How We, at “Weekly Hubris,” Met

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

“How did the writers of ‘Weekly Hubris’ come together, readers often ask me? This month, I asked my Contributors to weigh in, in order of appearance in my life . . . and they did! The hagiography was entirely unanticipated, by the way. I expected grumbling about my pedantry, constant importuning, and eccentric House Style: what I got was this outpouring of affection, which I return in full measure to this group of long-loved fellow writers.”—Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

By Way of Being

By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Prometheus in he act of “Hubris,” stealing fire from the gods.

Prometheus in the act of “Hubris,” stealing fire from the gods.

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

LIMBEAU Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—September 2017—How did the writers of “Weekly Hubris” come together, readers often ask me? This month, I asked my Contributors to weigh in, in order of appearance in my life  . . . and they did! The hagiography was entirely unanticipated, by the way. I expected grumbling about my pedantry, constant importuning, and eccentric House Style: what I got was this outpouring of affection, which I return in full measure to this group of long-loved fellow writers.

Jean Carroll Nolan: “We met twice, first time in—darned if I can remember —1964? 1965? We were in what is now called middle school, and both of us suffered from the nearly terminal self-consciousness common to people of that age. We were aware of each other as intellects, but ran with different crowds. Never intimate. The second meeting, 40 years later, was a virtual meeting, a result of online correspondence concerning our 40-year high school reunion and, as they say of jelly, that time it ‘set.’”

Adrienne Mayor: “I first encountered Elizabeth’s wonderfully engaging wit and deep Philhellenism in her column in ‘The Athenian,’ Greece’s English-language magazine, I think in 1978-79, my first year in Athens. I also contributed some articles and cartoons to the magazine. In 1988, when she invited me to contribute something to her new journal, ‘The Southeastern Review,’ I was so honored. I leapt at the chance with an epistolary essay about my nascent hypothesis that the legendary gold-guarding Griffin might have been influenced by ancient nomads seeking gold in the dinosaur fossil deposits along the ancient Silk Route. I’ve always been grateful to Elizabeth for publishing that tenuous piece, for it was instrumental in a book contract with Princeton University Press for The First Fossil Hunters.”

Elizabeth, Helen Noakes, and fellow Reiki Master, Tara Creaven, Santa Fe NM.

Elizabeth, Helen Noakes, and fellow Reiki Master, Tara Creaven, Santa Fe NM.

Helen Noakes: “When Elizabeth and I first met, in the 1980s, we were upside down, ‘relaxing’ into headstands in a yoga class in Athens, Greece. She looked coolly elegant in the pose. I prefer not to imagine how I looked.”

Michael House FRGS: “We met in 1988. I had moved to Greece in 1987 to escape from Mrs. Thatcher and in the vain hope of turning myself into a writer. Elizabeth was Deputy Editor of ‘The Athenian’ magazine, now sadly defunct. I guess I must have sent in a piece, or maybe I just turned up at the office. I met Elizabeth, rather in awe of her wonderful columns for ‘The Athenian’ and even more so when I met her in the flesh. She kindly gave me some commissions and I interviewed inter alia the leader of the Greek Left Kyrkos and the novelist and polymath Ralph Bates. She turned my scribblings into publishable prose, and I became a sort of a writer. We have been friends ever since.”

Diana Farr Louis, writer Judith Lawrence Blish, and Elizabeth, Athens, Greece.

Diana Farr Louis, writer Judith Lawrence Blish, and Elizabeth, Athens, Greece.

Diana Farr Louis: “I met Elizabeth in the late 80s in Athens when we were part of a team working on the new Penguin Guide to Greece, but we bonded in 1999 when we met on Corfu, serendipitously staying at the same hotel and each of us writing a guide to the island. We teamed up and went everywhere together. Our defining moment was when we found ourselves in a tiny village called Ano Korakiana (‘Upper Crow’), which an existing guide book acclaimed as having half a dozen exquisite churches. The trouble was the key to all of them resided with a custodian in Kato Korakiana (‘Lower Crow’), whom we never did track down. It was a typical Greek moment and whenever either of us mentions someone or something as ‘coming from Ano Korakiana,’ we know there is no hope. We have been devoted friends ever since and I’m so glad she badgered me into joining ‘Weekly Hubris’ back in 2010.”

Dean Pratt, Elizabeth, Ingrid Eisiminger and, standing, Dr. Sterling K. “Skip” Eisiminger, Pendleton SC.

Dean Pratt, Elizabeth, Ingrid Eisiminger and, standing, Dr. Sterling K. “Skip” Eisiminger, Pendleton SC.

Dr. Sterling K. “Skip” Eisiminger: “Let’s see—I was approaching the elevator in Strode Tower following a class in Clemson University’s Daniel Hall when I noticed an attractive young woman standing alone beside the bubbler. I used a line I’d used before, ‘Waiting for Godot?’ She said, ‘No—streetcar named desire.’ Knowing I’d been outwitted, I decided to take the stairs, but Elizabeth and I have been friends ever since despite her superiority.”

Claire Bateman and Elizabeth, Central SC.

Claire Bateman and Elizabeth, Central SC.

Claire Bateman: “I was honored to be Elizabeth’s office mate at Clemson, my first year teaching. I remember asking her how she managed to have such beautiful skin, and she said: ‘Hats.’ Her elegance, style, wide-ranging intelligence, and compassion, were immediately evident to all whom she encountered!”

Anita Sullivan: “I met Elizabeth about 12 years ago when I came across a copy of her wonderful book Greek Unorthodox, and discovered in the final chapter that she was the fiancee of Kevin Andrews at the time of his tragic death. A decade earlier, in the 1990s, I had read his The Flight of Ikaros, and judged it to be the very best of all the Greek travel essay books I was devouring at that time. To find someone who not only knew him, but also was a writer herself, was an amazing gift. I wrote to her about how much I was moved by her story, and we have been friends ever since.”

F. Theresa Gillard: “I think it was my fifth foray into higher education, whilst I was doing one of my career college student stints in the late 90s, that I met Elizabeth. In my early 30s, I was determined finally to finish. To prove it, I went back to where it all started, Anderson College in Anderson, South Carolina. Now, my experiences with professors had, till then, been nothing to write home about. Mostly, profs had despised me for . . . being me. At AC, though, I had two stellar profs, Elizabeth and Joyce Wood. These two visionaries allowed their students to excel, to move beyond the boundaries of their (and their professors’) intellectual limits without blame, shame, or insecurity. Writing was and still is my thing (albeit mostly on hiatus these days). So, I always got the most pushback in my creative writing classes. Honestly, writing was so natural for me that it took me a while to figure out that I had a talent and should probably run with it. And, man did I run at AC. I knocked assignments out of the park without a bat or ball. One professor gave me an A- because he couldn’t believe that I typed up my assignments five minutes before his class. He wanted know my ‘process.’ According to Dr. We-Won’t-Name-Him, I had to have a ‘process,’ because there was no way I had produced that sort of writing in five minutes. I explained that I meant that it only took me as long to write a piece as it took to type it, which varied, and could easily be less than five minutes. This truth did not help my case, obviously. EB-H, on the other hand, seemed teeming with intellect. And, for once in my life, I bounced off the wall of her sheer genius, and up. Like, I was dumbfounded. She was correctly correcting me. I was accustomed to proving those red marks on my papers were erroneous. I ain’t gonna lie: it was an instant crush. For me, EB-H is proof positive that we are all genuinely blessed to simply be. I am blessed that I have been able to share the same space and time with her.”

Konikoff, Deborah Grisorio, Dean Pratt, and Elizabeth NYC.

Konikoff, Deborah Grisorio, Dean Pratt, and Elizabeth NYC.

 

Ross Konikoff: “It happened 22 years ago next Wednesday, at the Local 802 Musicians Union Hall In New York City, where I leaned toward the trumpet player on my left and asked, ‘Who’s that dame over there, the one with the hair?’ ‘The fragile-looking one, near the door? I think that’s Dean’s old lady,’ he said. ‘There’s only one way to find out,’ I said, walking over. ‘Are you Dean’s woman?’ I asked, accusingly. ‘Who wants to know?’ Elizabeth shot back. I knew we would be good friends, never supposing just how good.”

Jerry Zimmerman: “There was nothing virtual about my meeting Elizabeth, being more hyper-real than most human contacts. My late wife, Rhona, was interested in a trip to Greece and my hair cutter in town (Teaneck) pointed me enthusiastically in the direction of E. This led to serious hijinx, including but certainly not limited to: learning more about Greece than I ever thought I would; becoming more involved in the local and world-wide history of Yoga; starting a Yoga program with E as one of our teachers; big-band-jazz up close; personal and devoted support for Aikido and our Dojo; Reiki and other healing energies for me and for Rhona; serious brow-beating until I agreed to do some art for baby ‘Weekly Hubris,’ which morphed into some tenuous writing, then morphed again into the delight and hell of really trying to get something down, for god’s sake; a deep and treasured friendship; a continuing apprenticeship under an amazing editor (I never really understood what an editor did before: now I seriously know!); and countless weird and wonderful things. But I digress: I met Elizabeth over the phone.”

William A. and Ted Balk, Elko SC.

William A. and Ted Balk, Elko SC.

William A. Balk, Jr.: “Why do bars and intermediaries always have a place in my recounting of first meetings? My brother Ted had encountered Elizabeth and Dean in a favorite Clemson watering hole, and he’d been overjoyed to meet witty and wise conversationalists beyond the usual college town crowd. Ted’s a raconteur, so apparently his family were mentioned—I’m not privy to the context and, for self-preservation, I have no intention of pursuing that. Nevertheless, one day I received a phone call out of the blue from Elizabeth, of course, about whom I had heard plenty, myself. Our first time ‘meeting’ each other telephonically lasted more than an hour.”

David Christopher Loya: “I first encountered Elizabeth on Facebook when, in early 2011, one of my many progressive rants was provocative enough to earn her notice. She sent me a friend request, and thus began the most engaging conversation of my life. A year later, we met in person for the first time. I was returning from the Cannes Film Festival and stopped in New York for a few days. We met two other times upon my return from Cannes and, on the third visit, I finally got to know her husband, Dean, who is not only among our greatest living jazz musicians, but a great guy—a true mensch. With Elizabeth, I have found a friendship that will last the rest of my life. The best thing yet to come out of this deep, unlikely connection is the co-production of a significant, independent motion picture. Together, we are working on a film based on her extraordinary novel, The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable. The screenplay is now being written and the development package will be ready for presentation at this year’s (2017) Toronto International Film Festival. Creating The Visitors’ Book with Elizabeth will be among the great achievements of my career but, most important, I am fortunate now to work with someone who is a member of that small remnant of humanity distinguishing itself as truly life-giving.”

Dr. William Ramp: “Our first meeting was brokered by a former brother-in-law who knew David Christopher Loya and, through him, Elizabeth and ‘Weekly Hubris.’ He suggested I might find kindred spirits there. Some months later, I made an impetuous submission and received back a courteous and reserved response to the effect that one does not submit to ‘Weekly Hubris‘; one commits. Just as impetuously, I committed. Since then, the two of us have undergone much travail over that commitment, but have, I think, become significant in one anothers’ lives for good or ill, all without ever meeting in person. I do treasure a couple of phone conversations in which, phone-phobic though I am, I reveled in Elizabeth’s lovely, lovely voice and diction. But all this is to digress. I have had the great good fortune to work with two legendary editors. From both, but especially from Elizabeth, I have learned that a good editor is the crowning achievement of modern civilization. And precious beyond rubies as friend, encourager, fellow-pilgrim, and saving scourge of writerly ego.”

Guy McPherson: “I met Elizabeth in the customary way for these times: virtually. Facebook brought us together. Our shared love of writing and ideas maintains our bond.”

 

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring & F. Theresa Gillard, Anderson SC.

To order Elizabeth Boleman-Herring’s memoir and/or her erotic novel, click on the book covers below:

Elizabeth Boleman, Greek Unorthdox: Bande a Part & a Farewell to Ikaros

Elizabeth Boleman Herring, The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable

About Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing-Editor of Weekly Hubris, and a columnist for The Huffington Post, considers herself an Outsider Artist (of Ink); a bargain-basement love-child of Lenny Bruce and Sylvia Plath (out of Erma Bombeck). The most recent of her 15 books is The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable. Her personal columns (written sans mask) make some readers squirm; her political columns, usually incendiary, make other readers squirm. (Boleman-Herring believes squirming is the 21st century’s antidote to sitting on the sofa watching “America's Got Talent” and “Project Runway.”) Thirty years an academic, she has also worked steadily as a founding-editor of journals, magazines and newspapers in her two homelands, Greece and America. Three other hats Boleman-Herring has at times worn are those of a Traditional Usui Reiki Master, an Iyengar-Style Yoga teacher and, as “Bebe Herring,” a jazz lyricist for the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Dorham, and Bill Evans. (Her online Greek travel guide is accessible at www.GreeceTraveler.com, and her memoir, Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros, is available through www.GreeceInPrint.com.)
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