Gently Hew Stone is an eclectic online journal by Jamie Huston, who lives in his native city of Las Vegas with his wife and six children. He teaches high school and college English.
“Gently Hew Stone” is a pun on the author’s name. Michelangelo said that while carving his statue of David, he envisioned the finished statue inside the block of raw marble and just chiseled away the pieces that weren’t part of it.
Writing this blog is like that: I picture myself sitting before a hunk of raw possibilities with this keyboard as my chisel, and my job is to reveal the beautiful ideas inside, to hone it to perfection by peeling away layers of ordinary thought and, ultimately, to bring magic to light with that perfect combination of letters.
This blog covers a wide variety of topics. Some of them you might be interested in, others you probably won’t. Read the ones that tickle your fancy; feel free to ignore the others, if you desire. I like the idea of a generic forum where we can exchange ideas about everything, though, so feel free to browse. Think of this blog as a buffet.
After all, I’m writing from Las Vegas!
25 random things about me:
- I could never swallow a pill before I was 18.
- I’ve given blood over 70 times.
- My biggest regret in life is that I never dated an Asian girl. Oh well.
- I’m a classic absent-minded professor. Once, driving north to Salt Lake City, I saw the road sign that promised, “Salt Lake City: next 5 exits.” My mind cheerfully drifted off until a while had passed and I started to wonder why I hadn’t seen the exits yet. As soon as I thought that, I saw another sign: “Ogden: next exit.” Ogden is more than forty miles north of Salt Lake. Yes, somehow I had managed to drive all the way through a state capital–and far beyond–without noticing.
- I’m deaf in my left ear. Complete nerve damage from a birth defect.
- Someday I’m going to write the Great American Novel.
- My favorite meal growing up was this tuna casserole my mom made.
- I’m the same age as Bart Simpson: when The Simpsons premiered as a short animated skit on the Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, Bart was (as he is now) ten years old. I was also ten that year. I sometimes wonder what a 30-something Bart Simpson would be like…
- For over a decade, I’ve kept a list of every book I’ve finished, along with a score from 1-10 rating how much I enjoyed it. This year I started recording the date when I finish a book. I love that list.
- I always knew that my grandfather had been a school principal, but I didn’t know that he’d also been a high school English teacher until after I’d also started studying to become one.
- Also like my grandfather, I love long, quiet walks by myself. Good for the soul.
- I saw a lot of concerts when I was a kid. I wasted more than a few nights at the infamous Huntridge Theater. The first concert I ever saw was “Weird Al” Yankovic. The band I’ve seen most is U2–four times.
- I’ve lived in the Las Vegas valley my entire life, unlike the vast majority of the population here. I tell people I came from a nice, quiet small town: Las Vegas in the 1970′s.
- I wish I could sing.
- I once drove up to Salt Lake after work on a Friday to see General Conference that weekend, even though I barely packed and only had a ticket for one session. My plan was to stand around before the priesthood session in a tie and hope someone with tickets to spare would take pity on me. It worked: I got in and wormed my way down to the first few rows and sat thirty feet away from President Hinckley. Those two nights I slept in my car in a parking lot. Totally worth it.
- I have the very last “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip–from December 31, 1995–framed and hanging in my classroom. I kept it from the newspaper that day.
- My wife and I met when we were set up by my ex-wife’s sister on a blind date.
- Things I do sometimes and love even though I’m not very good at any of them: crossword puzzles, sudoku, poetry, math, cooking, martial arts, drawing.
- Other than two brief day-trips into Tijuana and Ensenada, I’ve never traveled outside the U.S. I feel deprived.
- When my wife and I were getting married and we decided that we’d each plan part of the honeymoon, I chose to have us spend a few days at a bed and breakfast in Virginia. It was great.
- I was a contestant on the game show The Weakest Link in 2002. I was the last one voted off.
- I don’t think I could stay up past midnight if my life depended on it.
- Another big regret of mine: as an undergrad at UNLV, I’d spend down time between classes on the second floor of the Moyer Student Union, sleeping on the old, hard, threadbare little couches lined up along the far wall, right where the indirect late morning sunlight would be my blanket. When the school tore down that building a couple of years ago to remodel, I told myself I’d call the office and see if I could take one of those couches. I never got around to it, and now they’re gone forever.
- I used to send a lot of letters to the editors of local newspapers, and I always got a big thrill out of seeing my rants in print.
- I’m teaching myself to speak Chinese. Slowly, but surely. I love Chinese. Wo hen ai po tung hua.
Contact me at
mrhuston1 AT yahoo DOT com