Reading My Work, and Having Fun

Reading My Work, and Having Fun

For International Women’s Month, I joined poet Hilda Raz and novelist Lynn C. Miller for a celebration of women at the Corrales Community Library

What fun we had for the International Women’s Month reading at Corrales Community Library on March 13, 2018.

The room was packed with poets and writers and friends as poet Hilda Raz, novelist Lynn C Miller and I shared readings from our work. The themes we chose to explore for this monthlong celebration of women were voice and body image.

Many thanks to all who were able to join us.

But beyond all of that, and the delicious strawberries provided by the library and Edwina, I learned some interesting things about myself.

On the edge

From left, the author, poet Hilda Raz and novelist Lynn C. Miller

From left, the author, poet Hilda Raz and novelist Lynn C. Miller

I am always a bit on edge before one of these readings. I have always steered pretty clear of performance of any kind. Karate tournaments always made me a bit nauseated.

Lynn has been an actor and a professor, so nothing phases her. And Hilda has read before very large audiences (which I am about to do in New York City in May, when I read at the Jewish Book Council), and she also has been a professor for many years.

What they can come up with off the cuff is mind-boggling for me. I am used to being in a small room with one other person, and that person is lying on the couch, not even facing me. Such is the life of a psychoanalyst.

So, in my “retirement,” I am learning new skills: One of them being to get over myself, another being just to have fun. Lynn’s motto is: Don’t do it unless it’s fun. She truly has something there.

On my fear

In my search for something that could describe how I defined myself as a woman, I discovered a wonderful quotation from Erica Jong’s essay, “The Writer on Her Work.” It reads as follows:

I have not ceased being fearful,

But I have ceased to let fear control me.

I have accepted fear as a part of life,

specifically the fear of change and the fear of the unknown,

and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back.

These five lines speak to a very conscious part of me. At the same time, I am convinced they speak to an unconscious part of me that is pushing me to use my retirement to the fullest of my capacities, in spite of my fears.

On pleasing myself

After the reading, the author spoke with an audience member.

After the reading, the author spoke with an audience member.


A young friend with all the responsibilities of motherhood and a career said to me recently that she dreaded turning 30. I thought only for a minute before I replied that aging has some benefits. Once I reached 30, I finally realized what I had to do to make a possible future for myself. I found work that could make me happy, and it has for over thirty years. Until then, work had made me miserable. My too-early marriage made me miserable. I was making myself miserable.

In my thirties, I finally worked to please myself. When I related all of this to my young friend, I like to think it was somewhat comforting. What I did not say to her is that with every decade, my life has only improved.

This has brought me to the understanding that this is truly what life is about for me. Embracing a lifetime of study, embracing my hunger to learn instead of starving it, has brought me exactly where I needed to be. I’ve had to accept that I will always be a student of something, along with experiencing my growing old as part of this wonderful adventure of life. And I am so fortunate to have  incredibly brilliant women to guide me.

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