Category Archives: women’s stories

ANNOUNCING. . .my inclusion of “Giving Life and Taking It”

ANNOUNCING…Giving Life and Taking It, my personal story, has been published in Writing Menopause, editors Jane Cawthorne and E. D. Morin. It is now available on Amazon at $22.89 (I think in Canadian money.) I’m honored to be published among such notable writers and groundbreaking editors.
From Amazon: The Writing Menopause literary anthology is a diverse and robust collection about menopause: a highly charged and often undervalued transformation. It includes over fifty works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, interviews and cross-genre pieces from contributors across Canada and the United States that break new ground in portraying menopause in literature. The collection includes literary work from award-winning writers such as Roberta Rees, Margaret Macpherson, Lisa Couturier and Rona Altrows. Emerging voices such as Rea Tarvydas, Leanna McLennan, Steve Passey and Gemma Meharchand, and an original interview with trans educator and pioneering filmmaker Buck Angel, are also featured. This anthology fills a sizable gap, finding the ground between punchline and pathology, between saccharine inspiration and existential gloom. The authors neither celebrate nor demonize menopause. These are diverse depictions, sometimes lighthearted, but just as often dark and scary. Some voices embrace the prospect of change, others dread it. Together, this unique offering reflects the varied experience of menopause and shatters common stereotypes.

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More Backstory

ireland-graveyard

The photo is of the graveyard near the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange is approximately a half hour away.

Probably the first time I heard of Tara (in this lifetime) was in reading Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was in my early 20s. The Hill of Tara came to me many years later when I read Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley in 1991. I loved both books, feeling Ripley continued Scarlett’s fiery personality in her novel.

Angelo came home one day and said, “Let’s go to Ireland next month.” He always chose our vacation spot, but left the planning up to me. I had no clue (and the Internet was in its infancy) about where to go, no time to write for tourist information, and never went to tourist destinations anyway.

Ahhh! I had recently finished Scarlett. I took the book off the shelf, copied all the places she mentioned and marked them on the map. It gave me a starting point. Angelo was not a reader. He had no idea where my plan came from, just went along wherever I drove the car. I was determined to see where the High Kings of Ireland sat; where Scarlett was taking a handful of her Tara’s earth to mix with the earth in the Hill of Tara, Ireland.

 

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More Backstory

ireland-graveyard
JANUARY 6, 2017 · 7:52 PM | EDIT ↓ Jump to Comments
More Backstory
ireland-graveyard violets-3

The photo is of the graveyard near the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange is approximately a half hour away. A Nosegay of Violets. Probably the first time I heard of Tara (in this lifetime) was in reading Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was in my early 20s. The Hill of Tara came to me many years later when I read Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley in 1991. I loved both books, feeling Ripley continued Scarlett’s fiery personality in her novel.

Angelo came home one day and said, “Let’s go to Ireland next month.” He always chose our vacation spot, but left the planning up to me. I had no clue (and the Internet was in its infancy) about where to go, no time to write for tourist information, and never went to tourist destinations anyway.

Ahhh! I had recently finished Scarlett. I took the book off the shelf, copied all the places she mentioned and marked them on the map. It gave me a starting point. Angelo was not a reader. He had no idea where my plan came from, just went along wherever I drove the car. I was determined to see where the High Kings of Ireland sat; where Scarlett was taking a handful of her Tara’s earth to mix with the earth in the Hill of Tara, Ireland.

As I stood there, I saw the tombstone’s off near a small church. I expected to find some really, really old markers. Genealogy was playing a big role in my life at the time, so gravestones were important to me. They hold a wealth of historical information. I found a few from the 1800s which isn’t considered old to me. Disappointed, maybe, but not in Tara.

Newgrange had deeply unsettled me. I was wary of walking into that narrow tunnel to get to the interior. I did it, not happily. I had to force myself. Something was going on there and I did not know what, only how it affected me. The Hill of Tara was just what I needed to restore my energy and self-assurance as a visitor in Ireland.

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Early Backstory

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When I was a teen I planned to be a reporter/journalist for a daily newspaper. As soon as I graduated from high school, I would face the world, have my own apartment and report, write, and look for situations people wanted to read about.

Excitement built in me when I was accepted to work on the Hamilton High school newspaper. It was probably named The Hornet or something similar that escapes my memory because I never made it to my senior year. A year that I so looked forward to. A year that would be my early training for the career I craved.

My mother did some finagling that summer between my junior and senior years. She was grossly unhappy with my having a steady boyfriend, who took me to proms, football games, swimming, parties, and all the dreamy places a teenage girl could want. He even got me a part-time job waiting the counter in a luncheonette.  She decided he was not to be in my life any longer.

Then she met Ken at our neighbor Claire and Bill’s house. He was a friend of Bill’s.  Mom determined that we should meet and become a couple. That’s how it happened. It was all arranged. A backyard cookout was planned where he would not bring his present girlfriend. I was so naïve! I knew nothing of all this going on. Just pushed into attending.

Ken also took me swimming, dancing, to impressive restaurants, and cozy jazz clubs where the smoke hung low and chanteuse voices even lower. He was 6’ 2” wide in the shoulders, narrow in the hips, wore custom-made suits, sported anErrol Flynn mustache, and drove a fine-looking Cadillac. Two tone gray.  Very classy.

Mom coached me to order V. O. & water so I wouldn’t be carded. I was 16. The legal drinking age at the time was 21. Ken was 26, a handsome man with exquisite manners, consideration, and attendance.

At the end of the whirlwind summer, when it was time for me to return to school, Ken asked me to marry him. My stepfather Joe wisely suggested we wait until I finish high school. I think he knew this would blow over in time. I was just too young for a lifetime commitment. I was happy waiting although I considered that Ken would not be taking me to high school balls or football games. Besides being on the school paper, I was vice-president of the class. I was involved. It was expected of me to support my school events. I couldn’t see Ken’s going along with this.

It took me years to figure out that Mom was terrified I would become pregnant and bring shame to the family. She wisely knew, at Ken’s age, he would probably not wait for conjugal rights. He certainly was not gentleman enough to wait for me.  She didn’t know I had the determination and intelligence to not let that happen to me. She just didn’t know me at all.

So, I said ‘yes.’ My words, not quite my dream.  Surely this was only a detour. I didn’t know that then, but I knew, walking down the aisle in a white velvet gown in November, with all eyes on me, tears slowly overflowing my eyes under my tulle veil, that this was not the right place for me to be. But it was too late to turn back.

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Early Nosegay of Violets

dscf4367 Continue reading

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PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE LINEAGE

violets-3grandma-daniels   The photo shows Grandmother Elizabeth Urbanski Daniels (my mother’s mother) holding me approximately one year before she passed away. No stories have come to me about anyone before her in her birth line being psychically developed. She certainly was. My mother didn’t tell me about this until I was nearly 30 years old. I’d had some out of body experiences of my own, but Mom didn’t know that. She never knew it because I never told her. Mom had a habit of belittling me, so I wasn’t about to confide anything at all to her.

Grandmother Elizabeth (as she was referred to, never Grandma) read tarot cards. She was good at it. My mother was developed as far as my two brothers and I was concerned. She always knew before I did, when I was pregnant. I’m talking about within days. With my brother Bob, it was instant. In her later years, she lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida but knew instantly when Bob’s car was in an accident in New Jersey. She called on the phone within minutes after it happened. The car was empty. Bob was in the house with me at the time.

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The Launching of A Nosegay of Violets, a writer’s memoir of psychic awakening

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From left: Thomas Park, Arlene Bice, Sterling Cheston, Anita Merriweather Williams

WAM photo by C. Myrick Hendricks

It’s done. It’s over. The Warren Artists’Market team, shown here, helped me to create a great evening to enjoy the delicious baked goodies, lattes, and pots of tea of Susan Long at Lloyd’s Bakery last night. We socialized to Sterling’s musical selections in the background, Thomas performed his always interesting literary references while introducing me to a great group of people, and Anita showed her support. I let whatever words about writing the book flow, incidences in the book, and a few strange synchronicities about the book.

My emotions ran high when I answered some questions. Talking about what I wrote means that I relive the moment again. Since I had written these emotions, when I spoke them this time, I was able to get through the drama with only a few glitches in my voice. That’s a big difference from being unable to speak of some tragedies and near tragedies, that I’ve lived through, over many years.

I am extremely grateful for the audience of last night. They were kind, gentle, and engrossed when I spoke. Love. It’s all around in so many different forms that it fits all of us.

 

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