“The Birthday Present”; Or, Sylvia Plath at 81

Today Sylvia Plath would have been 82. We still have much to learn from her stirring words.

Reflection and Choice

For Linda Wagner-Martin

Sylvia, you were so young.


If you had lived, you might have been on a television show, with Oprah fawning all over you, cooing about your brilliant career.  You might have been a spokesperson for so many things:  surviving infidelity, channeling betrayal into art, being a grandmother while winning awards for spinning out words.  You would have known something about multitasking. You could have helped others live Their Best Life Now, or something close to it.  You might have been an endowed chair at a university and taught whenever you felt like it.  You might have said things like “I have never felt more alive” and had a line or two about knives and lying to prove your point.

You could have written poems about your tragedies, and how they leave one reeling, but then there is a center, and it holds, and then it is flying, not…

View original post 1,185 more words

Monday, Monday: Two Years, Two Writers, Two Words


Deborah Eisenberg and Antonya Nelson


Last Monday marked two years of writing essays for Reflection and Choice, so I went and celebrated by hearing two writers who are far better than I am do a reading at the Wortham Center in Houston.  Two words:  Lucky. Me.

Honestly, all day the two words ringing in my ears were “Columbus Day,” since it was Columbus Day, and a certain anxious part of me that really wants readers is always seduced by exploiting bank closures for hits on the site.  More people are available, and, weirdly, people want to read stuff about Columbus on Columbus Day.  But last year I already wrote about him in an essay on writing for ONE year, and it was starting to feel a little cheap wracking my brain figuring out how to redo that essay.  In an irritating addition, I had to hope that no one platonically recollected my first stab at getting people to get on some figurative ship that will change the world forever.

Sometimes, a voyage is just over.

Plus, a lot of things have happened since then:  death, love, trips, books, retail therapy at the Chanel counter, love, writing, books, chauffeuring my son Christopher to orchestra practice, nature, religion, poems, love.  The super shallow that gets us through, the profound that lifts us up.

You know, the usual.

Plus, if after another year, you are the same kind of writer, with pretty much the same message, the same turn of the phrase, something is wrong.  You aren’t moving, you aren’t going anywhere.  People will start leaving you behind.  You start to parody yourself, wear a costume that maybe you should have put in the back of the closet, and not for Next Year, but for Never Again.

Continue reading

Columbus Day: Or, One Year in the Blogosphere

For Columbus Day, 13 October….

Reflection and Choice

Revisiting some thoughts I had last year on blogging for a year, making discoveries, and on Columbus Day, which is tomorrow, 13 October…..

This year on 14 October we are celebrating, or not celebrating, depending on your world view, Columbus Day.

Either he discovered something, or was terribly lost, and then found by people who already lived where he landed.

But since it is also the day that marks one year since I have been blogging for Reflection and Choice, I am here to tell you: sometimes, whether you know it or not, you are both lost and found, unsure and triumphant.  Clueless, yet on your way to the epiphany that you never saw coming, the shore that you thought you would never see.  It’s the price of the ticket, the risk of the voyage.  You don’t know how it will end.


When I was asked to start blogging, I…

View original post 1,247 more words

Up the Mountain, Into the Woods: Two Weeks at Wildacres

For Judi Hill


“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

1.  Houston

The thrill of the city is that it is always moving:  you will never run out of things to do. Houston holds out her hand, and you take, take, take:  The Alley Theater, The Houston Symphony, The Menil Collection.  I could never leave and still feel like I was touring the globe.  We don’t have to try to be diverse, multicultural, international, endlessly interesting.  We already are.  Many days, I spiral the city on Beltway 8, driving to my university in the southwest part of the city.  There is a lot of concrete, brick, and mortar around me.  Nature has been tamed for so much for our progress.  Nature punctuates the city, not the other way around.

Continue reading