Remembering November 3rd

Very strangely, it was only after I got back in touch with an old boyfriend and friend from my pre-Jurassic college days that I learned, from one of his chance comments, that the “possibly correct” account my brother once told me of my cousin’s ex-husband’s death was true.

I was very moved by this, both because I do care for these persons, and because in a strange way the tale parallels part of the plot of my recent The Rescuer’s Path novel–the part about the murder of a radical activist.

You may have guessed by now, this being a November 3–the real event, the killing, to which I refer tonight is what is now known as the Greensboro Massacre, and my cousin had been, at the time, for some years divorced from the by-then remarried doctor who was one of two doctors shot to death by the Ku Klux Klan, that November 3, 1971, while organizing textile workers, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Why do I recount this now? Because this is our heritage. The Struggle is yours too, if you will join in it.

In these struggles, we have, so many, loved, lived, fought for justice and peace, felt empathy for one another; too many have died. La lutte continue, as we say, like so much else in life. Remember.

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Single Mother, Birth Mother–Share Your Experience

I am both the reunited first mother of my older son and the former Welfare mother of my younger son. Reading recently of the hardships confronting a new single mother, I remember how hard it is, the decision we each confront to raise or yield our beloved newborns. I know how the loss of our babies to adoption tears us apart, yet how, alternatively, social oppressions may crush upon our children, to whatever extent we cannot hold oppression off, if we raise our kids alone.

Halfway through my novel The Rescuer’s Path, a middle-aged woman who had relinquished her baby to adoption long before, and the twenty-something woman who’d been that baby, struggle through hope and loss toward reunion. Their thoughts and fear, hope and joy reflect the hole in time, the sense of not-there–of a would-have-been world–that pervades adoption. I’ve written about this before–in the online collection Poems of Adoption, in my “Reunion” essay in the anthology Touched by Adoption (2000, Green River), and elsewhere.

But only twice did my poetry or prose evoke what it is to raise a child alone, on Welfare, with no social supports. First, in “You!”–a brutally honest poem, winner of a 2005 Oregon State Poetry Association Award; second, in a nearly published memoir, The Baby Book.

If you have lived the experience, you know. Even to glance into blogs, fb sites, listserves, or printed books that deal with mothers trying to raise whole a newborn alone, or to let go a beautiful new child into another family’s world–reopens this never-healed wound. You will remember, you will recall. You will recall the love, the fear for this miracle child, the vulnerability.

If you have been/are such a mother, please post (up to 100 words). We all need to hear these accounts, to share what we have felt and learned.

With our own hands

Since we were kids, we’ve each heard: “Most people can never be real Writers!” Just as we’ve heard that most people cannot be musicians, cannot learn algebraic topology, cannot “really” embrace their full feelings, cannot “actually” cause much political change . . . Well, you know who such cautions benefit, don’t you? What the marxists call “the owner class,” that’s who—meaning the Big Owners, the folks who give their kids a publishing house or enough stock to manage a minor country, for a birthday present—the folks who are much happier if we don’t take our (political) destinies in our own hands.

Let’s not listen to such discouragement. Let’s, in fact, take our writing (and other) destinies, to the extent humanly possible, into our own hands. And minds and hearts. And share this empowerment, and mutual encouragement, and skills tips; let’s thus strengthen one another and our writings.

Obviously, we still have to learn and polish our techniques, our skills, our knowledge. In fact, for any of usl, it is necessary, beyond “talent,” to write, to learn the guidelines of grammars and styles, to read the finest of writings, and to write, and to write, and to write.

Welcome to my blog. Here we can discuss the struggles and possibilities of writing and literature, writers and others in the world. This is a new blogsite, begun as my debut novel, The Rescuer’s Path, approaches publication (2012, Plain View Press, $15.95—available beginning in January 2012 through the press and through Amazon, B&N, other online bookstores, and by order through your local independent bookstore).

The Rescuer’s Path tells what happens in 1971 when a Holocaust survivor’s daughter aids a wounded fugitive, a half-Syrian peace activist wanted in the lethal bombing of a U.S. Army truck, and with him must flee an implacable police and FBI pursuit. Then, years later, in the shadow of 9/11, their grown birthdaughter determines to seek her origins . . .

I want to know about your novels, too—and your writing experiences, tips, and struggles. Soon I hope to post guest blogs here (articles 100 to 400 words), so contact me if you would like to contribute one!