1 June 2023
This issue is dedicated to The Reverend Robin White.
“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. … And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”
―Hannah Arendt: From an Interview with the French writer Roger Errera, October 26, 1978, The New York Review of Books (© 1978 Mary McCarthy West)
From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: Our June issue opens with a plaintive, urgent essay by The Reverend Robin Kaye White, who recounts for the first time the traumas of being an out, ordained, Protestant minister in homophobic, nay “misoGaynic” America. (As the Greek verb misein combines with gynia to yield misogyny, “hatred of women,” so we need new but similar terms for the violent hatred LGBTQ+ people have long experienced in this country.) We follow with an excellent, elegant speculative essay on the topic of “failure” by Clemson University Professor Emeritus (and resident Wordspinner) Dr. Skip Eisiminger. Next, Dr. Guy McPherson riffs on a misquotation of Charles Darwin, but enlarges his focus to substantiate the thesis that vertebrates will not, cannot, keep up with rapid, cataclysmic climate change. Poetry Editor Claire Bateman introduces us to the writing of Marream Krollos, of Alexandria, Egypt (and Greenville, South Carolina). Culinary traveler Diana Farr Louis leaves Kifissia (her winter digs) and Andros (her summer home) for a quick, vivid journey to The Peloponnese (Southern Greece). (She tucks in a recipe for Smoked Trout Mousse Loredana.) Greek travel guru Matt Barrett continues our Hellenic thread with a piece on traversing Athens with a baby stroller (not for the faint-hearted). Then comes a reverie re. reading by bibliophile Kathryn E. Livingston, filed from Arles, France, where the term that so aptly describes her—from the Greek, of course—was coined in c. 1820. And our June issue closes with single-panel cartoons by non-resident cartoonist Mark Addison Kershaw.
About Quint Buchholz, the artist featured on our June and July 2023 Home Pages: Quint Buchholz was born in Stolberg near Aachen in 1957 and grew up in Stuttgart. He studied Art History, painting, and graphic design at the The Munich Academy of Art under Professor Gerd Winner. Buchholz has worked as a painter and illustrator since 1979, illustrating over 40 books for German and international publishers. From 1982 onwards, his works have also been exhibited in over 70 solo exhibitions in Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Taiwan. In recent years, the artist has also worked as a set designer, creating sets for “The Golem” in 2005 and “Caligula” in 2007, both of which were staged by Jochen Schölch for the Metropoltheater in Munich. In 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2017 Buchholz ran the Illustration Workshop at the Kunst Leben (Live Art) summer school in Kloster Irsee. He also occasionally teaches courses at the Bad Reichenhall Art Academy and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolbermoor. At the end of 2008, a theatrical interpretation of “The Collector of Moments” opened at the Theâtre de Cornouaille in Quimper, Brittany. The production went on to tour nine other French cities. A German production of “Der Sammler der Augenblicke” (“The Collector of Moments”) opened in March 2011 at the Munich Metropoltheater, directed by Jochen Schölch. After 14 sold-out performances, it returned to the theater in November 2011, and since December 2013, it has been a regular part of the Munich Metropol Theater’s program. Quint Buchholz is married, the father of three children, and lives in Munich, Germany. Read more about/order the artist’s books here.
Wing + Prayer
“The Three Unbidden Visitors,” By The Reverend Robin White
CINCINNATI Ohio—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—It was 1990. More years have passed since then—more years than her age at the time. She was newly ordained and newly installed as pastor of a 250-member congregation in the capital city. The Governor attended Sunday morning services there. It had been less than a year since she’d taken up her post, and she was flourishing as the first woman pastor of the historic downtown church. Then, Sunday morning, at the back door, where she was greeting her flock after worship, Fred (not his real name), a short, middle-aged congregant with a military-style haircut asked to meet with her—preferably that afternoon. Readily, she agreed, telling him to come to her church office later that day. (Read more . . .)
Skip the B.S.
“Cutting the Butterfly from Its Cocoon: Failure,” By Dr. Skip Eisiminger
CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—I had always assumed that my existence was hard-wired in the universe; it wasn’t. Fifty years after the fact, my father, Butch, casually told me one evening that failing a required engineering course at the University of Illinois in June of 1939 meant graduating and receiving his reserve commission a year later than expected. After the bad news, he spent eight months cleaning oil drums, working in a refinery back home, looking like a scolded puppy while saving enough money to return to the university. I was shocked by this revelation because Dad had always been the Eagle Scout (I never made it past Second Class); he was the decorated war hero (I’d fought in the “Cold War”), and he was “the paragon of animals,” at least until he told me he’d married because his girlfriend was pregnant with me. (Read more . . .)
“Vertebrates Can’t & Won’t Keep Up,” By Dr. Guy McPherson
BELLOWS FALLS Vermont—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—As every ecologist knows, and apparently very few other people, the rate of environmental change is among the most important factors controlling the continued survival of individuals, populations, and species. If the environment occupied by an individual or a species changes, then the individual or the species must change. Evolution by natural selection is typically a relatively slow process, requiring at least one generation and usually many generations to ensure adaptation. For species such as Homo sapiens, our ability to procreate comes at a relatively late age, thereby guaranteeing a minimum of a few decades for adaptation to occur. Unfortunately, the ongoing and projected rates of environmental change far outstrip the ability of our species to adapt. (Read more . . .)
“The Writing of Marream Krollos,” By Claire Bateman
GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—Marream Krollos currently teaches at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and has since lived in Los Angeles, New York, Seville, Seoul, Christchurch, and Riyadh. She received her PhD from the University of Denver. In Jeddah, she taught one of the very few creative writing classes in the kingdom. Her hybrid collection, Big City, is published by FC2; her novella, Stan, by Meekling Press; and her poetry volume, Sermons, by VA press. In her work, Krollos explores dimensions of voice and alienation. Big City contains short stories, vignettes, and verse with recurring, concurrent, fragmented, and continuous voices. The work attempts to create a skyline of sorts with form, a disconnected community of muttering souls with language. (Read more . . .)
Eating Well Is the Best Revenge
“On the Road, At Last: Katakolo & The Peloponnese,” By Diana Farr Louis
ATHENS Greece—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—Perhaps the best thing about this story is that it started with a response to the moan in my February contribution to “Hubris” which had to do with stifled wanderlust. A dear friend who lives on the other side of the US left a comment on my son’s Facebook page, where he’d shared it, telling me to look at my messages: “We will be in the Peloponnese for Easter, wanna come with?” The invitation jolted us out of our doldrums; we hardly had to think twice. We needed a change desperately, couldn’t face going to the island (Andros) and spending days getting the house, empty for the past six months, habitable again; the friends we usually spend Easter with had other plans; and staying in Athens seemed a dismal prospect. A flurry of messages and phone calls ensued and lo, the hotels were booked, and we would meet on 13 April at a taverna next to the submersible bridge across the entrance to the Corinth Canal. (Read more . . .)
Nothing At All to Write Home About
“Strollering Through Athens, Greece,” By Matt Barrett
CARRBORO North Carolina & KEA Greece—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—A friend with a baby asked me if Athens was “stroller-friendly,” a term now obsolete in America, where the stores, sidewalks, and buildings of its towns and cities are totally accessible to baby carriages and the physically impaired. It didn’t take long for me to answer that saying Athens was not stroller-friendly would be giving a false impression, as if Athens were merely unconscious or unaware that people have children and that a popular way to transport them is by stroller. Because to anyone who has tried to get around the city pushing a small child it would seem that Athens is not indifferent or unaware but is actually in a state of war with them. Perhaps Athens is merely the innocent bystander and the war is between the automobile and the pedestrian, in which conflict the woman pushing a stroller is at a serious disadvantage due to its lack of agility and flexibility. (Read more . . .)
Words & Wonder
“In the Company of Books,” By Kathryn E. Livingston
ARLES France—(Hubris)—1 June 2023—Back in the day, my parents didn’t tell me what to read. They said, “Get on your bike, and ride down to the library.” I always came back with a basketful, and my childhood choices ran the gamut from Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew mysteries, and Little Women to the occasional Archie comic. Only once—when I was a teen—did my father dare to tell me I could not read a particular novel. I clearly recall that the book was The Godfather, but I’m not sure why it was forbidden. Doesn’t matter anyway, because I totally ignored him, secretly read the book, and later saw the movie. My father’s proclamation against The Godfather served only to ensure that read it I would. So much for the “logic” of book banning. (Book banners would find more success by giving children a list of mandatory books, including the banned Beloved or To Kill a Mockingbird. Kids would then surely find other books to read.) (Read more . . .)
“I’ve Been Here for 43 Minutes & I Don’t Feel Any Better,” By Mark Addison Kershaw
ATLANTA Georgia—(Hubris)—1 June 2021—Editor’s Note: I nag Mark Addison Kershaw. Every month. I nag all of Hubris’s Contributors, but I single Mark out for special attention. Because he makes me smile, always, and, many times, he makes me laugh. An aeon ago (in 2007, back when our daily demons seemed less numerous or toothsome), Stephen Colbert wrote: “Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid.” Which is why I nag Mark, and why I am so happy, so wreathed with smiles, when his cartoons land (eventually, late) on my virtual desk. In a time of such horror and anxiety, Mark brings me a lady on a park bench with a sack of peanuts she has brought along to feed . . . the birds. Thing is, an elephant has shown up before her, instead of pigeons. This makes me smile. I look at each cartoon Mark sends me carefully. I study it. And then, I smile, or I chuckle. For the duration, I am not afraid. (Read more . . .)
Our May 2023 Issue
“Desperately Seeking Ketamine No Longer,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring
PENDLETON South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—Given my time (floruit 1951- c. 2031), place, and patent oddity, I, along with the hammers in my vicinity, naturally took myself to be a nail. Yes, I was clearly a nail. And I required their hammering. A bad sleeper from birth, and prone to melancholy, panic, nightmares, and an uncanny ability to talk about all of the above from childhood on, I waited over a decade “for ketamine,” which I thought might be, for me, a silver bullet, the hammer of hammers. I kept up with data regarding the drug (two drugs, in fact, ketamine and esketamine) over the years, and hoped I’d be among those served, if not saved by it. (Read more . . .)
“Not at All Foggy Now, Professor Fermi,” By Dr. Guy McPherson
BELLOWS FALLS Vermont—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—The Fermi Paradox, named for Professor Enrico Fermi, refers to the contradiction between the lack of evidence and the high probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. Fermi was an Italian physicist who later became a citizen of the United States. He has been called the architect of the nuclear age and, also, the architect of the atomic bomb. The basic points of Fermi’s Paradox are as follows: 1) There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the Sun, many of which are billions of years older than Earth; 2) There is a very high probability that some of these stars have Earth-like planets and, if Earth is typical, some of the attendant solar systems might develop intelligent life leading to the development of civilizations; 3) Some of these civilizations might develop interstellar travel, as we have attempted on Earth. 4) Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the Milky Way Galaxy could be completely traversed in about a million years. According to this line of thinking, the Earth already should have been visited by extraterrestrial aliens. (Read more . . .)
Words & Wonder
“Objets du Coeur,” By Kathryn E. Livingston
BOGOTA New Jersey—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—My house is cluttered; I know I should be calling in Marie Kondo to resolve the matter. I’m aware that all these tchotchkes are not appealing to others, they collect dust, and they probably reflect my monkey mind. But . . . these objects hold stories I hold close to my heart, and stories are what writers are about. De-cluttering is in, but I believe it’s over-rated. When my mother passed 22 years ago, my siblings weren’t interested in most of her possessions (just as today, I’m told, many children don’t really want their parents’ old photos and dishes). But I took everything I could from the five-bedroom Victorian house where she had spent the last 13 years of her life as a widow. From my former bedroom, I rescued my great aunts’ parlor chairs (and paid a hefty price to have them refurbished because my mom’s cats had destroyed them). (Read more . . .)
“The Poetry of Adrienne Burris,” By Claire Bateman
GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—Poet and educator Adrienne Burris earned a BA in Writing and Publication Studies from Clemson University in 2010, and an MA Writer/Teacher from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015. During her time at Clemson, she participated in a Jane Austen intensive at Oxford University as a Duckenfield Scholar. In addition to establishing the ARMES Creative Writing program, Burris was the Founding Director of Greenville Wordsmiths, an award-winning non-profit organization empowering reluctant writers and children with special needs to identify as authors. The poet is also a Moth StorySlam winner and two-time TEDx presenter. Burris is currently putting her creativity to use in bringing up her two young boys in Greenville, South Carolina. (Read more . . .)
Skip the B.S.
“Permanently Smitten: Love,” By Dr. Skip Eisiminger
CLEMSON South Carolina—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—On our first date in the spring of 1961, I wore a suit of 14th-century armor; Ingrid carried a magnet. Sitting in a carnival tent eating ox-tail soup, she told me she’d played Snow White in a her fourth-grade class play. I asked her who had kissed her, for I was already jealous. On our second date, Bob Di Bernardino, my best friend and eventual best man, advised me to shave my knuckles and wear white socks to impress her. The knuckles went unnoticed, and Ingrid told me white socks meant you were a “warm brother,” or gay. On our third date, I declined Bob’s offer of some Old Spice, but I did shower and borrow his Banlon shirt. She said my “cow eyes” sealed the deal, but I suspect it was that stretchy shirt. At any rate, she stamped me “Luftpost” and delivered me from evil. Heart, mind, soul, and Mr. Wiggly, we’ve oscillated on the same frequency (despite the occasional frenzy) ever since. (Read more . . .)
Nothing At All to Write Home About
“The Sifnos Monster,” By Matt Barrett
CARRBORO North Carolina & KEA Greece—(Hubris)—1 May 2023—It was during a summer in the early 1980s that I first heard about the Sifnos Monster. I had stopped in New York on my way to Greece and stayed with my sister Cindy and her family while I waited for a standby flight to anywhere in Europe. After a plane, a few trains, a ferry, a bus, and a particularly wild first night in Athens, I found myself hungover and on the Friday afternoon ferry to Sifnos. Who should I see on the rear deck but my sister Cindy and her three-year-old son Shane. My visit had inspired her. She had bought a couple tickets and left her husband to spend the summer in Greece. We each rented a third of a house right on the beach. The remaining third was inhabited by Old Markos, one of the famous potters of Sifnos, an island known for its ceramic art. We all spent the summer together in this ancient stone house. (Read more . . .)
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