July 25, 2017

On Writing and Memory

Bill as a boy, at his deskA memoir, after all, hinges on memory. What do I recall and why? What do I make of the themes in my life? How did my choices lead to inevitable or perhaps surprising outcomes? How much did circumstances limit my options compared to the degree of courage or vision I exercised? What about the battles of nature and nurture, including social norms in my time and place? What is the best way to engage in memory – for me, for you, for the world?

I’ve been pondering all of these questions and more as I prepare to launch my memoir. Focusing on midlife transformation in The Crane Dance provided a time parameter, but flashbacks to my childhood cried for attention, as did “bookend” trips to India as a 22-year old Peace Corp volunteer and a return to my India family at age 56. [Read more…]

JourneyCake Spirit

JourneyCake SpiritIn 1989, the poet Robert Bly and mythologist Michael Meade led a weeklong conference that I attended along with 110 other men. Meade told a fairy tale that more than 25 years later has now led to the naming of this new website: www.journeycakespirit.com.

The hero of the story, a pig herder, had encountered many challenges on a long journey. Finally, with the help of his animal allies, he won a magical horse from an old and tricky hag. The horse would take him out of the forest, but the evil sorceress sabotaged the deal. She snuck into the corral and drained the marrow from the legs of the horse on the morning of his freedom. The pig herder set off for the edge of the forest and as he approached the last tall hedge to navigate, the horse collapsed.

Another piece of fate had entered the story, as fairy tales are sometimes prone to do. That morning, a protective elf in the forest had watched the wicked ways of the witch. The elf captured the drained marrow and made it into a cake, which she packed in the hero’s bag. [Read more…]