Fifty-Five Years of Gratitude

img_1235-1(From a work in progress)

 

The heart knew it was 55 years ago that you last went to that restaurant with your uncle. Do you say something to him?

 

Probably not because back then you were a child who was too small to even look out of the backseat of his car and see the snow covered streets, streets with no one but children who had been forced from their home during another Sunday night alcohol fueled rage. Do you say something, hoping he would remember?

 

Do you look at him and realize that back then he was barely more than a teenager himself, so young and proud of his red 1963 Chevy with back then unheard of features of automatic windows and doors. I drove all the way from the city to pick up the kids, your uncle said, so they wouldn’t be walking in that empty field or the swamp.

 

You look at your uncle and realize he’s nearly 80 now. You look at his hands that have had dozens of operations from damage done during the lifespan of a laborer.

 

Yet he still has that boyish smile, the quick wit, the quick temper.

 

But he’s 80 and you’re not eight years old anymore. You have a career, an education, a loving kind spouse.

 

But this is a gratitude 55 years in the making , for taking a child off the street that night, making jokes, buying hot chocolate, anything other than spending a cold winter night alone outside.

 

You can’t say thank you for that to an 80-year-old uncle. You just can’t. You’ve never spoken about it.

 

You reach across the table, take the check, walk to the counter and pay.

 

Random Character Thinking in my Brain

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Just some random thoughts…thinking about writing fiction and this character came to mind, and he was thinking…

And as he wrote into the night, he realized his stories, his poems were almost always about the outsider–like his dreams. He was always outside looking in at well-lit warm kitchens, just trying to smell the dinner cooking, trying to hear the parents and children talking.

I’m an old crazy coot, he thought. I’m the outsider for sure, even in my own writing. Even in my own mind.

Publications, Updated

9 wordle  Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included online and in print books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

“Saltwater Faces,” a poem, High Shelf Press, 2019.

“The Night is Our First Language,” poem, published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November-December 2018.

“Click” and “They Left the Bed,” poetry published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November-December 2018.

*”Moving Gravel” a short story at Crack the Spine – Themed Anthology Submissions – -“Routine”, print edition, 2018.

*”Walk With Child” at https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/  September 2018 Issue, “Here and Gone.”

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018, “Herstory,” a poem, published October  2018,https://coffinbell.com/herstory-lesson/

*Spillwords Press, 2018, a poem, “Stopped” by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press.

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK), poetry.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21), “Hell, No,” a poem at JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20), JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17), JOMP Volume 17. 

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

The Email that Vanished and Good Bye to a Best Man

About five months ago, I started this blog and got an email associated with the blog. At first, I added that email to my phone and my computer at home. However, since I only got spam- like email there, I removed that email many many months ago.

However, tonight I saw an email from the daughter of one of my husband’s dear childhood friends. She informed us that her father had passed away, and asked to contact her. My husband asked me to reply as soon as possible, so I went into the next room and logged onto the computer.

However, her email was gone. Completely gone. Absolutely completely gone. Not in spam. Not in deleted. Not in trashed. Not an archive. Simply nowhere.

Since two of us saw the email, I knew I was not crazy. I knew we had actually seen it. And I remembered enough about the writer to be able to find her by her career and institution where she works.

And then I added back the email to my phone for my blog, the blog here. And there was her original email, notifying us of father’s death.

Her father had been the best man at our wedding. Her father was a very dear dear dear friend to my husband, who is a quiet and gentle soul, and appreciated his friendship very much.

There is no way I should’ve seen the original email at all. It is not surprising that it disappeared; rather, it is surprising that I saw at all since it was not on my phone, that email, nor on my computer.

Sometimes glitches with technology can work out. I’m not going to make it anymore than that.

However, we had been wondering what happened to his dear friends since he didn’t reply anymore to our texts or emails.

And now we know. Now we can mourn him, and send our love out into the universe and to his family.

Sometimes glitches can actually help us.

Thanks for reading this, and I hope all the little glitches in your life help you.

Changing Seasons Type of Day

img_2303  Trying this blog entry from my cell phone–that’s risky! I am outside and just do not want to go INSIDE and log onto a computer… 

What an odd day, a day mixed with joy and sadness. 630 AM—still dark—road closed ten seconds before the intersection where I turn to get to work and a truck started pouring hot tar in two lanes. Semi ahead of me kept knocking down tree branches (too big for the small amount of the lane still open) and construction cones. I had to get out of the car in the dark to move the cones, but finally a construction worker let me through.

11 hours of work (part time !) Some middle school kids on the college campus today. So cute. So loud. Sipping their pumpkin spice sugared drinks waiting for the presentation they were here for.

Some students asked if I could teach them next term.

Drove home in the dark.

Sad loved one’s health news.

Two more poetry rejections.

Glad I’m part time. This won’t happen often. To work in the dark. Home in the dark.

Glad for modern medicine which may help family member.

And frogs! I’m sitting outside in the dark with my trusty tennis racquet (you know… in case of critters) and with a spotlight hearing LOUD FROGS. It’s that warm now!?!??!! Wind blowing off so many remaining leaves.

Love hearing those frogs. Thought I’d not hear them for months, until spring.

Truly a changing season type of day.

(Picture taken with my little camera phone while sitting in the dark, soft rain… back flashlight light on the bush. I’m such an adventurer.)

Thanks for reading; may your seasonal changing days change well, with kindness and hope.

“The Night is our First Language” (poem) to be published

Pleased to learn a poem I’ve really liked over the years, “The Night is Our First Language,” will be published (by Willowdown Books) in Poetic Bond VIII (UK) along with two others.

The third poem was not short listed as the others were, but fit the theme and tone overall, the editor stated. I’m pleased about this because it is a poem about the power of poetry–specifically the power of the Li Young Lee’s poetry to motivate me to write!

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Adult Literacy Training Completed & I Meet My Student Friday!

SMALL HEART BOOKS POETRY     There is very little dearer to my heart and mind than literacy in its many forms;  expression and communication across the miles and years is nearly miraculous, in my opinion.  I cannot say if I love reading or writing more, for I spend so much of my life reading and writing!  If I am not reading or writing, I am often thinking IN WORDS… and thinking about reading and writing. I teach reading and writing.  I practice reading and writing. My hobbies include READING AND WRITING.

I go to book discussions. I take literature classes.  I write poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  I take creative writing classes.  I submit poetry and fiction for publication, and SOME RARE TIMES I get published.

I’m rather boring, aren’t I?  I am so much about reading and writing.

I’ve seen firsthand how literacy can improve and even save lives.  That’s how strongly I believe in the importance of literacy.

My own personal literacy story is still to come, but I will say I am one who was probably saved from a miserable life partly by the ability to read and write well.  (Then there is also the out of control work ethic and stubbornness, but those are stories for later as well.)

This Friday, after completing the second full day of training, I meet the student I will be working with for at least the next six months.    I have come full circle, since decades ago I was an adult literacy tutor through Laubach Literacy International, now merged with Literacy Volunteers to become ProLiteracy.

Here is a link to a great article, “Adult Education Helps Break the Cycle of Poverty,” published by ProLiteracy: click here.

The article points out that:

The value of adult literacy to our economy is estimated at more than $200 billion per year in additional wages and reduced costs for public support programs. Educating adults is a sound investment. Yet, public funding for adult education programs has declined over the past 15 years despite most adult education programs having long student waiting lists. Programs can only serve a fraction of the adults who need services.

Indeed, my student has been waiting nearly a year for a tutor, and some students have been waiting longer than that.  So many more trained literacy tutors are needed!

I’m excited, and I hope I can help my student reach her literacy goals; I know I will sure try hard!

Now I need to get back to preparing lessons for my college teaching job–teaching College Reading. Are you surprised?

Thank you for reading.