Notes & marginalia…..

Taos is very beautiful, infused with an ancient Indian heritage and the spirits of 20th century writers & artists. In an Anglo-centric literary fashion it was always DH Lawrence who drew me there. On my recent visit I was therefore staying at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House……….

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, NM.

Mabel Dodge Luhan committed huge amounts of time to persuading Lawrence (and other writers, artists and thinkers) to go to Taos; when he did they had a very stormy relationship. The house is now an inn and hosts writers and writing workshops (which gives me an idea for next year…..).

I was also appropriately reading Joseph Foster’s D.H.Lawrence in Taos which gives an interesting perspective from someone who knew, observed and admired him but was not blind to his peculiarities.

It was a library book which, as with second hand books, sometimes brings you more than just the author’s words, more often an added bonus than an irritation, wouldn’t you say?

On page 57 the occasional pencil underlinings suddenly become personal, become words, develop character. I reproduce here the underlining and  the pencil margin notes which make a great Journal Prompt.

Foster wrote:

What does one expect of a great man, such as Lawrence in one’s life?

Perhaps only contact. Reassurance that because of him life is worthwhile. Lawrence was a presence in our lives even before we met him. Someone who stirred the highest things in us. (p57)

Someone underlined the last sentence above and wrote in the margin:

Who stirs the highest things in you? what?

I would describe this as “A Found Journal Prompt”.

Taos Pueblo

And finally….

Do you like to read geographically relevant books? What combinations of place & book have you found?

My next trip is to Alaska – any reading suggestions?

8 thoughts on “Notes & marginalia…..”

  1. Nessa,
    The previous lives of books…now there’s an idea.
    Later in ‘Lawrence in Taos’ the commenter starting correcting grammar (pronouns – I & me) which was fine – but then I could see he (had to be a he!) started to use a ruler for his pencil underlinings…..


  2. Hi Mary Lee
    I’ve instantly put a hold on it at Boulder library and should be able to get it in time before I set off. Thank you for the suggestion.


  3. Kate, here’s a moving and inspirational read for your Alaska trip–“Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival” by Velma Wallis. The author was raised and still lives in the Fort Yukon area. Hope you enjoy your trip as much as I enjoy your blog!


  4. Oh, Kate, I love the idea of found prompts in the margin writings of used books. I am a lover of books and have always cherished the “previous lives” a used book has had… This is a wonderful post! Thank you!


  5. Thanks, Carolyn. Having been there I can certainly understand how the Luhan House can acquire that magical glow for people – it now has for me. I can’t wait to find an opportunity to go back.
    Glad you like the prompt – please let me know what you find if you use it (with your groups or for yourself, of course).


  6. Amazing prompt, Kate! And just had to voice my love of the Luhan House too. Spent an incredible week writing there with Marie Howe, Ellen Bass and a big circle of women a few years ago, right in between Dad’s death and Terry’s cancer surgery….the place will forever be cast with a magic glow!


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