Archive for November, 2006

Taos is on my mind. One from our group will be there soon for a week of silence. The three of us convened in Taos for a week in July of 2004, genesis for our relationship today as writers.

From my notebook during that July retreat I’ve selected six phrases. Some were topics we used and others came out in my writing. Pick one of the phrases. Don’t write on it right away. Hold it in your belly for two or three days. Then write. No word limit, but base your post on a practice of at least fifteen minutes.

Here are the phrases:

  • The last time I was in Taos
  • What’s good in my life
  • It was Fiesta weekend
  • Let it come to you
  • Sirens interrupting the caws of ravens
  • Pickles

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Gold Medal Flour, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 Gold Medal Flour, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, the building is now the Mill City Museum, all photos © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I’m pulled to write about the ordinary, the two mile chunk of land surrounding the Mill City Museum in a place once deemed “The Flour Milling Capital of the World” – Minneapolis. The riverbank near the “A” building of the old Washburn flour milling complex, under the Gold Medal Flour sign, has called to me since I moved to Minneapolis in 1984.

I was young. And lost. I had no job. I was searching. I used to take long drives by the urban snake of the Mississippi to clear my head. On those pilgrimages, I fell in love with West River Road, particularly the land closest to Saint Anthony Falls. Saint Anthony was originally the only falls on the upper length of the Mississippi River. And Spirit Island, sacred landmark to the Dakota, used to rise from the water to the west.

Legend has it that Dakota women would go to Spirit Island to give birth. But, at some point, industry, and a series of misrepresented treaty negotiations, got the upper hand, and the island was bulldozed away. I will never step foot on her. But ghosts of the old mill buildings rise like sentinels on my early evening motorcycle rides through the dense river odors and splatted mosquitoes of the humid Midwest summers.

    River Stems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.River Stems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.River Stems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

In July of 2003, I had just started to date Liz. The first time she rode on the back of my Honda Rebel, she had on knee length jean shorts, a tank top with plummeting cleavage, and white Doc Martens. It was humid and hot; the tail pipe sizzled when we motorcycled to the Mill City Museum opening.

The Minnesota Historical Society sponsored the event. The place was packed. We listened to a band she loved named Iffy and danced under an open air tent in the heat. By the time we made it into the museum, we were sweaty, and it was 15 minutes until closing. But it didn’t matter. I loved being there.

The original structure was designed by Austrian engineer William de la Barre and built in 1880. The Washburn A building is the predecessor to what would become the father to Betty Crocker’s wide-mouthed kitchen, General Mills. At its heyday, enough flour was generated from that building to produce 12 million loaves of bread a day. There was a volatile grain dust blast in 1882. And another fire in 1991 gutted the building.

After many incarnations, the building still stands. And the Mill City Museum won the 2005 Honor Award for Outstanding Architecture by the firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle. It’s easy to see why. The design encompasses both inside and out, leaves some of the enormous milling machines intact along the interior brick walls, and keeps the rough hewn rusticness alive. Minneapolis gummed its pink lipped baby teeth on Gold Medal flour, and seeing the city’s industrial roots is thrilling. It’s an eerie Matrix-like combo of old and new.

   Treads, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Treads, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Treads, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I was a few months away from moving in with Liz in July of 2006. The Guthrie Theater opened its new building by the river, complete with what a friend of mine calls “Jean Nouvel’s electrifying blue steel phallus” – an urban 4th floor cantilever that comes to a screeching midair halt, right next store to the museum.

Liz used to work for the Guthrie before its divorce from the Walker Art Center. She graciously bought tickets for me and her Mom to see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. We ate at a trendy restaurant cattycorner to Jean Nouvel’s “endless bridge” and people watched enter condos that seem to multiply like flies near the museum.

Even the elegant old Whitney Hotel closed and is being converted into million dollar sky dwellings. I used to drive by the North Star Blanket building across the street with the vine covered walls and wish I could afford to purchase a unit. Ten years ago my therapist told me to buy a condo when the West River Road concept was in its infancy. The Twin Cities warehouse-converted-to-artist-studio craze had just begun.

I never did buy. And now, here I am, living in a first ring suburb, but happy as a clam. I love the peace and quiet. And I don’t miss the crime. It’s perfect for a writer. But I do love to visit my beloved river haunts. I take the parkway drive whenever I go into the city.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

And at least once a week, I drive by the Mill City Museum, the Stone Arch Bridge built by James J. Hill, local railroad tycoon, and Bohemian Flats where I sat in the winter of 2005 in the middle of a snowstorm and watched a bearded man with a black beanie cap fly a yellow kite.

Bohemian Flats used to be a shanty town of immigrants; some of the local elite called them squatters. The immigrant population changed from year to year as out-of-towners migrated to the city to work in the mills and lumber yards.

As the ethnicity of the immigrants changed, so did the names used for the Flats:  Little Bohemia, Little Ireland, Connemara Near Bohemian Flats, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Patch, the Cabbage Patch, Little Lithuania, or the Danish Flats (the first couple to establish residence there was Danish). But Bohemian Flats is the one that stuck. I always liked the word “bohemian” for its artistic connotations. But the name Bohemian Flats is rooted in the Czech population that once settled there.

Bohemian Flats was driven to extinction in 1932 by eminent domain laws and a few porcelain skinned Northerners who may have had a hidden agenda. But this isn’t a political piece. (Is it?)

The two mile river corridor nestled close to downtown and curving by the Mill City Museum (that I lovingly call the Gold Medal building) is my little oasis in the city storm. In 1870, the population of Minneapolis was 13,000. By 1890, it had grown to 165,000 led by a powder keg of flour dust and the power of Saint Anthony Falls.

Estimates are that in 1900, only five percent of bread consumed was bakery-made. But by the time the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, bakeries were making 30 percent of the nation’s bread. Breaking bread became the great American past time.

In 2005, the population of Minneapolis/St. Paul was 647,000. I’m just a little doughboy dot, a blip over the falls of Minneapolis history. The lime and sandstone tiers on the two mile mill corridor by the Mississippi are magical in a Gold Medal Mill, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter 2003, C41 negative print film, photo © 2003-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.snowstorm – and my Natural Wonder.

They say there were 79 steps down to Bohemian Flats, a place few dared to roam in the late 1800’s (except those seeking cheap housing or the free dead wood that floated down the river in spring). I can only imagine what it must have been like to survive a turn of the century Northern winter. But preservation of the history of places like Bohemian Flats, Mill City, the Stone Arch Bridge, Spirit Island, and Saint Anthony Falls makes it easier for me to time travel.

Ironically, what I sought in 1984 when I moved from the jagged tops of Big Sky Country to a bustling Midwestern metropolis, was peace and solitude. I found it in my drive-by views of the ghost town mills near sacred islands on the Mississippi, and brownstone buildings in constant battle with the elements.

I watched the Mississippi from a sidewalk cafe last summer. The old mills are alive with 21st century faces. Joggers, bikers, motorcyclists, Guthrie seekers, history buffs, the rich who inhabit the condos, and homeless vagrants who sometimes pass and sleep by the river.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, November 28th, 2007

-an essay about 5 Minneapolis Landmarks: the Mill City Museum, Bohemian Flats, the Stone Arch Bridge, Spirit Island, St. Anthony Falls, that started as a Writing Practice

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – NATURAL WONDERS

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Birth is a natural wonder. Those words refer to Dee and to this earth. How can I describe what it’s like having an eleven-year-old daughter? To the Natural History Museum today she wears a skin-toned tank top with black lace coverlet, blue jeans, and a pale pink tie in her hair. Her bangs fall around her China-doll face.

“Look, Mom,” she tells me as she debuts for the day, “I’m Violet Baudelaire.” Dee and Violet (from Lemony Snickett’s Series of Unfortunate Events) are pretty yet clever. (Always remember clever. Dee will never go for just pretty.)

A year ago–six months ago, in fact–Dee would be no one other than Dee. Play unencumbered by fashion. Digging a giant hole in the front yard–so what if high-water pants? Then suddenly this year, a subtle shift. This certain tank top from The Gap in Denver. We bought it on sale. Dee loves to wear it, although tank tops are taboo at her school. So she slips it into certain outings. Natural History Museum on a Sunday afternoon.

I birthed Dee in early fall of 1995. A roller coaster–that’s how I described pregnancy-to-birth. Being on the world’s highest roller coaster (which I’ve been on–The Viper in Six Flags Southern California), me screaming as the contraption click-clicked toward its pinnacle overlooking the entire amusement park. Are those specks the cars? I couldn’t even see people. You can scream your head off (I did) yet it won’t do a whit of good. The emaciated man with corn-cob teeth manning the controls on the ground can’t hear screams. They evaporate like steam into atmosphere.

When I used the roller-coaster analogy I didn’t realize I was talking about raising a child. I thought I was referring to the act of bringing another human into the world. Yet, the ride persists. I read today that it took six hundred million years after its birth for Earth to contain all the elements of modern life. Ocean, rivers, mountains, atmosphere, continents. After eleven years I wonder if I’ve delivered the most basic qualities: love, respect, self-confidence, compassion.

In the context of Earth’s six hundred million years, this particular day is not even a grain of sand. Not the cuticle on the left thumb of the person–what I presume to be a person–standing in the vicinity of the Ferris Wheel. Quartz, the most common mineral on earth, is more ancient and durable than me and my concerns. But I am a woman of today, aware that every moment I spend in my daughter’s presence is an opportunity. To be volcanic, gaseous, a tectonic plate pushing sea into land, land into mountains. Or a phantom–the invisible parent. (These are words from nature’s terminology. Phantom to quartz is the black vein-like formation inside the crystal, like tree rings symbolizing time on earth. In a human, phantom is the residue of childhood, what you take with you through years of therapy. Your true story.)

Dee and I walk from Earth’s Origins to Triassic Period, walk across the super-continent Pangaea, and I wonder as she peers at Coeleophysis, New Mexico’s state fossil, whether she will remember me as an erudite mother wandering museums on a holiday Sunday or as a guilty, preoccupied parent touting an occasional mother-daughter to-do. Do the museum visits override the time I slapped Dee in the car when she was two and wouldn’t stop crying?

I read the exhibit labels aloud but she doesn’t hear me. New Mexico two hundred million years ago was hot and humid. The year I birthed Dee was dry. We grew sunflowers taller than the top of the window. They bloomed bright yellow-orange and beckoned my pregnant belly to give forth its contents. Scream your head off, it doesn’t matter.

Both our favorite is Jurassic Period, the age of super giants. New Mexico was covered with conifers, cycads, and ferns–not juniper or sage. When Pangaea split apart, we were sea or were we coast along the sea? It doesn’t matter. Either way, I like this version of life. Ultimately we are everything. Placenta and child and blood and beating heart. Happiness and frustration.

Dee runs from the whip-tailed dinosaur (whose name I forget) to a young man with a ponytail, little more than a teenager himself, standing at a small table showing his dino-wares. He holds up a fossilized dinosaur thigh bone with quartz growing where the marrow used to be. He describes the process of crystallization, water sitting in the channel of the bone over many, many years. The crystals glimmer and I notice Dee is mesmerized.

“What’s this,” he asks, and he’s on to a smallish oval-shaped thing that looks like rusted metal. Dee is thinking. I watch her instead of generating answers myself. This is how it is with Dee these days. I’m consumed with her process of growing up. Fossilized dinosaur poop, or coprolite, as he prefers to call it. Dee and I look at one another. I raise my eyebrows, in awe of nature. What nature does she see in me?

“T-Rex had 150 teeth,” the young man says as he holds up a giant white fang the length of his hand. “T-Rex’s brain wasn’t as big as this one tooth,” the boy-man says dramatically. He looks at Dee expectant but she says nothing. She doesn’t even make eye contact. She knows not what to do with sex or sexuality, and I am only now aware of this small seed growing inside her.

“…so, you could say T-Rex definitely had more brawn than brain,” the boy-man says. I laugh at the punch line while Dee skitters off to Cretaceous Period. For a moment I think I’ve imagined it all. She’s a girl, not a pre-teen.

In the Cretaceous Period shallow seas covered New Mexico. They say a type of plant-eating, five-horned dinosaur–Pentaceratops–was found only in this area. I like the idea that we have our very own species. This one ranged in size, they say, from no bigger than a dog to up to five tons. Flowering plants arose during this time. Up to then there were only evergreens.

There are different theories for why dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. A great meteor, Chicxulub Crater, hit the earth and ended the reign of these creatures. Or mammals ate the eggs. I go for the crater explanation. I can’t imagine anything worldly preventing mothers–even dinosaur mothers–from having children. So many methods for not having kids today, yet so many babies born. Wanted or not.

On the drive home from the museum, Dee reminds me of our new joke. “What’s a man eating dinosaur?” We both saw the riddle on a wall near the exhibit describing the evolution of dinosaurs into birds. You lift up a little plastic tab and underneath is a picture of a man carving into a Thanksgiving turkey. “I don’t get it,” I first told her. She had to walk me through the dinosaur-to-bird section and explain that turkeys were ancestors of dinosaurs. A-MAN-EATING-DINOSAUR…GET-IT?, she asked. I did. Finally.

I notice something about Dee. When it’s all of us–me, her, her sister, my husband–Dee is distant. She snaps her answer whenever I ask a question. Yells from the bedroom, WHAT??? Yet when Dee and I are alone together in this fast-disappearing eleventh year (do we only have one more before she officially becomes a teen?) she settles into me. Me into her. We are earth settling into a new period. Shallow seas covering land. Flowering plants for the first time.

Eleven years I’ve had to be a mother. Eleven years of impatience and love. I’ve tried to make memories. Natural History Museum (age eleven and times before). Disney World (age three), Santa Monica Pier (age four). Six Flags too many times now to count. San Francisco, the same. Somehow, though, I know it’s the day-to-day that counts. I worry that I’ve been distant. That she emulates what she sees.

Some day it will be Dee’s own life. Her own eccentricities and values and actions that override everything I’ve stamped onto her. You can scream all you want but you still can’t get off.

I learned today that New Mexico had camels and elephants five to 18 million years ago. Nature–she has her own plan.

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You made me think of women
of a certain age
both mother and daughter
A compact snapping shut
Pursing lips to the memory of a reflection

And speaking of pursed
I’m thinking now of losing a purse
How some losses are lost
But losing a parent is nothing like losing a purse

Why do we say then?
Sorry for your loss

I have a sympathy note to send
to the cousin of my husband
And do you know?
Weeks have passed since that passing?

It’s paralyzing, words for that time
in one’s life
and now I see
it’s not *that time*
(as if passing were an event
what kind of test is that to have to pass??)

It’s constant, like breath and touch and seasons

Another Thanksgiving
giving thanks for knowing (for you help me to know)
we do not lose our losses.

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There comes an age,
when stains on the front of my sweatshirt
drawl, “I don’t feel like working” –
my mouth is dry and thirsty
my back aches

– must be (52).
There comes an age
when I don’t care what people think –
vanity takes a backseat to wisdom and sensibility,
falling in love doesn’t hold the same
steamy juice

– just another kind of love.

There comes an age
when you can only count on you,
standing on your own two feet
is preferred to being taken care of,
and writing is the only thing that matters.

There comes an age
when hair grows thick inside the ear,
tufts eek out the edge of the nose,
fingernails grow misshapen and brittle,
calluses defy the serrated file

– gray outshines the natural.

There comes an age
when a romp in the hay stiffens the blood,
love is more powerful than hate,
the irritation you feel,
a lone grain of sand in an oyster shell

– a pearl rolling in a silver bowl.

There comes an age
when the most powerful people stand least exposed,
humility slinks through desperation,

Tom cruises low in the Maldives
suddenly (6″) taller than Holmes;

Kramer burns his crosses
ex-megalaughbuster –
bad manners, poor taste,
and racist hate.

O.J.’s dead and buried, killed
by the two-faced blade of Rupert Murdoch –
“If I did it, I want the world to know
I’m covered in bad blood.”

– what the hell are people thinking?

There comes an age
when the truth matters more than lying,
Santa red makes a comeback, your favorite color
like it was at age (6), tenderness and fragility
outweigh the need for tough love.

There comes an age
when strength is not measured in pounds pressed at the bench,
clear-sighted has nothing to do
with (5) layers of cornea,
visionary does not extend beyond (30) years.

There comes an age
when humility and grace trump privilege and fame,
money is something I want enough of, without being greedy,
good and bad traits of women and men
become the same damn thing.

There comes an age
when I want to laugh at my failures,
hail them as successes –
soar down the hill on a hot shiny disc
spewing freshly mowed powder;

but snow flies blindly
in the cold face of reason,
falls flat on ice-burned lips
lapping it all up, only to discover
the thirst has already been quenched.

There comes an age
when silence speaks louder than words,
the tough get going
and the meek inherit the earth;

– (230) years later
the Framers return,
Jeffersonian voices booming
through British clairvoyants named Lisa:

“Yes, you’ve made a grievous mistake. No, those witches weren’t supposed to be burned at the stake. And the (300) lost languages of the indigenous peoples? – No, not supposed to be traded for steeples.”

a muddy, booted sole plunks down
on a tiny piece of granite –
Plymouth Rock –
“the most disappointing landmark in America”

There comes an age
when stinky cheese seems less stinky,
a single glass of Merlot is all it takes
to put you over the edge,
and laughter’s more important than sex.

There comes an age
when it’s harder to hold a shape, any shape,
the weight of the world piles on
over Thanksgiving waists

I don’t want to haul an evergreen home,
to celebrate Christ’s birth, not one silver fir,
or spend the entire weekend baking turkeys
and mashing potatoes; but I will
watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

There comes an age (2654)
when Pisces plummets
into Aquarius full bore –
the mossy air of the (11th) sign
fanning watery flames –

What’s Going On never loses its punch,
the Fifth Dimension no longer reigns,
a hollow remnant of a parallel Universe
or a Grammy production of Bones Howe fame.

It’s Thanksgiving week (2006)
I’m restless, not bored,
older, feeling young

hopelessly forlorn
and quietly strong.

My heart hurts – I’m in love,
full of hope and promise
for (2007), year of the Fire Pig.
My stomach churns –
the head says, be quiet.


surrounded by Souls
life could not have imagined.

Lost is a place,
I’ve found my true calling.

There comes an age –
when I have to let go.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

-post from writing practice, PRACTICE – There Comes An Age – 15min 

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On the early afternoon of November 22nd, 1963, I was sitting in 3rd grade at a wooden desk drawing hearts with a BIC pen. It was 2:13 on Friday. I couldn’t wait for the weekend. My 3rd grade teacher, Miss Wells, wore pleated skirts that flowed behind her and she was tall, with slender limbs, but she had a kind, round face.

I was 9 years old. I didn’t know what I was about to find out – at 1pm CST, 2 o’clock South Carolina time, President John F. Kennedy had been pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He’d been shot, half hour earlier, while I was coming in from recess.

But let’s backtrack a little.

By 1 o’clock EST, I had finished lunch served on gray plastic trays by hair-netted, uniformed women: Tater Tots, Velveeta mac and cheese, a pint of whole Borden’s milk (sporting a daisy-ringed, smiling, Elsie the Cow), and all American apple crisp with brown sugar, oats, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, water, salt, and lemon to taste.

At 1:30, the moment Kennedy was shot, I was being called in from recess. When the bell rang, I stopped romping on the wooden planked teeter-totters, playing hopscotch in the dirt, and jumping through the wiry, jute ropes and tall metal swings of the 60’s. I walked toward the brick school building and flirted with freckle-faced Billy while we were standing in wobbly 3rd grade lines waiting for Mrs. Payne.

Mrs. Payne was on playground duty, just about to pull up her lanyard to blow her trademark silver whistle so we could walk single file back to the classroom. I loved Billy because he could rabbit wiggle his nostrils like me, a recessive gene trait we shared. The very act of flaring our nose holes, simultaneously, on command, endeared him to me.

By 2:00, when Kennedy was pronounced dead, Mrs. Wells was preparing to teach the afternoon lesson, South Carolina history. South Carolina, the Palmetto State, dressed in dark blue silk, a white crescent moon and silhouetted palm, was one of the 13 Original Colonies. Can you name the others? A 5th grader probably could. And in 3rd grade, I knew the following about South Carolina:

State Capitol: ColumbiaSouth Carolina Flag
State Bird: the Carolina Wren
State Beverage: Sweet Iced Tea
State Snack: Boiled Peanuts (hmmmm)
State Fruit: the Peach
State Motto: “While I breathe, I hope”


Around 2:15, out of a worn brown speaker cover high on the wall, dotted with symmetrically punched holes, the principal’s voice floated, disembodied, out of the public address system (remember the tinny, boxy sound of the PA?) I can’t remember the principal’s name. Just that she was stern, with an apple shaped, peasant stock body like me, curly short hair, and hard-soled pumps that clacked along the waxed linoleum when she snapped us to attention.

But this afternoon, she wasn’t snapping. In a quiet voice, the quietest I’d ever heard, she slowly announced, “Can I have your attention. I’ve got some sad news. President John F. Kennedy was shot today at 12:30 CST. He died at 1pm from gunshot wounds. Let’s bow our heads in a moment of silence.”

We sat there in our seats, stunned, looking up at lanky Clara Wells for direction. Miss Wells stared up at the speaker, blankly, but only for a few seconds. Then she quickly recovered and led us through the moment of silence. I don’t remember what, if anything, she said. I only remember the sinking feeling and the sadness that swept over me like a shroud.

Later that night, on the black and white Zenith, my parents and I, along with 189 million other Americans, relived the day: Walter Cronkite’s low jowls, Jackie’s pink pill box hat and Chanel suit, the raised right hand of Lyndon Johnson’s “do you solemnly swear.” It played like a dream sequence. My young mind could not comprehend the full impact. But I knew something big had changed.


When I went back to the South in 1999, Belvedere Elementary stood in the same place, along the scrub pines and dirty salt and pepper playground, across from the Methodist church. The Baptist church that my best friend, Susan, attended every Sunday was still on the opposite corner of the street. The school wasn’t open that day. I peeked in the windows but couldn’t see much. I took some photographs.

The place seemed smaller than I remembered it. But the memories, huge. I did a lot of growing up in that place.

A few weeks ago when I was doing Internet research for a presentation, I ran across Bryan Woolley’s account, The Day Kennedy Died, from a 1983 article he wrote for the Dallas Times Herald. The story is based solely on the facts. In this case, the facts are enough. The facts are powerful.

That day in 1963, this country had the breath knocked out of it. Something died: our collective sense of well-being and hope. Back then, I was the next generation. And the seeds of fear took root in my 9 year old heart.

But while I breathe, I hope.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006


Here’s Bryan’s story. Just the facts, M’am. Just the facts.


Volume : SIRS 1991 History, Article 02                               
Subject: Keyword(s) : KENNEDY and ASSASSINATION
Title  : The Day John Kennedy Died                                            
Author : Bryan Woolley                                                        
Source : Dallas Times Herald (Dallas, Texas)                                  
Publication Date : Nov. 20, 1983      
Page Number(s) : Sec. Sec. 2-3 

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  1. If you have a local store like “Discovery Channel,” “Natural Wonders,” etc, a place that sells science toys and geodes and other interesting stuff, go in and browse and then write about your visit, OR
  2. Find a simple experiment to do at home and write about it: e.g. tie both ends of a piece of string to a hanger and then wrap the string around your index fingers and stick them in your ears and listen to the chime when you bang the hanger against something hard, OR
  3. Surf the web for natural wonders and write about what you found, OR
  4. Write a poem inspired by fractals, OR
  5. Go to a natural history or science museum, OR
  6. Otherwise, go for a walk somewhere, in nature, in the city, in your house, wherever, and pay attention to the every day natural wonders.

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