THE PROMISE OF STANDISH (a desert tale) - Original Music by Michelle Murphy

Many roads lead to the high desert of Nevada. Route 395, a favorite of mine, first cuts through the picturesque Eastern Oregon Country then into a small corner of California before releasing you to the vast vistas of Nevada.
The long drive leaves you anxious for any road that looks like a short cut. Standish at the intersection of 395 and route 139 appears on the map like it might have that promise. A small road in the middle of the town turned you directly South into Nevada avoiding the junction traffic a few miles to the west. It never really saved much time, but the promise was there.
I learned over time that Standish had a story, a story of a larger promise. A spec of a place now with a population of 85. In once flourished in 1897, billed as the new Utopia of the West by the Associated Colonies of New York led by Miles Standish. The town by his namesake was one of two to be built on a European model for Utopia. Where the people would leave the town each day to work collectively i…


Henry David Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.”
When you are lost though, it can be difficult to find the “Lost and Found” department for people.
There are many ways you can find yourself lost. Too many problems and failures in the rear-view mirror of life, loss of love, no one to reach out to, being stuck in a remote place, shoved aside by society and loosing the strength to risk. All these and many more can leave you frozen in time, unable to take advantage of opportunities or new relationships, even if they pass by you everyday.
The world is a dynamic and wonderful place. Most of us recover from being lost. We gain a new spirituality, find internal peace with what has passed, meet a special person, rediscover our dreams or finally risk finding that new opportunity. The time lost gives us space we need to gather our resources and venture again.
For some, it’s a much longer journey than others. They find only darkness in the world. Even f…


Breaker Boxes
There are never any small accidents on the circuit. It’s always show time with flashes and smoke. It's one thing to create the power, but it is the meter that makes the money and the breaker that saves the day. They stand silently doing their work, gathering the art of the street over time...
David Young


Steven stopped long enough to open some cat food for Oliver. It just sat there, its head in the air.  “Your just an ordinary cat, eat the food,” Steven said with frustration. Oliver took a few bites and then poutingly moved back to his corner. Turning toward his computer and work, Steven could still see the dent on the wall where Sarah smashed the vase, remembering seeing all the pieces on the floor.  That night still haunted him. Sarah’s angry words echoed one by one. “I’m leaving you. You don’t care anymore. I’ve just been a pretty vase on the mantle to you.  Now even that’s broken. You never spend any time with me. You just work, work, work. And what for, just some stupid ambition. To have more words on your business card. You cold ass hole.” Her bags were all packed. Dragging them to the door she turned and said, “I don’t know what attracted me to you. I thought you would change. That there was some softness there. When we found Oliver and brought him home, I hoped Maybe that wou…


I am certainly not a great painter. I do surprise myself sometimes with a decent painting or two. My immediate reaction is to go out to buy new paint and brushes. Surely, they will lead to even grander art work. The “New” does not always get you to your goals.
It is often the experimentation and creativity that springs from having to use the resources around you, limited as they might be. The left overs of your trade.
Jean-Francois Chaigneau’s book “In the Studio” drives this point home. He cataloged photographs of great artists like Braque, Picasso and Chagall at work in their studios. All about them, in their often primitive looking studios, were scatter well-worn brushes and tubes of old paint. The faces of the artists show the angst and passion as they created new work using old art tools.
I once took classes from the artist Allen Reamer. He always began his classes having students make color charts. Ones that laboriously combined first the primary colors then renditions of these…


The wonderful gift of discovering a bookstore full of old books. All out of order and in boxes. Tales, art, philosophy and poetry. All old friends found again....


It was just a simple house On Johnson Street  Up from the rail road tracks. Just me and my spouse now.
I guess it was the outskirts. We both worked hard and Sat on the porch every evening.
Taking stock of the day. The two chairs near the door For the youngsters now gone.
Our chairs near the steps. At least we could ask  Why and where when they left.
We left one chair open For neighbors stopping by To share a beer or glass of Jack when we had it.
We could hear the trains going by. The creaking of the rails from the weight Of freight for the city.
We knew about that weight. We carried it on our backs And sweated each pound earned.
The young ones now gone. Off to school and their own lives. The long hours of work still here with us.
Some would say we never really won. We owned the house though and Sat on the porch and thought well done.
young ‘19