PETE BARBOUR'S WORLD
What comes from the heart goes to the heart.
"GUS AT WORK"
an Illustrated Children's Book
I began drawing pictures of Gus and sheep when my wife and I were in our recreational sheep herding phase. I could get him to herd in my illustrations but not on the field. I wrote and illustrated, a children’s book, “Gus at Work”, based on our herding experience with Gus. The story is about the importance of doing your best, even if you aren’t the best. I published “Gus at Work” with CreateSpace, 2016, available on Amazon.
"OSCAR AND GUS"
an Illustrated Children's Book
Gus tries to be a good host to his guest Oscar. Gus copes well with Oscar until its time to go to bed, when Oscar decides to sleep in Gus's bed. Oscar is a big dog with floppy ears and a wild tail. Gus is a soft coated wheaten terrier. "Oscar and Gus" is a story about sharing tolerance and compromise.
Tanya and the Baby Elephant
Tanya is a young girl from Africa, confined to home, bored, and lonely because she can't play with friends due to a new virus. She discovers a baby elephant wandering behind he home and brings her into her backyard to play. Tanya names her Ellie. What fun to have a baby elephant as a pet! Tanya observes that Ellie is sad and realizes that she must miss her mother. Tanya helps return her to her mother.
"WHY BATS LIVE IN CAVES"
My short story, “Why Bats Live in Caves,” appears in "Fur, Feathers, and Scales," an anthology of animal stories, published by the Bethlehem Writers Group. "Why Bats Live in Caves" is an African story adapted by me from a story related to me by Stewart Matsopo, Namibian guide. Here's the link:
GUS ON LIFE
Loving-kindness, Chesed. “Sustain others without the thought of reward.”(Greg Marcus)
“Life is not about every man for himself. To be someone is also to be for the other, and the expression of that virtue is loving-kindness.” (Alan Morinis)
The key to loving kindness
is to not only do acts of kindness but to love doing them – Love kindness, then the acts of kindness will be frequent and natural.
Recognize what is within your power to change and what is not. Practice patience with both. Remember, “This too shall pass, and you have the strength to get by until it does.”
Ask yourself, does the watched pot ever boil? Eventually, of course, it does.
In the study of Mussar, Bitachon more specifically means trust in God. Although we may disagree on how God acts in our lives, Alan Morinis, "Everyday Holiness," suggests, that it is a wise person who internalizes an accurate sense of his or her own limitations and, to the extent they can, channel their burden of anxiety by trusting in God.
“Trust in God but tie your camel.” (Greg Marcus, variation on an Islamic theme.)
Maintaining the inner calm of the soul. Afloat on the sea of life, riding the waves, neither too high nor too low, avoid getting swept away.
Honor is finding the balance between too little, judgmental/rude, and too much, flattery/obsequiousness. With humility we strive to take up the right amount of space. Honor focuses on giving others their due. Sometimes by giving acknowledgement, even just saying hello, is enough to show honor. Recognize the humanity in others.
Order, Seder, is how you put structure into your life, just like the Passover Seder. Too little order and you have chaos, too much and you may be smothered by obsessions (Greg Marcus). What is the balance, and how might you achieve it?
Silence is golden, and speech is silver. While you speak, you may not hear, so you should only speak when you have something meaningful to say; otherwise, you should always listen. That is a good way to learn.
Gratitude, Hakarat Ha’Tov, recognizing the good. That is mostly easy. The trick is appreciating good when things are bad and recognizing the opportunity it affords to make change. Show gratitude for what you have and to the people in your life every day.
Emet, truth is complicated, Truth is not always black or white but is somewhere in-between. The Torah says, “be distant from falsehood.” It is much easier to distance oneself from falsehood than to strive for a shifting and complex canopy of truth. (Greg Marcus) Is truth a perception with the potential for change? What is true today may be false tomorrow.
I published my first work, Loose Ends, in 1987, and saw several of my short stories in print through the 1990s. "The Fate of Dickie Paponovitch" was chosen as Raconteur of the Month, May 1994, Susan Carroll Publishing. I took a break from trying to get my stories published until I retired in 2014. I started to work on getting my stories published again. The stories, many accessible online, are listed below.
I like to read and enjoy deconstructing stories to see how they are put together. I grew up loving the Wizard of Oz series, and dutifully read each book in the series to my children. I enjoy well-constructed stories that are told so that they come alive. I’m married, lived in Allentown, PA, until the recent Covid pandemic, when we decided it was time to move to Oregon to be closer to children and grandchildren. My wife and I love to travel, giving me a rich experience from which to write. I have five grandchildren. They serve as my inspiration and test audience for Gus and stories aimed at them.
I'm a member of the Bethlehem Writers Group. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with, BA in Biology, Temple University Medical School, MD, and Stanford University School of Medicine, Neurology Residency.
I believe that what comes from the heart goes to the heart.
The heartbreak and love that can bring families together and tear them apart. Joseph is lucky. He is blessed with a strong , supportive wife who is able to help him heal old childhood wounds and ultimately confront years of anger and resentment. With her help , Joseph is able to tie up the loose ends of his life and move on.
Loose Ends is written in the form of a memoir, told from the first person point of view. Available on Amazon.
LUKE AND DUKE
THINGS CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE
THE ALMOST ENDLESS SUMMER
WHOSE RIGHT TO DIE
HEAVEN'S DEVILS: PARTY NIGHT
ON A SUMMER'S DAY
THE FATE OF DICKIE PAPONOVITCH
"OUT ON A LEDGE"
"THE FAIRY RING"
"SHIPWRECKED AT SEA"
A MAN NAMED HAPPINESS
OTHER SHORT STORIES NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE IN PRINT OR ON THE WEB.
"Things Can Always Get Worse" Being 4:4; 9-10 1992.
“Big Rock”. Raconteur 1: 9-13, 11/93.
“Luke And Duke”, Raconteur. 1995; 2: 27-29.
“Henrietta And Lucinda”, Raconteur. 1995; 5: 5-8.
"The Fate of Dickie Paponovitch" Raconteur 1:10, 1994; 21-27.
“Fishing with Nick”, shortbreadstories.co.uk, 2015
“Dad Stories”, shortbreadstories.co.uk, 2015
“Earl’s Lake, Home to the Big Bass”, shortbreadstories, 2015
“How to Brighten the Night”, Short-Story.me, 2015
"Henry Smith's Seasonings", Artpost Magazine, September 1, 2018
HENRIETTA AND LUCINDA
The Starlit Path Magazine, Summer, 2019, page 52
THE GUARDIAN OF THE WELL
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS:
"The Journey" is an adventure-fantasy novel for middle school-aged children. It is allegorical, based on soul traits taken from the study of Mussar, Jewish mindfulness. Three boys set out on a journey that is a rite of passage predicated on finding keys that will allow them to return home. As the story unfolds, they discover that each key is a virtue.
The story is set in a rural village in the Pacific Northwest,150 years ago, where it is a custom is to send the 17-year-old children into the wilderness as a rite of passage. Hank reluctantly agrees to go. His younger brother, Ben, and cousin, Wes, join him. They must find the keys that will allow them to return and make them eligible to become leaders in their community. The boys struggle through adversities and meet people like Messyman, who lives in complete disorder in the clouds, and a man named Happiness, who lives alone inside a tree but always knows where to find joy. They meet a man named Have-Little, find Too-Much, and eventually discover Enough, who teaches them the difference between wants and needs. In their travels, the trio encounters many more adventures before returning home.
The adventures cover mindfulness virtues such as humility, simplicity, silence, patience, compassion, truth, faith, honor, equanimity, and happiness. Mindfulness is a popular topic on social media with many websites on the Internet. Prior to the pandemic, schools had instituted Character Day, a time set aside to learn about the themes emphasized in my story.
My interest in ethics evolved from the study of Mussar, Jewish mindfulness. Through its emphasis on practice, it is a guide to becoming a better human being. I wrote short stories illustrating those virtues and enjoyed reading them to a local middle school and adult groups interested in the mindfulness themes. Currently, I lead a Mussar group in its seventh year.