Sued51's Blog

{July 8, 2020}   What’s in a Purse?

Rumi and the Red Handbag

Before I read “Rumi and the Red Handbag” by Shawna Lemay, I would have answered this question in a very literal way: all the things I think I might need on any given day. I am not a fashionista; my purse is just a necessary tool of life. This book made me see purses in a new way, as a metaphor for life.

“The purse is a diary containing the scattered sprawl and patient sticky grunge of life. It’s a skin, a husk, it holds guts and gizzards. Think of the disruptive depths, the darkness of a purse! The purse is a portal, a hinged door. It’s the heavy burden to the bruised portal of our intimate murky depths, our tranquil and far-off selves. We carry these objects relentlessly, courageously, anonymously, absentmindedly.”

And there is so much more!! Those words are part of a long soliloquy about purses by the character Ingrid-Simone, or I.s. as she is alternately known in the novel. She is one of two characters working in a shop called Theodora’s Fine Consignment Clothing (Lemay had me right there, I once dreamed of owning Theodosia’s Tea Shop in Glasgow KY…it captured my imagination) . Working with each other all day they become friends of a fashion, but though the character telling the story paints us a picture of I.s. as an amazing person, she discovers she didn’t know Ingrid-Simone at all.

This book is deceivingly short or small but so FULL of beautiful language and life lessons — just like a woman’s purse can be.

I have been following Shawna’s blog for a while (Transactions with Beauty) and really wanted to read her book (it came out in 2015). I ordered it online during quarantine. For me, it was like taking a bite of a freshly made truffle, and I savored the smooth deliciousness of it. And, thinking of my own purse, it inspired me to write a poem.


Everything in my life is too small.

The purse I lug around

fat with old receipts,

salvaged change, and

everything I think I could need

on any given day.

My apartment and closet

crammed too — bursting with

things I refuse to give up.

Yet, I am frugal to the point

of deprivation;

I clutch tight with claws

and fists and defend,

defend my junkyard life

like a vicious dog.

All my life I’ve known nothing

but making do,

worrying the same old bone,

funneling my needs and dreams

into what I already have —

the only way I know to stay full —

constricting to fit the vessel.

In love too, I’ve shrunk what I want

into you:

someone I see so little,

someone whose life

is elsewhere — you —

holder of my stifled desire,

my dear old bone.


copyright 2020 Susan Merrifield Desrocher


But don’t be distracted by my poetic efforts…read the 140-pg book, “Rumi and the Red Handbag” which is one long beautiful poem, and maybe you’ll buy a new purse, or write a poem of your own.


{April 30, 2014}   A Life of Irony

I am always reading personal development and inspirational blogs and books. I’ve tried meditation, visualization, and spirituality, and still I can’t figure out what my life’s purpose is and what I was meant to do. (PLEASE…THIS STATEMENT IS NOT AN INVITATION TO BLOGGERS OUT THERE WHO WANT ME TO JOIN THEIR PYRAMID SCHEME OF MAKING MONEY BLOGGING! I DON’T BELIEVE IN IT SO DON’T TRY TO HOOK ME.)

To bring God into it, I continue to be baffled by what he wants from me, I seem to be deaf to his messages in my life. My proof of this? My life is always full of irony. The moment I finally, after an agonizingly long time, make a decision, I am faced with an ironic response. Or my timing is off…things just don’t seem to work out.



My proof in point today: My to-do list had included the task — “make business cards” — for quite a while. My purpose was to use them as a tool to pick up freelance editorial work. But I wasn’t getting around to it. I finally decided to enlist the help of a friend’s daughter who is studying graphic design: good practice for her and assistance for me. On the front of the card I would advertise my services and on the back, my blogs. I finally spent the money and got them printed a couple of weeks ago.

And what happened in the meantime? One of the printers near me where I had planned to drop off a card and resume just laid off a large number of people. I was told by someone who works there…don’t bother…they won’t want your services…no work. I have been so busy working extra hours at my part-time job for the last month, as well as working on a freelance editing job and another part-time job, I have barely been able to visit my blogging community or produce blog posts. Result? Dead blog. JUST WHEN I PRINTED MY CARDS TO ADVERTISE. And now, a full-time job offer is on the table after I have been scrambling to pay my bills for a while…Although the job doesn’t involve what I THINK my talents are, I feel like I have to take it for financial stability.

What’s the message my readers? Is God telling me to give up my dreams and passion because it is not part of his plan for me or is he testing me? Based on the reading I have done, if you are following the path you are meant to follow, it will be smooth and easy. It won’t feel like constant barricades are being placed in your path. Or have I got that wrong?

I know that some of you manage to work full-time and still produce blog posts, but that doesn’t seem to be something I’m able to do. Is God it making a correction to my path or am I deluded as to what my talents are and what my purpose is?

I will move forward with the hope that there is a future I can’t foresee. In the meantime, I will try to post when I can. I’ve put 4 years into this…what’s another barricade?

{August 13, 2012}   Publishing Poems

Okay, so I sit for hours with the Poet’s Market on my lap, starring entries, dog-earring pages for later searches on the Internet. I’m looking for somewhere to send my poems. I tried asking poets I knew for help…they were too busy to respond. They are probably spending hours and hours too, but they are experienced and more successful at it.

I Google and Google…the hours pass and pass. What I am looking for? Someone who writes like me. But why? So “they” will ACCEPT my poems. Why? Why do I need that? To feel “legitimate”  I need others to choose my poems out of countless others. SIGH…it makes me crazy.

Hmmm…I wonder why my blog is not good enough for publishing a poem? It’s tossing my pebble out there to see what rings it makes…taking the chance it makes none at all…just goes clunk and is gone…a moment in time.

Speaking of time…I have to go to the gym and then off to work. I guess I’ll just throw this out there and enjoy the rings for now…or accept the lack thereof with grace and good humor.

That is the story of my life up to this moment…and likely beyond.


Words bleed out slowly

but clot quickly;

thick skin over thin,

white over brown;

itchy with the healing,

tight over bone;

scarring is unique,


without it,


Copyright, 2012

Susan Desrocher

My 84-year-old father told me that he now measures his life in a short-term way—from holiday to holiday—from Memorial Day to Father’s Day to July 4th

Although a year can be considered the universal unit of measuring the length of a life, most of us have a unique or personal unit of measure for the length of our lives, based on our values and interests.  For example, gardeners and sports fans measure by the seasons, runners measure by miles or the life of a pair of sneakers, parents measure by events in their children’s lives, and avid readers by the number of books they will read.  Most of us have several ways with which we measure our lives.  I certainly know a lot of Red Sox fans that believed they would never see the Red Sox win the World Series during their lifetime, until the Sox won in 2004.

 After losing our 20-year-old cat, my husband surprised me by measuring his remaining life expectancy by how many pets he will have in the future.  It made us choose our next cats carefully.  Our decisions seem more important and considered when we measure our lives in this personal way.  It isn’t exactly goal-setting, although it could be viewed that way; it is more a value assessment.  Sit down and think of all the ways you can categorize and measure your life expectancy and see if it changes your decision-making.

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: