Saturday, November 24, 2007


"...Our loves are only symbols of an unknown immortality...and what is supposed to be gone and past is often more real than ever..." Cedric Wright

For the most part I find it pleasant thinking about my life. I have taken the road less traveled in terms of the family I came from. Even though my most impressionable years were in the 60's and 70's, I never inhaled. Meaning I never did any drugs of any sort. I never have been the daughter my mother wanted me to be. But it's not clear to me what it is she wants.

One of my unlived dreams is to sing in public. I have been practicing to try to overcome this. And I know my biggest obstacle is the fear that I have. Tonight just before sitting down to feed my need to write, I was playing the piano and singing and thinking about my dad. My father passed away May 10. 2007. But he always came in and sat down to listen to me sing and play the piano. Then when my mother put him in an institution the last couple years of his life, I would sing and sing for him in his room. The last thing I did was sing to him on the phone and he took his last breath at the end of that phone call. He lived in Indiana and I, in Rhode Island. So it felt like dad was there tonight enjoying the music.

In my early twenties, I moved from northern Indiana to Sturbridge, Massachusetts for my first year of teaching. My next two moves were chosen by taking out the map and finding towns along the New England coast. Leaving that one year of teaching behind and going through one personal time of transition, I connected with an old boyfriend.

Old boyfriends are fun to think about. Having kept a lot of the memorabilia, once in awhile I immerse myself in reading through old journals and letters. Nothing wrong with retouching the lessons and feelings of the past.

My second college boyfriend was a political science major and was reading Eldridge Cleaver’s book Soul on Ice back then. All people who have touched my life have left their mark. There is a part in the book where Mr. Cleaver, who is in Folsom Prison, and attorney, Beverly Axelrod, exchange letters. Deep letters. But I love deep. The letters began September 5, 1965.

E.C. writes: “I feel impelled to express myself to you extravagantly, and words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs leap in my mind. But I beat them down, refuse to write them, because it all seems so predictable and trite...What right have you to summon my soul from its slumber?......You have tossed me a lifeline. If you only knew how I’d been drowning, how I’d considered that I’d gone down for the third time long ago, how I kept thrashing around in the water simply because I still felt the impulse to fight back and the tug of a distant shore...”

B.A writes back: “...Believe this: I accept you. I know you little and I know you much, but whichever way it goes, I accept you. Your manhood comes through in a thousand ways, rare and wonderful...I have no measuring stick. I accept you...What an awesome thing it is to feel oneself on the verge of the possibility of really knowing another person. Can it ever happen? I’m not sure. I don’t know that any two people can really strip themselves that naked in front of each other. We’re so filled with fears of rejection and pretenses that we scarcely know whether we’re being fraudulent or real ourselves...”

E.C. answers back: “Your letters to me are living pieces – chunks! – of you, and are the most important things in my life...It only happens in books – or...Do you know what shameless thought just bullied its way into my consciousness? That, I deserve you, that I deserve to know you and to communicate with you...I seek a lasting relationship, something permanent in a world of change, in which all is transitory, ephemeral, and full of pain. We humans, we are too frail creatures to handle such titanic emotions and deep magnetic yearnings, strivings and impulses…

…The reason two people are reluctant to really strip themselves naked in front of each other is because in doing so they make themselves vulnerable and give enormous power over themselves one to the other. How awful, how deadly, how catastrophically they can hurt each other, wreck and ruin each other forever!...Better to maintain shallow, superficial affairs; that way the scars are not too deep, no blood is hacked from the soul. You beautifully – O, how beautifully!! – spoke...of ‘What an awesome thing it is to feel oneself on the verge of the possibility of really knowing another person...’ and...I do not believe that a beautiful relationship has to always end in carnage. I do not believe that we have to be fraudulent and pretentious,...I know that sometimes people fake on each other out of genuine motives to hold onto the object of their tenderest feelings. They see themselves as so inadequate that they feel forced to wear a mask in order to continuously impress the other. I do not want to ‘hold you’, I want you to ‘stay’ out of your own need for me. ...It takes time and deeds, and this involves trust, it involves making ourselves vulnerable to each other, to strip ourselves naked, to become sitting ducks for each other...I am vulnerable and defenseless and I make myself a duck for you. ...And it is not a fraud, forced out of desperation...”

Isn’t this beautiful?

Excerpts from love letters taken from the book SOUL ON ICE, by Eldridge Cleaver, 1965.

"What an awesome thing it is to feel oneself on the verge of the possibility of really knowing another person... and...I do not believe that a beautiful relationship has to always end in carnage. I do not believe that we have to be fraudulent and pretentious" ~ I so love this because I, too, believe pretense shortchanges us out of the life we were born to have.

Above picture of me from my first trip to Europe by myself ~ taken on the encouragement of a boyfriend! Six weeks including Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Spain.


I organized the
Providence, Rhode Island
October 27, 2007 Torch Relay
as a part of the
Dream for Darfur Campaign
to pressure China to act and end the Darfur geonocide.

The culminating Torch Relay is taking place in Washington, D.C.
on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007.

Edwin Mutanguha has passed the torch to his brother Edward Mutanguha who is carrying the torch in the picture.

The t-shirts say I CARRY THE TORCH FOR DARFUR on the front
and STOP GENOCIDE on the back.

Left to right: Samantha Brilhante, Frankie Daponte, Sandra Hammel, Edwin Mutanguha

Call 1-800-GENOCIDE
Tell U.S. Senators to support SADA to help end the Darfur Genocide


Call President Bush and tell him to actually act on his words
regarding the Darfur genocide: NOT ON MY WATCH.
Talk is useless, President Bush.
His number: 202-456-1111

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