Search This Blog



Friday, June 24, 2011


Dear Reader,

I am slowly being dragged into the 21st century and I celebrate every little milestone. Actually, the North Florida Center for Documentary Studies, Inc. website genius, Victoria Van Arnam, is dragging me and, so, today's milestone is really hers.

My prizewinning essay, "Waking Up in the Floodplain" is available for downloading at; IT COSTS 99 CENTS. The essay chronicles hours spent in and around my stilt-legged house in the floodplain of Florida's famous river during the flooding, winds, alligators, canebrake rattlers, and several other surprises that arrived with the hurricane, Jeanne, a few years ago. It was a phenomenal experience for me, a moment-to-moment survival exercise; it was also difficult and very beautiful. Enjoy!

24 June 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011



I'm looking forward to meeting friends of the work, THE SALVATION OF MAGGIE RIDER: Stories from Nokofta

and SOUTHERN COMFORTS: Rooted in a Florida Place at:

2 P. M. Hawthorne Branch Library, Hawthorne, FL - Saturday, 11 June 2011

The HAWTHORNE BRANCH LIBRARY has partnered with the

HAWTHORNE HISTORICAL SOCIETY which will host a RECEPTION immediately following the reading.

I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This is my last scheduled event for the calendar year 2011.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Nice breeze below on the deck. Dark comes on. It was a pretty day and here's Robert Baxter's memorial photo:

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Stood under a tree in the dark tonight, a tree in front of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, there near the fountain that babbles out of a brick wall, although tonight it wasn't dribbling. The place was heavy with wisteria scent, however; it hangs over the entrance, makes entering unforgettable.

I was studying the tree which was almost imperceptibly leafing out, its hairlike (or threadlike) growth only a weak stubble along its limbs. Took me a few minutes to notice the tree's trunk: Chinese Elm, know it anywhere.

[Grumble, grumble here bcs I can't download a photo but YOU MUST SEE THIS, so go to WIKI and dbl click on a photo of the elm's bark. Go to Shutterstock + Chinese Elm photo + "bark" and see this for yourself or at Wikipedia ask for Ulmus parvifolia]

I didn't read from the book Maggie Rider there tonight, but the tree was gorgeous against tonight's moonlit sky; wanted to pass that on. As for the reading, thanks to Mr. Eric Mathis at South Georgia Regional Library, I'll be reading at his institution on the 2nd of April, a Saturday not far off.

Come to Georgia, dear Reader. We'll have a good time!

late wednesday night

Friday, March 11, 2011


(dbl click on photos, please)

I picked up this book, PERSONAL SCULPTURE, by Geoge H. Meyer (1992) at our branch library in WHite Springs this afternoon; the library was my final stop of several, including the front door of Spring Street Antiques (shown above). I'd been around back, photographing what I assumed was the worst of the damage from Tuesday's fire; after all, the water oak had demolished the back half of the roof and set the fire, scattering blackened furniture and silverware all around. Howard Tower who, with his wife, Patti, owns the property, was poking through the trash beyond the "GET BACK" rope between us.

Howard said this was "an act of God"; but in White Springs we have lost our beautiful shop--this lovely museum where light fell through yellow glassware, shone on cases of old silver, lit jewelry queens must have worn--an especially hard happening since, already, in the past few months The River Diner with 4 seasons of Suwannee Valley painted on its walls went out of business; the family grocery run by the Stormants closed and, earlier, Janet Moses had shut up her artsy and curious shop. Even the consignment store I'd thought would do well in these hard times folded. That left the fire station, the post office, and SPRING STREET ANTIQUES, always a welcoming place, whether I bought or not, the prettiest establishment on the main drag, and in a house that had survived the 1911 fire that took out dozens of houses and hotels.

There are still concrete yard sculptures on the grounds, undamaged, but Howard says they will sell the lot, the house is ruined. I got quite a shock when I walked around front; at a distance it had appeared intact but, up close, everything beyond its purple door was black. Fire might be said to sculpt, though I don't think the charring of wood here was as deliberate as the creation of what we usually call sculpture. Here, the timbers are shiny and ringed as though bitten by the teeth of the fire. That's a leap, but look at the proof:

On the day of the latest tsunami and one day after the news that, at the state capital, putting golf courses into state parks like Payne's Prairie and San Felasco Hammock is being considered, the sad fact of this burning house which held so many beautiful things--this black shell--doesn't put me in the mood to credit a god. But maybe I'm just discouraged by all the other damage collecting on the planet. Seems to me humankind creates a lot of misery, all on its own, though often we give credit to God. This is not in any way to disagree publicly with Howard who meant, I believe, that he accepted the event completely. Would that all our disasters were so patiently embraced.

In this book I picked up are many beautiful sculptures--handmade walking canes: one twisted like a handbraided bread, another with glass eyes embedded, eight small snakes climbing the big snake of the cane itself, the handcarved neck of a guitar, a topless mermaid as the handle on a cane. Canes of willow, maple, beech, polychromed and not, some with names, though rarely. All these designs were made deliberately, over centuries, their shapes and sheens various, imaginative, surprising. I photographed the upturned bottom of the water oak that slammed Spring Street Antiques and took it down. Didn't see a single deliberate mark on it, anywhere, and the photo isn't interesting enough to put here.

There's so much I don't understand, just grateful for eyes to see what's going on, to take in the beauty along with the pain and be glad of the seeing. Speaking of which, here's 2011's first red tulip, opening downstairs this morning:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


(dbl click on photos, pls)

Too tired yesterday, coming from Live Oak, to capture these sights for you, so just before dark tonight I struck out, north on CR 25A. Drove past the small houses, the large houses, the horses, this field of wild yellow mustard

and rows of dried cornstalks in a darkening field. Was I documenting the coming of spring or the end of winter? It all goes so fast.

And I probably drove too fast. Checked my tires when I got back and will check them early tomorrow because I parked on the shoulders of the road; in my experience, that's not a good practice. But how else to get the red samara,

the sun dropping like a fiery pendant into the Florida horizon?

Such an enlivening occupation, photographing sights we drive by and often don't notice. Glad I took the time; it made my day.

*CORRECTION: Even though it is commonly called mustard (probably because it looks like mustard greens gone to seed), this plant is actually WILD RADISH,Raphanus raphanistrum L. (Thank you, Allen Tyree.) See

Friday, March 4, 2011



. . . maybe they'll go left. What a strange week this has been! A huge paperwork deadline I nearly killed myself for, then got up the next day and looked at the calendar and realized I'd met the deadline a day early!

Still, piles of paper everywhere. Sometimes, I just stack them at right angles and pretend I know what's there.

THE RISE OF THE NEW RULNG CLASS in Atlantic Mag quotes one of the jet set's richest who suggests that for every American who falls out of the middle class, 2 or 3 people in other countries get to move up. This challenges me quite a bit, my thinking, I mean. Especially since the jet setter's situation only gets richer.

I'll back off that subject and just stop for the photo of a "volunteer." When locals call a plant this, they are indicating they don't know its name and they don't know how it got here. This sweet item grows in clumps at the entrance to my house.

Now, March. That means 1/6 of 2011 is gone.