Friday, February 15, 2008

Is Creativity the Answer?

by Hannah Rees

My heart is aching for all the senseless killings
that go on all over the world. Yesterday was
supposed to be a day celebrating love – the respect
and cherishing of one human being for another - yet
someone thought it would be impressive to re-create
the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and walked into a
lecture hall at Northern Illinois University – the
same university our daughter attended a few years
ago – and shot 6 students attending the lecture,
before shooting himself.

A few weeks ago 5 shoppers were shot down in front
of a Lane Bryant store in Chicago. We read of
suicide bombers and missile attacks all over the

As we bask in the aloha – the celebration of the
breath of life here on Kauai – I am saddened by
these news reports and by the anguish that must
reside in the killer's heart for his/her life to be
filled with the wish to destroy.

I have read that “creativity is the antithesis of
destruction” and I''m wondering if our consuming
world has negated the basic joy of creativity. We
are encouraged to opt for any ready-made product
instead of making anything ourselves. Our children
are often taught to be entertained, to play games,
to win, to use and to waste. And when the budget
gets tight, what do our schools eliminate from the
curriculum first - the art and music program! Of
course there are exceptions, but overall the
classroom is thought to be a stepping stone to
earning money to buy things. Things do not provide
one with the joy of self discovery found through the
process of creating.

Creating takes time and intention. Relationships
need both time and intention to develop, just as the
building of a house, planting a garden, keeping a
pet, cooking a meal or writing of a poem. Creativity
requires a person to invest of himself, his ideas,
his dreams. I wonder if more energy were used in
creating, perhaps the dissatisfaction that leads to
suicide and the destructive killing that is
encompassing our world would lessen.

One can only hope.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jungle Jam

by SistaG

Remember me?
I live here in Haena
under a tree
where I like to spend a
day at the beach
so I'm gonna send a
fax or an e
to get you here with me!

I have a little place
in Hanalei
a river runs thru
we could spend the day
walking thru the jungle
careful not to tumble
in the hila hila
I just wanna steal ya!

Come spend the day, baby
come spend the day
You'll love the jungle
you'll love the bay

Come spend the day, baby
into the night
Then in the morning
ahm onna take you chicken fight!

Take me down the coast
we'll sail to Wainiha
Park our little boat
out on the sand bar
build a little fire
pretend we're castaways
tell me what you require
to be led astray!

Come spend the day, baby
come spend the day
You'll love the jungle
you'll love the bay

come spend the day, baby
into the night
I'll feed you mangoes
you'll love every bite!

And then I'll dance the hula
and you'll dream the kama sutra. . .

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Biggest Cockroach in the History of the Universe

by Brian Doyle

Lives in a house on the north shore of the island of Kauai,
The one island never conquered by the old Hawaiian kings,
And you can see why, if there were insects the size of cars,
Which there are, and there are stories of roaches who tried
To catch and eat Hawaiian monk seals, and of even larger
Roaches who banded together to try to conquer Honolulu,
And of one roach, this was a heroic and mountainous one,
Who flagged down a truck and ejected the terrified driver
And tried to digest the truck, which is a phrase you never
Hardly hear, and there are still stories, and I believe them,
Of roaches who occasionally get such a yen for cable TV
That they break into houses and overdose on NBA games
And are found days later staggering around in the forests
Muttering about assist-to-turnover ratio and similar stuff,
But a story like that you have to take with a grain of salt.
Anyway the biggest cockroach in the history of roaches,
Periplaneta Americana is his name, lives in Hanalei Bay,
Right near Michael Crichton, who is the famous novelist,
But the people of Hanalei, they misdirect you on purpose
If you ask for where either of their most famous residents
Live, and you can understand that, it’s a form of affection
And respect really, so the thing is, when I tell you that the
Biggest cockroach in the history of the universe, an insect
Big enough to have its own area code and zoning precinct,
Big enough to change the weather, bigger even than Oprah,
Lives on the north shore of Kauai, well – don’t tell anyone.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Note on the Birds of Hawaii

by Brian Doyle

There is of course the ‘a, the booby with the red feet,
Says a tiny man at the Foodland, to whom I had said
Merely wow, is that a frigatebird over the parking lot?
And then of course there is your ‘akikiki, the creeper,
And ‘i’iwi and ‘o’u’ and nukupu, also honeycreepers,
And pueo, the little owl, and ‘io, the Hawaiian hawk,
And ‘ulili, the little tattler who wanders, and our ‘o’o,
She is the honeyeater, the cousin of the honeycreeper,
And ‘elepaio, the flycatcher, and ‘alala, old man crow,
And huna kai, the sanderling, her name is ocean foam,
And hoio, the shearwater, he lives in caves by the sea,
And ao, she is another shearwater, what a lovely word,
Shearwater, don’t you think? And then uau, the petrel,
And aukuu, the night heron, and koloa, he is our duck,
And of course you know nene, the goose, and ewaewa,
The tern, and kolea, the plover, he comes every winter,
And ukeke, the turnstone, and amaui, that is the thrush,
And the curlew who balances on one leg, she is ‘kioea.
Did you get all that? Are you writing down every thing
I say? Are you a book writer? Do you speak Hawaiian?
Do you want more names of birds? There is the mejiro,
That is the Japanese word for the little bird in the bush,
And piha’ekelo, that is the mynah, he comes from India,
And manumele, the canary, he comes from oversea too,
And shama, the thrush, he comes from elsewhere, India
Also I think, although I am not sure about that, I am not
Very knowledgeable about the birds. My dad, however,
He would tell us stories about birds he loved as a child,
Birds who are no more on any of the islands of Hawaii,
One was the mamo, who drank from flowers like a bee,
And another was a very tiny green one who ate crickets
But who never got a name because no one ever saw her.
That is all I can remember and say about our birds here.
Do you have any other things that I can help you with?
Yes sir, I say. I am curious about a word for this place,
May I ask what is the name for where we are standing?
Why, this is Foodland, he says, and we lose it laughing
And both go in to get whatever it was we came to buy.
By pure chance we cross paths a little later as we leave,
And he says here is one last name for you to remember,
That is ‘iwa, the thief, the frigatebird, and yes, that was
Her over the parking lot a while ago, isn’t she glorious?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Deep in the Heart of a Kauai Winter

It is way too quiet this winter at Kauai Backstory, so we are tossing out a writing prompt: Deep in the heart of a Kauai winter.

Use this as a place to start writing or photographing. Does it conjure up an image? Maybe write a poem, then. Does it conjure up a scene? Write a story, then. Does it make you want to preach about something? Write an essay, then. Or, get out in the blustery weather and take some pictures. Basically, take it and run. Have fun. Then, send it to us. We won't guarantee we'll post everything we receive, but if we like it, if it moves us, if we laugh, cry, scream or sigh, we just may publish it on Kauai Backstory.

We'll accept submissions on this theme through the end of winter--whenever we deem that to be or, more accurately, whenever Mother Nature deems that to be. Please send your submission to

As always, thanks for writing. Thanks for sharing. Be sure to visit often.

Gae, Kim, Pam