Learning discipline in writing.
I have three graduate degrees and each one contributed to my being able to write decently. It was not always so. A common response to my first term examination results as a freshman was that I did not write clearly. In my entire high school experience, I had never been asked to write an essay. Is it any wonder that I did not know how to write clearly? I had completed my first master’s degree and had just begun my second, when, finally, a professor very candidly told me that my writing stunk – my word. So, I asked him if he could help me. He could and he did, and I never looked back. What I had lacked was a disciplined approach. Thankfully, he taught me that. I went on the complete a doctorate in adult education where I learned the importance of editing, endlessly. Should you choose to read The Summer of the Ennead, you will be reading something that I have gone over eight times completely. By the way, I always edit my emails at least twice.
A life crisis can bring positive results.
Thirty or so years ago, my life took a turn away from the ordinary, and I lived in upheaval for the next six years, but those six years were not without their blessings. One of the changes in my life was getting involved with native people from my community. Eventually, I sat on the local powwow committee and started to teach a Native Studies course at the adult school where I worked. I learned so much from these experiences and from the excellent elders I was fortunate enough to spend time with. It was a great blessing that changed how I thought about a lot of things. You will see the fruits of those experiences in my story. I firmly believe that regaining our ancient respect for nature is our only hope given the climate crisis we now face. When I say our ancient respect, I mean the respect that all of our ancient ancestors had for the land. We have all come from hunter gatherer ancestors if we go back far enough.
Being a grandfather.
I was fortunate enough to live in the same city as my first granddaughter for a year. I got to know her, and I often wrote her stories, but as time passed, it turned out that all three of my granddaughters were living far away. I felt a need to create something for them that they could always have. The result is The Summer of the Ennead. I identify each of them with a specific animal in the story, and I believe that their animal guides suit them very well. I hope they will feel that connection too.
The evolution of a personal philosophy.
Over the course of one’s life, one lives through several philosophies. Okay, not everyone, but at least those who think of life as a growing and becoming journey. I have seen a lot of ideas come and go. I was raised in a moderately strict Baptist environment. It does not, even remotely, resemble anything I believe today. I like proof and my various studies have made seeking truth a priority in my life. I understand that perceived truth is something that can change and the search for truth can be as varied as the seekers of that truth. I love this phrase from Jiddu Krishnamurti, “truth is a pathless land”. I like it because it allows us to find our own paths, but it is very important that one have some criteria when assessing one’s truth. For me, the main criterion is provability. By provability, I do not mean the criterion that too many people use. Essentially this is ‘if it makes sense to me, it must be true’. That is known as confirmation bias, and it is not reliable. In my story, I adhere to three truths about our existence on Mother Earth. Our first truth is that we must survive. If we do not, we cannot achieve the second truth – to bring new life and if we do not bring new life, we cease to exist. The final truth is the truth of balance. No being should take too much or more than is needed. Animal beings understand this. Humans, apparently, do not. All of these truths are scientifically based. They are the facts of existence and they are my truth.
I would welcome comments, questions, or counter-arguments should you feel the urge.
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.