You Will Not Regret The Trip


{(Tech Note:
I have brought this posting to the front of the blog, republishing it here, instead of earlier in the stack where it was. It's original posting date, which was accurate, was spring 2017. Speaking technically, I did that by changing its posting date to Now when I am cutting and pasting this note to you. My apologies for any confusion.)}

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"Foreword to Documents For The Reader” by Deborah Jarvis.
(This is a foreword to a story book written by Riley.)

A real kind of writer does exist, one who transcends the word slavery of the student and the easy slide of writing for pleasure. One who is in the passionate embrace of their muse, in it fully, one for whom that lovemaking calls forth an issue that is joy for the writer and the reader too. This writer seldom spells their meaning out, instead allowing the reader space to contemplate meanings.

For a collection of works like this it's hard to write an introduction, hard to capture such an immortal mind on a page of mortal words. I thought it would be simple when Stone approached me for an introduction to this volume. I thought: This should be simple, seeing that I've known him for years. I've read his works, had him read my future and fortune multiple times. It should be easy. Then after reading the book I took up writing several times but could not get a grasp on how to do it.

Like for a beginning student burdened by words, the words had to be dragged onto the page and sense had to be beaten into them. They would not flow. I thought, I'm a writer. What's wrong with me? I finally gave up for a long while. But then finally my muse woke me with a kick on a cool Saturday morning at five a.m. At long last I could write.

All writers depend on their muses to some extent. For some the muse is omnipresent. Stone has been on excellent terms with his muse for a long time, and it shows. Stone’s visual art is lovely but abstract – I am no lover of abstract art – yet his pictures speak to me in the same way his poetry does. Neither form speaks directly, both certainly are often unclear, but meaning does come clear if you look and look again.

There are no simple verses in this thin volume, not in the visual art or poems or stories. Of course Stone's tale of meeting the love of his life comes to mind.*** Perhaps this is a simple theme, and familiar, but here is actually a celebration of the union of souls long destined for each other. This becomes, in fact, the kind of love we all dream to have but never dare to speak beyond a whisper, for fear some god with beetled brow will show disfavor and deny us.

So open this book as the transcendent item that it is, dear reader. Walk through its pages then return here that much wiser, that much richer and, in all ways, more wholly and more truly you. You will not regret the trip. Along the way you will have witnessed at least some portion of what the muses can teach us in this modern age of reason and machines. You will have seen proof that underneath it all, and through it all, a sense of wonder is still moving.

*** Footnote: That paragraph is talking about a memoir love poem “The Fig Tree” which I put in both the slim “Documents For The Reader” and then the big “Tales Of Men And Women”. In my subsequent “Army Stories” book the memoir love poem's title appears as “Beauty”.
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Published on February 08, 2019 08:00
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Stone Riley's Shoebox

Stone Riley
A poet writing essays. Why the title? You know you keep a large size shoe box with all those creative ideas and suchlike stuff scribbled on the back of electric bill envelopes?
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