Archives for category: Regional


Bill Ryan, of Inwood, N.Y., comforts his cat Amy before leaving her at a pet shelter at Mitchell Park’s Field House, run by the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and Pet Safe Coalition on Sunday, Oct., 28, 2012, in Uniondale, N.Y. Pet owners could drop of their pets at the shelter and afterwards seek shelter for themselves. before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Ryan planned to stay at Nassau Community College, one of numerous shelters throughout Nassau County. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Note: The above entry found at this website.


(Photo: Andrea Andrade, Teaneck, New Jersey, via New York Times)

Jasper is wearing his life vest, ready for Hurricane Sandy.

Little Jasper reminds me of another canine who faced a terrible storm — the stalwart Toto from the Wizard of Oz.

“Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright; but she felt quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about her that she nearly became deaf. At first she had wondered if she would be dashed to pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours passed and nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring. At last she crawled over the swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and Toto followed and lay down beside her.”

From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. FRANK BAUM


(Photo: Chuck Sanislow, Branford, Connecticut via New York Times)

East Coasters are not only greeting Hurricane Sandy — AKA “Frankenstorm” — with defiance (as mentioned in my previous post), but with humor, as evidenced by the photo that Chuck Sanislow shot in Branford, Connecticut.

This photo called to mind the 1945 movie Christmas in Connecticut, starring Barbara Stanwyk and Dennis Morgan (and remade in 1992 with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson). The basic plot is about a food writer who fakes her cooking skills, but has to learn fast because she’s selected to create a meal for a local hero.

Considering the speed with which Hollywood turns real-life happenings into movies for the big or small screen, is a Halloween in Connecticut film far behind?


(Photo: Ana Soto-Canino, Highland Park Art Gallery, Highland Park, New Jersey via New York Times)

Our hearts and thoughts are with our friends (and that’s everybody!) on the East Coast in the path of Hurricane Sandy. The media has referred to the storm as “formidable,” and Ana Soto-Canino shot the above photo featuring the word at the Highland Park Art Gallery in Highland Park, New Jersey. With a healthy defiance, the sign in the gallery window reads: “Bring IT On Sandy! We are Formidable too!”

And while my concern remains with all those affected by the hurricane, my writer’s mind is fascinated by the way “formidable” has snapped out of hibernation — and has sprung into news articles and handmade signs in store windows. Face it, Americans rarely use this word in writing or in speech.

In French, people use the word “formidable” all the time. It means, in effect, “wonderful or superb.”

In English, “formidable” means “dreaded or fearsome” — basically the opposite of the French meaning.

So, our French friends, don’t get the wrong impression of us when you read the sign in the Highland Park Art Gallery. We are not bragging about how great we are. We are just showing some spirit. C’est tout.


“As all the world knows, the opportunities in Boston for hearing good music are numerous and excellent, and it had long been Miss Chancellor’s practice to cultivate the best.”

HENRY JAMES, The Bostonians


“When I first moved to Minnesota, Jim White, a very fine poet, said to me, ‘Whatever you do, don’t become a regional writer.’ Don’t get caught in the trap of becoming provincial. While you write about the cows in Iowa, how they stand and bend to chew, feel compassion simultaneously for the cows in Russia, in Czechoslovakia…Go into your region, but don’t stop there. Let it pique your curiosity to examine and look closely at more of the world.”

NATALIE GOLDBERG, author of Writing Down the Bones


CHRONICLES, Volume One (Excerpt)

Memoir by Bob Dylan

“[In 1961] I didn’t follow baseball that much but I did know that Roger Maris who was with the Yankees was in the process of breaking Babe Ruth’s home-run record…Maris was from Hibbing, Minnesota…On some level I guess I took pride in being from the same town. There were other Minnesotans, too, that I felt akin to. Charles Lindberg, the first aviator to fly nonstop across the Atlantic in the ‘20s. He was from Little Falls. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a descendant of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and who himself wrote The Great Gatsby, was from St. Paul…Sinclair Lewis had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first American to do so. Lewis had written Elmer Gantry and was the master of absolute realism, had invented it. He was from Sauk Center, Minnesota. And then there was Eddie Cochran, one of the early rock-and-roll geniuses who was from Albert Lee, Minnesota. Native sons—adventurers, prophets, writers, and musicians. They were all from the North Country. Each one followed their own vision, didn’t care what the pictures showed. Each one of them would have understood what my inarticulate dreams were about. I felt like I was one of them or all of them put together.”

Note: This quote from the final pages of Chronicles, Volume One, by Bob Dylan called to mind other favorite artists from Minnesota, though Dylan wouldn’t have been aware of them in 1961. A nod to filmmakers Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Fargo) and Terry Gilliam (Brazil), author Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), cartoonist Charles M. Schultz (Peanuts), and musician Prince.

Published in 2004, Chronicles, Volume One, by Bob Dylan has met with critical and reader acclaim — and was one of five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dylan is currently working on Chronicles, Volume Two.