Thursday, March 27, 2014


BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY —  5th. Anniversary Edition!!!
Here we go, beginning our annual celebration of April as Poetry Month, in style. If you love poetry, please leave your name and email address and, if you like, which book you hope to win, in the comments section below. You'll be entered in a drawing to win a book of poetry, for free, including shipping and handling. I'll try not to handle it too much before I send it out to the winner, though. And better still, this blog is one of many participating blogs. Follow the link to find a list of all participants and enter every one you wish to enter, along the left side of Kelli Russell Agodon's blog.

Because it's the 5th. Anniversary of the giveaway I feel like giving extra books this year. I have chosen four, so on this particular blog you have four chances to win. 

Alpha Zulu, a book I treasure,  is by 
Gary Copeland Lilley.

Long Way Through Ruin, highly recommended,  is by Kathryn Hunt.

We Met, Once Before, is a beautiful new work, by Sylvia Bowman.

The Way It Is, is one of my favorite books (the title poem is a touchstone piece for me) by William Stafford.

These are not books I am parting with, I promise. I drove downtown today to my local independent bookstore, The Imprint, and bought copies especially for this giveaway. I wanted to give a couple of older favorites and two newer volumes. I hope you'll enjoy my selections. 

After my visit to the Imprint I got the dogs out of the car and walked them down Water Street for a way and then to one of our downtown stretches of beach. Facing the cloudy skies which filled the sky from  Port Townsend to Whidbey, I was reminded how many iterations of beautiful evening light there are, even when the clouds dominate our sky. Their towering darkness threw a light onto the water that left it looking like liquid platinum. It felt like the world around me was breathing beauty onto the surface, gently but with strength. As a poet I try to transform experience and thought and feeling, to have such an impact as that grey light did tonight on the waterfront. The world offers us so much. The least I can do is offer something back. Here you go, dears! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Big Poetry Giveaway: WINNERS

Thanks to all who visited here and entered to win a book of poems to commemorate Poetry month!
As you can see from the photos, I put all of your names in the dragonfly box, stirred and with eyes closed, drew two entries as winners. I even used tweezers to feel more detached as I chose.

Margo Roby, I'll be sending you Mrs. Coffin and Miss Blood, by Sandy Diamond
Rod Wilder, I'll put your new copy of Billy Collins' The Apple that Astonished Paris in the mail.

May you each enjoy your prize!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Big Poetry Giveaway

Spring is creeping in on us. Cherry blossoms decorate the still cold ground and wave pink against the sky. And it's nearly April, Poetry Month. In the past I've distributed poems to strangers as I walked around downtown, part of the Poem in Your Pocket concept of spreading poetry. This year I'm participating in the giveaway. And it's ever so simple. People can visit here and leave a comment and their email contact info for me from now until the end of April. A random drawing will be how I select two winners, sending them each one book of poetry. Since I am unpublished as yet, I offer two of my favorites:
On the left is Miss Coffin and Mrs. Blood, Poems of Art & Madness by Port Townsend Poet 
Sandy Diamond. May Sarton wrote: Begin Sandy Diamond's Miss Coffin and Mrs. Blood and you will have to finish it. As powerful as a long novel...compassionate....a work of art..."

And the book on the right is The Apple That Astonished Paris by Billy Collins. If you've read his collections or more recent books, I think you'll enjoy going back to this one. I loved it enough to buy it twice. : ) 

So there we have it. I'm an unknown and you needn't read my work, but let's keep spreading the love of poetry, together! 

Here is a link to the fabulous Susan Rich's blog where you'll find a list of everyone participating. Enter at all the sites you like!


It's been a long time since I've posted. In February I turned 65 and you'd think that would have been reason enough to write something for a blog titled Woman of A Certain Age, but no. What can I say about being in this time of life? Let's see. I skipped a rare dance at our Fellowship last week. Dancing doesn't call to me anymore, or if it does, it's a rare flash of a call from a song on the radio, which I rarely turn on, or something I'm playing on a cd, which sparks a spontaneous churning of my body as it tries to recall that old connection between body and feeling and sound. It can be cathartic. It can be breathtaking, in a disheartening sort of way.

So here's what being 65 is meaning to me, besides skipping dances. I have an incredible urge to do things I've been putting off forever. In a two week period when I was home sick with a bug/cold, I cleaned my library out and let go of about 17 grocery bags of books I don't believe I'll ever read or read again. It was not hard. It was freeing and exhilarating. So rather than feel spent, I felt like I wanted to tackle the next thing. 

I ordered blinds for all but two windows in the house. I've wanted to do this for twelve years. I always felt I couldn't afford them. I was not right about that. I was, in fact, wrong. So now I have blinds. I close them at night and the house is kept a little warmer and I feel more snug here, more nested. This is a wonderful cozy feeling. It makes my house feel more like a sanctuary than I've been able to create here since moving in. 

Before the blinds arrived I pulled out those paint samples I bought a year ago, the ones Jeanne Moore, a great person who's really good at finding colors for a space, had chosen for me. She called it a cameo palette and I was anxious to try it out but not anxious enough, apparently. Finally I painted around three large windows to see what the colors would look like. I think I'm really going to like the change, from himalaya green (which I've loved) to a sort of cocoa color in the fireplace/living room; a warm peachy beige in the dining area and a lighter brighter cream in the kitchen. There'll be a deep taupe-rose-like shade on the floating wall in the foyer too. 

While I was about it  I moved the living room furniture around. Finally the seating takes full advantage of the fireplace wall (not pretty but when there's a fire, as there often is, clearly the heart of this home) and makes the room feel like it's finally welcoming and comfortable. This involved moving some pieces out, which shouldn't surprise me. Clutter is a big issue and one I've talked about getting under control/changing for years. 

I moved the computer and newer desk back to the library along with a second sofa my friends Nancy and Earl gave me. This is a small room but it is so cozy now and doesn't feel isolating at all. Being more organized and the presence of the sofa softens it and makes it more inviting. This doubles as my 'tv room' or a place to watch Hulu or movies on my computer. The closeness of the sofa to the screen helps with this. The living room was long and narrow and it was hard to arrange things for multi purpose use, so the computer/tv was never really close enough to the sofa. Now the seating is gathered around the fireplace, which is the natural thing to effect, a long rectangle has a square of seating in front of the fireplace. I can't believe it took me twelve years to figure this out. 

I'm tackling the kitchen next and the closets and the garage and....the realization seems to be that finally I am ready. Ready to de-clutter my life. To let go of more stuff. To please myself. 

The heaviness in my life is lifting. Or I'm pushing it out. And that goes for the body. It's taken me a long time to feel whole and healthy and I've been a compulsive eater all my life, so physical health is threatened by my current weight and condition. I can't walk the miles I used to a couple of years ago without my arthritic feet really acting up, so yesterday I started swimming. It's a beginning. I'm keeping fruit on the counter all the time and eating lots more oranges, pears and apples, the fruits of the season. Now I have got to get my meal portions under control. My hope is that this determined work to change my environment will help me to be as dedicated to treating my body well too. 

Best of all, everything I'm doing is to support a life I truly love. Writing poetry is my passion. I was asked, and honored to be asked, to sing for a fundraiser next month. I declined. When I first moved here and people asked what my passion was I said: writing, singing, acting and photography. What it's come down to twelve years later is the realization that I don't have time and energy to pursue them all. So all I've been doing for much of the past two years is writing. And it really really feels good. I'm creating an environment to feed my health and feelings of fulfillment while I pursue that passion. 

That's where I am. Anyone reading this: I hope this year has started off with you loving yourself and your space and nourishing your life as well as you possibly can. If you feel you're failing, like I did over the weekend, well, start again. You're allowed. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Cases Like This

"It's cases like this that remind firearm owners about the importance of gun safety and making sure their children understand they should never touch firearms without their parents' permission."

The case referenced (Seattle Times, Oct. 26) is that of a four-year-old boy (not in Seattle but in Kitsap County) accidentally shooting his mother with a shotgun. Yes, I said four - not fourteen, but four

How could a four-year-old even hold a shotgun, you might wonder? Well, he wasn't holding it. And it wasn't loaded when he walked up to it. This little boy placed a round of live ammunition in the gun, whose bolt was already "pulled back and locked open" while it lay on his parents bed, ostensibly "under a blanket." 

The boy "slipped a shell" into the gun and "pulled the trigger." 

How did he come to have a shell? According to the police: "the boy's 25-year-old father had, at some point, given his son a shell to handle because he was curious about firearms and ammunition."

Really? He was curious? Well, it's good for children to be curious, isn't it? That's how they learn. And we should encourage healthy curiosity. Most of us don't encourage it by giving children live ammo to play with, or maybe that's just me - and everyone I know. To be clear, my former husband and his family were hunters. His was a lifetime NRA hunting family. I'm a vegetarian pacifist, but I really do believe the best we all can do is to live according to our own conscience. And I lived with it because my in-laws were also conscientious and clear about gun safety. My children's father kept his guns locked in cases, not lying around, and ammunition was locked in a separate case from the guns.  

The Sheriff's Office spokesman was quoted in the Seattle Times article as saying no arrests are expected but that if prosecutors decide to file charges it would be "something along the lines of negligence." He noted that the family "has been pretty shaken up by the incident." 

I'm writing with a lot of italics in this piece because what struck me as I read the Seattle Times article was that it matters very much how we say things. How we say things reflects a great deal about how we live and how we treat one another, how we take or don't take responsibility for our actions. And here we have the authorities who are charged with protecting us all giving this Dad a pass in a situation where he clearly and obviously was not only negligent but put his family in harm's way. The authorities might well say they have not given him a pass, that they are taking all appropriate action.  I hope that is true, but their words are not reassuring in this regard. 

At the time the child shot the gun the father was not at home. I imagine that the father did not intend the child to do what he did, but he made it terribly easy for the child to do. Because it's hard to wrap one’s brain around this, I repeat: the gun was on the bed, the child had his live ammo which Daddy had forgotten that he gave him, the bolt was pulled back and locked open

"All the kid did was drop the shell in the chamber, touch the bolt release and pull the trigger," the Sheriff's spokesman said. "He had probably seen his dad do it a hundred times."

Fortunately for everyone involved in this case there was a chair between the gun and the mother and the chair took a lot of the impact. The pellet wounds were less severe because of that and she was treated and released from the hospital.

That quote at the top of this page? It's from Dave Workman, who the Seattle Times says is the editor of Gun Week and a nationally recognized firearms authority. Experts are doing such a great job of guiding gun owners about safety issues, aren't they? 

In case you're worried about the little family affected this time, to recap: the 23-year-old mother has pellet wounds in her back, the father is, according to the Sheriff's office and the newspaper's headline, "kicking himself" and I'm guessing the little four-year-old boy is scarred for life. In cases like this, though, that's to be expected. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Anonymity and Intent

Why be anonymous? I don't get it. I understand the value of stealth, as a friend puts it. He enjoys visiting cities because he can move about in them, among all those people, but still retain his privacy because no one knows him. For instance, he can sit in a coffee shop, undisturbed.

Here's another iteration of anonymity. Someone left an anonymous comment on my blog. It was a useful comment, factual in content and helpful to me because it addressed an error I made. I had relied on a memory which proved faulty and am glad to have the misinformation corrected.

The thing about the written word is that we cannot always catch the tone or subtext of it. However, we often do have an idea of tone and subtext when we know the person whose words we are reading.

In this case the correction seemed to have some attitude embedded. I could almost hear the words "you idiot" attached to the end of each phrase, which may or may  not be an accurate interpretation of tone.

I'm already mortified when I realize I've said something that's not accurate. And my friends know that I'm quick to own my mistakes, so it's difficult to imagine a friend commenting anonymously. Yet in this case it's most likely to be one of my Facebook friends who left the comment as it came very soon after I posted the blog to my Facebook page - odder still, as we are not anonymous on Facebook

In any case, it's okay to be a smart ass. Some of my best friends are smart asses. But I take their criticism better when I'm looking them in the eye. And as I said, I could be misreading the intent because of the fact that the writer didn't identify himself.

Critical comments are helpful to me, as this one was, and I do appreciate them. Some things are hard to say, to be sure. But this comment should not have been hard for anyone who knows me to say publicly or privately. 

I've changed the blog so it only accepts comments from people with names. I've never sent an anonymous letter to the editor, though sometimes that might have felt the safer thing to do. An anonymous comment on a personal blog? If the intent is good, what's the anonymity about? If the intent was to embarrass or shame, be honest enough to own it.