Welcome to the website that is perhaps my Letter to the World, which has indeed written back, once in a while, despite my late start on the correspondence. My real work began when I was more than half-way through what's turning out to be a long life. Now, actuarially, time is getting short. So I'm gathering up as many bread crumbs as I can find of that late-begun work and leaving them here, in the vast forest that is the internet, in hopes they may be of value on your path to a long and creative life. There's a lot here. Do wander. Welcome to it all.

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Latest Posts

Heliophobes & Umbraphiles


I’ve been reading a book that’s got me looking at how I explain things to myself. And how everybody else does. The book’s called Learned Optimisim and one of the fascinating things its psychologist author says, is that we each have a style of explaining events and phenomena to ourselves—and ...

Yet another day of grayness, and I find myself needing my own words of enCouragement about our PNW weather...



Somewhere a convict sobs into a book of poems from the prison library, and I know why his hands are careful not to break the brittle pages.

The great Sam Hamill has died. There's no obituary in the Times yet, but here's a past tribute to him that tells his story.

Brain Pickings

Simone de Beauvoir died on this day in 1986 and left us her abiding wisdom on what hope really requires and the need to move beyond the simplistic divide between optimism and pessimism

I'm remembering the impact of her book, The Second Sex, a bolt of clarity in a time when I was trying to understand my own unease in the world. And Her All Men Are Mortal changed my thinking about longevity.

Among the things we've been told are true for all of us: Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. I suggest that it is in fact a fortunate day for more than half of us. Friday is the day of Venus, and 13 is the number of months in a lunar year, the timing that women experience with menses, with calculating the due dates of our pregnancies. Bad luck? Nah. Maybe for guys, but not for all of us. So enjoy the day, women of the world.


Thinking there are a lot of admirers of Joseph Campbell hereabouts, I give you a glimpse of an exchange with him that I've never forgotten... JOSEPH CAMPBELL'S POCKETS What do you know, Joe, after all that study, all that tracking of humanity’s search for the sacred, for import, for course coordinates? A veritable Harpo of revelations he pulls from a vest pocket “Natural Music” and tells us that Jeffers got it right: to be holy is to be strong enough to hear beauty in the world’s storms and rages without divisions of desire and terror. A back pants pocket yields a wallet and a tiny newsprint clipping in which a Honolulu cop has, on sight, proffered his life to save a stranger. Unconditionally living in unity, namaste incarnate, dwelling always in the field of chi, feeling it pulsing through us, it, them, that, no divisions, no judgments, no fear— all the great scholar’s learning distilled in a few lines, plain, clear, and— enragingly, divisively, terrifyingly—hard. Have you another nugget, Joe, perhaps an easier one, in some other pocket?

One of the poems in Arias, Riffs & Whispers https://tinyurl.com/ydc5n4vb...


Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, shares his #BriefbutSpectacular take on justice in America. (From PBS NewsHour)

I can attest to some intersectional verification of judges doing such stuff as Stevenson describes in this powerful video. This is from #OutingTheMermaid: Schoonmaker was tapping a pencil impatiently. She beckoned to the hugely overweight bailiff. “We’re past time here. Can you tell me what the delay is about?” “The judge is in his chambers, ma’am, waiting for this lady’s attorney to appear.” “Her attorney is here and waiting,” Schoonmaker glowered. “Will you please inform Judge Arrabbiato? Now, bailiff.” The man’s ample face rearranged itself as he registered the presence of Willa Schoonmaker, Esq. As he waddled rapidly toward the chamber door, Schoonmaker turned to Lee and Marina. “I should have invited him into the 1970s but that would be fighting the wrong war—for today."

Outing the Mermaid


Outing the Mermaid takes you on a journey into the 1960s and 70s world of civil rights, feminism, Vietnam, gurus, Mafiosi, the Pill, the Beatles, class distinctions, astrology, and the eternal mystery of what’s going on between men and women.

There's now a hard cover version of #OutingTheMermaid. I know. That's backwards–it's supposed to come first. But Blooming Twig does it last. It's pretty cool--printed on the book itself–no dust cover. If you were ever thinking of it as a gift, I think this is the version to get. https://tinyurl.com/ycnepxa3

Brain Pickings

“Knowledge sets us free, art sets us free. A great library is freedom.” Happy National Library Week!

A wise woman, a Hedgebrooker, a champion of libraries...

From Amy Wheeler, ED of Hedgebrook: Our 2018 Vortext is coming up on May 4-6 and we're thrilled by this year's line up, including Shobha Rao who’s new book GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER is receiving rave reviews. She’s joined by Elmaz Abinader, Victoria Redel, Kate Carroll de Gutes, Laurie Frankel and Kate Moses. Come on back! - and spread the word to the writers you know & love. http://www.hedgebrook.org/vortext/ Here's the inspiring Vortext video we made last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrYY2DEsANA

Brain Pickings

"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears." For #NationalPoetryMonth, some of the finest life-advice you'll ever receive, from poet Jane Kenyon

Reclaiming my time...reclaiming my time...

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