Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remembering Richard Brautigan

When I was an undergraduate, his books were in every dorm room.


Sunday, August 03, 2003

The Pomegranate is reborn!

After a hiatus of nearly two years while we sought a new publisher (a process that began at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in Denver in 2001), The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies has a new publisher and will resume print publication in May 2004.

As the new editor, replacing Fritz Muntean, I have signed a contract with Equinox Publishing, a new firm started by Janet Joyce, formerly academic editorial director at Continuum's London office. The Equinox Web site is not fully put together yet; check it at the end of August.

--The Pagan Studies book series

--The daylong Pagan Studies conference at AAR-SBL in Atlanta

--And now the return of The Pomegranate, heir, in a roundabout way to Iron Mountain: A Journal of Magical Religion and to Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Esoteric Tradition.

This will be the year that Pagan Studies happens at AAR-SBL, a slow process that has been building since 1995, when Dennis Carpenter and Selena Fox organized (and then dropped out of) the first Pagan scholars' meeting there.

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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Wiccan autobiography, lack of

I have been reading High Priestess: The Life & Times of Patricia Crowther, which, admittedly, is a reworking and revision of two earlier autobiographical books by this English Wiccan priestess, Witch Blood! and One Witch's World.

Why do American Witches never write their memoirs? The nearest I have seen is Margot Adler's Heretic Heart, and even it is more about her "Red diaper baby" childhood and adolescence, dealing with the Craft only toward the end. Are we afraid of being put down for being "self-centered"? I can think of some people whose memoirs I would love to read, frankly.

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Monday, July 21, 2003

The Parrot Trainer

I feel as though I've written my guts out today, and then I check and it's only a little more than 2,000 words. My breakfast and lunchtime break reading is Swain Wolfe's The Parrot Trainer, a novel set among Southwestern archaeologists, but definitely not in the Tony Hillerman mode. Wolfe is much more given to "tweaking academic and knee-jerk political correctness," but he knows where the genuine controversies are. And he's read Christy Turner, clearly.

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Thursday, July 10, 2003

The Paganism Reader

A telephone call from Graham Harvey on the 9th confirms that our anthology of important Pagan texts is going into production at Routledge. Here is the latest version of the cover--really, Graham's name should come first, as it was his idea to collect important texts from the Pagan revival, reaching back to the Homeric Hymns, the Eddas, the Mabinogion and others, and also collecting such things as Rudyard Kipling's song that begins "Do not tell the priest of our art," from Puck of Pook's Hill, which when I first encountered it was presented to me as a genuine relic of underground Pagan religion! (I had not read that particular book of Kipling's, and I did not know better.)

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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Darksome Thirst

Darksome Thirst comes advertised as a novel about "witches and vampires and computers" by Morven, editor of the Massachusetts-based Pagan journal Harvest during the 1980s and 1990s. You can learn more from the author's website. My copy is on order!


Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Why I Don't Get Enough Writing Done

I decided to start Monday with a telephone call to the Eastern time zone, to the Bank of New York, which had messed up a stock transfer from my parents' estate, and to which I had sent fresh instructions on 21 April.

"We never received them," claimed the telephone representative, who undoubtedly is told in training to "always blame the Postal Service."

So, I downloaded new W-9 form and stock transfer form. The latter requires the infamous Medallion signature guarantee, which means a 25-mile drive to Canon City, home of the nearest bank that participates in that program. So if I'm going to Canon City, I might as well replace the sand-pitted windshield on the Jeep TJ (its third in five years). I called McCasland's glass shop downtown and got an afternoon appointment. I passed the rest of the morning preparing the stock-transfer forms and doing other paperwork. If I am going to Ca?on, I might as well stop in Florence and talk with my insurance agent, because Colorado's auto insurance law is changing in July. (Called him, made appointment for 1:30).

I left a little after noon, stopping at the Wetmore post office to mail various things, including a packet for the new publisher of The Pomegranate in the UK. (Expect big announcement soon.)

Then 45 minutes with the insurance agent while he explains that the return to tort law instead of "no fault" car insurance means that I need many, many more dollars' worth of liability coverage.

Then to the UPS store to send a painting by my father to Fritz Muntean, the Pomegranate's founding editor.

I dropped the Jeep at the glass shop and walked to Fremont Bank, finding an idle vice president to stamp my stock-transfer form with the Medallion stamp. From there it was a couple of blocks to the old courthouse to meet with the county assessor about getting Dad's name off the deed to some lots in a ghost town near Cripple Creek that he and I owned. It turned out that I need to record a special "personal representative's deed," something that I had never asked the estate lawyer to prepare.

Ate a late lunch at Pizza Madness, walked the downtown business district, full of new enterprises that are high on quaintness and low on capital. My slogan for Canon City, based on Mary's and my six years there: "Canon City, the town that never quite gets it right." A smelly old cafe that we knew as The Shanty is now The Frying Pan. Loosely painted on its window was "Open 7 Days," and below that hung a "Closed" sign. OK, so they serve breakfast and lunch only, closing at 2 p.m., but somehow that contrast seemed characteristic of the town.

Went to the library and read an issue of The Economist. I'm too economical to subscribe to it. Drank a cappuccino at a marginal coffee house, Wicked Brew, started up in old house on Royal Gorge Boulevard by what appeared to be a single woman with teenage daughter(s). A bit of cognitive dissonance there: various signs, such as "The fortune teller is [reversible sign] OUT," and a strategically placed table suggest the occasional presence of a Tarot reader, most likely. Yet nearby was a stack of brochures about The Rapture, suggesting a conservative evangelical Christian presence. You would expect those two influences to be incompatible.

I picked up the Jeep just before five, made a stop at the supermarket, and was home shortly before six o'clock. And there was the day gone. After supper, I wrote the letter to the lawyer, caught up on e-mail, and felt as though I had done something all day but I wasn't sure exactly what.


Thursday, May 29, 2003

The cold breath of history

Working all week on Her Hidden Children, my book on the early decades of the American Pagan movement, part of the AltaMira Press Pagan Studies series. I've written history before, but somehow, writing about events in which I participated makes me feel at death's door. I turn for inspiration to my beau ideal of a dignified old age, William S. Burroughs.