Sunday, May 15, 2011


Yes, "The Audacity..."

To think that a group of socially conscious, peace-loving, human rights activists could bring the dream of this remarkable and totally ambitious project to fruition is audacious in the first degree. But we have done it.


We are filled with hope that our vision, our fund-raising efforts, our resolve, our intentions will meet with success...and that The Audacity of Hope (the US Boat to Gaza) along with the other boats in the International Peace Flotilla will sail into Gaza---undetered by Israel's military might...notwithstanding the thinly veiled threats from the Israeli government that have made their way into some of the mainstream press. May the threats dissipate (like most of yesterday's news).
As a passenger on this forthcoming voyage, I float the vision of our boat being met at the shores of Gaza by hundreds and hundreds of smiling, cheering Palestinian friends: children, parents, grandparents...Oh, it's time---it's way past time---to end the illegal blockade that the Israelis have enforced these past years.

I want to be there when it happens.
I want to be with others from the international community who have put their lives on pause in order to stand up for that which is right and just and possible---in these remarkable times, when all things seem possible---as soon as one thinks past the idea of the impossible!

Yes, I am one who believes that peace and reconciliation are possible. I believe that it is FEAR (largely irrational fear) that causes people with good hearts to strike out against other people of good will. All this in search of safety...

We can all trace those ancient and irrational (in my opinion) bad feelings and lack of trust back to the days of our ancestors---on all continents! And we can point to numerous current instances of violence and ill will on all sides of all conflicts. These conflicts are largely (if not entirely) the result of mutual fear and distrust. Kernals of fear of "the other" are the true bad seeds of our times. To ask how "it" started...or to ask "why?" is to drown ourselves in pieces of facts and fictions that fail to lead to the end of anger, distrust, tragedy. To me, it seems that all humanity suffers when fear-generated hatred is tolerated, justified and exalted through the angry use of bombs and stones and rockets and guns and sticks and white phosphorous...As a People, have we become inured to the hardships and devastation that result from the loss of willingness to find ways to co-exist peacefully!?

I am a Grandmother. I almost wrote "just a Grandmother" because I used to think (in my twenties, thirties, forties) that Grandmothers didn't count...They were old and they were over, relegated to knitting and baking and hobbling around! Where did I get such an idea!! I am a non-knitting, non-baker and decidedly non-hobbling Grandmother who's "gotta lotta livin' to do.." and I want to do it by gathering up some of the experience and grace and courage that I've acquired along my many decades and I want to use those traits and qualities to stand with others who seek whole-heartedly and work ceaselessly for a better world--for all of us. I am not on the side of this or that country; this or that political party; this or that religion. I'm on the side of fairness, love, cooperation, forgiveness, acknowledgement. I'm on the side of love. I Love You and your efforts to find connection and understanding and time to unlock the truth and beauty that---I know, with certainty---dwells in all but a very, very few hopeless and sad souls.

I'm going to Gaza with love in my heart: love for the Muslims, Jews, Christians and Atheists who are affected by this terrible war; love for those who would condemn me and those who have condemned me; love for those who hold me in the light and for those who do not even know that there is a struggle that, left to fester even more than it has, could infect the whole region, the whole world...

I am going to be a clear and kind witness...I will return to share what I discover on my physical, emotional and spiritual journey.

May this be a successful, non-violent excursion into the heart of celebration and "siblinghood"...'Cause that's what Life should be!!!

I am your sister. Really!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Possessions of My Unprepossessing Self

Everything! I want to sell everything I have. I want to sell all the Art I've collected over the years: the elegant Robert Kelly painting with the references to the Persian Gulf and the monoprint---but not the small blue painting Robert gave me for the 25th anniversary of the Gallery. I'll store that somewhere. But everything else I will sell including the Wifredo Lam, the Jose Bedia and all the other Cuban works of Art I have accumulated---even the stunning self-portrait (with pearls) by Rene Pena.

Yes, I want to sell it all even my 5000 square foot house on five wonderful pinon, chamisa and juniper acres with views of three mountain ranges.

But NOT my soul---my soul is not for sale.

And I want to keep my self-respect when I sell my possessions---when I sell all my furniture, including: antique desks and chairs; a funky mesquite table; an old English tavern table; lamps; beds, overstuffed couches and chairs...And I want to sell the stone and metal garden benches that several artists made for me...Oh, but I won't sell the old chest with the inlaid wood, spelling out the name of my great, great grandmother. That I'll give to my daughter, the family historian. But I will sell all the Burmese art: paintings, puppets, sculpture, photographs, books...

Oh, BOOKS! I will sell all my books, including my well-loved set of the O.E.D. and all my ART books--even the ones signed and inscribed. And I will leave the various notes and cards and articles that I wanted to save (for long forgotten reasons) inside the pages. Oh, and the poetry and philosophy books and my strange collection of books on topics that, at one time, intrigued me: Patagonia (I'll include the framed maps and rare prints); Scotland (especially books on Picts and Celtic myths); mountain climbing books. There was a time when I could hardly concentrate on anything but dangerous climbing, adventure and lost-in-the-wilderness subjects. I'll sell the bird books and the word books and all the political books...I think I'll select twenty of my favorite books and I'll put them in a box until I can return for them...because I want to travel long and lightly...long and lightly.

Yes, I will sell evething: china; silver; jewelry; dolls; my Wonder Woman collection. Oh, I might hold on to the special Wonder Woman figure that Carol Sarkisian made. And I don't think I could bring myself to sell the little sculpture that Erika Wanenmacher made of me--all silver with orange wire hair and a chest that opens and exposes a big red heart...And I'll keep one or two Eugene Newmann paintings and a few John Connell works on paper but I'll sell the Tasha Ostranders and the Allan Grahams and the painting of the mass graves in Iraq that I acquired in Baghdad and I'll sell the Haitian items. I'll keep the framed letter of recommendation to college that Oscar Hammerstein wrote about me and somehow I'll hold on to the boxes and boxes of letters and photographs that document the decades of my wonder-filled life. Some day I'll sort through it all. Not now, though, not now.

I will definitely sell the televisions and miscellaneous electronics including my excellent CD player and all my CDs. I'll sell everything I've mentioned and all the small things I haven't mentioned...

And I will honor my debts and take what money remains and...I will wander and explore and encounter and celebrate and wonder...

"How is it that all that happened happened or didn't happen and how did it all dissolve or solidify and become condensed into this wonderful NOW that leads inexplicably to all the next nows that I yearn to encounter...Now, how do I begin!??