MEET AUTHOR DJ HOWELL
Inspired by the heady combination of a childhood on the Connecticut shoreline with a fascination with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes, DJ Howell proceeded in a career moving from ecology to environmental law to meeting the need to engage hearts and minds in addressing environment matters. She now perceives herself as a cultural ecologist focused on the individual scale of our relationships with the natural world, specifically how formative places help make us who we are and what happens when we are separated, often involuntarily, from our formative places. She summarizes those relationships as self, place, and identity – and identity in exile. She herself was in exile from the shoreline for some 50 years.
One of the many reasons why Tarzan is so compelling an inspiration is that he is in effect the ultimate identity in exile, but an exile who is at home in both his worlds, representing the extremes of wilderness and civilization. Always at his physical best, he moves with intelligence, grace, and dignity at the extremes of a continuum along which most of us are somewhere between the middle and the civilized extreme, however much we may be drawn to our images of wilderness.
DJ’s mingled career and avocations are paralleled in her publications. Her extensive grounding in popular culture is reflected in her first published book, Intellectual Properties and the Protection of Fictional Characters. Her involvement in ecology and environmental law is expressed through her Scientific Literacy and Environmental Policy and Ecology for Environmental Professionals. The crossover into reaching hearts and minds in addition to pure intellect began with Environmental Stewardship: Images from Popular Culture. Tarzan figures prominently in the intellectual property and stewardship books.
There no doubt that the combination of growing up within sight of the waters of Long Island Sound and walking distance of two tiny beaches and being caught up in images of Tarzan, himself combined with local Indian peoples of the early seventeenth century, led to DJ’s Environmental Studies doctorate and her dissertation-novel, Where You Can Hear the Sea and See the Sound, featuring more than one identity in exile and set in the places where DJ grew up. That manuscript is currently being prepared for print on demand and ebook distribution.
Meanwhile, in the mid-sixties DJ’s continuing fascination with Tarzan no longer had any outlet, so she turned to her own short story, The Sacrifice of Tarzan, firmly rejected sight unseen by the management of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc, in the early eighties. At the time, however, she was already perceiving that her Tarzan was distinct from ERB’s characterization as expanded through the old Dell comic books and the Tarzan films, primarily those of Lex Barker. So even before the rejection of her efforts with Tarzan was conveyed to her, she had broken out an array of her biological sciences and natural history books to establish the Gemini system, home to Jer’ok-ta, the Lord of Two Worlds, a limited series of some nine volumes, several of which are in final form and some of which have been serialized in the quarterly Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association.
She has also participated in Dum-Dums, ECOF gatherings, and other celebrations of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, initially as a member of Burroughs Bibliophiles and subsequently through the ERBAPA and celebrations of the centennial of Tarzan and John Carter.
CONTACT DJ HOWELL
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