Re-thinking Failure

I received my first rejection! I suppose I should be depressed, ready to quit, and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Instead, this moment feels like the beginning of a great and wonderful journey. The poems weren’t ready for publication. I know that now. Yet, I wanted to start the process of sending them out to the world. Pushing past fear, I did. And so, armed with new ways to work with my poetry and prose, and anticipating an upcoming writing retreat, I am ready to begin again.

I almost feel like part of the club.


Maria Shriver’s not the first to use the word. (It’s Bud Hunt’s mantra, too). But her commencement speech is worth reading and mentioning here. The Power of the Pause…

Some highlights….

You have the power, each and every one of you, to change the way we as a nation speak to one another. I truly believe you can change our national discourse for the better.

Change it from criticism and fault-finding to understanding and compassion. Change it from nay-saying and name-calling to acceptance and appreciation.
Change it from dissembling and dishonesty to openness and explanation.
Change from screaming to speaking.

She also says:

PAUSE — before you hit the “send” button and forward a picture that could ruin someone’s life — or write something nasty on someone’s Wall because you think it’s funny or clever. Believe me, it isn’t.

PAUSE — before you make judgments about people’s personal or professional decisions.

Sometimes when you pause, you’ll realize you’re gonna have to hold yourself back from acting out on your ego and your first impulse.

Pausing. A simple way to change the way we live.

Moments and Memories

I can’t stop thinking today about my friend Jan, who died nearly seven years ago.

Breast cancer.

She taught music at my school and lived two houses down the street from me. We shared walks, meals, and moments.

A teacher always, she started each class with “ponder this.” Why do we climb mountains? Can there be justice? What is joy? She’d ask her students to think and respond. And if their discussions took longer than she’d planned, fine.

Jan began the first choir at our school, sharing her beautiful voice with all of us and inspiring her students to share theirs. But she was so much more than her voice. Today I ponder how far our influence can travel and the impact it can have.

I hope she knew how much she was loved.