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mars 2014

Am I Good Enough?

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Am I Good Enough

I was speaking at a local high school about writing. Afterward, a girl came up to me with a notebook of handwritten poems. She showed them to me shyly and asked,

“Are they good enough?”

I didn’t need to read them to know that they were good enough. She was fifteen. She had a dream. While her friends were playing violent video games and getting pregnant, she was writing poetry. That’s good enough for me.

“They are wonderful,” I said.

I am not sure we were talking about the same thing.

It’s a big question for a writer: am I good enough?

Am I good enough to get published? To get reviewed? To win an award? To make money? To come out in hardcover? To move people to tears? To win the respect of my older brother who said I would never make it?

I advise English majors. Every so…

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You’re Asking the Wrong Question

Red's Wrap

Jan - Purple 2

I’m sorry. Let me say this in the kindest possible way. Asking me what I will do to stay ‘young at heart’ as I get older is ageist.

Why would anyone assume that it is better to be young at heart than old at heart unless being old at heart implied a lot of unpleasant, undesirable things. Of course, that wasn’t the intention. Assuming that young is better is a deep cultural belief, one that is, unfortunately, absorbed by many people as they age, making them mourn their younger selves rather than enjoying the age they are.

I was already young at heart when I was young. Then I was middle-aged at heart and now, I think, I’m probably old at heart. And I’m here to tell you, all of you 40-somethings filled with dread about the future, it’s more interesting over here on the other side than you might…

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My Sister and The Famous Five

Evelyne Holingue

I was told that I learned how to read watching my father turn the pages of L’Orne Combattante, one of the local newspapers published in my native Normandy.

I remember of the rough texture of his workpants against my small fingers when I gripped his leg to sit on his lap.

“Papa, what does it say? Tell me the story. Please, what is it?”

I remember that my father smelled of Gauloises cigarettes, masculine sweat, and cologne, while my mother smelled of coffee, French chalk, and eau de toilette.

My father drove trucks from Normandy to Paris every single day.

My mother was a seamstress working from home.

When my mother sewed, she listened to the radio.

When my father wasn’t driving, he read.

So it is possibly true that I learned how to read with my father.

I was also told that my paternal grandfather, blind by the time…

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The Cult of the Coney — Only Tulsans need apply

No More Parental Judgment

Wordy Gertie

Image

Before I had a baby, I was completely oblivious to the insane number of choices I would be forced to make as a new parent. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, an innocent Google search on « birthing options » (try it if you don’t believe me) left me awestruck and somewhat terrified at the seemingly endless multitude of options. Would I opt for the epidural or would I go natural? I could even get real crazy and go for a pudendal block, narcotic pain relievers, or nitrous oxide. What birthing philosophy would we subscribe to–Lamaze? Hypnobirth? Bradley? Alexander (I could be making these up right now and you probably wouldn’t know the difference)? Midwife or OB? Birthing center or hospital? Water birth? Should we bank the cord blood? Do people really encapsulate their placentas?!

I got so wrapped-up in making choices for the labor and delivery…

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Patient No. 840379159

A Blog Called Quest

Sadly, this wristband did not get me into the club Sadly, this wristband did not get me into the club

Here’s what happens when they tell you that you have cancer. You don’t hear the rest of the sentence. Or the one after that. Or the one after that. Or anything else for the next hour really. The moment the word escapes the doctor’s mouth, everything they say starts sounding like the teacher in Charlie Brown. « You have cancer womp womp waaah waah … »

So before we get too deep into this, I guess I’ll start by telling you: I have cancer.

Womp. Womp. Waaah. Waah.

It’s OK. Take a second if you need it. Trust me, I needed more than one.

Technically, I have Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It’s named after Swedish oncologist Jan G. Waldenström, who « discovered » it in 1944. Lucky guy. His name is forever associated with something that freaks people the (deleted) out. Or so…

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letting down my guard and writing what i want to write

Writing for Myself

photo

One of the problems I have with blogging is that I can be indecisive about what my purpose is. Why do I have a blog? Is it worth the time I put into it? I try to be selective about how I spend my time. The older I get the less I have of it left and I want to make wise choices. There aren’t a lot of « have-to’s » in my vocabulary- I’m aware of the difference between what I must do and what I want to do.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that struggles with this aspect of blogging. In the time that I’ve been doing it consistently and making the effort to find a blogging community, I’ve seen lots of blogs come and go. For me, the biggest issue is that I lose focus. I tire of my own voice, I wonder if there is anything…

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