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Terra Firma: Trinity University Press blog

Barry Lopez's DESERT NOTES from OUTSIDE

by Burgin Streetman on

Beautifully illustrated with engravings by legendary artist Barry Moser, Outside is a collection of six short stories that showcase Barry Lopez’s superb talent as a fiction writer. The first story, "Desert Notes", is a classic. 

I know you are tired. I am tired too. Will you walk along the edge of the desert with me? I would like to show you what lies before us. 

All my life I have wanted to trick blood from a rock. I have dreamed about raising the devil and cutting him in half. I have thought too about never being afraid of anything at all. This is where you come to do those things. 

I know what they tell you about the desert but you mustn’t believe them. This is no deathbed. Dig down, the earth is moist. Boulders have turned to dust here, the dust feels like graphite. You can hear a man breathe at a distance of twenty yards. You can see out there to the edge where the desert stops and the mountains begin. You think it is perhaps ten miles. It is more than a hundred. Just before the sun sets all the colors will change. Green will turn to blue, red to gold. 

I’ve been told there is very little time left, that we must get all these things about time and place straight. If we don’t, we will only have passed on and have changed nothing. That is why we are here I think, to change things. It is why I came to the desert. 

Here things are sharp, elemental. There’s no one to look over your shoulder to find out what you’re doing with your hands, or to ask if you have considered the number of people dying daily of malnutrition. If you’ve been listening you must suspect that a knife will be very useful out here--not to use, just to look at.  

There is something else here, too, even more important: explanations will occur to you, seeming to clarify; but they can be a kind of trick. You will think you have hold of the idea when you only have hold of its clothing. 

Feel how still it is. You can become impatient here, willing to accept any explanation in order to move on. This appears to be nothing at all, but it is a wall between you and what you are after. Be sure you are not tricked into thinking there is nothing to fear. Moving on is not important. You must wait. You must take things down to the core. You must be careful with everything, even with what I tell you.

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Give Big for the Big Give

by Burgin Streetman on

Today San Antonians are uniting for twenty-four hours of generosity in the Big Give S. A.

With 467 nonprofits to choose from, there’s a cause for every passion! This is your chance to give back to the nonprofit organizations that make San Antonio a great place to live, work, and play. Your gift has the ability to grow by offering your favorite organizations the chance to win prize incentives. Support the causes that matter the most to you and show the country that San Antonians are united for a better tomorrow. 

The Big Give S.A. is part of a national day of giving called Give Local America. Some of our favorites? The San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Trinity University, and the Witte Museum. And that's just the very tip of the iceberg. The list is long and full of possibilities. Give today, and give big!

Go Spurs Go!

by Rachel Cooley on

Game 6 Tonight! Trinity University alum and TU Press author Tim Derk reflects on his time as the Spurs Coyote mascot in his book Hi Mom, Send Sheep!, providing insider perspective on the Spurs as they gained national attention while staying true to their San Antonio fans. Derk, who was constantly inventing new antics to delight fans, was one of the most popular mascots in the NBA—until a massive stroke disrupted his life and career. Derk’s story is one of personal struggle with illness, wry anecdotes of the Coyote’s misadventures, and reflection on the support of the team and fans. Today he is the manager of mascot development for the Spurs, where he continues to be an integral part of the game experience, helping to build community and entertain millions of fans. For the playoffs this year, TU Press is proud to be a part of Spurs Nation. Go Spurs! Beats those Mavs! 

Read Green!

by Burgin Streetman on

Every year on April 22, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From San Francisco to San Juan, Beijing to Brussels, Moscow to Marrakesh, people plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more—all on behalf of the environment.

At Trinity University Press, we encourage people to do their part, whether recycling, volunteering, advocating, or just by reading green!

If poetry is your thing, The Ecopoetry Anthology is perfect for igniting inspiration with work from dozens of writers who speak for the trees. Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril contains eighty essays on our personal responsibility to help preserve the planet and will inspire you to do your part. Donald Culross Peattie was a midcentury naturalist who engaged readers through poetic and enlightened nature writing in books like A Natural History of North American TreesA Gathering of Birds and An Almanac for Moderns. The Pulitzer prize-winning U. S. Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin shows his fondness for the natural order of things in Unchopping a Tree.

If you are looking for a more tangible and active way to get in on conservation, the Earth Day Network creates tools and resources for you to get involved with Earth Day in your community. Read more.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day this year, just jump in and go green. Your children and your children's children will thank you for it!

The San Antonio Book Festival

by Rachel Cooley on

The San Antonio Book Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 5 at the Central Library, the Southwest School of Art, and the Empire Theater. Presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the second annual festival will feature author readings and discussions, book signings, a book sale and exhibit, and more. 

 Trinity University Press will be at the festival to celebrate and connect readers with several of our authors. Barry Lopez will speak about nature writing in Home Ground and his new book, Outside; Mary Margaret McAllen will discuss the Mexican history in her recent book Maximilian and Carlota; and Char Miller will explore Texas water issues in his book On the Edge. 

The festival, which aims to “unite readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries and literary culture,” will cater to many literary interests, including poetry, fiction, history, and even cooking. Guests can enjoy cookbook demonstrations and eats from local food trucks. Trinity creative writing professor Jenny Browne will perform some of her poetry and read the winning entries from the festival’s high school fiction writing contest. A Literary Death Match—a humorous reading competition with four popular and emerging authors and three all-star judges—will take place in the evening. 

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