September 11 – twenty years ago

September is always a sad month for me – the anniversary of our son’s death on September 23, 1999 and the anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001. Tomorrow it will be twenty years since suicide terrorists piloted planes to crash into the twin towers in New York City. If you've not been to the memorial there, I urge you to go. Flight 93 was headed to destroy our nation's Capitol also on September 11.  Paul Murdoch and a team at his Los Angeles firm, Paul Murdoch Architects created National Memorial’s Tower of Voices to mark the site in Western Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 struck the earth on that morning, the passengers voted to take over the plane and divert it from destroying the Capitol.  Everyone onboard was killed. An architectural rendering for “The Tower of Voices,” designed by Paul Murdoch Architects, in collaboration with a team of engineers, acousticians and one composer. (bioLINIA / Paul Murdoch Architects ) The tower is outfitted with … [Read more...]

Another pitch about journaling

One of my friends who is still working full time shared with me her desire to do something besides work - something creative. I suggested classes at our El Camino Community College and the South Bay Adult School maybe in jewelry making or to learn a new language. But she said she’d like to get into writing. I asked her if she journaled. With that she pushed herself away from the table and leaned her body against the back of her chair, like she was physically moving away from that subject. After a long pause, she told me she couldn’t write down anything private for fear of it getting into the wrong hands. Of course, that’s a common fear amongst those of us who journal, but it hasn’t stopped me. When I first started journaling regularly back in 1993, I wrote in notebooks – the finer the better. I especially love the ones I bought in France and later found at Banner Stationer’s in El Segundo, CA by Clairefontaine. The pages are very thick and slick and don’t show through to the … [Read more...]

A September 11 story – redux

I posted this story last year. I don't think it hurts to post it again. In memory.... Flight 93: The Jeweler's Story In El Segundo, CA, known as one of the last lazy 50s style home towns in the country, 3,000 miles from the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, Brenda Newman completed the delicate, intricate and sad work of restoring and repairing the bits and pieces of jewelry and artifacts recovered from the scene. Newman is an elegant woman. Tall, slim, toned, with short reddish-brown hair softly feathered around her face, she is dressed for business in a tailored pantsuit. Most remarkable about her attire are her jewels a huge emerald and diamond ring adorning her ring finger on her left hand, a ring with a large diamond surrounded by pave diamonds on her right pinky finger, a gold and diamond watch, hoop earrings with large square solitaire diamonds embedded in them and a whimsical pearl pin perched on her jacket near her shoulder … [Read more...]

A good poetry practice – write in the style of other greats

Early on in my poetry workshops, we practiced writing poems in the style of other poets we liked. I especially liked Frank O'Hara's homage to Billie Holiday and tried my hand at writing in this style a couple of times. This poem came to mind when Whitney Houston died two weeks ago. Here is Frank O'Hara's poem for Billie Holiday The Day Lady Died It is 12:20 in New York a Friday three days after Bastille day, yes it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner and I don't know the people who will feed me I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun and have a hamburger and a malted and buy an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets in Ghana are doing these days I go on to the bank and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard) doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I … [Read more...]

The Old Town Music Hall, El Segundo, CA

Our friends Lisa and David came over to our part of the city last Saturday night, but before they did, they did a little research about what we should do for our play-date. Well, I'm pleased to tell you that they found a venue I had kind of heard of, but never gave a second thought. That is so sad, because the Old Town Music Hall, home of the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, in El Segundo, CA is a real gem. We thought we were only going to see the 1952 film, Singing in the Rain, but were we in for a surprise. Bill Field the theater owner strolled down the aisle in his wheel chair, transferred himself to the organ's seat, and played it for us for about an hour. His tunes demonstrated the capabilities of the organ's pipes and percussion instruments and accompanied our sing along and an old Monty Banks silent film. Here's what the music hall website has to say about this great old venue: Old Town Music Hall is a concept that started in 1958 by Bill Coffman and Bill Field … [Read more...]