The Write Stuff

Thanks for visiting my new website and welcome to my new blog The Write Stuff.

I’m not sure it should actually be called a blog, because the comment feature is not enabled, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. If you’d like to tell me something or ask a question that may or may not have anything to do with the subject I’ve posted about, just go to the CONTACT page and let it rip.

When I was thinking about the design of the new site, I knew that I wanted it to be a lot simpler with none of the website bells and whistles that I’ve always found somewhat distracting. With that in mind I decided I wanted a blog that was more like a journal. A place where I can write about things that I like or that intrigue me…food, of course, and books and music and movies and just little pieces of life, like the birds nesting right outside my office window, or changing out my summer clothes and reading for the first time the label inside my mother’s cedar chest. You know what I mean.

If you’re not familiar with the arts of Southwestern Native Americans, you might wonder what this odd little figure is. He is a Pueblo Storyteller Doll. I first came across these sculptures in an art gallery in Santa Fe when I was doing research for Isabel’s Daughter and promptly fell in love with not only the figures themselves, but with the whole idea of a Storyteller Doll. I was amazed by and infatuated with the variety of dolls, all the different styles from different potters in different Pueblos…not just human figures, but animals and birds and characters from the mythologies and spiritual traditions of the Southwest.

Since the Pueblo culture has existed in the American Southwest for roughly two thousand years, I assumed that this art had been practiced for hundreds of years at least, but was surprised to learn that the first of what is now called Storytellers was shaped in 1964 by a Cochiti potter named Helen Cordero.

She said she started making “little people and animals” because she didn’t like the way her pots turned out, and once she started, “it was like a flower blooming.” The inspiration for the Storyteller figures came from the memory of her grandfather, Santiago Quintana, who was such a good storyteller that there were always children around him, listening to his stories.

This particular figure is the first one I acquired, and the creator is Tony Dallas, a Hopi artist who married a Cochiti woman and moved to her pueblo. The black and white stripes denote the Koshare, or sacred clowns. Even though they’re sometimes called jesters or tricksters, Koshare are powerful and revered figures in the Katsina religion of the Puebloans.

Since this particular one is a Storyteller I thought he would be the perfect icon for my journal/blog. If you’re interested in learning more about Storyteller dolls, I highly recommend a book called The Pueblo Storyteller by Barbara A. Babcock, Guy and Doris Monthan.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll visit this page again soon.