Serenity and Severity

Serenity and Severity

EDITOR Caleb Seeling
Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 130
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1c0gkhp
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  • Book Info
    Serenity and Severity
    Book Description:

    Volume 5, Manifest West Series,Western Press Books

    Serenity and severity form a classic Western dichotomy with many manifestations. Beautiful growth and renewal follow a terrifying and destructive forest fire. Rain upon a hayfield can be interpreted as grace or judgment from above, depending on the season. The unpredictability of nature provides hikers with a breathtaking view one day and a life-threatening scenario the next. Yet thenature of the Westdoes not only imply the outdoors. The people of the West encounter serenity and severity in all aspects of life, and this duality impacts their identity and shapes their lifestyles, outlooks, worldviews, and values. This year's collection includes political discussions, philosophical ponderings, and lighthearted humor that are all a part of life in the West.

    For the fifth volume of Manifest West, twenty-nine writers explore this theme, revealing the duality of Western life through many different narrative trails-including governed environment, overwhelming fires, hiking adventures, and the effect of location on family. Creativity and diversity come to this anthology in both content and form, with flash fiction joining Manifest West's standard genres of creative nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry. Their combined reflections enable us to see the intense relationship between humanity and nature; sometimes nature directs humans' lives, to their harm and to their benefit, and other times, humanity abuses the very environment it cherishes as its home. Authors bring their personal styles, voices, and experiences with life in the West to contribute to a balanced and unique interpretation of serenity and severity.

    Contributors:Rebecca Aronson, Betsy Bernfeld, Heidi E. Blankenship, Kaye Lynne Booth, Sarah B. Boyle, John Brantingham, William Cass, David Lavar Coy, Benjamin Dancer, Gail Denham, Patricia Frolander, John Haggerty, Lyla D. Hamilton, Michael Harty, Rick Kempa, Don Kunz, Ellaraine Lockie, Nathan Alling Long, Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Juan J. Morales, Lance Nizami, Ronald Pickett, Terry Severhill, David Stallings, Scott T. Starbuck, Abigail Van Kirk, Victoria Waddle, Evan Morgan Williams, Steven Wingate

    Manifest Westis Western Press Books' literary anthology series. The press, affiliated with Western State Colorado University, produces one anthology annually and focuses on Western regional writing.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-592-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. [i]-[v])
  2. Table of Contents (pp. [vi]-[x])
  3. Introduction (pp. 1-2)

    The stark dichotomy of serenity and severity permeates the everyday, commonplace for those of us living in the West. Each of us observes the beautiful contrast of severe peaks and sharp precipices over the smooth serenity of valley floors and meadows as we drive through the many ranges that our region houses. Those of us who hike, raft, ski, run, and otherwise enjoy ourselves in Mother Nature know all too well that any shift in temperature or condition can be equally dazzling and deadly. Our ranchers are equally aware of this paradox, for rain and heat can both cultivate or...

  4. NATURE’S DUPLICITOUS EMBRACE
    • To Colorado, and Her Fickle Nature (pp. 4-4)
      Abigail Van Kirk
    • All Night Vigil . . . Waiting for Fire (pp. 5-6)
      GAIL DENHAM
    • Fourteens from Thirty (pp. 7-7)
      LANCE NIZAMI
    • Los Alamos Fire (pp. 8-8)
      REBECCA ARONSON
    • The First act (pp. 9-9)
      REBECCA ARONSON
    • Home (pp. 10-10)
      REBECCA ARONSON
    • Canyon (pp. 11-11)
      SCOTT T. STARBUCK
    • The Desert Night (pp. 12-13)
      RONALD PICKETT
    • Anasazi (pp. 14-22)
      EVAN MORGAN WILLIAMS

      Artis had been camping in the mesas before. He knew how it was. You roamed the canyons for the perfect campsite, you scrambled up the red rock, you gathered armloads of juniper sticks from the mesas and brought them down to build a fire. With any luck, your girlfriend had found an Anasazi firepit at the base of the cliffs, and you camped where people had camped for thousands of years. At night, the two of you toasted your happiness with plastic cups of wine. You ate shepherd’s pie that you had wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals....

    • Tracking (pp. 23-27)
      NATHAN ALLING LONG

      The train full of wedding guests struggled up into the mountains. What had appeared to the bride to be powdered sugar over a heap of cocoa in the distance was now distinct chunks of snow, dirty, gray, and hardened. Still, she beamed, listening to the murmurs then bursts of laughter throughout the train compartments. In the front car, three women, each holding a small bowl of rice, sat in a cluster. They took turns folding and refolding the lengths of their dresses, without thought, like cats rearranging their tails, while several men stood with glasses in hand, inventing progressively obscure...

    • Yucca! Yucca! Yucca! (pp. 28-28)
      KAYE LYNNE BOOTH
    • Pioneer (pp. 29-29)
      SARAH FAWN MONTGOMERY
    • Altar (pp. 30-30)
      SARAH FAWN MONTGOMERY
  5. THE STORM OF CIVILIZATION
    • The Beast of the Plains (pp. 32-32)
      SARAH B. BOYLE
    • Condor #122 (pp. 33-33)
      HEIDI E. BLANKENSHIP
    • Sudden Storm (pp. 34-35)
      BETSY BERNFELD
    • Long Drive at Night Through the Saguaro Forest (pp. 36-36)
      DAVID LAVAR COY
    • Cold and Clear (pp. 37-37)
      DAVID STALLINGS
    • Driving to Albuquerque (pp. 38-39)
      JUAN J. MORALES
    • 1850 (pp. 40-40)
      JOHN BRANTINGHAM

      Sean hears the man’s horse clomping up from the foothills ten minutes before he sees him, so Sean hides Lena and children in the house, and he sits on the porch. It’s a trapper. It’s always trappers or miners unless it’s people from the Potwisha tribe, and it would be all right if the stranger were a part of the tribe, but Sean’s hidden Lena from white people all his married life.

      Like Sean, the man is from Louisiana, but Baton Rouge, not New Orleans.

      The man tells him that America made Zachary Taylor president.

      “Really?”

      “But he’s already dead....

    • Environment (pp. 41-41)
      TERRY SEVERHILL
    • Plowshares (pp. 42-51)
      JOHN HAGGERTY

      Ted drove straight into the storm, didn’t let up on the accelerator as the thunderheads built themselves up into great, black towers. The first drops hit the ground like bullets, but he didn’t slow down, kept driving fast even when the rain came in thick, viscous sheets, turning the desert outside into a dark and rippling marine landscape. He drove through the washes and gullies, up over blasted limestone ridges, the rain briefly concealing the dead and desolate land, a place where nothing was soft, a place that looked like it had seen nothing but the back of God’s hand....

    • Thirst and Water (excerpt) (pp. 52-60)
      RICK KEMPA

      Except for the swaggering, bragging sorts who frequent the corridor trails, where the air is permanently charged with bombast, I have met few hikers in the Grand Canyon who were not keepers of the silence. But memory of the ones whom I have met is etched in me, like dreams so outlandish that they steal your sleep.

      There was, for instance, the man with no sense of space, who invaded my brother’s and my campsite one evening early in a long trip. Returning from a little foray among the nearby cliffs, we were met by the astonishing sight of a...

  6. GROWTH AND RESURGENCE
    • The Burn, Four Years After (pp. 62-65)
      RICK KEMPA
    • The Luckiest Boy in the World (pp. 66-79)
      WILLIAM CASS

      Paul lived with his family in a cluster of Native housing a few miles from the village of Yakutat, Alaska, out between the airport and the road to Coast Guard Lake and Cannon Beach. Theirs was one of a dozen or so pre-fab houses that had been built a decade before in the late sixties at the edge of a wide meadow just up from the weather station. Paul’s grandmother’s place was a few houses away, and his uncle’s family’s was just around the bend in the other direction. When he stood at his bedroom window, which he often did,...

    • Truant (pp. 80-80)
      SCOTT T. STARBUCK
    • Fear of Electricity (pp. 81-82)
      DAVID LAVAR COY
    • Blackouts on the Ranch (pp. 83-83)
      DAVID LAVAR COY
    • Hoarding the Rain (pp. 84-84)
      MICHAEL HARTY
    • Time Out of Mind (pp. 85-94)
      BENJAMIN DANCER

      Are you still in AP English?” Tim waited to ask his daughter the question until after dinner. Julie had been staying with her boyfriend, and Tim felt too fragile to risk losing a few minutes with her at the table. He hadn’t seen his son in days, and just yesterday he received a text from Teri, his wife, requesting another meeting, which meant the divorce papers were prepared and ready to be signed.

      Julie lied to him. “Yeah.”

      They were washing the dishes together.

      It felt to Tim like his life had been taken away. He didn’t blame his wife...

    • Bequest (pp. 95-95)
      PATRICIA FROLANDER
    • Bum Lambs (pp. 96-100)
      LYLA D. HAMILTON
    • Lost in the Wasatch (pp. 101-101)
      DON KUNZ
    • Dignity’s Dirty Little Secret (pp. 102-103)
      ELLARAINE LOCKIE
    • In the Language of Dark (pp. 104-104)
      ELLARAINE LOCKIE
    • Marathon Fire (pp. 105-109)
      VICTORIA WADDLE

      The midnight blast of sirens startled me awake. Blaring up and down our street, the voice of a bullhorn, with its automated urgency, commanded, “You must evacuate.” When I had fallen asleep, two cities and a horizon full of rolling hills had separated my Claremont, California neighborhood from the Grand Prix fire. Everything had changed in a few hours, as a hot October Santa Ana swept the fire west.

      I rose, stupid with sleep, my torso and limbs aching from that morning’s seventeen-mile jog. In six weeks, I was due to run the Honolulu Marathon with the Leukemia Society’s Team...

    • Octet in Praise of Colorado’s Viscera (pp. 110-112)
      STEVEN WINGATE

      Beloved Colorado, while I lived as a parasite in your viscera I was nothing at all like a Colorado person. Barely hiked, couldn’t afford to ski. A total flatlander, desiccating on the plains. I could have blown away from you, like a speck in thatDust in the Windsong I publicly reviled back in the seventies but secretly sang to myself when walking alone among your brittle grasses and embracing your emptiness. That was the beginning of my vast desire for space, and I owe it all to you. Not to your famous mountains but to your plains, which...

  7. CONTRIBUTOR NOTES

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