Spirit Wolf
brush and ink on paper
The Drum Beats Silently
on the Medicine Shelf
graphite on Meridian paper
Nor Blear-Eyed Wisdom
Out of Midnight Oil

oil on panel

Here are a few of my retellings that I've put to text. I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know what you think.

The Mural and the Monastery, a legend from China
Iron John, a German fairytale
The Dragon's Son, a tragic fairytale from Romania

Below is a list of other favorite traditional tales to tell:

The Mongoose—Germany
The Giant With No Heart in His Body—Norway
Tales of Odin—Norse
How Thor Got His Hammer Back—Norse
Loki and Thor Visit Utgaard—Norse
Gawain and the Green Knight—Arthurian Legend
Gawain Fights for a Young Lady—Arthurian Legend
The Franklin's Tale—Chaucer
The Greek Creation—Greece
Tales of Deadalus—Greece
Apollo and Daphne—Greece
Theseus and the Minotaur—Greece
Cupid and Psyche—Rome
The Giant and the Changer—Coast Salish
Raven Tricks Seagull and Crane—Tlingit
Raven Creates Land—Tlingit
Raven and Loon—Tlingit
How Raven Brought the Tide—Tlingit
The Giant Who Became Mosquitoes—Tlingit
The Salmon People—Tlingit
Raven Brings Light—Kwakultl
Tales of Chuang Tzu—China
Tales of Mullah Nassruddin—Southwest Asia
The Man From Lucknow and the Man From Delhi—India
The Ramayana—India
Hanumanji and the Diamonds—India
Tales from the Mahabharata—India
Santa and the Deer Man—India
The Head of Glory—India
Shiva and Sati—India
Narada and Krishna—India
Why Ganesha Has an Elephant's Head—India
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk—India
The Pomegranate Prince—India
The Tibetan Monk and the Fisherman—Tibet
The Thief Who Could Steal A Man—Tibet
The New King of Africa—Central Africa
Chameleon Chooses Death—Madagascar
Ananse and the Grain of Corn—Ashanti
Why the Stories Belong to Ananse—Ashanti
Ananse Goes to Find Something—Crachi
Choosing a Chief—Touraeg
The Man With the Terrible Temper—a Sufi tale
Mullah Nassruddin atop the Mosque—a Sufi tale
Tales of Nassruddin's donkey—Sufi lore
Robber Chih—China
The Angel and the Abbot—Romania
The Fairy of the Waterfall—Romania
Youth Without Age, and Life Without Death—Romania
The Church Builder—Romania
The Prince and the Mouse—Romania
Master Manole—Romania
The Man Who Chose Between Heaven and Hell—USA
The Haunted Library—USA
The Miner's Hand—West Wirginia
The Student Who Lost His Faith—A Jewish Fable
Vassalissa the Beautiful—Russia
Marya Morevna—Russia
Go I Know Not Where, Fetch I Know Not What—Russia

Here are a few anecdotal tales from my own life:

First Journey (I was two years old)
First Lie (I was in first grade, and it didn't end well)
An Infatuation with a Girl Named Cinda (or: The Story of the Unicorn)
First Kiss (I was eighteen, and on stage)
A Manhattan Guru Quest (New York, 1991)
The Stolen Bag (Chicago, 1994)
Tales of a Face Painter (Seattle & San Francisco, 1990-1996)
Love at First Sight (Monterey, 1998)
A Wedding in Kinari Bazaar (Delhi, 1999)
Grandfather's Safe (Studio City, 1999)
Teaching Anthony to Read (Sausalio, 2007)
Earth Shrines for Mount Tam (Marin County, 2007-2016)
Tales from a Sixth-Month Pilgrimage (1995)—during which I traveled to:

• Chartres Cathedral for the summer solstice, where I walked the labyrinth on my knees until kicked out by a concierge, and where I witnessed a man risk public humilation to bless his wife's wedding ring between a ray of light and a copper rod lodged in a paving stone;
• The Forest of Brocéliande where I saw Merlin's alleged grave and a tree guilded in gold;
• A Cistercian monastery in Piedmonte, where I had to break my vegetarianism on a thousand-year old raw salami recipe or risk insulting a village;
• Florence, where I lived for a week with a sculptor who had been run over by a train in South America, and who said, “That was the best thing that ever happened to me;”
• The Vatican Museum, where I questioned my aspirations as an artist, and where two of my students called my name and waved, instantly filling me with joy and reminding me of what is most important before they disappeared into the crowd;
• The Village of Flies, where I stayed with a young woman whose father despised me until I dared to cook him dinner;
• Budapest, where I met a young Jesuit friend who became my traveling companion, dodged harassment in the Gellert baths, and waited all night for a phone call from my American girlfriend that never came;
• Transylvania, where I learned something about the consciousness of Nature and trees;
• Bucharest, where a racecar driver we hitchhiked with explained (and demonstrated) a symbiotic merging with both his car and his piano;
• Istanbul, where I literally fled from dozens of children who I had made a paper airplane for, and who afterward held me captive;
• Bursa, where I successfully haggled over a silver necklace by explaining that my former girlfriend is a samurai (which was true) and where I witnessed local men literally boiling their testicles at a public bath;
• Romania, where I first saw the “wild people” in front of the train station, and was bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes in one night, so that I looked like I had the measles in the morning, and said farewell to Paul the Jesuit;
• Prague, where I left my only long-sleeved shirt on a bridge, and bought a sword;
• East Berlin, where I met my former German girlfriend again for her wedding, and finally reached my American girlfriend, only to learn that, back home, she had hooked up with my best friend;
• A farm in central Germany, where I bought a carved mango drum made in Gambia, which I would lug with me for the next month as a sort of penance;
• Belgium, where, synchronistically, I met the Romanian race car driver again, who drove me to a tiny town where I fell in love with an Italian kleptomaniac who introduced me to a 103 year old woman;
• Brussels with the beautiful Italian who, I learned, was a young witch, and who gave me tremendous grief when we discovered that I had left my backpack with everything valuable to me in the back seat of the blue Citroen that we had just hitched a ride in. She managed to recover everything by almost miraculous means;
• Glastonbury, England, where I learned why anyone who proclaims to be a Celt is probably an American, where I pocketed some acorns from a centuries-old oak tree, and where a jeweler gave me two sapphires to sell in India;
• A series of inexpensive flights to India, where I met a Venezuelan man my age who told me outrageous stories of his adventures in the Andes, and with whom I would travel for the next few weeks. This man, who had the same name as the woman in the Village of Flies, would eventually save my life below the glacier of the Ganges River in the Himalayas, where I nearly died;
• Old Delhi, were I met the son of a yogi in the second temple I visited, and where I was virtually adopted by his family—the same family that, years later, married us;
• Rishikesh, where all of my money and gemstones were either accepted as prashad by the Ganga River or else stolen by a five year old boy, and where I ended up imprisoned by the local police after I reported my loss to them;
• Jhilmil Cave, near Neelkanth, where I spent a night with two saddus and learned how to wash using the ashes from the firepit as a kind of soap;
• Gomukh, the source of the Ganga, where I spent the night in a shack with a man who hadn't spoken in fourteen years, and where I nearly died the next day;
• Jaipur, where I was told how I might retrieve my stolen gems, and where I felt the narrative of their solution alone was worth their price;
• And finally to Rome, where I learned not to do as the Romans do.