You can't wear a poem. 

Read. Write. Repeat  . . .
May I offer a brief distraction?

Because life is more than words and you can't wear a poem, I like to amble through the fashion blogs.

I'm not interested in runway looks, emaciated models, or sticker shock. I'm a realist. I like stylish, affordable (read: thrifted) bargains.

Here are a few of my latest, favorite, fashion-focused blogs:

B. Jones Style

What I Wore

Hillary Quinn - The Bargain Hunter

I'm still searching for a fashion blog created by and for women over 40. No frump. No ladies who lunch. No overly natural looks. Does this niche even exist? Am I the only one on this hunt?

How about you? Where do you find fashion inspiration? Has fashion inspired your literary life? Or, conversely, has literature inspired your wardrobe ? (i.e. Are you wearing a bookish tweed blazer with elbow patches? Or a white house dress, ala Emily Dickinson?).

What's in your closet?


Thankful Thursday: Signs of the Season 

When it comes to life,
the critical thing is whether
you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude.

- G.K. Chesterton

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to appreciate people, places and things. This week I am thankful for:

Little Cuties
It's holiday season and I know because Little Cuties have arrived.

Little Cuties are actually Clementines but I'm a softie for a successful marketing effort so I'm sticking with the Cuties moniker. Known as the darling of mandarins, Little Cuties are small, seedless, sweet and easy-to-peel. A common sight during the winter months, Clementines have earned the nickname "Christmas Oranges" and are related to, but not the same as, the beloved Satsumas (though they all taste good to me).

It's not hail. It's not snow. It's graupel, a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when supercooled water droplets coat a snowflake. On the Oregon Coast it's the closest thing we have to a White Christmas. (Go here to listen to pronunciation — this site should also be on my thankful list).

What gives you pause this holiday season? On this Thankful Thursday, for what do you give thanks?


On Sunday

Vinegar and Oil

Jane Hirshfield

Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.

How fragile we are, between the few good moments.

Coming and going unfinished,
puzzled by fate,

like the half-carved relief
of a fallen donkey, above a church door in Finland.


This poem appears in The Best Spiritual Writing - 2010, a book I almost didn't buy. I was put off by the title, fearing a tract-like compilation of preach and praise. A quick flip, however, revealed essays and poems by respected, down-to-earth, writers: Billy Collins, Diane Ackerman, Philip Levine, Floyd Skloot, and more.

Religious vs. spiritual, it's become a distinction many of us feel obligated to make. I am not religious, I say, quick to distance myself from the judgement and arrogance organized religion has wrought.  And yet, all these years I have still not scripted an explanation for the deep stirring within. In the book's foreword, Pico Iyer offers a thoughtful response that speaks to, and for, me:

"If someone asks me about my "spiritual life," I am likely to fall silent — even, perhaps, to go into hiding, because of my sense that whatever is deepest in us is that which can rarely be spoken. It's too enormous or invisible for words. In love, in crisis, in moments of transport we lose words as we pass out of ourselves into a larger presence or identity that has no need of the quibbles or the qualifications that words give body to; and yet sometimes I think that most of what I do is "spiritual" in that it has to do with trying to do justice to what our clearer moments have taught us; attending to the spirit that friends and circumstances bring me; being aware, always, that there is another world (some would say beyond, some would say within) the world we see and talk about."



Thankful Thursday: Juxtapositions

juxtapose |ˈjəkstəˌpōz; ˌjəkstəˈpōz|
verb [ trans. ]
place or deal with close together for contrasting effect

Today, I am thankful for juxtapositions, as in:

• Hot, tomato soup on a damp winter night.
Satisfaction in the simplicity of tomatoes — warmed, dished, salted and served.

• In a pile of bills, I find a letter.
I'll send you my stories, writes the young woman. I guess it's kind of a waste of paper because I could email them but it just seems wrong to me not to have stuff on paper.

Yes, I think. Exactly. In just a few words she has summed my life.

• A sugarplum has no home.
Yesterday, Happy Hour for Readers & Writers lived up to its name.

I feel like I'm inside a sugarplum, said the nine-year-old, launching us into laughter and poem-making.

We were giddy with imagination. We floated on whip cream clouds and bubblegum sweetness. We couldn't wait to speak our poems, dance our poems, and share ourselves. Quickly, the hour ended. Goodbye, sugarplum, we said to each other, as we waved our way toward home.

But not all the sugarplums went home. Last night, as rain and winter closed in, one child curled up with her family and slept in a car.

I want to be thankful for juxtapositions but sometimes gratitude carries a sadness, too.

Today is Thankful Thursday, the weekly pause to appreciate people, places, things. What are you thankful for today?


To escape these things

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."

T.S. Eliot
from Tradition and the Individual Talent