactly. Now on the other hand, there needs to be some slack, media is important and powerful and the face matters. But it has to be in keeping with what is right.

LA: Which is?

FF: Living as close to our values as we are able. Not being martyrs, but not becoming full of ourselves either.

LA: What’s next?

FF: I am trying to get better physically. Worried about the ridge, the lines, the birds, the bugs, until I am done, then I am done.

Freya

Posted 7 years, 11 months ago.

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Nadine Sellers

Aleathia Drehmer interviewing Nadine Sellers.

Nadine Sellers
Prate Interview 2009

“As a freelance writer, i mock commercial imperialism, as a timeless artist i savor inviolate freedom across all disciplines. I have traveled through norms and fashions to emerge stronger, surer of my role, to dislodge, to unsettle. To awaken the pleasant, the unpleasant; the whole being within.

Words untamed paint visions across natural landscapes of minds without frontiers. Poignant phrases cut through the obvious to reveal the personal yet universal toll of immigration. Pungent verse uncover the human animal in a sensuous visceral voyage.”– Nadine Sellers

AD: What is your favorite memory of Southwestern France?

NS: My favorite memory of the South of France may be the day I counted seventy-five fleas on my farm dog’s fur. The farm was my grand-mother’s, the dog was my cousin’s and I was princess of the wastelands where the sheep were free to graze.

I constructed a tent out of my long wool cape, curled up under the wind shelter and proceeded to scratch; dog joined me and between bites of goat cheese sandwich, I performed my human duty as organic manual insecticide.

My earthly consciousness and responsibility evolved thereafter.
Wolves had long roamed the hilltops there, wild women had populated the villages, I let my imagination grab every shadow between only-child syndrome and catholic leftovers.

AD: Do you think your “only child syndrome” allowed you more freedom to have your own identity, or do you feel like you missed out on the experience of having a sibling, having some shared bond of blood? Do you think those wolves and wild women and hills lead you to writing?

NS: Having been given up to maternal family shortly after birth, I grew a sense of otherliness which fed my nomadic impulse. Around the age of three, the chronology of events sped the maturing processes to high gear when grand-mere failed to awaken from the operating table; aunts were tearfully scattered across Normandy. Uprooted and bundled on a train, I was returned postage free, to original pro-creators. Soon to be gifted to the paternal side of the inheritance spectrum. A dark mansion upon a hill, forbidden rooms and resentful hosts filled long days of single purpose; grow quickly and be useful. A succession of nannies and bitter farmer’s wives took turn adoring and teaching the way to work.

Days spent caring for stock and the minor arts of food conservation, formed a hard crust upon which femina relied for stability. Bedrock of solid history, cast in limestone and fossil friends. Animals, my childish solace. Bits of ancient identity emerged from the local architecture, one gravestone at a time, one steeple to the sky.

The essential loneliness instructed the course of my being. Nuns in winter, sheep in summer, from early Latin to bleating, language evolved until I bled solitary words onto pages under the school desk. Duly chastised and dented, it didn’t take too long to learn to hide what would become a first aborted book of French poetry.

Cousins and aunts demonstrated that the competition to the food line is shorter than the distance between loving arms. I had no trouble securing love from strangers, but family fiercely withheld its lineage rights from the three foot threat born in the North of the country.

Refuge came in the form of language, an escape above inhospitable ground, a place beyond my eyes where I could slip unnoticed. Populated with kind women, gentle men and a real cat or perhaps a fox, I began to build shelters, wombs in extension. The nesting instinct revealed in surround-word.

Not given to cults or clubs, I entertain the wildness within, translate dark wolves into tan coyotes and feed the anima which instruct present behavior. A measure of practiced loneliness envelops the necessary pockets of time among daily interaction. I am still a part-time hermit.

Only in America did I later find spiritual sisters and only in those who had sisters in flesh. Had I had a sibling I would have dissipated my creative energies in a more physical form of expression; like talking, textile and visual arts. Altruism and nurturing basis would have vandalized the cerebra at the expense of literary froth.

AD: At what age did you come to America and where did you settle? How different was this place in comparison to the land of your birth?

NS: Lucid dreams of Africa permeated my youth, Docteur Leaky, the great Rift Valley, Brazzaville nuns in flying gray robes sweating over swollen children, swatting flies from their eyes, all walking along my regimented school girl days. Whatever Mother Superior approved of, mother inferior promptly slapped from consciousness. Not permitted to don the habit nor the rituals, I was swiftly migrated to public education.

By the early teens, I had resorted to linguistic skills to transport the emotional orphan into an intellectual plane across borders, across limitations. Latin by ten, Greek next year, English and German by thirteen, self taught romance languages and some Russian to write, Arabic to add: every spare auto-didactic cell filled to oblivion with foreign philosophies earned me a ticket to precocious praise. A precarious balance to offset perennial disapproval.

Fugues from quotidian tedium allowed me to survive a strict city life fraught with blind obedience and weighted with the price of the unwanted. The girl child undeserving of land rights would soon enough plan to study in Australia. The alphabet and the stars did not cooperate, instead, the spelling was exciting enough…anywhere but the land of parental scorn and negation.

America came to me by chance. Married, innocent and mommyfied, I signed two hundred and twenty-six sundry pieces of paper in a language I scarcely knew from school books. Elegantly laden with bags and bottles I arrived in New Jersey, matching hat and gloves, a white suit which I had sewn especially for the trip to meet in-laws in New England. Instead this twenty something little maman was met by government workers growling orders and handling precious immigration data with brusque gestures.

After hot hours huddled in a Quonset hut full of tired Italian grape pickers and confused Spaniard farm workers, my idea of international hospitality had morphed into nascent activism for the plight of emigres everywhere; and most certainly for the dreamers of decency. This was my first immigration. In the airport, I could not see one person with a dress; shorts, shorts all around, tank tops and jeans, I was an over-dressed stranger in sloppy-land.

Colors screamed, loud speakers competed with complaints. Children ran around tanned legs, stepping on flip-flop toes. I silenced my fashionable heels and held my proud progeny close.

AD: Do you think, at the time of your immigration, that America appeared to you as a land that lacked grace and tradition? What do you think of America now that you have lived here a long time?

NS: AH! America? A school girl in the uniform of my old Alma Mater, my bleached soul, sits on the number fourteen bus going by my ancestral village. She turns to her friends who have apparently elected her to approach me. A photo has recently appeared front and center announcing this prodigal poet’s performance at the theater. I nod an almost imperceptible sign of acquiescence, measured not to offend nor seem too eager. The question arrives wrapped in a steady soft voice “ is the American dream still valid?”; a cultural science class project.
I had immigrated to the Western desert three times, as if drawn by a cord of purpose, each a return to the mystical attraction of land and language. Leaving grace and tradition behind for the pleasure of asceticism and self containment.
Open space, open opportunity, and the anonymity of mass provide a blank screen behind which the artist may rest and reshape the selective beauty of being. This is the environment of novelty; the soil of challenge. Yes, I answer, “the American dream is valid”, not as a bite of meat, nor as a mint julep or a statement t-shirt. Rather the dream is an ideal of invincibility emanating from a blast of images marketed as freedom.
Crass patriotic behavior first appeared to me as immaturity, a land of deceptively soft men, eager to satisfy territorial hunting instinct. Women devoid of power to deflect or disarm rude advances. Children ruling from two feet of narcissistic privilege. The balance of hedonism crashed on desert sand, left to spoil in obscene waste. Natives desiccated in the search for misplaced dignity. This was the new world in which I chose to hide.
Education and communication has since elevated the status of the critical American, apparently not sufficiently to avoid the pitfalls of economic, ecologic or intellectual breakdown. Cowboys drive Hummers, Indians chew tobacco and excess pollutes the irrigation ditch. Emotional and commercial balance become elusive qualities in a place where individual health is a cement ball disintegrating at the foot of mount Olympus.
If the Toynbee principle of push and pull drives global migration, then grace shrinks to social leftovers. Never mind the rude, the ugly or the delinquent, the obsessed define the availability of opportunity in these here walls now. If tradition can survive dislocation, success will follow personal aspiration. Manners be put to rest; essential concern for ordinary life has bobbed out of the mire since energy has curtailed rampant expansionism from the average toiler’s expectations.
Do I hear a lovable American sneaking back from the disillusioned throng. Dream on! Mutual respect and fat hugs remain the main attraction: cyber-hugs and hermetic bisous anyone?
AD: Ah. It appears that you consider me to be a lover of “the American Dream,” but that idea was disillusioned in me many years ago. I am not a radical person, or live off the grid, but I do lay low in this land of privilege and forgotten manners where money rules everything. I know you are in the Midwest, the heart of America. Do you find the locals receptive to your style of writing? It is also my understanding that you and your husband create together. What sort of pieces do you perform for the public?
NS: Ha! This is the payload question which I had waited for…NO, no, I do not consider you a lover of the American dream hypothesis…and neither do I include myself in the ballgame. The dynamics of hospitality and enmity enter only in the general perception of the social structure around us. Polarizing factors have sculpted a jagged divide in affective politics. Media have collated a strangling mesh of mis-information which breeds convenient fears. That’s why I resort to foreign sources for broader views. Yes, I sense signs of fertility in the present regression, less is more manageable. French wit may be encouraging, morality comforting, culture enriching, but at times a simple American hug has the power of healing. Am I dreaming?
Money? Spelled as greed and avarice, oh yes, it rules, it corrupts, if acquired in obscene quantities. Wages are used as bait and tool of manipulation in America, while in France they are predominantly seen as deserved status symbol. Labor parties have carved a swath through business and brought respectability, health-care and education to workers there; mostly by the arts of argument and the leverage of spontaneous strikes. Have you ever seen regurgitating airports and mass transit stand-offs?
Tornado alley has been kind to me personally, as I work for locals and own an historic building. A substratum of xenophobia is kept just under some teeth, while the educational establishment cherishes the inclusion of a poet. Our interactions are limited to grocery shopping at the micro-consumer level, and a monthly walking tour of the utilities and post-office around the town square. A half tank lasts 7 months between mushroom and greens foraging. Even the bicycles rust between intervals, we haven’t gone to any town within 2 years; that’s life near the inland aorta, where we settled by crude happenstance three years ago.
What I do miss is the innate subtlety, the small gesture, the covert smile, honest contact and the knowledge that the neighborhood will be spontaneously supportive, only when and if needed. This may be the basis for social interaction in France, a dignified distance along with respect for individuality. Easy to misunderstand as snobbery, especially since nostril flaring and brief puffs of air are standard signals for public judgment.
Here, some are aware of my writing, as I have donated 2 CDs of older spoken-word on music to the Carnegie Library, some have read the dormant green sites, shake their heads and serve flattering platitudes. Although they have at least a century of local history under their belts, many are strangely estranged from the rich natural surroundings. Few can or would identify edible plants, this works to our advantage, all manner of treasure arrives to us through my work, wild bee hive, catfish, geese, cottontails, turkey and deer…which I process and hoard for long winters. The garden and chickens provide the rest. Call us fregans with a bare footprint.
My husband and I collaborated on several CDs over the years, his sound engineering and musical art have been instrumental in producing professional material . He also played bass with Band Of Ones on a couple of gigs while I performed in Little Rock in the early nineties. Richard has digitized some of my previous readings. Now to save whatever is viable after two decades of ballads and ballast in the undertow. I am now learning to compile a CD of French works recorded for radio with French musicians in the eighties, revisit aurally; close eyes, lay limp with shallow breath.
Although the French are not socially exclusive, in the field of arts and technology, a barely perceptible pride curls the lips of performers when opening doors to new audio-visual concepts. Many do embrace and emulate American talent with varying degrees of elasticity. Upon my return home, I found myself in an uncomfortable cultural dichotomy, like a bastardized baguette of Franco-American bread, crusty on the outside with tender and pungent dough steaming within.
As former performer and lecturer, I only have done residence programs for local schools to open a few eyes and ears to the breath within. I offered the liberating premise that art need be understood as original intent, but rather as whatever it calls in mind and memory. Poetry holds a strange place in rural areas, just as in provincial France, it is accepted as a palliative for grief or cheer for ills of mind and mood. But to those who delve below the societal angst, it supplies relief from traditional strictures.
AD: Do you see consider yourself a recluse? The description of your environment made me feel all Robert Frost inside. Do you believe this self-imposed isolation keeps you from expanding into the universe of consumerism, war, and economics, or at least keeps it at bay to consider the forgotten things in the world?
NS: Astute premise here, uncovering a long dormant fault where old words ferment in various stages of translation…I do hope you digest the results without a case of acute discomfort. Suddenly inspired to probe the white on white differences drowned in the Atlantic during transfer of separate yet equal identities. Thanks to you, I may yet slide out that long overdue essay about the merits of ancestral consciousness.
Recluse that I am, perhaps not as hermetic as I would like to be, I enjoy a certain perverse ideology of singularity. That only child nestled in wind shelters upon Cro-Magnon hills, that woman nurturing her children in desert caves, that is the perennial recluse which I have fancied myself to be. Unsettling excursions into the hustling world of arts and business have convinced me that the solitary womb suits my temperament best. I said womb not tomb; not to bury personality but as you intimate, protect the self from banal or feral intrusions of quotidium.
Were it not for present necessity to enslave my minor skills for subsistence, I would relish the time to cultivate healthful isolation, a lifestyle devoid of intrusive road noise and extraneous social intercourse. Having no television or cell phone and assorted gadgetry keeps much of my original logic in its soupy state
No, I don’t need imposed or self imposed distance between consumerism, war and economics as I never have been prey to commercial or sensational input. Choices made at different intervals have provided me with varied and wide empirical material, enough to satisfy the writer, the woman and the lover.
Now is the time to brew the reflections and observations garnered along the crags of a life worth writing. Or is it a write worth living?
AD: Do you think we write our own lives, meaning, do you find that every action put forth, every word spoken, every heart touched, every grace given changes the direction our lives will go in?
NS: The first of my three emigrations led me to the western deserts, I spent seven years co-surviving with my children there. Caves and abandoned mines our temporary shelters. All the acquired skills learned in France were adapted to the harshest environment and we responded to the scarcity of resources with synergistic character. Did I invent poverty to suit a preservation instinct? Or did I respond to moral principles which dictated that a woman follows her man, albeit mostly absent, till death?
Having been widowed so young, I returned home close to where two of my sons were born. I had lost the ability to speak my native tongue, met ostracism full face. Job commutes were lengthy and unsafe in some Parisian districts, yet I ventured in forbidden immigrant areas , feeling protected by a fierce will to live, to create, to share. This force informed much of my budding artistry. I followed it assiduously.
Was I translating a future memoir? Inscribing a mental journal based on ancient alternate consciousness? I could have become a Zen practitioner, so dedicated was I to building nests for my family. The script was not written in any Dr. Spock book, the behavior was not evolving from a romance novel. My only companions were miner’s magazines and paperbacks, broke my mind’s teeth on greasy classics found in dusty cabins with notes on table or shelf; “please leave the place as you have found it and bring canned goods whenever you pass this way again” or such sharing grace. Thank you Vonnegut, Abby or Steinbeck!
Not until I had walked a thousand miles on hot sands did I realize that I had contributed to my emotional withdrawal from language and mannerism. I can trace the travails through photographs taken by strangers in the deserts. And now through retracing these steps and notes which have been traveling companions through 21 countries and 3 continents. The trail leads to a saner place, wind has stopped blowing and the relative peace seems eerie…because I know there is work to be done.
There are stories to inform, knowledge to donate, and after so much tempering of a personae, could I humbly request a vacation to enjoy? Senses at rest, I drown in word and sound, swirling about me, finally free of expectation…I write, a life; merci!

Nadine Sellers On The Web.

Posted 7 years, 11 months ago.

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