Simplicity is never a matter of circumstances; simplicity is always a matter of focus. – Ann Voskamp
My writing, specifically the stories of Jhon Collector, has been, is, and will be censored because of bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism. It is an ugly and undeniable fact and truth. No matter how many laws are passed, no matter how many declarations are uttered, and no matter how many celebrities and politicians claim otherwise bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism have, do, and will exist.
Until such time that the individual stands up and refuse to submit to such things.
Only then will humanity realize its potential.
Write and you will learn.
Write and you will know.
Write and you will understand.
– James C. Hess
Martin McDonagh understands – Tell me a good story:
For human beings, life is meaningful, because it is a story. – Atul Gawande, BEING MORTAL
When I first started doing research for the Jhon Collector stories I realized that an influence was the actor James Coburn, in the film A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE.
A recent gathering of Writers, in which The Rule was broken: No talking shop.
The instigator of the rule-breaking, though, must be commended for how they managed to break The Rule with finesse: When asked by another attending Writer how their personal life was going they replied, very seriously: Oh, good. I have found I like sleeping the dog house. In the backyard. Under the creaking branch on the aged cottonwood that seems ready to break any day now. A strong wind should do the job, dropping it on the doghouse.
Of course, no pity regarding the predicament was extended. Instead, a polite inquiry about how the humble scribe came to literally be in the dog house.
My wife, the ink-stained wretch began. She won’t let me in the house because I’ve been obsessing over how to finish this screenplay I’ve been working for several years. On and off, of course. In between paying gigs that pay the bills. She suggested I give up on it because it just won’t work, but I refuse, and that has made matters in the bedroom difficult.
So the dog house.
While I was enjoying my meal another Writer attending interjected: Ask Jim. He never has Writer’s Block. He never has a problem finishing a piece of writing he is working on. Life is smooth and easy and kind to him.
(Not true. Any of it. But never mind.)
I do not experience that irregularity, the constipation of talent, skill, and ability categorically called “Writer’s Block” because I refuse to submit to it. Nothing more. Also, I refuse to believe in the existence of such a contrivance. If you want to write you will write. If you don’t a dozen or more excuses will be at the ready.
For the Lakhota the most important source of food is the buffalo, or American bison. Pte Oyate is Lakhota for “Buffalo Nation”.
The Pte Hcaka is the true bison. The Lakhota tell stories of the massive beast, but until 2004, when a skull, measuring between seven and eight feet between the horns, was unearthed, did anyone believe there was truth to the tales.
Before contact with the Spanish and the European settlers bison were so abundant that it was said that you could walk on their backs across the Great Plains, from Mexico to Canada.
The bison is so revered by the Lakhota that they have at least seventeen different words to describe various types of buffalo. One word classifies buffalo by age – Pte heste (a two-year-old), and Pte he yuktan (a four to six-year-old).
Then there are words to describe the buffalo’s sex: Pte tabloka means “bull” and Pte winyela means ‘cow’. Buffalo are further classified by special qualities. For example, Pte wiyela lyauhapi means “lead cow”, who is followed by the herd.
Knowing which one was the lead cow was important to Lakhota hunters because hunting party scouts would watch the lead cow prior to a hunt, and they could determine where the herd would be in two to three days based on the movements of the lead cow. The scouts would then return to camp and bring the people for a communal hunt.
In additional to buffalo the Lakhota hunted other animals. Big game included Hehaka or elk, Mato or bear, Nigesan or antelope and two types of deer – tahca sinte sapela or mule deer, and tahca sinte ska or white-tailed deer.
Small game hunted by the Lakhota included mastin sapa or jackrabbit and pahin or porcupine, and pispiza or prairie dog.
Tradition has allowed the Lakhota to sustain their food culture, including Wohanpi, a traditional soup. In the past it would have been made with bison meet, prairie turnips, and blo or wild potatoes. Today it is made with bison or beef, potatoes and other vegetables.
When bison is used the cooking time is reduced because bison has less fat than beef, and if overcooked, can become tough and hard to eat.
- Three cups of cooked cubed beef or bison meat
- Six cups beef broth
- Three medium-sized potatoes that have been peeled and cubed
- Three medium-sized carrots cut into ½-inch slices
- One Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the cooked meat to the broth in a stock pot.
- Add carrots, potatoes, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. If using bison, add the meat to the pot in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.