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News and My New Blog: Not in that Order

I have started a new blog:  Getting Along with Grief.

Click here to read something about its purpose and rationale.  It seems to me that grief is in the air these days:  lost homes, tumbling economies, soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, or suffering injuries that are significant losses, citizens with more heart than weaponry dying to help their countries achieve governance in line with human rights--not to mention that guarantee we are given at birth. None of us stays on this earth forever.  When one of our loved ones leaves before we do, however, we have to keep going, keep living, and create meaning. And to do that, we have to learn to get along with grief, honestly and compassionately. Beginning in late May, I will announce monthly themes for content and contributions. See guidelines on the blog.

April is National Poetry Month in the United States, and I will soon be printing my third annual Poetry Poster!  I'll post the new design on the blog as soon as it is ready. As many of you know, I will mail one free to you at your request.  So far, my little posters have traveled across the US and to Italy, Spain, Scotland, Argentina, and Mexico. I hope I'll get to add a country or two to the mailing list this year.

Also during National Poetry Month, I will be posting highlights on really great literary magazines that give voice to poets and poetry with style, vigor and integrity ....

So, prepárate for some showers of poetry this April, and stay tuned .....


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Life without Television, Part 2

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I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

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I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

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Thank you, Press Women!

My blog won first place in personal blog writing for 2014 in the Press Women of Texas's Communications Contest. Afterward, my blog placed second in personal blog writing nationwide in the National Federation of Press Women's Communications Contest. I can't adequately tell you what these awards mean to me, but I feel impelled to try.
From the NFPW website:
On May 6, 1937, 39 women from seven states gathered at the Chicago Women's Club to turn their vision into reality. They formed the National Federation of Presswomen (yes, then it was one word) and set forth their goals: "To provide a means of communication between woman writers nationally; make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of national interest to press women, and otherwise advance the professional standards of press women."

It was brave enough for women to found such an organization in any decade prior to 1970, but this group was founded at the height of the Great Depression. It grew to …