Creative Arts and Healing
Dear readers -- as you may know by now social media is not my strong suit. I don't have a facebook page, i don't tweet, and i only blog, here on my site, once each season. my preferred "addictions" (besides good strong French press coffee and half and half) are writing haiku, writing short stories, reading (the public library is my 2nd home) gardening and walking.

Today on my ritual morning walk -- about 35 minutes of briskness - i passed by the neighborhood duck pond, at the end of my regular route. I noticed how boldly hued the trees are that edge the pond: scarlet, orange, gold, and how they reflected in the clear waters below. Autumn in Tallahassee doesn't show its "true colors" until late November or early December. We can have cold snaps, even light frosts, but winter doesn't settle in - if it does at all - until late December or January.

Most Autumn seasons find me teaching and compiling LifeStories Reviews, but i am taking a break from teaching, other than an occasional Haiku Hour in the community. Originally, I made that decision because I wanted to focus my attention on putting together Prison Wisdom, a compilation of my work writing with inmates over two decades. However, that project is momentarily stalled. My concern is presenting their writing in the best possible way, weaving my story as an evolving participant into the mix. Other concerns are whether i want to self publish or find a publisher -- and from my current research it seems as if regular publishing offers little incentive in the way of marketing and distribution. I definitely do not want this book to sit in a box under my bed, nor am I primed, pumped, to hire a publicist or start a prison wisdom facebook page, or even toot my horn around town to try to get readings (and thus sales).

My deepest love is writing and offering others a chance to express their voice, their stories. I have considered myself to be a writer since age 14, and have been offering writing to people "from all walks of life" for 35 years, and that is a legacy I hold dear. I think of the many many people who have written poems, stories, fact and fiction because of my encouragement and invitation, and at this moment now, I ask myself, is it enough? Must i publish more books?

As I near the age of 70 - a sobering and tender milestone - I ask myself how I want to live, how I want to spend my time, what matters most to me. I suppose I have always asked these questions, being a philosophical sort of person, but the questions take on an urgency now as I come to terms with the fact that i, like all humans, am mortal.

I honor the men and women in prison who have taken off their armor and permitted their
souls to be revealed through the wisdom of the pen. I hope one day on this blog I can announce the arrival of Prison Wisdom as a book, a book of paper with a cover, a book one can hold, leaf through, read in the bathtub, teach in the classroom, laugh and cry over.

If that day comes, we can celebrate together. If it doesn't come, i put down the beating stick, and hug the truth to me: I entered those barbwire gates, we looked into one another's eyes, we opened our hearts, and we wrote. Each inmate received an anthology of their class excerpts, one that they shared with family; some of their words made it into my sermons;
and most importantly, we truly recognized each other's humanity.

In this late autumn season, as i reflect on the passage of time and seasons, and see 2013 coming to a close - I commit myself, anew, to following the dictates of my heart, to allowing inspiration and the Muse to guide my daily life. I thank you, one and all, for being part of
this journey. For following my story as it reveals its shape in each entry here. May we
whisper words of encouragement to each other, whenever we falter, whenever we fall, and help each other rise up to claim our fate, to cast the runes, to mark the passages of darkness and light with our mindful attunement.

Sunlight and shadow
the mystery of life speaks
in potent riddles

A new day given
to assemble the puzzle
each piece a treasure


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