FROM THE EDITORS
Up the Creek: Blind Faith
Imagine a world where every word our leaders utter is the truth and all their actions are for the greater good, that our friends are always looking out for our best interests as we look out for theirs, and with compassionate negotiating skills, problems – from border disputes to issues of race, religion and gender – will easily be solved.
In that world, we would clearly be practicing blind faith – belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination. Blind faith, and faith – sincerity in our intentions – are two different things.
As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But engaged faith is another animal altogether. What can engaged faith accomplish?
In his essay, Obama in Me for WRR@Large, Dubai-based WRR columnist, Vibhas Tattu interprets U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East, sharing a perspective of the United States that requires the lifting of blinders.
No, I do not have any delusional or schizophrenic tendencies. The ME in the title is actually the accepted acronym for the Middle East here in Dubai and the Gulf region. The ‘Obama’ in the title is of course that guy with the cool talk and cooler walk. That guy who exudes oodles of charisma, charm and chutzpah. What’s more, he has the world holding its collective breath in expectation, but that last probably comes with his job as the President of the US of A.
Contributing editor, Angela Ajayi, covers a tribute to Nigerian Activist, Ken Saro-wiwa at the 5th annual PEN World Voices Festival. Saro-wiwa’s son and the American author, Richard North Patterson spoke to Saro-wiwa’s life as a writer and activist. The Nigerian government executed Saro-wiwa nearly 15 years ago for opposing the actions of Royal Dutch Shell, which put pipelines through the villages of his people, the Ogoni. On June 8th, a lawsuit against the oil company following his death was settled out of court in New York City.
“Sadly,” writes Ajayi, “this reality continues to grip the region, immorally perpetuated by those caught up in an unending cycle of corruption and greed. Patterson, whose novel Eclipse is loosely based on the life of Ken Saro-wiwa, also marveled at the scant US response to this travesty, calling it, essentially, a “failure of empathy and imagination.”
Executive Editor, Kim Nagy, returns with her series, Triple Goddess Trials, In The Goddess of Milk and Honey she addresses breastfeeding, how an article in the Atlantic Monthly turned biology into a media event, the realities of breastfeeding in the 21st century, and the many shades of mother-love.
“In the April Issue of The Atlantic Monthly,” writes Nagy. “Contributing Editor, Hannah Rosin published an article called The Case Against Breastfeeding.
The title was a bit misleading, which Rosin herself later admitted in a Podcast on the Atlantic’s website, Mother’s Milk. In fact, the author isn’t arguing that breastfeeding is bad (Rosin herself was still breastfeeding when she wrote the article) but rather that breastfeeding is not as good as we’ve been hearing.
However, the title worked like a charm in provoking a predictable polemic and media uproar, with a surge of traffic in the blogosphere, including a post from the American Academy of Pediatrics who expressed concern over Rosin’s “omissions.”
Meanwhile in his latest column, Desk Jockey, satirist, and employee in a major U.S. corporation, has been traveling for business and learning much about his fellow Americans living on the other side of the Hudson River. (Editor’s note: Desk Jockey was born in Illinois.)
Such experiences have convinced me to forget about eating healthy, or well, when you are traveling outside New York. Most times, you are so consumed by work that you are fortunate if you have time to do more than run down to the office’s cafeteria or the local fast-food joint.
In Dallas, with all of five minutes to spare, I had a truly inviting choice: 1) order lunch from a mediocre Mexican chain, 2) run over to the pizzeria that served huge calzones of indeterminate age, or 3) opt for a barbeque ribs place. Since the rib place offered free ice cream with my jalapeno baked beans, I chose the ribs place.
Katherine Schimmel Baki brings us to the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she visits the studio of artist Bill Mathews.
“A particular painting draws me in,” she says, “a large work in which three women chat and laugh. One woman is so ‘into the moment’ that her head is thrown back in utter abandon with eyes closed, lips parted in a wry semi-smile, while the other figure emits a full-bellied laugh to yet a third smirking, I just swallowed the canary-looking, friend.”
What Schimmel-Baki wants to know is why does Mathews, an admired abstract artist, prefer to paint women?
Contributing editor, Jill Sherer, finds herself immersed in a different kind of crisis, that of adolescence when she reads her award-winning friend, Pamela Todd’s book, The Blind Faith Hotel. In a far–ranging interview, Sherer finds out what those in midlife and adolescence have in common.
I was on an airplane flying back to Philly from Austin when I read The Blind Faith Hotel (Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster, 2008) by Pamela Todd, a coming of age story that’s obviously for young adults -given where I found it in the bookstore and its cover illustration of a teenage girl.
As I looked over at the well-coiffed woman sitting next to me doing Sudoku, I hoped she didn’t peek over at what I was reading and think me juvenile or slow. After all, I’m clearly out of the author’s age-demographic.
For those of us who have our basic needs covered, the moment we cross our thresholds we’re tempted to close the doors and turn a blind eye to the wider world. There is simply too much information, we argue. Why bother sorting through it? And who and what should we believe, anyway?
But if we seek to engage and understand how we might make a difference, it is essential to resist the temptation to put on those blinders. We might choose, instead, to enter a river of stories ever-watchful for what is around the bend.
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul