Journaling

“Footpath” (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

Most writers keep journals. I am no different. I use my journals (analog and digital) to draft poems, make notes, jot down random thoughts and quotes I like, and just to play with language and ideas.

Some Random thoughts from my journals:

Looking back over the years of my blog, I see that every fall my mind turns toward Nature. In death it seems, we naturally seek signs of life.

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It takes more imagination to live in Minnesota than it does in Montana. In Montana, all you have to do is step out the door and everything looks pretty much the same as it did when Lewis and Clark first visited there.

In Minnesota, the great prairies have been plowed under. The big woods logged off.

But sometimes, in surprising places, you can find something that reminds you of the way Minnesota once was.

Those moments are magical.

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The demonic is rooted in contextual literalism. What I mean by that is that the demonic uses the very human tendency to believe that what is good for me must be good, what seems true to me must be true, what I understand something to be must be the way it is.

In the modern American context this takes the socio-political form of the right-wing evangelical or the left-wing secularist… two sides of the same distorted coin. They are like groups of people standing on two small but very different islands within sight of one another. One believes their island is the whole world, the other is equally convinced their island is the whole world. Meanwhile there are oceans and continents and other planets and universes they refuse to acknowledge or think about. They only spend their time yelling at the others on the opposite island to convert to their way of thinking, or plotting how to take over that other island.

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The goal is to get words down on paper. If they are the right words in the right order, so much the better.

But in the end, tidying up comes later.

I have been writing now for years. I have a habit that works for me. Whether it would work for another, I do not know. But for me, it is enough to get up early and to write.

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I wonder if something could be written linking: Whitman -> Thoreau -> Jerry Garcia? Or better yet: St. Francis -> Thoreau  -> Whitman  -> J.G.?

I see all four resonating in me. Add Yeats and Hemingway and you have those “artists” closest to my heart, closest to the way I experience and see the world.

In the first four figures, you have four that never tried to fit in, who were magnificently and beautifully their truest selves (to coin a Mertonism). In Yeats and Hemingway you have the two writers that I measure all writing by.

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