a legacy of languages, poems, histories

We own a legacy of languages, poems, histories, and it is not one that will ever be exhausted. It is there, always.

We have a bequest of stories, tales from the old storytellers, some of whose names we know, but some not. The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.

Ask any modern storyteller, and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, fire, ice and the great winds that shaped us and our world.

Nobel Lecture, Dorris Lessing, December 7, 2007

I can’t overstate the influence Dorris Lessing has had on how I see the world. There were days, even weeks, at several points in my life when I was simply possessed by her language and ideas. There was the Golden Notebook, of course, but also the Four Gated City. There are the series of science fiction novels, Canopus in Argos: Archives, then the Diary of Jane Somers,and The Good Terrorist. I didn’t read half of the dozens of things she wrote, I could never keep up. She is always years ahead of all of us.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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