A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper personal column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in more than 130 countries.-- My metaphor--Sunrise on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A quarter century of memories

Journalism Department 1990 yearbook photo
Woody Gaddis (RIP), Lu Hollander, Vista secretary Nancy Brown, secretary Virginia Dodson, advertising adjunct Susan Gonders, Dennie Hall
Mark Hanebutt, Terry Clark, Charles Simmons
"How many students have you had?" asked a friend and fellow journalist  earlier this year.
I started estimating and I know it's been more than 4,000, probably close to 5,000. 
Part of that hit home this week when the UCO College of Liberal Arts presented me and two other faculty members with 25-year-pens.
A quarter century.
My student numbers include four previous years at OSU, before I came to UCO in 1990 as chairman of the Journalism Department.
Geezer, 2015
So many miles and memories. Tragedies and triumphs. Discoveries and disappointments. Teaching and turmoil. Friends and faculty. Students and survival. Wonder and wrinkles. Administrators  and meetings. Red tape and politics. Change and challenges. Successes and failures. Remarks and regrets. Travels and travail.
I dare not try to mention names of friends and students and experiences. Too many.
But I'm thankful...my students and former students reinforce that every day. My children and grandchildren. The ups and downs of a personal journey.
The campus, technology, the people, Oklahoma, America and the world have all changed in 25 years. My current students were not alive when I started at UCO. No cell phones, no internet, few computers. We started with five faculty members. There are now 22 in merged departments.
So here I am, a "geezer" as one fav ex-student calls me, an "old-dog," a "silver back," but not a "dinosaur." Or, as in the closing words of "Gladiator," "Not yet."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Out here is the sky..."

So wrote Willa Cather in "Death Comes for the Archbishop." If you live in Oklahoma, on the Great Plains, you gotta be fascinated by the sky.
First storm of the season arriving now...thunder, lightning, threat of hail, wind, threat of tornadoes, and beautiful clouds.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

San Angelo Sojourn

A week ago, in San Angelo, with Vance and Kerin Clark
after the girls were in bed.
 A favorite photo...Sarah, Katherine and Neysa heading for a playground, at San Angelo State Park.

Energy galore.

Smiling Clarks.

 Another favorite photo.

Poetry of eternity and Oklahoma

When you find writers, artists and others  you should have known about but missed out.
I hate the overused word "Awesome," but that's my reaction to the worlds opened by "From the Extinct Volcano A Bird of Paradise" by Oklahoman Carter Revard.
Published by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish's Mongrel Empire Press, this 84-page book of poetry and thought goes beyond my words to tell you about.  
It is deep.
Revard is an nationally-acclaimed Osage scholar, writer and poet. BA, Oxford (That's England). Ph.D., Yale. Why am I now just learning about him? Click the link on him  and you'll be stunned.
Yet he is as Okie as you can be. It's a book of storytelling, and more because it opens you to the Native American view of the universe, existences and spirituality where all life is united.
The poems reflect his  belief that song, speech, poetry and community making are all linked.
This author will put you in touch with eternity and  Oklahoma. This book is a coup for Mongrel Empire Press. Every time I read part of it, I discover something new, about myself, about Oklahoma, about existence. There is science, mythology, literature, and the author's essays all intertwined.
Consider a few titles, author's comments,  and nuggets.
Titles--Dancing with Dinosaurs; In Chigger Heaven; Driving in Oklahoma; Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks; Deer Mice Singing Up Parnassus.
Author's comments--
  • "I suspect singing began from weeping and from laughing, turned into choral tragedy and comedy, kept time with rhythms and rhymes of tropical sunlight and starlight...."
  • "Without song, no nesting."
  • "I wished once again that the anthropologists who keep digging in the earth for our bones would listen for our songs in the air. We are extinct as dinosaurs, are are alive as birds."
  • From "Dopplegangers: A Nativity Ode"--
In this dark house there are no
stars but there is song, the hands
have warmed a bottle, there is milk,..."
  • From "In Chigger Heaven"--"We grew up crossing
the bluestem meadow full of flowers
in May, when butterflies were coming out to meet
the flowers at last as equals,...."
  • From "Living in the Holy Land" (at St. Louis for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial)--
"Forty score and seven years ago, 
give or take a few Heavenly Days,
our Osage forebears brought forth
on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to
the proposition that all beings are created equal."
  • From "Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks"--
"The storm's left
       this fresh blue sky, over
Salt Creek running brown
and quick and a huge tiger
    swallowtail tasting the brilliant
orange flowers beside our trail....
"Makes me wonder,
 if archaeologists should ever dig these prints
    with possum's here, whether they'll see
the winged beings who moved
         in brightness near us, leaving no tracks except
             in flowers and
      these winged words."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

135 countries!

This blog has reached readers in 135 total countries today, when someone from the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis clicked on. Wow. May will be the seventh birthday of  Coffee with Clark...I had no idea.
Here's the record of countries with new readers in the last 10 months:
5-14--El Salvador
1-23-15--Netherlands Antilles
3-5-15--St. Kitts and Nevis
I was  trying to do a short post about each country and its flag for a while, and I'm way behind.
Here are the three countries' flags from this year:

Netherlands Antilles

St. Kitts & Nevis

I note on this cold March day that they're all from wonderful warm areas of the world, with beaches and great scenery. Sigh.

Consider these stats of where the blog readers come from:
Europe--47 countries
Africa--29 countries
Asia--18 countries
South America--10 countries
Caribbean--9 countries
Central America--8 countries
Oceana--8 countries
North America--3 countries
Indian Ocean--2 countries

Footnote: Notice the flag counter gadget on the blog doesn't include that many countries. I only added it this year.