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  • "We need to have real conversations about real things
    you and I, things that matter, things that will change our lives forever.

    "I want to know the real you. Who are you? Why are you here?
    Let's love with fierce clarity, with purpose that subsumes the universe.

    "We can do this, we can, but we need to open our souls in love
    and love as though nothing else matters. Our time is now.

    "just stop and breath in the holy fire. Get still. Listen
    Watch the slow flight of snow geese. Tell me your story."

    By Alex Noble, final Cowbird Story, Nov. 2, 2015
    "Aren’t there times when you want to be far away from all this?
    "When you want to take a long drive in an unknown country?

    "And times when you look around
    "And want to live beyond the gardens of good and evil?

    "There is a place of peace for you to which you must return
    "There is a power of good which will always sustain you,

    "You are here to follow the path of least resistance
    "And live in joyful flow, a liberated life.

    "I want wide deserts and pine forests in moonlight.
    "I want you to love me."

    By Alex Noble, penultimate Cowbird Story, Nov. 1, 2015
  • I've been reading back through some of Alex Noble's last stories posted here on Cowbird, including the very last two, which I've included above. This story is also sprouted from her last story.

    Alex was one of my fellow regular posters of stories here on Cowbird, from the time I joined right up until the end of last summer (2015). No more stories were posted after that, until these last two in early November, and then she just disappeared from here.

    She did have a tendency to, every now and again, disappear for a little while, but she would always return, always with fresh, new stories, stories that really made you think. Many times, I did not agree with her opinions on things, especially when it came to politics - but I always admired the way she presented them.

    Her writings were always so well thought-out, so intentional. She really cared about Cowbird, and seemed to understand the impact her words could have. She encouraged others to write thoughtfully, and had a collection of stories that she'd posted over a period of time, entitled "Writer's Lib", that really helped me a lot, full of insightful tips for good writing and storytelling.

    She was very supportive of me, as a storyteller, from early on, right up until she left Cowbird. Sometime in her last year here with us, she reached out to me, and for the first time in nearly 4 years, I actually spoke with her, live and in person. This rarely happens, but she sounded exactly as I had imagined her sounding, from reading practically every one of her 1501 stories posted her.

    It was so good to finally speak with her. She'd always seemed to have such a mystery surrounding her persona, it was cool to realize she really was a real person. She had a marvelous sense of humor, with an easy laugh. That was the one and only time I actually spoke with Alex.
  • On a call with Andy Rotman-Zaid and Dave Lauer this afternoon, discussing how we plan to reinvigorate Cowbird, and try to help it regain some of its former robust storytelling atmosphere and sense of community, I brought up Alex as someone we might talk with about possibly returning to the pasture and lending her considerable talents to the cause.

    Andy's tone of voice changed when I mentioned Alex, and he seemed to struggle to find the right words to use, then just said, "I'm sorry Pete - Alex (Janie) died earlier this year."

    So, that explains why I had such a hard time tracking her down! I have noticed her missing, and tried several times to find her, over the past year, through links I'd previously had to other sites where she had postings, but kept coming to dead ends. I had just figured she must have gone underground, for whatever reason. (I wasn't thinking, literally).

    I'm still in a little bit of a state of shock over this sad news. She, and her stories, were so much a part of my life for my first 3 1/2 years here. On the other hand, fortunately for us, Alex will always live on here on Cowbird, through her stories, which are all still here.

    I would highly recommend going back and reading some of her work. Just in the few that I've read this evening, there have been some "Ah-ha's!" for me, things that I read previously, but maybe just really "got" when I reread them.

    I was going to write that I regret that I never got a chance to say goodbye to her, but then I thought - I wonder if that phone call earlier in the year, or late last year, was her way of saying goodbye to me? She was truly one of a kind, and a proponent for living large, fully embracing this thing called life, and being who you are, not who they want you to be. She certainly was - who she was. She was really something.

    I leave you with a story she dedicated to me, that touched me deeply, on the day that I held my mother's hand as she entered eternity. It just seems to fit this moment perfectly - I think Alex would love that I ended this tribute with these words she sent to me, as I grieved the loss of the most remarkable woman I ever knew - my mom.
    And death shall have no dominion.

    Dylan Thomas

    For Pete: This is one of the most beautiful and healing poems I have ever found,
    and it is my great joy to share it with you at this time in celebration of life eternal.

    With love, Alex

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft star-shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    Mary Frye
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