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Blogger Andrea Ashima's Interview with D.

Russel Micnhimer
He leads a retired life pursuing his archaeological interests along with spending an increasing
amount of time writing new poetry and retrieving poems from the hundreds of notebooks he kept
over the years. D. Russel Micnhimer has been writing poetry for forty five years while working
at a variety of jobs and traveling throughout the world pursuing his interests in archaeology and
rock art. His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies including Camel Saloon,
Destiny Poets, Mad Swirl, Resonance and Colors of Refuge, etc. He is the author of several
books on rock art, fiction and poetry including Leaves and Pebbles, Lotus Mirage, a collection of
52 new ghazals and Notes to Be Left with the Gatekeeper, published by Global Fraternity of
Poets for which he has been bestowed with Poet Laureate.

Presently, he lives in a secluded cabin with a two hundred mile view of the snow capped Cascade
Mountains out the front window in Central Oregon and an approximately seven thousand volume
library he has acquired through the years. He leads a retired life pursuing his archaeological
interests along with spending an increasing amount of time writing new poetry and retrieving
poems from the hundreds of notebooks he kept over the years.

Andrea Ashima: Thank you so much, Mr. Micnhimer, for agreeing to answer some questions
that I always wanted to ask since I first got a chance to read some of your poems that are part of
your book These Days And Nights-A Universal Peace Evocation and loved them. You write
poems, plays, novels, fiction. What do you enjoy writing most?

D. Russel Micnhimer: After trying my hand at many other kinds of writing, including reporting
and article writing, I would have to say that poetry gives me the most pleasure to write. I think it
is the freedom to play with language, rather than using it for a purpose that makes me feel that
way. I made a living writing advertising contracts and ad copy for 30 plus years so that was a
very repetitious form of writing that involved little creativity, but it paid the bills. Recently I have
been getting paid to write a couple of blog posts a month, so that is a relatively new genre of
writing that I enjoy somewhat, but not nearly as much as poetry.

Andrea Ashima: When did you start writing and what inspired you to do so?

D. Russel Micnhimer: I grew up on a family farm with animals to take care of, gardening,
irrigating and many other endless physical tasks to do from the time I was about eight. From
there I joined the Marine Corps which involved some very hard physical tasks, like running
twenty miles with a 30 pound knapsack and an 8 pound rifle. So I very consciously, just before I
got out of the service, asked myself what I wanted to do. I decided that I had plenty of physical
labor so some how I reasoned that a pencil was about the lightest tool one could wield and
perhaps make a living. So I started writing long letters and poems to my girlfriend. So I guess to
answer your question, it was either laziness or lovetake your pick.

Willingly Marooned
I half awaken on an island half way between world of real and world of dream
It is on no map, no chart marks its anchor amongst the waves of flexing tides.
I came from some where in a consensual sea with borders long upon agreed
There is a land and womb from which I emerged, in records it is well marked.
I gaze around searching for that key that will open mystery of where I am
To me, show if it is wine dark surrrounding sea or some land invisible afar.
And then I hear your voice and hope for rescue rises from within me new
Voice, though from afar, seems near and speaks with tone to be believed.
I do not ask from whence you come or what realm creates your words
But I cannot not listen to songs your voice plays on strings of my heart .
With each listen to your songs, my heart wish to escape island grows less
Your words are sweetness that sustains growth; we become what we think.

Andrea Ashima: Tell us something about your childhood. What kind of books did you read and
who were your favorite writers?

D. Russel Micnhimer: I, as well as my two brothers and sister, were very fortunate that we had
a mother who read to us nearly every evening from the time we were small. That lead to a great
love of reading and since I had been exposed to language in that way, I dont remember having
any trouble learning to read and from then on I read everything I was able to and could get my
hands on. Comic books were big and all the neighbor kids had some too, so there were always
stacks of those around.

By the time I was in sixth grade I was reading many books on a huge variety of subjects. I
remember there was a Landmark Series of books that had books about nearly any person or
historical occasion you can imagine. Then in early high school I discovered mysteries and I read
everyone of those I could find. There was a small, but big by my experience, county library and
we got to go there once a week and check out as many books as we thought we could read in a
week. That was wonderful. When I ran out of mysteries, I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs
Mars series which were the first science fiction I read. That set me on a lifelong love of that
genre and when I read these days it is usually science fiction. Burroughs is still among my
favorite writers. Somewhere in all that I managed to read many of the classics like Swiss Family
Robinson, Kidnapped, Moby Dick and the like.

Andrea Ashima: You have traveled a lot, not only in America but all around the world. How
has it affected your writing?

D. Russel Micnhimer: Although I attempted to keep travel journals, I was really only successful
by doing it religiously during the four months I spent in Peru. I think that by traveling, it
somehow is hard to describe, de-regionalized my voice. By hearing many different languages in
many different environments among many cultures it some how infused my language with a
greater degree of flexibility that enable it to be understood by a wider spectrum of people. That is
a great question, but a difficult one to answer.

Andrea Ashima: Did you visit India during your travels? Tell us something about your
experience?

D. Russel Micnhimer: I spent about six weeks in India, mostly the kind of central part. I visited
innumerable temples of all kinds, particularly the more ancient ones (archaeology is an intense
interest of mine.) The caves of Ellora were extremely impressive. I am as a rule a country boy
who doesnt much like urban crowds. So the over all impression of traveling there was getting
rid of hundreds of cab drivers, trying to find quiet places to sleep and trying to find cold beer.

That is probably not a very fair way of characterizing my travels there as there were many
pleasant experiences as well. I once went out walking around one night and kind of wandered
into two weddings from two different religions and was treated at both as an honorable guest.
Some where there are someones wedding pictures with me right in there smiling with the bride
and groom!

I think what I liked most was the endless variety of everything, everywhere, all the time. I love
variety and in India one could never exhaust that I think.

For Your Smiles I Long A Ghazal

How hours grow long as for your smiles I long


Minutes turn to days while for your smiles I long
Suddenly season is upon us when sun lingers most
A moment without is forever, for your smiles I long
A thousand li I walk toward you in my dreams
Horizons grow no closer when for your smiles I long
Imagined wings soar me to unimagined heights
None high enough to mirror for your smiles I long
Toward all faces of the wind I look in search
Of traces in furled grasses, for your smiles I long
In all rustling of leaves, long hear my voice cry out
Will never grow parched as for your smile I long.

Andrea Ashima: You have done extensive research on rock art and written many books and
papers. How did two such different hobbies develop?

D. Russel Micnhimer: Rock art had been on the periphery of many archaeology pursuits for a
long time but when I learned that Oregon, the state where I live had over two hundred sites, most
of them in very remote wild places and I started visiting them, I realized that few had ever been
to most of the sites. So I built a website that eventually ended up with nearly 13.000 photos on
it. (Http://www.oregonrockart.com) My research and ability to write allowed me to share the
experience with others in a number of written forms including a couple of books on the subject.
(http://meaningofrockart.com/)

And you know, all these various ways I employ writing are still a lot less physical work than
cleaning the barn or humping a pack and a rifle.
Andrea Ashima: What would you tell your younger self if you could travel back?

D. Russel Micnhimer: Many things of course, but among them about writing I would say do it
more. Make it more of a steady habit and make it complete whenever possible because for me
going back to poems I don't complete at the time is nearly impossible. They are born of the
moment and getting back to such inspired moments, for me at least, is all but impossible. Devise
the best system you are able to keep track of what you writethat is easier these days with
computersotherwise you end up with huge piles of paper that it becomes a real task to sort out
later. But mostly I would say again as I learned early on from Joseph Campbell, Follow your
bliss. And write about the life you create from that constantly. Oh, and take responsibility for
the creation of your life much earlier. Develop a sense of sharing of the beauty and inspiration
you find as early on as possible; I derive much joy when I know my sharing has been genuine
with someone else. Oh and probably, listen more and talk less.

Andrea Ashima: Any words for budding writers?

D. Russel Micnhimer: Anyone can profess to be a poet or a writer. The thing that separates the
real ones from the rest is that they write. Write, write, write and then write some more. That and
study the craft. At least that has been my experience. Reading and listening to other poets is
something I include in that process of learning. Take note of what you like. Few find their own
voice over night; some never do but if you don't keep writing it is guaranteed you never will.
Remember too that there is not an editor who is going to come around and ask if you have a box
of poetry under the bed that you would like to share. So share it every chance you get.

Andrea Ashima is a blogger who loves to read and review books and movies. When she is not
reading or watching movies, she likes to listen to music, watch ballet and conduct gastronomic
experiments. You can check out her blog at www.princessperceptions.wordpress.com
Review of Anne Whitehouse's Meteor Shower
A Review of Anne Whitehouse's Meteor Shower, Poetry Collection
Published in 2016 by Dos Madres Press, Inc.

When Anne Whitehouse submitted a small collection of poems for The Basil O' Flaherty, I asked
if we could put her work in our Memoir section. Whitehouse has both a poetic and narrative way
of recording her words that they seem like carefully sculpted columns and articles rather than
regular poems.

Most of the work in her new collection, I am led to believe, are first-hand accounts. By far,
"Calligraphies," winner of the 2016 Songs of Eretz poetry prize, is this collection's shining star,
or all-star. This, however much it sings like a first-person account, is not one. The poem is about
a calligrapher in the old days in China, but the poet was born in Alabama and grew up in the civil
rights movement. There is no way that her father is this calligrapher, but I really believed that the
poet was this man's son. Only after I finished reading the poem did I realize No, that isn't
possible. You know who wrote this.

There are many other hard-working team players in this collection with "Calligraphies," though.
One other strong contender is "My Cuba," a piece about visiting your grandparents' homeland, as
well as "Less Impact," a lyrical poem about "dissolving / into the air."

This collection is full of powerful lines, including, "I thought, if only I could play piano / the way
I felt, I'd be worth listening to!" Each of these memorable lines plays a role in building a winning
work of literature that reads very much like a diary of someone coming of age and continuing to
grow.

"Story of a Dress" is a perfect example of this. This poem is about giving up something you love
for your daughter. It is about more than this though, because it is also about the art of gift giving
and hoping something you moved on from brings joy to someone else.

Meteor Showers is a poetry collection well-worth reading, with room to dig deeper into each
poem.

"/ and the next morning the sun / did the same stunt in the same place."

VIEW HER WORK IN OUR MARCH 2016 MEMOIR/ESSAY ARCHIVES HERE