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Posts from — June 2011

Someone Will Be with You Shortly

I was lucky: my family listened to me and read to me.

I waited in the front yard at dusk for the newspaper man to kick up dust on graveled Main as he threw the Kansas City Star into the yard. I’d rip off the string and run inside as fast as I could to have my favorite comic strip read to me [Read more →]

June 19, 2011   3 Comments

One Solution for Meetings You’d Rather Not Attend

Let’s face it, some meetings are necessary, well run, even enjoyable. Others, well, you’ve surely been to some (as I have) that make you want to stick a pencil in your eye and set your hair on fire. Or at least run out of the room screaming.

Am I exaggerating? You tell me.

In the most horrible of meetings, I’d usually just hunker down and pretend to pay attention while doodling on a legal pad. Try to stay out of any disputes. Just grin and bear it. Tell myself, “This too shall pass.”

The organization was undergoing changes of management, and of course, politics being what they are with each faction warring with the other, there was a lot of bitter conflict among the staff. The daily meetings were agony, just watching the barbed looks and vitriol shot across the room. Nobody wanted to go to them.

Here’s a solution some friends and I dreamed up: [Read more →]

June 13, 2011   13 Comments

Stories about Stories and Stuff, Stuff, Stuff

Don’t know about you, but my life (and life’s work? Work?) is all about stories: listening, telling, writing. I grew up in an extended family of storytellers. Stories, true life and otherwise, could erupt at any time. Often during family gatherings on Sunday afternoons, and always at bedtime tuck-in with one or the other parent.

Those stories encouraged me to become a person interested in almost everything at one time or another, from archaeology and botany to x-rays and zoology. The natural, physical world and a lot in the invisible realms. World literature, the human condition—heart, mind, and soul—all of it. My curiosity knows no limits. Like my family, I’ve been a collector of books, music, hand-made objects, and beautiful things I’ve found in nature: smooth stones, sticks, feathers. Now that my hair is whiter and my glasses thicker, I’ve amassed an amazing amount of stuff. And of course, I would end up marrying a man with the same interests and similar collections. Put them together, and what you’ve got is stuff, a lot of stuff.

All those childhood stories gave me permission to become a generalist, not a specialist. A fox, not a hedgehog. That’s just who I am and what I came here to do. I’d have to agree heartily with E. M. Forster who wrote: “My defence at any Last Judgement would be that I was trying to connect up and use all the fragments I was born with.” So, on good days, I call myself a Renaissance woman. Other days, well, I’m scattered, that’s what I am, especially now that I’m working from home instead of from my downtown office and am sorting through dozens of boxes of books and papers.

Having so many varied interests means I’ve never [Read more →]

June 8, 2011   No Comments