non-fiction

the big lie

In modern times, Adolf Hitler was a big fan of the big lie. His writing on the topic in his Mein Kampf is exquisitely evil.

Lies are a propaganda tool. Think what Hitler and his propaganda henchman Joseph Goebbels could have done if they’d had television and social media.

Think what they did without them.

Hitler accused the Jews of using “the big lie” to blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German general Erich Ludendorff, a nationalist and anti-Semitic political leader.

Hitler claimed that they were – “inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

“It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X, according to a translation by James Murphy.

Jeffrey Herf, a distinguished professor of modern European history at the University of Maryland whose field is 20th Century Germany, maintains, according to Wikipedia, that Goebbels used the Big Lie to turn long-standing anti-Semitism into mass murder. The “big lie” went like this: Germany was besieged by “international Jewry” which started World War I. Jews held all the real power in Britain, Russia, and the U.S. Jews had begun a war of extermination against Germany so Germany had a duty and a right to annihilate the Jews in self-defense.

Now let’s look at a contemporary “big lie.”

In September of 2016 Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about investigations by media, including the Los Angeles Times, and by the NY State Attorney General that as early as the 1970s Exxon Mobil understood more about climate change than it had let on and had deliberately misled the public about it.

Bloomberg quotes environmentalist Bill McKibben, originator of the worldwide environmental organization, 350.org., saying, “Exxon helped organize the most consequential lie in human history.”

Exxon denies its culpability.

Meanwhile, Exxon’s investments in Russia to develop oil fields, were sidelined by sanctions slapped against Russia after it annexed Crimea and fomented war in Ukraine.

Now, Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon Mobil, serves as secretary of state and a climate change denier serves as head of the EPA.

The New York Times reported in December 2016 that Tillerson has opposed sanctions on Russia, which are the single greatest obstacle to foreign investment in that country. Russia has two enormous areas for new oil development, in the Barents Sea and a shale field in western Siberia. They’re essentially closed to development because of a lack of foreign capital and expertise. Exxon was poised to invest in both areas before the sanctions.

When it comes time once more for the slogan “drill, baby, drill,” I predict we’ll experience another round of attempts by the fossil fuel industries to debunk scientific facts. I see the denial of climate change by the U.S. Congress as simply a façade in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of its urgency—an excuse to enable further fossil fuel production and pollution by the oil and gas industry that pulls the strings of many a Congressional campaign for re-election. Congress and the current Administration already are rolling back clean air and water regulations vital to human health and the viability of life on planet Earth, crucial to us all regardless of our political positions.

Some of you may know that poison ivy and cockroaches thrive on a warming planet. Although I spent 30 years as a newspaper reporter, I now write poetry. I’ll close with my poem,

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.                                                  …Psalm 37: 35,36.

Who will say

I told you so

when all the bumblebees

and the last

lemur-sea lion-gorilla-black rhino-polar bear-humpback whale-snow leopard-chimpanzee-green turtle-spider monkey-giant panda-piping plover-staghorn coral-Sumatran tiger-emerald dragonfly-Asian elephant-monarch butterfly-indigo macaw-yellow-shouldered blackbird perish?

Who will say

I told you so

when oceans

swallow nations

when droughts

starve generations

when the last redwood falls?

Who will say

I told you so

when Sandys and Katrinas

obliterate cities

when wildfires

devour homes

melt forests like Icarus wings

leaving the land hollow and alone?

Here’s who—

Cockroach parks his

turbocharged V-8

and walks into a bar.

He says to Poison Ivy

ain’t life grand?

–Nan Lundeen copyright 2017

inspired by the turning of the wheel

Winter Solstice 2016 by Ron DeKett

There’s something about solstices and equinoxes that turns my creative mind to nature. My talented husband Ron DeKett wandered with his camera down the steep path behind our house to Love Creek at the bottom of the ravine we call ours. He found  beauty. (And below is a poem to accompany it). Happy Solstice!

Winter Solstice at Love Creek (2016)

Snow shouldering bare-limbed

shadows

flows down to a silent stream’s

mute beauty.

Is it enough

when trouble is too much

with us and both eyes sting

from hate’s rebuke?

It will have to be.

–Nan Lundeen

renewed respect

the house as night falls

Fellow writers, this summer, I am learning to respect and admire people with disabilities even more than I did before. I have a friend who has muscular dystrophy, lives in a big city, and succeeds in taking a city bus to work every day. I’ve been reminded of her pluck every day this summer while I am wheelchair-bound with a broken leg and compression fracture in my back. What challenges she faces for the rest of her life! I only have to survive this for 12 weeks.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges is mental. Most of the time, I have the eight walls of our living room and kitchen/dining room to look at. (My husband moved a bed into the living room for me).

Yet, there are blessings. My confinement presents its own entertainment. I have time to read books. A chipmunk’s antics viewed through our dining room window delights and inspired me to write a children’s story. When my accident happened and I came home from the hospital with a metal plate and screws holding my tibia plateau together, people emailed me—you’ll have plenty of time to write! The thing is: it’s really difficult to use a laptop lying down, and my painful back allowed for only very short sitting time. Only now, after 8 weeks, can I sit long enough to use the laptop for an hour or so. But, I learned I can still write using pen and paper. I wrote the chipmunk story in a small journal a good writing buddy gave me.

I’m discovering the fascinating world visible from our kitchen. There’s a little spider living in a windowsill that I have struck up a friendship with. He crawls around on the screen while I’m standing at the kitchen sink on one leg brushing my teeth.

But most exciting of all – I was sitting in my wheelchair staring out the window daydreaming when I saw a plant grow!! My grandson, Little Dude, and I had started flowers from seed in my sunroom early this spring. Some of them are morning glories which we planted in window boxes under the kitchen windows. One had been curling up tall enough to be visible from inside the house, and as I watched, it popped taller! I saw a plant grow! Maybe as much as a half inch.

I saw that as a miracle.

And it is one that never would have happened if my 80-pound granddog hadn’t crashed into me running full speed and laid me down on the ground on Memorial Day weekend.

So, I am grateful for miracles, and my friend who is spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair—my hat is off to you!

Happy writing, everybody!

Nan

www.nanlundeen.com

 

challenge met!

Front CoverThe Moo of Writing process worked for me. I wrote 30 poems in 30 days for a challenge thrown down by Local Gems Press. Those of us who participated in the chapbook contest have until May 5 to email the ms. to Local Gems. I sat each day with my Moo Stone for a short time, did deep breathing and meditation. Once I had the first line of the poem, I was off and running. I didn’t know whether I could produce a poem every day, and was thrilled to discover I could! Those who didn’t participate in the Local Gems contest, but would like to see their poems published here, please send them to me. Writers, we can accomplish more than we think we can! Happy writing and good luck with the contest.

Nan

 

nearing the end of a poem per day

Nesting Canada goose. Photo by Ron DeKett.
Nesting Canada goose. Photo by Ron DeKett.

Poets, how are you faring? We are on day 26 of writing a poem per day for national poetry month. So far, I’m 26 for 26, some of which I’m happy with, and some of which need tweaking. Moo of Writing has been working for me. When I relax and don’t try hard, the words flow. Some days I feel like this nesting mother goose waiting for eggs to hatch. How about you?

Happy writing!

Nan

last call!

Wood violet on woodland path at Paris Mountain. April 2014
Wood violet on woodland path at Paris Mountain. April 2014

Will you rise to the challenge of writing a poem a day during April? So far, five of us are in—Adamy Damaris Diaz, Jacquelyn Weddington, Cindy Carver Hosea, Cathy Zellmann and me. Choose a theme (which can be changed up to mid-month). Adamy is looking at “Memory Lane.” Cathy may choose “Places.” I’ve already changed mine—as a warm-up exercise I’ve been writing a poem a day and discovered I can’t keep to a topic. Instead, I need to write what the Muse inspires, so I’m thinking of changing my theme from goddesses to something less specific. We’d be happy to consider publishing the poems you wish to share here at mooingaround.com. Happy writing!

a challenge

This cow has graduated her Moo of Writing course.
This cow has graduated her Moo of Writing course.

Will you join me in a challenge? In my handbook, Moo of Writing, I advocate a belief in abundance. We can all be like Linus in the pumpkin patch, believing with all our heart that a great pumpkin bursting with the seeds of prolific writing will descend upon us, indeed lives within us every day! I am now throwing down a challenge to myself—and I invite you to join me—to enter a contest. We will pick a theme and write one poem a day every day for the month of April for a total of 30 poems in honor of National Poetry Month. The contest is sponsored by localgemspoetrypress.com, and they want $25 from you by March 25 to enter. If you choose not to enter the contest, but want to participate, send me your poems through this website by May 1, and we’ll choose some to publish here. Usually, I spend weeks if not months on a poem, keeping several in the hopper at once, returning to them to reconsider, putting them through critiquing workshops, mulling them over, sleeping on them. In April, I will allow myself no such luxury of time. Winner of the contest receives $300 and Local Gems Press publishes the winner’s chapbook. I’m excited about the challenge. Time to see how well Moo of Writing really works! Moo/Mu!

the ant in the oatmeal

The Ant in the Oatmeal

Did it swim when I poured water on it and stirred the pot? Did it die with its mouth open, gulping oatmeal it had unluckily chosen as a home?

We keep our oatmeal, supposedly safe from invaders, in the plastic bag it comes from the health food store in with a twister around it on a metal rack among pots, mostly large soup pots and a pasta kettle. I suppose the black, mid-size, luckless ant contorted his body to squeeze past the twister and landed there in an oatmeal daze: plentiful food—do ants even eat oatmeal?—but no way of escape until a large hand untwisted the bag. With a twist of fate, the hand measured a stainless steel one-third cup of oatmeal, unknowingly containing the ant, into a pan on the stove, added two-thirds cup water, turned on the flame, stirred, and there he was floating like a miserable hull, scrunched into smaller anthood than surely he had intended, if he had, indeed, planned to eat his fill daily of fresh, tasty oatmeal.

It was an ignominious end for he was dumped into the trash along with the contaminated oatmeal from the pan and the whole bag, wasted all for the greed or was it ant curiosity, of such a tiny critter who may not have been greedy at all, but simply hungry.

As the human who hastened his demise, I cast about for some meaning from all this. I’ve got nothing except that this morning I had Cheerios for breakfast.

in memoriam

Adamy Damaris Diaz
Adamy Damaris Diaz

Sincere condolences to a member of our creative community and the creator of mooingaround, Adamy Damaris Diaz, upon the death of her father, Felix Diaz Mendez, January 22 in San Juan.

Adamy, a father’s love lives on. My father passed away fifty-four years ago, and yet I feel his love, still. I know that you still feel your mother’s love although she has been gone from this physical life a good many years. Your father’s love lives in the memory of strong hugs, of a smile when he saw you when you visited, in the spark in his eyes when you came into view. I never met your parents but I know they must have been good people—because you are good people. Ever since I met you, you have been fun, kind, creative, nurturing, and unbelievably giving. And let us not forget strong—even in the midst of your heartrending grief, strong and loving. You are sincerely interested in other peoples’ lives, you listen, you are generous, you are truly happy when others succeed, and what a determined woman—to run marathons! Your grief may feel like a marathon now, but you are a strong earth mother, your wisdom runs deep.

Peace, my friend.

Nan Lundeen

we create to celebrate

full moon over Yellowstone shot by Ron DeKett in 2015
full moon over Yellowstone shot by Ron DeKett in 2015

Dear MooingAround family,

This New Year’s Eve I second-guessed myself about writing to you. I immediately thought, “Why should I write something? Who cares what I think on New Year’s Eve or any time? Isn’t it egotistical to think I have something to say?”

But is this the plight of all creative people—writers, parents, painters, farmers, caregivers, musicians, business folk—all of us here together on this small planet? We are insignificant and our work is insignificant, but at the same time, we are important and our work is important. It’s one of the great paradoxes. We liken individuals to grains of sand on the shore, yet each of us is unique and together we can build magnificent beaches—resting places for the soul and peaceful spots for storms of emotion, even fear and doubt that batter our sands, and also love and joy and hope that burn in our hearts.

Did you see the full moon on Christmas night? My husband, Ron DeKett, and I saw it rising orange and magnificent over the pine trees at our daughter’s subdivision in southwestern Michigan when we were going out to our car after a day of feasting and present-opening. We knocked on their living room window to invite our daughter, Jennifer, and five-year-old grandson, Eli, to come out and see the moon. The next time a full moon graces Christmas night, Eli will be age twenty-five. It was splendid when I first noticed it, but became even more beautiful when Ron’s eyes fell upon it, and we shared it with our family, just as he is sharing this spectacular shot of a full moon gleaming upon Yellowstone on his trip there last October.

Creative pursuits are like that—splendid when we are going about them alone, and when we share them, they become all the more meaningful.

May you all enjoy a blessed new year.

Nan

www.nanlundeen.com

 

ninety nine

Ninety nine – that number resonates.

What does it mean to be that age?

It means a weaker body and using a walker.

It means pain – chronic pain that never goes away.

Ninety-nine – that number resonates.

What does it mean?

It means recalling the years of childhood

As years with a golden glow but not dwelling on

The scarcity of those years, the near poverty.

Ninety nine – that number resonates.

What does it mean?

It means reliving the Glories of Love

And the despair of loss – the Loss of two

Husbands, one young and one old.

Ninety nine – That number resonates.

What does it mean?

It means the wisdom that comes from

Living many years and the humility

that comes from growing wiser.

Ninety nine – that number resonates.

What does it mean?

It means watching your children, grandchildren,

Great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren

Arrive and grow up.

Ninety nine – That number resonates.

What does it mean?

It means a life well-lived, joyous and busy,

Full of love and service,

Ninety nine years of laughter and care.

writers benefit from belly wisdom

Front Cover

How many tentative, weak personalities do you know who write beautifully? Don’t confuse shy or introverted with “tentative and weak.” I’m talking about the type of person who is muddled about who he or she is. I’m sitting here in my writing room on a country road in Michigan about one-half mile from a pickle factory, and the sound of a laboring truck engine fills the room. He’s pulling two huge loads of cucumbers. I’m wondering if he’s going to make it up the slight incline in front of our house. He powers on. Struggles, maybe, but pulls up the incline and motors on down to the factory where he’ll dump his load into vats full of pungent brine. Sometimes, writing is like that. It takes a bit of extra work—a struggle to maintain equilibrium, to believe you can do it like the truck pulling two loads of cucumbers or the little engine that could. Fortunately, we’re not engines. We can give ourselves a good talking-to, read self-help books, seek support from writers’ groups, and listen to our belly wisdom.

In chapter 5 of Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential, I advise, “The belly is a wise old soul. Some say it has a mind of its own. While intuition resides in a ‘sixth sense’ or as some believe, on a spiritual plane, it also houses itself in ample amounts in the gut.”

Write from your center—your place of power—and hidden fears cannot drive you.

How do you tap into gut power?

 Cultivate your third chakra.

The word “chakra” comes from the Sanskrit language of India and means “wheel.” The tradition teaches that the seven major chakras are spinning vortexes of energy or wheels of light arranged vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head, governing physical, earthy energies at the base and progressing to spiritual energies at the top, or seventh chakra.

The energy of the core self spins in the third chakra located at the solar plexus (between the belly button and the bottom of the rib cage). It involves the digestion of life experiences and the application of personal power. Each chakra is associated with a color. The third chakra’s color is yellow.

To harness the energies life dishes up for us—to put them to use and be active, not passive, requires a strong sense of self and more than a dollop of ambition. Self-esteem and strength of character revolve around the third chakra.

What is your vision of a writer with healthy self-esteem? I see a person who has fun writing, rather than feeling driven to prove herself, someone with the discipline to keep to a writing schedule and submit work often, and who remains calm and focused even if she receives harsh criticism. A person with healthy self-esteem respects other writers, letting envy and jealousy find a home elsewhere rather than in her own heart. She stays the course because she feels confident.

Visit my website at www.nanlundeen.com, click on “Moo Meditations” and then “Belly Meditation” to learn how to hear what your wise belly is saying.

Happy writing!

Traci Barr speaks of her suicide attempt and benefits of group therapy

Traci Barr
Traci Barr

 

The Huffington Post’s Kara Ramonetti, an associate producer of HuffPost Live, asked me via MooingAround to help her get in touch with Traci Barr, who is published on this website. The two connected, and Traci appeared on HuffPost Live Monday, Aug. 17, discussing the topic: “Why Group Therapy Can Produce Great Results.” The segment grew out of a New York Times article by David Payne, who appeared on the show along with Daphne Leahy-Matteo, Psychoanalyst; Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.

Congratulations! Traci, for a job well done. You spoke bravely from the heart about mental illness, a topic too often ignored by our society. Listen to the segment here: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/why-group-therapy-has-a-profound-impact-over-private-sessions/55cb53202b8c2aabe00005fd

Traci Barr