Tuesday, June 24, 2008


All the good titles are taken. Seriously! All good titles for books have all been used. Not for movies, though, as movies use strange titles. Example: "Magnolia". We expected a southerly scent, a slow moving romance. The experience was shockingly misnamed. Totally mistitled. It should have been titled, "Shit Happens". We would then know!

Back to book titles. I like perusing shelves of new fiction, picking up a book and examining the front, the back, the reviews, looking for something that tells me what it is that I am buying.

And most titles are not the original title thought up by the writer. Most titles are word-shopped, tossed around in some kind of universe where clever twenty-something smack their lips and connect with their peers with text-subtexts-and ramble away, searching for deep trivia=connectivities.

Book titles have come up the same path as lipstick colors. Can I just buy a berry red, or do I need to know all the different shades of berries, and which season they mature to be engaged in the experience of selection? Help. Adjectives Overload.

What happened to plain American speak?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Writing a blog feels like writing a journal knowing your mother will find, read and comment on it in a public way. It's a bit unsettling, a bit of a tightrope. But, then, that's the prize we pay for going public, for sharing, hoping there are kindred souls out there who will read and appreciate. If only they would comment!

I make a point to respond to any blog I read, letting the person know how I interpret, how I enjoy or am affected by his/her words. Words are penetrating tools, in how far they touch you as well as how long they continue to touch you, much longer than the initial sensation, a lingering that keeps on and on.

And words help to shape our thoughts, our conceptual images of the world. How wonderful when we find a phrase that says what we feel; what a joy we feel when words capture our experiences so clearly.

Words do more than weave or smith or shape or tell or paint or build or...Words expand our very sense of who we are.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


If you are going to volunteer you need some guidelines up front. Most organizations are too small to have written guidelines. Some are so happy to get anybody to help them that they put up with whatever they get from the volunteers.

I used volunteers in my working life, and I have seen volunteers come and go, sometimes unhappy with the experience and badmouthing the people they left behind. Most people who volunteer just walk away instead of discussing problems they encounter. So, here are some guidelines to make the experience worthwhile for everybody.

Rule #1 Assignments should be in the interest/professional area of the volunteer.
Rule#2-Assignments should be for a defined amount of time.
Rule #3-Volunteers should be paired with a mentor or be part of a group.
Rule #4-Volunteers should be trained regularly and provided with written procedures.
Rule #5-Companies should make time for appreciation and public recognition.

So, with these ideas in mind, go out and find a place where you will feel connected and fulfilled.

Monday, June 16, 2008


What, give up my precious time? No, and yes. You do give up something, but you gain more. You and your experience are priceless; and at your age (retired, I presume) you are no longer beholding to anybody. This is not really about you, but about what you hold dear, what you want to endure in the world, and what matters most in the big scheme of things. (As in 'our troubles don't amount to a hill of beans..', almost a quote from Casablanca)

Both my husband and I are thrilled at this time to be able to do things that need to be done. He volunteers with the Rotary and with the local Food Bank, and I volunteer in education as an elected official in the local board of education. We budget our time and resources to support each other's interests and efforts.

We have never felt more fulfilled. Every where we go people state their appreciation and support for what we do in our community. Yes, the place we chose to retire to has become home, to have, to hold and to pass on to others better than we found it. In turn, we feel we found heaven, and are glad to contribute to its present and future state.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reading, Writing, Growing....

Besides this blog, I write memoir pieces, short stories, poetry, essays and lesson plans. Movies, books, magazines, cartoons, blogs, all forms of communication inspire me. Sometimes, in the middle of a movie, I get this feeling that something important was expressed. I pull out my trusty notebook and jot down the word, the feeling, the phrase.

Just this morning, as I reviewed the cover of the latest New Yorker Magazine, I got an idea for a lesson plan. (Yes, I teach in my spare time, time when I'm not writing, reading, cooking, gardening). So, the lesson plan idea is this: Magazine covers tell a whole lot about the state of things, capturing cultural attitudes, historical moments, popular phenomena. These covers stand and communicate, but we do not explore their significance, do not confront our own attitude and stance within the popular culture.

By writing how these covers affect us, we see our bias and our vision. By confronting we understand. By sharing, we grow.