Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Writeliving Interview – Ellen Bass

February 3, 2016

A wonderful interview about writing and life with poet Ellen Bass. I just had to reblog this.

Writeliving's Blog

Ellen Bass Photo

Ellen Bass is a writer I admire and continued proof that California yields some of our best poets (yes, I’m West Coast biased). Ellen is able to write about her life in a way that transcends confessional poetry and draws on themes of family and community. Her work is compassionate and passionate, and spiced with humor and insight into what makes us tick. Please enjoy this window into her creative process.

– Martin Ott

Who has been a major influence on your writing?

My first major influence was Florence Howe, my teacher at Goucher College, with whom I later co-edited No More Masks!, the first major anthology of poetry by women, published by Doubleday in 1973. Florence’s generous mentorship opened the doors of poetry to me and changed my life forever.

I was immensely fortunate to study with Anne Sexton when she taught in Boston University’s MA in Creative Writing Program. Without her encouragement I…

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Planning for the Unexpected

February 18, 2014

This is an excellent post by my friend and colleague, Rashel Sanna, about a very important topic. We all need to plan for death, unpleasant as it may seem. I recently completed an advance directive with Rashel’s help since we work together. It gave me an enormous sense of peace of mind, and I know it is helpful for my daughter and her husband and several close friends to know my wishes.

Please visit my blog at http://www.eleanorvincent.com for more reflections on death, dying, grief recovery, and life in general.

Be well!

Spiritual Baby Steps

I’m involved in a new project at work. I’ve been having conversations with healthy adults about deciding what they would want if they were in an accident or had a sudden injury, like a stroke, and couldn’t speak for themselves. It makes for interesting conversation. In addition to exploring what they would want, we also talk about choosing a good healthcare agent to speak for them and how to have a conversation with that person about taking on the role.

So far, the people I’ve talked to have been pretty clear about what they want. Some have actually talked to the person they want to have speak for them. Many haven’t actually had that conversation, although they agree that it would be a “good idea”.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
~Benjamin Franklin

What’s interesting to me is that we call this…

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March 8, 2013

Great post from Mirth and Motivation, a favorite blog.

Mirth and Motivation

“Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us.” Christabel Pankhurst


UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet – discrimination and violence against women and girls have no place in the 21st century.

16 Steps to end violence against Women – UNO
Invest-in gender equality and women’s empowerment
Enhance women’s economic empowerment
Increase public awareness and social mobilization
Engage the mass media
Work for and with young people as champions of change
Mobilize men and boys (1-6) Contd Below

Today is International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013, and the United Nations theme for this year is: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The goal of this year’s theme is to encourage communities globally to stand firm and put an end to violence against women. Even with…

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Post Christmas

December 26, 2012
christmas paint

christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)

Just as I vow no more sugar shall pass my lips, I realize I have Harry and David pears that are ripening and will soon turn to mush.  Fruit sugar is okay, right? Well, plus a little red wine, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Voila! Poached pears.

Once the pressure of organizing the celebration passes, there is a lovely “time out of time” in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Just the right time to make poached pears and do a little writing.

Jeffrey Eugenides has a great piece in the New Yorker’s Page-Turner column called “Posthumous” in which he recounts the great South African writer Nadine Gordimer advising a young writer to “write posthumously,” in other words without concern for what people think, the latest literary fashion, or money. Pretend you’re dead so you can free yourself to say what you really think.

So this is my week to play possum, hole up by the Christmas tree, and return to the world of words. Being quiet and apart from the real world is essential to the craft of writing. Yet, it’s the very thing I often find most difficult to do. If being a hermit – or a writer – were easy, everyone would do it.

The fine balance I keep aiming for is to be in the world but not of it. In it, but not excessively. In it, but still available to my own thoughts and wish for poached pears. As my publisher, Dream of Things press in the person of writer Mike O’Mary, prepares to relaunch my memoir Swimming with Maya as an eBook and paperback, the balance I’m talking about will be challenged.

It is difficult – some would say impossible – to promote a book and write at the same time.  I’m taking steps to ensure that I can, including meeting with my writing group to set goals specifically for writing early in January, signing up for an Amherst method writing workshop in February and March, and rededicating myself to writing first thing in the morning several times a week. It would be great if I could do it daily, but I’m a realist, and I know there are mornings when exercising or meditating first thing will take priority.

Living takes priority. So, as Eugenides advises, we can play dead in order to advance our art, but in the end, guess what, we’re still here. Those poached pears are still calling. The cats still need food and vet visits. And you will be seeing me at the office.

Enjoy this “time out of time” and celebrate the dawn of 2013. May it be a year filled with balance, quietude, good words, and equally good food. In other words, life.


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