In Honour of My Friend Who Is In Stage Four – One of Her Favourite Poets


Fear of seeing a police car pull into the drive.
Fear of falling asleep at night.
Fear of not falling asleep.
Fear of the past rising up.
Fear of the present taking flight.
Fear of the telephone that rings in the dead of night.
Fear of electrical storms.
Fear of the cleaning woman who has a spot on her cheek!
Fear of dogs I’ve been told won’t bite.
Fear of anxiety!
Fear of having to identify the body of a dead friend.
Fear of running out of money.
Fear of having too much, though people will not believe this.
Fear of psychological profiles.
Fear of being late and fear of arriving before anyone else.
Fear of my children’s handwriting on envelopes.
Fear they’ll die before I do, and I’ll feel guilty.
Fear of having to live with my mother in her old age, and mine.
Fear of confusion.
Fear this day will end on an unhappy note.
Fear of waking up to find you gone.
Fear of not loving and fear of not loving enough.
Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love.
Fear of death.
Fear of living too long.
Fear of death.

I’ve said that.

Raymond Carver.

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Woman on the Verge of a Meltdown

Four Savannah Kittens at Play. Photo: Michael Broad https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-broad/

I’m a woman on the verge because two seven-year-old cats rule my home, Paco, the half-Siamese below, and Teika in the second photo. In addition, my assertive move to combat this fiasco was to add four kittens to shift the power balance, to infuse some clear thinking on the subject. More cats will shift the impasse when the house votes on its grocery list each month. Less power to the presiding queens!

I’m a woman on the verge because I’m going to let that feline six-pack thread its way through my whole world. I will spend much of my day exhausted while chasing down their catnip toys, and untying the maze of yarn they dragged around and thru every chair and table leg, and extended to include three lamps and even my ankles. Frustrating. Still, if those beasts are out of my sight for two minutes, I will moan and wonder, “Just how DID the criminal get in and why would he or she steal my growing family?”

I’m a woman on the verge because, usually by that point, it would be snack time and I would shake a little catnip on my egg. This is to feign acceptance of my kids’ palate–who pay no rent, mind you–and to research the power of this trending green and vice, which sends hundreds to CatNippers Anonymous each year. Soon AETV will air its first show with a feline-trained therapist. Cheers, my fellow interventionists. We are all worthy trailblazers.

I’m a woman on the verge because I am a word lover. I am a writer who is enamored with language, yet I condemned myself to a persistent headache by never reacquainting myself with the word ‘assertive.’ It jumped at me yesterday when I fell on it courtesy of my obsolete Webster’s fifteen pound dictionary. I landed on the ‘a’ page and my right elbow was the compass guiding me. I read the definition aloud and my fur companions chortled at me. Loudly. I must say that the lack of respect in today’s pets is so disconcerting. Still, I must forge ahead to fulfill my journey.

I’m a woman on the verge because, since making mistakes like bathing my sweeties together, I’m fighting for any scrap of dignity and attention they throw at me. Wha-at? Only two bits of kibble? I’ll take it. I’ve been running on fumes for so many years that even a raised eyebrow is well worth it. You’re right. I don’t like liver and chicken delight. Never did. Wait. I don’t like catnip either.

I’m a woman on the verge because I never need the absolute certainty of things to make me act. When I’m busy hoovering up all that hair and scooping litter, I think and do whatever strikes my fancy without apology. This rule stands even if the object of my intrigue is a box of Meow Mix for the queens’ amuse bouche du jour. That is, unless I am trying to re-assume control of the bridge, so to speak. Okay. Okay. Fancy Feast it is then.

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Molly Hacker is Too Picky! – Lisette Brodey

I really enjoyed this novel. Ms. Brodey is a master at depicting modern romance and the incessant pressure on women to be married. I loved Molly Hacker’s choice to handle her love life in her own way and to stay relatively quiet about it. The story is rich with dialogue, charm, and humor. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story. It is entertaining, enlightening, and full of surprises. Molly Hacker is Too Picky is a great read and lots of fun too. Finally, I wanted to give this novel a 4.5 but couldn’t get that to work.
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Our Quiet Leaders

The original image was published in Kinesis Sept 1993. Sexual abuse and the system: Fighting back. Written by Terry D. Gibson (under the pseudonym Marie Thompson).


When I think about women who are leaders, I cannot help but think of those who are famous and get lots of attention and benefits from their work. This propels me toward the living and breathing women whom the public does not know and may undervalue. They are the invisible and unsung heroes among us.


As a woman and a leader, I am the young tenant next door who hears your cries while your husband yells and pounds you in the wee hours of the morning. I quietly call the Police for help, begging them not to say I called. They do it anyway. He yells at me through the walls now. “Report that!” I cower in bed at night with a knife under my pillow. At least, he is no longer hitting you.


As a woman and a leader, I am two steps from homelessness but nobody will hire me because of my arthritis and age. I volunteer many hours at a local hospice. Unless a patient wants to talk, I open and close blinds, warm cold hands, help patients with their food, or dole out extra pillow. Nothing makes me happier than when I can usher wheelchair-bound friends downstairs to a live music event. Their spirits relax over that hour.


As a woman and a leader, I write letters to save the environment, empathize with survivors on #sexabusechat, make time for friends on social media, share my warped sense of humor, and sometimes cry with friends. I know doing this is only a millisecond blip on the world’s computer screen. However, it keeps my energy flowing and depression at bay.


As a woman and a leader, I grew up in a very bigoted family. I married my love and we have mixed-race children. My husband and sons are beautiful and we will nurture each other all of our lives. He and I teach our boys that racism and hatred are ugly truths, but that they do not define our lives or the people we strive to become.


As a woman and a leader, I teach reading to adults at the library. It is for everyone who wants to enrich their lives with the many adventures and worlds that lie within book covers. We all enjoy ourselves and read vivid stories to each other. I am always amazed when I see an adult reader pick up a book with confidence, not shame.


As a woman and a leader, I love with ferocity. I hate and scream. I fight with words. I sit, watch and listen. I am tender, sexual and loving. I love my life and yours. I stand arm-in-arm with you from all continents around the globe. I bow and honor you. I help you raise your children; you help me raise mine. We are the quiet leaders of our evolving world.


*The original image (artist unknown) was published in Kinesis September 1993. Sexual abuse and the system: Fighting back. Written by Terry D. Gibson (under the pseudonym Marie Thompson).


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Resolutions and Affirmations

Add some early morning exercise and stretches to my wake up routine.

Have two cups of tea or strong coffee before uttering a word to anyone.

Take stock of my physical status (pain levels, tiredness, hunger, etc.)

Plan how to attack the pain without ending up dopey from medications.

The goal is always to be clear-headed so I can write and continue reading the work of other writers, plus that of my own broadening interests.

Each morning I will write affirmations down in my special journal.

Read all posts on a thread before commenting.

Do not take it personally if friends distance themselves.

We all have valid reasons why we cannot communicate fully at times.

I have had so much therapy that it may seem that sharing is easy for me.

That is not true although I see how that might seem right.

When I can, I do my best to talk with people.

I must take a break more often.

Always give people the benefit of doubt. It is what I aspire to and want.

Walk your talk. Do not allow halfway measures.

Deal with blatant attacks head on.

Without that, those who want to hurt me and others will get away with it.

Speak up clearly and firmly. It should never go on.

If I do not put up with it, I will show others that they do not have to either.

Everything is about being useful, kind, and a leader.

Never treat another person or myself in a shabby manner.

Being a mentor is an awesome way to give back to the world.

Go for it. You can. You know real people who have done it!

I am trustworthy because I trust, within reason.

Reach those writing and publishing goals!

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Poetry, Video

Still I Rise by Dr. Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?


Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.


Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.


Still I Rise – Maya Angelou


Full Show: Going Home with Maya Angelou

Moyers & Company – Published on Aug 7, 2014


Over the years and on several occasions, Bill interviewed Maya Angelou, the legendary author who died in May. Here, Moyers revisits an interview from 1982 in which he and Angelou returned to the small town of Stamps, Arkansas, where she spent much of her childhood.

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Non-Fiction, Reviews, She Inspires Me

Ring Around the Rosary – Gretchen Grossman

Ring around the Rosary by Gretchen Grossman

I received a copy of “Ring Around the Rosary” two years ago in exchange for an honest review. This memoir is about an American woman who became a nun at the tender age of seventeen. She left five years later, married again, had two gorgeous boys, and taught school for twenty years. This tale touched my heart and soul in momentous ways, as many of the struggles Ms. Grossman endured overlapped issues in my life. Some have been critical of this true story, stating that it is harmful to the church. As a Catholic, I do not see it that way at all. When I was a teenager, raised in an abusive family, I wanted to be a nun as well. Had this memoir been available when I grappled with my own decision, also at seventeen, I would have been glad to read it. I appreciate it on many levels, but primarily because it would have afforded me a glimpse into the life, I almost claimed as my own. What harm does it do for a girl to know the exact nature of the training to which she might pledge? Why should she not know the day-to-day routines that would envelop her days? With my history of abuse, neglect, beatings, humiliation, and my parents confining me to an attic and basement repeatedly, a choice to enter the convent could have ended my life. Ms. Grossman’s memoir moved me to sadness, alarm, anger, shock, and love. ·I do not regret reading a single word. In fact, this is a vital and revealing piece of literature to me, a truly a fine read. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention its historic importance as well, especially through her travels in Europe with her husband, moments that include crossing from East to West Berlin and being gifted documents signed by Adolf Hitler. With sixty-six five-star ratings, you could never go wrong.
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Mental and Emotional Health, Non-Fiction, Violence Against Women

Bill of Sexual Rights

  1. I have a right to my own body.
  2. I have a right to my own feelings, beliefs, opinions and perceptions.
  3. I have a right to trust my own values about sexual contact.
  4. I have the right to set my own sexual limits.
  5. I have a right to say yes.
  6. I have a right to say no.
  7. I have a right to sexual pleasure.
  8. I have a right to be sexually assertive.
  9. I have the right to be the initiator in a sexual relationship.
  10. I have a right to be in control of my sexual experience.
  11. I have a right to have a loving partner.
  12. I have a right to my sexual preferences.
  13. I have a right to a partner who respects me, understands me and will talk to me.
  14. I have a right to talk to my partner about any abuse I have experienced.
  15. I have the right to ask questions.
  16. I have a right to receive accurate sexual information.

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Poetry, Women

Celebrating the Poetry of Mary Oliver


There are lots of ways to dance and
to spin, sometimes it just starts my
feet first then my entire body, I am
spinning no one can see it but it is
happening. I am so glad to be alive,
I am so glad to be loving and loved.
Even if I were close to the finish,
even if I were at my final breath, I
would be here to take a stand, bereft
of such astonishments, but for them.

If I were a Sufi for sure I would be
one of the spinning kind.

Mary Oliver. A Thousand Mornings.


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