A Sensuous, Wonderful New Poem From Dick Jones

It’s called Morgan, Mulligan and Me. Go now, and read it, and while you’re reading, listen to the marvelous vintage recording of My Funny Valentine by the Gerry Mulligan quartet. Then (and here is the most important part), listen to Dick reading his poem. He provides a sound file at the end of the poem.

Add some enchantment to your Monday morning, kids.

Ever Dreamed of Visiting Antarctica?

Gentoo penguin and ice berg at Base Brown, Antarctica (photo by Gullible)

FRIEND AND FELLOW BLOGGER, GULLIBLE, not only dreamed it, she achieved it last November. And now, she’s interwoven the experience and photographs from her own comfortable, but nonetheless thrilling, modern-day expedition with riveting narrative of Sir Ernest Shackleton, his ship The Endurance and its crew, and their harrowing, heroic exploits in Antarctica.

It’s an exciting, 30 chapter (plus Afterward) read. The photographs are fabulous. If it doesn’t stir within you a desire to go adventuring, better check your pulse to be sure there is one.

Here is a link to get you started:  The Antarctic Journals, Chapter 8 by Gullible (pen name of Alaska writer Jeanne Wait Follett).

Gentoo penguins in Antarctica (photo by Gullible)
Gentoo penguins in Antarctica (photo by Gullible)

My Favorite Armchair-Travel Guide

It’s Gullible’s Travels: Rambling and writing through life without an itinerary. Gullible is the pen name of Alaska writer Jeanne Follett. She is a 70-year-old,  5′ 2″ dynamo who wrote her first blog post at Gullible’s Travels on April 12, 2008. Gullible busts the cliché of the sedentary little old lady all to hell and gone.

Photo from Gullible's Travels blog -- Gullible about to begin her July, 2011 hiking adventure on Alaska's Resurrection Trail

Here’s a partial list of Gullible’s travels from 2008 through 2011 (click on the highlighted links to take the trip along with her via word and photos):

Gullible has tantalized readers with hints that she may go on a trip this November to Antarctica to retrace Ernest Shackleton’s voyage in the Endurance to Antarctica. She calls Alfred Lansing’s book, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, one of the world’s great adventure tales. My copy arrived in the mail this week and I am looking forward to reading it and following along — from my armchair –as Gullible sets sail on yet another adventure.

Photo from Gullible's Travels blog of Gullible and her buddy Pablo

Now, you might think that in-between all that travel, Gullible turns into  a lady of leisure. Better toss out every single one of your pre-conceived notions of today’s 70-year-olds. Between her litter-picking volunteer obsession work, and chopping wood for the winter, she subs for the mail carrier sometimes (not as easy as it sounds on Alaska’s treacherous, albeit spectacular, roads), spends time as a house sitter for some friends at Halibut Cove, surely one of the most pristine and beautiful spots on earth, and generally chronicles life in Moose Pass, Alaska and its environs from the perspective of a person who has a fierce love and respect for the land, it’s creatures and the folks who live there.

Oh, and the idea that the “older generation” isn’t tech savvy? You can banish that out-dated chestnut, too. Gullible is an early adopter of technology. I know she has an iPad, a Kindle, a desktop, laptop, digital cameras and who knows what other high-tech gadgets. And, of course, she blogs.

Jeanne (aka Gullible) and I met in an online writing class in 2008. Gotta love serendipity.

Gullibles Travels

Gullible with Koala Jeanne Waite Follett writes her blog, Gullible’s Travels, from her home near Moose Pass, Alaska. Gullible’s Travels is the best blog of place I have ever read (and I’ve read many). Jeanne’s background as a journalist, combined with a big heart and writerly sensibilities combine to bring us a great warm stew of stories from a climate with winters below 27 degrees Farenheit.

On the sidebar of her blog, Jeanne has a suggestion for readers: “Buckle your seat belts and hang on to the padded roll bar. You never know where Gullible’s muse will take you as she explores her sixty-plus years in Alaska.”

When I first met Buck more than 27 years ago, he told me essentially the same thing:  “Keep your seatbelt buckled, sweetheart. It’s going to be a wild ride.”

He was right! So, when I started reading Jeanne’s blog from her very first post, “Ready or Not, Here I Am,” in April of 2008, I already had my seatbelt buckled and was hanging on to the padded roll bar.

Good thing, too. Almost 300 posts later,  I’ve read along as Gully (aka Jeanne) travelled to the Australian outback (where she took an early morning hot air balloon ride and an afternoon camel ride), New Zealand and Fiji, retold her experience running the Iditarod with her own dog team, went on a cruiseship writer’s conference, and many more adventures.

She cuts her own firewood with a chainsaw, kayacs, housesits in Halibut Cove for friends, is tough as a warthog and tender as the inside of a puppy’s ear.

Click here to see some of the reasons Gully volunteers to pick up roadside trash.

Or here to see why Gully is the best friend I never knew I had, even if (or maybe especially because) she pokes fun at me sometimes.

Did I mention she has a 37 year old parrot named Pablo? Click here for “An Evening with Pablo.”

I’m worn out from reading and a little stunned to see the body of work Jeanne (and her Muse) have created since April of 2008. Go now,  see for yourself, and add Gullible’s Travels to your own blogroll. Otherwise, you’ll be hopelessly behind.

I’ll leave you with some of Jeanne’s own words, along with one of her photographs taken recently at Trail Lake near Moose Pass.

 

 “I believe I leave a piece of myself with every person with whom I communicate, at every place I visit, in everything I do. And, I take a piece of that person, that place, that thing with me. Every second, every minute of my days, some sublime abacus tallies up the sum of those pieces, and I am the better, the richer, for it.” Jeanne Wait Follett

 

 

Gullible's photo near Moose Pass

 

Deep within the heart and soul of every person, I believe, is an innate yearning to leave a mark upon the world. Large or small, that mark is meant to say, “I was here. In this way, I mattered.” from The Aussie Journals, Ch. 13, “Kilroy was Here,”(it’s just below the “Sounds of Slilence” post) by Jeanne Wait Follett, posted June 29, 2008

 

Pitcherlady

I think one reason certain photographers make such fine writers is that they see with an unblinking eye. Susan Adcock is such a photographer and writer. Sometimes she turns that lens inward, too.

Go here to read Susan's "Skoal Vodka" piece.

Susan is a professional photographer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She has several blogs, each of which you can access from the "mother" blog: Pitcherlady. Susan's blog, Carny Dog, is especially near and dear to my heart. Go there, too, and read about Stella, the carny-born, bilingual, Mexican-American pit bull dog who adopted Susan.

Talk at the Table

If you haven't read and explored Deb's Talk at the Table blog yet, you have been depriving yourself of some of the best writing around. I don't say this lightly.

Go now.

Read slowly.

Savor her meaning-laden words.

 

Deb lives in Ontario, Canada. Her own description of "Talk at the Table" follows:

Married to my best friend, mother to one son and four daughters. This blog is dedicated to my late paternal grandmother . I'm sure she is watching over us and would have much advice. In trying to understand the past , much is revealed about the present , and increases the joys and hopes for the future.