Sunday, August 30, 2009

My favorite things of summer

My favorite things of summer

Brightly polished toenails

Cool drinks


Drives in the country with the windows down

Farmer's markets

Feeling the warm earth in my hands


Fresh basil

Fresh veggies from the garden

Gazing at the sky at night

Good books

Hearing a bullfrog at a pond

Hearing birds chirping

June bugs



Long walks

Magnolia blossoms

Open doors and windows


Picking the first red tomato




Seeing children play outside

Shooting stars

Sitting on the porch

Smell of bed linens after drying outside


Summer concerts in the park


Sweet corn

Swinging in the porch swing

The return of hummingbirds

Visiting State Parks

Warm weather

Wearing capris and sleeveless blouses

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Falling in love with a man is only a prelude to falling in love with life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Women Who Dare - Colette (1873-1954) - in full Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

French novelist, belonging, in time, to the generation of such authors as Marcel Proust, Paul Valéry, André Gide, and Paul Claudel. Colette's career spanned from her early 20s to her mid-70s. Her main themes were joys and pains of love, and female sexuality in the male-dominated world. All her works are more or less autobiographical but Colette intentionally blurred the boundaries between fiction and fact. She wrote over 50 novels and scores of short stories.

"By means of an image we are often able to hold on to our lost belongings. But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, binds the bouquet." (Mes Apprentissages, 1936)

Sidonie-Cabrielle Colette was born in the Burgundian village of Saint-Sauveur-en Puisaye. She was the daughter of a retired army captain, Jules-Joseph Colette. He had lost a leg in the Italian campaign and worked as a taxcollector with local political aspirations. Colette's mother, Adele Eugenie Sidonie Landoy, known as 'Sidonie' or 'Sido', was an unconventional character, a down-to-earth personality, devoted to her pets, books, and garden. Colette spent a happy childhood in rural surrounding, the scene of her many novels. At the age of 20 Colette married the writer and music critic Henri Gauthier-Villars, ('Monsieur Willy'); he was 15 years her senior. Colette's biographers' have labelled her first husband as a literary charlatan and degenerate.

Encouraged to start a career as a writer Colette published in short period four CLAUDINE novels (1900-03) under her husband's pen name Willy. According to a famous story, he locked Colette in her room until she had written enough pages. The series of four novels depicted improper adventures of a teenage girl. The series was a huge success and inspired all kinds of side products - a musical stage play, Claudine uniform, Claudine soap, cigars, and perfume. However, Colette's own cosmetics shop went bankrupt. Tired of her husbands unfaithfulness, Colette broke free of him in 1905. After divorce in 1906 Colette became a music-hall performer at such places as La Chatte Amoureuse and L'Oiseau de Nuit. On stage she bared one breast. A talk of the town, Colette once mimed copulation in a sketch, which a riot at the Moulin Rouge. Colette's protector and manager, a woman known as 'Missy', was the niece of Napoleon III, the Marquise de Belboeuf. Missy committed suicide in 1944 - ruined and desperate. Among Colette's other friends and probably lovers were Natalie Clifford Barney, an American lesbian woman, and the Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzzio.

In 1912 Colette married Henri de Jouvenel des Ursins, the editor of the newspaper Le Matin, for which she wrote theatre chronicles and short stories. Their daughter, Colette de Jouvenel, later told that she was neglected by her parents - her mother never wanted a child. Colette's relationship with her young stepson, Bertrand de Jouvenel, was a source of gossips. In the novel CHÉRI (1920) she returned to the affair but depicted it from a point of view of a sexually unexperienced young man.

In 1910 Colette published LA VAGABONDE, a story about an actress who rejects a man she loves in order to live in an independent way. During World War I Colette converted her husband's St. Malo estate into a hospital for the wounded. After the war she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (1920).

The 1920s brought Colette enormous fame. She entered the world of modern poetry and paintings, which centered around Jean Cocteau, later her neighbor in Palais Royale. By 1927 Colette was frequently acclaimed as France's greatest woman writer. Especially Colette's insights into the behavior of women in love gained a sympathetic response from the reading public.

"'The great hat principle is that when you meet a woman on the street and her hat allows you to see whether she's a brunette, a blonde, or a redhead, the woman in question is not wearing a chic hat. There! ... Notice I'm not saying anything, I'll let you make up your own mind. Well?'" (from 'The Saleswoman' in Collected Stories)

Two central themes can be identified in Colette's mature works: the nature and the mother-daughter bond. LA MAISON DE CLAUDINE (1922) mythologized her childhood, LA NAISSANCE DU JOUR (1928) and SIDO (1929) celebrated Colette's carefree rural childhood, and the strength of her mother, whom the author rarely saw but wrote her many letters. The letters were destroyed by her brother after Sidonie died. In novels such as LA VAGABONDE (1911), LE BLÉ EN HERBE (1923), LA SECONDE (1929) and LA CHATTE Colette explored the struggle between independent identity and passionate love. Most of Colette's heroes and heroines, cocottes, bisexuals and gigolos, came from the margins of society. Chéri, which is one of her most famous book, tells the story of the end of a six year affair between an aging retired courtesan, Léa, and a pampered young man, Chéri. Turning conventions upside-down it is Chéri who wears silk pyjamas and Léa's pearls, he is the object of gaze. And in the end Léa demonstrates all the survival skills which Colette associated with femininity. The story continued in The Last of Chéri (1951), which contrasts Léa's strength and Chéri's fragility, leading to his suicide.

In the 1940s Colette portrayed her later years in L'ÉTOILE VESPER (1946) and LE FANAL BLEU (1949),which constantly questioned the relationship between autobiography and fiction. GIGI (1945) was published when the author was 72; the novel was made into a film in 1948. Vincente Minnelli directed a musicalized version of the story in 1958.

In the 1930s Colette was made a member of the Belgian Royal Academy. She was the first woman to be admitted to the prestigious Goncourt Academy. In 1953 she became a grand officer of the Legion of Honour. She won also many awards for her work. During the last 20 years of her life Colette suffered from a crippling form of arthritis, which had been set off by the fracture of a fibula in 1931. Her marriage with Henry de Jouvenal ended in 1924. From 1935 she was married to Maurice Goudaket, whose pearl business had been ruined during the Depression. Colette supported him because as a Jew he did not find work and had to hide when the Germans occupied France. Colette died on August 3, 1954 in Paris, where her fame was no less legandary than that of the writer Gertrude Stein(1874-1946) or the singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963). Colette was accorded a state funeral despite the refusal of Catholic rites on the grounds that she had been divorced. Her funeral was attended by thousands of mourners.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Women Who Dare - Anais Nin

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."Anais Nin

Anais was born in Neuilly, just outside Paris. She spent her childhood in various parts of Europe until, when she was eleven, her father, Spanish composer Joaquin Nin, abandoned his family. In the same year, her French-Danish mother, Rosa Culmell, took Anais and her two sons to New York. On the boat that brought Anais away from Europe and from her father she began to write her journals. In 1923 she married Hugo Guiler, who had studied literature and economics and had acquired a good position in an international bank, allowing them to live comfortably.

The couple moved to Paris in 1924. There they lived in various appartments, among them a beautiful house in Louveciennes, but Anais also often had a studio for herself and lived in a houseboat on the Seine for a while. In Paris she and Hugo supported various avant-garde artists, among them Henry Miller with whom Anais started an affair and exchanged hundreds of letters. The book A literary passion includes a great number of the letters these two artists exchanged over the years and provide an interesting documentary of their struggle for recognition as writers as well as their relationship.

Anais moved back to New York just before the outbreak of World War II. After a turbulent time in New York she divided her life between New York and Los Angeles, between Hugo and Rupert, a much younger lover and friend. From being a cult figure of the early feminist movement, Anais later rose to international prominence with her writing. She is best known for her diaries but also produced a number of novels and a prose poem in surrealistic style as well as wonderful erotic short stories, published posthumously. Characterized by the use of powerful and, at times, disquieting imagery, her work reveals great sensitivity and perception.

In 1973 she received an honorary doctorate from Philadelphia College of Art. She was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Embracing Womanhood

There are many ways and myriad reasons for women to honor and embrace all that they are. And when any individual woman chooses to do so, all women collectively move closer to becoming what they are truly capable of being. By honoring her experience and being willing to share it with others-both male and female-she teaches as she learns. When she can trust herself and her inner voice, she teaches those around her to trust her as well. Clasping hands with family members and friends, coworkers and strangers in a shared walk through the journey of life, she allows all to see the self-respect she possesses and accepts their respect, too, that is offered through look, word, and deed.

When a woman can look back into her past, doing so without regret and instead seeing only lessons that brought her to her current strength and wisdom, she embraces the fullness of her experience. She helps those around her to build upon the past as she does. And when she chooses to create her desires, she places her power in the present and moves forward with life into the future.

Seeing her own divinity, a woman learns to recognize the divinity in all women. She then can see her body as a temple, appreciating its feminine form and function, regardless of what age or stage of life she finds herself. She can enjoy all that it brings to her experience and appreciate other women and their experiences as well. Rather than seeing other women as competition, she can look around her to see the cycle of life reflected in the beauty of her sisters, reminding her of her own radiance should she ever forget. She can then celebrate all the many aspects that make her a being worthy of praise, dancing to express the physical, speaking proudly to express her intellect, sharing her emotions, and leading the way with her spiritual guidance. Embracing her womanhood, she reveals the facets that allow her to shine with the beauty and strength of a diamond to illuminate her world.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The older I get the more I realize that the end of my time as a person on this planet is creeping up on me. The phrase “life’s too short” isn’t just a cliche anymore and it’s clear that happiness isn’t something I can just continue to hope for.

People get stuck. They get stuck in relationships that are unfulfilling. Stuck in situations they know are destructive. Stuck in lives that don’t serve them well. When you’re being dishonored or treated poorly, you’ve already given the other person permission to do so. You’ve acquiesced, given up some of your boundaries, decided to be lazy about defending your most prized possession – your own self worth. You’ve let someone else chip away at it and steal the pieces it until there’s little, or even nothing left.

I’ve been stuck over and over and over. When a less than optimal life is all you think you deserve, you’re destined to stay there because nobody is going to ride in, swoop you up and carry you off into the sunset. Nobody can give you your own unique recipe for rebuilding belief in yourself. And nobody can force you to realize this: it’s not selfish to be happy.

Being stuck means you’ve caved into fear – fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. Fear of failing. Fear of seeking happiness. Fear of reaching out and grabbing great, giant handfuls of life and stuffing yourself full with them.

Getting unstuck forces you to answer this question: Are you brave enough to save yourself? Or have you given in to silent acquiescence?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dance Me Around the Moon

Put your hand in mine
I will lead the way
Push through all the clouds
To the dance floor of the sky

So here we are amont the stars
Looking at each other
And with a twinkle in your eyes
The music begins to play

I lean in real slow
My lips, they ache for yours
Lights reflect upon your face
True love - it really shows

I can sense you have guessed
So the lights they dim
And the moment I have longed for
Dance me around the moon

- by glimmerwitch (Jan Mecke)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This is a glimpse through a keyhole into my orinary life. Fragments and pieces of what I am feeling and thinking. Things that give me joy. Things that move my soul. Things that make me cry. What I am feeling at any given moment. My emotions bubble on the surface exploding into a myriad of fragments at any given time. But they also run deep. Deep down where you sometimes dare not go for fear of what you might find. I invite you to come with me on this journey to the very depth of my soul to see what shall be seen.