Hold It All

Month: August, 2016

Writing En Plein Air

Have you longed for the chance to sit outside and write while listening to the birds, smelling the sweetness of the grass and blooming trees, watching the beauty of the dancing trees, and feeling the warmth of the sun?  

Experience the joy of writing in the spirit of Mary Oliver, while surrounded by the beauty of our natural world during a class being hosted by Annie Fitzgerald and Chris Wallach.  During each class, time will be spent reading, writing, and sharing poetry outside.

 The Details:

-Four consecutive Saturdays:  Sept. 10, 17, 24, & Oct. 1

-Meeting from 2:00p to 4:00 pm with tea and snacks

-Chris W’s farm: 5 East Lake Rd.  Fenton, MO 63026  (a thirty minute drive from the city)

-Bring a notebook and pen for writing

-Tuition is $40 for 4 classes, or $12 for one class

-RSVP to Chris Wallach: cwallach@newcityschool.org  or Annie Fitzgerald: annmariefitzgerald@gmail.com  before the first class on September 10th.

Fenton Farmhouse Road


I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

–Mary Oliver, from “The Summer Day”

Today’s Yiddish Proverb

Sleep faster, we need the pillows.

–I learned of this from Harold Bloom.

This Is It/493

Lindsay Sihilling shared this with me this morning, and I am happy to pass it on…

This is your conscience, artists and writers. You know that your conscience has tried in every possible subtle way to get you writing, drawing, singing, or dancing again, but you claim to be too busy, or too intent to begin as soon as….as soon as your child goes off to college, as soon as you retire, as soon as, as soon as. Both God and your conscience have given up on nuance and subtlety–therefore, this terrifying authoritarian figure as been summoned. He is pointing at YOU, you who wants to begin your memoir or novel, or join another choir or dance troupe. There is no such thing as “as soon as.” As soon as means “never.” “As soon as” means that someday you are going to DO regret having blown the invitation to create, to be an artist, to make marvelous music and messes and creations and gifts–gifts for you, and for us. It is part of our plan for world peace–“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” So get to it, okay? Today for one 30 minute pod, of scribbling, singing, gathering found objects from a stream or garden, for a collage.

–Anne Lamott

What To Do/14

There was nothing to do but wait it out. My mind has to become accustomed to loneliness. And when one is alone there is nothing to do but study.

— I.B. Singer, In My Father’s Court


What did people see in [Sri Anandamayi] Ma that so captivated their hearts? They found a combination of the sweetness of maternal affection and the profound depths of a mystical knower of God. In this fragile, delicate, young woman, they found the strength and energy of the Devi herself, together with the concern and care of an old and trusted friend.
— Swami Mangalananda

Ma 8

Remembering the Dead/115

As every cell in Chile will tell
The cries of the tortured men
Remember Allende, and the days before,
Before the army came
Please remember Victor Jara,
In the Santiago Stadium,
Es verdad – those Washington Bullets again

–The Clash, Sandinista


Victor jara 2

Books I’ve Given to Others

I wrote this for a former student in late 2010, who wanted a list of recommended titles. I decided to give her a list of books I saw fit, for one reason or another, to give to others.

Woolf, The Common Reader, 2 v.
Roy, The God of Small Things
Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living
Kolsbun, Peace: The Biography of a Symbol
Proust, Cities of the Plain
Farmer, Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader [3 people]
Young-Bruehl, Why Arendt Matters
Kerouac, The Dharma Bums: 50th Anniversary Edition
Easwaran, Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation [several people]
Bei Dao, The Rose of Time: New and Selected Poems (Bilingual Edition)
Mahouz, The Cairo Trilogy [3 people, one in Ramallah]
Zamora, Riverbed of Memory
Washington, Haiku (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets)
Proust, The Fugitive
Hachmyer, Alternatives to the Peace Corps: A Guide to Global Volunteer Opportunities [at least ten people]
Steiner, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation [2 people, polyglots]
Musico, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence [3 people]
Nhat Hanh, Being Peace [let’s just say, “many”]
Bolaño, The Savage Detectives [thanks to Erin, at Left Bank Books]
Chomsky, The Essential Chomsky
Arendt, The Jewish Writings
Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (Pevear & Volokhonsky translation) [5 people]
Kerouac, You’re a Genius All the Time
Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
Neruda, 20 Love Poems and a Cry of Despair
Cao Ngoc Phuong, Learning True Love: How I Learned and Practiced Social Change in Vietnam
Easwaran, Take Your Time: Finding Balance in a Hurried World
Gerassi, Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated Conscience of His Century, Volume 1: Protestant or Protester?
Zinn, Emma: A Play
Beavoir, Letters to Sartre
Roy, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers
Ophir, The Order of Evils: Toward an Ontology of Morals
Arenas, The Color of Summer 
Follmi, Wisdom: 365 Thoughts from Indian Masters (Offerings for Humanity)
Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East [3 people]
Proust, Swann’s Way
Arenas, El Color del Verano
Besancenot & Löwy, Che Guevara: His Revolutionary Legacy
Eliot, Middlemarch
Proust, Within a Budding Grove
Robertson, The New Laurel’s Kitchen
Johnstone, Impro: Improvisation and the Theater [4 people]
Barks,  The Soul of Rumi [4 people]
El Libro de Mevelina [a couple score]
Aristide, In the Parish of the Poor: Writings from Haiti [5 people]
Slezkine, The Jewish Century
Brainard, I Remember [4 people]
Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way [3 people]
Miller, Henry Miller on Writing
Wang, One China, Many Paths
Proust, The Guermantes Way
M., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
Galeano, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
Cott, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews [3 people]
Matisoff, Blessings, Curses, Hopes, and Fears: Psycho-Ostensive Expressions in Yiddish
Sachs, The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824
Gilbert, Eyes in Gaza
Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer [7 people, all pre-med]
Goldberg, Writing down the Bones [8 people, going back to 1988]
Zinn, The Bomb
Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
Adonis, Selected Poems
Proust, The Captive
Nhat Hanh, Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices [3 people, at least]
Hirschman, Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (Creole and English Edition)
Library of America edition, Walt Whitman, Poetry and Prose [2 people]
Waldman, Fast Speaking Woman: Chants and Essays [3 poets]
Ellsberg, ed. The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day
Proust, Time Regained
McQuade, An Unsentimental Education: Writers and Chicago [2 people]
Carson, A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen Read the rest of this entry »

Profession of Faith

“I believe in God—Bach’s God.”

Glenn Gould

An Achievable Goal

“I vow to bring joy to one person in the morning
and to help relieve the suffering of one person in the afternoon.”

–Thích Nhất Hạnh


“How do you like that? Born only yesterday and already she speaks like a perfect mensch.”
–Max, in I. B. Singer’s Meshugah