Please enjoy these blogposts, written between 2011 and 2015. Another blog is on the way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Inspiring and Inspired

Judy Kleinberg is a poet, visual artist, and community builder here in Bellingham, Washington. Please don't miss her wonderfully varied, always surprising blog chocolate is a verb. Read it in the morning if you can, especially if you aren't a morning person. It will help. I promise.

Judy was kind enough to name Talking to Strangers a Very Inspiring Blog. She tells me that this means I have to share seven things about myself--as if I haven't already bent your ear.

I am the youngest of three. It seems unfair that I'm getting older at the same rate as my siblings. I hope I live long enough to write some of the books that are proceeding apace in my head.

Alex, Victor & Mary
I in turn raised three children. One would have been better, but which two would I have foregone? I ask you . . .

I know almost nothing about my forebears. My grandparents all died before I was born. In fact, they died before my parents were grown. My mother's mother died in 1918, for example, of the flu (when my mother was three) although she already had TB. Her first name was Octavia. I hang on to that. If she had lived longer, how could she not have grown into such a name?

I belong to a family of game players. I grew up playing pinochle with grownups when a fourth or sixth was needed. I sucked at it. I started losing board games to my middle son when he was six. Now I stay home while my husband runs a D and D game for my niece's family. I discourage game playing among my grown children. An evening of Settlers of Catan or hearts can set back peaceful coexistence by years.

However . . . at one point I played a wicked game of croquet. I can't explain why croquet is different from other games. Maybe it's that satisfying clunk of wood on wood. Maybe I like jumping through hoops. I know I like remembering my dad sending my mother's ball into the bushes. Games were one way for him to even the score. I mean score in a larger sense. As hard as we try not to be, we are all scorekeepers. Even my sweet, sweet dad. Even those of us who hate games.

This is my third marriage. Despite my husband's lethal toenails, and the one and only game of Risk we played the first year we were married, it has lasted 28 years.

Keats on his Deathbed,
sketched by Joseph Severn
I have visited the house next to the Spanish Steps in Rome where John Keats died. He was 25. He contracted tuberculosis from caring for his tubercular brother. He remains for me the perfect illustration of the costs of love, duty, and family.

I write fiction--an absorbing, but lonely vocation. I blog to reach out. Please reach back. I appreciate all comments.

Here are a few blogs (besides Judy's) that I visit again and again, for inspiration, friendship, information, and wisdom:

Quiet Minds, by Jan Priddy

Tamaranth's Creative Reading, by Tamaranth

Pam Writes, by Pam Parker

Katey Schultz, Writer @ Large, by Katey herself

Some Mad Hope, by Heidi Willis