Happy Father’s Day to all the men who father in creative ways. To my mentors, Dave Burnight, Bill Denneen, Charles Varni, Jay Chapel, Quinn Plante, and Richard Welch, thank you for giving me fatherly guidance when my path was confused. To my own father, thank you for your healing generosity. To my brother, Brian, I am so proud of how you love and nurture your girls. To my cousins, Linda’s children, you inspire me to be a better mother. To all who love and guide, bless you!
A helium soul
Floated over the congested freeways today
Bobbing on the breezy radio waves
A myriad of voices on the wind
Inflated the azurean zeppelin
Until one breath
Exhaled in ecstasy
And cleared the road ahead
Peace. A word. A concept. For a select few, like the Dalai Lama, a state of being. But for all too many children, it is sadly elusive. So many young people across the world deal with hunger, abuse, terror, and homelessness. But everyone can make a difference. And I suppose that’s why my friend and collaborator, Dean Bernal, and I worked so hard on creating peace curriculum which is now being shared world-wide.
Recently, he brought the Peace with the Environment program to the Tibetan’s in Exile School in Dharamsala, India. On June 7, 2017 for World Ocean’s Day he presented in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s TCV school program to senior and junior students. Another second project on June 8th also for World Oceans connected school kids in Mali Africa with TVC school kids in Dharamsala India to talk about Dean & JoJo and protecting the oceans and planet. Environmental groups and individuals from around the world were truly inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s views, concerns, spiritual inspiration, and advice about the environment and all life.
Shards of songs cut into
The cricket-tide of night
Sobbing sirens accompanied by
The howling refrain of ever-nearer canticles
And wonder if
The discordant aria
Will play for me
My ears like the salivating dogs
Smelling blood on the wind
How dark the melody is.
And how near.
We are a dead sea
Where tides rise and fall
On a barren shore
We are the last white rhino
Of a nearly extinct sub-species
Waiting in vain for a mate
That never comes
We are but hollow shells
Branded by the noonday sun
We are but specimens in a zoo
We pace before the bars
Of a hundred onlookers
Searching each face
As I look back
It flickers on.
Before me lie
Cousins, brothers, sisters
Splayed on low ply carpet
Fidgety chins drilling holes into their fists,
Elbow to elbow
“Hey! Scoot over! I can’t see! Grandma!?”
A scratched phonograph record
I continue to dance to.
“Now, now you kids get along,”
And we did.
I change the channel
Waiting in the warming oven
Golden edged butter rays
Radiating like mini-suns.
I watch them melt and disappear.
I hear my child-voice cheer.
Cousin Davey giving a testimonial
“Round steak and Grandma-Gravy on top of white bread taste better than Sizzler’s any day.”
Back to our program
Bernice kneeling in a stunted strawberry patch
Sturdy hands grasping an unfortunate dandelion.
“This hard pan,” she mutters
As her harrow-hand cuts rows
Into the brick
That was her stretch of land.
I wonder what’s on Channel Three?
Children lie on either sofa
A-bed for the night,
Johnny Carson’s handsome face
Flirting through the glass,
Her head tossed back in laughter
Course-grey hair bouncing
And catching the dim light.
We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin.
“Yahtzee!” thrice she shrieks.
Aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers chuckle
As kids mumble, “I wanted to win.”
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Kneading pie dough or pulling fabric
As she bent over the antique Singer sewing machine
Making secret gifts we all knew about.
Were draped velvet
For small hands to brush.
Each one of us
The softness of she
As tender whispers called in our minds,
“Those arms are just for me.”
We live in an age of love’s corporeal metamorphoses
Where butterflies are banished back to chrysalides
Veiled in pupal gowns
They emerge as larva crawling and devouring
Ever younger and greener shoots
Until the garden is denuded
And it is time to call upon corporeal lust
To nourish an emptying sky of butterflies
And as the wind is hushed from the beating of astral wings
And skyriders descend into the venery of a mucinous desert
Gypsy moths dance on their aborted souls
Remembering a dancing class…
“You broke my heart ’cause I couldn’t dance. You didn’t even want me around.”
Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance) by The Contours blasted from the loudspeakers as my fifth graders waited to break out and boogie. On one side of the stage the boys bowed on one knee and sang along. On the side the girls the girls crossed their arms no. But with the next line of, “And now I’m back to let you know, I can really shake ’em down,” they all leapt into the air and shook their hands.
This was my ninth year choreographing a dance for my class and as usual the introduction was met with groans and complaints. “It’ll be embarrassing,” Jackie said. “No way,” Devon protested. “I’m going to be absent that day,” muttered Juan.
When they’d finished their little diatribe I said what I always do. “Everyone participates. With respect. And you will
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The other day I was looking on Amazon for books that might be similar to Forest Secrets and happened upon an author whose work I just had to share with all of you. Jade Harley is self-confessed rebel who wants to inspire girls to stand up for what they believe in and protect the environment. Go girl!
She recently released her first novel, The Adventures of Lola, which follows thirteen-year-old Lola’s journey to save her town before disaster strikes. As Lola struggles to remain in the good graces of the people in her life, she starts to realize just how unique she truly is and the magic she held inside all along.
Who or what inspired you to be an author?
I’ve always been creative; my first job was as a singer and I studied performing arts but most recently I’ve worked in the media industry. I had never considered writing a book before but my circumstances changed, I was no longer happy doing what I was doing, my company went out of business and suddenly I had this character in my head, keeping me up at night. The only way to get some sleep was to start writing her story, so you could say I didn’t get much choice in the matter. Once I started writing I realized how much I loved it.
Your author biography says you are a fierce conservationist. How do you use this passion to inspire your writing?
I have been a vegetarian since I was twelve, way before it was commonplace. As I’ve got older I’ve become more educated on the complex issues that lead to deforestation, climate change, and animal extinction and I’ve realized that the only chance we have of saving this planet is by ensuring widespread education on these issues. I hope that my books can encourage a love of the natural world and the desire to protect both the environment and the myriad of amazing creatures that depend on the planet for their very survival.
What inspired The Adventures of Lola? Is there a takeaway that you want young readers to have after reading?
There was no inspiration, Lola was just very insistent about telling her story. I am merely the channel, she is in control. I hope that young readers escape reality for a while, (after all that’s what a good book should do) and hopefully become more interested in the world around them. It’s a big beautiful world and I want them to explore it.
Do you see yourself expanding into other genres?
Maybe who knows what will happen in the future! But for right now, I’m working on my second book and a range of coloring books and eco-clothing, watch this space…
If you were only allowed one book, what would it be and why?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, because it was the first book I fell in love with. Everyone has that one book, the one that grabs them and makes them a book lover for life. The Magic Faraway Tree was that book for me.
What advice would you have for aspiring writers?
Just write. Starting is the hardest part and once it’s written be ready to learn a lot, writing is just the beginning, the real work starts trying to market it and reach your readers, I’m learning daily.
If you could send one message to your fans, what would it be?
Be in love with the adventure of life.
For more information click here: Jade’s website
This weekend I am offering my environmental fantasy book for just $0.99. That’s less than a latte, an ice cream cone, or even a gallon of gas.
C. Hilts five star review said, “I might be a grown-up, but I enjoyed reading this to my daughter as much as she enjoyed listening. A whimsical tale of adventure that teaches the importance of saving our environment for future generations.”