May flowers, mindfulness and Mother’s Day

As social media editor for Escape into Life, I’m celebrating an entire month of May flowers on EIL’s Twitter feed. Today, after reading and sharing poetry editor Kathleen Kirk’s spellbinding second installment of a multi-part essay she is writing as she listens to Lincoln in the Bardo on CD (yes, another book now on my must-read list—definitely not what I needed), I was reminded of the lilacs in her first installment – both in her own poem and her link to Walt Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.”

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Sustenance: Puppies and poetry

May is Mental Health Month and a good time to look for new ways to revitalize ourselves. Or just be mindful to make use of the old ways. As good a time as any, is what I really mean; this shouldn’t be a once-a-year special occasion.

Still, we all get caught up in the day-to-day and forget sometimes (many times) to nurture our souls. Continue reading

Mixing memory with desire: Poetry and public schools

"April is the cruellest month, ..."

IMG_1291Nearly every year on April 1, I re-read T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” It’s one of my favorite poems, and while I pay homage to it by quoting and requoting lines from it in conversation year-round, I also like to sit down and read it through periodically. The opening line, quoted above, is of course why I choose April 1 for this pleasure. (Also, April is National Poetry Month, so there’s another reason, though not the one that drives me.)

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Alternatives to Valentine’s Day

Valentines-Day-AntiquesDo you have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day? I’ve always been at least a bit conflicted about it. I’m all for love, and showing people that you love them, but celebrating a single day when that’s expected is problematic for me in a couple of ways:

  • It leaves too many people feeling left out—and probably many of the people who most need to know they’re cared for.
  • What about the other 364 days of the year (365 days in a leap year)?

Rather than celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’d prefer to fill the world with random acts of kindness every day of the year—kindness both toward the people we love and toward total strangers. Here are some ideas: Continue reading

Give Credit. Take Blame.

StopSign-OldSeth Godin recently wrote of the importance of owning responsibility for your mistakes and sharing credit for successes. He focused on use of the pronouns “I”, “you” and “we,” and when each is most appropriate. Example: Instead of saying “I” when announcing a success, he suggests using “we.” Continue reading

The Ever-Growing Book List

A portion of the book stack that awaits me next to my bed.

A portion of the book stack that awaits me next to my bed.

I just finished reading a marvelous book of essays about Chicago and Chicagoans, Neil Steinberg’s You Were Never in Chicago, recommended by a friend. It was educational, engaging, and made me think a lot about what makes Chicago unique and what makes someone a Chicagoan. It also left me further behind in my planned/desired reading than I was when I started it. Continue reading