Creative Arts and Healing
On the first of October, a hint of fall, a relief from perpetual Tallahassee summer.
A light rainfall makes my yellow jerusalem artichoke flowers shine even brighter,
and the new broccoli plants are beaded with jewels. As i look out my study window,
a window that has been in my life for 27 years, i am touched by the scene -- a landscape that wasn't here when we moved in, that changes with the seasons... a landscape that once had a swing set and sandbox, where kittens of different colors leapt chasing butterflies, where my little girl grew up, and moved away for college, then moved back, found a job, moved to her own place. No more swing set, no more sandbox, no more multi colored kittens, just one orange tiger tom, our Georgie, and his own paradise to roam in, Haiku Garden.

So, since I announced the much anticipated arrival of Prison Wisdom, I have been busy letting the world know this book of inmate writing and art exists. I have given a "private" launch for my closest local girlfriends, a sermon at the Unitarian Church (titled "Writing Toward Freedom - the Making of Prison Wisdom"), a presentation to the Re-Entry Coalition (all individuals and groups that help released prisoners start a new life, no easy task), and an "event" at the Blue Tavern, a music venue... a blues musician played freedom songs, i gave my "spiel" and chosen readers channeled the words of my inmate writers, to an audience stunned by the power and beauty of these incarcerated authors. In all cases, I offer to sign books, but also to accept "gifted" books, that will make their ways into Prison Libraries and to organizations that help prisoners.

This is my work for now; i am dedicated to it, and to the mission of helping people everywhere understand that people locked away behind bars have something in common with us, have something to give us, that can actually inspire us -- their humanity, their stories, their joys and sorrows, their redemption. I never knew when I began offering writing in the prisons that there would one day be such a book, but it feels like a blessing, a gift that somehow was given to me. Maybe it was just part of my life's purpose -- to
share the benefits of the writing life with others -- or maybe it was some sort of acme, apex, of my journey, that I cannot know now. What I do know is that when i leave this earth -- this book, among my other treasures, will be my legacy.

So, dear friends, the wheel turns, it always does, and in just four months, this woman with a crown of silver and a braid of black (worn over her left shoulder) will be turning 74. Being into numerology, 7 and 4 adds up to 11, and that is the number of the Muse, double the Pioneer Spirit, which means I'll probably be off on some sort of sparkling new adventure,
that I will be sure to let you know about as soon as I know what it is. Or there may be multiple adventures, one never knows. In the meanwhile, I live day to day, at my computer, in the garden, writing with friends (my 700 word story club continues to expand, and i'm adding a free verse component to it), hanging out with my husband, daughter, cat,
planning new engagements for my ongoing Prison Wisdom work (two house parties coming up), and anticipating a trip south for a four day Dances of Peace retreat, always an enchanting interlude...

"Oh peace, deep and divine, enter this heart of mine,
Oh peace, sweet and sublime, enter this heart of mine
Om Om Om Om, Shanti Shanti Shanti"

A reminder of the way it could be, maybe even shall be? How the whole world yearns for it.
... "And into plowshares beat our swords, we shall study no war..."

So, dear readers, let me close with an autumn Haiku, perhaps the weathers gods will hasten my favorite season forward:

My flannel shirt jumps
off its hanger, so ready
to leave the closet


Those of you already anticipating the chill of winter, mufflers and gloves and de-icing windshields, we live in a different country down here!

And that leads me to this: YES, we survived Hurricane Irma, even the horrifying worries as it barreled north, and escaped with ZERO damage. Yes, we lost power for 34 hours, but that was a small price to pay for all our tall backyard trees (waving now in a light breeze) standing tall, roots holding firm. And our new green metal roof happily intact...

May autumn lift your spirits, give you apple cider and round orange pumpkins, bright leaves to crunch through on a Saturday afternoon stroll, and squash slow baking in the oven...


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