September/October 2023
Vol. XIII, No. 9

September/October 2023

“Theo & Viv Get Medieval,” Ballpoint Pen on Bristol Paper, 2018, by Ted Jouflas.
“Theo & Viv Get Medieval,” Ballpoint Pen on Bristol Paper, 2018, by Ted Jouflas.

This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,/our chances of being alive together/statistically nonexistent;/still we have made it, alive in a time/when rationalists in square hats/and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses/agree it is almost over,/alive with our lively children/who–but for endless ifs–/might have missed out on being alive/together with marvels and follies/and longings and lies and wishes/and error and humor and mercy/and journeys and voices and faces/and colors and summers and mornings/
and knowledge and tears and chance.”—Lisel Mueller, from “Alive Together”

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: Because the Publishing-Editor of Hubris is visiting her other πατρίδα (homeland), Greece, this fall, she has compiled, in advance of her departure, a September/October issue (which reminds her, because she is assuredly of a certain age, of a character in The Howdy Doody Show: Princess Winterspring Summerfall). The issue opens with an essay by Dr. Guy McPherson, whose tenure here at Hubris stretches back to February of 2017, and who has long been a friend-of-the-magazine and trusted analyst of life in The Very Late Anthropocene. (I urge you to read all his columns, and plan accordingly, here under our shared heat dome.) Clemson University Humanities Professor Emeritus Dr. Skip Eisiminger, whose humanism is always a tonic for my pearl-clutching, brings us some tall tales this autumn. Lake-loving Yogini Kathryn E. Livingston writes, next, of her lifelong affairs with the lakes of Upstate New York, a watery place (also) after my own heart. Poetry Editor Claire Bateman brings us work by James Cervantes (often of Hydra). Michael House, FRGS, in a retrospective essay, revisits the island of Sikinos. Another, perhaps THE Authority on all things Greek-travel, Matt Barrett, files a memory, of spear-fishery, from An Undisclosed Greek Island. This autumn, we run again a column by Dr. Diane Fortenberry (currently away from Hubris on writing leave): Orwell’s Roses, by Rebecca Solnitt.” And our September/October 2023 issue closes out with the first installment of new Hubris Contributor Ted Jouflass Desperado Shindig column.

“Wilson, by David Mamet,” by Ted Jouflas, Hermenaut, 2000.
“Wilson, by David Mamet,” by Ted Jouflas, Hermenaut, 2000.

About the artist featured on our Home Page: Ted Jouflas (our newest Hubris Contributor) graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1982. “In 2022, 151 years after its founding, S.F.A.I.,” says Jouflas, “the oldest art school in the United States west of the Mississippi, permanently closed due to financial mismanagement.” He adds, “Please read my humorous, illustrated essay, ‘R.I.P. S.F.A.I.,’ on this tawdry topic in the current issue of Hubris.” Throughout the 1980s, Jouflas exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, started working as a freelance illustrator, and eventually took up editorial illustration for “alternative” news weeklies and magazines as well as glossy music and fashion magazines such as Raygun, Rolling Stone, and SPIN. Jouflas’s work has been featured in American Illustration; in 2001, he was honored with the top award for illustration by AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts). CI illustrate A. S. Hamrah’s essays on film for The Baffler and, in the late 1980s, just as my fine art career was becoming as thin as champagne on slate, I got involved in ‘alternative’ (there’s that word again) comics. At the time, this seemed to make sense, primarily because my work was already narrative and sometimes included written text. So, writing short stories and illustrating them seemed like a natural and smart idea. It wasn’t. Like the art world, the world of comics is filled with honors, fame, and I can’t even think of a third thing, but nowhere near money.C Jouflas’s stories have appeared in Robert Crumb’s WEIRDO; in the 1990s, Fantagraphics published his ‘graphic novels,’ Scary! and Filthy and, in 2004, a one-shot illustrated poem masquerading as a comic book titled APE. Jouflas has an extensive alternative resume documenting his “day jobs,” from dishwasher in a Chinese Restaurant to the Assistant Assistant (That’s right, TWICE, like N.Y.N.Y.) Manager of a Five-Star Hotel (find the complete list on his website and follow him on Instagram @tedjouflas).

“More, more, more.” (Photo, via Unsplash, by Henley Design Studio. 
More, more, more.

Planetary Hospice

“Better versus More,By Dr. Guy McPherson

BELLOWS FALLS Vermont—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—Occasionally, I see this question being asked: If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be? For me, there is no question: ownership. The living planet faces many predicaments. To me, most seem to be rooted in ownership. As nearly as I can distinguish, ownership did not exist until civilization arose. Millions of years spent sharing and nurturing led to relatively benign human existence. A few thousand years into civilization, and everybody wants more. Ownership is a fundamental concept underlying the pathology of capitalism. More of everything. More for me, not for you. As Gordon Gekko pointed out in the 1987 film Wall Street, it’s a zero-sum game. Every bit for me means less for you. I can’t have you taking any because you’re taking it away from me. (Read more . . .)

Bognor Regis fishermen, West Sussex, by William Pankhurst Marsh. (Image via Wikimedia Commons.)
Bognor Regis fishermen.

Skip the B.S.

More Jesus than Paul: Anecdotes,By Dr. Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—The more arthritic my thumbs grow, the less maintenance I do around the house, but I console myself thinking of the maintenance men my wife and I have attached ourselves to over the 40-plus years we have lived in our Clemson home. These men are excellent at what they do: Johnny Robinson is our country roofer, “Squirrel” Simmons is our country arborist, and Brian Scruggs is our country window and siding man. There are others, like our furnace and appliance men, both of whom are well educated and urban, qualities, I suspect, that have erased many of the traits that make their rural peers so memorable. Their stories below are true—even the parts I’ve made up, but to get their full impact and beauty, I would have had to put a microphone in front of them, and the result, I expect, would be embarrassed stammering. (Read more . . .)

The author and her mom, Lake Pleasant NY, 1956.
The author and her mom, Lake Pleasant.

Words & Wonder

In Love with Lakes,By Kathryn E. Livingston

QUEENSBURY New York—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—As much as I adore the ocean and its beaches, I’m forever in love with lakes. In New York State, I grew up with lakes and have never lost my attachment. New York is teeming with lakes, but I don’t want to know them all. A lake is more like a marriage or long-term lover; one wants to revisit a lake over many years, getting to know where the bass hide, where the lily pads float, where the weeds are thick, or the lake floor sandy. Some might want to explore them all (Fourth, Fifth, Tupper, Luzerne, Trout, Mirror, Placid, Lake George, Chautauqua, the Finger Lakes, and scores more). But I go steady with a lake and only break up when there’s a very good reason or no other choice. (Read more . . .)

The poet James Cervantes. (Photo: Sam Rhodes.)
Poet James Cervantes.

Speculative Friction

The Poetry of James Cervantes,By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—Thanks to the pandemic, in 2020, poet James Cervantes found himself repatriated to the US after having lived in Mexico for the better part of 15 years. His latest book, From Mr. Bondo’s Unshared Life, comprises a series of closely related persona poems. Sleepwalker’s Songs: New & Selected Poems includes 32 new poems as well as others selected from six previous collections. Cervantes has served as editor of PorchThe Salt River Review, and In Like Company: The Porch & Salt River Review Anthology (Mad Hat Press, 2015). In recent years, he has become a regular visitor to Greece, primarily to Athens and the island of Hydra, whose quiet he finds addictive (no cars are permitted on Hydra). (Read more . . .)

Sikinos sunset.
Sikinos sunset.

Polemicist on Holiday

“Sojourn on Sikinos,By Michael House, FRGS

WEST HAMPSTEAD London England—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—Sikinos is a secret everyone seems determined to keep. The Zante Line ferry, Adamantios Koraïs, runs there twice weekly in September, the only direct link with Piraeus. The Greek tourist information ferry schedule doesn’t list it. Nor does the weekly English-language paper, Athens Plus. The illuminated sign outside the Metro station at Piraeus lists the ferry but sends you in the wrong direction. It is a small miracle I got to Sikinos at all. The ferry arrived at the uncivilized hour of 3:30 a.m. on Saturday (slightly better on Wednesdays: 1:30 a.m.). Rejecting offers of rooms—no point in going to bed for two hours—I walked up the hill out of the port to be greeted by a magnificent array of stars. The only comparable display I have seen was on the Mongolian steppe. (Read more . . .)

One of Matt’s secret beaches.
One of Matt’s secret beaches.

Nothing at All to Write Home About

Undersea Epiphany,By Matt Barrett

CARRBORO North Carolina & KEA Greece—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—Life begins at four. At least it does here in Kalohori. I wake up at around 8:30, drink some strong coffee, and begin writing. I either finish at 12:30 and meet the flying dolphin or, as has been the case lately, type right through until one of the girls comes to get me for lunch. Then I return to the room and read or listen to some Ken Wapnick tapes on A Course In Miracles and try to convince Amarandi to take a nap. I’m not always successful. At 4:00, I grab my gear and go to the sea. Today, I walk to the next beach over, the little stone inlet before Saint George. Andrea said she would come in an hour. I thought about spending some time collecting sea urchins for my friend, Nikos the Contractor. Also, Mister Octopus has already started hassling me for some, but the thrill of the hunt has too much power over me. (Read more . . .)

Orwell’s Roses, by writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit. 
Author Rebecca Solnitt.

Inside of a Dog

Orwell’s Roses, by Rebecca Solnitt,By Dr. Diane Fortenberry

LONDON England—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—When a writer of fiction creates a character based, however loosely, on herself, it’s called authorial self-insertion. When a writer of non-fiction tells a tale in which her story is almost as prominent as that of the subject, it’s called journalism. The personal insight thus engendered can be very powerful, but the practice is not without risks—specifically, to objectivity and neutrality. You must have an interest in the writer (and journalist) Rebecca Solnit as well as the writer (and journalist) George Orwell to get the most out of Orwell’s Roses. There are many other biographies of Orwell, among them the more impartial George Orwell: A Life (1980; latest revised ed, 2018), the first full-length biography of the writer, by the political philosopher Bernard Crick, with which Sonia Orwell was so incensed that she tried to prevent its publication; Christopher Hitchens’ polemic, Why Orwell Matters (2003); novelist D. J. Taylor’s Orwell: The Life (2004); and, more recently, the esoteric Orwell’s Nose: A Pathological Biography, (2016) by the critic John Sutherland, about the “scent narratives” in Orwell’s work. (Read more . . .)

“Punks on Russian Hill?” by Ted Jouflas.
“Punks on Russian Hill?” by Ted Jouflas.

Desperado Shindig

R.I.P. S.F.A.I.,By Ted Jouflas

PHOENIX Arizona—(Hubris)—September/October 2023—My Alma Maters are predeceasing me. I believe that this story was set into motion while I was still attending high school in the Rocky Mountains. The school itself was an early-20th-century building in a Victorian Gothic style, made of granite, glass, marble, wood, and brick. Five stories tall, the elegant structure was set back from a boulevard in the middle of expansive grounds with numerous large trees. In the very center of the building was an auditorium, ensconced like a pearl in an oyster, having more in common with a small opera house than a setting for the tedious assemblies and high school plays we suffered through in there. The stage had layers of floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains, and that was exactly where some kid decided to set the fire late one night, one week before summer. They never caught who actually did it. (Read more . . .)

“Black Suprematic Square,” by Kazimir Malevich, 1915, oil on linen canvas, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
“Black Suprematic Square.”

The Art of Forgetting

On My Immured Sonnets,By Philip Nikolayev

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—I am sure some of my readers are still puzzled by the immured sonnet form, which I invented (for better or worse!) in the late 20th century. The original idea was to have a formal sonnet wrapped in another text instead of the expected white space. I conceived it while looking at Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square painting at a Guggenheim exhibit and imagining it filled with text instead of paint. So, there is a sonnet at the core of the immured sonnet (other immured forms are also possible and have since been tried). I call the text that wraps around the sonnet the wrapping or wraparound text. It must be typographically distinct from the sonnet. At first the wrapping text tended to be in prose. I even sometimes used, perhaps a bit absurdly, scraps of technical and marketing writing that I was doing for a living at the time. (Read more . . .)

Summer’s narrower riparian fringe. (Photo: Kevin Van Tighem.)
Summer’s riparian fringe.

While I Draw Breath

The Contested Riparian Fringe,By Dr. Kevin Van Tighem

CANMORE, ALBERTA Canada—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—The river is in constant negotiation with the land over who owns that edge where willows crowd down to the cobbles and poplars lean back into the sun. They even dispute ownership of the cliffs along the outside bends. It’s a conversation that goes on season after season and nothing is ever fully resolved. During the spring spate, the river makes its most forceful and compelling case. It breaks off bits of cliff and takes possession of the cottonwood groves. But it can’t sustain such passion, the flows slack off, and the land quietly asserts its ownership; cobbly islands emerge and new poplars sprout on them. Winter brings a truce but then it’s spring and the whole conversation picks up where it left off. (Read more . . .)

Poet Zorina Exie Frey. (Photo: IWA Publications.)
Poet Zorina Exie Frey.

Speculative Friction

The Poetry of Zorina Exie Frey,By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—Poet Zorina Exie Frey is a content writer and 2023 Pushcart Prize Winner for her poem Pee is for Prejudice. Her poetry is featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now, Glassworks Magazine, and swamp pink. She is a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow and a Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Voices of Color Fellow. Frey’s poetry is rooted in her experience growing up on a street separating communities of color from white ones. As the only African American living on her block, Frey embodies a perspective about American culture and society forged over the course of her adult life. (Read more . . .)

Zorba and Basil dance. (Photo: “Zorba the Greek,” Directed by Michael Cacoyiannis.)
Basil & Zorba dance.

Wing + Prayer

God in A Box, Pulled by An Ox: 2 Samuel 6: 1-19,By Reverend Robin White

CINCINNATI Ohio—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—If you have seen the movie, Zorba the Greek, or read the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, you know the larger-than-life, sometimes crude, always free-spirited character, Alexis Zorba. His childlike passion for earthly pleasures, his zest for life, and love of music and dance make him the consummate counterpart to our biblical David. As Zorba tells the Englishman he calls “Boss”: “Is it possible to talk by dancing? And yet I dare swear that’s how the gods and devils must talk to one another.” And, like Zorba, David communicates with God through the dance. The stories of David comprise the most extensively narrated single-character story in scripture. (Read more . . .)

Syros I. (Photo: Chiara-Sophia Coyle.)
Syros I.

Clicks & Relativity

Off-Off Season on Syros,By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

SONOMA California—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—Winters on the Greek islands are undeniably brutal, and not something prospective visitors will see pictured in the sunny travel brochures. So, when you have experienced the off-off-season in Greece for decades, and yet voluntarily sign up to spend a month on one of the lesser-known Cyclades, you are either a glutton for punishment or ready to court new experiences; gather in a new trove of memories. The latter was the case when I decided to spend a month on the island of Syros . . . in the middle of the worst winter in 45 years. Absolutely magnificent thunderstorms and once-in-a-half-century snowstorms were in store for me, along with gale-force winds and seas too rough for ships. (Read more . . .)

House-August 2023 pic 1
Iraklia advertising.

Polemicist on Holiday

Iraklia Diary: A Joy (But Almost a Debacle),By Michael House, FRGS

WEST HAMPSTEAD London England—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—I’m far from sure I want to share Iraklia with the world, but I promised Elizabeth, so here is the story from the beginning. At first, everything went perfectly. I arrived at Heathrow Airport early and deposited my luggage at Aegean Airlines’ very efficient check-in desk. I was well looked after on the plane by a nice flight attendant who might, perhaps, have chosen a less vivid shade of lipstick. We touched down at Venizelos Airport in the early evening, the sky cloudless, the late-September air pleasantly warm. The carousel was very slow—seven pieces of luggage made circuit after circuit in solitary splendor before a few companions appeared. I left the airport and crossed the road to the Metro. (Read more . . .)

From Bilderbuch für Kinder, by Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch, 1806. (Image via Wikimedia Commons.) 
From Bilderbuch für Kinder.

Skip the B.S.

Hurdling the Hazards at the Ramadan Inn: ESL Students,By Dr. Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—Though my in-laws know me as the fellow who calls a German rabbit a “canned chicken,” I opened a can of worms when I agreed to accompany a group of Clemson’s Conversation Partners to the Greenville Zoo. The weekly CP gathering consists mainly of foreign graduate students who wish to improve their English and thus win a paid job teaching a low-level class or lab in their second year of study. On the van ride to Greenville, Anatoly wanted to know if Greenville had a “liquid zoo.” I figured he meant aquarium and told him they did not; the zoo we were visiting had nothing but land animals and a few birds. I suggested they read each animal’s description as provided by the zoo and take notes because, on the return trip, I was going to quiz them, informally. (Read more . . .)

“It's a beautiful mistake. But a mistake.”—Ben, in “Captain Fantastic.”
Ben, in “Captain Fantastic.”

Planetary Hospice

Lying Flat & Quiet Quitting in The Anthropocene,By Dr. Guy McPherson

BELLOWS FALLS Vermont—(Hubris)—1 August 2023—Mine was the epitome of the American success story. Valedictorian of my high-school class, graduating with high honors from college, I took the fast track to MS and PhD. degrees. A brief postdoctoral research position led to my first post as a professor when I was 28 (at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas). I began my pursuit of tenure the following year, 1989, at the University of Arizona. There, I joined the fewer than 1 in 200 people to receive a PhD degree in the natural sciences and have it lead to a position as a full professor. Contrary to the usual, time-consuming approach, I achieved full professor status before I turned 40 years of age. (Read more . . .)

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