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Posts Tagged ‘D. H. Lawrence’

Happy Birthday, Mabel Dodge, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Happy Birthday, Mabel Dodge, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007-
2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.







tombstone in winter;
knowing Mabel’s ghost lingers,
we write for our lives







I’ve felt the ghost of Mabel Dodge Luhan. She walks the adobe halls of the house at night, creaking on the steps leading down into her bedroom. It was pitch black the night of her visit. The dogs of Taos were howling in the distance. I didn’t look up from the hand-carved bed frame. The frame that I once read Dennis Hopper wanted to chainsaw into pieces and remove from the room. Someone must have stopped him.

Mabel would have turned 130 years old on this day. Those who benefit from her artistic vision sit on black cushions in silence; it’s the first week of what will be a year of study with Natalie. Whatever you think of Mabel or Tony (and you can hear an earful from the locals around Taos), together they created a pulsing creative space at the foot of Taos Mountain. One large enough to hold them both — and the rest of us, too.

Mabel’s grave is in a lonely corner of Kit Carson Memorial Cemetery. I visit there every time I am in Taos. Below is an excerpt from an article by Henry Shukman when he was hot on the trail of the ghost of D. H. Lawrence. It’s a fitting tribute to Mabel. Sometimes people are remembered most for the things they leave behind. Happy Birthday, Mabel. I hope you didn’t think we’d forgotten.



It was from the foot of Taos mountain that Mabel Dodge Luhan — heiress, patroness, columnist, early proponent (and victim) of psychoanalysis, memoirist and hostess — planned the rebirth of Western civilization. She moved to Taos from the East Coast in 1917 and fell in love not only with the place but also with Tony Lujan (later anglicized to Luhan), a chief in the nearby pueblo. She promptly left her second husband, married Tony and expanded a house on the edge of town, turning it into an adobe fantasy castle (what Dennis Hopper, who owned it in the 1970’s, would later call the Mud Palace), and began to invite scores of cultural luminaries. The idea was to expose them to the Indian culture she believed held the cure for anomic, dissociated modern humanity. After dinner, drummers and dancers from the pueblo would entertain the household.

Today her house is a museum, guesthouse and literary shrine all in one. For anyone on the trail of Lawrence, it’s the first of three essential ports of call. As I make my way up the groaning narrow stairs, the sense not just of history but of peace hits me: no TVs, no telephones. Instead, the deep quiet of an old, applianceless home. There are a bathroom with windows that Lawrence painted in colorful geometric and animal designs in 1922 to protect Mabel Luhan’s modesty, and floorboards across which Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Wolfe creaked. (In fact Wolfe stayed only one night. He arrived late and drunk, decided he didn’t like it and fled the next morning.)

- D.H. Lawrence’s New Mexico: The Ghosts That Grip the Soul of Bohemian Taos by Henry Shukman, from the NY Times, Cultured Traveler, October 22, 2006



Winter In Taos, Taos, New Mexico, November 2001, C-41 film print, photo © 2001-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Winter In Taos, grave of Mabel Dodge Luhan, born February 26th, 1879, died August 13th, 1962, Taos, New Mexico, November 2001, C-41 film print taken at my first Taos Writing Retreat at Mabel’s House, photo © 2001-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In a cold like this, the stars snap like distant coyotes, beyond the moon. And you’ll see the shadows of actual coyotes, going across the alfalfa field. And the pine-trees make little noises, sudden and stealthy, as if they were walking about. And the place heaves with ghosts. But when one has got used to one’s own home-ghosts, be they never so many, they are like one’s own family, but nearer than the blood. It is the ghosts one misses most, the ghosts there, of the Rocky Mountains. …because it is cold, I should have moonshine …

— D.H. Lawrence from Mornings In Mexico


-posted on red Ravine for the 130th birthday of Mabel Dodge Luhan, Thursday, February 26th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day)WRITING TOPIC — HAUNTED, The Vitality Of Place — Preserving The Legacy Of “Home” (with photos of Mabel & Tony and links to many of their contemporaries)

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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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Mabel’s Lights IIII, third in series, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008, by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel’s Lights IIII, third in series, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos,
New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2011, by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.



When we were sitting around the fire at a writing retreat a few weekends ago, someone threw two questions out on the floor — If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet? What period in history would you visit? The answers stirred up a lively discussion — and 30 minutes of time travel.

Last Friday at the art studio, same thing. We pulled musty old boxes of albums out of storage – Neil Young, Van Morrison, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Joni Mitchell, Olivia artists, Meg Christian, Margie Adam, and Cris Williamson (women who blazed the way for female musicians, Women’s Music, and Lilith Fair), Aretha Franklin, Prince, UB40, Bob Marley, and Two Nice Girls. We played analogue music on a refurbished turntable; the three of us reminisced about the days before Internet, cell phones, and pagers.

People used to sit around in college dorm rooms and spend hours talking about literature, art, music, women’s rights, civil rights, the environment. When we walked into a room, and the first thing we did was throw a scratchy album on the stereo, light candles (when candles still dripped), and plop down on the nearest sofa to talk. We painted blue skies and puffy clouds on the wall of the 1800′s apartment we were renting. Hours passed; we didn’t notice. Yet every second we talked, the world kept changing.


Mabel & Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel & Tony, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007-2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

That’s why I’d go back to the 1920′s, to the salons of Paris; to Mabel’s heyday in Taos; to the likes of Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, Frieda Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dorothy Brett, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Stieglitz, and Carl Jung. In the 1920′s, a creative renaissance was booming; the second wave of feminism was rolling across the country, women could finally vote.

Photographer, Berenice Abbott studied with Man Ray in the early 1920′s. Amelia Earhart took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921, and in six months managed to save enough money to buy her first plane (Hillary Swank will star in the lead role of the upcoming feature film “Amelia” along with Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor. Shooting is taking place in Toronto and the film is currently scheduled to be released sometime in 2009.)

In 1922, Frida Kahlo attended the National Preparatory School in Mexico City, with a goal of studying medicine at university. She admired Diego Rivera as he worked on a mural at the prep school. In 1925, Zora Neale Hurston became Barnard’s first black student, studied under anthropologist, Dr. Franz Boas, and received a scholarship through novelist, Barnard founder, and Harlem Renaissance supporter, Annie Nathen Mayer.

During the 1920s, Hurston was dubbed “Queen of the Renaissance.” She was good friends with Richard Wright until their differences in philosophy, and a dispute over a mutual project they were working on, drove a wedge between them.

For me, it’s the 1920′s, hands down, for time travel. But if I had to choose who I would want to meet, there are three people who come to mind: Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and James Baldwin.


As a writer, I find Baldwin inspiring. According to Literature, the Companion Website for Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Baldwin published:


The man was on fire.


If you could go back in time, where would you go? Who would you like to meet?



Mabel's Place II, The Early Days, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel’s Place II, The Early Days, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Mabel, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel, Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920′s INVENTIONS, The Vitality Of Place — Preserving The Legacy Of “Home”

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Not I But The Wind, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 

Not I, But The Wind, tombstone of Frieda Lawrence, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





 Emma Maria Frieda Johanna Freiin
(Baroness) von Richthofen


In Memory of twenty five years of incomparable companionship – Angie




Emma Maria Frieda Johanna Freiin (Baroness) von Richthofen was a distant relative of the “Red Baron” Manfred von Richthofen. But she became famous as Frieda Lawrence, wife of the British novelist D. H. Lawrence. Married to David Herbert Lawrence for 18 years, Frieda returned to Taos after his death in Vence, France in 1930, to live with her third husband, Angelo Ravagli.

After Lawrence’s death, she wrote Not I, but the Wind about her nomadic and turbulent years with D. H. Lawrence. It was released by Viking in 1934 and sold for $2.50. The book title is from the poem, Song of a Man Who Has Come Through, and contains many of Lawrence’s unpublished letters. 

In a Time magazine article, D.H.L. – Last Word, published Monday, October 8th, 1934, Frieda admits the relationship was stormy, and that Lawrence would sometimes lash out, and hit her in rage. She did not remain silent. It wasn’t her way:

“I did not want to write this book,” says she. “I wanted to give Lawrence my silence.” Then, with refreshing candor: “Do I want to blow my own trumpet? Yes, I do. . . . I will try to write as honestly as I can. Lies are all very well in their place but the truth seems to me so much more interesting and proud.”

ybonesy and I visited the D. H. Lawrence Memorial in February of 2007 on one of our “free days” at a writing retreat at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. She read Frieda’s epitaph out loud and we chuckled when she mistook incompatible for incomparable.

It is said that Mabel traded Kiowa (the D. H. Lawrence Ranch) to the Lawrences for the manuscript, Sons and Lovers. And she welcomed them to stay at her home when they were in Taos. But according to the Time article, Mabel’s and Frieda’s relationship was strained:

As for Lawrence’s women worshipers, Frieda put up with them as long, as she could, then made a scene.

One day in Taos, N. Mex., whither they had been invited by Mabel Dodge Sterne Luhan (Lorenzo in Taos), “Mabel came over and told me she didn’t think I was the right woman for Lawrence and other things equally upsetting and I was thoroughly roused and said: ‘Try it then yourself, living with a genius, see what it is like and how easy it is, take him if you can.’

If Frieda’s epitaph is any indication, she found a kindred spirit in Angelo Ravagli. The day we walked the winding path to her headstone was blue and chilled. Ice dripped off the tin roofs. Crows swooped in over the power lines. Dorothy Brett’s blue chair sat motionless in her cabin; the typewriter she used to type D. H.’s manuscripts was gone.

Near the Lawrence’s cabin, knotted branches of Georgia’s pine rose in spiky swirls to the sky. Not much had changed. Time seemed to stand still. We walked step by step over the same land they had walked in the 1920′s. The same sun beat through the oxygen-thin altitude.

I thought of everything I had read and heard, including the uproar over Lady Chatterley’s Lover and D. H.’s rocky relationships with women. Frieda answered those questions, too:

“In his heart of hearts I think he always dreaded women, felt that they were in the end more powerful than men.” And her indignant denial that in Lawrence there was anything of the pornographer: “Passionate people don’t need tricks.”



         Frieda Lawrence, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Frieda Lawrence, photograph on her tombstone outside the D. H. Lawrence Memorial, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Well, not quite. Between the two lovers, flows a river of contradiction. Through letters and words. Even in death.

As Lawrence lay dying he said to her: “Why, oh why, did we quarrel so much?” She answered: “Such as we were, violent creatures, how could we help it?”



-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, March 16th, 2008

-quotes are from the original Time magazine article, D.H.L. – Last Word, Monday, October 8th, 1934

-related to posts: The Name Game (What’s In A Name?), Giants Sat Here

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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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