Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday, May 31st 2014

Keeping A Diary

On this day in 1669 the famous writer Samuel Pepys
wrote the last entry in his diary. After relating how
his eyes were failing him, Pepys wrote:
         ". . . the good God prepare me!"

Many individuals have kept diaries/journals. Names that may
come to mind are: Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf, and Elie Wiesel.
We learn much of history through these diaries -- though many such
writings were not originally intended for publication.

Not so long ago, girls kept a diary with a lock.

Today in this digital age some choose other methods of keeping
track of events and/or  feelings and thoughts. Blogs, for instance,
are open to journal or diary entries.

Your life matters. You are unique. If you have not tried it, keeping
a diary can help you grow, especially as you look back ten years
from now to see who you were becoming in this year 2014.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30th 2014

Jeanne d'Arc

On May 30, 1431 at the age of nineteen, Joan of Arc
was burned to death after being convicted of heresy.
(A translation of the transcript of her trial can be found
on the Fordham University website.)
She was called the Maid of Orleans, daughter of God.
Many books have been written and films made of her life.
She is often depicted in Art wearing armor or men's clothing. 

"Whatever thing men call great,
look for it in Joan of Arc and
there you will find it."
                -Mark Twain (American Writer)

When questioned on the state of her soul, Joan of Arc replied:

If I am not in the state of grace, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday, May 29th 2014


"If we cannot now end our differences,
at least we can help make the world
safe for diversity."  -John F. Kennedy

(The initials are iconic.)
Born this day in 1917 John Fitzgerald Kennedy was
the 35th President of the United States.
Even those who were still in school can recall
the electricity in the air while he was in the White House.
He established the Peace Corps, saying that the most
important topic on earth was world peace.
In June of that fateful year -- 1963 -- J.F.K visited Ireland.
He traveled by motorcade down St. Patrick St. in Cork.
The Irish people loved him.
Fifty years later as you travel the streets of Cork, you
see why John F. Kennedy embraced his Irish heritage.
Smiles and "good day" greet the stranger in Cork
and all over the Emerald Isle.
A Hundred Thousand Welcomes! Yes.

Maybe today think about peace and a welcoming
attitude . . . and play a bit of Irish music.

       A bridge over the River Lee in Cork.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday, May 28th 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou

(April 4, 1928 -- May 28, 2014)


Those who met Maya Angelou will never forget the moment. . .

Dressed in flowing bright colors, she walks across the stage
and  lights a candle. Suddenly there is celebration in the air of
the auditorium at UCLA.
In that deep, caring voice she says, 

"Poetry is like a file sent in a cake
while you are in prison to set you free."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday, May 27th 2014


"Into the clouds my towers soar . . ."

                                 - Joseph Strauss

Today is the anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in
San Francisco.  On this day in 1937 thousands of people were waiting
to dance/ skip/ run over the amazing structure.
Joseph Strauss was the chief engineer for the bridge -- and a poet who
wrote about it.
Maybe you once sang the praises of California while visualizing 
that Golden Gate opening to you?


Photographers love the challenge
of that International Orange color.
Note: This image captured on
May 27, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.
 (Thank heavens for the digital
camera & media card.)

Happy Birthday! today to poet Linda Pastan, who writes 
about life experiences of daily life. Look up her poetry and enjoy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26th 2014

Words For A Special Day

"And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die."  

                                                                 -John Donne

Today is Memorial Day. There are many ways to think about this day,
though most thoughts will tend to uphold the idea that every person will
one day die. 

Maybe take a moment and be still with those who are gone before you.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday, May 25th 2014


"The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher."                  

                                            -Theodore Roethke

Do you feel the pathos --
Sadness, pity, sympathy?

The poet Theodore Roethke who was born this day in 1908 had 
a great talent for right words in right places. In the poem quoted
above, you will also come across words like dolor and inexorable.

Will you gloss-over these words or look them up? Vocabulary is
a wonderful tool for writers and anyone who wishes to communicate

This pitcher and basin rest at the former home of Thomas Wolfe.
Wolfe had a beautiful way with prose. He magnified moments. 
Maybe you can begin reading him now and we'll meet up with him
for his birthday in October.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24th 2014


"It is well to read everything of something, and
something of everything."      --Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky was born in Lenningrad on this day in
1940. His poetry was considered anti-Soviet. He came
to the United States in the 1970's with the help of W.H. Auden.
Brodsky won many awards for his work, including the
Nobel Prize and the MacArthur Award. He was Poet 
Laureate for 1991-1992. He died at the age of 55..

Also on this day in 1976 a wine-tasting
event was held in France. 
Red and white wines from California
and France were put to the test.
California wines came out on top. It
became known as "The Judgement of Paris."
The only journalist who covered the
event went on to write a book about it. 

 Winery Chapel

So, if it suits you this evening, have a glass of wine 

while you read a bit of poetry!  

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23rd 2014

Butterfly Effect

Edward Norton Lorenz was born this day in 1917. You may not know his
name, but you have heard of his chaos theory, which is often called "the
butterfly effect." For instance, how the wings of a butterfly in Japan can
trigger a storm here in the U.S.

Thirty years after Lorenz was born, the world welcomed the poet Jane Kenyon
She was married to the poet Donald Hall. She died from cancer when she was only forty-seven years old.

Maybe you will look at her work today and witness how a poem can change the weather in your world.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday, May 22nd 2014


"When the deep purple falls . . ." 

it must be May in California. 

Tropical and subtropical regions around
the world also share this unique tree.
A bit of research turns up a lovely story of how Kate Sessions,
a horticulturalist, imported the jacaranda tree to San Diego. 
In exchange for being granted some land for gardening, she
promised to plant 100 trees. And she did.

The special color of the five-lobed corolla sometimes appears
blue and in certain light purple. Around any corner, when you
least expect it, suddenly you see that color -- amethyst. 
Look for these jewels, take out your camera. Good Luck!
When their royal reign is over they give you only pods to ponder.

                                Purple Peeking in May

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday, May 21st 2014

Human & Divine

"To err is Human; to Forgive Divine."
                                   -Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope was an English poet born on this day
in 1688. He is frequently quoted. You may have heard
someone say, "A little learning is a dangerous thing."
Those are the words of Alexander Pope also.

These old words carry value even today.
Perhaps they touch you in your life and relationships. 
Is there someone you need to forgive?
That Divine power to forgive is within you!
Maybe this is the day you will write that note . . .

and send it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Given An Orchid

"Nobody sees a  flower, really --
it is so small -- we haven't time,
and to see takes time, like to have
a friend takes time."  -Georgia O'Keeffe

If you are a photographer . . .
And someone presents you with an orchid, thank them.
Then, thank them again and again -- for about a month!

You will see that lovely flower pose for you every day. 
You will take it from room to room under different lighting.
You will see marvelous creatures (some of them angels).
Georgia O'Keeffe knew.

Now, go find that orchid and make friends with it.



Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19th 2014

Her Love of Books

On this day in 1994, Jackie Kennedy died. She was only
64 years old.
"My mother died surrounded by her friends, and her family
and her books. . . "    -John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Those who recall her years as First Lady will never forget the grace and 
charm she brought to the President's Office. Later in life she became a 
book editor. Her respect for books and the idea of learning was captured
in the following quote:

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.
  Love of books is the best of all." 

                                               -Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 


A White House
  Rose Garden

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday, May 18th 2014

A Conversation with Oneself Begins*

"I sense that I am in the tree, and the tree is in me."
                                                   -Karol Jozef Wojtyla

Today is the birthday of a poet who became a Pope.
Karol Wojtyla was born outside Krakow, Poland in 1920.
His story is well- known.
Can we ask a saint to help us write a good poem, a new poem,
a true poem?
 "A Conversation with Oneself Begins." Now your turn, begin.

*poem title from The Place Within  (The Poetry of Pope John Paul II)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday, May 17th 2014

Armed Forces Day

President Harry Truman wanted  

a single holiday to honor and thank 

all our military:

Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force

Today is that day.

So get out the family album or the family Bible and look
up all those in your family who served our country
in the Armed Forces.
And when you find that relative or friend, say a
prayer of thanks for their service to the U.S.A.
We are all in their debt for the sacrifices they made.

          Flag & Lone Sailor Memorial
      (North End of Golden Gate Bridge)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday, May 16th 2014

The Elements

For the last few days in California
the elements have come together
 in a fierce way. Many are suffering
the consequences of Wind and Fire.

Water in the hands of firefighters has
been a saving element. Our Earth is hungry
for water here in the West--and in many
other parts of the world.

Do we value water?
Are we grateful each time we use it?

       "Water Making Music Out of Stone"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday, May 15th 2014

A Photographer Speaks

"If a day goes by without my doing something related
to photography, it's as though I've neglected something
essential to my existence . . . "  -Richard Avedon

Happy Birthday! Richard Avedon

                   Born: May 15, 1924
                   Died: Oct 1, 2004

The years he gave to his art are now forever preserved in
the faces and spirit of his subjects. He captured many models 
and movie stars. He found a way to bring them down
from the Big Screen and capture their true self. 

As a photographer do you impose, compose, or expose?

When you capture a child all decisions go
out the window. Every child is beautiful. Your work is
simply to capture a moment in that young life.


                     Bless them all!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fake vs. Real

Can you name some of the fake items
you might come across in one day . . .

Here are a few:
Fake crab meat
Fake fur
Fake flowers
Fake bells
Fake smiles

Are the above good or bad in your opinion?

Marie Osmond recorded the song "Paper Roses"
numerous times. It became a hit for her.
Some people prefer the convenience of  flowers
made from paper or plastic.  

Let's take the question of bells, fake bells.
Are they good for anything if they do not carry sound?
Walt Disney donated bells to the Chrystal Cathedral
(now Christ Cathedral) and the bells are soundless plastic.

It's good to test yourself on little things, so when the big
questions arise, you will appreciate the challenge.


     Silent Bells

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday, May 13th 2014


"Music is a part of being human, and there
is no human culture in which it is not highly
developed and esteemed." -- Oliver Sacks

Are you into music? Do you play an instrument?
Do you listen to old records, or a particular radio
station, or your IPOD?

MUSICOPHILIA by Oliver Sacks  is a fascinating
study of humans and their relationship to music.
"Music becomes companion," says Sacks "and a
communication between souls."
When you're feeling a bit down or sad, find a music 
companion from your youth or childhood and just listen.
You'll be singing before the song is over. . .

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, May 12th, 2014


"Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life."
                                                          -Pope Francis
                                                            Tweet 3-1-14

Imagine if you lived in a part of the world where you were prevented
from obtaining an education--that world exists for some (especially girls)

Do you complain about homework?
Is your teacher too demanding?
Do you want vacation now?

Today, thank those who put their whole heart into educating you, 
who insist that you give more to your work--which is learning.
They want to see you shine in all ways.
They want to see you happy in the working world.
They want to help you become the best person you can be.

          Girl Reading

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

At The Close of Day

"Songs go to sleep at night." -Brian Wilson

When you go to bed at the end of the
day is it difficult for you to fall asleep?
Was there a pattern to your bed-time
ritual as a child? The glass of water? 
Just one more story. Please.
On this Mother's Day you might recall a
special song that lulled you into dreams.
Allow yourself to hum it tonight. Something
is going to happen. . . 

                                                                   Sweet Dreams

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday, May 10th 2014

Thinking of Mothers

In May of 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed the 
Proclamation declaring Mother's Day as the second 
Sunday in May. For 100 years the tradition has continued.
On this eve of Mother's Day recall the many women who
have helped you along in your journey to become the 
person you are today . . . 

-who carried you in her womb and gave you life
-who chose you because she wanted you for her very own
-who taught you values and your ABC's
-who loved you more than she loved herself
-who guided you in difficult times
-who listened to you
-who cooked for you & fed you
-who told you every day, I love you

These may be qualities of only one person in your life--but it is more
likely in today's world that many mothers have come into your life
and loved you unconditionally.
Thank them in your heart--if not in person.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday May 9th 2014

In Any Language

An old Latin word.  Forgotten in today's world and yet we need
it more than ever. When was the last time you felt peace?
It is a gift and it was left to you. If you claim it and share it,
you can change the world.  Yes!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8th 2014

Of Memory 

"The long staircase of memory . . ."
                       - Cees Nooteboom

Have you ever compared memories with someone?
You know, you went to the same school, sang the
same songs -- maybe even loved the same person.
Then years later you compare notes and wonder
at the difference in your reverie. 
You're sure it happened a certain way and your 
friend says, "no" and goes on to describe it in 
what you feel is pure fiction.
You leave the story alone and claim your own
version because it has unified your life for so long
you can't give it up. 
Richard Rodriguez says we have no true home
but "The tablernacle of memory."  Alleluia!

Visiting Memories

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7th 2014


"I learned that waiting is a part of the work."
                                             -Seamus Heaney

First you wait for inspiration -- even though
you're told that real writers write every day

You send the work out.

Now you are in the waiting arena again.
Editors are not swift with their responses.
Weeks, months go by. You check websites,
you check & recheck your records. And if
you sent hard copies of your work, you wonder
if the mail got through or are you waiting in vain.

Animals wait
and never count
       the cost
of their lost time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6th 2014

Fruit Of The Vine

Do you read something special in
this heading? 
Dwell for a minute on the meaning 
& the metaphor.
There are so many kinds of 
fruit that grow on a vine.
Are we the branches of the vine
or the worker in the field? 
The fruit belongs to both.

. . . Amen

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5th 2014

Happiness vs Joy

Happiness can be fleeting. 
Joy is a condition of the soul.

Life's a zoo. You've said it yourself.
Happiness is not
pink candy spun out of air.
Sometimes it's a gorilla sitting
satisfied in careful attention
to something you cannot see.
You wave your arms
frantically wanting it
to dance or swing
which it does 
you are not looking.

                               -Kathleen Gunton
              ©2010 New Mexico Poetry Review

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4th 2014

Audrey Hepburn

How many young girls entered the convent
after seeing The Nun's Story? We'll never
know. Sister Luke remains one of the
most iconic nuns in the film industry.
Thank you Audrey Hepburn, who would
have been eighty-five years old today.

Did you know her dream as a child was 
to be a ballerina? Dance on lovely lady. . .

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3rd 2014

Inner World Outer World

Today is the birth day of May Sarton. A writer who
earned the title through years of writing without
the recognition she deserved.
May Sarton shared her inner world and
the outer world of her surroundings.
She kept Journals; she wrote poetry and fiction.
And maybe because she took time to 
recognize her readers (often writing to them),
she will never be forgotten.


Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2nd 2014

Simple, Supple Poppy . . . but 

Try to photograph this plant in even the slightest wind
and you will discover an ever-changing abstract. 
In stillness though, the flower is complex--beautiful.
Sometimes when we are quiet and calm the spirit shows
us our own try beauty.

Complex Beauty

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1st 2014


Sometimes we read a book and we suddenly need to read 
it again. A line gets stuck between our teeth and we need to
find it in print, and pick out that line to be sure we 
remembered it correctly. 
Because I Was Flesh (The Autobiography of Edward Dahlberg)
published by New Directions is one such powerhouse.
If you think you know the Bible; if you pride yourself
in knowing Greek mythology--you will find this book
How's this: "Mea culpa is the cry of all bones."
You could read this book all over again for such a line.

Every Time A Bookstore Closes
We Lose