Creative Arts and Healing
Dear friends -- Somehow time has elapsed since I last sat here and penned (metaphorically speaking) this entry to you. In the meanwhile, I celebrated my 71st birthday (after the big 70, this seemed like i was starting over, as in one, two, three) with little to-do, had my annual beach retreat with my college girlfriend Ann at St. George Island, where I wrote bountiful haiku, buffed up my tan, and worked on a time-line of my life to send to my Archive (at UMass/Amherst). What a trip down memory lane, doing a rear view mirror life-review, starting with my birth in 1944 at a Detroit, Hospital, to parents who were only 24 and 25 and already had another child (brother Ron)! and ending with my life at Haiku Garden, Tallahassee, Florida, 2014 (age 70). What constituted major events, what stood out as compelling in my evolution of me? The themes that emerged from this fascinating exercise were of value: tracing my life as a woman of letters, a "strong woman" (from a "long line of strong women" in my mother's oft-stated pronouncement) participating in the 2nd wave of the feminist movement in America, my life as a teacher and healer, my prison ministry, (from its inception to present time), etc etc. I could see as the time-line progressed how in fact there were several timelines braided together, and I find myself wondering if it would be valuable to offer a workshop on time-lines, to gain perspective on the trajectory of one's life.

Then one could choose to focus on one element, or one period of time, and flesh it out,
or use the time-line as a guide to writing a memoir... In any case, I'll never forget typing
at the beach cottage's dining room table and calling out to my friends: "Now I'm graduating from Antioch!" " or Now I'm on my trip around America!" or "Now I'm marrying Tom!" or "Now Alana is graduating from UF!" And inbetween all the "important events" and people,
how could i forget (although they got little mention) my beloved felines: way back to my first cat as a young child growing up in San Francisco. Her name was White Tar, because she was white with black splotches. She was so passive she would let me put a baby bonnet on her and push her in my old buggy down the sidewalk!!! My love of cats never paled, and each one holds a special place in my heart. Same goes for my parakeets! I do believe my current one, Monet, did make it into the bio part of my time-line, anyway!

Reviewing all the people who have affected my life, was in itself, a novel all its own.
From childhood friends thru college friends through my work at Liberation News Service with the collective, my move to Portland and the women's movement era, etc etc, on up through my healing work and all the students who have written with me, or danced with me, or learned healing touch in my workshops. Those of you reading this blog who fall into the category of old friends, let me thank you now, for giving me your love, support, inspiration, courage, humor, and for sharing your challenges, losses, sorrows, as well as your victories and joys. How blessed are we who have kept in touch with old friends, while making new ones, always open to the vast potential of the human beings who happen at any moment to intersect us on a shared time-line...

So, is it winter or spring? In Florida they have a way of blurring edges. The first daffodils have shown up, yet the winter camellias are still in full-swing, the nights are cold enough
for a heavy quilt, but some of the days are hot enough to sit outside in jeans and a t-shirt and soak up the sun. It's time to put the peas and spinach and broccoli and chard into the ground, even though my winter chard is still growing (in various beds around my homestead). For the first time in the history of my life, my huge avocado bush, that sits
on the deck and invites birds to alight before they flit to the feeder -- has flowers on it, which may very well mean avocados. Wow!

What's coming up in the future? Making my first shipment to the Archive: my four self-published books, my 14 Singing Bird Press chapbooks (compilations of my life in writing),
various small press anthologies, and a few random magazines with my articles in them,
as a starter. How exciting to know my work will sit on a shelf and that people may find me (through the Archive website) and want to read my works, want to see how I fit into the arc of history (or herstory), what sense i made of civilization "and its discontents", what gave me happiness and what made me weep. It's all there. And lucky for me, it all continues....

As one of my Haiku composed at St. George expressed it:

Waves roll in and out
my life is an epic tale
washed clean every day

Happy Springtime, it cometh! And May the sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way home....


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