April small stones

We called our April small stones April Smiles, Showers and Pearls, and indeed they were. Without further ado, here are the small stones I wrote last month. A beautiful day. A beautiful walk to the beach. And I’m not fooling. We had brunch and a trip to the park with our three-year old godson and his family today. Always a challenge, but always lovely as well. So much going on – house renovations, writing projects, and a wonderful visit with our deceased son’s best friend. I love that he is still in our lives. I’ve been working hours revising, thinking, editing, thinking. It’s exhausting. Looking at these awesome giant birds of paradise from my upstairs window. Nature is such a great inspiration. We had dinner 71 stories up last night. What a view of downtown Los Angeles: A beautiful bright sunny day for entertaining relatives from rainy Oregon. And it was so wet this morning I thought they had brought their rain with them. Today was a work day, not a writing da … [Read more...]

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After a two-year hiatus, I’m returning to Esalen

I'm kicking off the holiday season by going back to Esalen in Big Sur California tomorrow to take a five-day poetry workshop with Joseph Millar. But I've made up my mind already. Just being back at Esalen after a two-plus-year break is all that matters. Of course I love being there to write. But what I really I love is just being there - period. I've worked with Joseph many times before, usually when he leads poetry workshops with Ellen Bass and his wife Dorianne Laux - a fantastic trio of poetry brilliance. He also helped edit a lot of the poems that appear in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. He has a wonderful gift for honing in on the good and what can be improved about the poems he hears and reads. Here's a little information about Joseph that I lifted from his website: Joseph Millar's first collection, Overtime, was a finalist for the 2001 Oregon Book Award. His second collection, Fortune, appeared in 2007, followed by a third, Blue Rust, in 2012. Millar grew up in Pen … [Read more...]

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Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop: share what ignites your creativity

  My friend Cate Russell-Cole has started the Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop, and I had to participate. I created the room in our house where I write six years after the suicide death of my son Paul. It was the last room he lived in. I've written  about this room and how meaningful and healing it is for me before  A version of the  following poem appears in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide. Making Room for Me   After six years I stacked Paul’s books and records, once in alphabetical order on his closet shelves, in boxes out in the garage, and finally cleared away all the dust. I recreated his room and closet, with a new hardwood floor, a bay picture window, deep taupe walls, a white ceiling and crown molding, and file drawers and book shelves for storing my books and poems. I refurnished his room in shades of black and orange. The sofa is like a futon because he o … [Read more...]

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The gratitude challenge

My Facebook friend, Dorothy Sander, invited me to take the five-day gratitude challenge and I accepted. That means for each of five days I need to post three things I'm grateful for and invite three people to join the challenge. This was a real challenge for me because I don't normally think about my life in terms of gratitude - especially in a list. I've thought of benefits and gifts that have come my way. I also very much appreciate my family and friends who have stuck with me through some extremely tough times. So it's not as though I'm ungrateful. I just found it hard to put the words down. Even so, I have completed my list of fifteen. Three went up on my Facebook timeline yesterday, three went up today, and I will post the rest in the next three days. My Grateful List  For being with my godson Hugo and his brother Oscar and their mum and grandmum this morning. We got to show 4-year old Oscar the paleontology exhibit at the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. What a … [Read more...]

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Another Buddha

I don’t want to get into all the stuff going on right now and all the things I need to do, so I’ll just post a pretty picture. Every time I look at it, it makes me relax.   … [Read more...]

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Birthday thoughts

It’s time to think about how to remember Paul on his birthday this year. Had he lived, he would have become forty years old on December 31. I wonder why I can remember the day he was born so vividly. I can also remember the day he died – over twelve years ago now. Some of the in between is gone, some of the memories may be skewed a bit, but not a day goes by that I don’t acknowledge Paul’s existence in my life. Maybe it’s enough of a celebration to have a celebration of his life – listen to his music, get out and read from his favorite books – they are still packed in boxes out in the garage – and eat some of his favorite foods – probably those would be pizza and sushi. And continue to write about him. Many of the poems I’ve written about him appear in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I think I’ll post a few of those this month too. I’ll also post some more of his pictures. He really was an adorable baby and a good-looking guy. After all, I am his mother, I have a right to … [Read more...]

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Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I’ve sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it’s ready to go live. The piece is called “Comforting Those Who Grieve.” I’m still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I’m interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I’ll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I’m scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I’ll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son’s suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And surprise, surprise, I … [Read more...]

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Back from Esalen Institute (Big Sur, CA)

After almost a seven-hour drive, I arrived home Friday evening after a wonderful five days of writing poems, chatting with old friends, hearing some brilliant poems by very talented poets, soaking in the hot sulfur baths, walking Highway 1 north to the South Coast Center, and eating healthy Esalen garden food. Unfortunately the long drive home in sometimes very heavy traffic almost erased all that Esalen wonderfulness. I did take a few photos so I'll have reminders. This time, rather than take the usual Big Sur ocean and cliff scenes, I gravitated to the many succulent garden areas on the property - some in pots and some in the ground. These gardens were new to me. Like the rest of us water-challenged gardeners, now Esalen is also doing its part to conserve. Of course I couldn't resist the little white Buddha or the tree masks I passed everyday on my way back and forth to my workshop room. … [Read more...]

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I love my garden

  Sun Tipped Leaves   An Isolation Poem Every day I isolate myself in my office. I sit there for hours thinking, looking out my window at my cement pool and fountain. And I write a little in between. I like the isolated space to do my work I like that my husband stays away I like the solitude and quiet. And I like that as the trees rustle outside, their leaves tipped with sunlight, I can’t hear their sway I can’t hear their song. … [Read more...]

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First small stones

North end of Manhattan Beach NaSmaStoMo entries for days one through three: Jan 1: The puffy white jet streams intersect the morning’s clear blue sky, belying those dire predictions of rain. Jan 2: The bubbles dance on my cement pool’s surface, waiting for the birds to drink. Jan 3: My little Buddhas in green, gold, silver, and stone, greet me with laughter, success, and good health. They watch me closely as I write. … [Read more...]

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