Gretel Ehrlich Essays

At five o’clock one threatening afternoon barely two years ago, Gretel Ehrlich was struck by lighting.Of this event that profoundly and permanently altered her life she writes: “Before electricity carved its blue path toward me, before the negative charge shot down from cloud to ground, before ‘streamers’ jumped the positive charge back up from the ground to cloud, before air expanded and contracted producing loud pressure pulses I could not hear because I was already dead, I had been walking.”“A Match to the Heart” is the affecting, gorgeously written chronicle of Ehrlich’s subsequent struggle toward, if not recovery, at least balance.On one occasion, she “watched a slivered moon move west, its back hunched to the winter sun.” On another, “Purple changed to blue dappled with pink: the water was a shield, reflecting what was above, below, inside each wave. Where kelp beds floated, the sea was bright like ice.

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The National Endowment for the Humanities has twice recognized the importance of Ehrlich’s work in both a creative writing fellowship award and a humanities grant.

Besides her books and film work, Ehrlich has also published poems, screen plays, and numerous magazine articles.

My reading copy of “A Match to the Heart” is marked with almost as many turned down corners as it has pages, with countless underlinings and notes.

A passage or two I’ve committed to memory, for both the pleasure and the instruction in the creation of fine descriptive literature it provides. When Gretel Ehrlich looks out on the Pacific, for instance, she doesn’t just see waves.

Apse comes from apsis, whose roots mean, to loop, wheel, arch, orbit, fasten, or copulate, and the apse of a church is a place of honor. ”“There are about 1,800 thunderstorms in progress over the earth every moment,” we learn, “and lightning hits the planet one hundred times each second.

The synapse is the gap where nothing and everything happens. In the continental United States alone, there are forty million cloud-to-ground strikes each year.” One of them, by pure chance, hit Gretel Ehrlich and changed her life forever.Return to the Table of Contents The collection is organized by book titles and by types of materials such as correspondence, book reviews, project files, research materials, resumés, business and financial materials, journals, and audio visual material. Researchers wishing to view the original films are urged to make an appointment prior to coming to the archive. Copy requests in excess of 5 pages must be approved by the donor or her representative.Word documents on computer disks were printed by the SWC/SC Library staff and disks were retained. Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by U. Return to the Table of Contents Gretel Ehrlich Papers, 1923-2005 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas Collection accession #(s): 2005-0056-X Purchase, 2005 Michelle Roberts, Bonnie Hanson, Jamie Wormsbaker, Dr. Return to the Table of Contents Heart Mountain, “Heinman: Ht. British edition,” correspondence, cover art, catalogs, contract (Heinemann); correspondence from Phenomenon Productions and Mandarin (publisher) (some items removed for flat storage), 1988-1989 and undated Heart Mountain, Film proposal, “Bob’s outline”; outline, 5 p., undated; outline, 12 p.I existed but I didn’t know how"--a gap in her knowledge she aims at least partially to rectify. “An intake of breath is not just oxygen, a pulse is not just the rush of blood but also the taking in of divinity through an orifice, and as it moves through, it becomes a spark.Witnessing open-heart surgery to better grasp the mystery of the organ she sought to heal in herself, Ehrlich says: “I was a traveler, a Marco Polo who had arrived in a place so exotic, few had seen it before. To be inspired is to have accepted spirit in the lungs and heart, to watch it circulate through miles of blood vessels and capillaries whose tiny fenestrations allow oxygen, nutrients, and grace to leak into the tissues of muscle and consciousness, then be taken up again, reoxygenated, and returned.” Turning her attention to the brain, she declares: “The synapse is holy. Is it like unrequited love, or a lover who is spirit only, who has no body?Bodies of thoughts swim in the synaptic lake, sliding over receptors, reaching for the ones that live on the other shore. where we pause between life and death, treading water in the oblivion of a gray sea. In response, she produced “A Match to the Heart"--a dazzling work of art--and so changes ours.An interval of between 0.5 and 1 millisecond transpires before an impulse makes its way across the gap . For a moment the wave is a mirror image of underwater contours.”“A Match to the Heart” similarly echoes the very essence of the elements it records: water, the fire of lighting, the sturdy utility of Wyoming earth, the blissful dynamic of air.It also poses answers to that most personal of questions: Who am I?But to a set of waves journeying across the Pacific, the sea is the central body into which the lithosphere rudely bumps.The life of a wave ends at the edge of the continent where water becomes shallow.


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