Write Brain Change — guest blog by Dave Jarecki

Back in October I got a call from Dave Jarecki.  He had been assigned to me by the Lewis & Clark College Chronicle — the alumni magazine of the college where I’ve been a professor for well more than 20 years.  I was happy to know my school was pleased with the publication of 100 VOICES – AMERICANS TALK ABOUT CHANGE and wanted to have an article following its release.  Dave and I… Read More

Mr. Prude – III

“I didn’t make the second cut.”  Mr. Prude was smiling. We’d run into one another again in the crosswalk on Sandy Boulevard and I’d turned to walk with him back toward the dialysis center.  We stopped to stand on the sidewalk just beyond the old Barber Babes (EX:C blog, “I’m Not Done Yet,” 5-21-2011).  Mr. Prude had been telling me about being just back from Joseph, OR where he’d spent a week… Read More

Missing Murry

I just got e-mail.  I’ve been writing e-mail back.  And crying.  My friend, Murry Owen, died last night.  His body just couldn’t manage to breathe anymore. Yesterday I started this week’s blog.  I called it “Big Changes.”  I wrote about how I got to spend time yesterday morning with my friend Jim.  Jim is the friend who found out 7 months ago that he has Rheumatoid Arthritis (EX:C blog, “Chronic Pain,” 6-4-2011). … Read More

Grandmothers on Fathers’ Day

Two American Indian men stand together.  The Elder is Wyandotte and Choctaw of the Mississippi Valley; the younger is Walla Walla of the Columbia River.  They are of two generations and they are friends.  The men chat with one another during a break in a graduate class of mostly non-Indian students.  The students are preparing to be teachers and counselors and taking this course on contemporary Native American life. The older man… Read More

On the Willingness Not to Know

Donetta Brehmer was a cheerleader at Tivy High School.  I think she was even Homecoming Queen one year.  She was two years ahead of me, so rarified on that count alone.  Donetta was pretty much the quintessence of a teen idol in the way of astronomical popularity and such.  You never know who is going to be a teacher. I sat just in front of Donetta in Senora Paxton’s Spanish class.  We… Read More

Looking under the Hood — AKA Whiplash in Wisconsin

In American elections the principle of democracy known as majority rule is in play even if the majority doesn’t bother to vote.  This, naturally, is reflected in our elected officials.  Right?  Ask Wisconsin. Elections are about change.  They can be about democracy. Then there’s the notion of EX:Change.  It’s the idea I’ve been so captivated by since the 2008 presidential election and the electrifying cross-partisan enthusiasm for the word change. When change… Read More

“Lead,” She Said.

If we’re ever going to begin to grapple with the problems we have collectively,we’re going to have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level. Wilma Mankiller (1945 – 2010) Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Today I sat with two Elders in my community – two Grandmothers.  Both of these designations, elder and grandmother, carry ambiguous valence in a culture (mine) so taken with… Read More

Libya, a First Draft, and Pondering Truth

Back in the 2000, my friend Amy Schutzer published a novel she titled Undertow http://www.calyxpress.org/books.html.  She considered another title:  What Version of the Truth Do We Tell? I’ve just finished the first draft of 100 Voices:  Americans Talk about Change. Really!  The first draft toward publication in September, 2011.  That’s amazing enough, but the reason I mention it here has to do with truth.  It has to do with the incredible candor… Read More


I don’t remember exactly the year.  Maybe it was 1979.  Probably summer, but more likely spring since summer in Baton Rough, LA can be beyond the capacity of all but its own hearty inhabitants to survive.  There was the protection of the stately oaks dripping with Spanish moss.  Whatever the season it was mild enough to leave untroubled the breathlessly fine fabrics and careful protocol involved to make the wedding as glitteringly… Read More

March Forth!

I’m not sure the first time I realized this day, March 4, is the only day of the year that doubles as a poem.  Poetry is, by nature an illusive combination of feeling and fact.  It is mysterious, powerfully so.  It is anchored in words, also pretty imprecise when it comes down to it.  There is certainly reality in it; otherwise poetry would never catch our attention at all, but it’s bigger… Read More