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Blessed are You When Others Revile You – Tanya Runyan

August 6, 2013

I discovered Tanya Runyan recently though an online reading group I’m involved with on Facebook.  I really liked this poem, and a bunch of others, in her collection, Simple Weight.

Blessed Are You When Others Revile You

We knew Preacher Man had it all wrong,

the 6; 4″ senior who pinned kids to their lockers

with the Four Spiritual Laws,

popped his head into classrooms

to proclaim “all have fallen short

of the glory of God,” and waved his Bible

as teachers dragged him to the principals’s

office, pages riffling like the hems

of Moses in the desert.

We knew he had lost the point

of sharing the Gospel through the simple

testimony of a life well-lived:

turning down sex and weed,

spotting spare dollars in the lunch room.

He makes us look so lame,

we groaned in youth group.

He’s working against our cause.

But when one afternoon

a freshman stuck his foot out

and Preacher Man slammed to the floor,

only to scramble after the retreating boy

and pull him into a hug, I knew

I had it all wrong, because he became

Jesus in the hallway of my school,

and I could never forgive him.

(corrected hiccup that occurred in my Kindle reader – Thanks Tgflux!)


Demeter In Paris – Meghan O’Rourke

July 30, 2013

Demeter in Paris  by Meghan O’Rourke

You can only miss someone when they are present to you.

The Isle of the Dead is both dark and light.

Henry Miller told Anaïs Nin that the only real death is being dead

while alive.

The absent will only be absent when they are forgotten.

Until then, absence is a lie, an oxymoron.

Therefore it is entirely unclear what absence means, or consists of.

Sometimes I want to be famous once more, and then I think about

the paparazzi.

I value my solitude. But I fear I am dead while alive.

Forgetting is a kind of blessing: It would [           ].

To avoid living, worry about all you’ve forgotten.

Then worry about what you will forget.

I have lived long enough to want to do it over.

When I miss my daughter, it’s as a kind of idea. Then she comes to

me unexpectedly:

in her corduroy red parka, hair sticking out,

smiling at the geese, eating her shoelaces,

pointing, crying, More!

When I saw the movie, in the dark center of winter, I thought:

The son wasn’t trying to say goodbye to his dying father. He was

   trying to say forever.

Alone so much, I think about the people whose stories I learn in


Often I think of the grandmother of one of Picasso’s lovers. Her


did not understand why she went so often to the graves of her

children and husband.

Just wait, her grandmother said. You will see.

No, what she said is there comes a time when, past your moment,

you live for external things: the sky, a piece of grass, a smell.

A painting, I would say. A painting where the colors are       everything.

Copyright © 2013 by Meghan O’Rourke. Used with permission of the author.–Demeter-in-Paris-by-Meghan-O-Rourke.html?soid=1110705357409&aid=Pyv3U_fWKz0.

Ruby Sparks

July 25, 2013

During the recent heatwave, my daughter and I had a movie marathon day.  It started with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part II, followed by The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  I had started the morning catching the tail half of Gasland 2.  Needless to say, most of the morning was spent crying – first at reailty, then at fiction, and then at fictionalized reality.  Life was unfair, cruel and unjust.  WHEW.  Downer. (Let’s not even get started on analyzing WHY my 12 year old daughter wanted to watch The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – that was her request!)

Needless to say, we needed something light and refreshing after that heavy load of human funk we’d wallowed in – allowing the oppressiveness of the outside heat to seep into our air-conditioned souls.  Enter Ruby Sparks.

My good friend stumbled upon this movie and LOVED it, so on her recommendation we decided to wind down our day of sad with this flick.  It’s a romantic comedy about a neurotic self-involved young author (Paul Dano, of Little Miss Sunshine) who isn’t able to meet the right girl.  His therapist encourages him to “write about” his perfect mate, which he tries.  And sunddenly, odd things start to happen.  Random lady products appear in his bathroom, a red sexy bra appears, a loney red wedge.  He tells his therapist that he’s having so much fun writing about this girl, that he thinks he’s falling in love with her.  His therapist (Elliot Gould) asks, so what, and Calvin (Dano), replies, “Because she’s not real! She’s a product of my FUCKING IMAGINATION”).  He says he can’t wait to write, because it’s like he can’t wait to see her again, so he goes home and writes a scene where a fully fleshed out Ruby (Zoe Kazan) tells Calvin he’s really not her type – she usually likes guys who are “strong” (and Calvin isn’t).  She recounts a past boy friend who told her she wasn’t funny, but fun, since she got his jakes, and that didn’t sit right with her. Then she says, “I guess I’ve just been waiting for you”. And they jump into a pool with their clothes on, and she tells Calvin she’ll love him forever.

Calvin awakes to the ringing of a phone.  He’s fallen asleep over his typewriter.  As he runs downstairs to run out the door for a meeting with his agent, a FULLY REALIZED Ruby, steps out of his kitchen and offers to cook him breakfast.  Calvin assumes the worst, and figures he’s totally lost his mind. But nope, he eventually finds others can see her – that he’s created this woman from his own mind.  More poignancy and hillarity ensues from this point, as Calvin realizes his writing controls Ruby and as Ruby becomes a person, with her own needs and wishes.

We enjoyed the film.  It was written by Kazan, who is Dano’s girlfriend in real life. It was charming and funny, without being overly saccharine or trite.  My daughter’s response to the movie tickled me.  After the first 20 minutes, she jumped up and ran over to get some paper to start writing.  I loved seeing how the film totally stoked her own creativity. Good fun.  If you haven’t seen it, give it a whirl.  Annette Bening plays their mom, and Antonio Banderas has a wonderful role as Bennning’s kooky, furniture building, chainsaw wielding lover.


Non sequitur

July 15, 2013


More good stuff pointed out by Mary Garcia on FBI

July 14, 2013


Give me Zen!

July 13, 2013


Because I shouldn’t have to see this alone…

July 12, 2013

Slate put this up today. I can’t unsee it. So now you have to see it too.

Kindlifresser, or “Child Eater

Friday Freeform

July 12, 2013

Sometimes, things come to me in batches.  I’ve read two young adult books this week, The Graveyard Book by Gaiman and The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen, that both deal with themes of loss and the detriment of living the “safe” life. The detriment  being that living safely means you’re not really living. Stylistically, you can’t find two authors who are more dissimilar, and yet, both deliver the universal story of learning to come in to one’s own, falling soundly in my lap, one on top of the other in the same week. Within four days.  Through the YA venue. Which I don’t often read.

Coincidence? I think not.

I am not a huge taker of risks. Most times I’ve taken risks, it’s turned out bad. So I try to live quietly.

Except when I keep getting poked by the universe like this. Then I try to pay attention and figure out what the universe is trying to tell me.  Some of us call that poke God – ymmv.

Then today I saw these two poems, more poke,poke. I’m just pondering the message being spoken to me today.

Alone in the Fog

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone

Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Annemarie S. Kidder

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone 
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small 
to be to you just object and thing, 
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying 
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions, 
where something is up, 
to be among those in the know, 
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection, 
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection. 
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent; 
for there I would be dishonest, untrue. 
I want my conscience to be 
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed 
for a long time, one close up, 
like a new word I learned and embraced, 
like the everday jug, 
like my mother's face, 
like a ship that carried me along 
through the deadliest storm.

See more at:



Daisy world
If you want what visible reality
can give, you’re an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
you’re not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.



July 12, 2013


Guess the bed is better here than in the crate??!! I suppose this is preferable to watching her tearing around the house with it in her muzzle trying to kill it.

Wednesday Wisdom and Poem

July 10, 2013
tags: ,

The Joy of just Being

Wednesday Wisdom and Poem

My inside, listen to me, the greatest spirit,
the Teacher, is near,
wake up, wake up!

Run to his feet–
he is standing close to your head right now.
You have slept for millions and millions of years.
Why not wake up this morning?


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