From childhood, Ted Merrill has harbored and cultivated his deep fascination with life and living things. As early as eighth grade, he was reading about and discussing medicine with the only doctor in his home town of 400 people. That subject comprises the third of 65 broadly chronological stories in "I Only Dress the Wounds".
In 1948, Ted received his degree in medicine from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. His next 50 years were divided between rural general practice and hospital-based emergency medicine. In mid-career, he left medicine for two years to teach biology at Vermont's Goddard College.
Robin Dutcher, a freelance editor who assisted with the book, has this to say about "I Only Dress the Wounds":
"This book is written by a gifted storyteller, and at times it is lyrical and poetic. The doctoring the book describes seems indeed an art, a way of being in the world, of experiencing life. It shows a deep respect for human dignity, and pictures a way of living medicine that seems increasingly rare and that unfortunately is not encouraged by modern society."
Click here for excerpts from "I Only Dress the Wounds".
Many years ago, Ted and Bill Merrill both told bedtime stories that were lovingly referred to by their children as "exciting adventures from Dad's childhood." Eventually Ted and Bill began exchanging these stories, helping each other firm up and flesh out their memories of those "exciting adventures." This 10-year, on-and-off collaboration resulted in the publication of River Runts, which is now in its third printing.
This is an engaging and unique memoir, told with a wry wit by two brothers now in their eighties. Living in a small Idaho town, their schoolteacher father had summers free, and these stories tell of the authors' growing up years, camping and fishing on Idaho's Wood River and Salmon River for two to three months each summer.
The book paints a picture of a close and functional family, and touches on parenting, history, and society. It appears on the surface as isolated vignettes of treasured places and events, but on a deeper level it shows an orderly progression of lessons learned and skills gained, of culture and values being passed onand the passing of an era on our planet.
Click here for excerpts from "River Runts".
The Wisdom of the Tools is a remarkable critique of the central issue of our time: who controls the energy that powers modern urban-industrial societies?
Conceived and written in the 1960s, when Bill Merrill was in his forties, this treatise draws on his living close to nature as a boy and observing and understanding natural processes in the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. He spells out an unprecedented transformation in the 20th century, from humans connected to the land and to each other to a population separated from nature and wrapped increasingly in machine-space.
Moreover, Merrill foretells accurately the arrival and tyranny of a corporate-military alliance that has enveloped America. The grip this alliance holds on people, and its complexity, inhibit rational thought about our collective plight. Unbridled, it threatens all life on the planet.
Click here for excerpts from "Wisdom of the Tools".
"Woodspurge," a collection of poems by Jo Merrill, is striking for its qualities of verbal imagination, wit, auditory playfulness, and love for language. This collection is powerful, sharply attentive to the details of the world, and bold in its metaphysical energy. The richness of metaphors in "Woodspurge" shows Jo's urgent need to connect with the mysteries at the heart of things; surely we must appreciate a poet who asks us "how to weigh the weather."
The book received Honorable Mention in the Writers' Digest 11th annual International Self-Published Book Awards in 2004.
Click here for excerpts from "Woodspurge".
A remarkably diverse collection, from a 2-line critique of the laws of the solar system to reflections on light, love, darkness and light, language and remembering, a horseshoe, and the meanings and doings of God. "Great for a straight-through read or selective revisiting.
"At his best, along with Thomas Merton, Leonard Cohen, and Margaret Avison, Tim Merrill proves that God is a singular complexity, as is his own life. Through these lyrics, observances, resolutions, derived from human and divine encounters, or with the 'rodent in the cage' of his mind (page 30), he arrives at a hard-earned simplicity of acceptance. Often in the long slog with God, the heavy experience is taken off their back and his poems, his love and his people 'move all over the planet, lightly, honouring each otherís light.' The poems can also linger with the lyrical longing of a good song, listened to in a garden 'sparse in fruition, no green thumb there,' he claims, but there is."
George McWhirter, Poet Laureate for Vancouver
Click here for excerpts from "A Quiet Calling".
From the time she was a very young woman, Valerie Stein has found comfort and vision in writing. Journaling and writing songs and poetry have long been part of her creative nature. Valerie was 21 when her mother was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, an untreatable condition of the heart. Writing became solace through this time, during which Valerie and her sister, Kathie, helped take care of their mother and the small family farm on which they lived.
Using journal entries and other writings from the time surrounding her mother's illness and subsequent death from heart disease, Valerie tells the story of a family coping with terminal illness. What shines through is the determination to seek joy in a time of utter darkness. This book was begun 6 months after Betsy Merrill died in 1983. More than 25 years later, at its completion, its message is still vital for families facing the loss of a loved one. Its heartfelt message, ultimately, is one of hope and courage.
"We hoped that we might give our mother all the love and support she so richly deserved. We hoped for wellness in her spirit. We could no longer bring ourselves to hope for the healing of her body."
Born the youngest of five siblings in Oregon's John Day Valley, the author grew up amid sagebrush and rocky crags. Long married to her college sweetheart, with one daughter now in college, Stein has spent more than half her life teaching a range of students a variety of topics, from weaving and felt-making to library skills. She lives with her husband in Edmonds, Washington.
Click here for excerpts from "The Best Of It".