Joseph Brodsky, Jewish Poet

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”  Joseph Brodsky Jewish Poet
'A Russian newspaper declared that his poetry was “pornographic and anti-Soviet.” The authorities were worried because he was becoming so popular and his readings were attracting large, enthusiastic crowds. He was interrogated, he was put in a mental institution, and then he was arrested. His trial was in secret, but the transcript was smuggled out, and his defense of the right to be a poet made him a hero, especially in the United States and Europe. He was sentenced to five years in a labor camp in Siberia, but there was so much protest that his sentence was commuted after a year and a half. For the next few years he continued to write, but he was harassed and finally expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972. Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity".He wa…

Hello Humans: How I managed not to kill myself yesterday

Sam Lamott; January 2017 

Hello Humans,
Congratulations: you’ve survived the holidays. For some of us saying that takes on a whole new meaning. It is not a cute phrase but a literal statement that we have, in fact, survived. The holiday season can be an onslaught of commercialism and happiness (genuine or not), and although there is nothing wrong with the celebrating, it can be a painful reminder of the things we don't feel, objects we can’t afford, and missing pieces we don't have. It is an exercise in endurance and grit, a magnifier of all life’s shit and discomfort. In a previous blog post I named this group of people who experience these issues as “the tribe of still alive”, and if you consider yourself a member of still alive, then this love letter is for you, and I’m glad you found it.

It has become abundantly clear to me that my mind wants me dead. In the absence of a nice slow death…

Go To The Beach

" That incredible feeling of peace and calmness that you experience at the beach is now being referred to as 'blue space.' That’s what scientists have dubbed the effect that the combination of soothing smells & sounds of water have on your brain. The blue space is enough to make you feel at ease in a hypnotic sort of way. When you notice how relaxed you feel at the beach, it’s not just all in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed and re-energized.

Overall, this BLUE SPACE effects you in four different ways:
1. Going to the beach reduces stress.Water is nature’s cure to life’s stressors. It’s full of naturally occurring positive ions that are known for having the ability to make you feel at ease. So whether you jump in for a swim or simply dip your toes in the water, you’re sure to experience a feeling of relaxation. That’s one instant mood booster we could all use from tim…

Derek Walcott: Pulitzer Prize Winner &/or Monster

I heard on the BBC today that the poet Derek Walcott died & a poem he had written, 'Love After Love', was read on air. I was intriguing enough to look for a copy on-line, but as I scrolled down the page, I felt deflated by charges of sexual harassment brought against him by several previous students enrolled in his college courses. As a woman with an MA, it brought me right back to those professors, in each of the colleges attended, who I was told 'to watch out for', or were easily recognized as predators without any warning needed. As an attractive, intelligent woman out in the real world, I fell in love with & had an affair with my own Naturapath Doctor, who was 12 years my senior. Although he was in the position of power, we were both single & frankly I pursued him & was the one who later moved on to another relationship. I heard years later that he was sued for sexual harassment by another patient & rightly so in whatever the victim's circum…

That Final Flight!

It's interesting to me how the soft underbelly of those we love comes forth most profoundly in their birth & then in their passing.

Another chapter in a whole lifetime seemed crammed in to that last month my dad & I had together. At home he rustled the pages of his last presentation paper for his 'Wranglers' group about the brain, while asking me if flowers had a memory because they repeated the life cycle. I told him, no, that was simply genetic coding & so we went round & round as usual & then I went home & actually tried to find out on the internet if flowers DO have tiny brains. 

I stood by my father's hospital bed after our last real meal together of salmon, baked potato & fruit crisp, which he had gobbled down with gusto. On my way out, he motioned for me to lean down closer & closer until he could peck me on the cheek with that sly smile & then I kissed him on his head & he thanked me, as he had thanked Moe, the big guy w…

From What I Want To What Is

Yep, this is a real photo. This is me with a rope around my waist & my sister standing ominously off to the side, looking like she's ready to hurl a huge snowball at me. It's disturbing, but not quite what it seems. In New Jersey, where this was taken, the snow drifts were often over my head; thus to avoid losing me, I was put on a rope long enough to play in the shoveled part, but not to do a face plant in a snowbank.

I was listening to a woman yesterday who was talking about her addiction to pain killers as if she was sitting in front of a window watching big snowflakes beautifully swirling down, but totally blocking out the real view outside. I feel like in terms of family dynamics, I've been a slow study, but the snowflakes are at least starting to slow down & changing to rain. It may always look somewhat skewed out there, because hey, who doesn't want to idealize the family that never was; 'The Brady Bunch' into something more pal…