Sep. 23, 2010


by Richard Newman

I like my hometown more
the longer I'm away.
Memories, like trick candles,
flicker as I pull in.

The longer I've been away
the less I recognize. Stars
flicker as I pull in.
Where are the woods and fields?

I barely recognize the stars.
Home is where
my boyhood woods and fields
now offer beautiful new homes.

Home is where they said
Leave now so we might miss you someday.
The beautiful new homes say
We're better off since you left.

We might miss you someday
yes, that would be my wish.
Home is where they're better off since you left.
Blow into town and blow right out.

Yes, that would be my wish-
that I liked my hometown more.
Blow through town. Blow out
memories like trick candles.

"Home" by Richard Newman, from Domestic Fugues. © Steel Toe Books, 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Today is the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox, where the sun is directly above the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal. The autumnal equinox occurred early this morning at 3:09 UTC, Coordinated Universal Time. But here in America, the equinox occurred last night, at 11:09 on the East Coast.

On this day in 1852, 24-year-old Tolstoy (books by this author) wrote in his diary: "Went for a ride with the dogs, had a dull time, slept, killed a pheasant, considered the scheme of my novel, and began to write the same. Must make an effort to overcome indolence."

Nathaniel Hawthorne (books by this author) said, "I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."

It's the birthday of the dramatic poet Euripides, (books by this author) who according to legend was born on the Greek island of Salamis in 480 B.C.E. Euripides was made fun of by his contemporaries because he liked solitude — a quality not valued at the time — and went off to write in a large, 10-chambered cave now known as the Cave of Euripides, which was rediscovered by archaeologists in 1997. But his tragedies like Medea, The Bacchae,and Alcestis were hugely influential on generations of playwrights — especially in classical Rome and in 17th-century France — and remain popular to this day.

It's the birthday of novelist Jerry B. Jenkins, (books by this author) born in Kalamazoo, Michigan (1949), who along with Tim LaHaye, an evangelical preacher, wrote the 15 novels of the Left Behind series about the rapture, which were all huge best-sellers.

It's the birthday of singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen, born in Freehold, New Jersey (1949). He was a working-class kid, his father taking odd jobs, his mother working as a secretary to support the family. He didn't do well in school, and didn't seem to have much ambition. Then one day, he saw Elvis Presley on TV and that inspired him to scrape together $18 to buy a battered secondhand guitar. By the time he was 14, he was playing in local bands on the bar circuit.

Springsteen was the leader of a series of hard rock bands with names like the Rogues, the Castiles, the Steel Mill, and Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. He played at private parties, firemen's balls, trailer parks, prisons, state mental hospitals, a rollerdrome, and even a shopping center parking lot. His first album, Greetings from Asbury Park (1973), was a huge hit.

It was on this day in 1806 that the Lewis and Clark Expedition returned to St Louis, two and a half years after they had left. There were only about 1,000 people living in St. Louis at the time, and almost all of them were standing on the riverbank, cheering, to greet Lewis and Clark when they paddled down the Missouri River.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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