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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

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

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 …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:

The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your don't need to open it... you know tha…

Glad to Hear It

This past week, Larry Wilmore and company mentioned Rachel Dolezol again on The Nightly Show. I don't remember who made the comment, but either Wilmore or one of the panelists said, "Did Rachel Dolezol do anything bad? No, she really didn't. Why did we get so uptight about that?" I was glad to hear it. Three cheers for being human.

I looked briefly at what's on Google currently about her and the now much-discussed Shaun White. I intend not to enter any of that fray mentally or verbally. I still maintain that humanity trumps color. We have a long way to go until we can leave our "paint by numbers" mentality behind, but we've made progress. Good changes can come, even in the midst of chaos and controversy. Maybe White and Dolezal will help us see that eventually.

As long as I'm here and continuing on the subject of color, I think I'm not alone in the fact that I don't like being called "white." As for my background, it includes …