The View After the Election

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American Flag and Declaration of IndependenceThe storms and blackouts of the past two weeks kept me from posting this blog before the election as I had intended.  I wrote it because the paradigm of the 99% vs. the 1% that we’d evolved into as a nation reminded me how good life had been when the percentages were more equitable.  And I wanted to raise a voice in support of Democracy, not the Oligarchy that threatened us.  Judging by the results of the election, Democracy won this round.  The people weren’t silenced and the election couldn’t be bought by the super-rich, no matter how hard they exercised their checkbooks.  What a pity they didn’t give those hundreds of millions that flowed so readily, to the  staggering number of unemployed  Americans. Continue reading “The View After the Election” »

Posted on November 17th 2012 in Life, Politics

The Rip Van Winkle Effect

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“Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty. They merely move it from their faces into their hearts.”   

                                                                      -Martin Buxbaum

Rip Van WinkleSomebody sent me this quote and my first thought was ‘But it would really be nice to  keep it in both places, wouldn’t it?’  Our generation is famous for wanting it all.

The question had become relevant when I awakened Middle Aged one morning, having gone to bed the night before as young as ever, but having made the fatal mistake of popping in my new contact lenses before making coffee.  Lines had sprouted above my lip, eyelids had gone crepey, crow’s feet had overtaken the corners of my astonished eyes, and mysterious marionette lines, the final ignominy, were making the lower half of my face resemble Howdy Doody. Continue reading “The Rip Van Winkle Effect” »

Posted on October 13th 2012 in Women

Facing Your Mother in the Mirror

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Manu and Cathy-Mirrored

This blog appeared in the New York Times on January 15, 2013. If you’d like to read it, please follow this link for the full text: New York Times, Face to Face With Mom in the Mirror

 

Posted on October 6th 2012 in Family, Women

Heart Murmurs

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Wild HeartI’ve been having an imaginary conversation with my heart lately.  Not the physical heart exactly, although I admire its pluck and constancy enormously.  But the metaphoric heart of me that loves, not necessarily wisely, but pretty well, and that has taken a lot of hits over the years. 

It occurred to me one day, while reading a Chinese medical Text that explained how the heart is the seat of the intellect, the emotions and the spirit, as well as the fountainhead of love – that this is a really big lot of stuff to be in charge of.  No wonder one in three women now dies of heart failure.  So I decided to acknowledge my Herculean heart as best I could. Continue reading “Heart Murmurs” »

Posted on September 29th 2012 in Happiness, Love, Loving Life, Sorrow, Women

You Jump… I Jump…

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Titanic movie posterI confess to feeling slightly foolish blogging about Titanic, but the phenomenon of Dakota and her pals going to see it in Imax 3-D – for their 34th lifetime viewing – set me to pondering what on earth could have precipitated that kind of devotion to a movie. OK. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit I’ve read all three volumes of Kristin Lavransdatter eight times, sobbing through every one of the readings, so maybe this is just this generation’s great love story, but still…

It made me remember the first time round when she and her friends – then 8 years old – fell under the enchantment of what turned out to be a life event. Let me explain: 

No longer did they play Barbie or American Girl Doll, they sat instead listening rapt to the Titanic CD, or they put on Rose and Jack costumes and went down with the ship in tearful splendor.  Dakota and her friend Sydney went Trick or Treating dressed as the Titanic and the Iceberg, and made the local papers!    Continue reading “You Jump… I Jump…” »

Posted on September 22nd 2012 in Family, Love, Women

Dakota/Class of 2012

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Dakota Cash Photography TristesseI’ve blogged so much about Dakota you probably already feel you know her, but maybe you don’t know her work yet, so I’d like to introduce you on the cusp of her graduation from Parsons.

Of course, Colleges of Art are not quite like any others… Dakota’s cap and gown were fire engine red and her commencement speaker, Dwayne Michaels, a brilliant 85 year old Fine Arts Photographer, advised the class to kick over the traces, never do anything the way the authority figures say to, and live every single minute of every day being true to their own vision and dreams.  He was an outrageous sage, brimming with  uproarious life force.  I wish I’d recorded every word – I think I’d play it for myself once a month as a reminder of how those of us who toil in the Arts must constantly renew our belief in ourselves and our work, against all odds. Continue reading “Dakota/Class of 2012” »

Posted on September 14th 2012 in Family

What’s in a Name?

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Two SistersWhen I was a child, I thought of my mother’s sister Mary as the Dowager Empress of the World.  She was tall and stately and would sit on her chair like a queen on a throne, her adoring daughters dancing attendance on her as if she thoroughly deserved it.  In truth, she probably did, as I remember her best for her marvelous  laughter.  Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, says the poem, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.*

She had an outsized, robust approach to life  that somehow managed to combine outrageous wit and grace with merriment, and she, unlike my mother, knew about sex and heartily approved of it.  My mother disapproved of Mary altogether, which amused her sister no end and prompted her to say outrageous things she knew would get my mother’s goat.  But there was history between them and an oddball twist of fate that neither of them could alter. Continue reading “What’s in a Name?” »

Posted on July 7th 2012 in Family, Women

The 4th of July Meets Memorial Day

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MemorialI intended to write this for Memorial Day but got sidetracked by the hoopla around the joy of Dakota’s graduation, so I’m offering it instead as a tribute on the 4th of July.  

In these politically troubled times, it’s easy enough to forget that we can hate the carnage and waste of war, but still love and honor the courageous men and women who’ve served and sacrificed themselves in the name of a country they love and the freedoms they mean to defend and uphold.

I ran across this poem recently quite by accident and was so touched by it, I’d like to pass it on to you. It reminded me of a family incident a few years ago, that showed me how easy it is to overlook the true heroes around us, or perhaps, simply not know their stories, so we can honor them appropriately. Continue reading “The 4th of July Meets Memorial Day” »

Posted on June 29th 2012 in Poetry, Politics, The Philosopher’s Teacup

Religion Isn’t Gospel

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Church and StateThe recent avalanche of faux Religiosity (as opposed to true Spirituality), as well as the endless God-and-Bible-Speak of the recent Presidential “debates” has really set my teeth on edge.  The idea of religion being used to serve a political agenda was never a good one – as the Founding Fathers made perfectly clear in their determination to keep Church and State forever separate.

If you’re a reader of my blogs or books, you probably know by now, that love of God in His/Her many guises plays a large role in my life, so perhaps I can tell you what’s on my mind without being labeled an atheist or agnostic.  It saddens me that God, Allah, Jesus, et al, have been used so often over the course of time, as an excuse for reprehensible acts of godlessness.  Pogroms, Crusades, Torture, Inquisitions, Wars… so much suffering has been perpetrated on humanity by those who claim God on their side, it must make Creator wonder why He/She bothered with us in the first place. Continue reading “Religion Isn’t Gospel” »

Posted on May 10th 2012 in Faith, Religion

What if We’re the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For…

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Lady Liberty and the FlagIn my lifetime, Women refused to keep their place, Blacks refused to ride in the back of the bus, Men refused to be drafted into an unjust war.  Gays refused to be kept in the closet.  A Black man became President of the United States.  So I know we have it in us to change the world.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen other, less hopeful signs, too:  insider deals that made the rich richer and the poor poorer.  Prisons sanctioned by our own country, but outsourced to hide the truth, where people are tortured and held without trials or lawyers or hope of due process. Continue reading “What if We’re the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For…” »

Posted on April 19th 2012 in Politics, The Philosopher’s Teacup

How to Get a Story Out of Your Head and Onto the Page

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Writing DeskI know from your letters to me that many of you, in your heart of hearts, fantasize about writing a novel. So, I’d like to use my own wacky path to authordom, to inspire you to write that novel or to pursue whatever other passionate dream you’ve got.  I know for a fact that it’s never too late, because life is the schoolroom and the more life you study, the more likelihood there is that your dream will come true.  I was 40 years old when my first bestseller was published… and that was only the beginning. So please do forgive me if this blog is longer than usual…life is a long and winding road. Continue reading “How to Get a Story Out of Your Head and Onto the Page” »

Posted on April 13th 2012 in Novels, The Philosopher’s Teacup

Equal Rights… Did You Think We Had them?

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“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution

 

ConstitutionThat’s it.  That’s all of it.  24 words.  It says nothing about having to endure dual-sex toilets or the draft.  It pretty much just outlines what most of the young women of this generation think they already have:  equality under the law.

But, of course, they don’t have that.  The current debate on contraception and Choice – a debate in which both secular and religious old men seem to think they have the right to determine what rights women should be “allowed” to have about their own bodies – makes that abundantly clear.

Continue reading “Equal Rights… Did You Think We Had them?” »

Posted on March 29th 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

A Free School Based on Talent and Heart

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“The Heart of the Matter is Free Education.”

                                                Caroline Simonelli, Fashion Designer

 

Caroline Simonelli and studentsHow many people do you know who delight in the idea of working or vacationing in Beirut?

My dear pal Caroline Simonelli, fashion designer and fashion educator extraordinaire, has just returned from her third trip and has every intention of spending as much time in Lebanon as her duties as Professor in the BFA Program at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan will allow.

All because Caroline and one of her very talented former students Sara Hermez had a dream.  They envisioned reinventing the way in which fashion design is taught, and offering a free education to young Middle Eastern men and women of talent, who could not otherwise afford such an opportunity. Continue reading “A Free School Based on Talent and Heart” »

Posted on March 23rd 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

May the Road Rise with You

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Go n-éirí an bother leat.

May the road rise with you.

 

Irish CountrysideI couldn’t be more Irish if I tried… Irish on both sides of my family tree, back to the dawn of time… so Irish, in fact, that we even have a family Banshee.  So how could I not take this lovely St. Patrick’s Day to wish you the best of Irish Blessings.  The Irish have such  a long and cherished tradition of kindness and generosity toward family, friends and strangers, alike, that proffered verbal  blessings have blossomed with as much fertility as everything else in the Emerald Isle.  This fact, combined with Irish loquaciousness and their love of beauty and poetry, has resulted in such an abundance of  good wishes to be shared at the drop of a shamrock, that the task of picking favorites becomes quite a lengthy and loving  adventure.  Continue reading “May the Road Rise with You” »

Posted on March 17th 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup

The Haunting of the Heart

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Fancy on Black HorseThe optioning of Paint the Wind for the movies has caused me to be reminded very hauntingly of my mother.  I should tell you, I think, that although my mother’s name was Kate, the family called her Manu, because it meant Giver of the Law in Hindi – she was a formidable force of nature, in any language.  What has brought her so clearly to my mind today, is the fact that she loved two things passionately (besides her family)… books and politics.  To explain just how much she loved politics, I should tell you that in her last illness, when we all thought she lay in a hopeless coma, she suddenly rose up in her bed and said quite lucidly, “I wish to enquire about the State of the Union.”   Continue reading “The Haunting of the Heart” »

Posted on March 9th 2012 in Paint the Wind, The Philosopher’s Teacup