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Stephen McGuire

Stephen McGuire
Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, US
March 13
Philosopher, Writer, Child of Appalachia
I am not a troublemaker, honest I'm not. But I don't mind rocking the boat a little, when it gets stuck. I've read philosophy most all of my life since I was first introduced to the work of Wittgenstein. Since then it's been Spinoza, Russell, Leibnitz and a really interesting guy named James P. Carse. I don't always agree with what I read, but read it anyway, 'cause it's good to consider other people's views on important things. As long as they present it logically and sensibly. I'm a writer and a teacher, too. I lived in the Middle East for a couple of years, voluntarily, as an English teacher. What I didn't know and what we don't know about Islam and the Muslim people should shame us into silence. But most of all I am a child of Appalachia. I'm an eastern Kentuckian, and my non-native friends tell me I sound like it too. They also say it's a good thing my writing doesn't have an accent. I worry about Appalachia. The region has been exploited by so many for so long, and it always costs the people there some of their dignity and life. We've been fighting Mountain Top Removal there for thirty years, and yet it continues. The cancer rates are off the charts, the poisonings shocking. The mountain streams are under the debris left from removing the mountain tops, and no one seems to care about that. Wildlife dies every day, streams are poisoned every day, and Washington goes on, Sarah Palin goes on as if nothing untoward happened. We have our own genocide going on right here in America, and few outside of the region even know about it. Do you think that if they took the tops off the Rocky Mountains anyone would care about that? I'm not a troublemaker, really. Just rockin' the boat a little.

JULY 25, 2012 1:27PM

Out of My Body, Out of My Mind

(From "Skinning Your Knees on God," manuscript in progress)

I couldn’t move my head. Such a simple thing, moving it to the left or to the right. But I couldn’t, even with the elbow coming straight at my face.

Football practice. High school. A night like a hundredRead full post »

A nation that continues year after year
to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift
is approaching spiritual doom.


The above quote put me in mind of something that has and will continue to be even more fervently discussed, parsed, debated,Read full post »

The night was one of those autumn nights that is cool enough for a jacket or sweater, but not so cold as to render a person incapable of walking leisurely home after a football game. There was just that scent of seasons about to change, leaves falling and dry enough toRead full post »




The corn don’t grow so good around the edges, so this year, I ain’t planting any edges. Eighty-year-old Connecticut farmer, as reported by Mark Winne, 2008



Let us suppose, for a moment, that we are apples. Of course, we could just asRead full post »

Home, Vulnerability, and a Spiritual Journey

Part 1


So. I am home now from the hospital, after nearly a month of being confined there after a stroke on May 28. I wrote about that in a blog I posted last week, and which I actually wroteRead full post »

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.

---------“On Living”  Nazim Hikmet, 1948


     I waRead full post »

JANUARY 20, 2010 11:56AM

A Kentucky Miracle

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) defines Appalachian counties and states in socioeconomic terms. In total, there are in Appalachia 420 counties, of which 84 are in the “Economically Distressed” category. These counties have three-year average unemployment rates at least one and aRead full post »

JANUARY 15, 2010 8:47AM

We Are The Mountains God Made For Us

We are the people of the mountains.

     Though our ways and talking

      may seem strange to you,

      they are our ways, and in that

      we take pride.


We are the people of the mountainsRead full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2009 6:39AM


Pick a number at random. Any number will do.

So you pick a number, say, 6,487. What do I know?

Well, I can tell you that the number wasn’t chosen at random. It is impossible to choose a number at random, except by a random number generator.Read full post »

NOVEMBER 12, 2009 9:39PM

In Nature, There is No Status Quo

Since this time yesterday, I’ve traveled 3 million miles. So have you, more or less.

I’ve never been in the same place twice. Neither have you. Neither has anyone who’s ever lived.

In nature, there is no status quo.

The Earth we live on rotates on itsRead full post »

Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.


  log cabin

Her fingers were stiff with rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatiz, the adults called it back then. I watched her moving the needle in and out of the fabric, like her fingersRead full post »

OCTOBER 11, 2009 9:00AM

Going Home: A Love Story

The day after Thanksgiving in 1969 was a remarkable day. Star Trek was still an original series then. That summer we had gone to the moon. Richard Nixon was president, and Vietnam was in full swing. I was a senior in high school, trying to figure out where to go toRead full post »

As some of you are aware, I am presently engaged, among other things, in writing a novel about the consequences and devastation of coal mining in the southern Appalachians. I have known for a long time that fiction is a powerful tool for telling the truthRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 27, 2009 6:37AM

Standing Firm, Walking Far



One who stands on tiptoe cannot stand firmly.
One who strides cannot walk far.
One who flaunts himself is not illumined.
One who insists that he is right is self-righteous.
One who boasts of his accomplishments undoes his merit.
One who takes pride in himself impedes his own growth.
Tao Te C… Read full post »

To stunt the body and dull the brains of boys in breakers is to rob them of the mental equipment which is essential to enhance their social worth and enable them to adjust themselves to the requirements of modern life. The  Ohio State University Department of History Historical Document &nb… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 2:32AM

September 11, 2001: A Memory of Muslim Tears

September 11, 2001: A Memory of Muslim Tears

flag turkish
Turkish National Flag
September 11, 2001 was just another ordinary day for me, relatively speaking. I was then living in Istanbul, Turkey, and was an English teacher in a private Turkish high school there. I had finished my classes…

Read full post »


If any one here loves me, she has my sincere thanks. Nay, if any one here is so good as to love me--why, I'll be a brother to her. She shall have my sincere, warm, unsullied affection. When I was coming up in the car with the very kind youngRead full post »

Whoever takes the empire and wishes to do anything to it I see will have no respite.
The empire is a sacred vessel and nothing should be done to it.
Whoever does anything to it will ruin it;
whoever lays hold of it will lose it.

Hence some things lead and some follow;
Some breathe gently
Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 11:02AM

When an Old Friend Puts on the Tin Foil

Facebook has developed a somewhat odious reputation of late, but for me it’s a good thing. I can keep up with my 82 year old Mom there, one of my sisters, both my daughters, cousins, nieces and nephews, and old friends from my childhood. That is the extent of my participation… Read full post »

Stephen’s Wet-Your-Knickers Mountain Vinegar Pie

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown, (owie!)
And Jill came tumbling after.

Then up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper;
To Old Dame Dob who patched his nob
With vinegar (didn&rsquo

Read full post »
AUGUST 30, 2009 5:33AM

Living, Loving, Fear and Dying

Living, Loving, Fear and Dying

There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad Humanity may assume the semblance of a Hell -- but the imagination of man is no Carathis, to explore with impunity its every cavern. Alas! the grim legion ofRead full post »
AUGUST 27, 2009 5:23PM

Finding My Inner Tree


Finding My Inner Tree


I've decided to do it. Really do it.

Those of you who know me here know that I write a lot about the plight of Appalachian Mountain people and their ongoing struggleRead full post »


Foodie Tuesday: Stephen's Hot Damn Great Southern BLT


Some of you know that I grew up in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, which is east of Lexington and right at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. This sweet little burg was founded in 1792, and was originally called LittleRead full post »

AUGUST 23, 2009 10:12AM

I'm Hungry. Care to Join Me for Dinner?


I'm Hungry. Care to Join Me for Dinner?


I love good food. It not only nourishes and comforts, it tastes good and has qualities of fine art, which I was taught to appreciate at a young age by a mother who cared that herRead full post »


This post is the last in this series of four pieces concerning the Tampa Energy Company, or TECO, as it is better-known. Of course, if and when I have more information, I'll write about it again. I do very much want to thank Rod Emmons, who has been helpful inRead full post »