Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Book Night 2014

Tonight I was a giver. I gave books on World Book Night. The book I gave was WILD by Cheryl Strayed. 

About Cheryl Strayed, Ursula Hegi says: "In language that's lyrical and haunting, Cheryl Strayed writes about bliss and loss, about the kind of grace that startles and transforms us in ordinary moments."  

I must meet Cheryl, as I have met Wally and Anne and other amazing people, who can put words on paper better than I, and make magic.

Giving books to people, and explaining they are free, has a remarkable effect. At one point we were surrounded by girls, whose ages were 16 and 17 and all clamored to get a copy. How could I refuse? I made them promise to form a book club. I should have thought to give them my business card so they could report back.

The we of whom I speak is my granddaughter and I. For the past three years, she has accompanied me on World Book Night, which serves two purposes. She is willing to carry my extra books and she is soaking up experience. Tonight she was disappointed to the point of anger when a woman we talked to said she had no interest in reading. My granddaughter is a good actress and didn't let on that she was completely annoyed, however she marveled that someone could be so thick as to not realize what a gigantic world they are missing by having absolutely no interest in books!

WILD is an embracing book that made me weep, laugh, shout, chuckle, chortle, sob and sigh. A movie is being made starring Reese Witherspoon, which I may or may not see. Sometimes it’s easier for me to hang with my own images.

When we had one book left to give, we walked around until we approached a young woman at Starbucks. I opened my conversation with “the author lost her mother when she was 22” and I was handed back words that sent a waterfall of chills down my spine: “I lost my mom two months ago,” she said. I couldn't retreat with my offer nor there was much left for me to say. I handed her WILD and with my hand on her shoulder, said I was so sorry for her loss and hoped she might find some comfort in the book. 

Thanks for reading....



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Good Night PSH

Addiction is the monster that hid under the bed, lurked in the closet. Some escaped unscathed while others were fortunate enough merely to be scarred.
I've been surrounded by horrible addiction in my life and can sadly vouch for the fact that money gives no benediction to those who are leveled by their dependence.
Why some of us think we are so far above others is a mystery to me. We are all completely equal in that we are human. We are fragile as a sigh or a tear. To freely judge someone who has an exposed weakness, when we know in our personal depth, the errors of our own ways, the transgressions we have committed, the black thoughts in our hearts?
My mother-in-law could have entered treatment at any time in her life but she wasn't able to admit she was anything but normal, even though after one drink, her lip would begin to curl like a rabid dog and before long, she would ruin whatever was the occasion of the day. I’m convinced that she feared what happened to her husband would also be her likely end. Once her husband admitted he needed help and acquiesced, registering at a high-end rehabilitation facility, a long train ride away, he died the night before his departure. His death certificate reads “accidental death due to alcohol and opiates in the home of a friend.” 1943. Leaving a young widow and a tiny baby behind. His addictions began with pain killers.
I've sat with people I love and watched them bite right through a folded towel, shaking so badly that you might think the rattling of their very bones would kill them. Pouring Gatorade, bottle after bottle after bottle. I listened to sounds that rarely come from a human not giving birth, smelling the sweet stink of their sweat, poison seeping from their pores. And them swearing they would never touch the stuff again. Two years later, making the same vows, suffering the same agony.
Secrets and sorrow accompany overwhelming cravings and twist people beyond friendship and fellowship. They don't just destroy bodies and spirits and families; they also obliterate hope and faith and prospects for immeasurable futures.
I don't judge anyone. I smoked cigarettes for forty years, quitting for long intervals and fooling myself too often, thinking just one, just one and I won't have another. I'll be okay tomorrow. I haven't smoked for 5 years and I am fully aware I've damaged my own precious cardiovascular system but I bet you if I lit up right now, I would be back at it again. I never touched cocaine. I had countless opportunities but I knew that even once, I could have been a dead girl. I went to too many funerals. 
My sadness is that I will never have the chance to look forward to another Philip Seymour Hoffman movie. He was, by far, one of the best. Ever.
I'm sorry, Philip, that for after 23 years of sobriety, something enticed you, drove you and took you from us.
Heaven's gain is surely our loss and losing you and Pete Seeger in the same week gives me profound sadness. He was old but should have lived forever. You were young and should have cheated death. 

Thanks for reading. 

* Recommended:


Thursday, January 9, 2014

And So It Goes

Thursday Afternoon 
January 9, 2014
Throwback Thursday

I just listened to Karrin Allyson's cover of Billy Joel's hymn-like song on the radio and every time I hear anyone sing it, I'm reminded of my mother. She loved this song and was so very fond of Billy Joel. We spoke of this "And So It Goes" in her last days and she asked me to print out the lyrics for her to read. I've often wondered who my mother thought of, or if she thought of anyone when considering these words. Perhaps she simply liked the melody. Along with too many other questions I never asked, I'll never know. 

And So It Goes
In every heart there is a room 
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense 
And still I feel I said too much 
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows.

When she was in her hospital bed, shortly after her diagnosis, before she went home for her last two months with us, she told me she couldn't get the song "Softly As I Leave You" out of her head. She liked the Andy Williams cover best. 

Softly, As I leave You

I will leave you softly
For my heart would break
If you should wake and see me go
So I leave you softly, long before you miss me
Long before your arms can beg me stay
For one more hour or one more day
After all the years, I can't bear the tears to fall
So, softly as I leave you there
(Softly, long before you kiss me)
(Long before your arms can beg me stay)
(For one more hour)
Or one more day
After all the years, I can't bear the tears to fall
So, softly as I leave you there
As I leave I you there
As I leave I you there

My life often felt like a soundtrack was dramatizing the background. My mother had songs for this and my father had songs for that. My brothers and I were musically talented and some of us actually did something with our gift. There were often singalongs around the piano and both my father and maternal grandfather were constantly whistling, humming or singing, Grandpa sometimes in Danish. The kitchen radio was always on. Stacks of 78's, 45's and LP's gathered little dust. My brother's bands practiced in our basement, and sometimes famous people were in attendance. The music was encouraged. The scent of pot smoking was not. 

At Christmastime, our family has a holiday, one of which I have ceased to attend, that ends with a hootenanny. Some are entertainers; others simply entertained. Since Mom is no longer with us, it just ain't the same for me, even though in her later years, she was in bed long before the keyboards and strings made their appearance. 

My voice cracks now when I try to reach high notes and my whistler needs to be frequently wetted to make anything but tweeting noises. 

I've become whimsical and melancholy when listening to tunes such as these. 

click on the links below to hear:

Billy Joel "And So It Goes"

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Haiku

In midst of winter
The delicacy of birds
Heightens empathy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ekphrastic Poetry

November 11, 2013  - For today’s prompt, we’re going to write ekphrastic poetry–or poetry based off another piece of art. 

(I've been wanting to use this photo for something. I took it at my friend Cassandra's house one late afternoon in October.)

it was time that melted
while you spoke
in smoky drones;
redwine smudged your teeth
and bluesky turned to black;
i crept
like a mouse
(some might say rat)
my small ear cocked in the direction of your murmurs…
just to know
(before the candles were blown out…)
the chances, luck, the secrets of our destiny.
my shadow slid against the wall
and one of you said
“did you hear something?”
and the other said
“it’s nothing”
as if I wasn’t there…


Crescent Moon

The moon
A crescent
Rolled over on its back
You could toss your hat in the air
Land it on the chin of that moon
To say hello to me


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Today's prompt is to write a perspective poem

November 6, 2013


We fly home across the lake
And stop to rest and watch
you beneath us
On shiny roads
In your cold metal bugs that roll along with big gleaming
Lights that dangle from the
sky and flash
Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow
We talk amongst ourselves and complain about the way you
To one another
And rushrushrushrushrush
All wanting to go the same way at once

No need for us to be in such a hurry
We preen and cackle and fight a little, too
And then
In our own smug way
We fly home across the lake