SoDak in the news

November 30, 2016

Tags: South Dakota, Chabad

I have been obscurely proud of being from the state that not only has the smallest Jewish population but the only state without a Chabad (& they are counting the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, & possibly Guam).

No more! The Orthodox are coming!

Gauging by the elastic Judaism in my day, it will be quite strange for everyone. Guam might be more familiar to everyone, come to think of it.

From the vault IX

November 29, 2016

Two random lines I just found going through old papers:

A coquette, pretending to be very angry, bites off her lover's hand up to the wrist.

Life's memories include those recalled from books.

From the vault VIII

November 28, 2016

october 15 1977

elinor quits her job & swears never to work for anyone else again.

she further realizes she is unskilled.

who would pay her enough to live on & not hassle?

[then I said I wished I typed better & thought I could maybe make money writing a pornographic sci-fi novel]


November 27, 2016

Johnny & I are watching college basketball at the SideWalk.

Hey Ronnie, he says to a guy, & introduces me.

Ronnie says, Who're you rooting for?

Before Johnny can explain that he roots for the school that graduates the highest percentage of athletes, I say, Florida.

Are you from Florida? Ronnie says.

Nope, they have the (more…)


November 25, 2016

I'm trying to find coherent & consistent stats, but the fact is, that despite the rhetoric, Jews are attacked more than Muslims. My rabbi meets with the imam of the nearby mosque: We have your back. Do they have ours? Do they even know they should?

Both the left & the right seem to be antisemitic in noticeable ways. (more…)

Happy turkey day!

November 24, 2016

Happy to repost this, I think my only holiday poem ever. A found poem at that, from a long-ago email that I fixed a little bit, mostly by adding line breaks. The original writer had no idea what he'd given me.

Thanksgiving Found Poem (more…)


November 23, 2016

What I do in my own office as a freelance editor/writer doesn't feel like a job. It's work but my time is largely my own. However, this week I spent two full days somewhere else, getting paid for my time and attention. It was fun—the work itself was absorbing & I liked the folks—but it kept me away from my computer & this blog.

What now

November 18, 2016

I guess it is better to prepare for the worst than hope for the best.

Following this writer's advice I'm going to do exactly this (& if you do also, will you send me what you write?):

Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others. Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children. Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship (more…)

Activism & thinking

November 17, 2016

So much smart stuff has been said over the last week—encouraging, staunch, consoling. Here are some of the articles & thought pieces I've read & will read again.

* NYC activists & doers talk strategy.

* Step-by-step help in standing up for what's right.

* I too am a coastal elite from a rural state, & I agree that (more…)

Meat & 3

November 16, 2016

They have another poster: Corn to be wild.
One of my favorite things about the South are the many "meat & 3" restaurants. At Wade's in Spartanburg I get the plate of 4 veggies. The choices may include mac'n'cheese, potatos, turnip greens, black-eye peas, sweet potato with marshmallow, apple cobbler, creamed corn & a lot of others. Your order also includes iced tea (ask for "1/2 and 1/2"—half sweet, half unsweetened), wonderful yeast rolls & cornbread—all for $7.50. Of course if you get the pecan or peanut butter pie, it's an additional $2.35.

Flood along the Pacolet

November 15, 2016

Tags: Pacolet River, Spartanburg

The height of this sculpture is approximately the highest point of the great 1903 flood on the Pacolet River in Spartanburg. Steve's grandparents were mill workers who lived within a few feet of the river. His family stories were about one grandpa convincing a woman who was being swept past on a log to let go of it so he could pull her to safety, and people banging on the other's door to warn him of how fast the water was rising, when he'd said naw can't happen. I don't know anyone who is as much from where he lives as Steve.

OK, a break for a little pleasure

November 14, 2016

South Carolina.
My favorite fruit is persimmons & here I am picking delicious ones right off the tree! not photoshopped! Not some other orange thing! Real live persimmons!

Pray for our country

November 13, 2016

The Nantahala George, near the Chattahoochee Forest of North Carolina.
Too much to say & not enough.
Do we take the high road or fight? Can we do both?
Do we have to understand "them" when they don't care to understand "us"?
Fury, horror, fear, disgust.

However, I believe—I know—I am not surrounded by haters. When I (more…)


November 11, 2016

Tags: The House

Bill. I managed not to get a photo of all of us.
Spending Veterans Day with 3 of my favorite vets:
Steve Willis
Gene Forrister
Bill McFarland

Three of the Air Force guys I originally met at or just after the last big anti–Vietnam War protest in D.C. in 1971. We have been fundamentally connected ever since. Bill had moved dozens of times in the last 35 years & only resurfaced a couple of months ago, so seeing him was incredibly wonderful. We are still & always The House.

I'm the only one who still has a (more…)

Smoke in the sky

November 10, 2016

The sun, hard to see in the photo, was blood red.
This is from our drive from Spartanburg, SC, up to Murphy, NC. They are having an "exceptional" drought, which is worse than "extreme." Several thousand acres are barely contained. We saw a run of fire right along the road. Hard to breathe, stinging eyes. Steve marveled at seeing rhododendron & other plants blooming months past their natural season. Everything is messed up.

The day after

November 9, 2016

Sleepless & sick & now it's too late.

Also, I have a plane to catch.

Last post from D.C.

November 6, 2016

I love historical markers. Something interesting happened here & everywhere. More of this, please. I want to know where Whitman wrote "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" & where Dylan got the idea for "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" & where Vermeer saw the light, & on & on. Let us remember where we came from & what it took, every day.


November 4, 2016

OK, I am totally stressed by the election.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I wish I had written this:
Bill Clinton cheats on his wife. Impeach him.
Trump proudly brags about sexual assault (and has cheated on his wives). Elect him.
Hillary (more…)

Behinder & behinder

November 3, 2016

What's that line, the faster I run, the behinder I get?

OK! Back to work!

I heart Minnesota

November 2, 2016

Saw this display at a combo laundromat–spray-on tanning salon.

What is past is prologue

November 1, 2016

"The Future," in front of the National Archives Building in D.C.
I'm fascinated to learn that the pope gave the go-ahead to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I because she was taking England back down the Protestant road. We think of her day (or I do) as a Golden Age, but it wasn't of course. The quote is from Shakespeare's "Tempest."

Somehow everything seems to be about the upcoming election.