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Recommendation: From Egos to Eden

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Van Ham Book 001Lee Van Ham’s From Egos to Eden is a big book about a very big topic: keeping earth livable for humanity.  If that turns your mind to issues of cutting back, doing without and judgmentalism, put them aside.  This book will guide you into another approach entirely.  It is about growing into broader consciousness, growing from ego control to a larger sense of self, entering – or continuing – a journey toward what Van Ham calls One-earth Living.

This is not a how-to book.  We each have our own journey to undertake.  There is a bit of deception in the title.  Absorbing the concepts in this book will set you on a rich journey toward Eden, but it can’t take you all the way.  That is up to you.

The idea of an inward/outward journey is some decades old.  I remember trying to lead a church peacemaking group in which I could not get others to understand why the program we were using called for ten minutes of silence before getting to the business of the meeting.  It made sense to me.  The idea that we must work on our own issues while we address those of the external world underlies From Egos to Eden.  To address that Van Ham uses Jungian terminology, revises old mythologies, and offers a number of cognitive maps.

We humans have a choice of working with our earth to meet the needs of all or destroying it to supply our wants.  The topic is urgent because the current state of society is leaning strongly toward the latter.

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Freethought Giveaway on Goodreads

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The Biography

On June 9, 1897. John Emerson Roberts left the Unitarians to join the freethought movement, founding his own Sunday lecture program called “The Church of this World.”  In honor of the 120th anniversary of that event, I am offering two copies of John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City’s “Up-to-date” Freethought Preacher in a Goodreads Giveaway, now until June 9.

Here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/238082-john-emerson-roberts-kansas-city-s-up-to-date-freethought-preacher

If you don’t win, you can buy a copy via the Books page here at http://www.freethoughtandmetaphor.com

Helping Children Read

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Once or twice a week I spend an hour reading with second graders.  I got into this through the example of Bob Kaufman, who was a volunteer with third graders for a dozen years. (I’m only in my fourth year at this.) P1000707

After Bob died last summer, his wife and I gathered funds from his friends and relatives to give books in his memory to Conlee School where he volunteered.  We were able to purchase 37 books for the school library.  booksThe last class “Mr. Bob” worked with will be moving on to Middle School this summer.  Children who read the books in the future won’t know who Bob Kaufman is.  But perhaps some of them will notice the labels and realize that someone cared that their library has these books for them to read. P1000713

Rainy Day Trip

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When it’s not sunny and dry enough to be out on the beach or walking a trail, I am usually indoors with a book.  But at least once a year, when the weather is wet, I go to an antique store.  The Big Chicken Barn is a landmark on the Ellsworth Road from Orland. P1000560

More than an antique store, the Barn houses several dealers on the ground level, while the second floor is all books.  Walking end to end at the slow pace required to see what’s available is a long walk.  The different stalls have different specialties, but the predominant items are dish sets, glassware and cookware.P1000559

One visit a year is enough for me, but I’ve been visiting for several years now in search of two items: a small square Pyrex baking dish (mine broke years ago) and an enamel double boiler.  The latter are quite rare; apparently it’s not uncommon to burn out the bottom of a double boiler.P1000558

One year I found a new glass lid for my Dutch oven.  Another time I found a small Pyrex mixing bowl I needed.  This year all I came away with was a book – and it wasn’t even poetry.  Though the books are nicely arranged in categories: fiction, biography, poetry, art, religion, socialogy (so the sign spells it) the poetry section, as I have found in most used book stores, was tiny. Do poetry readers keep most of their books, or do they wear them out?

Anniversary and More

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The Biography

The Biography

Today, February 8 completes three years on this blog.  It has had its busy and its slack times, but I’ve enjoyed it all.

I began this blog to publicize my biography of John Emerson Roberts. This was one piece of an effort which involved a variety of Linked In Groups and even Linked In Ads, as well as connecting with other bloggers.

I named this blog “Freethought and Metaphor” in part because I hoped that I would in

My new poetry collection

My new poetry collection

future have poetry books to advertise – and now I have one.  I realized as soon as I came up with the title that these are indeed two sides of my mind, as my subhead says.  My left brain thinks about ideas and my right brain creates poetic material.  Sometimes these two sides cooperate, sometimes they wander down different trails.  And there are times when my left brain pretends to cooperate but really wants to run the show.  Those times do no produce successful poems.

Humans are bilateral, but who really had only two sides?  A third place where I put my energy is work on hunger and justice issues.  There are disputes about what constitutes justice, but most people agree on what hunger is, even when it is hidden under fancy names like “food insecurity.”

I was delighted to discover Word Soup, an organization which uses poetry to support hungry people by asking for a small donation to their local food bank to accompany submissions.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to combine these two usually separate parts of my mind.  They accepted two of my poems, which can be found at: http://wordsoup.weebly.com/issue-five-february-2015.html

My father-in-law used to count his age not by years completed, but by the year he was in.  He was well into his 99th year when he died.  Today is not the end of three years for this blog.  It is the beginning of the fourth year.  And I plan to keep going, though I have no plan laid out for it.

Please check back to see what I come up with.  And check out my books on the Books page.

What will the end be?

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If you are a booklover as I am, can you imagine a better final end than this?

            Booklover

First editions, clean and primly
jacketed, bore me.  I cherish those
lived in, lived with, a note card or
flower left between pages.

I have pored through such tomes
as if to find in them a future
project, a new idea.  I
can see clearly now my

self on a back shelf in a used
bookstore, loose cover, yellow pages,
among books not classified: is it
history, is it romance, is it

worth the paper it’s printed on?
The seller believes there’s a circle
in hell for those who burn books,
will find a ring in purgatory for

those who cannot discard one.  He
never comes here to dust.  I lean
against another volume, convinced 
there are worse ends than this.

This poem is from my collection in Ascent: Five Southwestern Women Poets (see Books page.)