Salt and Paper: 65 Candles writing samples

Salt and Paper: 65 Candles front cover Salt and Paper: 65 Candles back cover


January 1

Thought I would miss the city when I moved to Emeryville across
the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, but woke up to the sound of a
new year, a train in the near faraway, loved it and felt fickle, a happy
woman who listened to a train. I always felt like an outsider, but last
night, here alone, an insider.

I dream of a life on a bay in California, open an envelope and a cloud
falls out.


A year begins,
a lone egret stretches out in a stanza,
flies an open line
to become a poem.
Her hatchlings’
wings unfold
to their (carousel)     cry.


Old woman: not senior, not elder. Take back the truth and wear it
with pride. Claim “old” as part of life’s process.

At sixty-five I will need to continue working. Luckily, I like what I do
and can do it part time. The therapy work with clients is rewarding
and gives a satisfying connection. I don’t know what it would be like
to have my time totally self-structured. I think I would like it, but I’m
not certain.

awake now and asking questions

aging, an exploration

we become in time, she says


January 2

Walk in the fresh warm/eat shark caught today.

There is no standard person of any age.

Arthritis in hands and feet. Hurts to move, helps to move.

winter pears and goat milk
herb scones and lemon butter

Read and open the loop of my thinking to include the new.


January 3

May Sarton told the truth in Journal of a Solitude. Angry, grumpy,
happy with earth. She gave me courage to go through hard times just
being myself. Not the best, not the worst, but what I knew. Somehow,
at times I was a better self than I thought I could stretch to....

not give up, but reach up

Pjs, slippers ’til noon.
Hate it when people mention their Hummer.
Out the back window, a ruby-throated hummingbird.
Found my old sewing kit, repetition of the stitch calms.
Middle age/old age/best of all times.
There is a presence of age in my garden, and buds.


January 4

Dreamt about writing a book of knitting dreams and eating
vegetables and woke up with my nightgown around my neck, teeth
chattering and the window wide open

My dentist and his wife are both dentists in the same office. For the
first time, she fixes my tooth. Talks about a difficult patient who wants
inappropriate attention. I say I want attention too.

root of desire

The queen is not pleased.

Even the little pigs grunt when the old boar suffers.
Selma Lagerlof

Margaret, my friend from college who lives in Oakland, is afraid of
Alzheimer’s. Her memory is getting significantly worse. Her father
is in a long-term care facility with Alzheimer’s. She is afraid of illness
and aging in a way my brother, who’s mentally ill, isn’t.

Time, divided by dates is a poetic matter and floats free in memory
and      the lived-time of now,          as it always does,      connecting,
porous, many layers in one free,    and not.
Quiet water, my favorite resting place.
Sandpipers stand still in numbers.

The greatest potential for growth is in the second half of our lives.
Carl Jung


January 5

Donald, baby brother, now sixty, lives on Social Security Insurance
and gets good social service help. He has a case worker, a therapist
and a psychiatrist who see him every month. He smokes two packs
of cigarettes a day. Helps with anxiety. He has emphysema and uses
oxygen at night.

People reject him for his appearance. He says they are mean to him.

for all of us, a journey, a way

keep paperwork

Riding Free in a Blue Studebaker, my poetry manuscript of the 50’s and
60’s. Finished now and will be published in time for readings. The
first reading at the San Francisco Center for the Book. It’s a modern
steel building with huge letterpresses.

Some good, some poor choices in my sixty-four years, but I sit down
each morning to write with curious eyes. Unfolding, this knowing.

ASPCA. New kitten sleeps under the bed. My first pet ever. Bella.


January 6

Used the time my son was in preschool and kindergarten to study art.
In every class I felt myself coming alive after fifteen years of marriage
and the difficulties of my upbringing and the roles of the time. Set
up a darkroom and had a show at the Marin Civic Center. A critic
said the photographs were “pure poetry.” From that I got the idea to

If you have creative work, you don’t have time or age.
Louise Nevelson

Told Karen about a new senior housing opening in Bernal Heights.
We’ll check.

Is there a secret tunnel between your mother’s house and yours that
helps rather than hinders?

The rooms of ourselves must be unlocked a key at a time. Unsteady
flow of being known. “Time alone” to connect to ourselves helps.

minutes, a hurried companion and master



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