Musings about music, writing, Portland, my new house, my travels, my family, politics, whatever.....

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old?

Here's a link I recommend checking out when you have minute. A really cool health care activist (and doctor) I know, Evan Saulino, has sent me this video, which features his lovely daughters.

Last year I produced a benefit concert for Evan's organization, Oregonians for Progress. It was one of the funnest nights of music I have ever had the pleasure to be involved with. Maybe we'll do it again sometime. In the meantime, support this organization and fight for health care rights!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ode to Monica Holloway

This post is long overdue. My friend Monica has written an amazing memoir, Driving With Dead People. She writes about her difficult childhood, the colorful characters in it, and ultimately the abuse that she and her sister survived. Sounds like a downer maybe, but it's not, or at least it wasn't for me. First of all, Monica is funny. Hilarious in person, and equally compelling on paper. If you know me, you know that not a lot of things make me laugh out loud while I'm reading. Off the top of my head, Monica can do it, and Jonah instant messaging me can do it. Anyway, her writing is funny, and it is brave. While I was reading this book, and for days after I finished it, I carried it around with me everywhere, in a way I have with only a few books before. I wanted to keep it with me, the story, the courage, Monica...

When I was in in New York in early April, I had dinner with Monica one night. She was there to sign books at Barnes and Noble and meet with important publishing people. That time with her was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip east. That Monica, during this time of total insanity for her, is interested in my writing and believes in what I want to do with it, means the world to me. It is not an exaggeration to say that she is one of the most inspiring people I know, and one of the very sweetest and funniest. She makes everything seem possible. I trust her completely and feel so blessed to call her my friend.

Monica's book was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and her book hit the shelves on March 6th. Sales have been great, and she was scheduled to be on NPR's Diane Rehm show this month. Then her mother and one of her sisters called in to say it was all a lie, and suddenly the show had "scheduling conflicts" and had canceled Monica. They said it was about scheduling, but then they said they had qualms about airing a family's "dirty laundry". They had loved the book and been excited to discuss it on the show, but that went out the window. It seems to me that perpetrators and enablers of abuse are pretty likely going to deny things when they are made public (even when names are not used), so it's hard for me to believe that this alone would be any reason to question Monica's truth. It's pretty disappointing to me that NPR would shy away from dealing with the hard but important issue of child abuse. I like to think of NPR as the one media source I can count on (well, aside from some much smaller ones), at least most of the time.

I hope the Diane Rehm show will do well by Monica in the end, and I hope that the literary community (that's readers and writers both) will support Monica in writing the truth.


1. Read Monica's book (and if you can, buy a few copies for your friends). It's a great read, hard to put down (I lost a lot of sleep reading it). She inspires me in so many ways.

2. Contact the Diane Rehm show and tell them to to reschedule Monica.

3. Read these other blog posts about this that shed more light on the situation: Jennifer , Kim, Jerri

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Friday in the yard

Even though I have at least two or three other blogs posts in mind that I want to post here, I just can't keep from posting these pictures today. Enjoy them because I have to turn the good camera over to it's rightful owner (Jonah) next week. But my own camera is not so bad (although it is in Turkey with Myshkin right now).

Anyway, here are some pictures of Josie, Amelia and Willa from a lovely warm Friday afternoon in the yard (and a few other places). Their new thing is requesting photo shoots of them in various poses and activities. It's cute up to the point of "Take a picture of my bear on the swing!"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Welcome Yair Israel

My cousin Moriya in Israel had her second child last week, a boy named Yair Israel. Yair means light, and Israel was my (paternal) grandfather's name. And, my cousin Amir's wife, Mirit, is 3 months pregnant (they already have three kids). Amir sent me pictures of everyone. I don't know if I can really convey how happy I get every time one of my relatives there sends me pictures. Because I love them, and because my cousins have gorgeous children, but also because there is always a joy in their faces that defies what most of us here think of when we think of life in Israel.

I totally disagree with their politics (those of settlers in the West Bank) and I went to see a really interesting speaker last week, Jeff Halper, Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, that confirmed that. But, the depth of their spirituality and joy in life (and I especially have always seen this in Moriya) goes beyond what I see in most people around here. And this makes me happy to see. Also makes me want to visit them. Here are some pictures.

Moriya with Yair

My aunt Naomi (my father's sister) with Moriya's daughter, Tehila (21 months old)

My cousin Shuli with Tehila

Shuli's daughter, Simcha, who was born in November

Amir's son, Dvir (5) lighting candles at Channukah

Amir's daughter, Orel (9) lighting candles at Channukah

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Jennifer Lauck workshops

Most of you know I have now done two writing workshops with Jennifer Lauck (whose memoir, Blackbird, was a New York Times bestseller, among other things). I've met some amazing women through these workshops and they - the women and the workshops - have really affected me and deepened my writing practice. Now I'm getting ready for a third workshop in June, in Sisters, OR.

There are three different east coast workshops (New York and New Haven) happening at the end of May that I highly recommend checking out if you have any interest in powerful writing/healing work. Go here to check them out or here to learn more about Jennifer in general. Or check out Suzy's blog or Michelle's blog if you need more good reasons to go.

If you can't make it, try reading one or two or three of her books, instead.