peat o’neil

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Archive for the ‘Essay’ Category

Journal Writing : Hill Arts Center

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Have you noticed a resurgence of interest in journal writing (personal diary, memoir, life writing), a subject I specialized in teaching during the early years of the National Museum of Women in the Arts?  New workshops in 21st century journal writing will be offered at the Hill Arts Center, a fantastic renovated historic space. Register for my journal writing workshops through the Writer’s Center.  Journal writing and visual diaries (scrapbooks, collage, self-portraits) offer  perspectives to our inner lives.

More about L Peat O’Neil.



Written by patwa

10/10/2011 at 5:25 pm

Writing Competition: My Generation

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Serving as a judge for the My Generation writing competition sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank for writers in Washington, DC offered me a tremendous opportunity to read essays created by writers with diverse backgrounds. Essays were contributed by writers ranging from middle school students to honorable octogenarians.

Written by patwa

30/09/2010 at 6:11 pm

Will Hunters Wear Hot Pink?

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Is it heretical to think we need more deer hunters? Somebody needs to thin the herds that have resulted from rapacious outer suburban development.

I’ve already got a permit to buy a firearm. I’ve been thinking of learning how to shoot. I’d look great in hot pink hunting cammis.

Flipping through a hook and bullet magazine,  I learned that hunters should wear bright pink. Shocking pink is invisible to deer, yet easily distinguished by humans forging through winter woods. Will he-men with guns wear hot pink?

I’ve shadowed deer in genuine wilderness and protected pseudo-wilderness, — if a human can get there easily, it’s not true wilderness.

The deer live in and around their own gated communities — semi-suburban enclaves, parks, state controlled nature areas. The deer are my neighbors, live closer to me than some of my siblings. I know where the deer hide in regional parks and preserves, but that’s not saying much, since they parade with ease along highways, across lawns for gourmet shrubbery, and into town for brief celebrity in local news rags. You’ve seen the photos when a deer leaps through a store-front, spooked by its own reflection.

When I am in their territory, I follow the paths graven by their hoof marks or marked with scat. Deer paths emerge as a distinct line of scuttled leaves in the ground cover of fall and winter, a muddy track in spring, or flattened grass in summer. Nearly every walk along their byways, I’ll see the twitching white plume of a tail. I’ve seen leaping solitary bucks, herds of doe that nuzzle their young and lie close. Near an erratic outcropping of rock at the end of a shuffled leaf trail, the moss is upturned.

Deer don’t have enough to eat. Some townships and counties hire off-duty sharpshooters to cull the herd.  Who gets the meat?

As the skeins of forest thin and break at the hands of developers, the deer hew tightly plaited paths where they can no longer roam widely. The deer paths demonstrate an intelligence and instinct. Within hailing distance of convenience stores, ramblers, schools and skating rinks, the deer-ways curve with the land using topography or fallen trees for cover.

When deer are wild in the woods, they retain the shroud of mystery; when they are common as pigeons or rats, they lose their immunity lodged in beauty.

Is there an answer for the crowded suburban deer who live along your backyard fence? More state sponsored deer-kill seasons with volunteer hunters dressed in pink?

White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, with their vulnerable Audrey Hepburn eyes, turn your heart when you see them shadowed on a lawn or poised to leap a roadside barrier. But to a homeowner or driver, they signal disaster, even death. Deer darting across country byways cause crashes. My mother’s Hosta collection were midnight snacking grounds for the deer until she moved all the plants to a fenced garden.

The deer have a four million year history, got along just fine with the indigenous residents and our immigrant forebears. When did enough room to roam become nowhere at all?

I know deer are losing their fear of humans. I don’t need to wear pink to be invisible. They’re used to my scent. The foals are complacent, stand and stare back, their only display of authority to strut in place with their white tails at half-mast.

With deer living in parks, fool-‘em strips of trees along the highways and suburban vest-pockets woods, they’ve become semi-domestic fixtures, like goats or dogs. They live with squirrels and ground hogs and opossum. And die like them too, as road-kill. A neighbor butchers fresh deer killed by motorists and gives it to the food bank for poor folks.

Written by patwa

27/03/2009 at 10:16 pm

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Andrew McDowell

An Author of Many Parts


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Mail Artists Index

Biographies, works and links of representative Mail Artists. - Biografien, Arbeiten und Links zu typischen Mail Art Künstlern.

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Celebrating the 125th anniversary of Nellie Bly's historic voyage around the world in 72 days.

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Iconic Photos

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Travel * Think * Create

No White Food

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Travel * Think * Create