All of what I wrote below when I started this blog in 2012 is true, but as character, interests, and events evolve, I have, as I think of it, increasingly come into focus. I have become a Reiki Master, making official my long-standing interest in energy, how it flows or doesn’t, and how I can use it for healing.
When I am asked how my Reiki practice and my interest in war in general and the war in Vietnam in particular converge I say they are the same. I am not a war buff. I utterly lack an interest in battles and strategy. I see the flow of energy, how it surges forward, fueled by what is most often youthful male passion. I see it collide and explode, leaving wreckage in its wake. I see its longterm effects. I know that, later, I may be able to take the fragments of that energy and reweave them into something ‘re-human,’ something deeper, closer to myth and wisdom. That is my work now.
Whenever I join a writing group I introduce myself as a recovering academic. I was raised in an academic family with educational privileges – lots of books and music and travel – and I earned a doctorate in medieval art history. Underneath that culture, though, was a foundation of Southern story-telling. And there was something else, something more alive and menacing that was difficult to recognize beneath all the rationality: I had the ability to sense the presence of haunting memory.
As a child I did not know what to do with that gift. I did not even know I had it. I thought it was just life, the way things were. There were things people did not want to talk about – ok, fair enough, but it irritated me. I spent my growing up years being angry, bossy, and silenced. I carved out my own space in my room where I read and wrote and listened to the radio. I occupied border territory, boundary space, paradox, liminality.
I thought I wanted to study early Renaissance Italian art until I was in the Metropolitan Museum at Christmas and had a conversion experience to medieval art. I earned a doctorate mostly because my advisor was too startled by my thesis to reject it. It was not until I had left the academic life and started writing fiction that I saw that I was spending my life weaving my favorite themes into an interlace.
I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, a land of glaciers and wine. I love to garden and eat dark chocolate. I travel and then to come back home and think about it. I am an Aries and act it. The R. in my name is for Raglan. I carry a Moleskine notebook with me wherever I go. I am writing a novel.