Category Archives: Stories – From Life & Elsewhere

“Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

“Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

An excerpt:

1976:  I was working essentially full time, for the weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian, but was on a freelance basis. Paid by the published article, I was seriously poor.

Cover-FRONT-Meetings-SM-RockwellYet I was not unhappy with my lot: the Bay Guardian was a journalistic legend; the editors respected my work and kept wanting more. I’d been meaning to demand a regular gig, but had been too busy. 

My “beat” was the offbeat, story ideas outside the paper’s weekly regimen of muckraking about politics and other public corruptions, all plentiful in the region. 

Instead I wrote the stories readers wanted but no one else had thought of: Continue reading “Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

“Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

“Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

Ladies, Gentlemen, & Friends: Meet Levi & Katherine (aka Katie) Coffin, circa 1850. They helped make (and followed) the Underground Railroad from central North Carolina to Indiana and Ohio . . . .

Levi-n-Katie-Coffin

Oh, wait — Meet Levi & Katie Coffin, 2016 . . . Snow Camp NC

SCOT-Coffins from 2016-cast

Normally, the young folks above are named Sarah Hornaday and Jay Williams.

Continue reading “Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

“May you live in interesting times.” 

That’s a curse, remember? And 2016 marks fifty years for me among  Friends–a half century of almost nonstop “interesting times.” 

I’ve begun putting my experience of this era on paper, in a “religious autobiography, called Meetings. It’s now available.

If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be burning incense & spinning prayer wheels asking that on the next go-round, could the higher powers arrange for the times to be  possibly a bit less interesting? Say with fewer wars, more time to catch my breath, smell the roses, take the long walks on the beach–

Cover-FRONT-Meetings-SM-Rockwell

Who am I kidding?

Continue reading New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

Happy 233rd Birthday Johannes Brahms!

Happy 233rd Birthday Johannes Brahms! (1833-1897)

Brahms’ music is not only beautiful, often profound, and richly enjoyable. It also saves lives:

The author William Styron is one example. Deep in the pit of depression in 1985, Styron came to the point of carefully planning to kill himself, with a shotgun, in a secluded spot near his home. But when he was driving there, Brahms’** Alto Rhapsody came on the radio.

[**Note to grammar cops: I KNOW it’s supposed to be “Brahms’s”; but that construction both looks and sounds dumb to me, and I choose to ignore it here.]

Brahms-red-hedgehog

Continue reading Happy 233rd Birthday Johannes Brahms!

How Do Quakers Choose To Die–And Live?

How Do Quakers Choose To Die–And Live?

Death will come to us all. But one Friend, Peg Morton, decided to come to it.

The new issue of Quaker Theology (#28) is now out, both in print and now online, here. A feature of the issue is a series of three accounts/reflections on Peg Morton’s chosen death, last Twelfth Month (December.)

QT-28-FrontCVR-1A-text

Peg was 85, a longtime activist Friend, with numerous arrests on her record. And last fall she seemed ready to continue working for her various causes.

But when she announced to her meeting, in a special called session, that her next witness would be her last — well, you need to read the pieces to gauge the impact.

Continue reading How Do Quakers Choose To Die–And Live?

Norman Morrison’s Transcendent Language of Self-Immolation

A Quaker Theology Reprint:

Norman’s Triumph:
The Transcendent Language of
Self-Immolation

Quaker Norman Morrison’s act of self-sacrifice –burning himself to death on the steps of the Pentagon on November 2, 1965, in protest of the Vietnam War — was shocking, unforgettable, has been written about extensively.

morrison-norman Continue reading Norman Morrison’s Transcendent Language of Self-Immolation

My Recurring Quaker Nightmare — Every January 27th

It happens on January 27th.

In the shadows of Viennese royalty and luxury, poverty and starvation.

In the dream, it’s 1777, and a Quaker minister named Scatterwell gets a burning concern to visit the decadent city of Vienna, to preach the gospel of love of God and neighbor. He’s particularly moved by reports of the tens of thousands of poor Austrians and others huddling there in the shadow of the luxuriant indifference of the imperial court.

When Scatterwell arrives in the bustling capital, he heads straight for the nearest low-life tavern, figuring to plunge into the depths and confront the Devil’s work head on.

Continue reading My Recurring Quaker Nightmare — Every January 27th