100 Days of Novel Research, Day 4


My third post in my 100 Days of Novel Research continues to draw from “Humboldt History, Volume One: Two Peoples, One Place,” by Ray Raphael and Freeman House.

Joseph Russ and his wife Zipporah Russ had 13 children together in Humboldt County.  He exhibited a keen business sense in buying up land that became available when “whites who feared local Indians fled from their homesteads in the Bear River area.”  Then he rented out the parcels he had acquired…”His store in Ferndale was described as the largest in the country, and he eventually operated an impressive chain of butcher shops in Eureka and several smaller towns.  Naturally, he did not overlook the county’s vast timber resources…  He bought up land, cut down the trees, sent the logs to his own mill, and shipped the finished lumber to far away places such as Honolulu on his own fleet of schooners…”.   The authors conclude this section with, “During an era in which entrepreneurial spirit was lauded and Euro-Americans did whatever they could to ‘develop’ the Humboldt region, more people owed their livelihoods to Joseph Russ than to any other local magnate.”

In the Headlights

by, Heather Keyser

Woodsy, banksy, chalky, naughty, caught in the headlights.

Search lights sweep the dark chocolate night, whose summer perfume awakens, humid and bare, in the tan plump legs of girls in shorts– bought new for the season.  Their sandals jingle and their toenails are painted, and their long hair is so fragrant it must be still wet.   They walk with their dates past the car dealership toward the fireworks.

There is the tongue and all it wants to feel.  There is the body in its sun washed summer self and the desire to know it and have someone else know it and see how wonderful it is.

Upside Down in the Moonlight

(Writer’s Camp, at Esalen institute in Big Sur, CA)

Last night in the moonlight I practiced doing handstands against a cypress tree on the lawn in front of Esalen.  The chairs facing the ocean were empty, and I listened:  no voices murmuring in the ocean’s rush.  I bent from the waist and pressed my hands down on the rise of coarse grass a foot from the base of the tree, and with the momentum of the forward movement, I kicked my feet up into the air.  My legs scissored and then thumped the ground, and as I stood up, I felt sap on my right palm.  I tried again and again, getting closer to upright, until my heels bumped the bark of the tree.  I pushed my hands into the ground, straightening my elbows and thighs and arching my back as I looked at the dirt, my skeleton upside down.

upside down in the moonlight