Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blame (or Credit) My Publisher

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s David Gawlik, married priest from Wisconsin and owner of the small publishing company, Caritas Communications, whom I blame or credit. Anticipating the publication of Sing to Me and I Will Hear You – A Love Story (coming out soon!), he proposed that I get my own website to promote this second book.

After some scouting around, the person I chose to create the website is my editor, Mike O’Connor’s own graphic designer – Nina K. Noble. Like Mike, she also lives in Port Townsend, Washington state, on the Olympic Peninsula.

Nina turned out to be just the right person, just as everyone “sent” to help me with my writing imperative has been just the right person (like David and Mike). I call those three my team. Nina is a Russian Orthodox Christian, and a yoga practitioner, to boot. She’s even a student of Jung studies. So Nina and I have become friends in the process of my sending her material, and her “designing” the website.

Look here to see the fruit of Nina’s work . . . outstanding work, I think you’ll agree:

Initially, it was a website focused on just that – promoting the first two books, the CD of my reading the poems, and later, the third book in progress – Sing to Me and I Will Hear You – The Uncollected Poems and Journals. But I found myself drawn to make it also a site for collecting various memorabilia.

The “memorabilia” that I most appreciate is the Portland Community Television’s “The Second Act” interview with Francis and me, in 2005. We had to go to some lengths to use it. I thank Lee Slater, my goddaughter Rowan’s dad who made a “MOV” out of the only DVD I was given at the end of that interview in 2005. For the 2012 interview with me by Bill Gregory, the TV station already had it uploaded and available on their website. Nina just had to copy it from there. But those earlier interviews were not uploaded then. But now, after Lee’s work, emailed to Nina, you can see on my website that “Second Act” interview conducted by Susan Hirsch with me and Francis.  

I realized after that, that I wanted to do even more with the website. I thought that my hip problem and yoga-to-the-rescue story might be of help to others. My annotated list of books on grief and death which helped me after Francis died has already helped others, so why not share it more widely?  Spreading the word about permaculture (edible landscape) is needed in our precarious times, and the chants which, at the end, helped Francis in facing his death – (That’s what the “Sing to Me” is all about!) – those could inspire people as they did us. So why not include those as well?

Now viewers can see Francis and me (very briefly) in another video, a youtube video showing Aramaic scholar, Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz leading us in the recitation and chanting of the first line of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. Of many Aramaic prayer retreats Francis took with me, that one in the spring of 2009 was his last– only months before he was hospitalized. There he is in that video, wearing a blue top my mother had made for him.

With that website work completed, I am ready now to work on the second half of the third book. The prospect is a joyous one because I know by now that writing is a work of discovery.

Just last week, after a long supper conversation with my friends, Joe and Claire Brannigan, I dropped off two books I’m loaning them – Old Age, Journey into Simplicity, and Jung on Death edited by Jenny Yates. (Because of Joe’s terminal condition, please keep them in mind and heart as they face together what is approaching.) My loaning them the books occasioned a little research on my part through which I came across this fitting quote by Helen Luke.

"Wisdom consists in doing the next thing that you have to do, doing it with your whole heart and finding delight in it — and the delight is the sense of the sacred."

Yes, it fits me like a glove. From the poems that came after Francis died, and through the telling of his story and mine, and now with my own widow's story coming next – writing, at this time of my life – feels to me like a calling. And people’s hearty response to my Maine Jung Center presentation only seems to confirm it. For that I give thanks.

And with loving gratitude,