TRIBAL VICTORY FOR INSECURE WRITERS — and Others
MONTHLY IWSG CORNER—heliospheric incidents permitting
I.T. Mayhem Rules
There was no disintegrating Chinese rocket landing in my front lawn, no tsunami alarm in the dead of night, but Wednesday was not my day for anything electronic this month.
To no avail.
On the other hand, writerly deadlines are deadlines, and we IWSGers take those seriously. So I wrote a couple of notes (mostly to myself) on how gradually the Western World is coming into alignment with its own Climate Control promise to reduce fossil fuel use, and to help endangered species back up the ecological ladder.
The Good News and the Better News
This week the Dakota Sioux tribe said no thank you to construction of a pipeline through its tribal homelands. They were joined by members of the Klamath Yurok who recently succeeded in passing legislation to have dams removed from its major California chinook salmon spawning river. See last month’s blog.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] who control Pacific waters.
Pods of California gray whales mingle and travel alongside humpbacks and this month have already begun their migration and been spotted in San Francisco Bay.
Unlike the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of South Dakota who never gave in, I capitulate.
Short of blaming my computer death aka total malfunction on an upsurge of sunspots—not—global IT meltdown—possible but not yet confirmed—I am more ready to believe it’s my REALLY dicey coastal location which often forgets to switch us backward peoples forward in time—into the electronic world.
The birds and whales must know something. They’re starting to migrate early.
When in Doubt, use Cloaking Device
For newbie writers, journalists and wannabe scribes, this month’s effort is a pitiful excuse for a blog. But, if we don’t keep chipping away at the old Muse, she won’t perform when we really need her!
That’s my excuse and I’m not budging.
I am genuinely sending up prayers, incantations and blessed gratitude to the Angel of Communication who finally let me through; in ArchAngelic language—thanks, Gabe. You are a Star.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
September 9, 2016 Posted by siderealview | ancient rites, art, astrology, authors, birds, blogging, calendar customs, earth changes, environment | Alex J Cavanaugh, Archangel Gabriel, climate control, cloaking device, Dakota Sioux, endangered species, fossil fuels, humpback whale, incantation, Insecure Writers Support Group, IWSG, Klamath, Klingon, prayer, sci-fi, Sioux Tribe, Star Trek IV: the Journey Home | Leave a comment
MOVING INTO 21st CENTURY REALTIME CORNER FOR IWSGers or
If your [writerly] past calls, don’t answer
The Seagram Building quickly became an icon of the growing power of the corporation, that defining institution of the twentieth century. In a bold and innovative move, the architect chose to set the tower back from the property line to create a forecourt plaza and fountain on Park Avenue which revolutionized Uptown architecture.
Mies van der Rohe, an adoptive American from the European Bauhaus school of architecture which enlivened German and British design after the drudgery of two wars, completed the building with his own interior design—lobby, elevators, individual furniture, lighting and trademark leather chairs on every office floor, asking his assistant Philip Johnson—architect on the contemporaneous Guggenheim Museum two blocks away, to go wild in creating the restaurant.
Craig Claiborne, then food editor of The Times, reviewed the Four Seasons two months after its July 29, 1958 opening.
“Both in décor and in menu, it is spectacular, modern and audacious, perhaps the most exciting restaurant to open in New York within the last two decades.”
Even Mr Claiborne was impressed by the Park.Ave. Lobster Mousse and Salmon belly flown in from the River Spey!
The Four Seasons cost $4.5 million to open, nearly $40 million in today’s dollars. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which opened the same year, cost $3 million. The restaurant closed with an auction of its valuable Jackson Pollock and Joan Miró art last week, 58 years after the day it opened.
Go, wondrous creature, mount where Science guides
Go, measure Earth, weigh air and state the tides
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run
Correct old Time and regulate the Sun
Alexander Pope 1733
OPULENCE OF NATURE—Do We Need Another Wake-up Call?
Expounding on the luxurious nature of that past era makes the mouth water. Those candlelight dinners were nightly celebrated by Wall Street and Washington’s Great & Good, with the world’s foremost champagne on hand, Black Forest Gâteau with genuine cherries imported from, yes, Germany’s SchwarzWald—changes of napkins, matches and décor to reflect each season: green for spring, red for summer, brown for fall, white for winter. We would be hard-pressed to find such opulence now in a public place. Even downstairs, at the Brasserie, the eggs Benedict were to die for.
But such opulence does—or did—still exist until recent years.
The Miners’ Canary
Abrupt change, they say, doesn’t happen overnight. But, tell that to the tribal residents and neighbors on paucity-running Klamath, restricted water-hours-Trinity, or the not-so-wild-and-scenic Smith rivers. The Hoopa Trinity statement by Tribal Chief Ryan Jackson says it all:
[This warning is] not just a miner’s canary—it is the tsunami siren notifying North Coast communities of impending environmental catastrophe and cultural devastation
Ryan Jackson, Hoopa Valley Tribal Chair, Trinity River Watershed
Endangered Species Act law suit by Hoopa Tribe of Trinity County initiated by the Elders because symptoms displayed in the famed Trinity River bed show signs of decay and death. The Tribe’s warning to authorities in neglect is that river disease is killing not just the food supply, but the planet’s lifeblood.
Somewhere in this song of great traditions there is an Era-ending note. It may sound slightly off-key. It may not sound terribly writerly to those of my cohorts and colleagues under the tutelage of our Grand-Chef Alex.
But I guess we have to admit it’s here—now—and we’re going to have to deal with it.
Thanks for listening.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
August 3, 2016 Posted by siderealview | art, authors, blogging, culture, traditions, writing | Bauhaus, Brasserie, chinook salmon, Craig Claiborne, dining, eggs Benedict, Endangered Species Act (1973), Four Seasons, furniture, Guggenheim, Hoopa tribe, Jackson Pollock, Klamath River, matches, menu, Mies van der Rohe, Park Avenue, Picasso, power lunches, Ryan Jackson, Seagram building, Spey salmon, Trinity River, Yurok | 1 Comment
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER or
INTERDEPENDENCE sans Frontières
Would we [Insecure] writers be surprised if the world at large is responding to the written word? It’s what we do. It’s our job to do it well. Journalists the world over are, after all, insecure writers like us.But is battening down the hatches always the answer in a global storm?
Isn’t it more enlightened to swallow hard, grab the wheel and head for port?
Or, even higher, head for the negotiating table——
Eleven states tried to leave or exit the American Union, which caused America’s bloodiest war, 1861-1865, but those states failed and were forced back into the Union.
“Imagine the absurdity of the EU trying to wage a war to force Great Britain back into the Union”
Christopher H.Helton, Economist
Independence or Interdependence Without Borders
You’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal dull affairs.
Center of a crowd, talking much too loud running up and down the stairs.
Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years.
And though you’ve tried you just can’t hide your eyes are edged with tears.
You better stop, look around,
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
©1968 Rolling Stones
Anxiety used to be something we relegated to the ‘having an attack’ pile—deal with next Tuesday. Now everybody’s catching it.A little historical background may be helpful in this post-Roman world: after all, it was their historians who came up with Brexit in the first place, when A.D.5th Century Brits tried to break away or hid successfully out of reach behind Hadrian’s Wall. The Holy Roman Empire muddled through the Dark Ages, at a time when Pictish art and astronomy in independent rebel nation of (present) NE Scotland were leading the field.
The American Union of states lasted over two hundred and forty years. The Eurobloc will be lucky if it exists for fifty, because of its “historical absurdity”.
Roman historian Livy (Titus Livius, d. A.D.17) said:
While the Greeks war among themselves in their city states, us [Romans] stand united by law and custom
Economists are already pouncing on the pound, buying it back at a thirty-year low in the very heart of troubled London City Stock Exchange. Historians may be looking wildly at Britain’s adoptive Roman law, finance and order for answers to the future. Perhaps the FTSE knows…
The FTSE carries on.
So then should we.
Thanks to my fellow IWSGers and Alex for listening.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
July 6, 2016 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, culture, environment, history, writing | American Civil War, Boris Johnson, Brexit, Conservative party, cousin of HM the Queen, David Cameron, economist, EU, Eurobloc, European Union, FTSE, Hadrian's Wall, King of Scots, London Stock Exchange, Northumberland, Pictland, Roman legions, sans frontières | 3 Comments
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER
Rockin’ in the Ole Town Tonight
If—as the Zen Buddhists and String Theory Physicists say—all is vibration—then a full schedule of outdoor music festivals in natural surroundings, weekend after weekend throughput June and July should place Northern California and Humboldt County in particular in good graces with the gods.
Blending Cultures through Music
Free camping goes with ticket purchase at Mateel Community’s 32nd Reggae on the River August 4th-7th in Humboldt County’s renowned French’s Camp, near Garbeville. While international headliners like James Taylor whiz through on a whirlwind tour.
I may be forgiven by my fellow IWSGers—and our faithful Cap’n.Alex—for mentioning only once the fact that, because summer of 2016 is forecast to outstrip 2015 in temperatures and arid conditions, by Lammas and the balmy days of August—Summer’s End—the renowned desert happening of Burning Man may appropriately celebrate burning humans—in the music world, as well as in the ‘real world’.Meanwhile, we writers seem to find a space—rearranging our own personal hell—in order to focus on what we do most of the time—stringing words together.
Does Going Through Hell Help us Write Better?
Quoting our group’s enlightened captain:
Many writers have been through some crisis in their life. Maybe it was a bad childhood, a divorce, drugs, alcohol, illness—the list is endless. It’s left scars and many seem to draw upon their difficult experiences to write great stories.
Alex J. Cavanaugh, author and blogger
Some of us are more fatalistic than others. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that my responsibility lies not just in writing; but somehow in blending into the written fabric some encouragement to my fellow scribes that we will get through this coming crisis. By that I mean us IWSGers: I can’t be quite so optimistic about the human race in general.
So it’s really a good thing to listen to the drumbeat of summertime—let go those old cold winter reins, shake a leg, kick up a jig or two and enjoy the music.
It can’t hurt, can it?
©2016 Marian Youngblood
June 1, 2016 Posted by siderealview | authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, energy, festivals, music, nature, writing | Black Oak Ranch, Burning Man, drumbeat, Frank Sinatra, gray whales, Harry Belafonte, Humboldt County, insecure, IWSG, Kate Wolf Festival, Laytonville CA, live music, music, music festival, Nat King Cole, Nevada desert, Reggae-on-the-River, summer solstice, whalesong, Willits CA, writing | 2 Comments
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER
Optimism as an Excuse for Delaying
“If we try to ‘save everything,’ we risk saving nothing of consequence. We’re already spread too thin, and losing ground every day”
Corporate ‘optimism’ of Dan Ashe, Director U.S. Fish & Game/Wildlife Service
One of the most facile excuses we have heard recently for the U.S. Government’s NOT upholding the Endangered Species Act.
Created in 1973 as Richard Nixon’s sole claim to humanitarianism on his exit from office, the Endangered Species Act is about to expire. And big business—along with its allies in the huntin’-shootin’-fishin’ aka “sports” community are just going to let it happen.
Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dan Ashe told a small Defenders of Wildlife group that he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development; he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the U.S. agency fully responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”
We already live in a world with “fewer wolves, salmon and spotted owls!” Humans used to be able to live in balance with nature, as part of nature. We’ve allowed ourselves to behave in ways that suggest we are above nature—where we have the right to decide which species deserve to survive.
During the current Obama Administration, anti-conservationists have launched no fewer than 100 attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Often hidden, attached as riders to must-pass legislation such as authorization bills for U.S. Dept. of Defense, appropriations bills for Dept. of Interior and other Federal agencies, nearly half of the bills prohibit protection of individual species, such as the grey wolf or the Northern long-eared bat.
The Endangered Species Act is also being dismantled from within. At critical leadership positions, U.S. Administration has chosen individuals uncommitted to preserving biodiversity.
Optimism as an Excuse for Decimating World Resources
It starts at the top. The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Agency, it appears, has the view, that we must live with less biodiversity. He states—
“Hellen Keller once said, ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.’ The Fish and Wildlife Service, and the work we do, will continue to embody that spirit.
“That’s why we’re working hard to ensure that our organization is fit and capable to meet the challenges in front of us. And why we’re building and strengthening partnership-driven conservation efforts across the nation.”
Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Federal Fish & Wildlife Agency
Helen Keller’s sentiments are laudable, but she was blind. So, it seems, are certain ‘partnerships’ chosen by U.S. government agencies to represent endangered creatures, once protected. Now no more.
Logging companies, careless in their custodianship of irreplaceable first-growth forest, are hungry to pick up scraps from the contested Klamath River watershed sell-off, in the wind-down to dam removal in 2020.
Green Diamond (so-called) Resource Company is one of these ‘custodians’. Touting in its conservation literature to hikers its success in saving the endangered California Spotted Owl from extinction merely two years ago, it is now implementing clear-felling in the bird’s target habitat of Humboldt County at the very moment its representative Endangered Species Act is becoming null and void.In continuing to allow economic gain to dictate our future action—or inaction in the case of the Endangered Species Act—we the people appear to condone our political/business leaders’ attitude.
Is it not time to stop this blindness? Instead, to use our combined intelligence/compassion and search for a future where we may begin to see the Earth—our only home—recover?
Apologies to my fellow IWSGers—under our Space-Cap’n.Alex‘s superb guidance—along with his co-hosts—if I seem to bang on incessantly at the same drum. But we writers have always known we had finite resources—worked our way to make the best use of them—as the plight of the planet is dear to us, too. It is our only home. There is no Planet-B.
So, Dan Ashe and his fellow sportsman Neal Ewald notwithstanding, we need all the help we can get from the writers, creative people, those with a voice.
Thanks for listening and if you feel motivated, be my guest and speak up for us all.
And Happy Bealltainn!
©2016 Marian Youngblood
May 4, 2016 Posted by siderealview | authors, birds, blogging, culture, environment, nature, weather, writing | Alex J Cavanaugh, beating drum, bikers, blind, California Spotted Owl, clear-fellling, Dan Ashe, Endangered Species Act (1973), Environmental Protection Agency, extinctions, forest trails, gray wolf, Hellen Keller, hikers, Humboldt Co., IWSG, Klamath River, Neal Ewald, old growth, redwood, Redwood Groves, regeneration, resources, Richard Nixon, salmon, spotted owl, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Agecy | Leave a comment
INSECURE WRITERS’ MONTHLY SHARING CORNER or
EMPATHIZING with the UNSUNG aka Fishermen
Crab Fisherman’s Lament 1991-1992 & 2015-2016
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the hall
all the fishermen sat at the Conference Call.
Their boats, they were nestled all snug in the Bay,
in hopes that tomorrow would be opening day.
Bud with his checkbook and Vince with his pen
were just sitting down—they had done it again.
They had to come up with some new kind of story
“Well you know guys we’ve got way too much inventory.
“The most we could possibly pay you’s a buck.
“If you want more than that, well, you’re just out of luck.”
In all of the ports there arose such a clatter
people jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.
“All right guys, calm down now, you’ve vented your spleen.
Perhaps we could gove you a dollar fifteen.”
“Enough of this bullshit—we’ve had it to here—
“We’re not goin’ fishing, we’re not setting the gear.”
and we all settled down for a long season’s wait.
In Fort Bragg and Eureka, ‘Come hell or bad weather’
Crescent City and Brookings ‘We’re stickin’ together’
And even in Trinidad, Port Orford, too.
But we just didn’t count on that bad Newport crew—
“We’re not sittin’ around, nah, we’re setting the gear,
“The rest of you go stick a squid in your ear.”
Well, the wind it was calm, and the ocean was placid,
But then came those fatal words: domoic acid.
For some weird sort of chemical found in the guts,
They’re closing the season. Those guys must be nuts.”
We ranted and raved, but ’twas to no avail
‘cos the Feds and the bureaucrats always prevail.
After twenty-some odd days, we finally did go.
And over both shoulders some crabs we did throw.
But there weren’t too many—at a pretty poor price.
For a lot of us Holidays weren’t all that nice.
Well you knew things got screwed up. Now you know the reason.
So ‘tight lines’ to all—and maybe next season.
Tim Harkins F/V Maria Concetta, Trinidad, CA
Empty Marinas, Oceangoing on Hold
Government procrastination is only one aspect. Final pay-out—if any—of compensation to the fishing fleet is mostly eaten up in overwintering expenses, without income. Crew members are not covered by Fish & Game authority or Federal handouts. Generosity to deck hands depends solely on captains who have themselves reached near-crisis point.
In an election year, farmers with drought problems—e.g. Salinas CA last year—Chualar Crop Circle at left—and misfortunes of our Pacific hands-on fishing fleet in small coastal ports—may seem like small potatoes. Not high priority television news.
Business, Balance Sheets and the Biosphere
Tonight, however, and for two more evenings in the run-up to Earth Day and Earth Week—April 20— Humboldt State university-influenced Arcata Playhouse will feature a presentation and film screening by EPIC of TREE-SIT: THE ART OF RESISTANCE followed by discussion with HSU environmentalists who may have found a way forward amid conflict with business, balance sheets and the Biosphere.
Survival of the human race may not be on our minds as writers who document or fantasize our way on to people’s reading list. But previous reminders by our ocean, our farming hinterland, our rising temperatures—80ºF today in NoCal—have been persistent—witness 2015 as hottest year on record.
And there’s more to come. I’m sure even our fearless leader, Alex, and his sci-fi acolytes would find a way to squeeze our plight into readable form, so we can pull out the stops together—even while we struggle with April A-to-Z challenge, we writers might make a difference.
It’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Getting through this together.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
April 6, 2016 Posted by siderealview | culture, environment, ocean, seasonal, traditions, weather, writing | A-to-Z challenge, Alex J Cavanaugh, biosphere, breadbasket, Cape Mendocino, Chualar, crab season, Crescent City CA, crop circles, domoic acid, federal compensation, fishing, Fort Bragg CA, HSU, Humboldt State University, IWSG, Newport OR, ocean polluters, Pacific ports, Salinas | 2 Comments
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS CATCH-UP CORNER or
Even Scatty Writers Plan Ahead
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”
With a whole *two month* chunk already bitten out of my twelve month schedule, planning ahead doesn’t always do the trick for me. But in a group of writers, where advice and help are freely given and nobody (hopefully) takes offense—our Insecure Writers Support Group I was thinking of specifically—there seems no place to cower in fear. We’re all encouraged to step up to the plate and at least try. With the third month of my year already begun, I’d better think of something.
Insecure Writers stick to the Grand Plan
Insecure Writers Support Group now has its own website, thanks to our Ninja Cap’n Alex who is always ahead of the game—comes of being constantly immersed in “future speak” and (successful) Space trilogies, ahem.
While 2016 may bring major change to us all—February has already broken historical temperature records worldwide—it’s sometimes comforting to believe we might all already be on a trajectory which could end on one of Alex’s famed remote star systems.
First we have the cyclical calendar anomaly—leap year adding a mandatory day to February or we’d all land back in the Middle Ages.
Then there is the four-year culmination of super-athletes preparing for Olympic Games in Hispanic Heaven—Rio de Janeiro. You thought the Super Bowl was huge, set for the first time in the brand new Levi stadium, south of San Francisco. Brazil will pull out all the stops for August. They’ve already had a mammoth Carnival—their Fat Tuesday equivalent of Mardi Gras. This year they’re speaking of its continuing right through Easter—the German Oster of my title.
Meantime loads of attention will be focused next week—particularly in sea-level-rising Indonesia—where they will have an uninterrupted total solar eclipse March 9th, that will effectively black out the entire Pacific Ocean—for a moment of cosmic time—four minutes totality at zenith. Sadly it reaches mainland U.S. at dusk, and therefore we miss it. But writers in Alaska will be fortunate to see it as partial.
Only by cosmic accident do we hear that Alaska is importing snow for its famous dog-sled Iditarod race
The Irish Input
Amid all these cosmic happenings, does it seem a little tame of me to mention the second annual Dublin Writers’ Conference June 24-26, 2016? Judging by last year’s sell-out crowd—it has some kind of Irish spell it casts on us pen-wielders, because when we get together, all kinds of literary explosions are possible. My rationale for bringing up the June date now is that many U.S. IWSGer travelers make plans for Europe months ahead of time when airline deals can still be made. Just sayin’.
St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, will be here in two weeks to remind us!
Dublin was home to James Joyce and still holds the treasured Book of Kells at Trinity College.
Meantime the plethora of Space movies which began with Ridley Scott’s The Martian, continues in remakes—don’t you adore Superman vs. Batman?—and as yet unreleased alien adventures even Mr Spock might show emotion for.
March came in like a Lion in my part of the world. Weather patterns influenced by a strong El Niño produced the hottest February since historical records began.
Climate will no doubt be the focus for 2016, if we can all think simple earth thoughts in between our rages and/or love affair with our Muse. Whichever takes root in our consciousness, I suspect we IWSGers will still find a bolt hole here—along with a phalanx of other Insecure companions.
May we survive the Ides of March, the heat of Equinox and the onset of an early spring with typical writerly calm. It is, after all, our metier, our trade, and it should remind us that, even if/when our world changes beyond recognition, our Muse, our inner writerly urge will still be there to pick up the pieces…
…And put them down on the next available sheet of paper😉 No wonder writers alone understand writers. How boring we can seem to the rest of humanity.
All the more reason to keep it coming.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
March 2, 2016 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, calendar customs, festivals, fiction, Muse, publishing, weather, writing | Alaska, Alex J Cavanaugh, Book of Kells, Carnival, Dublin Writers' Conference, Easter, Iditarod sled race, Indonesia eclipse, IWSG, leap year, Mardi Gras, Martian, Olympic Games, retrograde, Rio de Janeiro, total solar eclipse, Trinity College Dublin, world temperatures | Leave a comment
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SHARE-A-THON CORNER
WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF AVENUES OF ESCAPE, Don’t Panic*–
—the greatest motto in the galaxy— featured in the adventures of Douglas Adams’s Arthur Dent, the last human to hitch a ride off Earth, moments before it was destroyed—to make way for an interstellar bypass.
*Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 1979.
I think our revered leader, Alex Cavanaugh, would agree:
Fantasy—reading it or writing it—fills a certain hole in our psyche, a niche in our comfort zone. It gives us a reason to keep on going, even when the real world seems to have gone awry.
Groundhog Day and the 2016 Monkey Year
The Groundhog knows best. He—and the oriental Monkey who shares his calendar start date—figure if humans have generated global warming a.k.a. climate crisis and he sees his shadow on February 2nd—too much sun too soon—no wonder he goes back in his hole for another six weeks.
What the Monkey does is a whole ‘nuther story!
Metal Monkeys possesses character traits like curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of the practical joke.
For us as a culture, as this year unfolds, traits to prepare for—expect the unexpected.
Finding our Own Space
Forget the Primaries, Climate Crisis Summit, our involvement/warring with so many other countries, somewhere in there we are trying as individuals and collectively to halt our mad rush toward planet instability. Somewhere in the madness, we writers are supposed to find a place of calm—a refuge—usually littered with piles of loose papers and junk—but a haven nonetheless—where we can sit down, (metaphorically) put our feet up, drag the keyboard closer——
Many of us have previously admitted to being recluses—Myers-Briggs psychic make-up, above.
For me to allow the creative flow to come through, I have to have my filing system (kind-of) manageable and I crave a space where I won’t be barged in on by the (real) world.
Says a lot for our partners/spouses/spice that they put with us, doesn’t it?
I should have had more respect for the Groundhog. His timing was superb.
Happy New Writing Ideas, IWSGers.
Keep it coming.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
February 3, 2016 Posted by siderealview | ancient rites, authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, fiction, publishing, traditions, writing | 42, Alex J Cavanaugh, comfort zone, creative flow, Don't Panic, Douglas Adams, Groundhog Day, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Insecure Writers, IWSG, Metal Monkey, Myers-Briggs, refuge | Leave a comment
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ ENCLAVE—
IWSGers Speak up for the Planet
Mostly, thanks to our prolific host and Ninja Cap’n, Alex, for allowing us crazies free rein on his excellent forum. It opens writerly doors, and allows us to vent, when things go wrong. May we all survive—nay, plunge into—this year and follow our dreams. 2015 saw many changes in awareness of common responsibility for our country’s finite resources, both nation-wide and internationally, bringing accord which would have been impossible a decade ago. Politicians are—with careful research—actually clearing desks, allocating reserve funds to deal with the atmosphere-environment.
It is no longer an ‘issue’. Climate has become real time—Western nations’ new goal—to do good by the planet, our only home.
But don’t hold your breath.
Rattle in Seattle as Farewell to Old Ways
West Coast shakes over New Year ranged from Mag.4.7 in Seattle through M.6.2 Nevada/Utah border, to M.4.1 off Ferndale, CA. Judging by whale movement—on late migration south delayed by warm northern waters—quakes and movement are happening on the coastal plate, where the Gorda fault fissures to join its subterranean sisters under (human habitat) the land. Several landslides along the coastal Scenic Drive route north of the Eel and Mad Rivers—in Humboldt County—have made travel ‘difficult’—official sources.
Once again we realize our Earth Mama is shaking her feathers—a little ruffled by now with all the oil extraction and fossil burning we’ve been up to.
Lieber kleiner blauer Stern [Pale Blue Dot auf Deutsch]
Menschen habt ihn endlich gern
Tut ihm nun nichts mehr zu Leide
Nicht den Bergen, nicht der Heide
Nicht den Wiesen, Mooren, Flüssen
Nicht den Wäldern, Vögeln, Fischen
Liebt den kleinen blauen Stern
Pflegt und schütz ihn
Habt ihn gern
Snakes, ants, beetles, redwoods and humans—we all travel the Milky Way together and share the planet’s blessings
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club
Latest round of seismic unrest included quakes in Oklahoma, causing power outages, and widespread flooding damage in Mississippi basin.
In Pacific NW, several dormant volcanoes shook over New Year, alongside multiple larger (Richter Mag.4.2 or more) earthquakes rippling along faults extending N-S along West coast United States. Authorities remain vigilant, with such heavy movement currently underway.
If Mama is shaking us, what is it we’ve done to get her so annoyed?
Well, let’s take breathable air, for a start—yes, we decimated Earth’s fossil trees—so, what are we doing about it?
Headwaters Forest—Tragedy of 1990s
“Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of canopy before heading back into the glaring light of second-growth, I wonder at the rôle of restoration in recreating the beauty I see before me. I think it will be a very long time before our forest will be what it once was”
David LaFever, Bureau Land Management Ecologist, after 2001 restoration attempt
Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.
The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only table scraps left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’
Old Growth Sequoia Groves
Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree trunks—high tree and stand biomass—and with complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens, 50-70% of overstory) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii, 30-47%) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Conversely, unthinned second-growth stands are dominated by Douglas Fir (60-80%), with density of over a thousand trees per acre.
Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion—skid trails—with consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks that leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees now, along streams and rivers.
Finally the salmon and other native fish are returning.
Forestry business mantra is that they are ‘on target to create new forests’ (in one hundred years), like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks, begun by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1875-92. He and John Muir should by now roaring with delighted laughter in their (redwood) coffins.
At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas Fir, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began restoration thinning in 2004. Goal of restoration was to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions, and restore a more natural species mix to each area—by cutting Douglas Fir and leaving Redwood and other less common species. From 2004 to 2013, BLM thinned 1,600 acres—approximately 21% of Headwaters Forest Reserve.
Thinning Understory in Attempt to Mimic Old Growth
In 2014, BLM began a second round of thinning with an idea of introducing more ‘spatial complexity’, to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. BLM workers created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands, by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks. They also completed their research project in partnership with Humboldt State University. Their report, published 2013: “Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”.
‘This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios’
BLM ecologist D.laFever
Life without trees—lack of breathable air—would be a scenario more appropriate to Star Trek, CassaStar, or in our sci-fi leader*, Alex’s new ‘geek stuff’. But we breathe on, thanks to the lungs of the planet—threatened, decimated—broken but unbowed.
*If Alex can branch out into short stories—’geek stuff’—I can face the bureaucracy with a little non-fiction of my own—lol. Thanks, Alex and fellow IWSGers for listening.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
January 6, 2016 Posted by siderealview | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, fiction, nature, rain, seasonal, seismic, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | BLM, California State Parks, ecologist, Epiphany, forestry, grove, Headwaters Forest, HSU, Humboldt Co., IWSG, John Muir, Klamath, lumber mills, Mad River, National Parks, native species, old growth, Pacific NW, polluted streams, rattle in Seattle, redwood, Redwoods, river purity, salmon, sci-fi, Sequoia sempervirens, sequoiadendron, Sierra Club, Star Trek, TCLT, Teddy Roosevelt, timber industry, understory, water table, watershed, whale migration | Leave a comment
MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SAFETY ZONE or
What I Should’ve Done B4 All This Holiday Madness—IWSG CatchUp Corner
*parapet, ‘protecting the breast’—from Latin
pectus-i (m) breast, chest
paries-etis (m) wall, rampart, bulwark
All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.
~John F. Kennedy, Newport speech before America’s Cup Races, September 1962
Trouble of the World
‘There is so much going on–so much that could make a person just want to run away.
‘Our lives on this Earth are relatively short, so we shouldn’t get too overwhelmed by all the troubles we face while here’
Thank you, wise ole Bird, Arlee, for putting some of our anxiety into perspective. We writers tend to be head-down anyway—well below parapet level—and it takes some “venting” by a fellow scribe—wot knowzzz—to keep a calm ‘sough’. That was good old Rabbie Burns‘s word for the windchill factor
“November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sough”
We might also try looking at the way our world appears to be fighting back, after all the trouble and toil we’ve levied at her.
Some of my generation believe we still have a chance to right the ‘wrongs’ we initiated. Our attitude to confronting our errors—from nuclear power to trashing earth’s resources—has made us cautious, nay, appreciative of finding the best in what’s left. This (antiquated?) belief may not go down well with the Millennials—a generation who inherited our mistakes, but who prefer to smile and slide on through—but, as even they know, this is the only home we’ve got. So why not pull together on a few issues?
Weather—the great Leveler
While December traditionally finds a way of leveling—wind, rain, hail and snow being not particularly creature-friendly—it can be a gift of time for us scribblers. Above or below the parapet, we can wield a computer (or ice-pick) to hack out a story. No pun intended. Sometimes that’s just what we have to do.
So to all my fellow moaning Minnies in our tight little IWSG corner, keeping head down can be a VERY GOOD THING.
We may have to leave the concept of climate control for another season—when life begins anew and buds start to bud again…and we catch a whiff of w-a-r-m…
But meantime, why not allow our ever-fertile Muse to raise her head above the bulwarks. We might be surprised by her dexterity.
p.s. Ninja Cap’n: my preference is for Dragons
“When a dragon offers you a helmet and a parachute, put them on. “
©2015 Marian Youngblood
December 2, 2015 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, consciousness, fiction, publishing, seasonal, weather, winter, writing | Alex J Cavanaugh, Arlee Bird, bulwark, calm sough, climate control, December, hail, holiday madness, ice-pick, IWSG, JFK, Mahalia Jackson, ocean analogy, parapet, Paris climate summit 2015, Robert F. Kennedy jr., seafaring, snow, Trouble of the World | 2 Comments
Lots of writers use a nom de plume to distinguish between their personae – it’s the way publishing works. Blogs, too. What choice, what abundance: we can be guided by all our Muses and still retain our integrity (who doubts it?)if we are prone to take one persona more seriously than another. For this blog I become this particular blogger because the material is time-sensitive; the research is all coming together now and our way forward is mapped. That said, it’s up to us whether we take the information and run with it.
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