Peddling Peace

Outside my window, light fades on another Memorial Day in the good, old USA. For some of us this day has been the impetus for gatherings, grilling, and the like. Others, have dealt with more horror than holiday, revisiting memories, casualties of war, which forever change lives.

For many generations my family has escaped the worst, fortunate to have our military members return unscathed—at least from outward appearances. Me, well I’m a peacenik, not exactly surprising of an author, filling my slot as the stereotype which includes artists, actors, academicians, and the host of liberal arts graduates. Little did I know, decades past, sitting in my Latin Literature in Translation class, that ‘liberal’ would become a slur to millions, reduced to the likes of a four-letter word in the coming millennium.

We’re a warring nation. I get it. Weapons manufacturing, all sorts of armaments, are the industry keeping us solvent as a country. Not my mission to change the minds of the fervent, those who ‘love the smell of napalm in the morning’ (google it if you don’t know). My question is, at what point did we give up on the possibility of peace?

Start small, maybe a national holiday—Imagine Peace Day. Too much? You say it would make us look weak around the world? Or that the slightest nod to peace dishonors the sacrifice of our fallen? If those be the primary objections, I am not prepared to argue against such stabs at logic.

When I became old enough to traipse around Main Street unaccompanied by parents, I did lots of window shopping at a store which featured trendy items, 1960s items, and not vintage at the time. For whatever reason I became enamored with the peace sign in its many configurations. And more than any item in the window, I lusted after an embroidered patch featuring a caricature of then Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, his right hand held high, fingers arranged in the iconic peace message. Not that I had any particular place for my mom to stitch the patch, I simply had to have it.

That fascination with peace symbols can be witnessed on my Pinterest page, where a board dedicated to ‘Peace, Please’ contains more than three thousand images. Somehow, I cannot satiate my appetite for not only the imagery, but also the hope for peace, despite human proclivity for fighting. Most disturbing to me is the thought that peace may not be given even cursory consideration by sizable groups of warmongering fellow humans, the might-makes-right set.

Who knows, maybe diplomacy will make a comeback. Maybe we will regain admiration for thoughtful government officials who resolve differences with words. But the bigger obstacle to overcome: Can Hollywood figure out a way to glorify the wisdom of dialogue and peaceful accord on the screen, selling civility at the box office? Cue in the dramatic music as the cameras zoom in to show a vast delegation of world leaders, pens in hand, set to sign an international peace agreement.

It could happen. Right?

 

Caught in the Curve

A few cycles of seasons and I will be writing the number ‘60’ in the age blank on documents. I don’t really mind. ‘Better alive and old, than dead,’ as my young brother told our great-grandmother when she complained of the aging process. But at some point, based in part on what I observed of the time period when my brothers and I couldn’t fully appreciate having living great-grandparents, is that by now I would have pretty much reached the straightaway at the end of life’s learning curve.

    Not so. Not even close, because this ‘new’ electronic age has extended the curve infinitely. The boy lying on his belly in the old living room, watching Spock and Kirk talk into handheld, remote communication devices, was actually glimpsing a preview of his own adult world. From grandmothers who never drove, to cars which drive and parallel park themselves, every day presents the challenge of keep up, or be forever left behind in this brave, new world.

    My latest hurdle came a few weeks ago in the form of Instagram. At the insistence of my web designer, young and riding the crest of the technology wave, I stepped into a heaping pile of newness. And what generations that followed mine fail to grasp, is that I was not born with the intuition they inordinately possess when it comes to all things with buttons and screens.

   Diligently, I concentrated to retain the multiple instructions and blazing keystrokes required to further my social media presence. But failures innumerable threatened to bring the experiment to an explosive end. The process—take one of the photos saved on my phone, employ the Canva website to add a few of my words atop the image, copy and paste a string of hashtag cues beneath my creation, then post it to Instagram—sounds like a narrative small children could grasp. Instead, the task amounted to a corollary for the proverbial ‘the devil’s in the details’ adage.

    Luckily, I don’t know when to quit. Though I can’t explain how it happens, varying the procedure each time I put up a post, in the end, snippets from my writings now encircle the globe. And people are reading and commenting, arousing smiles on the face of this aging hippy online. So, if any are inclined to glimpse a wider view of my mind in print, I kept it simple to find, employing my straightforward label of choice: evanwilliamsauthor. If anything, I’m consistent.

Write on, y’all!

Instilled

“Why would anyone want to farm?”

    The question’s inference related to the past decade (or three), of unstable weather in my native Western North Carolina, where pattern is no longer a viable term when discussing weather. More applicable is chaos.

    Every farmer is part climatologist. No formal training, to be sure. More like a lifetime of cumulative weather observance, going so far as to keep mounting journals for years. Maybe the effort a small measure of feeling some control over situations where interpreting Mother Nature can mean the difference between bountiful harvest, or crop failure.

    Presented with the question, my simple answer involved the huge financial investment of land and equipment required of modern farming. Not an easy maneuver to extricate oneself from such an operation.

    My family has been growing apples going back to the time of the Thirteen Colonies. The deeper answer to the question of committing to farming is one of tradition for me. But more than habit, the daily involvement in a family business has a way of worming itself into the bloodstream. In extreme cases, infected initiates are seemingly unable to entertain any other career options. In my own case, I became incurable by age six.

    Why not? It follows logically that if a youngster looks up to both parents and grandparents, and observes them working in the apple orchard countless hours, that child is inclined to mimic the tendency. Additionally there is the mantle of responsibility to continue the legacy.

    As a less moon-eyed adult, I still view the production of food for others, to be a noble profession—right alongside teaching, building, healthcare, and more. Farming fills a fundamental need.

    Though I lease out my commercial orchard these days, allowing more time for writing, I maintain direct connection to my roots through a large collection of heirloom apple trees. Same legacy, different approach, with an emphasis on fruit production without pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or petro-chemical fertilizers. Reverting back to ancient varieties which I grafted to grow into the massive, full-sized trees of my youth, the future giants will still be bearing flavorful fruit one hundred years from now. All of which circles back to the original question.

    ‘Why would anyone want to farm?’ is a consideration which I hope my children and grandchildren will seriously ponder. Given this crucial time when population growth is out-pacing food production, will any of them choose to take on my heirloom orchard, embrace the vicisitudes of weather, and keep the legacy alive?

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my website. Rather than be limited to a name in print, I’ve chosen to come off the page, and share myself, and craft, with readers. The old stereotype, of a hermit-like author, eventually emerging with a completed manuscript, is not compatible with our strong desire to be electronically connected to the world, in real time. We crave information, with an eye for process, in addition to the finished project.

In the publishing business, as it pertains to me, major happenings may not occur with the latest Washington-scandal frequency, but when book news does break, the pace is rapid. Prime example: Spring 2019, SFK Publishing, based in Atlanta, Georgia, will be releasing my new novel, RIPPLES. Prior to the official launch, my book will be available for pre-sales, a schedule of appearances for my signings and readings will be listed, and followers may even be asked to voice their opinion on the final cover selection.

Meanwhile, follow my ongoing blog postings, updates, excerpts, and whatever miscellanea I feel compelled to share. Above all, abundant thanks for taking interest in my world.

 

Read on,

Evan