I’m almost ashamed to be writing this.
Although I’ve been familiar with the great names of our ancient western heritage—names like Homer, Virgil, Plato, Tacitus, Sophocles and many, many others—for pretty much my entire life, I didn’t begin earnestly reading and studying them until after I’d already passed my half-century mark. And me, the degreed historian too! I can recall playing King Agamemnon in a Junior High School class play, though I don’t remember much more than that. And everyone’s read The Iliad, right?
Oh boy—what I’ve been missing…
One of our writing assignments for June 2015 at the Golden Pen Writers Guild was to write about…purple. So here’s what I came up with:
You’ve likely never heard of this sea snail, but it held a treasure worth more than gold in ancient times. The seacoasts of the ancient city of Tyre emitted a constant stench from millions of these crushed and rotting shells for centuries. One tiny gland from 12,000 of the animals produced a mere 1.4 grams of this treasure—Tyrian Purple dye.
On a lovely June afternoon during a quick trip to Flagstaff, Arizona, I was meandering along on a self-guided walking tour I’d found online. It led through the historic downtown and eventually onto the campus of Northern Arizona University.
It’s been a long time since I went away to college or have spent any time on a college campus for that matter—I’d forgotten how good it feels. I strolled down the main pedestrian-only thoroughfare checking out the historic buildings, new ones under construction, and the Student Union, finally ending up at the campus bookstore.
Here’s another piece I wrote for the Golden Pen Writers Guild. Our assignment was to write something on “Independence”.
There are many different kinds of “independence.” We have Independence Day every July 4th. There’s independent living, independent study, an independent press, and many others. But when I think independence I always envision hitting the open road.
One online dictionary defines independence as: “freedom from outside control or support: the state of being independent.” It also lists some synonyms: self–sufficiency, self-reliance, self-support. To me, there’s no better way to demonstrate those skills than by leaving everything behind, going to a strange place and living out of a suitcase.
It has been a very long time since I’ve actually written anything creatively or otherwise for my own enjoyment. Poetry or prose—even the novel I started over a decade ago now—has always been a somewhat guilty, personal pleasure of mine and one that I don’t share that often. But now that I prepare to close my first half-century, I ask myself “What the hell are you waiting for? Why are you holding back?”
As it turns out, last weekend in Bakersfield provided me with a once-in-a-lifetime shot of inspiration that I was compelled to get out of me. I hope you will enjoy what I wrote and can appreciate what it has taken for me to put this side of me out there. And more importantly, the subject I wrote about.
Click over the jump to read…