Anyone that has been in the Broowaha community long enough will know and has interacted with Morgana. She is a wonderful force of nature and has herself been the topic of articles. In this featured contributor interview she recalls (as do I) when she first came on the scene and asked for a Reno chapter of Broowaha. Since then Morgana has helped turn the Reno Broowaha into an active hub of conversation.
How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about doing it?
That's a fitting question because landscape itself has a part in knitting people together. Northern Nevada is big while being accessible. It is both simple and epic with genuinely good people. I starting writing for BrooWaha after I had a couple of its stories e-mailed to me. Those stories dismayed me. No place is perfectly good or perfectly bad. These stories, although rightly exposing people doing bad things here, are not only what Northern Nevada is. I didn't want people reading BrooWaha to think that's all Northern Nevada is.
Therefore, I made the conscious decision to write about the positive, upbeat, delightful, quirky, charm and goodness of Northern Nevada because those are diversely manifest every moment of ever day. I decided to become a Northern Nevada Raver doing and seeing daily good in the midst of occasional evil. To keep a sort of balance and our sanity, we need to be reminded of bright views. Dostoevsky's example of the rogue giving a turnip to a starving beggar comes to mind. So does the biologist Stephen Jay Gould's 'ten thousand acts of kindness.' John 1:3 'The light shines in darkness, and the darkness overcomes it not.' The root meaning of the word gossip is to relate good tidings. Far from being boring, naive, trite or ethically challenged, people in Northern Nevada are for the most part and for most of the time complex, caring, varied, ethical, and enormously good over the long period of Time.
Here we still do actions that make society functional and livable such as greeting each other, bussing our own dishes after eating at say Long John Silvers, saying please and thank you, placing our chairs back at the table, and letting each other enter into traffic. The mail is generally delivered each day. The water is generally available out of the tap each day. Children generally safely go to and from school. A neighbor or friend will generally take care of another's pet(s) while its owner is away. Northern Nevada has a communal goodness with a vast range of manifestations. There are lives here, and elsewhere, that encourages and leads us to our better selves. Where egoism disappears unobtrusively into the care and service of others.
The optimistic interpretation of Northern Nevada I have chosen takes the overall decency of life for granted while acknowledging that there are statistical outliers out there. I do not excuse bad manners or ugly buildings or illegal, unethical or immoral behavior. I believe civility accelerates economic development. I find the small ordinary everyday acts of humanity and compassion far worthier of worth, my objection to disharmony being more aesthetic than moral. Think how people of different cultures and social backgrounds can learn from one another and enjoy each other's company when we gather to tell stories of goodness, decency, wholesomeness, and compassion.
In 1906, Tolstoy very angrily wrote in his diary about acknowledgment, 'People write pompously in books that when there are rights, there are also obligations. What audacious nonsense ' what lies. Man has only obligations. MAN HAS ONLY OBLIGATIONS!' William James spoke with humility when he said 'When you and I realize how many innocent beasts have had to suffer in suffocating cattle-cars and slaughter'pens and lay down their lives that we might grow up, all fattened and clad, to sit together here in comfort and carry on this discourse, it does indeed put our relation to the universe in a more solemn light.' My question is how does a good person live under circumstances that are not good?
What is your background? Can you give us a brief bio/history of your life?
I believe I was born and raised in the best of times in the best of worlds. That being 1950's Los Angeles, California - Suburbia with Benefits. I was raised with Catholic school upbringing by upper-middle class parents. They were Roosevelt admirers (his compassion), Truman haters (Those Two Bombs he ordered dropped), then moderate Eisenhower conservatives (Cold War Pacifists), then President John F. Kennedy devotees until his murder.
From that moment on my parents lived only intellectualism, liberalism, art, culture, pacifism, healthy eating, and atheism. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy's murders and Viet Nam further drove my parents even further away from conservatism, although they briefly flirted with Barry Goldwater. While still in high school, with my parent's encouragement, I enlisted in the military for the educational and housing benefits. I served at the tail end of the horrific Viet Nam War. Got to travel the world for 'free' with my military id.
I went to all of the United States, Paris, London, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Rome, Toledo, Milan, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and even managed one trip to Havana. I received an Honorable Discharge with a Medical rating. I moved to Northern California where I proceeded to obtain several California State University system degrees starting with my GI Bill and then scholarships. I fell in love, married a wonderful man, for which I am forever thankful.
Life remained good until I noticed the best of all times and worlds were going away. Then it was gone. I missed the best of all times and worlds ' desperately. Therefore, I began to look around. In Reno, Nevada, I saw vestiges and new beginnings of the best of all times and worlds that would probably last my lifetime. So I moved to Reno. I still miss the salty tang of the ocean breeze and San Francisco sourdough bread, but everything else I had loved about California I found in Northern Nevada. For several years, I was a full-time successful businesswoman and successful adjunct professor. Age, old military wounds, and new wounds caught up with me and I am now medically retired.
Your Broowaha logo, is there a story behind it?
I have been a student of society and culture for more than half a century because I believe thoughtlessness makes us ungrateful. My choice of Reno Art Kicks Ass as my logo goes back again to my conscious decision to write about the positive, upbeat, delightful, quirky, charm, and goodness of Northern Nevada. Nevada, like all places, has such an extraordinary history, present and future. I searched for quite a while until I found Reno Art Kicks Ass. I wanted a neon logo that would convey cosmopolitan Reno's history of recreation, gaming and colorful divorce, prize-fighting and brothel trade, Reno as Artown, Reno's mining history, and convey Reno still Rocks.
Hence, the ass kicking is a play on that with the burro evoking Nevada's mining history, the neon the recreation, gaming, divorce prize-fighting and brothel trade, and the whole logo is art which Northern Nevada has successfully diversified into. Morgana: You are a force of nature in your writing - as you tackle lots of topics and you do so with fervor.
What is your general inspiration?
The variety of topics that I have written on was also a conscious decision I made. There are many one-trick pony writers, bloggers, ranters, and ravers out there ' I just didn't want to be one of them. I have a thing about point of view. I don't always try to agree with another's point of view, but I do try to understand it. Sometimes I even succeed at it.
The theme and thread in my stories is point of view. With point of view as my theme, I then looked around for the positive, upbeat, delightful, quirky, and goodness of everyday Northern Nevada. Moreover, I write about it. Occasionally I write about the negative, downbeat and distressing as I am in love with nostalgia. That's where my fervor comes from - my love affair with nostalgia.
In the time you've been part of Broowaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer?
Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your favorite article to write and your most recent. I have grown as a writer and interviewer. It has been said here that if one can't stand the heat of the kitchen of BrooWaha, then don't come in or be more thick-skinned. I have not grown a thick skin. I never will; it is not in my makeup. I prefer discourse, beauty, elegance, dynamic, guileless, affection, friendship, sensual, graciousness, and love. It has taken patience for me to continue writing here in the deluge of the onslaught of continuing '1- rating attacks and anonymous severe comments in those '1- ratings I have received.
I write the truth as I feel it although it has meant my feelings are sometimes hurt. I don't write to the cowardly peanut gallery of anonymous rating attackers, however unruly and unscrupulous they may be. I write for my own moral integrity. Patience exercised by people of little power, which I am here, compared to say the American President, have no consequences in the short run beyond affecting my own feelings. In the long run, it remains to play itself out. I only enter into something for the long run. Integrity comes from consistently sustaining a choice over a lifetime.
A single and very tiny sunflower seed becomes a towering sunflower only over time. Rosebuds become lovely roses only over time. An acorn becomes a mighty and strong oak only over time. My first article? I wrote it and simultaneously asked Digidave and Ariel to start a Reno Broo, which Ariel graciously did. I did both because I wanted others to know also the positive, upbeat, delightful, quirky, and goodness of everyday Northern Nevada. Northern Nevada is a lovely house with a most engaging history. My favorite article of mine? Probably Wishing Only To Be Blind Again. Ties in with my point of view obsession and the potential tragic consequences when one fails to understand another's point of view. My most recent article so far is This Star Trek Rocks. This film 'reached me', as Star Trek had not done for a long time.
If you could get could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be? Having my marriage back. What artist (musician, author, painter etc) inspires you? Inspiration?
My husband first and foremost. Tchaikovsky for the most sensuous music perhaps ever written - all that angst. Claude Monet ' all that beauty. Picasso's Guernica ' all that pain, fear and ugliness. Anton Myrer's The Last Convertible ' all that nostalgia. Basic Instinct ' all that basic instinct. Julian Gallo ' all that even-temperament and intellectualism.
Dean Walker ' all that commitment and calling out others' falsehoods. Kim ' all that lovely wallowing in a hot bubble bath. Mean Mike ' all that delightful chivalry. LUMIERE ' all that still-waters-run-deep emotion. Lynne DeSilva ' all that stimulating intellectualism. Garry Crystal ' all that feeling and humanity. Ed Attanasio ' all that jocularity. Jen and Tonic ' all that white-hot pain-within-humor. Craig ' all that earnest detail. D. E. Carson ' all that fury for such a narrow political path. Gary Schwind ' all those enchanting interviews. Ricky Ricardo ' all those quaint and charming descriptions. Sanjanakumar ' all that fresh point of view. Manny Osborne ' all that insight. Seema Upadhyay ' all that affection. AM Nelson ' all that pleasantry. DL Ferguson ' all those thoughtful film reviews. Chedvah ' all that delightful point of view. Fashionista ' all that enchanting young approach. Rose Mountain ' all that perserverance. Wolviela ' all that sweetness. AmyO ' all that well thought out erspectives.
Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?
Culture. I read and write it the most. That point of view obsession of mine again.
If you could see a group topic, something that all Broowaha contributors tackle in a given week, what would it be?
One would be Favorite Car. What car? Color, make, and model? When did you have this car or when will you if you don't yet? Why this car? Where did you have this car or where will you have it when you get it? Favorite and worst moments with this car? Etc. Another would be Home With A History. What home? Is/was it yours or someone elses? Year built? Remodeled? By whom? When did you have this home or when will you if you don't yet? Why this home? Where did you have this home or where will you have it when you get it? Favorite and worst moments with this home? Etc.
For Northern Nevada, there is the Governor's Mansion, the Thunderbird Lodge, Greystone Castle, and Barnard House among many others. These two subjects are about something that stands as a cultural testament to a particular age and engineering or architectural style. Thunderbird Lodge, for example, remains the best example of a Lake Tahoe estate. Built by George Whittell beginning in 1936. The estate was then 40,000 acres with 27 miles of Nevada Lake Tahoe shoreline. Because of Thunderbird Lodge, the Northern Nevada side of Lake Tahoe retained its pristine character and kept the California side from being grossly overdeveloped.
What advice do you have to writers who are just starting out?
Voraciously read others' writings as we have an indebtedness to the labor, thought and imagination of all those who have proceeded us. Sometimes write something that'll make you curse with anger. Practice writing in others' styles. Write and write and write until you write in your own voice. Use elliptical and frames. Sometimes write something that'll make you belly laugh. Tell a story. Tell an interesting story. Write from the heart than add logic, grammar, humor, spell-check, fact-check, paragraph breaks, pictures, and graphics. Even when making up a story, keep it honest to the story. Sometimes write something that'll make you cry with grief or sadness. Try writing in more than first person. If you are going to be a one-trick pony writer, blogger, ranter, or raver, try to be the best one at it. Sometimes write from a point of view you don't understand or even disagree with. Ask advice. Learn when to follow and not follow advice. Sometimes write porno. While writing, and only while writing, remember the ills that have come your way and the pleasure of nursing them in righteous indignation. Publish everywhere you can. Learn what to submit and what not to submit for publication. Do everything in moderation ' including moderation. Plunder from other writers but always give them credit ' use and cite sources. Be in it for the long run. Have a drink or smoke a joint while writing.
Establish a framework for establishing data into something useful, meaningful or heartfelt. Consider your audience only when it serves the story. Do not ever let your writing interfere with your love life and work very hard at not letting it interfere with your sex life. Your partner, unless besotted writers themselves, will mistakenly consider your writing as a hazard when your love and sex is going into your writing instead of your partner. Don't be afraid to recycle your good line, or two, or paragraph(s). Never have a drink or smoke a joint while editing and proofing your writing. Be grateful; for 'ingratitude which robs us of our enthusiasm, is one of the worst powers of evil in the world,' said Albert Schweitzer. Write for entertainment and education. Put a mirror in front of you while writing. Have a good day.