Jude Genereaux | He is here…

22 08 2014

NorbertBleica1965..

Norbert Blei ca. 1965

He is here …

Last night, Thursday August 21, a first effort BLUES ON THE BAY event was held in the heart of our beloved village Ellison Bay. One of the sponsors, Jennifer Lee, mentioned Norb had noted in the not too distant past, that the only thing Ellison Bay needed was “a little blues…”. Well, he sure gave us that.

Opening for Chicago’s Billy Flynn was our local Pete Thelan, one of the best of Norb’s loyal band of coyotes; Pete belted out “Sweet Home Door County” for Norb and sent it skyward with the assurance “We MISS you!” … and his wish that he was here.

He is here. He’s all around us, always in this little town … just over my shoulder, just out of view, but he’s here in every sunrise, sunset, poppy bursting orange and birch tree glowing white. Every drive north on 42 there comes a glimpse of a little beige Honda and for a moment, I see his beaming face behind the wheel. For a moment, turning on Europe Bay Road, I am just going home. He’s in our booth at the Viking for “early bird breakfast”, at the counter in the Pioneer picking up a movie for after dinner, in the post office each time I open Box #33, and turning into The Clearing path on my walks up Garrett Bay Road. And he was here with us on the bay as Pete belted out the blues last night.

Life will never be as good, as vibrant or joyful without his rumbling voice in my ear, without his words on Poetry Dispatch for all of us to savor, but one can always find him … because he is Here. In Ellison Bay. On this August 23rd, 79th Birthday, and always. — Jude Genereaux





Norb Blei’s Clearing Students Revive Book Project

11 06 2014

Prof-Quarters-front-cover-l

Norb Blei’s Clearing Students Revive Book Project

ELLISON BAY, WI (June 7, 2014) – The Clearing Folk School is where Norbert Blei taught a week long writing workshop every summer for nearly 45 years. The school, built by land architect Jens Jensen, is situated atop one of the most beautiful bluffs in Door County. This is Norb Blei’s Door County, the subject of much of his writing.

Nearly two years prior to his death in 2013, Norbert invited some of his long-time students (all accomplished writers themselves) to contribute essays to a book he intended to write about his years as a teacher at The Clearing. The book would be his personal perspective on teaching, students and the importance of place, specifically The Clearing.

The Professor’s Quarters is a collection of those student essays, compiled and edited by long-time Blei students and assistants Al DeGenova, Alice D’Alessio, Susan O’Leary and Jude Genereaux. This is a book about Love: the love of a teacher, a place and the writing life.

The book has been published at the expense of enthusiastic sponsors and will be donated to The Clearing for sale in the school’s on-site bookstore, beginning June 22, 2014. All profits from the sale of the book are dedicated for use as a scholarship fund for the continuing Norb Blei week at The Clearing.

***

Nearly two years prior to his death in 2013, faithful friend and supporter of After Hours, Norbert Blei invited some of his long-time students, all accomplished writers themselves, to contribute essays to a book he intended to write about his years as a teacher at The Clearing Folk School in Door County, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, time ran out before his vision was taken to fruition.

In the winter of 2013-14,the essays were gathered and compiled by Alice D’Alessio, Albert DeGenova, Jude Genereaux and Susan O’Leary and (in the spirit Norb foresaw)are now being published by After Hours Press as the new book entitled The Professor’s Quarters.

This collection stands as testimony to The Clearing, to Norb as Teacher, and to his writer-students. The book will be published this spring with profits going to the continuing “Scholarship Fund” for the Norbert Blei Week at The Clearing.

If you are interested in buying this book, please click here…





Jude Genereaux | Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

22 04 2014

Time. Time seems to have always been an issue for Norb and I. Because we met in the later years of life, because it moves too fast, because there never seemed to be enough it to get done all the writing, all the travels, daily tasks, errands and still have hours for friends & family and each other. All that stopped last year. One year already … April 23rd. 2013 … the man left this earth. In April. The month of re-birth. Renewal.

And time stopped. The finality of death, especially someone’s who was so vibrant, alive and OUT there! as Norbert Blei, stopped everything for this woman. The sobering gong of GONE continues to ring, even as we-who-loved-him anxiously seek out one more thing we can do for him, to keep him alive in our days and efforts, and to honor his memory and his life’s work.

Planning his Memorial kept us going through June. Then came efforts to move the Coop to the ‘Write ON! Center’ in Juddville; friends created a Scholarship at Gibraltar High in his name, others changed an Award designation at the Council of Wisconsin Writers to commemorate Norb’s work. Fellow classmates from The Clearing began work mid-winter on a compilation of essays he’d sent out the call for, in honor of The Clearing – and Norb as teacher. Essays, articles, books and poems have been written and dedicated to him.

Just this past month, the saddest task came, emptying our beloved home on Europe Lake Road of 46 years of life & memory that lived within those walls.

norb

How do we find yet one more event, word, task we can do for him? Have we accomplished every effort envisioned? For a man as dedicated to the art of writing and teaching as Norb? Not hardly. His influence and love continue, his voice rings in our ears urging us to “Get it down”, capture the moment, and “Send it out there!” I hear his voice assuring me that “Someone out there desperately needs to hear what you have to say”. For me, the writer I most needed to hear, was Norbert Blei.

Now comes April again, with all its promise of rebirth and blooming … how can anyone leave this earth so abundant, in April? Our tulips, crocuses, daffodils & narcissus push their way to the sun in front of the old house – with neither of us there to oogle there arrival.

What remains is the spirit he continues to urge forth in new shoots of writing, words that spring to the page, his encouragement echoes. It’s what he told us to do. Write it down.

 

Learning Curve

“There ain’t no cure for Love”
~ Leonard Cohen

How do we mourn our shadow?
my echo, the skin on my shoulder where
…….he was always present,
…….together or apart.
…….He was “there”.
Still is. ~ Jude Genereaux








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