Tanya Ito dropped her go bag next to the woman. She was lying on the ground on her side, a broken branch protruding from her right abdomen. Tanya’s flashlight flicked over the area. There was blood, though not much, on her shirt, none on the ground. Most of the bleeding was going to be internal, Tanya thought.

Tanya had noticed the crash only by sheer luck. She was on her way back from harvesting some yarrow from a hillside up north, and was late coming home. A flash reflection of her headlights — a glimmer of chrome or window, or…

Creative Commons CC0 1.0

I recently finished my first novel, a part-time return to the career as a journalist and writer I left nearly 30 years ago. The past eight months have been some of the most incredible that I have experienced. Here’s what you want to know about it.

What kind of novel is it?

It’s a combination of mystery/suspense and fantasy, the two genres I’ve read and enjoyed most over the years. Written in the first person, the story began life as detective fiction, as I’ve always enjoyed characters such as Robert Parker’s Spenser, Nero Wolfe’s Archie Goodwin, and Lee Child’s Reacher. …

Over the years, I’ve borne willingly the laughter of many people over my interest in Esperanto. Usually it is some variation of “Who speaks *that*?” spoken a little condescendingly, referring to either the type of person who speaks it or the number of people who speak it.

I don’t know how many people speak Esperanto. Nobody does. A good guess? Two million. Will it ever be a dominant language on this planet? Doubtful. But that’s not necessary.

You see, Esperanto was conceived as a means for the common men and women of this world to speak to one another. You…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday I taught aikido class, and I found myself using language not frequently heard in a martial arts studio. As I was teaching the techniques, I was saying things like “welcome your attacker with open arms,” and “your attacker is your friend, here. Keep him close.”

Aikido translates to “The Way of Harmony,” or “The Way of Peace,” but that, in turn, does not translate into “turn the other cheek,” as we in Western cultures tend to think of as peacefulness. The peacemaker in aikido is not passive, but very active in converting an aggressive attack into an attacker thrown…

All in all, it was a difficult week, from the remarkably painful Kavanaugh hearings to my participation in many discussions on the issues, and being surprised all over again by the thoughtlessness, hate, greed and bigotry of my fellow Americans. It was worse for some I know, who relived their own sexual abuse through the story of Dr. Blasey Ford, and were stunned, as we all were, by the complete callousness of those to whom she told their story. Not to mention the childish tantrum of the perp attempting to assume the mantle of victimhood.

And then, my wife and…

Gun rights advocates by Elvert Barnes (Creative Commons 2.0)

I own a handgun, which I’ve shot many times on a shooting range. I don’t carry it regularly, or even have it out of its storage safe very often. For the most part, I don’t live the kind of life, or in a location, where I feel I need such a powerful weapon in my hands. I learned to shoot when I was 12, and at times in my life, I’ve worked in jobs where a gun was a background tool. Some of the farms I worked at kept a gun handy for taking care of varmints, as did one…

(Still Life with Coffee Pot Earthenware and Fruit — Vincent Van Gogh)

Fall is sneaking in the back door again. The window opened yesterday in the heat of the day is now letting in a decidedly cool breeze, falling over the sill and pooling on the floor, just enough to make my bare toes be the first to wake up, as I watch the coffee percolate.

I stand, patiently waiting for the pop of the percolator to stop, watching the water go from clear, to tea-colored, to the dark brown that tells me that it’s time to pour a cup. I give the grounds an extra minute to settle.

It was a…

Sensei’s brag wall at the Litchfield Hills Aikikai

I taught class today. In the stillness of the morning before students arrived, I took a picture of Sensei’s brag wall. She started this dojo 25 years ago; I became her student somewhere around 1998–99. Though I took a long break in between then and now, it was not to train at another dojo. And when I first came back to begin training, after an absence of many years, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was coming home again.

A dojo is a made of a complex mixture of the Sensei, their students, and the location. A sensei…

The Sara J. on the shore of Bantam Lake

I knew as I plopped the Sara J., our 14-foot kevlar canoe, on the sand of Town Beach that I might be getting in a little deep. The wind was not harsh, but fickle, as it gets on Bantam Lake, first blowing this way, then that, then dropping to nothing as opposing gradients of air momentarily intersect.

Though the winds weren’t overbearing, the Sara J. is not the most perfect of lake canoes, particularly with a single paddler. She’s got a fair rocker to her bottom, no keel to speak of, and is astonishingly lightweight for her size (at least…

(photo: wikimedia commons, CC 2.0)

I have a question for you, my good friend, actually several: Just how good of an American are you? Are you successful enough? Tall enough? Thin enough? White enough? How does your hair look? Do you have a pool and a new car?

Are you sensitive enough to be a proper woman, or strong enough to be a proper man? Are you the appropriate amount of straight/gay/queer? Are you angry enough? Do you care enough? Did you vote for her or for him?

Did you eat appropriately this morning for the food pyramid? …

Avery Jenkins

Aging and the warrior spirit. Aikido, martial arts, cycling, health, men, taoism, zen, chiropractic and acupuncture. It’s a big world. We should talk.

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