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{April 28, 2020}   Pre-Pandemic Life

A year ago at this time, I thought my life was finally headed in the right direction. Besides working full-time, I was very busy doing things I loved: I was teaching a writing workshop and regularly attending a poetry workshop. One of my poems had been accepted to appear in a book, and the book was coming out. I was looking forward to an event where I would meet the author (Randy Susan Meyers) who had put the book together. And REALLY looking forward to an event that seemed to complete a circle in my life.

The proceeds from the sale of Women Under Scrutiny were going to Rosie’s Place. I was proud of that, because I knew about Rosie’s Place and thought they did wonderful things, and I had met the woman who started it, Kip Tiernan. Here’s my backstory.

When I was in my late twenties I worked with a wonderful editor at Houghton Mifflin named Edie Nicholson. She was a mentor of sorts for me and for many young women I knew. She encouraged my poetry attempts and hung one up on her cubicle wall. I have never forgotten that one time when I was feeling discouraged about the world and said I wanted to go live in the middle of nowhere in a cabin and not deal with anyone, she spoke to me passionately. “No, that is exactly what you can’t do! You need to get out and be an example!” Whenever I feel knocked down and want to run away I still hear her voice.

Well…on with the story. Edie’s long-time companion was Kip Tiernan. When Edie stopped working (she was over 80), we all missed her. One day my husband and I went to visit Edie at her Beacon Hill apartment. Kip was there. I visited with Edie and my husband talked to Kip. He was really impressed with her intelligence and political views. It was a memorable afternoon.

When Edie died, I wrote an emotional poem about her and sent a sympathy card to Kip, including the poem. Kip called me to thank me and told me tearily that she wanted to include the poem in the program for the memorial service for Edie. I was touched and happy.

My Poem For Edie

At the time of Edie’s memorial service I was no longer working for Houghton Mifflin. I had been laid-off when they decided to dissolve my department and I was a casualty. The head of Human Resources got up at the service and read my poem. Not planned–she said she just saw it and wanted to read it. I felt a softening of some bitterness about the end of an important period of my life and and a little less sadness for the end of Edie’s.

Fast forward to 2019: When the book excitement happened, a good friend at work told me to tell a man at work that I did not know that well. She told me he was involved with Rosie’s Place and might want to know about the book and hear my story. We had a wonderful conversation!! It turned out his mother had worked there for many years and he was an honorary member of the Board of Directors. He was involved with a big fundraiser gala that Rosie’s holds every May (but sadly not this year). It just happened to be coming up about a month after the book was coming out.

I could not afford a ticket to the gala ($500!), but he said he would try to get me involved as a volunteer. I was so excited! I took a vacation day from work. I worked a very long day beginning at noon doing blackboards for the restaurants that would have tables there, and that evening I worked selling raffle tickets for a diamond ring giveaway.

My Volunteer Handiwork

I could not stop thinking about how proud Edie (and Kip) would be not only for my poem being part of a book that benefited Rosie’s, but for my work there that day. In fact I felt like they had something to do with the serendipitous nature of the whole thing that took over thirty years to happen.

I was sore and exhausted the next day (I was not used to being on my feet for so many hours and I am no longer young), but what a wonderful night it was. I really thought it was the beginning of a new direction in my life. When the circle closes, it feels like some sort of pinnacle, and everything seems to make sense!

But the book faded away without much fanfare and I never met the author. The night of the publicity event was the same night my brother passed away in hospice with our family all around. There is always something more important than my own ambitions. Like a pandemic…:-(



{June 18, 2019}   Women Under Scrutiny

I have been pretty much MIA in the blogging universe for the last couple of years. I am busy working and trying to make headway with my photography and writing in the real world. And finally I have something to celebrate!

I had a poem chosen to be included in this anthology! I can’t write a better synopsis than this paragraph from the back of the book:

“Women Under Scrutiny is an honest, intimate examination of the relationships we have with our bodies, hair, and faces, how we’ve been treated by the world based on our appearance — and how we have treated others.” All proceeds go to Rosie’s Place in Boston, a very worthy cause!

You can purchase it on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Women-Under-Scrutiny-Anthology-Stories/dp/173209361X

 

A great big thank you to Randy Susan Meyers and Brooklyn Girl Books for putting this together! And for her wonderful new novel “Waisted” about women struggling with the issue of weight loss in our judgmental society.

 



et cetera
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