Sparks

Dad

By Susan Bono “That’s quite a sack of rocks you’re carrying, sweetie,” my father’s friend Bruce said more than once during phone calls last year. It was his way of acknowledging how heavily Dad’s poor health, hard-headedness and self-imposed isolation weighed on me. But I also took it as a tribute to Dad’s stubbornness and my strength, too. “Dumb as a rock” never made much sense to me, since stone strikes me as having its own unassailable intelligence. Its ability to endure illustrates its genius. I have never believed in the ability to factor equations or compose sonnets was proof of brain power, although I shared with Dad the idea that someone with rocks in his head was lacking in foresight and flexibility. Rocks may be smart, but they are slow. Time measured in stone is something else again. There were moments during my dad’s dying that were as slow…

Book Reviews

The Strongbox

“I do most of my pleasure reading in bed, and I found myself eager to pick up The Strongbox, night after night, as the story unfolded. I knew from the book description that author Terry Sue Harms would come out okay in the end—despite setbacks that would have broken many: neglectful parents, a stepdad who called her a bastard, the death of her mother when she was sixteen, running away from home, dropping out of high school, and exposure to drugs. But how? I kept reading to find out. She wrote honestly about her vulnerabilities but kept me feeling safe along the way. “The author’s smooth, almost conversational story-telling drew me in and compelled me to read on. I marveled each time she pulled herself up: by completing beauty school, landing a steady job, teaching herself to read, taking college courses, graduating from Mills College. I cheered with her along…

Quotes

Quotes for a rainy day

Are you a planner or a worrier? What is the difference? I’m a worrier, trying to be a planner. I imagine what could go wrong so I can plan for when that happens. I suppose I should say “if” it happens. My worries seldom happen. Instead, things happen that I could never have imagined. But, as Leo Buscaglia said, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” A therapist said to me, “Worry is modern man’s voo-doo.” I get that. “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”– Erma Bombeck Well, as I sit and rock, I could plan what I would do if my worries came true. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of…

Book Reviews

Dance Life

Dance Life by Lisa Alpine, reviewed by Mary Jo Rice. Lisa Alpine’s Dance Life is a colorful page turner. Whether a seasoned traveler, dancer, or neither, you will be captivated by Lisa’s daring solo adventures around the globe and her freedom connecting with fascinating locals, especially those to share her passion for dance – anywhere, any hour, any form – atop a table, on a beach, under the full moon, or occasionally under the influence. Lisa’s engrossing and enchanted tales transport me to an expansive potential within to invite the unknown and to welcome a broader scope of experience for the pure joy of living more freely and more fully. Love this book! WARNING: Read at your own risk: Spinoff symptoms may develop including intense wanderlust and an overwhelming desire to sway, gyrate, and spend the rest of your life traveling and dancing! Mary Jo Rice safeguards whales and dolphins…

Prompts

Betrayal. Prompt #410

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Write about a time you were betrayed. Or a time you betrayed someone. You could start with: I felt betrayed . . . Or write about a time you were silent and now wish you had spoken up. Or write about a time you could no longer remain silent. You could start with: I want to tell you about what happened . . .

Guest Bloggers

Why write your story?

Why write your story? So you can move on. Today’s post is inspired by Patricia Hampl’s book, “I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourn in the Land of Memory.” Tell your story so you can move on. “When a writer keeps things inside, it becomes a ball of tangled yarn. As each story is told, the ball becomes untangled. Writing from memory can help us to let go of those stories we tell over and over again. We may not even need to tell them again [after writing about them].” Note from Marlene: I think writing from memory can also be a type of self-help . . . a vehicle for transporting oneself back in time and getting in touch with what really happened. Patricia Hampl is an American memoirist, writer, lecturer, and educator. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and is one of…