James Mercer Langston Hughes – (Feb 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967)

 

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.
Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.

Regina quondam, regina futura – Family Vol. 3

beach-shells-edit“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails.”

Thus wrote Terence Hanbury White in The Once and Future King, first published in its entirety in 1958 – the year I turned 2. It will be just as true at the end of 2017, when I turn 61. Continue reading

Spinning Our Plates

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David Burlet in his plate-spinning act. Plate spinners were among my favorite act on the old Ed Sullivan show. They defy the laws of nature, much as people do who battle mental illness.

Some people have such difficulty expressing their periodic chasms of vengeful depression, they take to the Internet looking for narratives they might adopt for their own. Now and then, reading through these portrayals of sub-flat-line despair, they shout, “That’s fantastic!”

This does not suggest any enthusiasm – not even for recovery. Part of depression is being willing to take on anything – even the misery of others – in an effort to fill the void with something other than deep, dull pain. Continue reading

Doing Dishes, While Living Life

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A Summer Tanager – one possibility for the glorious streak of red I saw in my backyard, while I was supposed to be preparing for autumn classes.

It would be nice if life brought to us challenges in neat packages: “Deal with this, and when you’re done I’ll bring you something new to test out.” Our school days are organized along these lines.

But the events and issues on our timelines overlap and circle around and sometimes travel against time and double up and triple up and overwhelm us and trip us up when they can. We do what we can, as we are able, using our skills for parsing catastrophe, and calling on the resources we recognize in the midst of all the chaos. Continue reading

“I Shall Imagine Life”

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By E.E. Cummings

Presented in honor of the 34th birthday of Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau

I shall imagine life
is not worth dying, if
(and when) roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose, roses (you feel
certain) will only smile

~

Lauren’s story is so much more than the story of her passing – and yet a Google search will find mostly the story of her passing. We can overcome that. Today is June 8, 2016 – the day Lauren Rousseau would turn 34. Spend some time with her story and with her family. Learn something about Lauren’s life. Your understanding of her will become a part of her legacy.

Continue reading