Hello from Jack!
A Week of Complying
For several weeks, I have adapted to the rules of physical separation when at the grocery store, post office, and on my walks. As of April 3, 2020, the C.D.C. recommended wearing a mask while in public. I will comply with that recommendation. I have dozens of bandannas, some large, some small, silk and cotton. I wear one on my head quite often. So, when I don the face mask, I’ll be swathed appropriately. I wear a large broad-brimmed hat over the bandanna and apply plenty of sunscreen. I’ve had far too many treks in high altitudes without appropriate covering. (Thank you, Anita La Cava Swift, for your advice on sunscreen.)
The Writing of Medicine Bundle
I continue to write the second novel about the fictitious Tulona Pueblo and the investigations of Tribal Policeman Richard Tafoya and Forest Service Biology Specialist Janet Rael. As of today, I am at 36,382 words. The force of the story (yes, a story has its own volition) has taken Tafoya into the Cristos Mountains near Angel Fire, New Mexico. The murder mystery is contemporary and filled with sharp, fine, and colorful description of northern New Mexico during the month of October. Like my first novel, Medicine Bundle is for a general audience. I have canceled two research trips to Taos because of the virus.
The Books Behind At-home Interviews on Television
I watch a lot of news and I’m always interested in the books behind those interviewed on television. I will go up close to the television screen, cock my head, and read the titles. I’ve seen science, history, fiction, the whole spectrum of the printed word. The at-home interviews, not the conventional backdrop of books in studios, show parts of a person’s life I don’t expect. Russian authors, like Chekhov and Tolstoy, have been on shelves. I see also that interviewees move their books around for the audience, emphasizing a different book each day. I have several bookcases through the house. The bookcase directly behind me is filled with books relative to the Indigenous, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures of New Mexico. Other rooms in the house have other titles and sections.
The Photographs for the Week
Shown in the photo grid above are Indian paintbrush flower in my farm field, the Navajo mask of Child of Water, my writing desk at Sagebrush Inn in Taos, and a good example of dendrite turquoise. (All photos by J. Matthews.)
Read the interviews of famous writers in The Paris Review. Those interviews of Hemingway, Elroy, Sam Shepard, Louise Erdrich, and dozens of others will give you a sense of how different men and women approach the blank-white page. I have my approach to writing and one of these days I will share it with you.
Take care of yourself and stay healthy. –Jack