"The Magic of Nature" by Sequoya (Susan Weiner)


Although many people do not actively seek to spend time in the outdoors and world of nature, author Sequoya (aka Susan Weiner) encourages people of all nature interests to re-connect with the natural world and become more in tune with it. In her book The Magic of Nature living in the heart and soul of the natual world, she shares her experiences becoming an inhabitatnt of a small cabin surrounded by acres of forest between Seneca and Cayuga lakes in central New York state. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-893515.mp3

Sequoya is founder of the Soaring Spirit Earth Stewardship Foundation, and has a divirsity of knowledge that has enabled her to create heating systems and insulate her cabin as well as work out ways to cohabitate with the flora and fauna of the deep woods as well as understanding basic aspects of land management. Sequoya has a degree in economics and is a propenent of energy conservation, practicing a form of personal economics with resources such as food, water and firewood. The book includes photos of Sequoya’s surroundings and poetic observations, as well as a telling of her practical experiences living off the grid and the various roadblocks encountered along the way, including the need for a seady source of fresh water and clear access in and out on the dirt road leading to her cabin.

"Hard Times in the County" by Timothy Whal


When Timothy Wahl was growing up on a dairy farm in Allegany County , NY, Town of Andover , going to Andover Central School, doing the chores and playing games in Elm Valley, few would have thought that some day his recollections and observations of life would end up in a book.  Tim himself might not have thought that anyone would be interested.  As a youngster he was often unsure of himself, a mediocre student, a skinny kid who didn’t excel in sports.  He also suffered from dizzy spells.  By the time his high school years were ending, Tim had an active interest in sports broadcasting.  But his physical and emotional problems were overwhelming and the kid with low self-esteem tried to commit suicide. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-855746.mp3

Timothy Wahl’s “Hard Times in the Country” , subtitled “Ramblings of a Hayseed”, is filled with painful experiences.  But it also contains hilarious scenes of rural life in New York’s Southern Tier in the 1950’s and 60’s, and profiles of local people, that make the book a durable chronicle of its time and place. “Getting served illegally at Frank’s [Bar and Restaurant] was a rite of passage.  Those who succeeded earned a place of high esteem.  They got asked by others to buy  themsix-packs.  Billy Joe and Johann, who were husky and had mature faces, managed to get served at 14.  Me, I was like one of Mom’s platitudes, “He who hesitates is lost.”  Inother words, I got a bit shaky when my turn at the cusp of manliness came, at fifteen in my case.  Even then, I let Grandpa do the honors of ordering my drink.  “Give Timmy a Genny,” he said.” — from “Hard Times in the Country”
Tim would find his way to maturity.  His father would sell off the dairy herd, but his brother Billy Joe earned an agriculture degree from SUNY Morrisville and renewed the traditional family business.  Tim did go on to college and earned a degree from the University of Iowa.  He now teaches English as a Second Language, is a consultant on distance learning and will be participating in the Beijing International Book Fair in September.  Tim gives much of the credit for his recovery and later success to his vocational rehabilitation teachers and today’s VESID program in New York State. Tim Wahl joins Bill Jaker on OFF THE PAGE to share stories of growing up on the farm, adolescent adjustment and writing about one’s life.

A Panel on Publishing


Writing may fill a personal need and can be a solitary act.  Sending a manuscript to a publisher may feel like sending a child off to the first day of school. The separation anxiety and fear of rejection may be tremendous, even with the knowledge that James Joyce’s now-classic “Dubliners” was turned down 22 times , while Richard Bach received 20 rejection slips for “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”.  The relationship betwen writers and publishers is one of mutual dependence and can be supportive and creative.  But especially for new writers and those whose writing breaks one mold or another, finding a publisher can be frustrating and even traumatic. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-844096.mp3

On OFF THE PAGE we speak with authors about the substance of their books, their working habits and worldview.  Often we hear about how a book came to be published.  Publishers have the power to advance or retard a writer’s career, and with it the conditions of our culture.  So this program takes a step beyond its usual format to present a panel of publishers, including one writer who has successfully accepted the challenge of publishing her own work. Bill Jaker’s guests are:

Peter J. Potter, editor in chief of Cornell University Press , the nation’s oldest university press.  The hundred or more books Cornell University Press issues each year are intended for the academic community. Jeffrey Cox, president of Snow Lion Publications , a prestigious publisher of works on Tibetan culture and Buddhist religion, based in Ithaca, NY (a center for Tibetan life in North America).  Snow Lion’s output includes Tibetan cookbooks, children’s story books and travel guides as well as the writings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.