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September/October 2001


Portals of Glory, Visions of Wonder

In my last year of high school in Franklin, Virginia, somewhere around 1950, I was a Future Farmer of America, raising chickens and some rows of sweet potatoes as class projects, but whenever possible, on weekends, I would often be found, with my bothers, Pete and David, at the Lyon's State Theater on Main Street, watching movies, mostly third-rate westerns.  At some point, I was recommended by a fellow classmate to replace him as a student projectionist on a high school work-release program at this very theater.  Of course I was eager to do it, as this already was one of my most favorite places to be!  And so, I became a trainee in this awesome booth of precision projection equipment.  suddenly I was not only watching the show, but putting it on - and even being paid!  "What a deal!" I thought.

Early in the afternoon, I would be there setting up the film reels for the day's schedule, splicing short subjects, (trailers, i.e., previews; news reels, cartoons, "The Three Stooges," etc.) together with the main feature and loading the first two reels into the mechanism of those humongous arc-light projectors, getting ready for the afternoon matinee, in this booth at the very back of a quite long balcony that stretched out over the main audience toward the screen.  At the appropriate time, I would lower the lights and start the generic pre-show music as gentle streaks of colored light played across the large red curtain covering the screen.  Then, with everything set up and not a finger to spare, I would fade the colored lights and the music while activating the motor and light switches on the first projector.  Then, it was Show Time!

I loved what I was doing, and therefore, took particular care to do it well.  And I learned so much from the visions and wonders I viewed through the small window portal of that projection booth.  I was being vividly transported into other lives and worlds.  If the movie was one I especially liked, I watched it over and over with rapt attention as I waited for the crucial cue marks indicating a switch-over from one reel and projector to the other.

I used to even go to certain movies at times, even when I was not the projectionist, if there was something I especially wanted to see.  On one such occasion, I talked my dear Mother Gertrude into going with me to see the H. Rider Haggard fantasy,  She (1935, with Randolph Scott and Helen Galhagen).  It was quite thrilling to me, a story of explorers finding a lost realm within the glaciers that was ruled over by the immortal queen, known as "She," or, as the natives referred to her, "She who must be obeyed!"  I think it amused Mama, as well.  (She was not a big movie goer.)  There were other stories that caused my imagination to soar, among them King Solomon's Mines (1950, with Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr), Unconquered (1947, with Gary Cooper), and the immortal All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, with Lew Ayers).

Next Story:  Is life prescient of its own future, or is it just that amazing coincidences do occur?  It was almost 20 years after my high school movie projection days that I found myself interviewing for the position of associate pastor at a big, old "pre-Revolutionary" Congregational (UCC) church in Wilton, Connecticut, circa 1967.  What immediately caught my eye as we toured the facilities was a little window, high up on the back of the huge social meeting room, or auditorium, that was connected by hallways to the main sanctuary.  This tiny window reminded me of the little viewing window at the Lyon's State Theater in Franklin, Virginia, where, from my projector's booth, I used to gaze at strange and wondrous visions passing before me on the silver screen.  I think that, in addition to the exceptional warmth and intelligence of the people at this church in Wilton, seeing the theatrical/cinematic potential of that little back window in this huge open hall was a big deciding factor in my accepting the job, one of the very best choices I ever made!

-- Bill Joyner


It is never too late to be what you might have been.

-- George Eliot

We have no time to lose and must scramble for our chances.  We are too poor to be late.

-- Gitanjali

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain;  If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.

-- Emily Dickinson

There's a madness in love at first, like flames leaping up when a blaze is lit, but the strength of a fire is in the coals.  It's true what they say about familiarity but beneath the contempt and the discontent of day by day is something fine like polished steel.


Our correspondences have wings - paper birds that fly from my house to yours - flocks of ideas criss-crossing the country.  Once they're opened, a connection is made.  We are not alone in the world.

-- Terry T. Williams Refuge


Phone (323) 466-2157 / Fax (323) 466-2150 / email 
5515 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028


Break the dance, and scatter the song;  Let some depart, and some remain;  Wherever we fly we lead along in leashes, like star-beams, soft and strong, the clouds that are heavy with love's sweet rain.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley

I turn over my little omelet in the frying pan for the love of God.  When it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God from whom the grace came to make it.  After that, I get back up, more content than a king.  When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have picked up a straw from the ground for the love of God.  The time of business is no different from the time of prayer.  I possess God as tranquilly in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, where sometimes several people ask me different things at the same time, as I were on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament.

-- Brother Lawrence, The Patron of Pots and Pans

Go love without the help of anything on earth! Joyce Cary The Horse's Mouth

"They float horses, don't they?"  If they are expensive racehorses in need of recuperative therapy, I am told that they indeed do just that.  They are fitted into special harness lifts and lowered into giant hot whirlpool tubs!  Would that we might treat ourselves as well, yielding our stressed-out souls to the holy cleansing of a heated bath-tism.  Maybe even getting in a few yoga type stretches while we're at it!  (I recall how much my Mama, in her last years, missed being able to lay down in her tub and have a great soak.)

-- BJ

Hallowed Eve
The moon came up like a great orange pumpkin.  We was walkin' 'round admiring Jack-O-Lanterns, then decided to buy one of our own, carve it up nice for the mantle, and wreath it's head with flowering vines, easing our way 'round its candle-lighted grin.


Real Life Hollywood Horrors
"Home! I have no home! Despised.  Hunted like an animal.  The jungle is my home!" says Martin Landau, in his Oscar-winning portrayal of Bela Lugosi, the then-fading star of Dracula films, in the movie Ed Wood.  I think I know what's up with guys like this.  In the true light of reality they see themselves as monstrously disfigured, but they still long for acceptance and dear sweet love, usually in the form of a luscious, unattainable beauty.  Martin Landau's Bela Lugosi sums it all up -- the rage against age, the disappointment and the sorrow of one's own imminent departure from this earthly scene - life mimicking the movies, or is the other way around?

-- BJ



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Dishwashing Story

Twice I have been a professional "disher," once at a Lums restaurant here in Sarasota, also at The Mel-O-Dee.  Most of what I know about this art, I learned from my son Bryant, who visited me earlier, when I was trying to be an assistant manager at Lums.  He pitched in as a volunteer dishwasher on my behalf several times, and everyone agreed that his promptitude in that role was absolutely amazing.  His creed seemed to be, "Never turn your back on a dirty dish!"  Well, a few years later, when I was living around the corner from this place and needing some part-time work, I asked if they had anything.  "Only a part-time dish-washing job," the manager-ette said.  And I went for it like Bre'r Rabbit took to the briar patch - remembering Bryant's great example!  It's also when I came by some to be known as "Mr. Bill." 

-- Bill Joyner


I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more!

-- Bob Dylan

We're either nowhere or now/here, so we sailed forth into the near-most regions of our own common experience, taking pictures, entertaining ourselves by creating future histories, loving the light, and raising ourselves from the dead.

-- BJ

If you neglect your work, you will dislike it;  if you do it well, you will enjoy it.

-- Sidney Smith

Even a small space won for independent and free activity is a space for genuine life.

-- Julius Tomin (Czech philosopher and Night Watchman at the Prague Zoo)

Do not negotiate positions but interests, the real goals that lie behind positions.  Separate the peo9ple negotiating from the problem being negotiated.

-- Lance Morrow

There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment.  And there is no greater disaster than greed.

-- Lao Tzu

There is no wealth but life.

-- John Ruskin

To the extent we can approach our job as an amateur (from the Latin Amore meaning To Love) we will be successful in our work.  When we pursue a thing for love, we are free to fumble and make mistakes.  The course of our work may not run smoothly, but we are open to possibilities, embracing everything we have contact with.  Our vision is not narrowed by convention.  

-- Jan Steward & Corita Kent Learning By Heart





Again and Again
We must be born again and again
or the life of God's love remains unlived.
This Being, whose name is Love,
is buried alive in each of us,
struggling to rise from the dead debris of our own doubt.

-- BJ


Short reviews and stories about films on video that you might like to check out.  The format will be much the same as the 2001 Calendar - The Soul Seed Circus.


"The Soul Seed Movie-Go-Round"

William T. Joyner, Editor

Printed and spiral bound 11" x 14" calendar available for advance orders for $7.50 per copy including mailing cost -  for more information contact Bill Joyner 
via U.S. Mail:  P.O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, FL 34230 
or email Bill at  

The 2001 Seed Catalog Calendar - "The Soul Seed Circus" is still available for $4.50 
(includes postage)

The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
THE SEED CATALOG is available by mail for an annual suggested donation of $5.00
-- or any expression of interest. I try to do at least 6 issues a year. Thanks for tuning in!
--Bill Joyner / P.O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, FL 34230

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