I kind of screwed up. I distributed the PBRC Audiobook to streaming sites as well as purchase sites. A few hundred people have listened to it, thank you very much, but I only get a tuppence a listen. Really. I receive between a third of a cent to 1.3 pennies per play. Oops.
So over the coming days, I'll be upload, a story at a time, the complete Pamela's Baby Rocking Chair audiobook, for free.
I'm pushing 60 and I think about these kinds of things.
Craig Acorn, Cathy Spann and Greta Ward have the details on how to get to C.J.'s Fault. (There's a topo map in a desk drawer too, if you need it.) When you arrive at the top, you'll find a small cairn I made four years ago.
When I die, I'd like to have my ashes sprinkled inside of that small chamber of rocks, or near by.
(You can take some of my ashes to the family plot in Virginia if you like, but that's not a big deal to me. Just let Currie Funeral Home in Kilmarnock, Virginia know I'm dead, and they'll sandblast the death date on my headstone.)
Come visit C.J.'s Fault from time to time, as much for the view as for the remembrance. It's a pretty place. Maybe you'll see a Big Horn or two. They bed up there.
Again, Craig Acorn, Cathy Spann, and Greta Ward know the way.
"May your life be as cloudless as a summer day. Your friend, Maud Wright. January 24th, 1884."
I inherited the Saum family Bible after my sister and mother died 18 months ago. I haven't given it much thought, but in the writing of my new novel, Step Zero 2.0, I have good and bad Christians and I need a good King James Bible for research. So off to the musty storage locker I went.
What I found was an beautiful ancient book with the deaths, births and marriages of my mother's side of the family, from the 1860's to a couple decades ago. I had no idea those records were still in the book. I thought those pages had been missing for years. Instead, they were nestled between the Old and New Testament. I filled in the death dates that have occurred in the last few years that I knew: an uncle, an aunt, a father, a mother, a sister. Some questions were answered about my ancestors yet more questions arose, like the twins by Aunt Nan who died in 1941 after having lived only one day. No one's ever talked about those baby's deaths.
The Bible seemed to have been purchased by the great great grand parents after the birth of their second child in 1884. Thumbing through this huge tome I found the above note. I have no idea who Maud Wright was, but my best guess is she was a good friend of the Saums.
"May your life be as cloudless as a summer day," she wrote to her friends. I'm struck not only by the beautiful handwriting but mostly the lovely sentiment.
So did Earl and Nannie Saum have a cloudless life? Doubtful, even though they were wealthy landownders in Northern Virginia. They had sicknesses and successes, failures and weaknesses, births and deaths, most of the fine details lost in Time.
But the kind thought of a friend wishing them calm and peace lives on, in my hands, in my family bible, 129 years later, almost to the day.
I can only hope that a century from now, someone finds a handwritten note from me, wishing a friend love and light. I best get started.
"The Saum Children, Virginia" (c) 1930?, 2012, Earl Saum?, Stu Jenks
From left to right: Mary Saum Jenks, Courtney Saum, Nan Saum Haddad, Virginia Saum Edmonds.
Thanks to Becky Edmonds for find the photo and for her friend for image-capturing the original photograph. I desaturated, cropped, cleaned and fiddled with the file I recieved from my cousin.
This was taken at the Saum Farm outside of Alexandria, Virginia. From what my mother told me, this was not a happy time. Earl Saum, her father, was a violent alcoholic who would beat poor Courtney to an inch of his life in front of the entire family. Often. Very Often. The Saum kids were not happy or maybe just Mom wasn't, but I'm guessing everyone was scared.
My mother would occasionally exaggerate. Her unhappy childhood I don't believe was something she was hyperbolic about. Notice how all the children are standing at attention, how only one is smiling, how none are holdling hands. They were frightened of the photographer, their dad. A striking photograph of my family.
Mary Jenks died a year ago on July 7th, 2011. Rest in peace, Mom. Your ashes rest beside your husband's and behind your daughter's. And your son's ashes will be there someday.
Image: "Queen Esther Baptist Church, Lancaster, Virginia" (c) 2011 Stu Jenks (Just down River Road from Victoria's house. Love that luscious red carpet. And for you nocturnals out there, it was handheld. Rare for me.)
In this time of making photos on iPhones and Macbook Pros and only looking on screens, I forget I'm a old-school guy. I make a 8 1/2 x 11 work print on archival paper of EVERY image I make. EVERY one. It's the only way, for me, to accurately check for color shift, density, composition, etc. I really like my iPad screen but it's no way to make a good print.
And I have hundreds, if not thousands, of work prints artist proofs at my studio.
If you see an image of mine on The StuBlog or on my old website or on the Fezziwig Press Store or in any of my books, there's a beautiful small print in a box somewhere, perhaps with your name on it. And since I'm organized, I can find it.
Many of you can't afford my larger prints. I understand. I don't have an extra 50 or 100 lying around either. But I do have an extra $20 for stuff I really like.
So if you see an image of mine on any of my sites or in any of my books and you want it, it's yours for $25, shipping, handling and tax included. (I believe in paying taxes, sales and otherwise.)
Just email me at my facebook page or through the StuBlog or at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me what print you would like or just pull the jpeg and send that to me.
I was just watching the Tarhells lose today in basketball, working on images at my computer when I thought, 'I bet people don't realize I have boxes of work prints here.'
You all do now.
Love and light,
p.s. Ignore the catagories belows. The computer went wacky. Another reason why I prefer a print in the hand as opposed to an image in The Cloud.