Monthly Archives: February 2012


Do whatever leads to joy, dead friends advise Marie Howe in My Dead Friends. As a woman of a certain age who just attended an unexpected funeral of someone I once loved much, I say, yeah, that’s the way to do it….now. When I was younger there was time to grieve, to make up might-have-beens, to question and twist and wring the life out of sad events. But now I’m going to say good-bye more and more, until folks say good-bye to me. That means my interactions with others need to be precise, ones of small joys, of service, of meaning, so that when they or I leave unexpectedly, the fare thee well, although perhaps unsaid, is an implicit I loved you, I’m glad you were in my life, giving life with all its great unknowns and mystery a moment of prayer, a forehead to the floor bow which says, thank you. There are no grand promises in this life we lead, except that we will die, and I like to remember  Khalil Gibran’s quote that perhaps a funeral among men is a wedding feast among angels. It’s all a matter of perspective.

What’s your perspective? What are you waiting for?

And here’s the poem for you to enjoy, and if you don’t subscrbe to The Writer’s Almanac, it won’t be because I didn’t tell you to….do it…..



Feb. 25, 2012


My Dead Friends

by Marie Howe

I have begun,
when I’m weary and can’t decide an answer to a bewildering question

to ask my dead friends for their opinion
and the answer is often immediate and clear.

Should I take the job? Move to the city? Should I try to conceive a child
in my middle age?

They stand in unison shaking their heads and smiling—whatever leads
to joy, they always answer,

to more life and less worry. I look into the vase where Billy’s ashes were —
it’s green in there, a green vase,

and I ask Billy if I should return the difficult phone call, and he says, yes.
Billy’s already gone through the frightening door,

whatever he says I’ll do.


the garden

I can never resist the garden in the spring. Houston’s been in a false spring since January, and I’ve been outside happily cleaning and clearing and filling bare spaces with what I hope will thrive. I’ve watched many a season of what I like die or grow spindly from lack of sun, for the yard I work in is a shady one towered over by a very old camphor tree that is quite decided in what it lets grow beneath. I’ve been in a battle with that tree for years, and mostly it won. But with time, I’ve been able to edge the yard with things that thrive, ivies, gingers, cannas, iron plants. There’s a life lesson there….to make a regular habit of cleaning away muck…..and something  about acceptance. To work with what you have. To bloom where you’re planted….but what if there’s shade? Then you green where you’re planted, don’t you?

What’s in your spring garden? Outside and within? Have you raked it lately?


Something fun is going around. It’s called a 7×7 link award, and it’s virtual. When you receive it, you have to share about yourself and then give it out to 7 other blogs you think worthy.

Well, I’m the proud recipient of one from Shala Howell of Caterpickles. Here it is. Thank you, Shala.

I have to share one thing about myself that you don’t know…….once upon a time I was a Miss Deer Park. A beauty pageant? Not. It was a high school award for best over-all student that could only be given to a senior, and I was over the moon with pride.

Now, I have to recommend  7 of my blogs posts :

Poetry in the morning: my wonder and awe at seeing Tor House, where Robinson Jeffers and his wife/helpmate lived….

To my Christmas cactus: a kinda haiku to my plant…..

For my son, whose middle name is Edward: a Memorial Day post that I think is ageless…..

Psychic Order: fans always ask what’s next. Here’s how novels are unfolding in my imagination, and while they may be about the same people, the stories aren’t chronological……

Journal entry from 1999: I love this one; my thoughts about seeing a woman and her child, both sitting too still at a bus stop…..

Yesterday…..a day in the life of me…..

Haiku practice…..just me and those syllables….

This is the best part: I give the award to 7 blogs I think worthy. Drum roll. Here goes:

Just Six Journal, maintained by  Jan Chapman. She describes her world in just six words and a photo.  It’s a wonderful exercise for those who wish to express themselves but feel overwhelmed by the idea of a blog.

The Barefoot Heart is an amazingly creative blog, but that’s too simple a description. As the author, Wholly Jeanne, says, she weaves cloth, stories, laughter and photos together. And I can find nothing more about her full name, other than Wholly Jeanne. I like that.

Ann Lauren explores her passion for history and beauty in this hugely researched blog that has immense detail and beautiful pictures about every interesting woman in history.

Leadership Sadhana is written by friend and dancemeditation colleague Sandi Longhurst and is about developing leadership skills that help the planet and help the individual soul.

The Book Deal is a sharp industry blog by New York editor Alan Rinzler about the changes taking place in publishing today.

Dancemeditation is by Dunya, creator of dance meditation, my personal meditation. Her writing is a lovely blend of how the body and mysticism unite.

3x3x365 is 3 friends from 3 states sharing 1 photo every day, with a little bit of verbiage if you want to see it. I adore the simplicity of this.