Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Important Things That Happened to Me This Year

2013 is drawing to a close and YIKES!  Another year is gone.  I'm reflecting on 10 important things that happened to me this year.

1.  I put my house up for sale in the spring.  I'm learning about patience, since the market is slow here.  Someone was shown the house today...

2.  I attended my first writers' conference with a one and a half day intensive poetry workshop.  I wrote 2 poems I'm really proud of as a result.

3.  I started volunteering.  I was assigned to the Breast Care unit at Nash Hospital.

4.  I found out I don't have to have a man in my life.  I made a bad choice last year and ended a friendship.

5.  I became certified as an Arthritis Foundation exercise instructor and work part time in that capacity.

6.  I cleared out old clothes and books that I no longer need.

7.  I became an advocate for the Arthritis Foundation.

8.  I started a children's book and sent it to a publisher.

9.  I visited the Small Library at the University of Virginia to see the Stone Collection.

10.  I joined a new church, the Durham Presbyterian Church.

Writing Fiction


Monday, December 23, 2013

My All Time Favorite Christmas Book


Cast Off

I cast off the small slights,
the regrets,
the longings,
and wantings

I cast off the past
and the future
and give myself a present,
the present,
which is why it's called a gift.
A present of the present.

So I move 
move with about as much grace 
as I can muster  

The unexpectedness
the spontaneous beauty,
that's a new way of thinking

I cast off,
secure in my knowledge
and hope for the future.


Rain explodes from the 
clouds, races across the plains,
drenching the parched earth.

"A Beautiful Moment" (for my brother's birthday)

"A Beautiful Moment"

Happened just now
Trees swaying
Wind's picking up.


A Monet Morning

A mountain range of clouds
Against a Carolina blue sky.
The almost full moon,
starting to fade.

"What Is Green?"

What is Green?

Green is the color of healing.
My yard is green, green is everywhere.
Ireland is green.
Green is calming.
And peaceful.
Here's what Theodore Giesal
had to say about green,

"Green days.  Deep in the sea,
cool and quiet fish.  That's me."

My Front Porch

My Front Porch

Sounds, birds, what kind?
Wind, cooling me.
Green, everything is green.
Like the emerald ring I once had
that was taken by thieves.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"My Week With Marilyn"

     Last night I happened upon a Netflix movie that I missed when it came out in theatres, "My Week With Marilyn."  Michelle Williams stuns as Marilyn, and does her own singing in the film.

     It's about a young Englishman, Colin Clark, who wanted more than anything to break into film and he managed to talk his way into becoming Laurence Olivier's asst. director on the film "The Prince and the Showgirl," starring Olivier along with Marilyn Monroe.  Olivier was a great actor who wanted to become a film star.  Monroe was a film star who wanted to become a great actress.  They were both very unhappy working together with Marilyn often late to the set and Olivier becoming more and more angry.

     The only thing that placated Marilyn was spending time with Colin.  He visited, they went to the country, visited Windsor Castle, and of course, he fell in love.

     Olivier apparently was thoroughly frustrated by Marilyn's behavior and made he do take after take.  She often forgot her lines.  He got angry at her and sometimes she left the set in tears.  He reportedly commented on how exhausted he was by the experience, that it made him older.

     When the movie was completed, however, and he was watching it play back, he commented on how she lit up the screen, how delightful she was.  Colin Clark remarked that Marilyn brought joy to people.  What a talent!  It's interesting to think about how she would have matured as an actress.

     Colin Clark went on to become a successful director and filmmaker.  And Laurence Olivier went on to enjoy the greatest success of his career.


Friday, December 13, 2013

On the Road in McCarthy, Alaska

On the Road in McCarthy, Alaska
by Jim Drewry

They're calling for 4-8 inches
 on Friday.
 and more on Sat.. 
But what do they know in Gulkana?

In the meantime,
 the road is smooth sailing. 
 No glacier overflow, packed snow. 

Coming in last night,
 we had that sparkly
diamond reflecting lazy snow. 

All is good just now. 

Sweet drive.

Image Credit:  Stacy Moreno

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Safety Zone

Safety Zone

Hushed voices murmurred
in a corner of the room.
She called him closer,
"do you love me?"
"Yes," he replied.
But she knew better.
She shouldn't have had to ask.
The she asked him to leave the room.

She gave one final push,
so hard, she almost forgot to breathe.
Then, out he exploed,
like a cannonball,
a sudden surprise of flesh and blood.

The hush was palpatable.
He wasn't crying.
Not a sound.
She strained to hear something.
But nothing...
Just the anxious voice of the doctor,
saying, "c'mon little guy,

There was a peaceful stillness,
then a flurry
of busyness,
as he was taken out
of the delivery room.
She knew, 
that everything would be ok.

And it was.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

On Meeting James Taylor

They were all there,
Trudy, Kate,
then the man himself, 
strolling in through the front door
of the Chapel Hill Museum.
I was reeling with excitement,
like some silly sixteen year old.

I remembered standing in the cafeteria line
at Virginia Commonwealth University,
remarking to a friend
"Have you heard this new singer,
James Taylor?"
J. T. was the rage.

"Fire and Rain"
was the song that got everyone talking,
about his time at the McLain Institution
in Massachusetts,
where he checked himself into
the psych ward.
"Suzanne, the plans they made
put an end to you."

America's Troubador,"
announced the cover of Time Magazine
for June 28, 1974.

Now, 24 years later,
I'm in the Chapel Hill Museum
watching the DVD of J. T.'s 
"Pull Over" album.
He was rockin' the crowd with
his band 
(Luis Conte on percussion)
playing "Mexico."

                                              Chapel Hill Museum devoted a space for J. T.
For a small donation, you could get invited
to the reception to meet him!
I did just that,
and now I'm waiting for him to arrive.
A tall, lean man soon entered,
greeting guests (people who had known him when he was a kid)
silver haired neighbors.
 Lots of hugs and chatting.
Then, he comes in my direction!
Looked straight at me!
"Dana?" he asked.
How did he know my name?
Oh yeah, the name tag.

"I'm a fan," I replied,
"one of the originals."
He bent WAY down to give me a hug.

That day, everyone was a fan
of J. T.

Now, 10 years later,
J. T. is still America's Troubador.
Coming through the recent door
of memory.
Singing at Red Sox games.
After the Boston shootings.

A million fans on Facebook.
World traveler.
But most important,
still humble.

"He's a minister,"
his mother, Trudy, told me.
A minister of music.

Yale Open Courses

    Several years ago, before I went to Paris, I discovered a wonderful French history class online.  Yale University operates Yale Open Courses and it's possible to view or listen to lectures by a number of professors at the University, and other universities as well.  Here's a link to the French course.


My next plan is to take a Poetry class