Patricia has been described as a poet, a novelist, a folklorist, an editor, and a literary critic. Certainly at times she behaves as if she were any and all of these and a few other things besides.
Patricia grew up in the rural Virginia countryside, where she imprinted deeply upon the local flora and fauna. When she left the East to attend Brigham Young University in Utah she brought her impressionability with her, transferring it, perhaps irrevocably, to the desert Southwest. A literary nature journalist by nature, she does tend to write about the natural world â€¦ a lot. Whenever she can, she travels to the desert, the nearest place where the infinite becomes the obvious, and wanders from shimmering horizon to shimmering horizon (within reason). A firm believer in the dynamics of language, how language does things to and for people, and in the power of narrative for pro-creation and re-creation, and in the abilities of all language to multiply and replenish or to exploit and ravage, she is a constant explorer of The Possible.
Her opinions are fluid, apt to change with the slightest revelatory experience or if, as sheâ€™s said elsewhere, magic words are uttered. She truly believes that she is always wrong and that the point of her life is to become less wrongâ€”for her, a liberating concept.
Patricia lives (at last!) in southeastern Utah with her husband Mark and their three children.
During February, Wilderness Interface Zone is launching its traditional month-long celebration of love and the natural world, Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.
To that end, weâ€™re issuing an open call for nature-themed, love-laced writing and visual arts: original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while referencing nature, even if lightly. By the same token, weâ€™re interested in nature writing raveled up with themes of love.
If youâ€™ve written artsy Valentine wishes to someone belovedâ€”or perhaps created a video Valentine or made a live reading of a sonnet or lyric poem thatâ€™s original to youâ€”or if youâ€™ve written a short essay avowing your love for people, critters, or spaces that make you feel alive, please consider sending it to WIZ. Click here for submissions guidelines.
We hope youâ€™ll join our month-long celebration combining two of the most potent natural forces on the face of the planet: love and language.
Part 1, wherein I muse upon the similarities between Darwinism and creationism, may be found here. In Part 2, I muse some more.
And yet . . . and yet. The longer I lived, the more I recognized that I had a tendency to settle into patterns of thought and behavior and into known, comfortable surroundings and not budge unless some act of God demonstrated to me that I could not surviveâ€”psychologically, at leastâ€”dramatic changes in conditions unless something gave. What had to give? Me. I needed to take another step outside my comfort zone and adapt to the new stresses on the old habitat. Based on my own desires for peace and quiet, I came to suspect that, barring a radical change in that Everlasting God whose power made and sustained Eden, the first breeding pair of hominids would likely have stayed in their garden stasis forever, all innocence and naked ignorance. Our own continued, expressed wishes for a return to the Peaceable Kingdom confirm how deeply that environment still interests us. So I suspect that had not some serpent of change appeared in paradise and coiled itself around Eve, triggering a sudden shift in direction for mankind and precipitating all that â€œsweat of the browâ€ stuff,Â leading to the production of copious offspring capable of adapting to environments down through the generations, we might still be who we wereâ€”whatever that may have been.
Steven Pinker, an evolutionary psychologist, linguist and the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature, sees the Old Testament as a â€œcelebrationâ€ of the kind of commonplace yet horrifying (to modern sensibilities) violence that characterized mankindâ€™s behavior during early stages of its social evolution. Continue reading “Part 2: You Say You Want a Creavolution? Well, You Know…”
This two-part post is from a chapter titled “Gardens” in my book Crossfire Canyon, under construction. I haven’t posted on AMV for a while and thought I’d run this out there.
As a reliable account of the origin of life on Earth, the Old Testament story of the Garden of Eden may itself stand only a hairâ€™s breadth from being cast out of the paradise of credence. â€œIt didnâ€™t happen, couldnâ€™t have happened that way,â€ scientists say as they pronounce the Eden story indefensible. Over the last century and a half, they have promoted science-based and evidence-supported stories to supplant the Creation Story: narrative strains of Darwinism and neo-Darwinism, the yet-developing evolutionary tale.
The degree of interchangeability between the two storylines could be framed as a boxing match between contrariesâ€”Creationism v. Darwinismâ€”with each side claiming to have landed multiple knock-out punches. Or perhaps, given both sidesâ€™ claims to Higher Truth, the contention is more like a jousting tournament. Despite the pageantâ€™s being over a hundred-and-fifty years old, sterling knights on either side continue to try to unhorse each other, resulting, at times, in such heated language as to lay the nobility of both sides open to doubt. Rampant name-calling and disrespecting of persons abound, along with the dusting-off-of-feet on each otherâ€™s narrative grounds. Continue reading “Part 1: You Say You Want a Creavolution? Well, You Know …”
Wilderness Interface Zone is issuing a call for nature-themed prose: creative nonfiction or environmental nonfiction, eco-criticism, interviews, hybrid literary forms, and short fiction, including novel excepts, that reflect on your relationship to the natural world, wherever you engage it.
Weâ€™re especially interested in writing that demonstrates the need for and effects of what I call â€œgreen languageâ€â€“rhetorical prowess that taps into the fertile realm of languageâ€™s most vital energies. One of WIZâ€™s foremost goals is to advocate for better behavior in the teeming yet at-risk environment of human language.
Please consider sending your work to Wilderness Interface Zone. Before submitting your writing, please read our About and Submissions pages.
AND poets, please continue sending your poetry. WIZ loves poetry!
ALSO, in the past,WIZ has launched its Spring Poetry Runoff, an annual, themed poetry competition celebrating springâ€™s highly anticipated arrival. This year, Jonathon and I have chosen not to run the Runoff. Weâ€™ll bring it back in 2014 in new and improved form. But we will host an informal spring fling featuring poetry and prose that revels in the arrival of warmer and brighter days, the annual emergence of life, and onset of spring migrations that change lifeâ€™s scenery.
Spring arrives early on March 20. Feel free to add a streamer to WIZâ€™s literary maypole. Even if your poem, essay, short story or novel excerpt merely mentions spring and nature, please consider submitting it to the festivities.
Got messages of deep feeling youâ€™d like to send someone, or maybe to the world at large? Starting February 1st, Wilderness Interface Zone will launch its traditional month-long celebration of love and the natural world, Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.
We’re issuing a call for nature-themed love stuff: original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while making references to nature. Weâ€™ll take the other side of the coin of affection, too: Weâ€™ll publish work about nature spun up with themes of love.
If you have a sweet song or sonnet youâ€™ve written to someone belovedâ€“or perhaps a video Valentine or an essay avowing your love for people, natural critters or spaces near and dearâ€“please consider sending it to WIZ. Click here for submissions guidelines.
Our fondest hopes for LONNOL Month: Putting into the currents of language flowing around the world some of the deepest, most passionate, freeze-thawingest words that we can find. And if things work out, weâ€™ll also be running one of WIZ’s DVD giveaways, a Pre-Hays Code movie, King of the Jungle, starring loincloth-clad Buster Crabbe as Kaspa the Lion Man.
We hope youâ€™ll join our month-long celebration combining two of the most potent natural forces on the face of the planet–love and language.
We’ve brought out the skyrockets (left) to announce that Wilderness Interface Zone has launched a new project we’re very excited about. It’s a year-long (maybe longer) venture designed to change WIZ’s direction and open a new frontier in environmental awareness. Come over and have a look at what we’re up to.
While Jonathon Penny and I develop and tweak this line of exploration, we’ll continue publishing readers’ poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoirs, photos, MP3s, etc. focused on the nature-human relationship. Our original goal of fostering a literary venue for Mormons who write about nature remains active, but we’ll frame our guidelines for submissions in somewhat different terms. As always, our intent is to open possibilities that give rise to new grounds for insight into nature, people, and one of the strongest natural forces that connects us to nature and each other: human expression. That’s right–language: an up-and-coming force of nature.
So please swing by and offer your opinions about our new bearings. We hope to make a mark on environmental studies, specially on environmental literature. Because of the project’s pioneering nature, we could use as many eyes on it as are willing to look. It’ll be an adventure, I promise. For me, it’s an adventure–a romance, if you will–that I’ve been wrapped up in for years. I’d like to share more openly with anyone who’s interested the layers of being I see in this world. Because it really is a stunning place, if you let yourself get involved.
Three nights ago my son asked me to translate (his word) a letter he received from a customer communicating something related to my son’s home business. Was the letter in German, for which I have some crude (very crude) translating skills? French? Sometimes he does receive notes in those languages.Â This time, not so. The letter was in English but composed in cursive handwriting, and my son was at something of a loss to decipher it.
I saw this day coming. When he was a child, I tried to teach him to write in cursive but he found it burdensome. The abundance of keyboards in our household eventually shouted me down. So that mysterious letter when it arrived might as well have been written in a foreign or archaic language–maybe even an argot as arcane and encrypted as the language of the birds. Continue reading “A cursive state of affairs”
Over at AMVâ€™s companion blog Wilderness Interface Zone, the last of the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff poems have posted and voting to decide which one wins the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoffâ€™s Most Popular Poem Award is open and will run through Tuesday, June 5th.Â All participating poets, their friends and family, and all connoisseurs of poetry–particularly, of nature poetry–are invited to help choose the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoffâ€™s Most Popular Poem Award winner.
The poll to determine the winner of the Spring Poetry Runoff Popular Poem Award will close 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, but winners of both the popular vote and the Admin Award will be announced on or around Tuesday, June 6th.Â Â So keep an eye on WIZ to see how matters settle out.Â 31 poems qualified for the voting, so pop some popcorn, get out a pint of your favorite ice cream, or otherwise provision yourself for a long (but satisfying!) read.Â Â This part is important, folks: Each voter can (and should) vote for his or her three favorite poems!Â Instructions on how to access the poems are available in the postâ€“please read all instructions carefully.
To read the voting instructions and to vote, click here.
The winners of the Most Popular Poem and Admin Awards will receive their choices ofÂ Steven L. Peck’sÂ The Scholar of Moab (Torrey House Press 2011),Â which recently received the AML Award for the Novel, or the stunning new anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture (Peculiar Pages 2011) edited by AMV’s Tyler Chadwick.Â Tyler also won an AML Award for his editing of this must-have collection.
So come over to WIZ and join the fun.Â Or at least set up a lawn chair and watch.