What a gift and what a surprise

I promised you a note about my work with the young people, but I’m going to let that wait. I feel I need to issue a great and warm “thank you” to the voices that have written back. It is so interesting — some of you I have met in person on occasion; with others I have communicated by email once or twice; some of you are familiar names from comments you have made either on this website or on Amazon; still others are new names and voices.

What I didn’t expect was that the sum of the communications would feel like a community. Even though the connections are loose, they are real. There are people who have lived through Katrina, people who run visionary communities in upstate New York, people who sit at desks all day and keep their private lives and hopes to themselves, people who teach, people who heal, people who are just starting out in life and people who are trying to find the narrative thread to a life that has been fully lived, if not always in the manner that had been expected.

I’m at a loss to articulate the feeling of connectedness you have created. I only wish I could connect all of you with each other. There is no doubt in my mind that you are an exceptional group of caring, thoughtful, reflective human beings who want to make a difference, but are not blinded by ideology or false visions of our own importance. It is a rare group, indeed.

What this does to and for me is make me realize that I am writing to a community. I believe I have underestimated that. Your contacts and heartfelt comments have redirected me. I no longer feel like I’m writing to an abstraction or a void. That should help me be clearer and more confident in speaking my mind and heart.

And I will. It may not be a daily occurrence, or even a weekly communique. But you have touched me, and I won’t forget it. Together, we move onward, with faith and courage, through the fog, looking always for the moment of light.

Thank you all. And keep those cards and letters coming.

17 thoughts on “What a gift and what a surprise”

  1. Ken, Please keep on with your blog, no matter how infrequent. I, for one, am always pleasantly surprised when I see a note in my inbox that you have made an entry. I know that a piece of wisdom is awaiting me, “a moment of light,” that shines like a beacon on the topic at hand. Thanks for those moments…Gwen

  2. thank you….you are a bright, soothing light in a often times dreary world…you keep me going and give me hope….

  3. Nerb:
    No amount of words can thoroughly explain how much better off I am for having gotten to know you way back when – you touch the lives of everyone who either reads your work or has the chance to get to meet and get to know you…
    keep it up – we’re always listening…

  4. Thank you, Kent. I had begun a response to your request yesterday afternoon, but was interrupted when my teenaged son called to say he’d been in a bad car accident (all will be okay in the big scheme of things). After we got home from the emergency room yesterday and things calmed down a bit, I reached for one of your books to help soothe my own spirit. Your writing does that for me, whether it’s in a published work, or reading your thoughts in your blog. I work in a crisis shelter for victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, so I truly appreciate that on a regular basis! Whether you’re writing about an appreciation of nature in all its glory, or writing in concern about the forgotten survivors of Katrina and the war, I find something that brings me a stronger feeling of purpose and appreciation in my life. Thank you for sharing of yourself with all of us, for letting us in on some of your insights and thought processes – even though we may not all be on the same page with you all of the time. Through your writing, you do bring this community of readers together.

  5. Thank you for these wonderful words to all of us. I love that feeling of community…something everyone yearns for. Your response was thoughtful and kind and so encouraging…particularly coming from someone I admire and value so much…your words were a tremendous boost and really helped me to feel genuinely connected to the myriad of voices listening in. Thanks for the loveliness today!

  6. I beleive it was 2 years ago when my mother-in-law gave me a book written by you. I had never heard of you at that time but she thought, for whatever reason, that I would enjoy the book. That book was “Neither Wolf Nor Dog.” I was so captivated by the story and immensely wrapped up in the characters, that by the next afternoon I was finished with the book.

    I have since read the book again and also could not wait for the release of “Chief Joseph….” I bought it immediately and to my delight, the same results. Although, it did take another day or two to finish that book.

    I am grateful for your stories because, you see, I am not much of a reader because it is hard for me to find a subject that I can get interested in and quite frankly I don’t like to read.

    I have written you an email in the past and asked for your opinion on other authors who write about the subjects that you write about and you have responded promptly with suggestions.

    You, Kent Nerburn, are a great gift and I thank you.

  7. Kent, if I can address you so, We’ve never met but I look forward to and read your posts. Sometimes not right away due to time and/or tasks … but, eventually I do.

    I’ve through Minnesota several times … headed to the West Coast for a relatives visit and , on the return, VERY life impacting ways while visiting Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Yankton reservations … other times on my way through to canoeing/camping destinations in Minnesota (BWCA)and Ontario (Quetico). I pine to return to its serenity and its power as it reminds me of my humility and awe.

    This is also how I feel about reading your books and blog entries … return to a connectedness I seldom find these days, both with you and “the community”. I sometimes think about starting a blog, but I think/imagine better than I write. Thank you for being MY written voice … and offering thought provoking questions, experiences and comments.

    So please continue writing/blogging regardless of how much or how often. I energize myself on reading “Chief Joseph …” (and the blogologue as you wrote it) and “Neither Wolf … “. I try to have that move me to ACTION as I am able and CHOOSE.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have questions much like those you had about “running dogs” … maybe I’ll pass them along sometime as they occur.

    Here’s hoping our physical paths cross some time.

    Justice and Peace,


  8. What a wonderful entry – and I must say you seem to be a rare and wonderful person yourself. I am presently enjoying 2 of your books and find they are great material for reflection and so very much like what I am working in. We ARE one big community after all and I look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

    Right now we are in the midst of a spring snowstorm. All is calm, all is bright outside my window tonight. Blessings to you and yours and all who pass this way. Peace, claudia

  9. Mainly concerning Wade but anyone else who wants to read, I do find Nerburn’s words interesting and somewhat inspiring, and as I read Neither Wolf Nor Dog, I kind of got into it until I learned that it was actually a collaboration of a bunch of different people and their stories and the trip never happened and things never really actually took place. I would have found it just as rewarding to read if in the forward or something this was mentioned. A crafty part of chapter one could be viewed very literally and seen as justification, however it strangly reminds me of the scandal revolving around A Million Little Pieces. I find connection with Nerburn’s words, but if he can manipulate deception for his own means it kind of lowers my thoughts of him and his work in my mind.

  10. You inspire me to slow down and pay attention to the loved ones in my life that too often are set aside for the outsiders that demand so much attention. Thank you for sharing your glimpses into the quiet life.

  11. Thanks for this great essay…I stumbled across your site, and I think that your advise works for everyone, young at art or not! I especially loved the part about understanding what music has to do with your art.

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