Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

When Carolyn Flynn invited me to participate in her friend Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey’s art opening at 5G North Gallery at the Factory on Fifth, my initial reaction was, “This could be fun.” I went to meet Katy at her home and studio, so that we could discuss with Carolyn and the other readers (Albuquerque poet laureate emeritus Jessica Helen Lopez, Santa Fe author Rob Wilder) how we would approach the event. It was a brief meeting, one person on the phone and the other not available. Because I was buried in the second volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, hoping to finish it in time for my book club, I did little of the vetting of the other readers as I would normally do. So, I went, having not read anyone else’s work or knowing what to expect. Because I...

What makes a “hero?”

The author ponders whether she is one, and takes a hard look at these times It seems to me that since Sept. 11, and perhaps much prior to Sept. 11, perhaps since the beginning of time, we have used the term “hero” too lightly. When I worked for the American Red Cross in New York City after Sept. 11, the office gave me a child’s drawing that was meant to present to volunteers, such as myself. It says on it, “Dear Heroes.” This was the one they gave me, and so I accepted it in the right spirit, but I did say to them, “I am no hero.” They kept insisting that I was. I just happened to be proficient in mental health work, as I am a social worker and a psychoanalyst. I felt a desire to help the city that gave me my education The firefighters rushed in to save people in...

Goodbye, Aretha!

Goodbye, Aretha!

My tribute to the Queen of Soul The other day, I woke up to discover Aretha Franklin had died. The world feels different to me now. Whenever my life has needed a musical pick-me-up, I have always turned to Aretha and Janis. I can still turn to them, but they will never make another recording, just as Maya Angelou will never write another poem or William Trevor will never write another short story, Aretha and Janis have done all they are going to do. Aretha has been with me since the 1960s. I cannot remember the recording that first got my attention. If memory serves, it was I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. That would have been 1967, and the year of the Detroit riots, the year of tanks in the streets and fires burning, the year of abiding by curfews and...

Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Finding good fortune in the company of my next novel, my husband, our dog Django and Proust As most of you know, I closed my private practice office in July 2017. But for the few remaining patients whom I thought might benefit from another year with me, and who did not wish to have to see another therapist, we continued by phone. As of December 2018, I will be ending these most precious relationships as well. For those of you who have had the experience of long-term treatment, or those of you who do long-term treatment as therapists yourselves, perhaps you can appreciate what this might mean to me. If only I had owned a shop where I might just close the doors and that would be that. We can become attached to shops or even their keepers, but this sort of...

Pondering Hatred

Pondering Hatred

Why are we so deeply entrenched in our own ideas that we cannot understand others? This little fellow reminds me of myself today, as I ponder a quotation I heard the other day on news commentary. It isn’t the exact quotation, but the idea is simple enough: One cannot dispel ignorance with arrogance. This sounds easy enough, but our passion for our beliefs is strong. When we become heated in our arguments, filled with the zeal to convey our truths, we tend to disregard what the other person (or persons) is saying. We are too deeply entrenched in our own ideas to truly hear the thoughts of others. I watched a documentary recently made by a Pakistani Muslim woman journalist who came to this country to interview people and learn about white supremacy. Her interviews...

Where do I gather my inspiration?

Where do I gather my inspiration?

Many of my friends never knew that I used to write song lyrics before my memoir (Myopia, a memoir) was published. It was one of my great joys when I lived in New York City in the early years. My friend, Guy Strobel, and I would sit for hours at his piano, up four flights in a walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen. An actor, writer, composer and singer, Guy has always made me laugh. He is not unlike Peter Pan, although he is quite mature. I think of him as a creative wood sprite who just happens to have lived most of his life in the Big Apple. For several years, I lost track of Guy. We moved from NYC to Placitas, New Mexico, and I had stopped writing lyrics for several years prior. Smack dab in the middle of a bilateral knee replacement that I was undergoing, Guy telephoned...

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