Tuesday, April 26, 2011


People are always trying to make Tim Barrus, my co-writer, prove who he is and some people seem to think I AM Tim Barrus.  In the early days of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, a joker claimed I was two gay guys who lived in a straw bale house on the Rocky Mountain front and guided big game hunters for a living.  More recently Extra Help for Medicare sent me a questionnaire which I was supposed to correct rather than fill in.  They had already filled in most of the answers via Google, which has the idea that two people are living in this house.  They are wrong.  If they are counting humans, there is only me.  If they are counting cats, there are three of us.
In self-defense this is a time-line.

I was born in 1939 and grew up in Portland, Oregon.
My neighborhood grade school was Vernon and my high school was Jefferson, where I graduated in 1957.
From 1957 to 1961 I attended Northwestern University, graduating with a BS in speech education which was mostly in theatre.  I was the costumer at Eaglesmere Summer Theatre in Pennsylvania in 1960.
From 1961 to 1966, and 1971 to 1973, I taught high school English in Browning, Montana, which is the capital of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.
From 1962 to 1973, I partnered with Bob Scriver, a legendary Western sculptor (b. 1914), and we were married between 1966 and 1970.
From 1973 to 1978 I was the first female animal control officer in Portland, Oregon, working in the streets as well as designing the first education program there.
From 1978 to 1982 I was double-enrolled at Meadville/Lombard Theological School and the University of Chicago Divinity School with the goal of a Doctor of Ministry from M/L, including an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, which I completed in 1980.  My method emphasis was in anthropology.  My Clinical Pastoral Education was in Rockford Memorial Hospital, Illinois, during the summer of 1979.  My internship was in Hartford, Connecticut, Unitarian Universalist Church in 1980-81.  I was accepted into Preliminary Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1981.  In the year 1981-82, while I worked on my thesis, I was a transcriptionist at the University of Chicago Law School.
From 1982 - 85 I was back in Montana where I served four small Unitarian-Universalist congregations: Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls and Helena, while living as a circuit-rider in an old F150 Ford cargo van.

I was ordained in 1983 on the stage of the Grand Street Theatre in Helena, which was originally built as a Unitarian church.  In 1984 I accepted a Master of Divinity degree from Meadville/Lombard in lieu of the original D. Min.  This excused me from finishing my thesis, which I’m now completing as a book on the poetics of liturgy.

In 1985-86 I served as interim minister for Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirkland, Washington.
In 1987 I was granted Final Fellowship with the UUA.  From 1986-88 I served the Saskatoon Unitarian congregation in Saskatchewan.  The Edmonton Unitarian Church published a book of my prairie sermons called “Sweetgrass and Cottonwood Smoke.”  The last copies are available through Driftwillow Press in Great Falls.
In 1988-89 I served as an interim to the Blackfeet Methodist Parish which includes Browning, Babb and Heart Butte.  I lived in the Methodist parsonage and supplemented my income as a study hall aide at the Browning Junior High School.
From 1989 to 91 I developed and taught the English program for the new Heart Butte High School.
From 1991 to 1999 I worked for the City of Portland, Bureau of Buildings, as a clerical specialist.
From 1999 to the present I have lived in Valier, Montana, a village on the edge of the Blackfeet Reservation.  My biography of Bob Scriver,  “Bronze Inside and Out,”  was published by the University of Calgary Press in 2006.  Since about that time I have written a daily blog at www.prairiemary.blogspot.com.  I maintain several other blogs which are closed except for a small group. www.scriverart.blogspot.com  is about Bob Scriver.
Since 2007 I have maintained a co-writing long-distance relationship with Timothy Patrick Barrus: author, editor, performance artist, teacher.  Our manuscript “Orpheus in the Catacombs” -- journaled accounts of Cinematheque Films between 2007 and 2010 with added comments by myself -- is circulating among publishers.  A second manuscript of poetry by Barrus, edited by myself, “Fingerprints on the Iris of the Eye,” is also being considered by publishers.  A blog that comments on “Orpheus in the Catacombs” and the Cinematheque Films school  is at www.orpheus-catacombs.blogspot.com.  Barrus has his own array of vlogs (they include video).
I self-publish at www.lulu.com/prairiemary, mostly Blackfeet resources.  Lulu has rather high-handedly posted some of these books on Amazon.  (They sent me a message saying that if I objected, they wouldn’t, otherwise they would.  This is called “nudging,” that is, the default is their way.   I didn’t object.)
My subjects are my life but what doesn’t show here is major reading in natural history and Native American writing.  The internet has made is easier for me to escape the confines of “Montana writers,” so as to be a grasslands writer with special emphasis on the North American plains in two nations.  If you look at the map on my prairiemary blog, you’ll find readers are worldwide, with usually over a thousand hits a week.  I often blog about sex, which always helps the numbers.
I’m am continuing to work on the “theological systematic” started in seminary.  By now I’ve begun calling it a “theoryology” since one can’t have a theology without a theos and I do not have a concept of theos except that there isn’t one, unless one uses the classic definition of “that than which nothing can be greater.”  I blend process theology with story theology with narrative theory with brain function theory to explore the idea of a web of life, non-anthropological and non-anthropocentric, accepting of particle physics, the genome, evolution beginning with the original Big Bang, and the redefinition of entities into dynamic forces, so that the ultimate consolation is not eternal life as individuals but rather a mystical inclusion in everything  -- which no human mind can grasp except with the senses in the moment.
If you think this information tells you who I am, you’re wrong.  Ask Tim Barrus.

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