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Having just learned of the death of Malinda Markham last September (2012)

I’m in shock.

 

I knew her from a brief phone conversation (arranged by my husband who

knew how much I admired her poetry) and several email exchanges, which

I’ve cherished.

 

Her work is dazzling, her language a rare combination of idea, immediacy,

metaphor and emotion.  It has inspired my own poetry again and again.

And now with an added poignancy.  I was waiting for her third book to

arrive…but alas, the world and I are left wanting.

 

Sleep well, dear Malinda.

 

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We’ve been meeting now for 17 years.  Norm and I

have been co-directors, choosing the topics for discussion

as well as films to stimulate it.  The success lies in the openness

of all participants, a willingness to express and to listen.  Our

topics range over the whole panoply of the arts, including fiction,

film, poetry, architecture and fine arts.  Our differences are well-

received…though we seem to focus more on intellectual and

subjective input.  Our participants vary in their backgrounds, mostly

professionals in a variety of fields.  That the Forum continues to

engage everyone enthusiastically is gratifying for us all.  I hope

it can serve as a model for others.

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INTO THE UNKNOWN

Allowing consciousness to move from the familiar, the known, into the unknown as a creative process

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NOW IS ALL WE HAVE

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COMPLEX GRIEF

Last Saturday my much-loved daughter, Christie Romero, died after 21 months of struggling and in a sense, conquering the limitations of the dread disease that has yet to be cured: pancreatic cancer. She was sixty-three.
But her spirit and enthusiasm for her world belied the years. I mourn. I grieve. As in the Hopkins poem…”It is Margaret (i.e., Christie) you mourn for.” His meaning is that the loss of life is mourned by the person who dies.
Those of us who are left are grieving for ourselves, what feels like a deprivation. No, the tragedy and mournfulness is in the ending of a life that still had so much life within it to be lived.

Christie has rightfully been extolled for many things: her valiant fight not to give in to the pain and demands of her illness… She accomplished more in the period after her diagnosis than most people do in a lifetime. She is being given tribute from people all over the world not only for her scholarly, uncompromising work as a jewelry historian (totally auto didactic), but for the generous, spirited way she helped and inspired her students, colleagues and friends. She is a powerful loss to that world.

The umbilical cord that tied me to my daughter is primordial and her death was, at first, something I thought I couldn’t bear. But she belonged to her own world, which is only right and I rejoice in how much she filled it and was rewarded by it. Realizing this, makes the release possible…especially knowing that her suffering has ended.
Am I somehow less of a mother than a woman who wails and tears her hair at the loss of her adult child?
I hope…and even think…not.

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To know him is to love him, right? Those who do know him most assuredly agree. And I certainly do! I’m the lucky beneficiary of daily contact with a man of more good qualities than even Wikipedia could encompass. Hey, I’m not saying he’s a saint…or Mr. Perfection! What makes him so terrific is that despite a few minor flaws, like chipping dishes, leaving drawers and cabinets ajar, not drinking enough water and hating Bette Davis, he is special.

Is it significant that I’m singing his praises on Father’s Day? Probably.
He’s been father, mother, brother, lover, friend, pharmaceutical advisor to me for over 25 years. And he takes out the garbage! Does the dishes and now with my bad back even does the laundry! Oh, yes, he fixes what’s broken “break”fast. Well, that’s all he fixes…another one of his flaws…not a Man For All Repair Jobs…though he gives his best try…often ending in disaster.

I love that he spends a large part of each day with his nose in a good book (a very discerning reader) or writing his unique, perceptive poetry.
His incredibe wit keeps me young as I laugh away, if not the wrinkles, at least some of the stings and arrows of life. We sometimes differ in our tastes…for books, movies, art. That’s what gives us some grist. How boring always to agree. He never plays the Man With Superior Taste. His sensitivity to others is lived at an amazing level day-to-day with me. He loves my involvement with baseball…the Dodgers, in particular. Friends: his criteria: intelligence, sensitivity, relatedness, humor. He’s discerning without being judgemental.

Living with Norm, as you probably have gathered, is bliss! You’re right.

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