Saturday, August 08, 2020

Thanksgiving and Christmas

 and the School Year...

are all cancelled until we get a new president

and a vaccine

several worlds each day

“There is no poetry where there are no mistakes.”
Joy Harjo

“I've always had a theory that some of us are born with nerve endings longer than our bodies”
Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War

“I know I walk in and out of several worlds each day.”
Joy Harjo

“To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.”
Joy Harjo

“It's possible to understand the world from studying a leaf. You can comprehend the laws of aerodynamics, mathematics, poetry and biology through the complex beauty of such a perfect structure.

It's also possible to travel the whole globe and learn nothing.”
Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems

“A story matrix connects all of us.
There are rules, processes, and circles of responsibility in this world. And the story begins exactly where it is supposed to begin. We cannot skip any part.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

“I was born with eyes that can never close...”
Joy Harjo

“I release you, my beautiful and terrible fear. I release you. You were my beloved and hate twin, but now, I don't know you as myself”
Joy Harjo

“All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice.”
Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems

“I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.”
Joy Harjo, Secrets from the Center of the World

“My generation is now the door to memory. That is why I am remembering.”
Joy Harjo, September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond

“Someone accompanies every soul from the other side when it enters this place. Usually it is an ancestor with whom that child shares traits and gifts”
Joy Harjo

“She exists in me now, just as I will and already do within my grandchildren. No one ever truly dies. The desires of our hearts make a path. We create legacy with our thoughts and dreams.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

“I could hear my abandoned dreams making a racket in my soul.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

“True power does not amass through the pain and suffering of others.”
Joy Harjo

“My father told me that some voices are so true they can be used as weapons, can maneuver the weather, change time. He said that a voice that powerful can walk away from the singer if it is shamed. After my father left us, I learned that some voices can deceive you. There is a top layer and there is a bottom, and they don't match.”
Joy Harjo

“Because Music is a language that lives in the spiritual realms, we can hear it, we can notate it and create it, but we cannot hold it in our hands”
Joy Harjo

“I listen to the gunfire we cannot hear, and begin this journey with the light of knowing the root of my own furious love.”
Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War

“In Isleta the rainbow was a crack in the universe. We saw the barest of all life that is possible. Bright horses rolled over and over the dusking sky.”
Joy Harjo

“Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.”
Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

“Those of fire move about the earth with inspiration and purpose. They are creative, and can consume and be consumed by their desires [...] My father-to-be was of the water and could not find a hold in the banks of earthiness. Water people can easily get lost.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

“And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

“I Give You Back'

I release you, my beautiful and terrible fear. I release you. You were my beloved and hated twin, but now, I don't know you as myself. I release you with all the pain I would know at the death of my daughters.

You are not my blood anymore.

I give you back the white soldiers who burned down my home, beheaded my children, raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters. I give you back to those who stole the food from our plates when we were starving.

I release you, fear, because you hold these scenes in front of me and I was born with eyes that can never close.

I release you, fear, so you can no longer keep me naked and frozen in the winter, or smothered under blankets in the summer.

I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you

I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved,

to be loved, to be loved, fear.

Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash. You have gutted me, but I gave you the knife. You have devoured me, but I lay myself across the fire. You held y mother down and raped her, but I gave you the heated thing.

I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won't hold you in my hands.
You can't live in my eyes, my ears, my voice, my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart

But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.”
Joy Harjo

“I sit up in the dark drenched in longing. / I am carrying over a thousand names for blue that I didn’t have at dusk.”
Joy Harjo

“You’re coming with me, poor thing. You don’t know how to listen. You don’t know how to speak. You don’t know how to sing. I will teach you.” I followed poetry.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave: A Memoir

“It was the spirit of poetry who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love.”
Joy Harjo

“I wanted to see everything. It was around the time I acquired language, or even before that time, when something happened that changed my relationship to the spin of the world. My concept of language, of what was possible with music was changed by this revelatory moment. It changed even the way I look at the sun.”
Joy Harjo, Suspended

“I walk in and out of several worlds every day.”
Joy Harjo

“In the end, we must each tend to our own gulfs of sadness, though others can assist us with kindness, food, good words, and music. Our human tendency is to fill these holes with distractions like shopping and fast romance, or with drugs and alcohol.”
Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave: A Memoir

“Alive. This music rocks
me. I drive the interstate,
watch faces come and go on either
side. I am free to be sung to;
I am free to sing. This woman
can cross any line.”
Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses

Joy Harjo

“Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end. You must make your own map.”

— Joy Harjo, from "A Map to the Next World" in How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems:1975-2001

The Damage

 I hope they shoot the orange tyrant just like I wished my mother would die. They do eventually die, the tyrants. But the booby prize is they are not ever completely gone. They still live in your head, and all of the damage they caused is still visible.


 New sink feels like a whole new kitchen, new shower curtain feel like a whole new bathroom. I'm easily amused by small things.

The Best Part

 Best part of summer is coming home from the local pool wearing a wet bathing suit + sweatshirt + towel and making an iced coffee.

Turn Anger into HOPE


By Rupinder Singh

Practice makes perfect.

The Sikh faith teaches us two things: To continually seek connection with the Divine, and to rise above our ego to do so.

Sikhism identifies five explicit “vices” — also referred to as “evils” or “thieves” — that pull us away from the Divine. These vices include lust, attachment, pride, greed and, yes, anger. Sikhism acknowledges that we are human beings with requisite human failings, but luckily, our faith also advises us on how to let go of them, too! Here are 7 tips to keep anger from robbing you of hope.

1. Accept it.

Anger is a part of the human condition.

Recognize that anger is a part of the human condition. We know that we have this failing and so it is incumbent upon us to prepare ourselves for it. Sikhs believe that everything happens according to God’s will, or hukam; in other words, what happens is meant to happen. What we do have is control over how we respond to it. So be angry; but remember that we can choose to stay in a rage, or we can transform anger into productive energy.

2. Pause.

Taking a pause to reflect is an explicit and regular part of Sikh scripture, which often invokes a formal instruction to pause, or rahao, to absorb a key theme or lesson. When faced with anger, it is good practice to pause and reflect. When we feel anger, it’s an opportunity to ask ourselves about the source of that anger. What is the hurt we feel underlying it? When we can identify the hurt, we can then identify what steps we can take to address it. It won’t all happen in an instant, but taking a few deep breaths, a walk around the block, or even an evening away from devices and social media can be healing and promote reflection.

3. Fear none, and instill fear in none.

Overcome your own fear and frustration, but while doing so, do not cause others to be afraid. In other words, channel the energy behind our anger and let our anger motivate us to act, but not in ways that will hurt others. It might feel good to lash out in the heat of the moment, but that good feeling never lasts. Compassion does. Avoid seeking revenge and instead focus on finding solutions.

4. Remind  yourself to be optimistic. Repeatedly.

Sikhs remind ourselves to maintain high spirits no matter what we’re facing. This constant state of optimism is a concept known as chardi kala — a state of mind we are taught to hold even in the worst of circumstances. We invoke this phrase at the conclusion of all of our religious services. We maintain optimism not only for ourselves, but also with faith that despite the injustice we see in the world, the Divine will shower blessings on all people.

5. Surround yourself with positive people.

Keep the company of saints.

A common cliché is that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. The Sikh faith teaches us something very similar: We are taught to keep company of saintly people, the sangat, to benefit from their energy. As such, we should also avoid angry people. It can be so easy to get stuck in a negative echo chamber on social media, or swallowed by Twitter @ battles, or in a passive aggressive tit-for-tat with coworkers. Never read the comments! Instead, seek those who exude peace and a willingness to engage fruitfully in discussion, whether online or in person.

6. Be humble.

Remember that no one is perfect. Including ourselves! If we can get rid of our sense of superiority to others — even when we’re sure we’re right and we’re sure they are wrong — it fundamentally changes the lens through which we see them and we can better accept their full humanity, flaws and all. And our own. Judging our own mistakes, beating ourselves up for them, and feeling helpless aren’t productive. So accept and move on! (See Tip #1.)

7. Take action.

Start small. You can always do something.

Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, taught that while truthfulness is the highest virtue, higher still is truthful living. In other words, be the change. A tactical way to dispel anger and replenish (and spread!) hope is to serve your community selflessly, a concept in Sikhism known as seva. Sikh teachings encourage community service as a responsibility. Serving others proactively without expectation of a reward brings with it inner peace and tranquility, as well as connection. This doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. Start small. Volunteer at a local community center or library. Clean up a public park. Play an instrument? Give a performance at a local nursing home. Have particularly friendly, people-loving pets? Consider getting them registered as therapy dogs. Remember, you can always do something.

What are your best tips for keeping anger at bay, and staying hopeful? Tell us!

Summer Salad

 We picked up a bushel of cukes from The Big Apple Farm and made a summer salad for dinner last night. Sliced cukes, Vidalia onion, green olives salt pepper buttermilk, dried cranberries, Adobo, kosher salt.

 I ate it for breakfast today.

Wash Day

 Saturday is for washing the sheets, clothes and dishes.

Allergies + Mood Cycle

 My battle with allergies and mood cycle is won by daily lap swimming. What arrived as a curse ended up as a blessing and perhaps even a superpower.


 "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." 

― Helen Keller

Coney Island Wonder Wheel 100 years




Living Philosophies

What I believe -- by Einstein (1930)

The following was originally published in October 1930 on FORUM, vol. LXXXIV, No.4.

What I Believe
Living Philosophies XIII
by Albert Einstein

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.

I do not believe we can have any freedom at all in the philosophical sense, for we act not only under external compulsion but also by inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying – “A man can surely do what he wills to do, but he cannot determine what he wills” – impressed itself upon me in youth and has always consoled me when I have witnessed or suffered life’s hardships. This conviction is a perpetual breeder of tolerance, for it does not allow us to take ourselves or others too seriously; it makes rather for a sense of humor.

To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

Without the sense of collaborating with like-minded beings in the pursuit of the ever unattainable in art and scientific research, my life would have been empty. Ever since childhood I have scorned the commonplace limits so often set upon human ambition. Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or team work. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years.

Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it, to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions, and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations.

My political ideal is democracy. Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized. It is an irony of fate that I should have been showered with so much uncalled-for and unmerited admiration and esteem. Perhaps this adulation springs from the unfulfilled wish of the multitude to comprehend the few ideas which I, with my weak powers, have advanced.

Full well do I know that in order to attain any definite goal it is imperative that one person should do the thinking and commanding and carry most of the responsibility. But those who are led should not be driven, and they should be allowed to choose their leader. It seems to me that the distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force. I am convinced that degeneracy follows every autocratic system of violence, for violence inevitably attracts moral inferiors. Time has proved that illustrious tyrants are succeeded by scoundrels.

For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to such regimes as exist in Russia and Italy to-day. The thing which has discredited the European forms of democracy is not the basic theory of democracy itself, which some say is at fault, but the instability of our political leadership, as well as the impersonal character of party alignments.

I believe that you in the United States have hit upon the right idea. You choose a President for a reasonable length of time and give him enough power to acquit himself properly of his responsibilities. In the German Government, on the other hand, I like the state’s more extensive care of the individual when he is ill or unemployed. What is truly valuable in our bustle of life is not the nation, I should say, but the creative and impressionable individuality, and the personality – he who produces the noble and sublime while the common herd remains dull in thought and insensible in feeling.

This subject brings me to that vilest offspring of the herd mind – the odious militia. The man who enjoys marching in line and file to the strains of music falls below my contempt; he received his great brain by mistake – the spinal cord would have been amply sufficient. This heroism at command, this senseless violence, this accursed bombast of patriotism – how intensely I despise them! War is low and despicable, and I had rather be smitten to shreds than participate in such doings.

Such a stain on humanity should be erased without delay. I think well enough of human nature to believe that it would have been wiped out long ago had not the common sense of nations been systematically corrupted through school and press for business and political reasons.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which out dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in nature.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Interesting Possibility

There's an enormous difference between being a story writer and being a regular person. As a person, it's your duty to stay on a straight and even keel, not to break down blubbering in the streets, not to pull rude drivers from their cars, not to swing from the branches of trees. But as a writer it's your duty to lie and to view everything in life, however outrageous, as an interesting possibility. You may need to be ruthless or amoral in your writing to be original. Telling a story straight from real life is only being a reporter, not a creator. You have to make your story bigger, better, more magical, more meaningful than life is, no matter how special or wonderful in real life the moment may have been.


At Seventy

 In her journal "At Seventy," Sarton says that writing "is a way of understanding what is happening to me, of thinking hard things out." The keeping of a journal (something that she does deliberately for publication) is prompted, she says, by the "need to rediscover my life and its meaning."

May Sarton's Crowded Solitude


"what a writer communicates is a vision of life. With so much that is depressing and agonizing around us these days, I feel sorry for the young. It's a terrible world to be in. Therefore, somebody who can make them feel that life is worth living -- just life in the sense of looking at the flowers or going out for a walk with your dog -- this is to be treasured. There aren't many writers who do this, there really aren't."

Vegetable Medley

 Last night at supper time I chopped two gigantic Spanish onions and two green bell peppers and sauteed them in olive oil in my 12" iron skillet. Then I grated one small sweet potato it added color and body. I sprinkled Adobo and added a splash of jug Chianti to de-glaze the pan. Then I whisked eight eggs and stirred them into the vegetable mixture. It was so good we ate it for breakfast.

Galway Kinnell

 Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven't they
carried you everywhere, up to now?

from "Wait" by Galway Kinnell

Wendell Berry Interview

 We really have to turn against the selfishness of the individualism that sees everybody as a competitor of everybody else. When we see how destructive that is, and we turn against it, then we have our life’s work.

Wendell Berry

Midsummer August 6

 47 days since Summer Solstice

46 days until Autumn Equinox: Tuesday, September 22

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Carl Sagan

When asked about the the purpose of sending messages out into the universe when it might take thousands of years to get any sort of answer Carl Sagan said: "There are a lot of things in society that only go one way. Socrates talks to us, we don’t talk to Socrates"

Maryse Condé

What’s your advice to new writers?

No advice. Everyone should feel free to write and project his or her inner self.


Make writing a regular part of your daily routine—even just a tiny amount per day—so that it feels more natural to write than not to.

Leon Uris

The conquest of loneliness was the missing link that was one day going to make a decent novelist out of me. If you are out here and cannot close off the loves and hates of all that back there in the real world the memories will overtake you and swamp you and wilt your tenacity. Tenacity stamina…close off to everything and everyone but your writing. That’s the bloody price. I don’t know maybe it’s some kind of ultimate selfishness. Maybe it’s part of the killer instinct. Unless you can stash away and bury thoughts of your greatest love you cannot sustain the kind of concentration that breaks most men trying to write a book over a three or four year period.