Hold It All

Tag: Dianne Lee

Another Class Is Finished

Appreciation is the sacrament.
—Allen Ginsberg

Another class is finished…the autumn one entitled
“Facing the Future: Resources for a Rebirth of Wonder”

“Rebirth of wonder” comes from lines in a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem—
“I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder”

I’m not “awaiting” …I’ve experienced rebirth over and over
From the gathering of friends on and beyond Wise Avenue…

Dianne Lee’s commitment to “Whenever we see or think your name, you exist”
Provokes a more ardent anamnesis

Bill Quick’s ever genial receptivity
Models how to be in a learning environment

Chris Wallach’s intimate connection to Dipa Ma
Shows the way for “concentration, lovingkindness and peace”

Sarah Burkemper’s Nerudean ode to the first cucumber of the summer season
Awakens my amazement at the ordinary Read the rest of this entry »

Facing the Future: Resources for Resistance and a Rebirth of Wonder

Dipa Ma’s greatest gift to me was showing what was possible—and living it. She was impeccable about effort. People with this ability to make effort are not disheartened by how long it takes, how difficult it is. It takes months, it takes years, it doesn’t matter, because the courage of the heart is there. She gave the sense that with right effort, anything is possible.
—Jospeh Goldstein

Listening to birdsong and the wind sift through the t0ps of forests never failed to provide respite from bearing witness to ecocide.
—Dahr Jamail

The only worth globalizing is dissent.
—Arundhati Roy

and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder
—Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Recently, a friend, acknowledging the pressing issues of the climate, told me matter-of-factly, “Relationships are the most important thing in life.” In this fall class, we will engage in minute particulars of care for our natural world, practice choosing skillful means in daily life, pursue political and cultural investigations, call things by the their true names, savor and circulate poems, and cultivate neighborliness and the dear love of comrades.

Among our teachers will be two women from India, the Buddhist meditation adept Dipa Ma and the activist and writer Arundhati Roy, as well as the intrepid U.S. American journalist and mountaineer Dahr Jamail.

We meet on five Tuesdays in October, and three Tuesdays in November, beginning October 1. We are hosted by Dianne Lee and Bill Quick at their home in Richmond Heights. We gather at 6:45 and g0 till 8:15. Each session with have time for silence, paired sharing, writing exercises, book discussions, announcements, poetry recitations, and deep looking. A class blog will enable us to share our various writings and sources of inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

“Born Only Yesterday, and Already She Speaks Like a Perfect Mensch”


Dear Dianne,

I think this is the 4th time I’m reading Meshugah. It was originally serialized in the Yiddish Daily Forward. Because I’m reading it with you, and because Hedy is on our minds, in our hearts, I am paying more attention to the voices, the dialogue this time around. I marked the following passages, see what you think. Imagine twenty-five-year-old Hedy amidst such characters in NYC in 1949!

MA= Max Aberdam
AG = Aaron Greidinger
IS – Irka Shmelkes
M = Miriam
P = Priva

“Don’t be frightened, I haven’t come back from the Great Beyond to strangle you!” MA

“I’m alive, I’m alive.” AG
“You call this living?” MA

“My friend, I may have lost everything, but a bit of sense I still have. Though I’m in debt over my head, I owe nothing to the Almighty: as long as He keeps sending us Hitlers and Stalins, He is their God, not mine.” MA

“Where have you been all during the war?” AG
“Where have I not been? In Bialystok, in Vilna, Kovno, Shanghai, later in San Francisco. I experienced the full range of Jewish woes.” MA

“In all America you cannot get a decent cup of coffee. Hey, waiter! I ordered coffee, not dishwater!” MA

“In New York I found I was home again—they are all here, our people from Lodz and Warsaw.” MA

“I live on pills and faith—but not in God but in my own crazy luck.” MA

“Most of my clients are women, refugees from Poland who haven’t learned to count in dollars. They were driven half-mad in the ghettos and concentration camps.” MA

“The world is turning meshugah. It had to happen.” MA Read the rest of this entry »

Birthday Greetings to Dianne Lee

You have been for many decades
A light in the darkness

Countless people (and creatures)
You have loved and sacrificed for

It’s true, Love is the best Resistance—
How come NPR hasn’t interviewed you these last two years?

Share the Wealth with Dianne Lee and Bill Quick: Postcards to Voters

This coming Sunday, please join Dianne and Bill in writing friendly, handwritten reminders to voters encouraging them to vote November 9th.

In an age of digital overload, old-fashioned mail makes a lot of sense. Younger people are 30% more likely than other age groups to feel “very positively” about receiving mail and report ignoring snail mail at far lower rates than they do digital ads. In an age when everyone’s grandmother is texting and commenting on your Facebook posts, how often do people, especially young people, even receive a handwritten card or letter? Dianne and Bill will provide the postcards, stamps, addresses and a simple encouraging message. Please stop by, enjoy one another’s company, share a meal, and write a postcard or two or more.

Join us
Sunday 7 October
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
We begin writing at 6:45
At the home of Dianne Lee and Bill Quick
7457 Wise Ave
Richmond Heights 63117

Share the Wealth with Dianne Lee: A Sanctuary

“I associate the garden with the whole experience of being alive, and so, there is nothing in the range of human experience that is separate from what the garden can signify in its eagerness and its insistence, and in its driving energy to live–to grow, to bear fruit.”
— Poet Stanley Kunitz

Dianne Lee will share her native garden and how gardening serves as a balm for the times.

Join us
Sunday 1 July
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Dianne begins sharing at 6:45
At Dianne and Bill Quick’s home
7457 Wise Avenue in Richmond Heights (63117)

A Week of Riches

Monday 27 May… Bhagavad Gita Reading Group (W. Park Avenue)
Monday 27 May… Visit with Sarah Bollinger

Tuesday 28 May … Humanities & Western Culture class (Sunset Hills Maryville University)
Tuesday 28 May … Visit with J’Ann Allen

Wednesday 29 May … Active Hope class (DeMun Avenue)
Wednesday 29 May … Visit with Colleen Etling Long
Wednesday 29 May … Feldenkrais Class (Tamm Avenue)

Thursday 30 May … Latin America Reading Group (Café Ventana)
Thursday 30 May … Visit with Jane Gramlich
Thursday 30 May … Visit with Tony Albrecht

Friday 31 May … Weekly Meditation  (Chouteau Avenue)
Friday 31 May … Visit with Nima Sheth & Matt Miller
Friday 31 May … Visit with Sharifa Barakat

Saturday 1 June … Diamond Sutra Discussion (Chouteau Avenue)

Sunday 2 June … Share the Wealth: Slow is Beautiful (Oakland Avenue)
Sunday 2 June … Visit with Hedy Epstein and Dianne Lee

Present Moment, Only Moment

One day last fall Dianne told me on the phone
“I think Hedy is dying of pancreatic cancer”
I didn’t believe it

But in any case
All there was to do that day
Was to sip the Steak and Shake vanilla milkshake with her

Massage her feet
Argue with her over whether or not
To get involved in the South African free speech case

And notice her beaming at me
With such love
Like I’m a treasured, incomparable son

A Yiddish proverb goes
“Sleep faster
We need the pillows”

No, live more slowly, mindfully
Love Hedy in the present
Let go of the rest

On Ferlinghetti’s Americus, I

For Dianne Lee and Lynette D’Amico

When I first read Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Americus,I just before The Book of Mev was published, I was energized by discovering how much it is a mish mash, full of allusions, weaving together autobiography, politics, cultural history, headlines, lit crit, a whole shmear of America! It really is Joycean: Here comes everybody!

Ferlinghetti’s the John Sayles of poetry: Americus is a down-to-earth, populist poesy and retrospective on what and who we’ve been. Obscure, pedantic, unreadable poets, sharpen your knives! Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Aspirations for the Next Few (Many?) Months (Years?)

To encourage Ann in her possibly imminent publishing pursuits

To begin in earnest sequel to Dear Layla—I just bought three black Moleskines, first objective, fill them with daydreams of what’s going on with Carla Nguyen

To show up wherever Fatima’s going to be

To send Brittany postcards when she’s at the beach

To begin a serene decade-length project called, The Teachings Are Infinite Read the rest of this entry »