Tag Archives: Phyllis Barber

Peace. Peace, Brother. Peace Be Unto You. by Phyllis Barber

Peace.  Peace, Brother.  Peace Be Unto You.

by Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, Writing for Peace AdviserThere’s been talk about peace from time immemorial, yet there are times in all centuries and definitely in today’s world when peace seems a foreign, alien concept. Try reading an account of turbulent history—beheadings, joustings, uprisings, duels, war upon war. Read the news of yet another murder or massacre in print or on-line. Watch television and stream the heat of another crime wave into the privacy of your living room. It seems as though mankind (and I choose that traditional noun with some thought) is wired to and fascinated with contention: borders, territory, possessions, rights, religious claims (when religions are supposed to mend humankind rather than tear it apart because one religion thinks differently than another about which god prevails).

Have you ever wondered why many people, even intelligent and religious ones who are supposed to have other solutions, think that the best way to solve a problem is to buy a gun or kill someone else who doesn’t agree with them or look like them or sing similar praises in similar language? It seems that, to many, there’s no solution without a Big Stick, without cannons, repeating rifles, or machine guns. These speak. Loudly. Assertively. Powerfully. Gentle, peaceful people don’t get the listening ear. Armies do. Armbands. Uniforms. Crisp pleats in one’s trousers. Is this penchant for war and supremacy part of our DNA, our skin and bones? Why is it such a prevalent solution? Is the world nothing more than a powder keg to be blown by the necessity of power over all and everything? Have we been hijacked by the fear that grabs us, shakes us by the lapels, and makes us want to act bigger than we really are? Use guns as an extension of our weakness? But those who think otherwise need to take their part—offer their opinions, their questions, and their propositions. Not sit idly by.

I admit that I don’t know answers—I only raise the questions that trouble me, but I’m thinking that the basic and most powerful peace is within one’s self, the place of stillness and calm where one is grateful for the good aspects of his or her life and free of demands on and expectations of self and others. This interior peace can be nurtured. When I’ve spent time on a high mountain trail and have felt the eternal peacefulness in those mountains that have endured so many harsh winters, been subjects to the refining bottom of massive glaciers, and have still provided home and protection to a myriad of animals, I’ve caught a glimpse of this inner peace that creates a desire for more. If people could sit or stand by the side of a still mountain lake and watch dragonflies dart forward, backward, and reverse course mid-air, maybe they could feel a new kind of stillness and harmony that doesn’t exist in most contemporary places. Maybe opposition and contention are part and parcel of the condition of being human, but when you’re in the mountains that have lasted for thousands of years while men and their wars come and go, you can feel a peace that calms and reassures. When you see that still lake slightly ruffled by a breeze and see a fish jump and leave a concentric ring that marks its hiding place, anxiety and fear leave your heart and mind. Your shoulders relax. You breathe deeply and have no desire to argue, to  protest your rights, to claim your sovereignty over anyone or anything. It is all so much larger than your small self—this abundance in the everlasting mountains. When you linger in stillness and a deer leaps gracefully through the nearby trees, you feel the embrace of something large and profoundly peaceful. And that helps you understand the true essence of this thing called peace. Maybe you can pick up a smooth pebble and carry it back home to remind yourself.

About Writing for Peace Adviser, Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, Writing for Peace AdviserI joined Writing for Peace because I always believed that harmony between people is possible (maybe because I was the middle child who was always trying to balance the family dynamics). If only we can listen to what other people are saying and learn to receive them, rather than rebuffing them straightaway for some ridiculous reasons such as difference in education, economic level, religious affiliation, gender, color, shape of the face or the torso or feet, etc. I have found when I can open my awareness to another person and literally open up to who and what they are all about, a significant change happens between us—a connection at the level of spirit, that mysterious essence so much larger and wiser than we are.

~Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber  is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers. Learn more about Phyllis Barber and her work here.

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

Lorraine Currelley Joins Advisory Panel

Lorraine Currelley, Writing for Peace AdviserThe African proverb “I See You” and  the name Writing for Peace resonate with me. I’ve come to think of them as kindred spirits. Both embody the spirit of community and collaboration. An inter-generational worldwide community, working to create a world where peace is a reality. A community where each member sees each other through our connected humanity. In doing so, holding the key to connecting with all ecosystems.

Joining Writing for Peace is an opportunity to join with community to work for world  peace via writing. Our words are powerful tools. Tools having an extraordinary ability to act as a catalyst for positive change. A catalyst to promote understanding and connection between people. An opportunity to learn from each other and experience shared humanity. An opportunity to exercise our creative energies, talents and gifts; to unite our world community. Our words nurture, heal and empower. There are no inferiors nor superiors, we all bring something to the table equally important.

~Lorraine Currelley

Lorraine Currelley joins Writing for Peace as a poet, writer, educator, activist and Mental Health Counselor, as well as the founder of Poets Network & Exchange, a positive and supportive space for poets and writers of all levels, where she facilitates poetry and creative writing workshops and produces featured poetry readings, open mics and literary events. She holds a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate in Thanatalogy (grief and bereavement.) When she’s not writing poetry and short stories, she writes for scientific and literary publications on social, mental health, and grief and bereavement issues.

Lorraine Currelley is the former first and only president of  The Harlem Arts Fund, and the recipient of numerous community service awards for her work with the homeless and community efforts. She’s also the founder and editor of The Currelley Literary Journal, a blog where she writes articles, commentaries, reviews and interviews. LC Information and Resource Center, a resource and information blog which addresses domestic and sexual violence, providing information and links to resources nationwide. As a poet Lorraine Currelley is widely anthologized in literary publications. Learn more about Lorraine Currelley and her work here.

Writing for Peace Young Writers' Contest2014 Young Writers Contest

The Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest is officially open! Deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Our 2013 contest reached students in 21 countries, we hope to double the number of entries in 2014. (Meet our 2013 winners here!) Help us spread the word to schools across the globe. Email editor@writingforpeace.org to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students. Check out our complete guidelines here.

DoveTales Call for Submissions

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Writing for Peace News, July 2013

We abuse the landWe abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

~ Aldo Leopold

Photo by Pd Lietz, Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence

 

Announcing 2014 Young Writers Contest Judges

Writing for Peace gratefully acknowledges our 2014 judges panel, three accomplished writers who have not only achieved excellence in their respective fields, but are also quick to volunteer their time where their efforts will encourage, inspire, and guide young writers.

Robin Black, 2014 Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest Fiction Judge

Photo © Marion Ettlinger

Robin Black (fiction), author of the story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim by publications such as O. Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Irish Times and more. Robin’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine. Learn more about Robin Black here.

 

Dinty W. Moore, Writing for Peace AdviserDinty W. Moore (Nonfiction) is author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as thememoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, among numerous other venues. Learn more about Dinty W. Moore here.

 David mason, 2014 Writing for Peace Young Writers Poetry Contest JudgeDavid Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, his memoir, News from the Village, appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. Learn more about David Mason here.

 Young Writers Contest Guidelines are posted here.

Call for Submissions!

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here. Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

Welcoming Two New Advisers!

Writing for Peace is thrilled to welcome two new members to our esteemed Advisory Panel. Watch for their posts on our blog!
Phyllis Barber, 2013 Nonfiction JudgePhyllis Barber is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers. Learn more about Phyllis here.
Pamela Olson, Writing for Peace AdviserPamela Olson grew up in small town in Oklahoma and studied physics and political science at Stanford University. She lived in Ramallah for two years, during which she served as head writer and editor for the Palestine Monitor and as foreign press coordinator for Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi’s 2005 presidential campaign. She wrote an award-winning book about those experiences called Fast Times in Palestine.

In January of 2006 she moved to Washington, D.C., and worked at a Defense Department think tank to try to bring what she had learned to the halls of power — an educational but disillusioning experience. She is currently working on a sequel to Fast Times in Palestine called Palestine, DC. Learn more about Pamela Olson here.

2013 Young Writers Contest Winners

Winners for our 2013 Young Writers Contest were announced on May 1st. Entries came in from 21 different countries. Meet all our winners here!

Support Writing for Peace!

Last year we reached students in 21 countries, this year we hope to double the number of entries. Help us spread the word about Writing for Peace to schools across the globe!

Contact us at editor@writingforpeace.org to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students!

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

2013 Young Writers Contest Announcements!

The markers on this map represent the 106 stories, poems and essays we received from young writers in 21 countries. The entries were thoroughly researched, creatively imagined, and beautifully written. They covered many cultures and a broad range of topics and concerns. Our judges agreed it was a very difficult choice!

First, second, and third place winners will receive cash prizes, as well as publication in the 2014 issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. Finalists will be notified individually, and may be considered for future publication. All young writers will receive a certificate of participation.

Congratulations to all the winners of our 2013 Young Writers Contest!

Fiction Division

 

First Place:

“Caterpillars” by Jordan Dalton, age 16

Carmel, Indiana, USA

University High School, grade 10

 

Second Place:

“We Won’t Be Illegal Forever” by Nneoma Ike- Njoku, age 18

Mararaba, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Graduate of Loyola Jesuit College

 

Third Place:

“Endurance” by Kasturi Pananjady, age 15

Karnataka, India

National Public School Indiranagar, 10th Grade

 

Nonfiction Division

 

First Place:

“The Cherry Blossom” by Paean Yeo, age 15

Singapore

Crescent Girls’ School, Grade 10

 

Second Place:

“Unheard Voices of the Rain Forest” by Janani Venkatesh, age 19

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Graduate of P.S Senior Secondary School

 

Third Place:

“Fifth Grade Wisdom” by Vienna Schmitter-Schrier

Westerville, Ohio, USA

New Albany High School, Grade 11

 

Poetry Division

 

First Place:

“Day of the Draft—1940” by Jessica Metzger, age 14

Orlando, Florida, USA

Trace Academy, grade 8

 

Second Place:

“Waiting for Mermaid” by Peter LaBerge,

Stamford, Connecticut, USA

Green Farms Academy, grade 12

 

Third Place:

“In the Land of the Rising Sun” by Janani Venkatesh, age 19

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Graduate of P.S Senior Secondary School

 

William Haywood Henderson, 2013 Young Writers Contest, Fiction Judge2013 Young Writers Fiction Judge

William Haywood Henderson was born in Syracuse, New York, but quickly migrated west. He grew up mostly in Colorado, headed farther west for college, and earned a BA in English from the University of California at Berkeley. He held a variety of jobs, including chef, copyeditor, technical writer, landscape gardener, and caretaker on a ranch in Wyoming, before heading back east to take a degree in creative writing at Brown University.

He attended Stanford University from 1989 to 1991 as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing, and he used the time to finish his first novel (Native) and start his second novel (The Rest of the Earth). He has taught creative writing at Brown, Harvard, and the University of Colorado at Denver.

He returned to Colorado in 1999—he missed the sagebrush, the mountains, and the sky. Since 2002 he has taught novel-writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. His third novel, Augusta Locke, was released by Viking in April 2006.

 

2013 Young Writers Nonfiction Judge

Phyllis Barber, 2013 Nonfiction JudgePhyllis Barber is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers.

Michael J. Henry, MFA, Writing for Peace 2012 Young Writers Contest Poetry Judge2013 Young Writers Poetry Judge

Michael J. Henry, MFA currently serves as Executive Director of Lighthouse, where he also teaches poetry and memoir and essay workshops. A former recipient of a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship and a PlatteForum Fellowship, his work has appeared in such places as Copper Nickel, Threepenny Review, 5280, Many Mountains Moving, Pleiades, Red Rock Review, Rio Grande Review, Georgetown Review, and Bloomsbury Review. In 2008 and 2009, he collaborated with Garrett Ammon of Ballet Nouveau Colorado to create two ballets, both set to poetry, entitled, When the Power Goes Out, and Intersection.

Michael grew up in Buffalo, New York, received a BA in English from University of Rochester and an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. In 1997, he co-founded Lighthouse with Andrea Dupree, who serves as program director.

A book of poetry, No Stranger Than My Own, was published by Ghost Road Press in the fall of 2008.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.