Posts Tagged 'colorado'

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO GET OUT OF A NONFICTION BOOK?

Dear Readers,

I recently finished reading Colin Fletcher’s The Man Who Walked Through Time (1968) and Caroline Bancroft’s Silver Queen: The Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor (1955). I didn’t plan to read either book; they just appeared while I was sorting books for Westminster Public Library’s used book sale.

I decided to read The Man Who Walked Through Time because it deals with the author’s two-month walking trip, under the Rim, from from one end of Grand Canyon National Park to the other. I plan to write a story about my experience of being stranded just west of the park, so I thought I would study how he describes the canyon then borrow some of his geological vocabulary, as I have few words of my own.

I read Baby Doe Tabor because I’d kept hearing her name in conjunction with off-kilter legendary Colorado figures, plus I’d been wondering why anyone would be called Baby Doe. Was she tiny with childlike features, doe-like eyes? Was she considered a great beauty because of this?

As it turned out, Baby Doe Tabor’s family in Oshkosh, WI gave her the pet name Baby when she was a child, and somehow Central City, CO silver miners got wind of this and decided to call her Baby too. And Doe? No exciting explanation. It was her first husband’s last name.

But I learned other things too, like who the heck was Horace Tabor, the guy responsible for building opera houses in the late 1800s (and whose name is attached to a Colorado bill that has hog tied the state government).

And The Man Who Walked? Fletcher painstakingly, even boringly sometimes, recounts setting up and breaking camp as well as his decision making processes. Yet his in-depth descriptions of canyons, ledges, eddies, vegetation, and wildlife reflected his intense appreciation of this land and gave me clues for how to describe it in my story.

Have I answered the question How much should I expect to get out of a nonfiction book? Maybe.

I should expect as much as I can find.

Earth Day Poetry: “Everything Turns” by Faye Quam

Dear Reader,

April 22nd is Earth Day, so I thought I’d honor the day by posting “Everything Turns,” my poem that arose from a tactile fantasy about the earth surrounding Rutland, North Dakota, earth my great grandmother used to farm. It’s sensuously fertile, this earth, and I want to plunge my hands into it until I’m up to my armpits in its cool, luscious blackness.

I can’t break Colorado earth with a spade, much less my hands. It’s stubborn, clay hardness, survival in little rainfall; it’s beautiful in a way. But this poem isn’t about North Dakota or Colorado earth; it’s about indulging my fantasy.

Everything Turns

Green crumbles to fall dry

I bend to brush it from

my shoes, but something seizes

my fingertips, insists I burrow

nose and nail through damp

clay, sand, foundation rock

Wrists, armpits, and navel wriggle

Thighs, shins, tips of toes slither

deep then dead-drop to where

dark mixes with day, ice spins

to heat, to where hair dissolves

into water, into before and after

Everything turns a slow turn until

spring’s sun resurrects me with

clumped dirt filling my mouth, with

root arms embracing my waist, with

a pussywillow plume brushing

my chin as it flies north.

This poem appears in Scarf Dancer: Poems & Other Writing.signature11


Is Marketplace Bakery in Louisville, CO or Mayberry RFD?

Dear Reader,

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Marketplace Bakery could just as easily be nestled next to Floyd’s Barber’s Shop in Mayberry RFD, as to the Empire Lounge & Restaurant in Historic Louisville, CO. The how-you-been? atmosphere, smothered in the scent of freshly baked bread, turnovers, the day’s sandwich special, and Silver Canyon coffee, is accented with laughter, political discussions, and weekly catch-up sessions between friends, just like you’d expect it to be in Mayberry’s Bluebird Diner.

I’ve spent many hours here, sitting at a window table, focusing on writing-type things, and I’ve always been welcomed by the staff and creatively nurtured by Susan Bright’s photographs on the walls, display cases of baked goods, and Marketplace Bakery’s assorted customers, many as interesting as Opie and Andy, Aunt Bee and Otis, or Gomer and Goober.

I haven’t yet heard Gomer’s “Gaaw-aawl-ly,” or “Shazam!” but I have heard tow-headed twin little girls’ giggles when doughnut sprinkles get stuck to their lips, and babies’ coos behind their mother’s morning conversation, and Marketplace Bakery owners Susan and Kathy’s chants of “Eat more toast! Eat more toast!” Well, maybe chanting isn’t correct; it’s more like hollering. But then… maybe they’re not making any noise at all. Maybe I’m imagining Barney Fife squawking over finally getting to use that bullet he’s forever carried in his pocket.

So, since there’s a chance I haven’t made myself clear about how I feel about Marketplace Bakery, I’d better just say it: I love it!

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