Our World Changed

 

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This nonfiction story was written by Warren about his experience during 9/11.

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The sand gritted in my teeth as I pulled my straw hat tight to my head to keep the wind from tearing it off and rolling it across the desert.  The year was 1976.  I was in Egypt for the summer as one of seventeen college instructors on a study grant. We were guest of the Egyptian government and on that hot and windy afternoon we were touring the monument of Abu Simbal on the Upper Nile.

I was standing in the shadows of four colossal figures of Ramses the Second sitting upon their thrones. The sandstone sculptures towered over me sixty seven feet into a hazy, sand colored sky.  The base of the sculptures was taller than my head. I ran my hand lightly over the low carvings of hieroglyphics, all the while staring at the historical events that were so beautifully portrayed with skillful hands 1257 BCE. The low relief panel composed of a language that only a few Egyptian Archaeologists could decipher, but enough imagery to leave no doubt as to what happened over three thousand years ago. The “headlines” although carved in fine grain sandstone represented the brutal act of Ramses’ conquering army over his foreign enemies. The Pharaoh had his captives paraded before him, hundreds if not thousands, all with their right hands cut off to ensure that they would never fight again. That historic day is so far off in time that the only surviving record is this panel of sandstone, which weathers away a little with each wind storm until even it will only be another inexcusable experience in the tragic fabric of world events.

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The Art Seller

The Art Seller from Sketch Book sketched in Venice (2000)

The following is an excerpt from Warren Cullar’s Sketchbook (ISBN 0-9747782-0-6) published in 2003.

The Art Seller

from Sketch Book

sketched in Venice (2000)

I was taken with the activity I saw at the Rialto Bridge in Venice. We had stopped for lunch and to write postcards in a little café, where the waiters were full of themselves. An art vendor captivated me. She had a steady stream of people walking by looking at her painting.

It was a beautiful pleasant day and I became quite nostalgic. Feeling a universal connection and identifying with her, I decided to sketch the art vendor.

The scene reminded me of the many hours I stood, during my twenty-seven years as a street vendor, waiting for collectors to buy my art works. In that beautiful city with centuries of art, I felt universally connected to all artists past and present and wanted to capture that connection.

Next Sunday on August 31st read Watching Paint Dry as Jacob writes about his experience watching Warren paint a new painting.

On the Road Again

Christ in the Desert Monastery road, northwestern New Mexico near the Rio Grande.

Christ in the Desert Monastery road, northwestern New Mexico near the Rio Grande.

Warren spent a week packing for his trip to Loveland Colorado for the Loveland Sculpture In The Park Show. This week Warren retells his roadtrip deja vu and shares some advice he gave a bellhop in New Mexico.

On the Road Again

The inside of my Cadillac Escalade was getting ready for another road trip. Clothes hung on hangers behind the driver’s side, a well-organized food box behind Kitty’s seat, the space between loaded with plastic divider boxes with everything from road flares to safety pins. The giant first-aid box was buried beneath them and behind that a “GOOD” emergency backpack. “GOOD” is an axiom for “Get Out Of Dodge.” It contained a knife, solar blanket, dry food for three days, water, matches, ponchos, gloves and a laundry list of other items. Four small suitcases and a case of wine for our Colorado friends along with our pillows completed the traveling supplies. Collecting and packing had taken a week and I was doing the final preparations for our road trip.

The driver’s seat was adjusted; I slid the plastic wrapper off a CD box containing three compact discs. Tony Hillerman’s story, Talking God, one of a few I had either not read or listened to on previous trips. I relished the stories of Joe Leaphorn, Navajo Tribal Police detective, as he solved murder mysteries on the Navajo reservation. Wife Kitty opened the door and noticed the CD I was placing in the slot. She warned, “Warren, do you remember the time we were driving to New Mexico listening to another Hillerman story?”

“Of course.”

“Remember how we were so absorbed in his story, then stopped for gas out in the middle of nowhere and the old gas station had ‘out of gas’ signs. And how we went in, took a bathroom, break, bought a bag of Cracker Jacks and drove on West on I-40 toward Santa Fe and stalled because we didn’t get gas?”

“Let’s not do that again.” She pointedly suggested. The stage was set for another turn of events.

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From Bored to Terrified

This is an excerpt from Warren Cullar’s newly finished book My Dad, Napoleon and Me, a creative nonfiction motivational book. This is a fragment of the story “South China Sea,” in which he sails from Hong Kong to Manila in a 32′ sailboat with his friend Bill and three strangers, illustrating one of the steps from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: Decision.

From Bored to Terrified

By Warren Cullar

The sea softened, now only lapping sounds where boat meets water, and then calm with no sounds from the ocean. The sails fluttered and died. The sails hung from the force of gravity, loose, but ridged at the same time. We were adrift in a sea of glass and the water became a mirror reflecting a silver orb. The harvest moon glowed above the horizon; its intensity was blindingly strong. The interior of the cabin was dark, yet so hot and humid one chose to sit on deck and pull a hat down to block out the headlight beaming moon.  The stillness and flatness stretched in all compass directions toward a horizon that did not want to end, but continued on until morning. Sitting became uncomfortable, silence became boring and thinking was dull from the waiting. Gradually our spirit boat of dreams turned in the vastness of the dark ultramarine ocean. The “Ugly Duckling” made one revolution every hour in the unseen current and this became our keeper of time and two days passed.

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