Paula Hendricks

Author ~:~ Writer ~:~ Book Designer ~:~ Book Producer

Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

bobshaw bobshaw

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bob shaw santa fe nm

Bob Shaw, Santa Fe, NM

i just found out a friend died. two and one half years ago. no one called me. i hadn’t talked to him in ages, obviously. and he died. and my life went on without him. without knowing.

i found out when i was doing one of my infrequent middle of the night reaching out to see who i haven’t contacted in a while and i wonder if they are on facebook odysseys. i emailed bob and got a mailer daemon back. the next day i called and got a disconnected message. i googled him and found an obituary.

he was very talented in so many ways — as a writer, a playwright, an actor. he had this slow way of talking, an oklahoma drawl, a way of drawing out his words that reflected his thoughtfulness but also his childhood. there was alcohol in the family and he was a seeker — and he invited me into his circle. it was one of those times and one of those places where that invitation, that appreciation was of enormous value. i did not know i was a writer. but i had left my life in the fast lane of new york ad agencies (not in the creative department) and moved to santa fe. to quit everything i knew to open myself to something more creative. bob welcomed me.

the santa fe writers group. i have not found its primal equivalence since. of the 6-10 writers, 3 that i know of are dead. and i am so grateful to them, to all of them, and especially to bob, for letting me be part of the group and encouraging me to write.

he was funny and serious and his writing was always compelling. he was a thoughtful commenter and supporter of others’ work. he was a friend. a person i valued highly in the warp and weft of my life. i know i know i didn’t call him often enough. i have a lot of friends like that. i can’t handle too many on a daily basis.

he took photographs of me. he made me feel welcome and valued in my first writers group in santa fe.

bobshaw was the one who kept me informed when Kat was dying. another fabulous writer. she had MS. her husband left her, he couldn’t handle it. she had had electroshock treatments when she was young in an attempt by her family to dissuade her from living in a commune and exploring the ways many did in the 60s. we always wondered whether that contributed to her later getting MS. she wrote a column for the local newspaper right up til the end. bob gave me her email address so kat and i could be connected directly, even after i had moved to san francisco. we read each others’ work as long as we could. i knew she was writing with a blow tube. and that connection went deep.

no one did this for me and bobshaw.

i let it go. i let him go. i moved on. i don’t know if i’m in a better place. oh, i’m better and i’m in a better place because of bob and the group, but i don’t know if i’m better off because i moved on.

the last time we talked he seemed depressed. he wasn’t writing. he was thinking about moving to albuquerque from santa fe. to the area near the university, downtown. he was living in his sister’s condo. he wasn’t working much, there wasn’t much work for him — as a professional photographer in santa fe. everyone began taking their own pictures. he hadn’t made the transition to digital. it was eight months before he died.

i didn’t call him back. i suppose i hoped he would call me if he wanted or needed me to listen, to hear him. and now he’s gone. and i’m finally in tears.

I hear his flat drawl. I see the words he has written to me. i see him looking with amusement into my camera lens.

bob shaw in santa fe new mexico

Bob Shaw

i dug around and found that i had talked with him in april. that we exchanged a few emails. this is how it is with some. i remember my high school friend randy. we’d both gone east to college. he ended up in calgary. i went to banff one summer and we drove through the northern rockies in his vw van listening to pharaoh sanders. we would call once a year. and one year he didn’t call. eventually i called and he was gone. died while cross country skiing with his family.

i know bob was not young. i know that i’m of an age when this will happen more and more and is in the natural course of things. i know he didn’t call me either. that at the end i wasn’t high on his list. but i still feel guilty. i still feel i could have somehow done something. something more.

i’m letting go of family things. i’m feeling overwhelmed by stuff i don’t use and can’t imagine wanting to use anytime soon. i have scoffed at my friend karen, who lives without many things — almost an ascetic existence. and have never imagined i could do the same. but i look around and want more air, more breathable space.

there are things i can let go of easily and things i cannot. i can let go of clothes i don’t wear, things i thought once i wanted but have not really used. i’m even thinking of letting go of art supplies i thought i would use and still want to use but am not using. i want more room for people. and more time. why am i equating space with time?

other things in my life are falling apart, too. things i can’t seem to write about yet. so i’m grieving for more than bobshaw. i’m looking at things i don’t want to give up. things i have loved, and still love. i want more than just memories.

i woke in the middle of the night, two nights running. i don’t want to move. i am exhausted. my throat is tight. my eyes feel too big for their sockets. i somehow know i will be all right, but right now i’m thinking about the deaths of things. my deep connections to things dead or dying. the grieving and the gratitude are all mixed together. i wouldn’t change a thing of what i had, especially with bobshaw.


Written by phwebnet

May 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Snow in Corrales

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Snow in Corrales. courtyard gate. corrales, new mexico. photo by paula hendricks.

Snow in Corrales. courtyard gate. corrales, new mexico. photo by paula hendricks.

Written by phwebnet

December 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

A welcoming light (photo)

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San Ysidro church, Corrales New Mexico. photo credit Paula Hendricks

San Ysidro church, Corrales New Mexico. photo credit Paula Hendricks


Written by phwebnet

December 14, 2008 at 7:53 pm


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photo by ph

tires and power lines at yuba farms.

Written by phwebnet

December 12, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Posted in creativity, photo, place

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Milk is about all of us

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I’ve seen Milk. Twice. The first time was opening day, Wednesday before Thanksgiving and it was raining. I went to the Castro Theater by myself.

I sat in this old movie palace in a crowd of men and women, gay and straight, old and young. Quiet. Waiting. I loved this movie, Both times. The first time, it was more about the story. I didn’t know much about Milk – oh, I knew he was one of the first openly gay men elected to public office and that he had a big big smile and that he and Mayor Moscone were murdered in City Hall and that Diane Feinstein was then President of the Board of Supervisors. I knew there were marches and still are. I think I knew there was a book about him. I knew there was a restaurant on Castro Street called Harvey’s.

I saw the movie twice because there were pieces I didn’t get the first time. There were side stories and complexities that I only caught glimpses of the first time. Why did I like it both times?

The top layer story is interesting and it’s about where I live and the people who have shaped this city. The next layer is about courage. Personal courage – to be who you are, say what you think, take a stand. The next layer was about how you get stuff done in life – how messy the process is; how long it can take; how important a single voice can be.

I came out of the theater wanting to know those people – Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg. I wanted to know more – about how they got involved and why. Maybe I’d find out why I seem to be so slow on the political side of things and so far ahead on technology. I have avoided politics almost all my life – my mother was a political junkie and until this year, I certainly was not.

What I saw in Milk was how important politics is. How important the whole process, and it is a process, is. One of the phrases that stands out for me is “It’s not about winning.” It’s not about winning. It’s about standing up. It’s about speaking out. It’s about taking a stand and having conversations. It’s about messy relationships – personal and political and economic.

Now I know for sure I want to add my voice to the discussion – about sustainability, and the multiple bottom line – profit, people, planet. And I see now that I must get more involved… in politics. I must be willing to live a far messier life than I have so far. I must be more vulnerable and more courageous and not worry about winning. Just being in the conversation is critical.

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Written by phwebnet

December 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Progress is made in jumps not gradual increments

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I am struck by how we move — in jumps not smooth gradual progressions. For the last 6 months I’ve been reading geology books and in some of them the scientists talk about how the earth systems change in leaps – jumps – and that one of their concerns about climate changes is that the rest of us think somehow the warming will occur in small incremental gradual increments over a long period of time. And they believe the systems leap into new territory in much shorter time frames.

I picked up a book called the Black Swan and while I have not read it yet, I see from the flap that it talks about how the assumptions underlying our system models do not account well for sudden, unpredictable abrupt change. Just look at the recent financial crises to see this in action.

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Finding the right energy

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Another letter for the BAIPA News (July 2008)

Being an author and a publisher can pull at us in different ways – and being small, independent publishers means that there are dozens of tasks we need to complete on a regular basis. Some days I get up gung-ho and step right into the external tasks on my plate – calling people, making connections, negotiating, asking for help. And some days I turn off my phone and write or read. I used to fight this. I used to push myself to make those calls or I’d get angry with myself if I couldn’t sit down and read a manuscript or write.

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Written by phwebnet

July 12, 2008 at 4:44 pm