An Index to the Website
may be found by clicking here.



New WordPress Blog!

I've set up a new WordPress blog (with the help of my web-wrangler) because it gives me more options than the blog on this website, including the ability to post more photos, the ability to link with social media across the web, and a subscription service that sends a dandy version of the blog directly to your email inbox. Try it out.

Notes from a Western Life at WindbreakHouse.WordPress.com

You can continue to read the blogs here, however a few of the very long blogs under the category of "Writing: Where I've Been" will only appear on the WordPress blog.



An Index of Blog Topics
may be found lower down in this left-hand column so, for example, you can search for all blogs with "Writing Suggestions."

A dated archive of blogs is also available below the index.

Click here to jump to the index, or scroll down to see a selection of photos related to the blog posts.






Blacksmith or Wordsmith

Iron legs from yesteryear.

Smaller iron items inside.

The scrap-iron table.



Dust, Grass, and Writing

Like the native grasses, the roots of writing go deep and reach out in many directions.

Tough prairie grass roots splitting open a rock.

Green life may be found under dry debris.


Fringed Jacket Foofaraw

Turtle carved from bone.

Turtle made of silver.

Warrior Woman pin.

George's grizzly bear claw earring.

Powwow jingle cones made of tin.

Brass bell.

A tiny dream catcher.

Harley Owners' Group pin in honor of Jerry.

Wally McRae's cufflink and tooth.





South Dakota Poet Laureate? Not Right Now, Thanks.


"An older writer, conscious of his or her limited life span, may have specific projects in mind to complete. Thus, requiring that the Poet Laureate travel and teach extensively may exclude older writers regardless of their worthiness to hold the position."



Don't just click "like" about some political story you read.


Pick up the phone or write a letter and make a difference.



Ah! The Bathtub.

A brass hook on a nearby wall to hold my robe or a towel.

A removable wire basket stretches across the tub to hold my soap and sponges.



Windbreak House
Now on Facebook.


If you Like me on this Facebook page you'll get notifications of my newly-posted blogs as well as announcements about my books, writing retreats, and other events to do with Windbreak House.

www.Facebook.com/​WindbreakHouse

No kitten videos, but I post Tuesday Writing Tips, Wednesday Word Posts, and various other writing-related stories, announcements, book reviews, photos and the occasional joke.



Ah, Spring!


Want to know more about this critter?

See the Gallimaufry Page for more about the bird, including more photos, and some odds and ends that don't fit anywhere else on this website.



More Stories and Essays by Linda
may be found on this website.

* Home Page Message archives
Many of these essays have writing advice. All have photos, some have recipes, a few have poems.

* Poetry Page essays
Read suggestions for writing and performing poetry and the stories behind some of Linda's poems.

* Critter Stories
Brief stories and photos of birds and wildlife seen on Linda's ranch may be found on this page.

* Gallimaufry Page
Stories and photos that don't fit anywhere else.



Linda on YouTube

Nancy Curtis, publisher and owner of High Plains Press, recorded a couple of videos of Linda reading her poetry and posted them on YouTube.

To see Linda read "Where the Stories Come From"
click here.

To see Linda read her poem "Make a Hand"
click here

Or go to www.YouTube.com and search for Linda Hasselstrom.

You may also want to visit the High Plains Press facebook page where you will find these two poetry videos and much more about the many great western books-- poetry and non-fiction-- published by High Plains Press.

Thanks, Nancy!

# # #





Index of Blog Topics

Quick Links

Find Authors

Notes from a Western Life
Ranging Far and Wide on the High Plains and Beyond
Linda M. Hasselstrom's Blog



Clicking "Like"

February 24, 2015

Tags: Activism, Internet

.
The abandoned dogs stare out of the screen with huge innocent eyes.

A bald eagle peers down at me from his perch just over my head.

I seem to hear the cries of abused babies echoing in my office until I click on a photograph of a castle on a misty isle.

A politician stands tall as he utters inanities. A group of young men in kilts play drums on stage.

Within ten minutes of beginning to look at Facebook, my head is spinning as my brain switches moods from anger to pain to pleasure to outrage to pleasure and back down the same trail again. Iím exhausted by the emotional turmoil.

Writing requires sustained attention. I believe most worthwhile activities require sustained attention. The whirlpool of emotion offered by Facebook is so distracting that on the days when Iím writing, I have to stay away from the site until evening.

Of course I empathize with the poor dogs and children and all the other ills being perpetrated in the world. I also appreciate the folks who call to my attention cheerful news focused on the worldís joys instead of its sorrows.

But after a few minutes of the muddle I turn away in frustration.

If I see a lost dog as I drive down the street, pick it up and take it to shelter, Iíve helped that dogís life improve, at least temporarily. If I give money to charity, ditto. When I send a hand-written note to a friend whoís having a tough time, Iím doing a positive good.

Clicking ďlikeĒ doesnít fix anything.

I find it contradictory to click ďlikeĒ under a story of a politician speaking proudly of how heís misrepresented me today. I donít like what heís done at all, though Iím glad to know about it.

More importantly, however, a thousand people could click ďlikeĒ beneath that story and the politician might never know how much we disapprove of his actions. Unless he has a staff member who keeps in touch with social media, collecting the comments folks who agree with one another make under these news stories, the politician will remain clueless.

To express my opinion in a way that counts, I need to write, call, email or fax my message directly to the congress personís office.
In addition, I have to be wary of posts that appeal too much to my prejudices. I have to ask is this story true? Rather than ignoring my suspicions, I must go to a reliable site and check for its authenticity before I pass it on. Otherwise, I may simply become one more strand in a web of untruth thatís hard to untangle.

Hereís another problem.

I remember the activism of the 1960s, when a lot of folks were protesting the expansion of the Vietnam War. Many of these people believed that marching down the street on a sunny day constituted political action. A few got additional exercise by waving flags or extending middle fingers to those who lined the sidewalks. If the thousands of people marched, and the cameras rolled and the news media showed the waving flags and shouting multitudes on TV screens all across the country that night, perhaps the action had an effect on our leaders. But for many protestors, writing to a Congressperson was just too darn much work.

Similarly, Iím afraid that clicking ďlikeĒ may become a substitute for taking action. After a half hour on Facebook, righteously hitting that ďlikeĒ button and writing a few comments under news stories, I might feel as if Iíve paid my dues for my citizenship in this country.

Look at what Iíve accomplished already and itís only ten oíclock in the morning! Iíve let a lot of people know how much I disapprove of the actions of my stateís representative in Congress. Iíve shown that I empathize with abused dogs and those who rescue them. Iíve demonstrated my love of cuddly animals, birds of prey and a few artists, and Iíve approved of some humorous grammar corrections. Whew! What a workout!

But what have I accomplished?

I havenít compared the statistics on the percentage of people who use social media to those who vote, because Iím afraid the figures would be depressing. Itís a lot easier to click ďlikeĒ than it is to study all the issues, drive to the polling place, show ID and register your opinion in a lasting way.

I donít mean to suggest that Facebook and other social media are without value. Each is a tool, and like any tool can be usefulóand may be misused. But on days when Iím deep into a writing project, I intend to limit my time with these diversions for my own mental health.

And when I want my legislators to know how I feel about their actions, Iíll write to them, investing my reasoning, my time, and a stamp to be sure they get the message.


Linda M. Hasselstrom
Windbreak House
Hermosa, South Dakota

# # #

For more information:

How to write, call, or email the White House
www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

How to call or email a member of the US Congress (House or Senate)
www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml


back to top



Cool Water Hula

October 29, 2010

Tags: Activism, Water

. . .
I urge everyone to visit this site; the Cool Water Hula exemplifies my favorite kind of political action about difficult topics: itís filled with good will, humor, and beauty. The Cool Water Hula originated in 2000 to call attention to the biggest superfund site, the Berkeley Pit, filled with contaminated water from one of the nationís many bouts of energy-related greed. The Cool Water Hula, as our friend Kristi Hager explains, tells a new story.

# # #

Background:
The Berkeley Pit was once part of a huge open pit copper mine near Butte, Montana. When mining shut down in 1982 the pit was allowed to fill with water (groundwater and surface runoff). The water is toxic from leaching through the mined area. In the fall of 1995 a large flock of migrating snow geese landed on the contaminated water of the Berkeley Pit. 342 died.

Butte artist Kristi Hager combined the Hawaiian sacred hula dance with the song "Cool Water" made famous by Sons of the Pioneers (you know the song-- "All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water, cool water . . .Ē). In July, 2000, and again in July, 2010, she gathered a group of people on the rim of the pit, all wearing white shirts and water-blue fabric sarongs, to sing and dance the Cool Water Hula.

"It's a prayer -- to teach us to care for water," Hager told Marga Lincoln, writer for the Ravalli Republic newspaper in June, 2010.

For more information:
Cool Water Hula blog with YouTube video demonstration
June, 2010 article on the Ravalli Republic website

back to top