Prelude to Care / Watering Guadalupe’s Rose: Jerry Martein,

Three Prose Poems: Vivian Faith Prescott,

Old Stories from the New World: Susan Power,

Guadalupe Lopez Blanco: Gary Nabhan,

Fixing a Hole in the Ocean: Kim Heacox,

“In recent months we have come to realize just how much our human lives are involved with caretaking. We care for children and family, lovers and friends, pets of all kinds; for houses and hot tubs, lawns and trees, roses and rhododendrons; for potatoes and carrots and lettuce in our gardens… And through the bustle of the fast-paced, information-laden, consumer-driven world in which we currently live, if we’re conscientious enough and pay sufficient attention, we care for ourselves.

One arena of care critical to our well being–one that is often ignored–is care for language, care for words. Writing is the opportunity, the task, the pleasure, the focused work of taking care of words, taking care with words. Reading, the other side of that coin, is taking care to absorb words, to feel and sense their meaning. Together, these two activities–writing and reading–help us take care of ourselves as humans. Both writing and reading are privileges, skills that we too easily take for granted, too easily use carelessly. Both are sources of truth and deception, and we must take care to distinguish one from the other.

Before the written word there were stories, told by people who took care with word and detail to ensure the stories stayed alive and helped clarify the intricacies and complexities of our human lives. Our story-telling habit is one of the most durable in human history. We are as dependent as ever on stories to help us make sense of our experience of the world. We now put them in writing or convey them to each other electronically or just spin a good yarn when we’re with friends, but we can’t help ourselves. Stories are a means of caring for ourselves. They help us stay alive.”