My Dad the Writer…Who Knew?

“Good Evening My Gorgeous Lovely Darling Wife: I love you with all the love there is in my heart. I’m mad about you, crazy about you, can’t live without you, do anything in the world for you. Fight for you, die for you, beg for you, steal for you. I’d do anything in the world for you. All you have to do is ask.”-Sunday, Feb. 2nd, 1943 Written by My Dad to My Mom

I just took a lot of pictures from mom’s home because I’d like to sort through them. I discovered 2 rubber-banded packages of letters my dad wrote to mom in 1943 before they were married and as I peeked at 2 of the letters, the salutations were very romantic with “wife” as the last word of the salutation. I said to mom, “You and Dad were married in 1945, but in his 1943 letters, he calls you “wife.” Mom said, “That’s how your dad thought of me.”

I am asking my WordPress readers for advice on how to go about putting together a book of dad’s letters and photos. This will be a labor of love and it will entail many hours, days, week, months, so I know Step 1 is to get organized. After I’m organized, I’m thinking of getting a Duplex portable wifi scanner that will scan 2 sides.

For those of you who have done this sort of thing before or put together your own book with photos or letters, what advice would you give me? Which portable wifi scanners would you suggest?

NOTE:  I used to always be able to copy images from Google Image for my posts and now I can’t!!!  Anybody know why or have suggestions?????    In addition, the print is not coming out like it used to and I do not know why!!!!  Have things changed at WordPress????

“Tell Me What You Pay Attention To and I Will Tell You Who You Are.”-Jose Ortega y Gasset

This morning, the singing of the birds beckoned me to rise from my bed and start the day on a positive note. As I rose, I thought about the interview I saw last week on Oprah’s OWN station with Oprah interviewing the writer, Sue Monk Kidd. In 2002, I read Kidd’s, “The Secret Life of Bees” and loved it…didn’t love the books that came after. Recently, I read her latest book, “The Invention of Wings,” which I really enjoyed, but not as much as “…Bees.” Anyway, I thought of what Sue Monk Kidd said in the interview…to paraphrase, she said, “We become what we pay attention to.” I’ve been thinking about that since I heard it and trying to be more positive in life…instead of focusing on minor aches and pains or inventing “what if” scenarios for things that may never happen. I’m focusing on what I am grateful and thankful for. The singing of the birds inspired a quick haiku this morning:


I heard singing birds
Calling my name to join them
So I rose and did.

And now, just as I finished printing the haiku, my wonderful husband just put on“Looking into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne” CD with Don Henley and Blind Pilot singing, “These Days,” yes, so thankful. “Well, I’ll keep on moving, things are bound to be improving, these days.” (Jackson Browne)

We become what we pay attention to…yes…music always helps…we just listened to Roseanne Cash’s newest album on vinyl, “The River and the Thread” and we give it a thumbs up, especially “Etta’s Song,” which I can listen to over and over again. It’s a beautifully produced album, just the pureness of Roseanne’s clear voice and the clarity of the instruments and her wonderful musician husband/arranger John Leventhal. We are also looking forward to listening to our newly acquired, “Quiet About It: Tribute to Jesse Winchester,” which we’ll listen to later. This cd was released in 2012. It was so very sad to learn of Jesse’s death. He was a beautiful songwriter and had such a lovely presence on stage.
My readers…I have been checking in to see what’s going on in your blogs and am enjoying all that I read. I hope to return more vigorously to my blog. I am thinking of using a new WordPress theme and perhaps when my son returns from India for a vacation in June, we’ll work on it together. He is finishing his first year of teaching in India and has one more year to go. From there who knows where he’ll go, but he’ll go. Just this morning, when we saw each other on Skype, he said he has amazing parents and he is who he is because of his upbringing. Music to my ears. As a parent, you do what you do and hope something sinks in and you don’t expect any thank yous or accolades, but my son is always giving us applause…this from a kid who didn’t like reading or writing and went to school to socialize. It’s heartwarming hearing his hopes, dreams and the absolute confidence he has in himself. He said he and his girlfriend have a 5-year plan…it’s great that they are doing all of this traveling now before children and mortgages, don’t you think? My daughter is doing well in NYC; my mom is hanging in there and for over 90 she’s doing great! My hubby recently retired, but is continuing to work at his present job 2.5 days per week…there are still bills to be paid and improvements on the home to be made and then he’ll fully retire. It’s so wonderful we live in the same town where he works. Now that the nice weather is here, I am doing my daily walks in the park and paying attention to everything I see there. I want to become what I pay attention to. Ah…now Jimmy Lafave is singing Jackson Browne’s “For Everyman,”
“Everybody’s just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who’ll come along
And hold out that strong and gentle father’s hand?”-Jackson Browne

I remember Linda Loman telling her sons, “Attention Must Be Paid,” and I never forgot that line from Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Willy mattered to Linda and wanted him to matter to their boys as well despite Willy’s shortcomings. If we become what we pay attention to, perhaps we have to look further into someone to see their goodness and pay attention to that instead of all of the “what ifs,” and “what coulda beens.”

NOTE:  I had a lot of trouble printing this posting the way I usually do!!!!  I usually take my word doc and copy and paste it using the “comic sans” font and it usually looks very nice and the hyperlinks work out well, too. Well today, the print looks so plain when I paste it and none of my hyperlinks came out…I had to insert them on the blog itself. If you understand what happened, please advise…Thanks!!!!!

 

 

He’s Still Waiting!

 

“A Brave Man and a Brave Poet.”-Bob Dylan on Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Today is the birthday of one of America’s best poets, in my opinion, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and he is 95 years old!  I used to read and carry around his “A Coney Island of the Mind,” which contained a fave poem of mine, “I Am Waiting,” with the great line, “and I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder.”

He was hip, he was cool and he opened a bookstore that I would have liked to have visited, but never got the chance: City Lights Bookstore in North Beach in San Francisco.

I am so happy to celebrate his birthday with you today!

He was born in Yonkers and when his dad died when he was a few months old, his mom was committed to a state mental institution and Lawrence was sent to France to be raised by an aunt. He returned to the states, served in WW II in the Navy, and opened his bookstore, named after the Charlie Chaplin movie, “City Lights,” because, “Chaplin’s character represents for me … the very definition of a poet. … A poet, by definition, has to be an enemy of the State. If you look at Chaplin films, he’s always being pursued by the police. That’s why he’s still such a potent symbol in the cinema — the little man against the world.” writersalmanac.publicradio.org)

“To Survive You Must Tell Stories.” –Umberto Eco

 

What a wonderful way to begin the first of March with the celebration of 3 writers born today!  Ralph Ellison, novelist and essayist, was born in 1914 in Oklahoma; poet Robert Lowell was born in Boston in 1917 and poet Richard Wilbur was born in 1921 in NYC. Ellison didn’t grow up believing he would be a writer; he was more interested in composing, but after meeting Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, his direction changed. Lucky us!  Robert Lowell had bipolar disorder and struggled with that in and out of mental institutions all of his life. Richard Wilbur started out as a journalist, but while serving in WW II, he read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and started composing poems about the loneliness he was feeling. Wilbur wrote, “I would feel dead if I didn’t have the ability periodically to put my world in order with a poem. I think to be inarticulate is a great suffering, and is especially so to anyone who has a certain knack for poetry.”The Writer’s Almanac   

The opening line of Ralph Ellison’s most famous novel and even the very first paragraph of that novel continues to be studied throughout the world:

”I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”  Sadly, we still have too many “invisible” men, women and children throughout the world.

On a lighter note, The Who’s Roger Daltry is 70 years old today!!!!!!   I have great memories of seeing The Who several times at the Fillmore East in NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

“I Have But One Passion…

 

to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity…”

-Emile Zola

As a young woman, I devoured the books by French novelist, Emile Zola…they were soap operas; they took on the plight of the poor, the disenfranchised, women, anti-semitism… Today, in 1898, “In France, Emile Zola is imprisoned for writing his “J’accuse” letter accusing government of anti-Semitism & wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfushistoryorb.com Currently, there is a new movie out starring Jessica Lange based on Zola’s novel, Therese Raquin, titled, In Secret.  Zola fled to England and was not jailed and all charges against Dreyfus were found to be false.

Today, the brilliant educator, professor, activist, philosopher, W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. If you haven’t read his full length biography by David Lewis (just to name one), do so. Du Bois lived a very full life filled with many accomplishments.

Our Day Will Come,”  a beautiful song sung by Ruby and the Romantics entered the charts today in 1963 when I was 10 years old. Oh how I loved to sing that song and Ruby’s voice?   Silky smooth!!!!

Our Day Will Come means so many different things to so many different people. To Zola it meant the end of anti-semitism; to W.E.B. Du Bois, it meant equality among all people; to Ruby and the Romantics, it meant maybe one day getting the royalties they deserved from their huge hit.

 

 

 

“I Lit My Purest Candle…”-Tim Buckley

 

You see, I am a poet, and not quite right in the head, darling. It’s only that.”

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tim Buckley’s “Morning Glory” song is one of my favorites of all of his compositions. Another poet who used a candle in one of her most famous poems was born today in 1892 in Maine: Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Coming from an impoverished background, Millay couldn’t afford college; one day a woman heard a young Edna recite one of her poems and decided to pay Millay’s tuition for Vassar College. After graduating, Edna St. Vincent Millay made her home in Greenwich Village along with so many other writers and musicians. She was very popular during the Jazz Age.  Millay was the first female to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her poetry volume, “The Harp Weaver,” which contains a favorite childhood poem of mine, “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver,” which begins with:

“SON,” said my mother,

  When I was knee-high,

“You’ve need of clothes to cover you,

  And not a rag have I.”

An Incomparable Artist

 

with James Baldwin

Nina Simone was born today in 1933 in North Carolina. My husband and I continue to listen to her and hear her influences in many of today’s artists, whether they’re aware of it or not. She was a huge personality…strong…powerful…direct and her original compositions, such as “4 Women” were evident of that. Nina Simone was an outstanding interpreter of lyrics, mood, nuance and just the best of the best. I urge you to read about Nina Simone and her very interesting & sometimes, turbulent, life. In the meantime, enjoy the selections: