Early Morning Reverie - sometimes is a pain.

This morning I woke up way ahead of the earliest alarm and despite having things I should get started on, I mean important things that need for me to get started on, I snuggled deeper into the warmth of the covers. Sometimes that between dreaming and waking state is a good place to linger.

First I thought back through what is now last week. Keeping things together, checking things off my lists, working on stories, a couple of lattes at Starbucks --

Then I remembered a surprise from two days ago - - something to look forward to in May. I received a note telling me a friend wanted me to select a show at Strathmore Hall Music Center as a gift. Strathmore's program line up is rich but with just a quick glance through the next three months on their schedule I knew what it would be.

I chose An Evening with Shirley MacLaine in May.

I have admired Shirley MacLaine's work for years and also appreciated her support of women's issues and the ERA.
Now this a wonderful opportunity to see her at work in person.

That's how life is isn't it?
Keeping on and keeping on and then - wham - a delicious and thoughtful surprise.

And then - there are things to mull over:

While I was drifting in this reverie in the warmth of my bed, I replayed yesterday afternoon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts where I was part of the 8th Annual SWAN Celebration of Women in the Arts. It was an afternoon of play readings.

I was presenting one of the short monologues from The Hello Girls - a preview of the show before the Capital Fringe in July. I felt my performance went well. The audience liked it. They stopped me and told me so afterwards. That felt very good.

But the best part for me was hearing the other theater groups and solo performers showcase their previews for the Fringe. I enjoyed watching the ensembles work together to create the scenes and characters without the usual stage props and costumes. The other two solo performers commanded the stage with energy and their well crafted stories. I watched them "at work" and I learned more about stage craft that will be very useful.

Catherine Aselford, actor and director, organized and produced the event. She arranged the line-up of plays and performing groups/solo performers to complement each other and to create a satisfying whole. Good show!

Jim Schoettler
The afternoon ended with a chance to talk with the other performers and members of the audience who stayed afterwards.  Another surprise when Jim showed up.  One of the performers mentioned that she remembered meeting and talking with Jim at one of my shows a few years back. I felt warm and hugged and very grateful.

Several women from the audience, a performer and a playwright, both my-age contemporaries, approached me with compliments on my performance and then they added, "it was wonderful having an older performer on stage in the mix." Oops. I was a little taken-back.

We exchanged notes on what their work is - on stage and with their play-writing. It was considerable which, of-course, made me even more grateful for their complimenting my work - or was that it, I wondered. Weren't they really complimenting me for being able to get up on the stage - and that people include me even though I am silver-haired and sit on a stool?

As I started my gallop down that track of thinking I was suddenly reminded that I said recently I would like to be more like author and thought-provoker Anne Lamott - - - what would Anne Lamott say in this situation?

So I reined in that stream of throught and asked myself
why is it that I am thrilled to be seeing Shirley MacLaine at work in May.

Is it because Jim and I saw her break-through movie at the Uptown Theater in DC when we were first married?

Is it because she has been to Downtown Abbey?

Is it because she is an older woman who is still at work -
 remembering how impressed I had been by Estelle Parson's October 2013 stage performance at Arena Stage that I wrote about it.

Or has it crossed my mind that this is my only chance to see her before we both drop dead  - -

I am glad I opened my mouth and invited Anne Lamott to chime in. Thinking of her possible answers she helped me put the brakes on as I sped away on a fast train of useless thinking.

After mulling it over here is my answer!

None of the above apply!

I want to see Shirley MacLaine in a live performance because I know it will be a fun and enjoyable evening -  interesting, funny and provacative - - and I will learn something about stage craft by carefully watching her at work.

I wish the two women who spoke to me the best of luck, hope that our paths cross again and that we are all fortunate to have chances to follow the "yellow brick road" we "creatives" love and thrive on.

I hope people come to hear me tell stories because I have something to say - not because I have white hair -

but hey, if you are looking for an older woman performer  - - who has her own stool - call me.



An Eye-Opener

Thumbing through some old journals I stumbled across an entry in one that brought back the memory of something I thought I would never forget ..... But I had. 

 In 1999 I booked gigs in North Carolina for my first on-my-own storytelling road trip. I was performing at Meredith College in Raleigh and at the Museum of the New South in Charlotte for an event sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Women's Commission. I was so excited about telling, Flesh on Old Bones, my stories about my North Carolina women that I did not think about the dreaded eight hour drive ahead.

Saturday afternoon before I was to leave on Sunday, I was moving fast around the house to get ready for the road trip. I stepped out onto the deck to ask my husband, Jim, who was working in the yard, a question. He answered and when I whirled around to go back into the house I tripped on the doorway. I splatted forward and met the kitchen floor full on my face. I felt my glasses dig into my cheekbone on the right side.

Jim heard the commotion and rushed in. "Stay still until I check you out." His doctor-self always jumped to the rescue. He did his checking and then he helped me to a near-by couch.
"Ellouise, this eye is going to look bad. It is already swelling. I will ice it for you."
 I reached up and when I touched my forehead and the area around the right eye it was tender.
"Jim, what will I do. I have to drive to North Carolina tomorrow."

He was crushing ice in the kitchen.
"We will see. Just keep you head down for right now."
" I have to go."
His doctor’s voice answered,  "We will see, Ellouise."

By next day my face was swollen and the right side was now a deep magenta. I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror.
 "Jim, " I called out. "I look like I have been beaten up. How can I tell stories to people?"
Please look at this, my eyelid is so swollen I can't see out of my right eye."

Jim carefully lifted my eyelid. Then he reached in the medicine chest and brought out the band-aid box. "This might work." He taped my eyelid up so that I could see out of the right eye.”
"Ellouise, I don't think you can drive to NC like this ….
plus the way you look you are going to scare people."

"I am going." And, I did. Changing the band-aids frequently and wondering how I was going to get along.

First stop was Meredith college where those folks were ever so delicately, so painfully polite they never mentioned my face. Only the young guy who wired me up with a lapel mic said anything –
 "what happened to you, Lady."
 After that I told my hour program of stories feeling like a gold fish in a bowl as I stood in an amphitheater looking up into about 100 young faces who looked to me like they were wondering “what happened to you, lady.”

When I called Jim that evening he was encouraging,
 “Jim, they act like they don’t believe me when I tell them I fell.”
“ Honey I was pretty sure they wouldn’t.
"Sounds like your eye is all right. You are doing a good job. Keep it up."

“That felt good but I would have felt better if there had been a strong warm hug to go along with it.

Next day, still using the band-aids to hold up the eye-lid so that I could see to drive, I drove on to Charlotte, to perform for the women's commission event. A woman met me at the museum to help me set up. She gasped when she saw me. Then she explained that the issue they were working on for this year was Domestic Violence. We both agreed I looked like they had brought me in as a poster for the issue. I was embarrassed and felt a bit dumb, that I had not made the connection between my face and their issue work.

I swallowed hard and explained how I had tripped in the kitchen.
"Well, tell them that when you start your program. Some of the women will believe you - some won't."
At least that would be better than ignoring what a sight I looked like  as I had done at Meredith.

Oops. I had forgotten about my mother.
She lived in Charlotte, where I was born and raised. Part of my trip was a visit with her. Yes, she was coming to the performance - with my Aunt. Sure enough, they came all dressed up and a little early.

When I saw them come in  I hurried to the back of the room to greet them. They both gasped. Mama seemed to have lost her voice but my Aunt Katherine was never without words,
"Good lord a mighty Ellouise, what happened to you, girl".  And I told them the thumbnail version of the story. When I finished, Mama had her words back, "Well I knew Jim didn't do that." I hugged her.

The woman who spoke after my stories was a survivor of Domestic Violence who now spoke to groups to  educate the public. When she was called to the microphone she paused and waited a moment before she said –
"I used to look like that," she looked over at me "but it wasn't because I fell in my kitchen – like she did. It was because my husband hit me."

They liked my stories that night – they laughed and listened and they told me so afterwards.
But there is no question that the story that was the "eye-opener" was the survivor’s story.


Monday - A Fresh Start

There is sun this morning and I am grateful. I am soon off to Fed Ex to send in my tax docs to an accountant - thanks to my daughter, Karen. Yesterday when I was talking with my daughter Robin I told her about a new project I have in mind. Through our conversation the ideas were watered. I started writing a few things down before I went to bed. It must have influenced my dreams. Lots of dreams last night. I woke up feeling like sparks were kindling. Grateful for starting a new week with a tinge of excitement. Now off to the car to shed a heavy burden. How can a manila envelope that weighs so little be carrying papers that felt so heavy?


Happy St. Pat's Day.

Celebrating St.Pat's Day with a story told to Jim and me in a pub in Dublin. I taped this version of the story in 2013.



A Little Blue, e.schoettler, collage

At the local Starbucks time of day makes a big difference.
4PM yesterday there was a fair crowd and multi-layers of sound blending the voices of all the conversations.

Since I am usually alone when I am there I spend my time
people-watching or eavesdropping.

After a while a white haired man across the room stood up to put his coat on. He was not totally steady on his feet but he was on his own and hefting a heavy backpack onto his back. That's when I noted his wrinkled, aged hands. They reminded me of the look of Jim's wonderful, strong, and capable hands as his last days ticked away.

Those hands brought me up short.

You see, they confirmed again to me that I never saw Jim as an aging man. I always saw him as the vital and vigorous guy I fell in love with. Funny how that happens, isn't it? It's a gift.

I hope he saw me the same way.

The irony for all long-married couples is that you continue to hold those youthful images of each other - - - but once one of you is gone there is no one who sees or thinks of the one left you as you were when you were young and starry-eyed.

Darn. That's really too bad. One of life's tricks.


Giving Thanks Feels Good

Always happy when there is a parking place right beside the patio at my favorite Starbucks near my house. It makes things so much easier so I said, "thank you" to the "parking place Angel" as I pulled into the spot.

As much as I was anticipating tasting my Chai Tea Latte I walked across the parking lot to the service station next door first before I went in to Starbucks. I had a mission. I was going in to thank the service manager for warning my daugher that her 20 year old Toyota had seen its best days and was now clearly in its worst. "Use caution" he told her a few hours ago.

A good honest evaluation if often tough to hear - but in the case of an old car it can save your life as well as protect your bank account. There was a chance Sean's conversation this morning was doing both.

It feels good to say "Thank you" doesn't it? I
was savoring that good feeling when I took my place in line to order my "latte" - then I realized something that brought tears to my eyes as it  made me feel even better.

I had just done exactly what Jim would have done - what he often did - acknowledge and thank folks when they helped him out.

I suspect that's one of the reasons those guys at the corner service station watch out for me and our daughter.

Here is a  "thank you. thank you" to Jim -


Feeling Scared

When I was in Georgia in August I sat on my sister's deck and watched humming birds feeding and then sitting on the edge to taste the sweet juice as it ran down their throats.

Today I am hanging onto the edge, feeling pretty much like this bird looks, but its not sweet juices I am tasting. It is stinging bitter juice that's burning my throat.

I am out of my comfort zone.

Whenever I get ready to speak my mind I have to take deep breaths before I say what I think. I have been taking deep breaths all day. Or longer, but I don't remember when I first read about the letter the rogue Senators sent to the Iranian leadership,

Now there is a lot more written and I am breathing even harder - are you?

Do you have questions like I do - such as  -

Who are those guys in the Senate that did this thing?

What are they thinking? Are they capable of thinking?

They have been elected to the most respected leadership body in our land and they don't know how to conduct themselves?

They embarrass all of us in this country when they act so ignorant that they forget the good manners their mothers might have taught them - follow the rules and traditions of the Senate if you were elected to serve there.

Didn't that new guy from Arkansas get the hand-out with the rules when he checked in less than three months ago? Didn't any of the old-timers that signed the letter know better?

I tell you something. I am a southern woman - an elder southern woman - and I am embarrassed when I read that this new southern boy has been so dumb that he has messed with the President, the Senate where the home town guys sent him to serve, and all of us in this country.  And the old-timers stood with him and let him do it.

Arkansas aren't you ashamed of this one of your good ole boys? Is there anyway you can get him to come home before he shows off any more than he has.

Bottom line for me - - I am more than embarrassed - I am scared!

I am going to clean out a safe place in my basement - a place to hide.


Ask for Stories and Storytellers Send Them - Thanks

A friend has asked me to tell a story at her upcoming wedding. I was touched and honored and said "yes" in a flash. I hung up the phone and said, "oh drat!" Well that's not exactly what I said but you get the meaning. Why? Because now I have to find a story that will fit  - and learn it.

I am not one of those storytellers who walks around with stories for all occasions sitting right on the tips of their tongues. Since I stopped telling stories in schools I have concentrated on personal stories - what I call "oral memoir". I rarely tell folktales now which means a search is needed - - or maybe not.

Remembering the days of the fabled Listserv STORYTELL, I went to the Storytellers Facebook group and politely (I hope) shouted HELP.  And that is what started rolling in - generous help from storytellers across the country in the form of suggestions of stories they love and have told for weddings. I would like to raise my voice and call out Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Second step was a search of my bookshelves - and what a richness is tucked in there covered with dust. I am finding myself very grateful to my friend for the nudge to uncover The Way of the Storyteller by Ruth Sawyer and other valuable books that have been on the shelves patiently waiting for me to remember them. I think one of my problems is that I often put the tried and true aside hoping to find quick "answers"in the new and glittery.

One storyteller wrote to Facebook suggesting the Cherokee story First Strawberries.  Reading it I could see the smiles on the happy faces of some memory challenged elders when I told it to them at a senior residence one cold afternoon some years ago. That afternoon one of the women told me "I can almost smell them." I had forgotten the joy in that story.

Another suggested The Stone At the Door where the man cannot quite lift the heavy stone until his candidate bride, seeing the difficulty, reaches down to help him. Beautiful. I admit it, I lean toward that story. Reading it I wished someone had told such a wise story when Jim and I got married to clue us in that a marriage is built on noticing and helping each other. Maybe we would not have had to muddle those lessons on our own.

I have a feeling my friend's request is leading me in a good direction.

Last night I did not take my iPad to bed with me so I could watch a Netflix movie, I snuggled under covers with one of my yellowed old books and read new-to-me well-tested  stories The Magic Box and The Bird Who Spoke Three Times. Seems to me as my eyes closed I was thinking about telling those stories  - - -  as well as a yet-to-be-named story for my friend's wedding.

Thanks dear storytellers.


Why Remember - - -

Johns Hopkins Hospital, circa 1954.

Jim took this picture when he was a 1st year medical student at Hopkins. A California guy raised in the shadow of the Sierras he loved the snow in the mountains but never had to slog through it to work until he landed at Hopkins.  A camera buff he enjoyed seeing the world transformed into black and white.

This morning snow is pelting down outside my window and I am thinking a lot of Jim, even more than usual.

Tomorrow is the 3rd Anniversary of Jim's death. Its been rough lately  - - because you see he is not really dead for me. He is very much alive to me - and I intend to keep it that way through my stories.

Some days I forget to write checks to pay bills but I have vivid memories of most of the 57 years of days Jim and I shared starting with the first time I set eyes on him at St. Michael's Catholic Church on N. Washington Street in Baltimore.

Maybe its my storyteller mind-side that keeps me remembering like I do.  And, you know something- -I am grateful for it. I have worked hard to hone the ability to retrieve times, places and people. Since I tell family stories memories are the "stuff" I work with.

Twenty years ago I attended my first five- day-out-of-town storytelling workshop which was led my favorite teacher, the incomparable Donald Davis. He started the first session with the instruction "take us somewhere we can't go if YOU don't take us."  Donald's direction was electrifying for me as I walked into my grandmother's long-gone house.  Every step brought it more clearly into view. 2301 East Seventh Street, Charlotte, NC wasn't gone after all.

On a trip to Fresno our daughter Robin and I sat in the car with Jim outside his favorite childhood home. Talking it through he brought the interior of that house to life for us without stirring from the car. He also pointed out the spot on the block where he ran his bike into an oncoming car when he was 11 years old. He laughed, "I was showing off for a girl coming down the street". He was tossed in the air, hit the hood of the car and landed in the street. His brother Tom told me, " I saw it. We thought he was dead." Lucky and  foolish yes, fortunately not dead.

 An African folk tale, The Cow Tail Switch is a golden nugget for me. In the story five sons find their father's bones in the jungle where he was killed by a wild animal when he was hunting. They conjure him back to life. The story ends with the wisdom, "no one is truly dead as long as people tell his story." 

I came to storytelling through Genealogy and that "raising of the dead", at least on a chart, has always been the heart of my mission. When my kids were not interested in my charts I turned to storytelling to breathe  life into those names and dates I had worked so hard to find.

And what about this?

The STORY of Jesus has kept HIM and his message alive for centuries. As a Christian I am HIS follower - and was long before I set foot in the Holy Land. Jim and I made that journey with our friend Father Larry Boadt, a talented teacher and preacher who brought Old and New Testament stories to life, especially when you are walking in the footsteps of the Bible and the Gospels.  Having been there brought new life to the old stories for me.

At this time in my life I want to take my children and their children back through time to know Jim and me over the years. Seems to me that is a good thing for me to be doing. I have been known to say, "Your Story is Your Legacy." Now is the time to do more than talk about it ---


Wrapping Myself in 50s on 5

We are supposed to have a snow and ice storm here tomorrow. Drat. So you have to plan for it.

I made it in to Channel 16 this morning to tape a new story even though I didn't like the way my hair looked, and would rather have climbed back into my bed.  Some days you just have to show up - even if the camera's going to catch it all!

Glad to get that done before we are iced in. Then to the Safeway to pick up ice cream and other staples so see us through what ever Mother Nature throws our way.

Other wise it was one of those ordinary days that are so precious - - - and that you forget too easily.

Looking back on a few happy moments today - feeling self-satisfied and smug to pick up groceries before the crowd descended, putting drops in my little Shih Tzu's infected eye and having her trusting me to do it, catching up on some paper work, taking an afternoon nap, talking with my dear long-time bestest friend in PA, finishing a bit of laundry, answering emails and thinking, thinking, thinking.

To complete the day I have done something for myself that I have meant to do for weeks, maybe months. I chatted with a young man in the Phillipines who troubleshoots for SiriusXM subscribers. He helped me re-activate my computer access to 50s on 5. My neighbors will probably wonder what's happened to me now that won't be sitting suspiciously in the car out front to listen to my favorite music. For me having this music in the house is happiness  - - having those long ago familiar sounds and words swirling out of my Mac, filling the air with sweet memories of being young and filled with hopes. ... holding hands and dancing close with Jim at the Phi Chi House.  Ahhhhh....

When I was living in a single room at Hampton House - the nurses home for students at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I had a small 45rpm record player and a radio. I was always surrounded by music when I was in that room. Later in our first apartment when Jim and I were first married - before television entered our lives the radio and music kept me company while Jim studied or worked several jobs. Look what's happened since then - television crowds the space - lately shouting disturbing news, violence and sex. I find myself wondering what I have come to that I watch it ( except Downtown Abbey) - - so SiriusXM is going to help me turn back the clock to a time when my thoughts were more important to me than what's coming from the mouths of talking heads.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, I think, if I could learn to think as clearly, honestly, and profoundly as Anne Lamott - - not that I honestly expect that to happen - - but it sure is a good goal for getting a grip on life.

Just like the tall, classy Tar Heel and lady, Jeanne Robertson has such a funny take on everyday life!

Always good to have role models!!!


Wearing my White Hair Proudly - 1

Lately I have begun to really appreciate my white hair. 

For instance, last week I attended a large professional gathering where folks had come to meet and greet, to see and be seen, and hopefully to make some contacts. This is not the first one of these cattle calls I have attended but I have not been to one in a few years. It hasn't changed but I have.

I do remember a time when people wanted to talk to me but certainly on this day, a white haired woman, a storyteller at that, was not someone today's eager beavers, up and coming 40-50 year olds thought had anything of value to impart, so I was free to watch them and to learn.

These days government buildings in the Washington, DC area are set up like airports with long lines for baggage screening, ID checks and waiting. Finally when the checking in was done, it was a long walk to the building where the meeting was being held. Since I am no longer a daily sprinter I was gasping for breath by the time I got inside, out of the cold, and took my place in another long, slowing snaking line to approach the registration table. Finally I was next. What a relief! But just as I was about to give my name a
tall, well-suited man, chatting with his companion, stepped in front of me and gave HIS name. The woman behind the registration desk scurried away to retrieve a red packet and name tag for him. He noticed me, smiled a charming smile, and said, sheepishly, "I guess I broke the line."
" Yes. You did" 
" Well, we are co-sponsors."
"Oh - then you knew you could get away with it." I replied, smiling sweetly.
He blushed, took his packet from the woman and dashed off.

I picked up my registration tags and my red packet and stepped to a near-by table to re-assemble my belongings.
It was a surprise when the very same man approached me. "I want to apologize for cutting in front of you."
I smiled and nodded graciously like a benevolent grand-mother and asked, "Well, who are you?" 
He was indeed from an Agency that co-sponsored the meeting. 

I was glad to meet him and we had a few minutes of polite and interesting conversation. 
He was surprised to learn that I was familiar with his Agency and with the subject of the day. 
I could see in his face that he was also surprised there was a person under my white hair.

We exchanged cards.

That would never have happened if I had not laughed at him and spoken up.  
Something to think about.

Definitely a lesson learned! A day well-spent.


Harry Potter at Starbucks

This afternoon there was shrinking snow on the ground and dripping ice on the trees. The sun was bright and the air was warmer so I went out of my house and off to Starbucks. It was like escaping from prison after a week inside because of iffy weather.

At mid-afternoon Starbucks was practically empty and strangely quiet. I was served quickly - my usual - a Vente 7 pump Tsai Latte - with a top off shot of hot water to release the spices - a treat from one of the gift cards my family supplies.  Some years ago Jim and I asked that the family stop giving us gifts that we had to keep and they picked up on the suggestion. 

 After I into a seat at one end of a long table I noticed a young father and his son, about six I guessed, sitting across the table a few seats down from mine. The father was quietly reading to his son from a very large hard-back book. His voice was low which drew the child close. The boy leaned in against his father. His big blue eyes were intent as he listened to the story. It was a private moment between them.

Suddenly for no apparent reason the boy interrupted his father, "Cedric dies in this one Daddy. Not yet, not in this chapter, but in this book.Voldermort kills him."

WOW. When I heard the child's familiar knowledge of this Harry Potter volume I was impressed, thinking how bright he must be - and mentally applauding the parents who obviously read to him. I wanted to ask some questions - - but I didn't - it was a lovely moment between these two - why tamper with something so sweet.

Part of my hesitation was also about me. The father's gentle manner and attention to the boy reminded me of Jim's patience and enjoyment with our children and grandchildren. Talking with them would have intruded into my memory.

I left glad that I had come and silently fussing at myself for not coming more often.

Grains of Sand

When I woke up this morning before the alarm, I felt warm and safe in my quilt cocoon. I did not want to break that mood so I snuggled in a bit deeper. I love this time before the day has started. Its  thinkable time.

Under the covers I opened my mini iPad to check my email for the day. Nothing too interesting so I moved on to check Facebook where I stopped to read an essay about "the right to die." A woman wrote very beautifully and compellingly about her decision to end her own life when her body is seriously breaking down or has broken down. That she will know when it is the right time to flip the switch on her life. Personally I am not sure of any answers for those questions but she started me thinking.

Since she is a writer of beautiful prose it was fairly comfortable to read on such a tough topic and end-of-life is creeping into my thinking more often. Not to worry. I am not thinking of ending my life - it is the furtherest thought from my mind - but I am thinking about time running down on its own. When the sand in the hour glass is dribbling toward an ending you have to acknowledge your mortality.

Its funny how your perspective on that can change. Between the ages of 20 - 50 I shuddered and was fearful at the idea of death. Gradually I have settled into a sort of acceptance that it will happen. Especially since Jim's illness and death three years ago when the reality of the inevitability of death settled on us.

Now that I am emerging from the heaviest fogs of grief that over-took me following Jim's death I have to look at myself and the new life I wake up to every day. Alone, without Jim and hey - oops - I am getting older. Once I laughed and made bucket lists to ward off the reality of ending. Now I am sure that things end - but I no longer think a bucket list is the best way to start summing up.

First, I know I have to clear out and clean up the "messiness" and collecting Jim and I did in 57 years. It would have been better if we had done that together but instead Jim helped me focus on my storytelling business so that I would have a job when he was gone. Focusing on that created a safe screen for what was really happening to him and I am eternally grateful to him for both that and making sure I had "something" to hang onto later. Now I have storytelling true - and I also have 57 years of "stuff" to get rid of.
So that's the first item on my list.  Now just to get that done and be free of the weight of it!!!

I am lucky that I am in pretty good health for someone marching toward her 79th birthday - so- check- taking care of that with a new doctor and firm resolve to do what she tells me to.

Storytelling of course - on several fronts. I have stories I want to keep telling and there are new stories I have in mind to write and work on. Creating art work has been my salvation since my daughter died in 1964 - now is not the time to slack off on the most life-giving medicine I know.

There are a lot of other things I thought would be on my list - but they don't seem to make it anymore. I am reminding myself of mentors I have known who turned down enticing projects because they no longer fit into their scheme and were not worth any of their grains of sand. There were times when I thought one or more were being selfish. Now I understand. Nothing I like better than an exciting project, especially one that has a deeper benefit - and I hope I will find one that is worth the gift of time.

That's where I am - taking a breath before I commit to something enticing that sparkles at first glance.

it really
fit my plan?