Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The New Normal For Communal Gatherings

 I’ve been watching The Healing Kitchen. It’s a series of 9 episodes designed to teach food as medicine and healing.

Along the way I’ve learned things that I think are amazing.

Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, whom I have great respect for as a health professional, said something that shocked me.

She said that she’d prefer to see someone eating a Twinkie in a group of family and friends  rather than something healthier alone.

She was not promoting junk food consumption. She was emphasizing what she sees as more important than the food itself – eating communally.

Recently I have developed an interest in Blue Zones and living to one hundred and beyond with good health and faculties intact. I’ve watched several documentaries about the subject and all of them echo that sentiment.

How do I apply that to my life? My friends and family are all over the planet.

There are a lot of people who believe that online connections are not real. I disagree with that. I have solid online connections with people in a couple of ways.

Firstly, I have friends that I have never met in person. And yet, I’ve known them for years. Two women in particular I met on a website called Shelfari in 2006. Shelfari was a website where you maintained a bookshelf with books you had read and there was discussion of the books.

When Shelfari was taken down, Jane and Natasha and I moved our friendship to Facebook. I’ve corresponded with them several times a week for 17 years. I have talked on the phone with them. I have a solid connection with both of them that I don’t think is lessened by not having met them in person.

Solid connections about reading and life.

Then there is arghink.com, the blog community that Jennifer Crusie provides for her fans. There are women who have commented on her blogposts for years. I am one of them. I met Jenny in person several years ago when she did a book signing in Louisville, KY. She gave a talk and then answered questions before people stood in line to get books signed.

When it was my time to get my book signed she asked who to make it out to. I told her she could use my name, Judy, or she could use the name I commented on arghink with, Clever Cherry. As soon as she heard my Cherry name she knew who I was and she came around the desk to give me a hug.

Solid connections about writing and life.

Pinellas Writers is a Zoom group I belong to. Every Tuesday night we meet and read something we have written to be critiqued. I’ve made friends that I have contact with beyond the parameters of the group.

More solid connections about writing and life.

I live 800 miles away from one of my daughters and her family. We do Skype game nights and Skype dinners. Sunday we ate tacos together. My daughter Ruthie, my son-in-law and grandson were on their back porch In Kentucky. My daughter Liz and I were at home in Florida.

It was chaotic with dogs barking and too many people talking at once and laughter and tacos consumed.

It sure felt like a communal meal. I would like to think Dr. Low Dog would recognize it as such.

And, in my life, it is a way of connecting that I am most grateful for.

Feeling Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Vivid Flashes Of Light


Author: Judith Ann Jennings

Illustrations: Tracey Hudson Countz

Light cracks:

From Nick Drake - whose light was gone way too soon:

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Earworms and the collective consciousness: B.E.E.

Lately when I hear words said or sung my mind questions – what do these words add to the collective consciousness? Would they build a world I want to live in?

  I am prone to earworms. A catchy tune will stick with me and when I start to really hear the lyrics I am frequently appalled.

 There is a song stuck in my head that is irresistible. It makes me want to sing along even though the words are truly awful.

  So – I decided to rewrite them. It took a while. And now, it is taking more time to cement them in my mind so when I hear that song I hear MY words.

  The rewriting was fun. The original song is about a gangster thief who sometimes kills people in the course of robbing them. Uh no. Not promoting that world in the collective consciousness.

 My version is about bees. Instead of the gangster wanting to take my money, the bee wants to make some honey.

 Here are the lyrics to my version:

 I fly like bees, get high in trees

 If you see me in a flower I got pollen on my knees

 If you come around here, I’m buzzing all day

 I’ll pollinate something in a second if you wait


Sometimes I think sitting in tubes

 Every stop I’m depositing food

 Everyone’s a winner, I’m dropping off dinner

 Bona fide hustler making my name


  All I wanna do is-*(bang, bang, bang, bang)

 And a-*(gun cock sound, cash register)

 And make some honey

 (repeat 3x more)

 Daisies and cherry blossoms

 Carrots, squash and beans and corn

 Sunning when we sit ‘em

 Healthy nectar for the system


 No one on the corner has a nose like us

 Attracting pollen to our body of fuzz

 We roll it in balls, store it in our legs

 Fly to the hive so the honey can gush


 All I wanna do is-* (bang, bang, bang, bang)

 And a-* (gun cock, cash register)

 And make some honey

 (repeat 3 x more)


 We serve the queen

 We got more drones than linked or indeed

 So, no funny business and we won’t swarm


Some, some, some I, some I land on

 Some, I some I let go

 Some, some, some I, some I land on

 Some I, some I let go


All I wanna do is-*(bang, bang, bang, bang)

 And a-* (gun cock, cash register)

 And make some honey

 (repeat 3x more)


 If you’ve heard the song, you will recognize it by the meter. I don’t think it would be legal or respectful to name the song here. Curious people who know me can text or email me and I will tell you title and artist.

 My dad used to do this. Not in the same way or for the same reason. He would hear a song and he wanted to sing along but he didn’t know the words – so he would make them up. Usually his version would be bizarre and random, often funny.

There’s a song by Stephen Foster titled Jeannie with the light brown hair. My mother’s middle name was Jeannie. Somewhere in almost all of my dad’s made up songs was the line – “I dream of Jeannie with the light brown hair”. If my mother was present when he was singing she would roll her eyes but she would also smile.

Although what I did here is not like what my dad did, I envision myself doing this a lot in the future. My small way of cancelling out the negative world that words or lyrics can create.

Here's a song for a kind world:

Put A Little Love In Your Heart by Jackie DeShannon





Thursday, August 31, 2023

the g%^d*&^ essay is done

 So - I've been writing an essay to enter into a contest. 

And it's done. 

I spent hours making sure margins and indentations & word counts were according to contest rules.

And things that needed to be italicized or quote marked or underlined - were.

Now, I'm free to pursue the next writing adventure.

But first - I need to visit the ocean and see what Idalia has done.

And along the way, I need to find some breakable things to throw.

I used to have a friend Sonja from Albuquerque. We've lost touch. At the time we were both wiccans.

When she cast circles and wanted to build energy she would stomp her cans for recycle.

I don't drink soda or beer so I don't have cans to stomp.

Thus the search for things to break.

If I can get close enough I will post pics of post-Idalia Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.

Meanwhile here's the song I will be listening to in my car.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Changing My Writing Focus

 After some wine and some meditation – I made a decision. Instead of my primary focus being on novel writing with other writing being secondary – I’m going to reverse my focus – sort of. Actually novel writing is not even going to be secondary – it’s going to be put on the shelf and given no energy until the new year.

Then I can reassess. Do I want to pick novel writing back up or keep it on the shelf until I stop working at a job?

Really there was no decision to make – because once I had the thought it resonated completely throughout the entire part of me that is devoted to writing.

I have struggled for a long time now with creating worlds and staying in them long enough to finish an entire novel. It just doesn’t happen in my life as it is.

And, yes, due to the most recent light shed on a corner of my psyche that was formerly in darkness –

that being that my grandfather used to put his hand on my wavy hair and say “such a pretty little girl” (vomit) on his path towards sexually abusing me at 6 & 7

and all these years since I react with fear and suspicion anytime someone sees me and thinks I am anything related to pretty –

part of why I don’t finish novels and get published and be successful down that path is because – I would have to be seen.

I can’t have that. Or I couldn’t – past tense.

A writer can be successful sticking with short stories, poetry and essays though. And I can finish those. And enjoy the process. And I don’t have the same reservations about reading them for critique. Which means I can continue in Pinellas Writers.

Also – I am loving the thing I started of a collage – poem combo.

I have to find sources of material for collages, though.

Anyway – enough. I am decided.

Pinellas Writers you’re not going to be rid of me after all.

I like to finish with a song. This has nothing to do with the content above. It is a random earworm stuck in my brain lately. Who knows why...

Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacherman



Monday, August 14, 2023

From my novel in progress: main character Emily Dickenson Traveler, beat poet

Emily performing at a slam...

“The title of this poem is “It Ain’t All Good,” she said. She shifted back and forth on her feet, shrugged her shoulders, ran her thumb and index finger over her mustache and launched in.

 “Look at how he’s dressed,” a man from the audience in a cliché corduroy jacket with tweed patches at the elbows had the nerve to criticize.

Emily shook her head vigorously. “Starting again. I’m MD. This poem is It Ain’t All Good.”

“Old folks rocking on the porch always say

Creek’s a risin’ better get out the way

What do they know?

Do they know the glaciers are about to flow?

Do they know the polar bears have nowhere to go?

Surfers float on their boards and preach

There’s plastic in the ocean – clean the beach

What do they practice?

Do they practice zero-waste tactics?

Do they practice what they preach or is it just an angry speech?”


Tweed patches in the audience yelled, “I could watch the news for this shit.”


“You need to check yourself,” a deep voice growled.


Emily peered out into the darkness. One of the Traveler Zealots from the grocery store was threatening tweed patches. “Check yourself or I’ll check you.”


“Why are you defending this loser? His poem stinks and he sounds like a girl.”


“That’s cause she is a girl and she’s the voice of the divine. Now shut up and sit down,” threatening man said.


Time to finish this and get the hell out of dodge, Emily thought.


“Do they practice what they preach or is it just an angry speech?

Politicians shouting from the podium claim

Everybody else is wrong –remember my name

Why do they polarize?

Do they polarize because it’s easy to demonize?

Do they polarize us deliberately to hide their lies?


Confederate flag waving bigots holler

I deserve a better life than people of color

What do they fear?

Do they fear a world they can’t domineer?

Do they fear their white privileges will disappear?”


“A’int nothing wrong with the confederate flag, bitch.” Emily eyes searched the room covertly while she continued performing. This heckler was proudly pulling the front of his shirt apart to reveal an Aryan brotherhood tattoo.


Really time to go!


Many Facebook-ers spread misinformation

Evil ones bully from a safe location

What do they need?

Do they need the truth hidden so they can succeed?

Do they need to hurt others and watch them bleed?


“Me, too” victims finally given a voice

“You wronged me. You didn’t give me a choice.”

Why do they broadcast?

Do they broadcast so their abusers will be outcast?

Do they broadcast to move society forward and fast?”


Sugar Diamond stood from a seat at one of the tables close to the stage. “Oh my god, you’re criticizing  me, too victims.” Nate stayed in his seat beside her, looking disgusted but not saying anything.


Why tonight? Why the hell did he have to come with her tonight?


Someone from the audience yelled, “She’s not criticizing them. She’s explaining them. Let her finish.”


“Yeah sit your ignorant ass down. Go on MD.”


Emily had never stopped. She was determined to finish and escape the Blackbird Lounge.


“Hippies on the street corner smoking pot

Say –it’s all good man –no – it’s not

Another person of color just got shot

A gay man was bashed in the parking lot

Book burning fires lit white hot

History rewritten from a white man’s yacht

Lying about the past so they get off scot


But we a’int gonna let them be

Are we?


Things can change when truth is spoken

We can fix what we have broken



We can slow down climate change

Scientists will tell us how

Part of that means cleaning the ocean

We can do it now”



There were still random hecklers in the audience shouting periodically but Emily ignored them, determine to finish before all hell broke loose.


 “Condemn racists and rapists

Deny lying gossips and bullies

Veto greed and all its allies

Ignore people who split us


Be kind to the needy ones

Respect the different ones

Be civil when we disagree

I think we can all agree

It’s time


That's why I wrote this beat poem

I wanted it to be an upbeat poem

But reality beat up my poem

With all that it brought up

That we need to beat

We cannot retreat

We have to defeat




As the old folk's rocking on the porch say

We means you and me

Not they

Let’s start today”