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Gwen Tuinman

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Delving Deeper

In Search of the Forest Primeval

In the summer of 1979, I sang along when Dan Fogelberg’s love song Longer played on the radio. He loved the object of his affection ‘deeper than any forest primeval’. What could be more compelling to a fifteen-year-old girl pining for romance. I then equated primeval with a dark European forest, thick with moss and trees old as time.

Years later, it was poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who brought the forest primeval closer to home. During a visit to Cape Breton Island, I purchased a copy of his epic poem, Evangeline, the tale of Acadians’ expulsion from Nova Scotia.

This is the forest primeval. 
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight. 
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
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Harvesting Hay by Hand

A large part of writing life is spent researching information that, when woven into a story, creates a believable world that readers will enjoy spending time in. This process is immensely enjoyable to me. Currently, I’m writing about characters who are wintering a horse and a few goats in the early 1900s. The livestock will require hay. Since the people have no access to mowing equipment, I’m learning about how they would have harvested hay by hand. I really enjoyed these videos and I hope you will too.

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Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

One of the most creatively formatted books I’ve read is Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The life of Zora Neale Hurston. This biography of Zora Neale Hurston is lush with details of her life journey through an expansive career that includes anthropological research of African-American culture and folklore; journalistic and novel writing; playwright and directorial work in the live theatre realm; and activism. She was a valuable contributor to Black History.

Continue reading “Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)”

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