Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I reached a milestone on Thursday when I put the first draft of the book in the hands of my publisher!! Whew! I think the hardest part is over -- grinding out page after page to make a coherent finished product -- at any rate I have a break for a month or two, while the publisher and the peer reviewers are reading it. They are supposed to read it with an expert eye to make suggestions about how it could best become a marketable book (and yes, there is a difference between what a writer wants to say and what readers want to know)

While they do the work I get to sit back and relax for a while. Then the next step begins, turning from a first draft to a finished product. And that requires a lot of detailed examination, because every extra comma or extra space could come out in the final product if I'm not careful.

Am so glad to be rid of it for a while !! I hope I don't "disown" it when it comes back to me. It is a little like having a child.


How much has changed since Emma Goldman spoke these words in July 1917, in the midst of WWI:

Who is the real patriot, or rather what is the kind of patriotism that we represent? The kind of patriotism we represent is the kind of ptriotism which loves America with open eyes. Our relation towards America is the same as the relation of a man who loves a woman, who is enchanted by her beauty and yet who cannot be blind to her defects. And so I wish to state here, in my own behalf and in behalf of hundreds of thousands whom you decry and state to be antipatriotic, that we love America. We love her beauty, we love her riches, we love her mountains and her forests, and above all we love the people who have produced her wealth and riches, who have created all her beauty, we love the dreamers and the philosophers and the thinkers who are giving America liberty. But that must not make us blind to the social faults of America. That connot make us deaf to the discords of America. That cannot compel us to be inarticulate to the terrible wrongs commited in the name of patriotism and in the name of the country.

We simply insist, regardless of all protests to the contrary, that this war is not a war for democracy. If it were a war for the purpose of making democracy safe for the world, we could say that democracy must first be safe for America before it can be safe for the world.

Emma Goldman, May 18, 1917
From the Emma Goldman Papers, University of California, Berkeley

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I'm not a church goer, but I made my way to church this holiday season, the Episcopal church I was brought up in. When it came time to recite the Nicene Creed, the words spilled from my mouth as though it had been days, and not decades, since I had last recited them: I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible ...

But WAIT A MINUTE. One God? The Father? A man? He made the earth? You've got to be kidding! How could I have arrived at this disconnect between the doctrine of my childhood and the carefully considered beliefs that I hold as a mature adult? No way can I believe that God is a single being, much less a man!!

I haven't thought much about spiritual matters in recent years, though I feel a wave of it welling up inside me. One of the external reasons for this is a book I'm reading: A new religious America : how a Christian courtry has become the worlds' most religiously diverse nation, by Diana Eck. Dr. Eck is the founder of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. In the book she proves the subtitle by giving example after example of how the, mostly invisible, religious diversity is slipping into this country's communities, not just in large cities but in smaller communities in every US state. The groups she profiles (unfortunately not comprehensive) -- Hindus, Sikhs, Moslems, and Buddhists -- have travelled a rough road here in the US, but many have triumphed, and that is what Eck concentrates on.

This is not a book about spiritual matters -- it is a work of sociology and qualitative research -- but there is enough in it about each religious doctrine to stimulate anyone's interest. It's one of the best books I read in 2005, and I'm going to close this posting now, so I can finish up the last few pages of this outstanding book.

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