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Posts Tagged ‘D. H. Lawrence Ranch’

Antique Stove (Fire), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Antique Cooler (Metal), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.View From The Lawrence Ranch (Air), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Frieda Lawrence's 1930s Home (Wood), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Turtle Window, D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.OKeeffe From A Distance, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Memory Of Georgia (Earth), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Attention To Detail, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Metal, Water, & Wood, Kiowa, the D. H. Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I have lived most of my life near major rivers: the Savannah, the Susquehanna, the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot rivers that run through the deep mountain valley of Missoula, Montana. But for the last 24 years, home has been near the Mississippi in a Midwest state that boasts the river’s birthplace – Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

Liz and I explored Itasca State Park a few years ago and stood at the source, the Mississippi Headwaters, on root clusters of some of the oldest Red and White Pines in this country. Closer to my Southern roots, I recently started reading Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, part of The Family Twain published in 1935, an original volume bought at a garage sale last summer.

If you follow the river’s flow, you will gain a whole new respect for Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) who published more than 30 books, hundreds of short stories and essays, and gave lectures while touring the world. That’s part of the reason my ears perked up at a recent NPR piece, Finding Finn, when I heard writer Jon Clinch plea for financial support to help preserve the financially-strapped Mark Twain Home in Hartford, Connecticut.


Clinch, author of Finn, and a host of other writers gathered at the home in September and read from some of their favorite Twain books to show their support. The list of authors included such heavy hitters as Tom Perrotta (The Abstinence Teacher), David Gates (Jernigan), Arthur Phillips (Angelica), Tasha Alexander (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Philip Beard (Dear Zoe), Kristy Kiernan (Matters of Faith), Robert Hicks (The Widow of the South), and Amy Mackinnon (Tethered).

Maybe you’re thinking, what’s this got to do with me?

Everything. Maybe for you, it’s not Mark Twain. But have you ever seen Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, then longed to visit Abiquiú or the Pedernal near Ghost Ranch, New Mexico? It throws a whole other perspective on a lifetime of painted desert. What about Hemingway’s early days in Kansas City, Missouri. Or Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah, Georgia.



D. H. Lawrence Cabin at Kiowa, the Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Maybe for you, it’s visiting the home architect Frank Lloyd Wright built, Fallingwater near Mill Run, Pennsylvania, or a few nights in the Willa Cather room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House (did you know ybonesy’s dad worked there one summer as a teenager?) in Taos, New Mexico. We had one red Ravine Guest who dreamed about the home of Frida Kahlo. It was such a powerful experience, she felt compelled to travel to Mexico and see it for herself.

Why? Because Place matters. Ground where writers, painters, architects, artists and visionaries lived, worked, and died matters. The places we call Home shape who we are, who we want to be, who we will become. North, South, East, or West, the geography of land, water, and sky influences our work, filters into our vision, helps us hone our craft, whether we are aware of it or not. And the preservation of these places is paramount to our own development as writers and artists.



Turtle Window, D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.OKeeffe From A Distance, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Memory Of Georgia (Earth), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Attention To Detail, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



While researching On Providence, Old Journals and Thoreau, I stumbled on the Walden Woods Project which was founded in 1990 by recording artist Don Henley. At the time, 60% of Walden Woods – a 2,680 acre ecosystem surrounding Thoreau’s Walden Pond – was protected from development. But two large tracts of land were endangered when developers sought to construct an expansive office and condominium complex in the mid-1980s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation twice listed Walden Woods as one of America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.

But the story has a happy ending. The Walden Woods Project embarked on a national campaign to raise public awareness and the funds necessary to purchase and preserve the endangered areas. In January 1991, the Project bought the 25-acre tract that had been slated for the development; a few years later, the second tract of land was acquired. Since then, they’ve protected 150 acres in and around Walden Woods and provided quality programming for hundreds of researchers and more than 200 high school teachers and students.

Just Sitting, D. H. Lawrence Chair at Kiowa, the Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’ve walked around Walden Pond, stood in the doorway to Thoreau’s cabin. I’ve been to Hibbing, Minnesota, in the living room of Bob Dylan’s childhood home. And a few years ago, ybonesy and I took a day trip to Kiowa, the D. H. Lawrence Ranch outside of Taos, New Mexico. The place was given to Lawrence and Frieda by Mabel Dodge Luhan. Dorothy Brett lived there for a time using Aldous Huxley’s typewriter to type Lawrence’s manuscripts.

Georgia O’Keeffe sat under the giant pine outside the Lawrence cabin and immortalized it in paint forever. Would you rather read about the Lawrence Tree? Or touch its barky skin, slide your feet through the pine needle beds beneath it, stare upside down at the New Mexico stars and sky.


To be able to go back to the place a writer or artist worked and lived is an inspiration. The authors calling attention to Mark Twain’s home in Hartford are sounding the alarm. Not everyone has the resources to donate money, but we can all work to raise awareness by spreading the word. Or visit the homes of writers and artists in the areas where we live and travel.

Those who blazed the trail before us are our mentors. For Jon Clinch, it’s Mark Twain. He’s willing to donate time, money, and energy to save Twain’s home and preserve the literary legacy of place. Who is it for you?




New Mexico Homesteaders, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corrugated Ice (Water), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Love Triangles, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
860-247-0998



Other links to explore:


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, October 24th, 2008

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The Lawrence Tree, outside of Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Lawrence Tree, Kiowa Ranch outside of Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 – 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






ponderosa heart
O’Keeffe shrouded leaves with stars
standing on her head






Full Dress, Lawrence Tree outside of Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 - 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Full Dress, Lawrence Tree outside of Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 - 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Full Dress, Lawrence Tree outside of Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 - 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

-related to post, haiku (one-a-day)

-inspired by post, lack of oxygen haiku



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Lawrence’s Firebird, February 8th, 2007

Phoenix, Lawrence Firebird, photo by QuoinMonkey, February 8th, 2007, all rights reservedI remember the chair.

And you there sketching on the porch. The day was clear, my 2 year anniversary date, and you could hear the wind through the Ponderosa pines. Water dripped off of corrugated tin roofs. And we walked up the hill to the memorial in silence.

 

Remember last October? When we each did 1 minute timed writing practices in the D. H. Lawrence guest book, sun peering through the spoked sunflower window painted by Dorothy Brett.

 

 

Giant’s Chair resize, detail, photo of QuoinMonkey, February 8th, 2007, all rights reserved

 

 

 

I

remember.

 

 

 

detail of Giant’s chair, February 8th, 2007


-inspired by the post, Giants Sat Here

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Do you remember the chair from the D.H. Lawrence Ranch? It’s an oversized chair for an oversized figure. Only the wood frame is left.

I sketched the outline of the chair when we visited the ranch in early February, but I didn’t color it in until last night, sitting in a council meeting.


d.h. lawrence sat here. and probably frieda and georgia and mabel and tony and and and…the leather is all gone all that remains is the oversized frame…for an oversized being.

giantssathere.JPG

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It was a Friday morning in late July, 2004, when I left for Taos. And it was my birthday. I spent the whole day travelling. I blasted Joni Mitchell out of the Alpine as I drove down I-35 through southern Minnesota, tipped my hat to the Hawkeyes in northern Iowa, and bowed to the sandhill cranes as I hurtled across the Platte River plains of eastern Nebraska.

I travelled all day Saturday, too. shooting under a vibrant sunrise near the Hampton Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. And I sat paralyzed as metronomic wipers slapped time to a vengeful thunderstorm south of Denver. Blinding sheets of rain pelted the pavement so hard I had to stop under an overpass until the turbulence died down.

The storm made me late to meet Wordraw.

I remember sitting in the Camry behind torrents of streaming water, fanning my breath away from the steamy glass. Since I was stuck, it seemed like a good time to call Wordraw. But instead of a soothing connection, his deep voice was barely audible, buried under crackle and static –

“Hello, this is Wordraw….crakcakcak, ssssshhh, or leave your number and I’ll call you back as tickkkpoptic soon as I can.”

Beeeeeep.

I lost service after the 10th word and stared helplessly at the phone. It was worthless. I threw it in my leather bag, then turned to wipe the window clear with my sleeve. Cars slowed to a crawl, nearly hitting each other as they vied for position to get off the road. Hail the size of melons hit the highway in a fury and pingponged 6 inches off the macadam.

Aroused, the Over and Underworld gods exploded in electric tension between thunderous cracks. I jumped high off the seat. It was time for a rumble.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared.

Storms on the passes in Colorado put the fear of god in me. They strike in every season. And seem more violent than the disturbances I remember in the 70′s when I lived in western Montana at the geological point where five valleys collide. Or the swollen summer sky that broke open in 1992, flooding our campsite (swallowing my Eureka dome tent) near an arroyo in New Mexico.

The No. 9 cloud is the culprit, the fluffy cumulonimbus.

People speculate that the saying “walking on cloud 9″ may have originated from the National Weather Service’s fanciful and popular No. 9 cloud. I rather like to think the phrase was inspired by the Beatle’s Revolution #9. Or the Norman Whitfield penned, Grammy winning 1969 rendering of the Temptation’s Cloud 9.

You can’t grow up in the hometown of James Brown, Godfather of Soul, and not be inspired by late 60′s funkadelic. I can hear the backbeat now – “Cloud 9! – ba boom ba ba boomp ba boomp ba boomp boomp ba”.

Music to my ears.

When I arrived at Taos Plaza late Saturday, I didn’t know it was Fiesta. It was dark. I took the back way in and found my way to the La Fonda’s pock marked parking lot and chain-link fence. The Taos De La Fonda Hotel is the only hotel in the Plaza. That night it was packed with restless people and rust-less vintage cars.

In Minnesota, auto bodies are eaten away by ice-busting winter chemicals and salt. The corrosive action melts through paint like battery acid. You don’t often see Minnesotans driving models older than 10 years. That’s what I love about going to places like New Mexico and Montana. You’re more likely to see a 1962 VW bug, ‘72 AMC Gremlin, or Ford Pinto than you are a Lexus or BMW.

I turned the corner to park in a tight muddy spot by the cable wire barrier, muttering to myself, “How in the hell will I ever find Wordraw?” The next minute, there he stood, big as life, tapping his knuckles against my window, wearing a brassy shit-eatin’ grin. He had seen me coming.

That night after dinner, Wordraw and I sat on his twin bed by an open window in a tiny room above Taos Plaza, peeked out from behind the curtains, listened, and watched as hundreds of people shouted, cheered, and danced along the covered sidewalks under the cottonwoods. They seemed happy. In fact, jubilant. All of Taos was there.

Friday, July 23rd, had been the beginning of Fiesta.

Las Fiestas de Taos is a celebration of the Patron Saints, Anne (Santa Ana), a model of virtue and grandmother to the Messiah, and Santiago, the man who rose from fisherman to warrior. Mother and Father. They are holy days. And it’s a community celebration for all cultures, of the people, by the people. That’s what I read in an article in The Taos News by Larry Torres. The Saturday I arrived was the second day, the day designated to celebrate Saint Anne and the children.

On Sunday, after walking around Fiesta in the Plaza, Wordraw and I visited the D.H. Lawrence collection of “forbidden paintings” on display by permission only in a small temperature regulated room in the back of the La Fonda. If I remember correctly, that was the same trip we visited the 160 acre D.H. Lawrence Ranch on Lobo Mountain, formerly Kiowa ranch. Mabel Dodge gave Lawrence the 8,600 foot perch for a song.

More like a story.

I heard from a historian that Mabel gifted the ranch to Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, for free. But then Frieda didn’t want to be beholden to Mabel. So she gave Mabel Sons and Lovers as payment for Kiowa. And Mabel later gave the manuscript to a friend in New York as payment to her psychiatrist.

This is what happens to writing. You create it. You let it go. You never know where your writing is going to end up.

The Bonewriters met that fateful weekend in the dining room at Mabel Dodge. There was a birthday cake. I huffed and I puffed and I blew out 3 fat candles. I remember how embarrassed I was. And how excited. Both, at the same time. I knew it was going to be no ordinary writing retreat. And it wasn’t.

Ybonesy came up to me the last day and asked if I wanted to write across the miles, from South to Midwest. Wordraw and I ended up looking at New Mexico real estate outside of Questa where the estimated population in 2003 was 1,927. The 3 of us went swimming with other writers in the Rio Grande. When we sat in silence, I could hear the Fiesta drums pounding from the Plaza into the Zendo where we wrote, hungry, beating skins flying through summer air, down my fast writing pen, and on to the page.

The next 4 days, I wrote in the spaces between reverberating squeals of laughter and pounding toms – present, listening. I didn’t understand what I was listening to. Or for. Only that it had been passed down for generations. It was tradition. A time for celebration. The music was free. You only had to stop what you were doing and pay attention. All you had to do was listen.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC - TAOS

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