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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 24nov25011

Proposing an Ancient North American Calendar for keeping track of the years

BEYOND THE GREGORIAN … Every culture in history has had their record-keepers. Oral societies depending on its elders to keep the stories alive. The old ways of the land passed on grandmother to granddaughter – a lineage most knew by heart, sometimes seven generations back. And then dreamed for the tribe into the present by vision-seekers – some good, some bad. In the end everything depended on the whim or wisdom of its elders … As the heirs of European expansionism, native to the place but schooled in the ways of an Old World some of us have never seen, we brought with us written histories stretching back seven thousand years. And for mestizo hapa italiano pioneers born haplessly into a history they were not responsible for, but had to acknowledge, it’s good to take the chronology we live by away from colonizing Christian safe-keeping, where it’s been for a couple thousand years, and move it back into the distant past, where it belongs … So, from now on, I’m going to be using my Ancient North American Calendar (ANAC) for dating things -- 25012 years BCE (Before the Current Era) instead of a mere 2012 AD (After Death, or Annus Domini – Year of the Lord).

SKI MAG … The prestigious flagship of winter resort  town magazines, Ski, featured Telluride prominently in its Winter Vacation issue (v. 76, #3). The cover touted its annual 30 Top Resorts for 2012. Telluride comes in at #10 (“Big charm. Big vertical. Far from everywhere. Snow can be fickle.” And “Telluride swings like a smaller Aspen after dark – with a little more soul.” … Deer Valley (Utah) gets #1, and then (in order) it’s Vail (Colo), Whistler (B.C.), Snowmass (Colo), Sun Valley (Idaho), Park City (Utah), Beaver Creek (Colo), Steamboat (Colo), and Breckenridge (Colo) … After us come Aspen Mountain (Colo), Jackson Hole (Wyo), Heavenly Valley (Calif), Winter Park (Colo), Crested Butte (Colo), Canyons Resort (Utah), Mammoth Mountain (Calif), Copper Mountain (Colo), Aspen Highlands (Colo) and Snowbird (Utah) … The final ten of the thirty are East Coast resorts – so different from western ski areas …  In the end, Colorado gets eleven of the top 20, and we rate 6th in the state, according to Ski magazine, and 10th in the nation … Not a bad start to a new ski season in the midst of the worst economic downturn in memory. And the resort’s marketing people capitalized on it – teaming up with Bollé eyewear to do a two full-page spread in the first few pages of the magazine … “Discover Gold” is the motto. Let’s hope lots of folks do this year.

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY … The Wilkinson is one of the true gems of life in Telluride, with its rich offerings and central social function in our mountain community. Even county residents outside of town make heavy use of the programs … Nancy Landau has run FOL for some time now, augmenting the public funds the Library draws with special money for special programs. This is Cash Saver collection week for the Wilkinson. FOL has its own special number (0007) and you can use and drop cash savers at the library until this coming Saturday, the 27th … Sunday, Dec. 4th at 6 p.m. FOL is hosting Chef Bud with recipes from the best of the Books & Cooks program over the last couple of years. The $40 ticket price will include cocktails, wine, seated dinner, live music, special guest Susanna Hoffman (always amazing!) and door prizes … Mark your calendars.

MINERS HOSPITAL … I thought we’d settled the historicity of the Telluride Hospital that became the San Miguel County Historical Museum, and is now the Telluride Museum, years ago. But seeing the current museum building referred to as the “Miners’ Hospital” has stirred the issue up again. My understanding that such a usage is a neologism … Certainly, miners were treated there. But it was never known as the “Miners’ Hospital” in its day. The brick building next to KOTO that the Miners’ Union (Western Federation of Miners) built was known as the “Miners’ Hospital” briefly before and during the Troubles of 1900-1904 that led to the railroading of union members out of town by armed vigilantes and state national guard … But our present museum building was run by various individual doctors – a common practice back then. And became known as the Telluride Hospital, even into the ‘40s, when Dr. George Balderston cut out his own appendix … My oldest son’s grandma was born there.

WEEKLY QUOTA"If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." -Malcolm X


Bad News

Nuclear power’s
a Faustian

Hiroshima. Fukushima
The next Black
Swan in the wings

Is an all-Uranium
boom schtick
really back, lit?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 17nov25011

Two marvelous mentors pass on

DEATH, BE NOT PROUD … wrote the English poet … But this weekend marked services for two humble elders who’ve played a large part in my life in Colorado. Both had wakes -- same day, same time. But different sides of Lone Cone … One was family, so I had to go. The other was a friend who sometimes felt like family, almost since day one of my San Juan Mountains date of arrival … Steve Herndon was a unique rancher from one of Wright’s Mesa’s oldest families – a cowman who bucked the rural tide of his neighbors and embraced environmental causes. Along with his feisty journalist wife, Grace, they breathed San Miguel County fire into the regional Western Colorado Congress and their own local Friends of Lone Cone. I moved into a Norwood post office box just a half a section from there modest ranch home … I’ve too many emotions and too many memories for prose, so I’ve written a little poem – this week’s Talking Gourd. I’m sure a lot more will come out … Steve Herndon was one of the giants of the San Miguel Watershed. Not a tall man but a deeply important one, especially to those of us who moved to this place from somewhere else, and have fallen permanently in love. Like Steve and Grace did … Bless them.

MERLE WILSON … Born in McElmo Canyon the same year as my dad, 1920. Married Carmen Robinson in the fall of 1943, while serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. Raised Herefords on a small family farm at Lebanon, north of Cortez and spent 25 years on Montezuma County’s Road & Bridge Crew … His youngest daughter Linda and I had a son, Rio Coyotl. So, I’ve been going to visit Merle and Carmen for almost 25 years … I heard lots of stories, learned a bit of history of the area. Took to pronouncing the nearby national park  “Mesa Verd”, like all the locals do … But more than anything I learned a deep peacefulness and gentle humor from Grandpa Merle. His service at the Lebanon cemetery was marked by the same kind of energies. His son-in-law Vic Hodges led the ceremony, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a graveside service where there was so much laughing. People really had only good things to say, and many said they’d never heard Merle utter a harsh word or speak ill of anyone. Quite a legacy in 91 years … His was a compassionate nature that watched the world, paused before he spoke, and always had something kind or funny to say, or he said nothing at all … My oldest son drove up from Albuquerque. Lindamarie Luna came from Crestone. Wylder Wilson, Rio’s older brother came with his partner, Raegan Gottlob. Former Montezuma County commissioner Kelly Wilson, a relative, said a few words. His sister and Dem political ace Ann Brown of Durango won 13 of the 14 campaigns for political office that she managed – only losing her own race for the state senate in the 1980s. She’s always fun to catch up with and talk politics … Zea Beaver and her husband Rich were there. They own property surrounded by Hodges’ ranch, and have been friends of the Wilson family for years. Zea’s mom, Helen Newell, was a kind of legendary figure in Telluride … At the Hodge’s home it was fun to look at old photographs, many of them with Rio and Luna in them. Everyone was most welcoming, and it was wonderful to feel part of a family, part of a very wise man’s life … May we all have a legacy as proud as Merle’s.

COMPROMISE … George Harvey could be wrong. But I think compromise is what all sides in the United States increasingly treat as sell-out city. Tea partyers. Some enviros. Repubs and Dems. Libertarians. And even a hunk of the Green Party ... What we need is a radical middle that can get things done. Leaders who know how to work across the aisle for a compromise. Knowing that the word’s roots come from the Latin> mittere = “to send” (something) + pro = “forward” + com = “with” (others) It’s really just another name for democracy … Locally we seem to get that, as the Intergovernmental meetings demonstrate. But the Feds need to get a grip on the concept – yes, some tax cuts and yes, some tax hikes. Yes, some defense spending, but no more wars based on bad intel … We need to find middle ground, and stop taking our sacred cows off the table like pouty children.

FOOD BANKS & JOBS … Got stopped in the parking lot at Clark’s in Norwood the other evening. They were polite. Just wanted a minute, if I had it. And, as commissioner, I try always to have a minute for anyone … They were upset that Telluride wasn’t supporting the new uranium mill in Paradox because it meant jobs for the long-depressed West End. I tried to explain the gulf that exists between those who see sickness and black swan disasters in nuclear power, and those who see familiar, well-paying jobs that have too long been absent in the region … Pretty soon this person was crying. Remembering the poverty of her own past. And the long lines at the Food Bank in Norwood, where this person volunteers … I did my best to stay firm in what the majority of San Miguel County citizens want (no mill), and yet to be understanding of the predicament of so many unemployed West End folks who see the mill as the brightest hope on the horizon … Sometimes in politics there are no good compromises and people just have to stand firm in their beliefs and be respectful of neighbors who see things differently. I hope we all can do that with each other. Even in difficult questions like nuclear power … Meanwhile, donate what you can to the Food Bank. There are a lot of people who depend on that source of staples in these hard times.


Looking South to Lone Cone

-for Steve Herndon

Not the kind of guy
to sit around on a hos-
pital gurney waiting
for care to come along

or some package side-
saddle cure He leapt
at life Called it
like he saw it

Left not long after
his wife Gracie The two
of them riding around on
bicycles into their 70s

One of those endangered
breed of rancher-enviros
Would grip your hand
Look you in the eye

& see what you were made
of His an Old West make --
Dakota sandstone First cut cowboy
alfalfa Meadowlark & piñon

Western Colorado Writers' Forum newsletter 11/11

            Thanks to everyone, about 140 of you, who came to "The Language of This Land" and drank from the well that October weekend.  If you missed it or want to relive it, see Uche Ogubji's & Wendy Videlock's blog

We filmed it all. See Richard Ott's video of Ute elder Clifford Duncan's talk at  Soon to be posted: conversations with Leslie Marmon Silko and novelist Laura Hendrie, Silko's  banquet reading, highlights from Dave Mason's banquet reading, the "Seven by Seven" poets' reading, and the speakers and elders at the Sunday community breakfast. A highlight video of the entire conference, including clips from many of the workshops and classes, will be released next week and eventually all will be up at

Pretty wonderful.  This is my favorite time of the year, darkness descending, lights, ancient song and stories returning.  We'll hold "A Literary Christmas," readings & recitations of great Christmas literature, Dylan Thomas, Rudolfo Anaya, "'Twas," and the like, with gorgeous music, at 800 Colorado, on Friday eve, Dec. 2.  Come also to a free writing class at the library, "The Memory of Christmas," Saturday aft., Dec. 3rd.  Other events coming up:

·        TH.Nov. 17th CMU reading at Planet Earth (that's tomorrow)
·        SAT. Nov. 19th Organizing meeting at 800 Colorado for new Rocky Mtn. Fiction Writers chapter.
·        Dec. 2 John & Ursula Nizalowski reading & music at Planet Earth
·        WCWF January, 2012 classes:  Wendy Videlock teaching poetry, Di Herald teaching teen fiction, and I'll teach "The Geography of Narrative."  More on this to come.
·        St. Benedict's, January:  no retreat, but come visit for a manuscript consultation.
·        Send in poems for "Out and About," then join us to read on KAFM.
·       Newish submissions calendar below for stories, poems and books.  A call for 99 poems for the 99%!

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Do send the Writers' Forum a poem for the Daily Sentinel "Out & About," seventeen lines or under, and after such stellar publication you'll be included in a roster of poets to read on KAFM. Poems are aired 6:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (depending on punctuality and programmer's state of being). Send poems or questions to or call 256-4662.  We're really enjoying all your voices and always looking for new ones.  Don't be shy.  Send us two to five poems.

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Poets & Writers of Colorado Mesa University Reading Series
Planet Earth & The Four Directions Gallery - 524 Colorado Ave., GJ - Free
7 p.m. November 17:  Jennifer Hancock, Michele Hanson & Charles McLeod.

Michele Hanson teaches French and English composition at CMU. She has published personal essays in Travelers' Tales, A Mother's World and CU's Copper Nickel, and will be reading from a novel-in-progress.
Jennifer Hancock holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in Creative Writing from Oklahoma State University. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Puerto del Sol. She was recently chosen as a finalist for the Wabash Poetry Prize by the editors of the Sycamore Review. She is Assistant Professor of English at Colorado Mesa University.
Charles McLeod's fiction has appeared in publications including Alaska Quarterly Review, Conjunctions, CutBank, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Post Road, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, Third Coast and ZYZZYVA. His first novel is American Weather, out now from Random House UK. Vintage UK will publish a collection of stories June of 2012.
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Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
Western Slope Organizing Meeting
800 Colorado
9:30-noon Sat. Nov. 19th
The Writers' Forum & Page Peddlers are co-sponsoring sponsor this meeting in the hopes of helping establish a future G.J. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers chapter.  Cost is $1 per person to help pay for rent, coffee/tea and pastries.

RMFW members Vicki Law, her husband Mike, and Marne Kirk will first briefly talk about the organization, cost of membership, and benefits writers can expect. They will also discuss volunteer positions and what they will need from us in order to make the group happen.

The second part will be a discussion of the storytellers bible, electronic or paper, where writers keep information about their book(s): research they've done, character development, list of names, ages, culture, plot lines, maps, sketches, etc.

Bring a friend. 30 people are coming so far.  We'd like to have an estimated head count for handouts, coffee and pastries, etc.: please RSVP to ASAP.

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"A Literary Christmas"
Western Colorado Writers' Forum
7 p.m. Friday Dec. 2nd   800 Colorado
Come join us for a literary Christmas with choral music, readings and recitations of classic poems and stories, such as "A Child's Christmas in Wales," "Twas the Night...," a Hispanic tale and others in our cozy, decorated church at 8th and Colorado.  Open to the public: Christmas sweets and hot cider, raffle and door prizes offered. 
Families welcome, and all asked to donate what you can in the Spirit of Christmas.  Registration encouraged:  email us at or  256-4662. 

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Reading & Music
7 p.m.Friday Dec. 2
Planet Earth & Four Directions Gallery
John Nizalowski and Isadora Nizalowski will be combining poetry and music in a free performance to be held at the on Dec. 2 at 7:00 p.m.  Free and open to the public. The Planet Earth Gallery is located at 524 Colorado Ave., Grand Junction.

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"The Memory of Christmas"
MCPL Central Library
2-4 p.m. Sat., Dec. 3

Come hear excerpts from classic Christmas stories and poems, view a clip from the great Christmas movies, and have the chance to write your own Christmas memory
as a story or poem with two WCWF authors.
Learn ways to make small book gifts, for little cost, from your stories.  Families welcome; activities provided for children age 5 and up.  Registration encouraged; call MCPL at 243-4442.  Sponsored by the Mesa County Public Libraries and the Writers' Forum.

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St. Benedict's Monastery, 2012
No retreat this year, but I will be in residence in a beautiful little mountain hermitage at the Snowmass monastery January 5-8th.  If you're near Snowmass or Aspen, come visit me for a manuscript consultation.  I'll meet with a few people at $50/hour, a bright way to start fresh on a writing project in the new year.  Email to set up a time.   

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> Our purpose is to help people who have faced serious health issues. Published twice a year, on the winter solstice and summer solstice.  Seeking original work by people who have or have had physical difficulties in their lives from cancer to seizures, Alzheimer's to tumors. It is also a place for caretakers, families, significant others and friends to write about their experiences and relationships to the person.
> For Submissions Guidelines:
> Send email with work to
> *******************************
> Deadline:  February 28, 2012
> We seek emotionally honest and compelling submissions that will resonate with the reader. Desired poems will cover the initial raw grief through time to poems that are more uplifting. The intent is not to dwell on death itself but rather to place it in loving perspective.  Poetry max 100 lines. If previously published, please include reprint permission and literary credit.
> Send up to 5 submissions and brief bio.
> Submit in word doc to or mail to Mother Loss/Details, 8663 River Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46240.
> ******************************
Willow Creek Journal
Call for Entries
Deadline:  February 28, 2011
The Willow Creek Journal is a yearly magazine containing writings and artwork by residents & visitors to Creede, Mineral County, & the San Luis Valley.  Entry Rules:
·                    Writers - Submit up to three (3) pieces of original work (poetry, essays, or short stories) No Longer Than 1,000 Words.
·                 Artists - Submit up to three (3) original works (paintings, drawings, etchings and photographs)
Prizes:  In 2011, we will be awarding a $50 First Place Prize for Poetry in three categories: Elementary, Junior High/High School, & Adult
Please include a short bio about yourself, as well as a phone number, email address and mailing address. Include your age category if you wish to be considered for our $50 prize. Artwork entries need to be on disc with a high resolution digital file. Please snail mail artwork. For prose and poetry, save as a .doc file (we cannot take .docx), and e-mail your submissions to If this is not possible, type your submissions and mail to:
Creede Arts Council, P.O. Box 392, Creede, CO  81130
We will also be offering a five week writing workshop that will explore both fiction and poetry writing in Creede. Beginning January 25th, this workshop will be open to teens and adults. For more information or to sign up for the writing workshop, please contact the Creede Arts Council office: 658-0312 or
The Creede Arts Council is proud to be able to provide this unique literary journal and appreciates the excellent contributions made to it over the years. 
> ***************************************

> Deadline: November 30, 2011
> Dr. Christine Redman-Waldemeyer, founder and editor. For submission guidelines.
> ***************************************
> Deadline: December 31, 2011
> Solo Novo publishes journals of poetry, prose, translations, book reviews, artists books, chapbooks. They seek to publish work that speaks to our times.  Please visit Solo Novo on facebook, duotrope and Poets & Writers.
> Paula C. Lowe, Managing Editor
> ******************************************
> A blog featuring 99 poems that address the social, political, economic, aesthetic, and cultural realities of the 99 percent.
> Since Walt Whitman, American poetry has been about democracy. It's been about reaching people on issues they care about in a voice they recognize. 99 Poems for the 99 Percent demonstrates how the aims of poetry are in concert with the aims and ambitions of the vast majority of Americans. It is proof that poetry can speak in a vital, robust, and meaningful way about real issues to real people.
 Part of the purpose of this project to expand the scope of poetry. To that end, I invite all readers and writers to submit a poem for consideration. A large percentage of the poems published on this blog will be chosen through the submission process. So, embrace democracy and send a poem!
Guidelines: Please send one poem pasted in the body of an email to Feel free to include a cover paragraph and a 1-2 sentence explanation of the poem.
>> ******************************************
> Deadline: November 30, 2011
> Awards: First prize $300, second prize $100, third prize $50 and seven honorable  mentions
> Full guidelines at
> Still accepting submissions for December issue

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To receive WCWF's monthly newsletter, contact Sandra Dorr at <>

 Danny and Uche at Language of This Land