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September 30, 2009

Moon Date

Standing under the dogwood tree, I place myself so that the brightest star in the sky is aligned with the top of the biggest fur tree, making it look like Christmas. The moon looking on is a bald-headed profile in need of a fedora. I stare for a long time, like watching a clock that doesn't flinch. It will take nights of watching before it will wink, turn its face to see me.

September 29, 2009

He Loves You More

But what you cannot bear to see is all that you will find ... as mine is now and always yours, and yours is always mine ... From "For Wayne" by Mara

This is the page in my son Josh's collage journal that he randomly opened to while talking with a friend named Melissa last week. Josh didn't know it at the time, but it was the day before Wayne (pictured in the center) would die and just hours before he received a phone call from Floyd that Wayne's death was imminent. "Is that your father?" Melissa asked, pointing to Wayne. Josh smiled and explained how Wayne was like a second father to many young people, including to him.

Mixed with the sadness of beginning a month long separation from my husband has been the death of such a friend, a well loved and iconic member of the Floyd community, and the father of one of my closest friends, Mara.

Josh came from Asheville for the memorial on Sunday. Joe's last message left on the answering machine before starting his month of silence in meditative retreat was: "I know you and Josh are at the memorial for Wayne. I just want you to know that I'm very much alive and very grateful that I have such an awesome family."

It's strange to be so uplifted while also grieving the passing of someone dear. The memorial did that. The hug I shared with Wayne's wife Vera made me realize I had been holding my breath for days. Her loving embrace allowed me to let it go. Awkward even under the best of circumstances, I felt accomplished that my first face-to-face words to Mara since her father died made her laugh ... "I know this is not what you'd expect me to say, but I just want you to know that I have peanut butter balls (my traditional survival food of choice that I'm known to carry) in my pocketbook for you and Kyla (her daughter) if you need them."

Witnessing the loving care expressed between Mara and her siblings was a testament to Wayne. Katherine - friend and ceremonialist who has been guiding so many in our life passages over the years - spoke to us of Wayne's life. Her words rang true like the ringers Wayne made in his favorite game: horseshoes.

The song Scott Perry played, "You Got a Friend," touched such a nerve that the whole chapel room of people peeped in to sing along ... slow and low with lyrics that expressed the epitome of Wayne's life and the message he would want to leave us with. Mara's sonnet brought a chill and Kyla's heartful words about her grandfather settled in my heart.

When the service was over, I stood for a long time on the funeral parlor porch and watched friends, old and new, who were gathered on the lawn hugging and talking to each other. I took in the sight and felt blessed to be a part of such a loving community. I thought of Katherine's words, which began:

Wayne's tapestry has never been small. His heart extended with many threads and layers and diversity ever expanding his connections to family, friends, community, and environment. Do we have enough words to express how large was the landscape this man moved through? Peacemaker, communicator, shapeshifter, counselor, coordinator, fun-loving, humanitarian, concerned citizen, listener extraodinaire. Wayne was a man who changed people's lives. He always made time for whoever needed him (sometimes to the frustration of his family who admits that friends would really be coming over to visit Wayne, not them.) I heard there was an estimated count of 85 young people (many of whom are here today) that Wayne made time for. He was father to many in this community. His non judgmental aura allowed him to be present to a wide variety of people, even in the same room. He was a forerunner of non-violent communication when it was not even called that!

Along with remembrances and revelations about Wayne's full life, Katherine spoke with humor of his fun loving nature. She reminded us of Wayne's choice to live simply with few material and emotional attachments, closing with ...

So, yes, Wayne would want you to have parties for him. Of course. But, he would also want you to be present to your life, care for those around you, deepen your own connection and honesty to yourself, and get your priorities straight! Life is to be lived. . . NOW. We shall all shepherd his spirit. He loves you more! He loves you more!

P.S. I don't know why my son, on the left in the photo, is wearing a wig, but I'm not surprised. That's Wayne's son Ben on the right. Wayne died from complications of esophageal cancer.

Update: Wayne's all day full moon epic party is set for Saturday, October 3rd. Anyone who loved Wayne Bradburn and his family is invited to share potluck, river dipping, bonfire storytelling, song and more, starting at 3 p.m.

September 28, 2009

He Left

The number of a friend who does plumbing and electric
The number for a counselor in Blacksburg
A burned piece of bread left in the toaster
A closed door to a room upstairs
A note in red ink about kissing
An abstract painting I don’t understand

September 26, 2009

A Murderous Separation

jmoo2n.jpg1. The first night was like knowing one of us would die in our sleep. It would be Joe. He would get up at 6 a.m. and slip out before I was awake. Gone for a month long meditation retreat. No phone calls. No emails. No letters. I found myself staying up late, watching him sleep and listening to him breathe. I didn’t want to close my eyes and drift away. I didn’t want to lose the dream we were living.

2. But in the morning I discovered it was me who was buried alive in the tomb of our dark room, in the coffin our bed. I lay still, listening to every creak in the floorboards, as he moved about, readying for a new adventure. I detected the faint smell of his breakfast. I heard the dog food bag rip open.

3. He loosened the covers on the jars in the pantry before he left. A bird, drawn to its own reflection, tapped the window before winging past. The smell of gasoline trailing the truck up the driveway as he left made me think about losing everything in a fire.

September 25, 2009

Famous First Lines of Last Summer

pmpchairx.jpg~ The summer in review, taken from first lines in past posts. Click on the last word in each line if you want to read more.

1. By the end of June the Parkway rhododendrons are weeping petals and roadside lilies are looking sassy. ‘Fireworks For Sale’ signs have become evident and everyone seems to be having a yard sale.

2. The first taste of blueberries picked from the garden, the first splashed dunk in the Country Club pool. Meals on the porch. Everyday an outside tea party attended in sundress style.

3. Having just come off a dizzying roller coaster ride of the written word, I went to an open house art day at Rosemary’s house to play in the world of non-verbal fairytale, to tell a deeper story with image and color.

4. My corn is taller than a toddler.

5. With the warm glow of evening sun streaming in, the café was abuzz with a celebratory din left over from the town's Jubilee festival that day.

6. I catch myself smiling a lot at Floydfest like I do in the garden at home. Every whimsical encounter and seemingly random exchange with others feels like a line up of destiny and adds to the whole of the enchantment that makes the festival special.

7. He gives kisses now and has stopped throwing sand in his hair.

8. What lies beneath is eighteen years of junk collected in the cellar, piled on the pool table we bought to keep teenaged boys home a little longer, crammed into cement block corners, strewn on dusty shelves.

9. A tour of the gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard is like walking into a storybook. Home of munchkins? Hobbits? Hansel and Gretel's witch?

10. My two favorite words heard recently are brouhaha and jalopy.

11. A month with a trackhoe on two acres of boulder filled land in rural Madison County brings a whole new meaning to the term “rock and roll.”

12. This morning I woke up to a rooster going off like a Big Ben clock tower. Will it crow 6 times for 6 a.m. and then 7 for 7 a.m. and 8 for 8 a.m.?

13. A rattle under my car turned out to be a heat fan loose on my catalytic converter, which I like to call a "Cadillac converter."

14. I don’t know that you ever get over losing a loved one or if you just become hardened to the fact.

15, I recently did a story on a local artist in which I had to edit out all the F-U-s and made sure not to mention that we sipped some peach moonshine at the end of our interview.

16. I learn best through self-reflection and meaningful dialogue, an exchange of authentic living language spoken without agendas. I value independent thinking and resist formula and dogma.

17. The literary flavor of summer’s Floyd County Moonshine is as striking as the bright red wildflowers on its cover and as local as the next door neighbor.

18. Pages tossing … Venetian blinds turning … Words lose meaning … Drowsy eyelids drop.

September 24, 2009

13 Thursday: This and That

jmxp.jpg1. If THIS is the National Geographic's Photo of the Month (seen at Sandy’s) then the photo to the left is my answer to it.

2. My nephews, pictured jumping off a Blue Ridge Parkway Mountain, are not named This and That but are Mat and Pat.

3. Worst political T-shirt hoisted on a kid HERE.

4. Best fortune telling advice of the week HERE.
5. A 24 hour intestinal bug I caught from Joe last week brought whole new meaning to the phrase “I feel like crap.”

6. Contemplating cutting into our house to add a sun room feels as scary as planning plastic surgery.

7. While watching the Emmys with my lap top beside me, I looked up some actor bio’s and eventually found myself hooked (like you don’t want to watch but can’t turn away from the scene of a bad accident) on a bad plastic surgery site. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.

8. I just found a podcast link on (Andy Morikawa's blog) to the radio show I was on in August on global warming and local sustainability. At the time I felt I did only a little better than Sarah Palin being interviewed, but listening to it now I can see that I wasn’t half bad.

9. And the commentary I posted last week “Who is the Real Liar” about Max Blumenthal's book about the Christian right extremist campaign to spread fear and lies about Obama was published in The Roanoke Times HERE.

10. This is my 204th Thirteen Thursday. At that age do you think a face lift is in order?

11. Best line Obama said on Letterman that I didn’t hear because I went to bed so I could wake up early to babysit Bryce: Letterman asked him about former President Jimmy Carter’s claim that racism is behind recent political attacks and Obama answered, "First, it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election."

12. In last year’s late September’s 13 Thursday, I wrote, “This is the time of year when I put on socks, and the butter in the butter dish is no longer the consistency of mayonnaise.” But this year the butter never got like mayonnaise and I wore socks in August.

13. Is it just a coincidence that a dunce cap and a wizard’s hat, and a KKK hood and a church steeple all look the same?

More 13 Thursday players are HERE. My 203 other 13 Thursdays are HERE.

September 23, 2009

Picture This

1. Toe the Line
2. It's High Time
3. Are My Bangs Straight?

September 22, 2009

350 Climate Action and Eco-Fair in Floyd

fredbckyhaden.jpg~ The following was published in The Floyd Press September 17, 2009 and online HERE.

On October 10th, Floyd Countians are invited to join more than 1,000 communities in 100 countries around the world in a grassroots action to draw attention to global warming. The 350 action initiative was created by bestselling environmental author Bill McKibben, who was hosted by SustainFloyd to speak on resilient localized economy at The Floyd Country Store last June. The number 350 refers to NASA scientist James Hansen’s recent finding – that life as we know it on planet earth is not sustainable when the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air exceeds 350 parts per million.

“The bad news is we’re already past that number – we’re at 390, which is why the Arctic is melting … The good news is that the number 350 gives us a target to aim for,” Mckibben states on his website, 350.org.

In preparation for the International Day of Climate Action that McKibben’s has called for on October 24th, participating groups will stage creative photographs with the number 350 prominently placed. The photo planned for Floyd County will be a group shot of citizens holding a 350 banner against the backdrop of The Buffalo Mountain. Scout troops, Future Farmers of America, church groups, civic groups, and the public at large are encouraged to gather at 10:00 a.m. on October 10th at Château Morrisette Winery’s auxiliary parking lot (the same lot used for Floydfest) for the shot, said SustainFloyd member Becky Pomponio. 350%20Logo.jpg

Pomponio explained that the photographs taken from all over the world will be linked up on the 350.org site and will be sent to the United Nations on October 24th. The action, described by McKibben as a “visual petition,” is designed to influence climate policy change in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in December in Denmark.

Following the October 10th photo shoot, SustainFloyd will coordinate with the international action day by hosting the First Annual SplitRail Eco-Fair on October 24th. Named for Floyd’s old chestnut fences, the SplitRail theme was referred to by SustainFloyd member Fred First as “an iconic symbol of regional independence.”

The Eco-Fair will be a celebration of rural living and will take place downtown from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the cover of the new Floyd Community Market at the Station. Highlight features of the day will include locally grown and produced foods, live music amplified by solar energy, fresh coffee made with methane-generated power, and live theater by the Young Actors Co-op. Information on Community Supported Agriculture, sustainable business and forestry management practices, holistic health, and green education will also be available.

Founded in November 2008 with a goal of preserving and fostering Floyd’s natural resources and assets, SustainFloyd currently has a membership of upwards of 150 and is growing. One early member promoting the 350 global action, Haden Polseno-Hensley, pointed to the serious nature motivating the 350 action, saying, “In August the Pentagon released a report stating that global warming is a threat to national security.” More recently, the U.N.’s top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, urged for world determination in lowering carbon levels to 350, citing the destructive impact inherent in climate change.

Fred First recalled that he got on board with SustainFloyd in July, after meeting McKibben and hearing his talk at the Country Store. “He’s been a hero of mine for twenty years,” First said, pointing out McKibben’s dedication, his Christian stewardship, and his renowned environmental writing. “McKibben’s been on this beat for a long time and he walks the talk,” First noted.

First thinks that using a number to draw attention to global warming is a stroke of genius. “People all over the world speak so many different languages but everyone knows numbers. In the same way we pay attention to body temperature and blood pressure numbers as a way to monitor personal health, 350 is an important number to pay attention to, he explained. “It’s an indicator of global health.”

SustainFloyd members agree with McKibben’s assessment, and those of climate scientists, that we can no longer stop climate change one light bulb at a time and that policy change is needed. But they also agree that each small individual effort adds up and suggest that citizens can help reduce greenhouse gases by using florescent light bulbs, parking the car and walking when possible, washing clothes in cold water and line drying, planting trees, and spending your time and money locally, which will save fossil fuels and assure local jobs.

Pomponio noted that 350 actions are also being planned in Blacksburg and Roanoke. She hopes that people of all ages and from all walks of life will get involved in the events and suggested those interested go to SustainFloyd.org and 350.org to learn more. ~ Colleen Redman

September 21, 2009

You Wear it Well, Floyd!

~ The following is a sampling of photos that was published in The Floyd Press September 17, 2009.
1. Last weekend I took pictures for our local newspaper of the second annual Fashion Show and Silent Auction, held in the backyard garden of Jeanie and Tom O'Neill. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the New River Community Action's Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps local residents in need with their heating bills and other necessities. In a café setting, amongst pots of marigold and greenery strung in lights, ticket holders enjoyed wine and appetizers, models showcased clothing from local stores, and a musical trio entertained.
2. Host and emcee Jeanie O'Neill (left) provided a number of outfits from her line of originally designed clothing and accessories, like this ensemble, modeled by Carol Agee.
3. Little Dress Shop owner Mary Gardner, dressed and accessorized in items from her shop, posed with interior decorator Cindy Murphy. Murphy's Jeanie O'Neill ensemble is completed with one of O'Neill's signature designer bags and trendy jewelry from O'Neill's Main Street Boutique.
5. Joy Gardner walked the grassy runway in a suit from the Little Dress Shop.
6. Louise Thompson and Tom O'Neill in formalwear from the Little Dress Shop. The couple paired up for several runway walks that were highlighted with a few dance steps and the O'Neill's family dog, Max.
7. Model Susan Warner in a dress from Winter Sun posed with Temple Garrison who was decked out in a 1700's midnight blue velvet tux from Floyd Antiques. Clothing from The Meadows and The Floyd Country Store was also represented.
8. Kay Gardner, a Friday night Jamboree regular, modeled an outfit from Angels in the Attic "You'll see this at the Jamboree," O'Neill announced to the crowd. The outfit cost $25.
9. Pat Shelor, the fashion show organizer, said her outfit was custom fit and versatile. She later paired her O'Neill handmade jacket with a skirt and changed her accessories for a whole new look.
10. The models gathered for a group finale shot. O'Neill thanked them and asked the audience to mark their calendars for next year's show.

Photos from last year's fashion show are HERE.

September 19, 2009

Vole Not Love

zeex2ss.gifDoes ZAG exist without ZIG? I played UNITE rather than UNTIE because I like the word better and Mara wondered why she saw VOLE instead of LOVE in her letters. We learned that GEEZ could be spelled with a G or a J and was used as a "mild oath," but SHANG (maybe we were thinking of DANG) was not. "We we're doing more than playing Scrabble," I later told another friend when she heard that our game went on for nearly 4 hours. With a break for Mara pick her daughter up from the school bus stop, it was a record long game, with a nearly stalemated board half way into it that forced us to make one-letter or two-letter plays because no one wanted to draw the ten point Q with no U and no place to play. Mara doesn't believe 4 leaf clovers are lucky, so she gave me the one she found in the yard while taking a phone call. She drew the Q as her very last letter. The 10 points went to me and she lost the game. "This was a VOLE not LOVE game," she said.

Note: Click and scroll HERE for more Scrabble playing antics.

September 18, 2009

Every Picture Tells a Story

Leave possible plots or thoughts in a comment.

September 17, 2009

13 Outside the Box

132Untitled-1.jpg 1. The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. health care system only 37th in the world. Nothing to sing about, but HE DID.

2. At the recent year celebration of the local literary magazine Floyd County Moonshine and tribute readings to the late poet Elliot Dabinisky, my friend Mara brought me a confusing gift: a plastic container with a shamrock and the name COLLEEN on the label. Below the name and shamrock it said “Strawberries Fraises” and something written in French. There were grapes inside.

3. After the reading, we stood on the loft at the BlackWater Loft overlooking town and saw some friends walking down below. I shouted down to them, “I really wanted to ping some grapes at you but I’m afraid it will stain the new sidewalk.” (The cement was newly poured for the renovation of the Station building and the new Farmer’s Market we’re getting in town.)

4. On a recent car trip with Bryce I realized that I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Good thing Joe was driving. HERE.

5. Somehow in my mind, Kool-Aid and kaleidoscopes are related. I wonder if it has something to do with the book Electric Kool-aid Acid Test that I read in the 60’s.

6. People must like to give me fruit. On a recent interview for a story I was writing, I was gifted with a box of blueberries, which reminded me of Box of Rain, one of my all time favorite Grateful Dead songs.

7. It’s all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago… Phil Lesh wrote the song when his father was dying and although Robert Hunter, who wrote the lyrics, says that “Box of Rain” refers to the world we live on and that he came up with the phrase because “ball of rain” didn’t sound as good, I think the man in THIS video got the meaning right: It’s something you can’t hold on to for very long.

8. On the same day I posted my commentary about right wing extremists comparing Obama to Hitler and generally spreading lies to de-legitimize him and kill health care reform, I received THIS.

9. Wow. I just found out that all THESE Irish people are my relatives. They found me through this blog! (Through THIS post, to be exact.)

10. When I image googled "Think Outside the Box," I got THIS, and even better THIS.

11. I bet it’s hard for people who work in cubicles to think outside the box.

12. Sometimes when I’m bored I jump in the magnetic poetry sandbox and play with others HERE.

13. Written by me on a scrap of paper that I found on my desk this morning: Say what you mean and mean what you say but don’t say it mean.

More playing 13 on Thursday HERE.

September 15, 2009

Who is the Real Liar?

As an Independent who votes Democratic because they represent my views on women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights, and the environment better than their counterparts, I often disagree with my Republican friends but can understand and respect their conservative views. What I can’t understand (and what I have only disdain for) are the far right extremist Republicans who are making bizarre comparisons of President Obama and Hitler (and essentially making a mockery of the holocaust atrocities).

I don’t understand how any working American who accepts Medicaid, Social Security, government disability, the role of the FDA and other government functions can then make the leap to believing that Obama’s proposed Public Option for health care is a form of socialism or fascism. If Obama is a Hitler in this context, so are the rest of the leaders of the free world whose governments all provide health care to its citizens.

Do taxpayers who oppose a Public Option understand that they are already picking up the tab for emergency room visits of the uninsured? Do they realize that a Public Option would force insurance companies to be more fair and affordable and could provide a step to improving our country’s health care system rating by the World Health Organization of only 37th in the world?

As a baby boomer who as a child pledged allegiance to the flag next to a picture of President Eisenhower, I find it hard to understand how some schools would decline to show President Obama’s address to school children in which he was encouraging them to stay in school and work hard. And when I heard that fringe groups and right wing radio personalities referred to the address as indoctrination into Obama Youth Corps, it was hard to keep a straight face.

I think it’s ironic that Bush supporters blame Obama for the deficits that Bush created and that they loudly complain to Obama about bailouts that began under Bush’s Presidency. Even more ironic is that so many Americans accepted a war promoted by the Bush administration under false premises at the cost of many 1,000’s of lives but are suspicious and adamantly against health care reform designed to improve and save lives.

When I witness a member of Congress shout “liar” to Obama during a Presidential Address to the Nation, I worry that the Rush Limbaughs of the world have infected our country’s institutions and traditions with their bully tactics. When Sarah Palin makes the ludicrous claim that Obama’s health care plans could lead to death panels to decide who will live or die, I fear that the paranoid politics of Joseph McCarthy – whose lies and witch hunts in the 1950's spread hate and ruined the lives of many innocents – is on the rise again.

I recently heard NPR’s Terri Gross interview Max Blumenthal about his new book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. The documentary filmmaker and author, who has been covering the Christian right for the past six years, says that right wing extremists have reduced the big tent party of Eisenhower to a one ring circus. He exposes those responsible for leading the characterization of Obama as Hitler or Stalin and reveals that many of those parroting it don’t know the difference between fascism and communism, saying "the goal is to paint Obama as a totalitarian, secret communist, fascist, terrorist, Muslim" and whatever they can come up with to de-legimize him and mobilize opposition against him.

In other words, spread lies.

Blumenthal pointed out the irony of leveling Hitler/Stalin rhetoric at the centrist, consensus-building Obama, especially considering that one of the extreme right’s inspirations, R.J. Rushdoony, has “advocated replacing the U.S. Constitution and secular government with a totalitarian theocracy in which disobedient children, adulterers, witches, abortion doctors, women who receive abortions, etc., would all be executed.”

Posing a mostly rhetorical question, Blumenthal asked, “when one side is completely hysterical, conspiratorial and is leveling baseless attacks, should it be taken seriously?” Later in the interview, he answered that question saying that the extreme rhetoric of the right-wing fringe is going to become mainstream if the Republican Party echoes it and Fox News and right wing radio shows provide a megaphone for it.

Meanwhile our country is currently facing a convergence of some of the biggest challenges in modern history. The lies about Obama and those who are spreading them exasperate those challenges by threatening the integrity of our country and putting its progress at risk. ~ Colleen Redman

September 13, 2009

Moonshine’s Tribute to a Local Poet

eliotfred3995FD5.jpg~ The following was published in The Floyd Press on August 20, 2009.

The literary flavor of summer’s Floyd County Moonshine is as striking as the bright red wildflowers on its cover and as local as the next door neighbor. The issue spotlights Floyd writers and features the poetry of the late Elliot Dabinsky.

A familiar face around Floyd for many years, Dabinsky was one of the founding members of The Floyd Writer’s Circle, a group that meets regularly to workshop members' writings. He was a contra dance enthusiast, a past photography teacher at Douglass College in New Jersey, and a man of many contradictions who was disabled by pain for much of his adult life.

Some of Dabinsky’s peers were aware that in the years leading up to his death he was working on a collection of new poetry that he viewed as his literary life’s work and that he hoped to submit for publication. After his death in the fall of 2005, two friends and fellow co-founders of the Writer’s Circle, Mara Robbins and Kathleen Ingoldsby, poured through handwritten drafts of his autobiographical free verse with a chapbook in mind.

With the inception of Moonshine, a publication that exists through proceeds from sales and the sponsorship of supporters, Robbins and Ingoldsby saw an opportunity and offered to sponsor an issue. “It seemed like a perfect way to support a local literary initiative and provide a platform for Elliot’s writing,” Ingoldsby, a history archivist, said.

Robbins, a recent Hollins University graduate and Moonshine’s poetry editor, said, “I think Elliot would be pleased with how it turned out, with the inclusion of other Floyd writers and artists, some of his photographs, and references to contra dances because he was so strongly committed to the arts.”

In the issue’s introduction, written by Robbins, she invites readers to “put aside thoughts of Dabinsky’s complicated life and his sometimes turbulent personality and focus on the fierce beauty interwoven within the difficult stories of his deeply personal words,” words that revealed the author’s passions, frustrations, and fears. fcm3.jpg

Dabinsky liked to spend time in cafés and coffee houses. He was a regular at Bollos café in Blacksburg, where he volunteered regularly at the Lyric Theatre. In one poem, set in Bollos, he writes ...Even the everyday schizophrenic, whose tick and jerk, a repetitive compulsive tapping touch, scares some, has a place here. He continues, revealing his fear, not of the schizophrenic but of being like him ... If life is like a stone skipped across a still pond, and the circling rings how close we get to living it, then I’m just one ring closer, looking for a way to reach the stone before it sinks.

“His goal was to convey a story,” Robbins noted about the Dabinsky’s poetic style. The twelve poems chosen for the issue include Love Poem Number One, Lust Poem Number One, A Remembrance of Karma, Ten Years Stuck in the House Whitlow Built, This is the Line for Mercy, It Really is Almost that Simple, and more. Dabinsky read the emotional and detailed poem about losing a girlfriend in a car accident, How Do You Spell Epiphany, to a spellbound crowd at the London Underground Pub for a Poetry Slam a year before his death. Others he read at Spoken Word events at Oddfellas Cantina and the Café del Sol.

Dabinsky’s cut-to-the punch poetry is a good fit for Moonshine, which editor-in-chief Aaron Moore said strives to be honest and to avoid being “touristy or quaint.” Moore’s long term goal for the magazine is to draw readership and contributors nationwide. It’s currently listed in Poet’s Market (a national directory of poetry publications) and he has already received a submission from someone who saw it listed there. “I want to put Floyd on the map as a literary center,” he said, pointing out that Floyd was a good place to start a literary magazine because of its creative people and active arts community.

Writings about Dabinsky by others also appear in the issue, including an interview with Dabinsky that was done by Robbins for a Gender and Woman’s Study class, a series of vignettes that revolve around Scrabble games and poetry readings that Dabinsky participated in, and an essay by Kathleen Ingoldsby based on a conversation between her and Dabinsky at a contra dance weekend.

Other Floyd contributors include Chelsea Adams, Fred First, Jayn Avery, Katherine Chantal, and Haden Polseno-Hensley. Former Floydian, Blueberry farmer and Radford University English teacher Jim Minnick has two poems in the issue.

Things I Want to Remember, Abandoned Houses, The Falls at Big Reed Island, This Place Indian Valley are the titles of some of the poetry and prose that round out the flavor of this issue of Moonshine. A Depression era short story set in Floyd County by retired Radford University Professor Parks Lanier stands out, as does a personal account by Katherine Chantal of the coming together of the Floyd community for a homemade funeral at Zephyr Farm, one of Floyd’s intentional communities.

The Floyd Moonshine is one year old. With four issues published and submissions coming in for number five, an anniversary celebration open to the public is planned on September 13th from 3 – 5 p.m. at The Black Water Loft. Contributors will read their works from the current issue and past issues, and the poetry of Elliot Dabinsky will also be represented at the event. ~ Colleen Redman

Post Notes: Today’s date reminded me that I had forgotten to post the above. I attended the anniversary reading and celebration of Elliot’s work today and recommend that people check out the publication, especially the current issue that features Elliot’s poetry. Copies are available locally at noteBooks, Café del Sol, Chic’s Antiques, Over the Moon, and can be checked out at the Jessie Peterman Library. Email floydshine@gmail.com to order an issue. The above photo of Elliot was taken by Fred First. Our August Spoken Word at Cafe del Sol included readings from Elliot's work, which you can see HERE.

September 12, 2009

Recently Scene in the Country

I don't know why but when I stare at this picture I keep expecting Mr. Ed the talking horse to come out and snort hello.
This time of year, my favorite summer sundress is almost as worn as this butterfly's wings.
There was a time when I thought hay bales were put there by farmers for Andrew Wyeth to paint.

September 11, 2009

Potluck Promotes Local Food in Schools

1potluck1.jpg~ The following was published in The Floyd Press on September 10, 2009 and HERE.

Black bean paté, pork ribs from Bright Farm, bread from Sweetwater Bakery, a casserole, fresh peaches, and apple pie were some of the dishes enjoyed at the Time for Lunch potluck, held on Labor Day at the Floyd Country Store. The event was initiated by Slow Food USA to promote locally grown and produced food in public schools and was organized by Slow Food USA member Yvonne Hodgkins.

After a group of about twenty-five shared freshly prepared local food and neighborly conversation, Hodgkins addressed the crowd, outlining the campaign’s five platform points. “The nutritional quality of food in school will promote or not promote the health of our children,” she said, citing that one of the platform points is to urge Congress to invest in our children’s health by updating the Child Nutrition Act and increasing the federal reimbursement for the School Lunch Program.
The platform calls for providing financial incentives for schools to buy local food as a way to improve food choices. Another component is establishing stronger standards for food sold in schools. “When most of us were in school we never saw vending machines,” Hodgkins said. She reported that there were 307 potlucks around the country in all fifty states happening simultaneously this Labor Day, including ones in Blacksburg and Roanoke.

Villa Appalaccia Winery owner Susanne Becker, who heads up Floyd’s Slow Food USA group, spoke about the Slow Food mission of “preserving old traditions and cultures of eating.” Slow Food promotes public awareness of local food, advocates for plant diversity, and works to make local food more accessible. “We need farmers. We’re here to promote you,” Becker said.
In 2004 the Farm to School Program was approved by Congress but never funded. Mike Burton of Moon Indigo Farm spoke about giving the program a jump start and putting its principles into action with the introduction of a local pilot program this fall. “We’re going to have one day when local farms are going to provide apples, potatoes, and cabbages to all the schools.” Burton explained. He went on to report that elementary students will help to harvest the vegetables at his farm and at Five Penny Farm. Burton said the project has the support of the county school nutritionist and the school board superintendent. “It crosses all lines. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want their children to eat well,” he concluded.

Floyd Country Store owner Woody Crenshaw spoke about the construction progress of the new farmer’s market, which will be located next to The Station on South Locust Street. ptluck8z.jpg He reported that the project has transformed from a farmer’s market into a timber frame community market pavilion with 3,000 feet under roof. “It’s somewhat idealistic and somewhat building for the future,” he said. During the week the pavilion will provide covered parking. On weekends it will be available for public events. Crenshaw noted that the green certified timber to be used has been donated by Turman Lumber. The plan is for the Floyd Community Market to be open for the October 24th Eco-Fair, hosted by SustainFloyd (sustainfloyd.org) in conjunction with the International Day of Climate Action.

Karen Day and McCabe Coolidge updated the crowd on their community food programs under the umbrella of Plenty, a neighbor-to-neighbor growing and sharing food venture. Day reported that Plenty’s “Kids Wonder Garden” at the Floyd Elementary School is in full swing. “Kids are checking out the broccoli and talking about saving seeds,” she said.

Following Day’s description of canning sixty-two cans of donated beans at the local cannery, Coolidge explained that Plenty drivers will soon be outfitted in “Buy Local/Portable Produce” T-shirts donated by Green Label Organic. 6kmc2.jpg Proceeds from The CD Project of Scott Perry’s music students bought chickens from Weathertop Farm for fifty-five families on Plenty’s Portable Produce route, Coolidge said.

Hodgkins encouraged potluck goers and others to contact their representatives – sign petitions, call, and write – advocating for healthy food programs in schools. She read an excerpt from a letter written by Representative Rick Boucher in support of the Time for Lunch campaign. “I entirely share your view that our region is a focal point for local foods in many ways … I assure you that I fully support the policy agenda to place locally raised and healthy foods in the schools. I will be happy to cosponsor bills or cosign letters that are designed to support these efforts …” Boucher wrote. ~ Colleen Redman

September 10, 2009

13 Thursday: News to Me

13type2.jpg1. While driving home from the grocery store I passed my black Honda CRV with the license plate LETITB parked downtown and had a pang of panic, like I had astral projected out of my body and was watching it on the bed sleeping. Of course, I had forgotten that Joe borrowed my car and I was driving in his truck.

2. The next day while driving I saw a green couch cushion in the middle of the road and thought it was mine.

3. I’m losing it.

4. What will they think of next? When I first heard about electronic cigarettes that look like pens and deliver smokeless vaporized liquid nicotine, I was thinking it was a joke like the Pomegranate phone, which was advertised as a phone that can make coffee. The pomegranate was a publicity stunt. The electronic cigarette is, sadly, real.

5. Said to Joe while trying to pick out a good movie at the video store: It reminds me being at the thrift shop and browsing through racks of polyester trying to find one nice thing in cotton, wool, or silk.

6. Said to Joe while putting on my carpal tunnel metal wrist braces before bed, “If I didn’t love these things, I’d hate them” (they work).

7. I think I’ve been avoiding Twitter because the word rhymes with fritter, means to talk rapidly about trivial matters, and has the word “twit” in it.

8. Favorite line heard last week: I’m not that kind of google. It was spoken by Carrie on Sex in the City after she googled the man she was dating and discovered he had a playboy reputation.

9. As frightening as it sounds, recent studies have shown that cell phone radiation is said to penetrate children’s brains up to 75% and increase their risk of cancer. A study published in the medical journal "The Lancet" reports that children who use mobile phones risk suffering memory loss, sleeping disorders and headaches. More HERE.

10. Because my favorite dessert of late is Paul Newmans’ “ginger” hermit cookies (not to be confused with the “cinnamon” ones which are not nearly as good), I became curious about how these “hermits” got their name and found this: An old-fashioned favorite said to have originated in Colonial New England, this spicy, chewy cookie is full of chopped fruits and nuts. It's usually sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. It's said that hermits were named for their long keeping qualities-they're better when hidden away like a hermit for several days.

11. Are chickens smarter than people? Read about how some chickens are refusing to eat genetically modified feed HERE.

12. Swine Flu Rant Guy is singing my song HERE.

13. There must be an easier way: I just wrote a story for the local paper in which I used word pâté. I couldn’t figure out how to get the accent over the e, so I typed café removed the caf and replaced it with pat. Once I did that my spell check suggested the other mark over the a.

More 13 Thursdays. Read all about it HERE.

September 8, 2009

My Blog is a Dinosaur About to Become Extinct

blo.jpg(Or at least get a face lift.) When my local webhost server told me he could no longer afford to host Loose Leaf and was planning to shut down his operation, I seriously thought about not blogging anymore. Being on an out-of-date Moveable Type publishing platform with a blog the size of Texas, I knew my options were limited.

I played out the death. Four ½ years of work down the tubes. Like a sand castle washed away. I could almost envision not blogging – even though my blog has become like an extension of myself and it suits who I am and what I do. But I couldn’t envision losing the record, the hours of research, the stories I’ve written about others: artists, musicians, actors, poets, farmers, ceremonalists, and more. Some websites, like Tour de Floyd and Floyd’s Blue Mountain School link to stories I’ve written about them here, (which would vanish with the tug of a plug).

For more than four years I’ve been documenting my Asheville potter son Josh's career as an artist, everything from his wild clay excavation of a tobacco farmer’s field and salvaging an old house on his property in Marshall Country – to his Building Community hand made brick art installations, the construction of The 3 tiered Community Temple, and the Carolina Kiln Build 3 week immersion workshop he recently hosted.

The history of Floyd’s monthly Spoken Word is all here. So is my photo journal of Floydfest through the years, my collages, travelogues, political commentaries, posts about my baby grandson Bryce, and Scrabble playing antics at the Café del Sol. If you google “Good Food for Good People,” the story I wrote about Tenley Weaver and Dennis Dove comes up. Tenley and Dennis are some of the front runners in Floyd’s local food movement. They run Green’s Garage, work a Community Supported Agriculture farm, and a retail/wholesale distribution center for mostly organic seasonal food – all with little presence on the web.

My writings on losing a loved one still touches others. I regularly get heartfelt comments from grief stricken people who find their way to my posts by way of search engines. My 2005 posts on Paragon Park, the amusement park in the town I grew up in that was torn down in the 80’s, continue to draw readers who are trying to track down what happened to the old roller coaster or are just wanting to share some sweet nostalgia.

Carrying Loose Leaf around and carrying on with it is going to cost me money. After giving my writing away or writing for below cost for many years, the last thing I want is to pay for blogging. But it will cost to have it moved, to keep it intact, to do what I don’t have a clue how to. I’ll probably have to try hosting ads. I’ll probably be closed down for a couple of days. And if that happens, just remember what the Terminator said … I’ll be back.

September 7, 2009

The Apple of My Eye and His Pumpkin

pu2.jpg There comes a point in life when the thrill of new love comes to us through our grandchildren. The first time they purse their lips for a kiss, say your name (nana), hold out their arms for you to pick them up. Their smile melts your heart, makes it skip a beat. Their laugh leaves you breathless. You bring them gifts. You want to be close. Can't wait to see them again.

Watch me follow Bryce around HERE.

September 6, 2009

The Fall of Summer

sunsetshadowxxx.gifBirdsong heralds spring. Summer means a sundress, bare feet, and isn't complete until we've eaten a few fat slices of blueberry pie. For me, fall begins with a more subtle sign: the quality of light changes. The lowering sun casts a marigold glow. It spills Van Gogh gold onto the fields and forests. With warmth that is penetrating but not burning, a simmering summer is reduced down to fall.

September 4, 2009

Summer’s Parting Shots

1. Conversation
2. Procrastination
3. A Heavy Heart
4. A Feast of Color

September 3, 2009

Here Lies 13 Thursday

12plant.jpg1. How many beans can you stand to hear scream? Find out HERE.

2. Only in Floyd: This past weekend I danced to the grooves of The Emily Brass Band at the Pine Tavern Floyd Family Jamfest and was caught at the nighttime fire dance intermission show without a decent camera.

3. I recently realized that my getting hooked on late night Sex in the City reruns was partly because I had a crush on Carrie’s boyfriend Aiden, played by John Corbett, which I discovered when his character was written out of the show and my level of commitment to the show dropped. Then, more recently, I discovered that Corbett was a born again Christian Republican and the boyfriend of Bo Derek, and my crush fizzled some. Even more recently, I learned that Corbett is also a pretty decent country singer songwriter, which piqued my interest again.

4. My not ready for primetime bumper sticker that I have on my fridge reads: Born Okay the First Time.

5. The fact that I share Ted Kennedy’s Irish Catholic Massachusetts Democrat background, and that he was being buried next to his two brothers on the anniversary of my brother Danny’s death (the second of my two brothers who died a month apart and were buried together), while tropical storm Danny brought a deluge of rain off the eastern coast, wasn’t lost on me.

6. Around the same time that Ted Kennedy was dying and tropical storm Danny was stirring up, thrivalist Frank Cook, who was in Floyd this past May giving plant talks and walks, died unexpectedly of a parasitic infection. Frank had a Master’s Degree in Holistic Science from Shumaker College, wrote Emerging Planetary Medicines, and was active in the Transition Culture movement, a movement for those preparing for a no-carbon economy. A video clip of his Floyd visit is HERE.

7. Considering that my writer’s bio-note is: “I keep a dictionary in the backseat of my car and a kaleidoscope in my glove compartment. What else do you need to know?” I’m not surprised that people send me cool kaleidoscope sites, like THIS new one.

8. Epitaph found on a tombstone in Georgia “I told you I was sick!”

9. Strangest vanity license plate, spotted once in Blacksburg: IAMHURT.

10. Poet Robert’s Frost’s tombstone epitaph reads, "I had a lover's quarrel with the world.” Charles Bukowski’s says: Don’t Try.

11. Writing a bio is one thing, but an epitaph? What would yours say? I think I’ll use one of THESE.

12. Can you read this? ǝsɹǝʌuı sǝʇıɹʍ ʇǝod spɹɐʍʞɔɐq ɐ

13. And finally, I’ll leave it to my baby grandson Bryce to wave bye-bye HERE.

Say hello to fellow 13 Thursday players HERE.

September 1, 2009

Tea Garden Bouquet

Hint of citrus
mixes with hibiscus
mingles with rose hips
in a tea garden bouquet

Note: Click and Scroll HERE for more tea poems.