It was my pleasure to join old friend Tessa on her Open Nesters Podcast recently. We reconnected, after knowing each other at the MOM site in New York where we created a series of handbooks on Motherhood, Children, and Grandmothers. It was a grand experiment to practice publishing with her. Now, she and her partner have gone on to other projects – as have I.
In this episode of Open Nesters, I have the opportunity to discuss the Museum of Motherhood and our move to Florida, my relationship with my adult children, and a host of other things on the topic of relationships and love. Maybe you’ll take a listen? It’s not too boring. Thanks!
In the words of punk icon Jo Spence, photographer extraordinaire who wrote the memoir “Putting Myself in the Picture”, I am making an affirmation to do the very same thing.
I am going to PUT MYSELF IN THE PICTURE, even when I feel shy or uncertain. Even when pandemics have kept me feeling small and dark. Even when I feel unattractive or old(er), when the whole world is going mad, I am keeping the flame lit, keeping myself writing, making myself positive, and affirming the brevity of the years in the context of this terminal life.
In the words of Joel Gold, wordsmith and performance-artist, who died this year, “neon clock’s numbers hold like roses as we dance on the same digital page.” I don’t really know what Joel meant by that, but I do know he wrote it here on my blog in 2016. I love that I can still visit his word-shadow even though I cannot see him perform live on the stage anymore. The truth is, the longer I live, the more miraculous every year becomes and the more people I love slip away.
But, today is my BIRTHDAY! And, new blessings, possibilities, and purpose are constantly emerging within this dimensional reality. Today is a day of celebration, of working, writing, feasting, and sharing. This is no small miracle when you consider all the health crises, the childbirths, the diagnoses, and the violence I’ve encountered. I am going to put the words down, take the photographs, refuse to be embarrassed, or withdrawn, or unsure of myself.
I’m just going to PUT IT OUT THERE – because, if I don’t, then there is no one but myself to regret my purposeful omissions. I know I have a LOT to say. The only reason why there isn’t more of it, is because I have served as my own best editor, slicing the words into small segments and then hiding them away.
THANK YOU JOEL FOR THE WORDS ON MY WEBSITE: A MERE SNAPSHOT OF MEMORIES SHARED
I am going to come back here often… once a week… or so… (or once a month), I hope….that is my goal… thank you and happy birthday to you too, wherever you are (and to my son Brody, the best birthday present ever)!
What happened next, while I was locked in the grip of this rural Midwestern location, during the final months of the election, and the remaining months of my mother’s life were compounded by the sudden and unexpected death of my beloved brother a mere forty-eight days after my mother’s passing.
I have been paralyzed with shock.
There is a cold wind blowing down my neck. It chills me to the bone and I have been writing ever since. All these days and nights, pluck, pluck, pluck on the keyboard, as if my own life depended on it.
I have been trying to stitch the pieces of this fragmented existence together. The pieces are East, West, right and left, racist, and tolerant. They are feminist and patriarchal. They are life and death, destruction, and the hereafter. There is no one-way, to sum up, the complicated and continual unraveling of both the personal and political aspects of daily life. For some of us, rising on the tide of the seventies, loping through the eighties, nineties, and into the twenty-first century, in the midst of the “me” generation, robust consumerism obliterates the imperative for a cohesive American agenda. There hasn’t been a world war crashing on our shores since chaos shattered our 9/11 realities. Our remote desert enemy lulls us into a mainland existence buoyantly and selfishly focused on immediate economic desires. Sure, we struggle with our jobs, our families, and our health.
Life isn’t easy. But it’s not like there are famines or fires, or hurricanes ripping through our coast? It’s not like our healthcare is in jeopardy, or our black sons get incarcerated at a higher rate than whites, or our black mothers die in childbirth at three times the rate of white women, while the richest 1 percent of America holds more wealth than the 90% combined?