Penobscot Island Air a Lifeline for Islands



Penobscot Island Air  offers an intimate view of Maine’s islands everywhere there is an airstrip.

For places without a
runway, two of the company’s five Cessnas are equipped for amphibious landings
yacht side or dockside.  These are the
same planes that fly in Alaska’s
outlying territories, best known for taking off and landing in places with
short runways.  The Cessna 206 and 207
can carry about 1,600 lbs of cargo and up to 5 passengers.  The Cessna 208 can carry 7 passengers and
carries about 4,000 lbs. 



Need to get something mailed overnight?  The airline handles all mail and overnight
shipping to and from the islands.  When
the weather is not suitable for flying, they handle transporting the mail to
and from the ferry service.  But they
don’t just deliver the mail; they’ll also deliver your mainland grocery order
or even your laptop from one place to the next. 
They’re flexible.   

If a serious medical emergency happens on one of Maine’s
islands, PIA provides the plane and a pilot for Life flights that do not
necessitate transporting via helicopter. 
When the emergency is not so serious, PIA picks up the patient and flies
them wherever needed About 160 flights a year are for medical emergencies.   
With a fleet of 5 planes available on nearly a moment’s notice, Penobscot Island Air is the sole air carrier transporting both two and four legged passengers to the islands.  If your beast doesn’t prefer the ferry, it’s not a problem, just put her on the plane.  Joie is an exhuberant blonde lab whose person is a lobsterman on Matinicus Island.  Joie likes to visit the mainland, but she hates the ferry; she whines, howls and carries on.  Rather than make everyone on the boat miserable, Joie flies Penobscot Island Air instead.  She happily jumps into the plane, sits in ‘her’ seat in the back and minds her manners like she’s fresh out of obedience school.  With only a 15 minute flight instead of a 75 minute ferry ride, Joie is a very happy beast.   
 Mark and Ellen Hoffman are staying on Vinalhaven with
their two children, Isaac and Izzy.  They
have a wedding to go to in New York
for the weekend.  They were planning to
ride the ferry to the mainland and catch a flight from there.  Due to two medical emergencies last night, the
ferry’s first two trips are cancelled.  So
they won’t miss the wedding, the Hoffman’s are flying from Vinalhaven to Owl’s
Head via PIA, then on to Portland
where they will pick up a commercial flight to New York.  With zero stress or hassle, they will make
the wedding.  
There is an unexpected
bonus as a result of this morning’s transportation switch.  Daughter Izzy is afraid of heights.  After flying from Vinalhaven to Owl’s Head,
she is beaming.  Pilot Thomas Sowles
takes a photo of the family in front of the plane, and soon they are ready to
go again.      

The bonus for anyone flying with PIA is the unobstructed
view of Maine’s coastline in an
entirely different way.  
 Because of this,
Penobscot Island Air provides Flightseeing services for up to 6 people.  It’s one thing to drive to a lighthouse, and tour
the inside, or walk around it.  Better
yet to sail by one, and see it as sailors did years ago from the water.   Flying over one close enough to see foamy
waves crashing upon the jagged edges of the rocks is nothing less than
breathtaking.  Tours are custom designed
for each group, so they vary in the number of lighthouses to see and flying
time according to the group’s needs. 

In about 10 minutes, you can be touching down on one of Maine’s
fabulous islands. 
The advantages of a 5 minute flight over an hour and fifteen
minute ferry ride are huge in respect to time, place and experience.  Want to go kayaking around the islands but
don’t want to paddle there?  Up to 6
people and kayaks can fly out on the Cessna 208.  How about camping on an island sans boat?  Fly out with your gear, let them know when to
pick you back up and enjoy the solitude. 
For day trips, take a bike and a picnic basket to a secluded beach.  PIA’s pilots land near some of the most
beautiful beaches in Maine.  They will even fly a wedding party out for an
unforgettably romantic experience.   
 Penobscot Island Air flies 7 days a week, including
holidays.  With six full time pilots and
11 per diem pilots, they are ready to go at literally a moment’s notice.  This allows PIA to offer flexibility along
with excellent service and a breathtaking experience.  These pilots realize that they are lucky to
be behind the controls of a real plane, instead of a commercial airline.   
Many are retired from professional flying and
work with PIA to stay sharp.  One pilot,
Mike Falconeri is spending the summer flying the same kinds of planes in Alaska.  Because of flying here in Maine,
Falconeri fit right in immediately.  Smaller
planes allow pilots and passengers to interact during the flight.  This makes for a more personal experience
that one can’t get on a commercial airline. 
The pilots are friendly, knowledgeable about the area and are happy to
answer questions on the trip.  Flying with
Penobscot Island Air is an unforgettable way to see Maine’s 10,000 islands.    

Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

What We Focus On, Grows

When pain hits you, do you feel powerless?  

When pain is ruling the day, the first thing to do is take a break. Pain is your body’s way of saying – “Hey! Don’t push so hard!” But with FMS, the pain is relentless. It creeps in when we least expect or plan for it, it’s just there, suddenly in a huge way.

Were we so busy ignoring our body’s needs that it had no choice but to say WOAH! Did we push, push push to do something that we really did not need to do?

I remember when pain ruled my every waking moment.   I remember riding in the wheelchair at the grocery store, and feeling so wiped out after the trip that I couldn’t manage the groceries, get them in from the car, or even think of making dinner.  I remember the frustration of not being able to walk very far because the handicapped space in the parking lot was like a long distance sprint to me at that time.

Now that is different. I normally park way out away from the handicapped spot – knowing that walking will do me good. It will kick in some endorphins and overall, make me feel better. I continued to make choices like this until the little changes added up to a big healing over a long period of time.  The changes did not happen overnight, but day by day.

Going through that healing gauntlet was a giant lesson in how to work with my body, how to listen to it, and not view the message of dis-ease as a betrayal, but as a teacher with an important message. 

As I have focused on what makes me feel good, there is less time to think about what makes me feel bad. What distracts me from pain is different from what distracts you. It’s part personal and clinical, these distractions. Humans have created powerful ways to distract ourselves from pain.

To disassociate from the unpleasantness of now in order to persevere through the present, and move forward beyond the overwhelming NOW into the future. The distraction trick works well in times of acute pain or stress that are so intense that you may wonder how you will ever get through it. It’s about not letting the pain distract from the beauty of life, and instead, finding ways to let the beauty of life be one continual distraction from that which is unpleasant. It’s an allowing game as well. “Ok, I’m in the most pain possible, so what can I do to trick myself into forgetting about it – even for a moment?”

Sometimes, one must employ multiple distractions to get through a long term illness. It’s tough to focus on healing, when there is uncertainty of cause.  The cause and the symptom(s) don’t always seem to go together.  That’s the puzzle. 

Illness isn’t easy. Western society demands short term healing. A headache is not a reason to rest, it is a reason to take medicine. We pointedly use and abuse our bodies repeatedly in this culture.  It’s built into our way of life.   

The mind is ahead of the body; it has to be.  The body doesn’t always respond as quickly as we’d like. Sometimes it takes a while to develop illness. It arrives in such miniscule amounts that we don’t really notice. Sometimes it arrives in a jolt.  Coping skills at first are wobbly at best, they only become stronger with the exercise of use.  Once coping becomes a way of life, it’s difficult to separate what one does to cope with what one does to live joyfully. 

Distractions allow the pulling away from that which is most unpleasantly dominating and instead, focus on something more fun.  It’s a way to disassociate from what is unpleasant and park yourself in a better spot.  

The earliest memory of a lesson in distraction involved quick thinking on my Dad’s part. At the sight of his four year old weeping and knashing her teeth over the ruined swimming pool, he grabbed his Tulane issued Modern Physics textbook and flipped to the Ben Franklin page. His ability to distract me with the fascinating story of electricity lessened the shock of losing both my favorite tree and our swimming pool to the lightning strike. It also lessened my fear of the close call we had all experienced as the winds howled into the night.   

This is what holding a camera did for me from the start; I can choose to lose myself in the fascination and beauty of the moment; it gives me something to focus on. I can think about light, shadow, and composition of the shot rather than the demanding symptoms that are rudely ruling the rest of the day.  For this moment in time, I’m not thinking about pain.

Later, the images bring a new sense of gratitude as they flash by in a slide show. They bring surprises and wonder that I didn’t see when the shot was taken, even though I was the one shooting! Then a sense of gratitude comes, just for being there, in the moment. It’s captured, never to be the same again.  The good feeling that was created when I made the image, is repeated as I view, edit, post and play with it.  I was there for that moment, lost in it, not consumed with pain.  The image is proof of the moment, it reminds me of the feeling I had when it originally happened.  And I can tap into it every time I see that image.  One moment adds up to a lot of tiny moments of distraction.  It’s like buying a penny stock and finding out you’ve made a zillion, only the currency is joy, beauty, light, wonder.    

As I create, I think about creating healing with my creations.  Healing inside, healing the pain, healing what needs to be cleared before forward movement can come.  It’s easy to get off track, we are often so “busy” surviving that we lose the tiny joy drops along the way.  We’re moving too fast to notice them. 
Illness and pain, are also messages to slow down.  There is a reason for being in turtle mode, healing takes time and attention.  It has to come first.  We forget that so easily. 

Creating art is also one of my distractions. Every collage, card and image I make is because I’m working on distractions.

Photographing beautiful landscapes and viewing the images is peaceful. Soothing music helps sleep to come when otherwise it would not. In fact, this is the reason I host Tribal Vibe Radio Show, because of the relaxing effect the music and poetry had for me during times of extreme pain. It was one of the tools I used to learn to meditate with in the tub, to let my body relax, to loosen the pain layers. 

As I focus on healing, I focus on creating new works and tap into the joy of creating them.
Somewhere along the way between motivating myself to get up and get on with life and figuring out what distraction may work best, I get into the zone and forget about pain. The joy of creating temporarily eclipses pain, rendering it to a less dominant position on the day.

There are new things to look forward to as the healing comes.

A publicist for creative people, L. Jaye Bell now uses her artistic talents to create positive publicity for creative clients.  Her articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online.  L. Jaye hosts the Destination Maine Radio Show and the Tribal Vibe Radio Show.  Her work is available online at and

Odd Sky Phenomenon

What happens when you notice something 
that you’ve looked at all of your life…
but it doesn’t look quite right? 

What do you do when you notice things in the world 
that aren’t like they are supposed to be?

I noticed odd patterns crisscrossing in the sky 
that seemed to recur and intensify before a storm.  

As a journalist, I was very curious, so I took photographs, like the one above.  

I noted the changes in how the clouds looked and shape shifted in the air as the crisscross streams fanned out and dispersed

The faint sound of jets in the distance was also puzzling.  
I started researching online to see what this was all about.

I invite you to see what I learned.  

Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup

While Old Man Winter’s winds may screech and howl, stay warm inside with a pot of Mainely Yum!© Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup.

Maine is famous for her community Bean Suppers, gatherings where everyone brings a pot of something yummy to share with the group.  Take this hearty and healthy dish with you the next time you go to a party, and it will be a sure hit.  

Garnish with a slice of avocado (instead of sour cream) and freshly chopped cilantro.  This soup is a beautifully simple way to warm up a frigid winter day.  

This recipe calls for using fresh vegetables and dried organic beans.  With the recent media spotlight shining on studies researching BPA levels in canned foods**, it’s nutritiously savvy to take the time to make this recipe from scratch.  If needed, the bean preparation can be done the night before, and the soup put together the day of the meal.

Trust me, there isn’t a canned soup on the market that can compare!

Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup

Use Organic Ingredients for Best Tasting Results!

1 lb Organic Dried Black Beans
1 sweet onion
1 leek stalk
4 large stalks celery
5 cloves of Garlic
1 organic red pepper
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large Bay Leaves
2 Vegan Bouillion Cubes
2 TBSP of Organic Coconut Oil

Sea Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste

Mixed Wild Rice
Red Quinoa
1 Vegan Bouillon Cube

Freshly made Picante Sauce
1 Avacado, sliced
Chopped Cilantro

Rinse the beans in a colander and drain.  Place them in a bowl that is four times the size of the space they take up in the colander.  Pour heated water over the beans, until there is an inch of water over them.  Let them soak for an hour. Stir and add more, again to 1 inch over the top of the beans.

Meanwhile, chop the onions, leeks, celery, garlic, red peppers and carrots.  Starting with the garlic and onion, saute in the coconut oil on low in a large soup pot with the vegan bouillon cubes and Bay Leaves.   Heat one kettle of water and add to the saute.  Keep the heat on very low so as not to overcook the veggies.

Once the beans have soaked up most of the water, drain them in a colander.  Rinse well with water.  Rinse, rinse rinse!  This helps to get the chemical responsible for making gas out of them before they go into the soup.  Put the beans into a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for an hour or until they soften and begin to split.  Let cool.  Again, pour them in the colander and rinse, rinse, rinse them!.  Add the beans to the sauteed vegetables.  Pour another kettle of water over them, and simmer on low for 1.5 hours.  Low heat keeps the broth clear.  Just prior to serving, season with Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper to taste.  Careful! A little goes a long way.

While the soup is simmering, it’s time to make the grains to serve with it.  I use a  blended mix of Organic Wild Rice, and Red Quinoa.  Measure 1 cup of  the rice mix and 1/2 cup of Red Quinoa.  Add the last bouillon cube, 3 cups of water and stir.  Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, until the Quinoa grains ‘pop’ and the rice is done.

To Serve: 

Fill soup bowls 1/3 with cooked Rice/Quinoa mixture.  Ladle soup over the top.  Add garnish of Tablespoon of Picante Sauce, Avacado slice and top with chopped Cilantro.


Have a Mainely Yum!© Day!

**BPA is a low level hormone disruptor, affecting the health and formation of reproductive organs in babies to reproductive health later in life.  Canned foods are lined with a layer of BPA to help in forming the metal seal on the can.  The online article published by The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine details the ways that BPA affects the body. Check it out here: BPA levels in canned foods.


Maine Blueberry Keifer Smoothie

Got a freezer of Maine blueberries, and need a quick healthy and refreshing frozen drink that will get your day started right?   Try making a Kefir smoothie.

What’s Kefir? Pronounced like “Kee-fur” It’s a cultured milk much like yogurt, but has more of the beneficial  bacteria so important for good digestion.  While it is more widely available pre-made by the quart in the grocery store, these tend to be loaded with sugar, in addition to the being $5 a quart.  Yikes!  

It’s fun to make it yourself with just about any kind of milk.  It can be made with rice milk, goat’s milk, even almond milk.  It takes a day or so to set up.   Get a kefir starter package from your local co-op.  Fresh off the Farm in Rockport and Good Tern Natural Foods in Rockland carry Yo-gourmet.  Look for it in the refrigerated section.

Kefir made from scratch is one way to do better for your body and save money, besides being very satisfying.     Once started, you can always add more milk to the last cup of kefir to create 10 more batches from each starter or more.  It’s a renewable resource that is easily made at home.      

To make kefir:  
2 qts any kind of milk
1 pkg keifer starter.

Follow package directions if desired.  I deviate from heating the milk up as directed, but it does form faster that way.  I simply open the starter package and sprinkle the starter grains into the milk container, close the lid and shake.    Leave it out to ‘set up’ for about 12 hours.  On a warm day, it will set up quickly, so check it every few hours.   It’s done when there are curds forming in the liquid that are about the size of a large pea.   When the container is bulging a little, is also an indication that it’s ready to use.  Shake before pouring.

The kefir is somewhat sour when it forms.  Adding frozen fruit in a blender really turns it into something yummy.   The frozen bananas taste a little like ice cream, and add a creamy texture to the smoothie.

To make a kefir smoothie:  

1 1/3 cups of kefir
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas, peeled and chunked
Dash of Maple syrup

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.  Pour and serve.   Makes enough for two large or four small smoothies.   Share with a friend or freeze in a plastic cup for the next day.  Be sure to wash glasses and blender immediately, because dried kefir adheres to the walls of the glass very well.


This post inspired by a camping trip where the high bush blueberries grew like a vineyard on an island in the lake.  And thanks to Brother Eagle who watched over as 4 gallons of marble sized berries came back with!

May you have a Mainely Yum day!

L. Jaye

Sing to the Dragon

Chronic Pain 
brings another unwelcome gift:


 The desire to just stop doing anything – or really – the absence of desire to do the things you used to do. The things that used to jazz you just no longer trip your trigger.  You know what I mean.  It’s like you’ve checked out of yourself, and in place of the person you used to be is a not so happy soul who would rather be elsewhere. No one wants to be around you, even you don’t want to hang with yourself, because well, it’s depressing.  

I understand.  
I’ve been there.  

I even considered taking a handful of pain pills and checking out of life.  

This was after a pastor emphatically told me to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” several months after an extensive, 4 hour laser surgery failed to bring relief from the chronic pain of Endometriosis.  The ONE thought that stopped from following through on that thought was, “My kids will think it was their fault.”  That’s all that kept me from ending everything at 29 years of age.

I’m SO glad I didn’t end my life story there.

About 5 years later, after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was undergoing more extensive challenges with chronic pain everywhere in my body.  This time, I was attending my son Wryen’s middle school orchestra holiday concert. It was all I could do to get out of the house and go see him play.
As he beautifully played the cello, I simultaneously felt proud of him, yet the tears started slowly pouring down my cheeks.  Reminded of the holiday season by the gorgeous decorations in the church, and moved by the deep, poignant sounds of the cello, I wondered, “Where is my faith and my irrepressible joy of life? Where did they go?  They had disappeared under the heavy cloak of pain that adorned my body. I could not even sit in a concert and listen to my child play in orchestra for the pain that raged under my skin.  It was all I could do to sit still, silently, and not scream because of the unrelenting pain.

Chronic pain seems to suck the air  right out of the joy of life. 

 The adjustment to a different level of activities, social events and opportunities to participate in events diminishes drastically with the chronic pain of FMS.   Hearing people ask, “How are you?” without really listening to my reply was, a real downer.  They’d say,  “Well, you LOOK good.” and make excuses to dash away.  How could I look good when I felt like crap?   That really depressed me for some reason.  Not knowing how to manage the overwhelming pain, and not having a compassionate physician were also part of the depression picture. Family members cannot possibly understand what I was going through – unless of course they are also diagnosed with a chronic pain dis-ease, which can happen, but more often than not, we are left to feeling alone, as if our bodies are betraying us with every throb and ache.  It’s an invisible, chronic disability that millions suffer with on a daily basis.  

But depression also has gifts that remain hidden until we’ve walked through the fire, and alchemized the raw, unrelenting pain into the gold of wisdom and experience.

The Navajo have a saying that I put in my art works for a reason. It’s to remind me, even now that focusing on good things is the way out of the mist of depression.

“Walk on a Rainbow Trail. 
 Walk on a Trail of Song.
 And all around you shall be beauty. 
 There is a way through every dark mist, 
 Over a Rainbow trail.”

“Walk on a Rainbow Trail.” What does that mean, exactly?  When a rainbow is in the clouds, what is usually going on? Storms. Not just any storms, but powerful ones. Big black, huge thunderhead clouds and soon to be torrential rains. Sometimes in the middle of this, the dazzling rays of the sun will come out, and a rainbow will appear out of nowhere, mezmerizing those with the eyes to see it. So what would a rainbow trail be? It’s the deliberate and conscious observation of that which is good. Focusing on joy becomes a luminous pathway that is filled with unexpected beauty in places one would never hope to discover.  This pathway leads to a better place, out of the dark mist of depression that threatens to overtake at times.

“Walk on a Trail of Song.” This, means literally to open your mouth and sing. I do not care how bad y
ou think it is, there are always opportunities to belt it out.   What good does that do? Well, singing vibrates the pituitary gland, and gives a little nudge in an upward direction to the serotonin levels, which are low during depression. Have you ever known someone who can sing, or hum or whistle and be depressed? It’s virtually impossible to be depressed AND sing your lungs out simultaneously. The two are polar opposites. So if you are down, open your mouth, take a deep breath and belt out the tunes.

So if you are humming along while you’re moseying down the Rainbow Trail, guess what happens? Things start to clear up. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, the black clouds of pain, the depressing mists of uncertainty give way to the unexpected beauty of a brighter day.   

That’s just one way to work with the dragon of depression.  

Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Guacamole Spring Salad and Sangria

This enchilada recipe was shared with me by John Gerbstat, captain of Marilyn, a 65′ Gulfstar.

While on Marilyn, I learned a lot about what makes for authentic Mexican food, in addition to an inkling of what it takes to sail a big sailboat.

This enchilada recipe utilizes leftover rice and baked rotisserie chicken.  The Guacamole Salad is a big hit at a parties served with tortilla chips.   The perfect beverage with this meal is homemade Sangria!

Guacamole Salad  

This recipe is enough for dinner one night, and to take to a gathering the next.  Be sure to put the avacado seed in the dip when storing it, so the dip stays green!  Serve over salad greens and fresh picked edible flowers for a little breath of spring at the table.
 1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped

1 lime, or equivalent of lime juice

1 large red or green sweet pepper, chopped

3 large avacados, chopped

3 green onions, chopped
Sprinkle of dried red peppers
Chili powder or hot sauce to taste
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 Cup of chunky picante sauce

Cut avacados lengthwise down the middle, rotating it to slice all the way through without cutting the seed.  take a small knife and slice it into cubes.  With a tablespoon, scoop the chunks out, keeping the spoon as close to the inside of the skin as possible.  Turn chunks of avacado into a glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir together.

Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, or on top of spring mix and edible flower salad.

For the Enchaladas:

1 large sweet potato, baked and removed from the peel.
1 pkg corn or small flour tortillas.  (For the gluten sensitive, use corn tortillas.)
1/2 cup baked chicken, shredded
1 10 oz jar enchalada sauce
    1 24 oz jar chunky picante sauce
    2 C white rice
    1/2 -1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese.
    2 green onions, chopped and sauteed in 1 tsp vegetable oil.
Slice sweet potato lengthwise.  Place tortilla in a large bowl.  Add 2 strips sweet potato and chicken strips.  Sprinkle with small amount of cheese.  Roll and rest in baking dish so the roll does not come apart.

When the dish is full of enchilada rolls, pour the enchilada sauce over them.  Sprinkle with remainder of cheese, add onions on top as garnish.   Bake for 15 minutes at 400, or until cheese on top melts.

Home Made Sangria:

1 bottle inexpensive white wine
orange, sliced into 1/2 circles
lime, sliced into 1/2 circles
1 container frozen, concentrated peach juice
1-2 Cups Club Soda, to taste
Lime to garnish

Combine all ingredients into pitcher with ice and serve.

Have a Mainely Yum! Day!

Oh….wait! You wanted a pic of the Captain?

That’s the view from Marilyn of the sunrise in Beaufort, Taylors Creek.

Here we go on a sailing adventure out of Taylors Creek and into the harbor in Morehead City, NC.   John was happy to hand over the helm to Lindsey, who really proved that she knew her stuff!

Have a Mainely Yum! Day!

Harry Manx Wows Audiences with Earthy Blues and Heavenly Rajas

It’s the week after Valentines Day, and I’m still in love.  It’s a different state of being for me, but I’m going with it.  I’m infatuated, head over heels for the sound of someone new in my ears whose music has taken hold of my heart. 

I’m in love with a fresh combination of acoustic genius flowing from the fingers of Harry Manx.  
The live show grabbed my heart from the first note onstage at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, Maine last Saturday night.  After the show, Harry was kind enough to gift me with four of his CDs, two of which are live recordings.

We talked for a while after the show, about his life and experiences in India, and how he came to be in Rockland, Maine.   We’ll hear that on the podcast, but you must know that for the last 4 days I’ve spent the better part of the day and night baptizing my ears with his music.

There’s nothing worse than a new convert, but after 72 hours of aural pleasure, I’m hooked.  The more I listen, the more I grow into it, relax with it, and let it tumble gently to splash into my soul.  Yep, the signs are all there.  This is what happens when I fall in love with music. 

All the right elements of previous successful musical relationships are present:  Intelligent lyrics – just enough to strike a chord in the brain and make you think – paired with the gentle plucking of a six string banjo, the mystical East Indian visions of the Mohan Veena, six string lap guitar and yes, softly played harmonica.  Here’s proof that even the harshest instrument can be tamed in the master’s hands.  The occasional instrumental raja is also offered, a perfect accompaniment for vision questing. 

One can meditate, sun salutate or slowly swirl gyrate while listening to Harry Manx, or light a candle and lose yourself staring into the flame. 
Its tub worthiness has yet to be tested, but it’s not tough to imagine it will fare well.    
Harry’s music is captivating.  It whisks me to another level, another plane of existence, soaring on a magic melody carpet, a transcendental Zen experience of blues as I’ve never heard them before.  Yes, I said Blues, as in the blues.  You read it right.
Harry is a prolific songwriter with a gift for expounding upon the music of others.
The problem with covers is that most of the time, the new version can’t possibly live up to the original.  
“Freebird” might be the most requested encore anthem of the last 30 years, but until the drumming genius of Artemis Pyle brings your awareness to the level of excellence demanded by the song as it was written to be played, there simply aren’t others who can touch it.        
The best cover songs incorporate a respectful nod to the song’s maker, freshly minted by the indelible sound of the current musician.  Truly successful covers are renewed and reshaped into new levels of music brilliance that make their original owners proud.  Listening to Manx’s live recorded version of “Voo Doo Child”, on Harry Manx & Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio, I see Hendrix nodding his rainbow crocheted head out of a smoke cloaked, hooka laden room.  His body is suspended, lightly floating over a nest of pillows scattered across a Persian carpet.  Lost in thought as the song opens with 6 string lap played banjo, Tablas, and a harmonica tease, this song lets him know: This is a different kind of trip.  
Its East India heaven meets West Delta earth, the combination a swirling magic carpet ride to Mallhampuram with Mohan Veena, harmonica and 6 string banjo strapped firmly in the driver’s seat.   
After the first verse, a harmonica solo takes us soaring for a moment, lightly climbing, to drop gently into the hypnotic trance woven by the Tablas, Manx’s fingerings and slides on the banjo, and the East Indian scat of Indian vocalist, Samidha.    After the second verse, the harmonica is back to relaunch us further into the ethos, accompanied by a deeper, finger led banjo trance.  It’s a nine minute trip into enlightenment.  
Jimmy picks up his head, slowly sucks in a deep breath and says, “Play it again, man.”  

The layers of Harry’s songs are an intoxicating, transfixing, an eagle glide medicine vision into higher realms, a 3D glance into at the larger picture to experience what human eyes won’t envision in real time.   It grooves, it lives, it breathes on its own, powered by the classical traditions of old and the courage of new. 

A relative newcomer to the acoustic scene, Manx went to India in 1988, on a trip he’s never quite returned from.

For 12 years, he learned to make sense of the music, studying under spiritual Masters and gradually learning to unlock the mysterious vault of East Indian music. He also learned to meditate and to figure out “who” was within.  Harry continued on to play music for the commune when his teacher left his body.    After several years, He met and studied with his second Master, classical musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.  The best teachers  know when the student is ready to operate on lessons learned.  In 2000, Bhatt told him he had taught him all he knew, Manx went to British Columbia to pay his dues on the streets.  While making living playing blues-infused Indian rajas on the corners of Vancouver, he gathered enough funds for a one day studio session, an investment in himself that eventually netted 50,000 sales of his first CD, Dog My Catand the Canadian Independent Music Award for Blues Album of the Year 2002.   Not a bad response for a 45 year old first timer.

Ten years, eleven CD’s and a DVD later, he’s spending time on the touring circut with the likes of Richie Havens, traveling the globe from British Columbia to Australia, and Quebec to Nova Scotia with an occasional dip down to U.S. Northern states.   He’ll go further South to appear at Merlefest in May.   If you’re lucky enough to be in a town where he’s onstage, do whatever you can to make the show.  If not, head to his website online store right now and order up so you won’t miss out.

Harry’s website is


Bread and Buddah2009
Harry Manx & Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio, 2007   
In Good We Trust – with Kevin Breit – 2007
Mantras for Madmen – 2005
West Eats Meet – 2004
Harry Manx Live: Road Ragas 2003

Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot  Various Artists “Bend in the Water” 2003
Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash Various Artists “Long Black Veil” 2003

Jubilee – with Kevin Breit – 2002
Wise and Otherwise – 2006
Dog My Cat – 2000 Winner, Canadian Independent Music Awards Blues Album of the Year

 Wild About Harry: Live at the Basement – DVD – Recorded live in Sydney, Australia  


Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

Relief Breakfast

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

So today I’m sore and achy.  Galavanting along the Maine Coast to capture photos in the bitter cold is bound to make the muscles cranky. Worth the effort to get to Boothbay Harbor and Damasascotta.  

Let’s see what I can create to make my body a little less grumpy.  Time for a Pain Relief Breakfast to start the day.  

Fresh pineapple, and wild caught salmon have pain relieving  properties. I also have a hankering for comfort food: grits, goat cheese and red potatoes. Cherries are good collagen builders.  Let’s see what we can create.

Breakfast in a Bowl Casserole
Sunshine Salad
Last in the fridge juice

Mainely Yum! Breakfast Casserole  

This can be served as a warm whole grain breakfast 
or baked in the oven as a casserole.  
For Grits:
1 C. water + 1 pat butter. 
3T. Stone ground yellow grits
1 vegan bouillon cube
3 brown eggs
4T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3- 1/2 C leftover cooked Salmon, or Steelhead (to taste) OR Smoked Salmon
few sprigs of thyme

For Casserole:
3 red potatoes
olive oil
4 large whole wheat crackers 

Bring water, butter and bouillon cube a light boil.  (Small bubbles gather at the bottom of the pan.)  Sprinkle grits over surface of water and let them sink to the bottom.  
Stir and turn fire to low.  Simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Crack all eggs and drop in pan one at a time in a triangle pattern.  Let sit for 2 minutes.  Add fish, goat and 3T of parmesan, mixing together, being sure to scrape bottom of pan.  
Let thicken and simmer on low for 2-3 minutes.  

This can be served in a bowl, garnished with remaining parmesan and fresh basil.

For casserole, wipe bottom and sides of small ceramic tart pan with olive oil. 
Slice new potatoes lengthwise into chips 1/4″ thick.  
Layer potatoes in pan, then spoon grits mixture on top.  
Top with crushed cracker crumbs.  

Bake 15 -20 minutes in 400 (F) degree oven. 

Mainely Yum! Sunshine Salad

To make things easier, this recipe uses pre-cut fruit.  

6 Fresh Cherries
1-2 chunks fresh pineapple
1-2 lg chunks fresh cantelope 
1 navel orange, 
small basil leaves   

Pit cherries, cut into small pieces.  Slice thin slivers of pineapple and cantelope.  Quarter orange in half, and slice 2 quarters into smaller wedges.  Cut off rinds off smaller wedges. Combine in bowl. Squeeze juice from rest of orange into bowl.   Mix, add sprig of basil for garnish.  

Last in the Fridge Juice:

I combined the last few swigs of organic apple cider, carrot juice and real cranberry juice into one glass.  Yum!

Enjoy A Mainely Yum! Day!

Walk in Beauty, 
L. Jaye   

Maine Literary Festival Crosses Cultural Boundaries

“The words that enlighten the soul
are more precious than jewels.”  
Hazrat Inayat Khan

It was a glittering, enlightening evening at the Camden Opera House as scribes gathered to share a wealth of cross cultural experiences through storytelling, poetry and song. 

A palpable energy filled the historic Opera House with anticipation as lovers of words gathered to enjoy the presentations offered at the Maine Literary Festival’s crowning event and scholarship fundraiser for the American Association of University Women. 

In an intimate, living room setting, award winning writers and educators came together to begin an initial discussion on the positive influences of international cultures on the modern American literary landscape.  
Judy Dinmore of the Midcoast Branch of AAUW warmed up the crowd with words of welcome in many languages.  She shared with the audience about importance of this fundraiser for AAUW, highlighting the positive aspects of funding college scholarships for older women wishing to further their education.  Success is the goal here.  AAUW encourages scholarship recipients to succeed by actively participating in cheering them on, giving them confidence to pursue their dreams that would otherwise be difficult to find, as the recipients have jobs and families to attend to.   Combining award winning authors with passionate readers and educational growth is the win-win purpose behind the Maine Literary Festival.  

Ever the graceful hostess, Festival Chair Maryanne Shanahan welcomed all participants with a smile.   The visible result of careful planning and mindful logistics to produce an event of this size and scope were a valuable investment of time, talent and elbow grease applied to ensuring its success.    The details were apparent in all aspects of the festival.   The quality of writers gathered, the panel discussion topics, the book signing and after party upstairs all reflected careful preparation on the part of Maryanne and the festival’s planning team.        

Intriguing topics unfolded as authors talked informally in panel reviews about exploring the new frontiers of American Literature.   

The 2009 Festival topic, “Exploring Literature of new Voices in America Reflecting Cross-Cultural Experience” shined a literary beacon on the newest American writers; those who have immigrated from lands beyond our borders to begin new chapters of their lives in Maine, “the whitest state.” 

The discussion was lively as authors onstage talked informally in panel reviews about the new frontiers of American Literature: Exploring Cross Cultural Experiences of the newest Americans, those who have immigrated from lands beyond our borders to live in Maine. This topic will capture the hearts of readers for a full year, as the festival expands into a three day event in 2010. 

The voices of tonight’s festival were as varied as the nations from which each award winning writer called home.   India, Thailand, Iran, Mumbai, Spain, and the Netherlands; Wabenaki and Passamaquoddy, all gathered peacefully with a common desire to share their stories as newly arrived immigrants (within the last 25 years) finding their individual voices  through the experience of writing literature that many others can relate to.

Each writer shared individual perspectives on the meaning of finding one’s own voice.  The panel shared the consensus of recognition, that in giving life to the telling of one’s individual story comes healing, and with it, an opportunity to celebrate the differences that make us all unique.  Embracing differences while pursuing a common goal are a founding concept of our nation, weaving threads of  heritage into a blanket of legacy and history affecting the overall American experience.   

In all cultures, literacy begins with the tradition of storytelling.  From crude charcoal cave paintings in Lascaux, to the Mimmis figures of the Maori, to the chiseled tales carved into sandstone by Mayan scribes, every tribe and people preserves its heritage and traditions through storytelling.

Sign Language is the next step in this tradition, using visual cues to describe and express with the hands to augment and communicate what words cannot yet describe.  As oral language develops, stories become a means to keep tribal teachings alive for future generations, thereby bridging the gap to ancient ways.  As stories are told to new generations, children learn to apply their lessons to their individual lives.  As a culture further advances, written language becomes the vehicle for these stories, linking hands, ears, hearts and minds to a time when only few remember the world as it once was.  No matter the vehicle for communication, the solidity of the teachings always applies.

The 2009 Maine Literary festival is a celebration and continuation of these traditions, giving experience an alternative means of expression with the technology available in our new media world.

John Muthyala, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Southern Maine, opened the first panel discussion centered on The American Mosaic: Maine and Beyond.  Muthyala began by listing the staggering statistics gleaned from the National Endowment of the Arts landmark study: To Read or Not to Read.(2)  Citing the sobering statistics regarding literacy in America, John shared with participants a few of the chilling results of its findings.

•Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.    U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey (2006)

•Literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities – such as volunteering, attending sports or cultural events, and exercising.”    National Endowment for the Arts, The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, Involved in Life (2006)

Muthyala affirmed what the study proved, “Reading is the necessary life blood of a democratic society, for those who actively read are more inclined to participate in its positive growth.”

Lack of education is a breeding ground for fear, stagnating growth and stifling change.  It deters opportunities for new generations that go unseen by the blinders of ignorance often worn by society’s functionally illiterate.

Against the backdrop of Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest’s black and white images of Maine’s newest citizens from the book, New Mainers: Portrait of Our Immigrant Neighbors,  Muthyala posed the question:  “How do immigrant voices add to our understanding of what literature is now in Maine, and what could it become?”

The first panel was comprised of the collaborative team that produced the book.  Kurdish, Iranian born Reza Jalali, wrote the forward for the book, and is currently in process of writing another.  Based on the varied religions of Maine’s immigrants, Jalali’s book God Speaks in Many Accents available in 2011.  
Pat Nyhan, former journalist for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and Maine Times, interviewed each of the immigrants, assisting them with finding their own voices and inspiring them to tell their own stories in spite of inherent fears of disapproval and/or ostracization from their cultures of origin.  Nyhan  currently teaches English as a second language to immigrants.  Maine University instructor Judy Hakola, instructor of a course called the Writers of Maine, also joined the panel for this discussion.  Her answer to the opening question originates from observations gleaned from years of teaching.  Citing the quotation from centuries ago poet and philosopher Rumi, Hakola brought the audience up to speed with the newest innovations in publishing from out of the mouths of babes. 

“Speak a new language
so there will be a new world.”  

“Children are telling stories in new ways, using technology and new media to find their individual voice.  In so doing, they find strength in their cross cultural roots.” 

This new generation of immigrants builds on the foundations set by their ancestors. The panel spoke of the driving desire of first generation immigrants to survive the changes wrought by adapting to life in a new country.  Second generation immigrants tend to homogenously adapt to all things American, thereby squeezing the life out of their cultural roots.  The insatiable curiosity of third generation immigrants creates opportunities to finally embrace the rich teachings, customs and ways of their grandparent’s original culture.  Grandparents now finished with the serious business of adapting are often are the teachers of the new generation, allowing them to reconnect with heritage lost in the survival shuffle. 

This is where the threads of storytelling regenerate anew, with the desire to reconnect, to bridge unseen gaps of cultural understanding that allows immigrant families to plant one foot firmly in the heritage canoe and another in the uncertain waters of new experience while paddling steadfastly toward the shores of the American Dream.   

The first panel finished up by examining the “lens” with which non-immigrants perceive their new neighbors, citing the need to become conscious of how we understand others and of the manner with which we view their experience.  If we look in the smoking mirror and harshly judge others, then we are ultimately our own cruelest judges.   

The panel dismissed to the Passamaquoddy drumbeat of Allen Sockabasin’s, “Song from my Fathers.”  The shamanic tribal song was the perfect way to transition from the profound thoughts generated by the panel, and to connect us all with the drumbeat of the common experience of humanity.   

The second panel featured poetry readings from four gifted literary voices,  further celebrating the diversity of talents assembled under one roof. 

Panel moderator and presenter Eugene Gloria is a teacher of creative writing and English literature at DePaw University in Greencastle, Indiana.  The author of two celebrated poetry books, Hoodlum Birds and Drivers at the Short-Time Motel, Gloria he has received several literary awards including a Poetry Society of America award, a Pushcart prize and a Fulbright Research Grant.  Charged with the duty to discuss and then read their poems, the panel examined the theme: Poetry: Communicating Cross-Cultural Voices. 

Tea Bowl
A chorus lifts above the mundane spaces:
             Silences and asterisks of dust–
My urge to write about the new disasters,
              Homelands submerged, blasted
Coral reefs; a cask of dynamite
              Has lent its method on the page.
Facts can melt away abstractions.  New names for receptacles,
              Jeweled palaces. 
A ceremony of particulars: family portraits, a dance in fragments,
              Postcards, a rusted tin of Sky Flakes.    
                                                                              Eugene Gloria

Members of the panel included California native Francisco Aragon, a long term resident of Spain, whose immigrant parents fled war-torn Nicaragua in the early 1970’s.  The author of Puerta del Sol and editor of the award-winning The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, Aragon directs the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.  The editor of CANTO COSAS, a new book series featuring new Latino and Latina poets, Aragon shared his poems birthed from the questions, “How would my life have been different if my parents had stayed in Nicaragua?” 

something in me fluttered

hearing those vowels, as if I started
to understand, as if those rhythms
carried, even then, the message

I’d take years to unravel

     –from “What Else Will I Recall”, Francisco Aragon

Carole Willette Bachofner was next to take the podium. A  native of Maine proud of her Abenaki heritage, she has returned to the state after years of living on the West Coast and in Europe. Her poems are inspired by the beauty of the landscapes of Maine. Bachofner states, “The direct link to my native heritage informs everything I do: my view of the land on which we live, my approach to being human, and most certainly my writing. I am Abenaki first, and all else flows down river from that.”

We Speak the White Man’s Language
except when dreaming, except when our fingers
braid hair, weave blankets, knot bait bags,
when we are praying in Indian.  Work brings words
from the belly, the soles of the feet
that walk the woods where our relatives
burned the way forward from camp to camp,
trading stories with people along the way.   
                                                                                                        Carole Willette Bachofner

Carole revealed her love of the local landscape with a lovely reciting of two of her poems.  Her words painted a glorious image of  the beauty of one of Maine’s most abundant natural resources: water.  Woven throughout were the Native pronounciations of rivers, lakes and tributaries:  Damariscotta, Kennebec, Megunticook and Penobscot, Carole’s Water Psalm reveals the deeply connected roots of a longstanding Native heritage that is still present throughout the region.  Interspersing poetry with Native language further defines and strengthens the connections between how we think, speak, live and intersect in our lives. 

“Education is the jewel
casting brilliance into the future.”
Mari Evans

Dynamic performer, children’s author and illustrator Ashley Bryan was next to command the stage.  His writing career began when a kindergarten teacher assigned the class with making their own alphabet letter books.  Bryan later attended art school at Cooper Union, studied philosophy at Columbia University and taught at Dartmouth College.   He has compiled, written and illustrated over 30 books, many inspired by African folktales, spirituals and the writings of gifted Black poets.  Bryan is the recipient of several Coretta Scott King Awards for works including The Lion and the Ostrich Chicks, and Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African American Poetry.  

Teaching with the example of gesture, sounds, rhythm and animated voices, Bryan stressed the importance of finding the “sound of the voice” when reading to audiences of any age.  The energy-charged performance of this 86 year-old Maine island resident brought an immediate response from the audience.  Bryan’s command of the stage, the material and the room was evident as he brought the house to shout, “Three Cheers for Poetry!”   Yet Bryan’s poems also cover the more challenging aspects of American life with humor and grace: “Madame and the Rent Man” speaks of a conversation between a frustrated tenant and her lazy landlord, of taking pride in one’s sacred space and setting firm boundaries within it.  

Bryan’s book, Beautiful Blackbird was inspired by the Langston Hughes poem, Black Like Me. In the tale’s telling, this Rumpelstiltskin of childrens’ literature spins words, gesture, vocal inflection and song into an intangible kind of gold: of changing perceptions about the gifts one is given, pride in one’s own skin, and the ability to revel in the uniqueness of every individual’s contribution to the whole.   Stemming from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia, the tale centers on a community of birds who covet Blackbird’s shiny black feathers, when he himself is ashamed of them. The community of birds helps Blackbird to see that his beauty is valuable to the entire flock, resulting in his change of attitude, and his ability to embrace the gifts that he has been blessed with. In turn, he shares some of his shiny coloring with the community, pointing out the places on their plumage where black already resides.  Using nearly every tool of human sound possible, Bryan sings, hums, taps, strums, hums, stomps, sashays and stretches his entire being with everything he’s got; delightfully engaging the audience in such a humorous manner that the entire room was captivated, enthralled, and hungry for more. 
Bryan’s performance is reminiscent of the Twisted Hair, the Plains Indians tribal storytellers so named for the twisted knot in that fell in the center of the forehead.  A Twisted Hair was charged with the duties of remembering tribal history, sharing it in such as way as to allow each person to use their individual gifts of observation to discern the true meaning of the story, as it applied to them, (or not.)   The Twisted Hair served an important purpose in the Council of Elders.  As historians, they were responsible for remembering tribal history with complete accuracy.  As teachers, they were facilitators of learning through storytelling of  how to live life in balance through the characters in their Medicine Stories.  As entertainers, the Twisted Hair brought lessons along with laughter and tears, telling the appropriate tales to fit the needs of the listener.  A child who came to the Twisted Hair was placed eye-to-eye, as an equal, allowing for freedom of thought to discern the truths hidden in the storyteller’s tale and allowing them to save face if the story were told for disciplinary reasons.   As a modern day Twisted Hair, Ashley Bryan carries the mantle of the storytelling tradition forward into the future, sharing lessons and life with all who will listen. 
The second portion of the show was concluded by Alan Socabasin’s rendition of “Amazing Grace,” sung in both English and Passamaquoddy.  Alan’s tribal heritage is rich, growing up in the village of Peter Dana Point, near Princeton, Maine.  As the tenth in a line of eleven children, he left school at the age of eleven to work in a saw mill to assist his family after his mother’s death.  The age of fourteen, he was gifted with the tool that would become his life’s work: his first guitar, one that had been strummed by many others before him in the  village.  Two years later, Allen wrote his first Passamaquoddy song.  Alan tours the North American continent with the World Music organization, performing music from his six albums.  Alan seeks to preserve the traditions of the Passamaquoddy culture and language through the gifts of music.   
The final panel of the evening focused on Fiction: The South Asian Diaspora and New Voices in America.  Led by Shilpa Agarwal, a Mumbai born writer and academic who teaches at courses at UCLA and UCSB on South Asian Diaspora.   Her first novel, Haunting Bombay won the 2003 First Words Literary Prize for South Asian writers.  In it she tells the story about a nursemaid being called away from bathing an infant, who in her haste leaves the child alone.  When she returns from the errand, to her horror she discovers the child has drowned.  Faced with banishment from the household, the tale echoes Agarwal’s own experiences as her family was uprooted by the Independence movement and Partition in 1947.  Reflecting her experiences from the chaos ensued by rapid dislocation and colonialism, her writings explore the shaping of human interaction. 
Also on the final panel were Jaed Coffin, a native of Brunswick Maine, born into a mixed heritage family.   The author of A Chant to Sooth Wild Elephants, a memoir about his years spent as a Buddhist monk in his mother’s native village of Panomsarakram, Thailand.   Coffin is the  recipient of several fellowships and awards:  An Island Institute Resident Fellowship, a Wilson Fellowship from Deerfield Academy, a William Sloan Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writer’ Conference, and a Maine Literary Award in Nonfiction.   He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program.  
Also contributing to the last panel was Rishi Reddi, an environmental attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  An award winning writer for her debut collection, Karma and Other Stories, her work has been published in Germany and India, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2005.   She has been read on National Public Radio’s “Selected Shorts: series, and has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’ Conference and the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Vermont Studio Center.    
The final panel discussed the grounmd breaking advances of Asian American authors such as Amy Tan, who paved the way for the voices of Asian influenced experiences to emerge.  Some of these voices are still on the verge of expression, waiting to overcome the fears of cultural rejection the horrific truths of their experiences are unraveled to the world.  The panel concluded, stressing the importance of communicating, connecting and maintaining quality relationships with homeland origins in an imperialist time. 
Closing the formal evening’s event, Maryanne Shanahan and Allen Sockabasin delighted the crowd with a dual reading in English and Passamaquoddy, further illustrating the value of heritage to the rich fabric of the American literary landscape.  The crowd adjourned to a post event party on the third floor, where glasses and plates filled with flowing wines and appetizers provided by Megunticook Market.  Also available were many books penned by the presenters of the festival’s event, provided by Owl and Turtle Bookstore and ready for autographing.  I fairly floated around the party, inspired by the richness of experience in being in the same room with such talented literary artists, posing the question, “What was the best part of the event?”  The answers were as varied as the faces of the individuals themselves.  Some referred to the previous day’s manuscript critiques, of  helpful and challenging suggestions to revise and rework words poured forth from within, and how to write a memorable query letter to a publisher.  Others cited the value of the discussion created by the topics of the event, looking forward to future events as the 2010 festival approaches. 
As for this writer, I came away from the event filled with gratitude, a renewed sense of inspiration and encouragement.  Coupled with a stronger, more tenacious drive to chain myself to the chair if need be, to finally get on with the business of writing my own  healing story, the one that burns from deep within the recesses of my soul. 
“You must understand the whole of life,
not just one little part of it. 
That is why you must look at the skies,
that is why you must sing and dance,
and write poems, and suffer, and understand,
for all that is life.  
J. Krishnamurti
The year of celebration of the topic, “Cross-Cultural Experiences: Literature of New Voices in America” includes a series of satellite events between January and August 2010, and will culminate in a full three-day Maine Literary Festival weekend.   For details, and to register, go to the website, or send an email to   
Links and Footnotes
1.  American Association of University Women, AAUW:    
2.  2007 Study by the National Endowment of the Arts, To Read or Not to Read  
3.  Megunticook Market, Camden, Maine
4.  Owl and Turtle Bookstore, Camden Maine
5.  Maine Literary Festival
Photos:  (Copyright 2009, L. Jaye Bell)
1.    Ashley Bryan
2.    Panel #1:  Seated L to R:  John Muthyala, Judy Hakola, Pat Nyhan, Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest.  Standing: Maryanne Shanahan.
3.  Allen Sockabasin
4.  Panel #2:  L to R: Eugene Gloria, Francisco Aragon, Carol Willete Bachofner.
5.  Carol Willete Bachofner
6.  Ashley Bryan, reading from his book Beautiful Blackbird.  
7.  Shilpa Agarwal
Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell