A writer friend of mine who lives in Colorado is visiting New Jersey this week for her Aunt’s 100th birthday on Saturday, November 4th, 2006. A whole century. The birth of radio, TV and Internet, two World Wars, countless unnamed battles, and the death of the Ford Taurus, have passed over her lifetime.
One hundred years – 100 year old Bones.
Bones are one of the oldest musical instruments known to mankind. Made from the ribs of goat, sheep, or cow, musical Bones date back 2.5 million years and have been found all over the world, from South India to Mongolia, and the Celtic regions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, and Spain. Imagine – 2.5 million year old Bones.
Bones are connectors. Sturdy and steadfast, dependable and strong. Bones sing.
When was it I began to listen?
The bones of my mother, Amelia, will turn 69 on November 10th, 2006. I flew out of her womb in the hot, sultry July of 1954. She wasn’t even 17 years old. She married my father, Clarence Jerome, because she had integrity. Not because she was pregnant with me. That would come later. In the 1950′s, you married out of principle. And divorced only as a last resort.
I’d better get to Snyder’s Drug on Winnetka Avenue to purchase a card. As with Della Elise, her mother before her, Amelia taught me that the written word, Hallmark poetry, speaks louder than the spoken. The torch has been passed. I am a writer. And once a year, as the crow flies, words mutate over the 1205 miles between glacial Minnesota’s muddy Mississippi and the rocky banks of the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania.
I received a post card in the mail that writer, painter, and teacher, Natalie Goldberg, will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary release of her now classic book, Writing Down the Bones, on November 11th, 2006. Three weeks earlier, in late October, along a lonely stretch of New Mexico called Half Moon Road, the seed for IncusPress was planted on a few acres of open desert near Blueberry Hill.
The #10 bone, Incus, middle of the chain of three, connects us as writers. Middle bone. Middle Way. There are no accidents. Writers live inside the snappy, spongy, middle bone in the inner ear of small mammals. They operate out of stinky, waxy “between” spaces, the steamy hell hole pits where no one else dares to roam.
Imperfect subjunctive. If I’m going to make good on my promise to write down 100 year bones, I’d better get cracking. I am strong, silent, bent and broken. And I want to be heard.
Friday, November 3rd, 2006