THE CAT'S TABLE | Michael Ondaatje

Occasionally, writing penetrates the walls we build around ourselves, opens the windows to let sunlight in, and reminds us of who we are, what events shaped us, and hints how we got to this particular place. Michael Ondaatje’s writing does this for me.

Some events take a lifetime to reveal their damage and influence.

This truth, a defining presence in Ondaatje’s writings, is a powerful current in the flow of this novel. The Cat’s Table is understated and life-affirming, with a cast of characters that capture a lifetime of experiences during several weeks at sea.

Voyager Rewrites What We Know About the Universe


Like a good blog thread, the Voyager 1 spacecraft keeps surprising us with startling new insights that help us navigate the universe. Scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA announced today that Voyager I has left our solar system and continues to send data about its discoveries back to us. The spacecraft was launched from Earth 36 years ago.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory   Voyager 1 File

Full Moon Silhouettes

I invite you to pause for a moment to view this video by Mark Gee of Wellington, New Zealand

Shot on a Canon ID MkIV in video mode with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L and a Canon 2x extender II, giving the equivalent focal length of 1300mm.

Music – Tenderness by Dan Phillipson :

Mark Gee – Wellington, New Zealand

“Shallows at Dusk” Wins John G. Mitchell Award

By markrogerbailey


“North Cove Shallows at Dusk” (2012) by Mark Roger Bailey

My photograph, “North Cove Shallows at Dusk,” has received the 2013 John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award.

The award by the Land/Conservation Trusts of Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essexand East Haddam (CT) honors the American environmentalist and former editor of National Geographic Magazine, John G. Mitchell (d. 2007). Past editor of Sierra Club Books and a longtime field editor and writer for Audubon Magazine, he also wrote many books, including LOSING GROUND (1975), ALASKA STORIES (1984), and DISPATCHES FROM THE DEEP WOODS (1991).

I captured this photo in Essex, CT late one April afternoon. The river bottom stones in the foreground, the larger boulders in the middle distance sharing the deepening water and the reflected glow of sunset spoke to me about the interconnectedness of our existence along the banks of one of America’s great rivers.

1930 Model A Ford_Mark RogerBailey

1930 Model A Ford parked under patriotic bunting before the Griswold Inn, Essex, CT (2012)

My photograph of an antique Ford automobile, “Model A Before Griswold Inn,” placed second in the Cultural Historic category.

Readers Rule

Nearly five months have flown by since I’ve posted here. That is too long.

I have been preoccupied with work, including launching the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College, hiring and integrating some fabulous new staff at the College, developing new initiatives including 50th Anniversary apparel, developing blogs for others, and producing marketing, advertising, promotions, and publicity for a variety of initiatives. For my own work, I’ve been producing new photography and developing distribution and writing. I am rewriting a novel for publication later this year.

It is notable how comprehensively the publishing industry and its business model have been transformed over the last 2-3 years. Blind submissions over the transom, the slush pile, weeks and months of waiting for agent and publisher responses to proposals, draconian publishing contracts, inventive royalty reporting… these fixed assets of the previous model have been supplanted by new energy, opportunity and visions for ways to connect with readers. Readers rule.

Writers who have stories to share can develop pathways to readers and, if their work interests them, if it engages on some level, a relationship begins. And if the writer has the energy, determination and persistence to develop more stories, and is open to learning and perfecting his or her craft, then s/he can offer another story, and maybe get a second date, and a third, and perhaps become a couple. How great is that?

Please check out some of the new work — and older titles you didn’t get an opportunity to read previously — coming online at:  Barnes & Noble     iBooks     Amazon Kindle

And, if you’re open to our getting to know each other better, check out my novel SAINT at:

Let me know what you think. Would you like to see what adventure Dr. Andrew Shepard is on now?



VIDEO: John Berger and Michael Ondaatje

Two important writers discuss story telling and the creative process in a conversation recorded courtesy of the Lannan Foundation.

I have read, been inspired by, and re-read several of these writers’ books. John Berger’s To The Wedding and Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion and English Patient are particular favorites of mine. This conversation was recorded at John Berger’s farm in Quincy, Mieussy, France, October 2002.  Enjoy…