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When it doubt, keep writing and keep thinking.  I woke to such an array of news– that Assange was granted bail provided he lingers on someone’s estate on the moors of England, that North Korea has a huge nuclear arsenal and has threatened to use it on South Korea, that Kate and William are very happy — so far– and that Charles and Camilla are alright after being mobbed in their Rolls on the way to the theatre….that Richard Holbrooke was our greatest diplomat, that the tax package Obama negotiated w/ the GOP will pass the Senate, that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is coming up for a new vote by the lame ducks, severed from defense spending bill– sorry, but sometimes….all so very bewildering.

Please read the Big Cahuna Tuna  M. Moore’s anti-war/anti-secrets  tour’d’force essay on HuffPo– it’s worth it.   While you’re at it, catch Beth Broderick’s ringing defense of Barack Obama also in HuffPo today.   Please do stop by La Parola Vivace to read my latest work, posting nearly every day a new draft with an eye to an online portfolio or the blogging of a new collection.

So here’s some news of my own:  I’m launching Orfea Books on its own site– moving in direction of starting a poetry publishing collective modeled after the Minnesota Writers’ Publishing House that brought out In Pursuit of the Family aons ago.  Stay tuned–a definite work in progress.

Please especially note that the anthology Oil and Water and Other Things That Don’t Mix  is launching tomorrow– click here to read all about it and buy it!  My nonfiction piece about my father and family Christmases– A Bowl of Red— is included in the book. We contributors need to make a good showing for our charities and in gratitude to Zetta Brown and Nicky Wheeler-Brown for this project!

Anyway….It’s Advent!  Christmas!  I managed to drag out my faux tree with its tiny lights and set it up on a table.  Ah, those days when I was a traditionalist and a perfectionist and there had to the the right tree with the right lights with the right ornaments just so while I admired it with the right person.

I was so very into it as a girl, getting out the creche my grandfather gave us, lovingly dusting each lamb, each Wise Man, hanging the singing angels somehow over the thing, playing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir the while.  I believed in deep, mystical fashion.  I sang, and my heart seemed to penetrate those assonant and dissonant harmonies. I processed singing O Come All Ye Faithful… I steeped myself in all of it.

This year, I’m trying to protect my heart from overinvesting in what I now regard to be the most emotionally fraught day of the year in the Western World.  People who are spitting nails at each other must suddenly throw themselves into one another’s arms.

But it’s just a day.  What about the other days, the days and nights before and after, when our needs for love, security and comfort are just the same?

We have to give ourselves something like Christmas every day.  I love and value you and therefore I will take care of you.  All I want for Christmas is some self-respect, self-value.

Not easy to understand unless you’ve been a gutter drunk like I have.  I have come to believe that I know very little, but that all flesh is as the grass, that there is beauty and horror, joy and evil in our world and then poof— we’re obsolete in a flash of fairy dust.  Where are we with our behavior and our values on the continuum, what footprint in the collective pysche did we leave behind?

I make myself join in, into life, in Poetry Challenges, in conversations, and in some small celebration– I have to say everyday to that one in the mirror:  you do not deserve a life of deprivation. Rise Up, Shine.  Put one foot in front of the other for the simple reason that moving the body moves the mind.

Pax Hominibus and keep coming back, all…xxxj