Archive for August, 2009

I haven’t mentioned this to many people but I was invited to apply for a seat on the Mississippi Audubon Board. I have no real idea what the board does, no real clue as to what board members are expected to do/contribute, but, what the heck! I do know some of the Audubon Center folks and a board member or two! You’ve got it: I applied. And was accepted. Got the call last week that they want me to come onto the board to represent the south central part of the state.


View of the Davis Home at Holly Spring Audubon Center

Now, sitting on boards is not new to me (local Audubon Chapter, local Shelter, DREAM of Hattiesburg, and more) but it is my first statewide board. Of course, I feel wholly unprepared and inadequate — nothing new there – I always feel inadequate! But I have a Ph.D.! Surely I can research issues, study, talk to people in the area and get their take so I can represent them? And heaven knows I have lots of opinions on how things “ought to be done.” I can do this job. And why not? I didn’t have enough to do anyway! This, Jerry, is what people who finish their dissertations do with their newfound free time – everything!


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On August 28, 2009 (Katrina + 4 years – 1 day), I drove to work. I’m driving a different route these days since the campus has closed some roads to 2-way traffic. So I drove past a small lake on the campus and noticed a beautiful great blue heron standing in the lake trying to look like a snag — and doing a darn fine job, too. I thought about what that setting looked like 4 years ago: wooded, dark, very glen-like but not that many birds; and I gave thanks for the devastation that left a place like that for the Great Blue Herons right next to Hardy Street’s bumpered traffic and too-busy-to-notice eyes. And I cried a little for what was lost in Katrina and gave thanks for what has come and will still come from it.

And, today, 4 years ago, our house was under fallen trees (see photo for view from my back door), we were cut off from the world, and had a blissful few hours of having no idea what had happened in New Orleans and on the gulf coast: the end of innocence. Happy anniversary.

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“getting old”

Yesterday, my beautiful husband told me, “I know I’m getting old. When I met her [speaking about a beautiful girl with a stacked up chest that we saw on campus] the first thing I thought about was that she was going to have back problems when she was my age.”

When I stopped laughing, I kissed him.

Happy Wednesday.

WINGS Portrait-Whidbey IS

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I’m attending a writing group now, mainly because I like the people in it and because The Writer simply wouldn’t agree to go if I didn’t go, too. So, the first Monday evening of each month, we get together with some other folks we know in the Pine Belt (Beth Taylor, Valerie Wells, etc.) and we talk about … well, sometimes we talk about writing, but mostly we just talk about life, our kids, how work is going (yes, of the group, only two are full-time writers), how long and hot summer is, how we long for cooler weather and whatever else we can think of.

Now, what does this have to do with writing? My background is in group training, group therapy, group dynamics, social change, etc. I understand groups and why groups come together and what groups can do. But this? This is friends having dinner. I like it, but I want to understand how this is supposed to promote The Writer’s writing/publishing/notoreity.

My understanding about “workshop-ing” is that someone writes, takes it to the group, they read it and critique. Hopefully, they are kind as well as critical and have the writer’s best interests at heart. It seems to work for many. I’ve heard Ronnie and other writers talk about workshop-ing pieces as if it’s a firing squad, an awful experience that they don’t ever want to have to repeat. How’s that productive? If you’re in a roomful of people whose only interest is themselves and their piece, if there is no sense of group cohesiveness, no desire to truly help another writer . . . of course, it’s kill or be killed. Competition rules and all else is out the window.

So, once again**, I guess I’ve talked myself into more of an understanding of why this group “works” for The Writer, and apparently others who come. This is a group where “we” (and I use that term loosely, as I do not claim to be a writer) share ideas for publication, for how to get work, for how to grow in the areas in which we are working, to survive this disease called writing. It is a place to commiserate about lack of opportunity, lack of money, lack of motivation, problems with spouses, problems with editors, etc. It’s not a “bitch session” so much as a support group. No one is bringing things to read or “workshop.” No money is changing hands, no secret handshakes, no password-protected websites. These are just folks who understand what The Writer is doing, what he is going through, what he is trying to do. And, because they understand, and he understands, I guess I’ll just keep listening.

**Hey, I never claimed this was anything more than an online “Journal!” I’m just hoping for insights from those of you who are reading it!

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