Tuesday, February 24, 2009


At 62, I am a mother of three and a grandmother of six. I am a member of the silent majority who has been silent far too long. It is my turn to be heard.

As a college student, medical student and young mother and physician, I was too busy to find my voice, let alone speak it. Besides, in my training as a pathologist and later as a psychiatrist, I was schooled to censor all verbiage, lest it offend or rain down legal wrath upon my head.

In social circles, I often heard others pontificating drivel, I remained quiet. I felt any comment I made would fall on deaf ears or summon an attack, and I wasn't willing to waste my energy.

In 1997, with children grown and grandchildren on the horizon, I lived off the grid and, with hammer in hand, I built my own home. On a very cold January day, I was sitting in bed quilting, attempting to stay warm. Suddenly, a short essay came to mind, and words began to gush through me and onto paper. It was as if the cosmic computer button had pressed print.

My motto became, "Let it rip," and I did. Over the following years, I wrote three books on holistic healing, art and women's history.

Making the usual rounds of query letters to agents and publishers, I accumulated a stack of rejection letters. It seems I needed to be well known, or known by the right people, to be published.

Mustering my courage and resolve, I decided if artists could buy their own canvas, I could buy my own paper. In 2006, with the help of two professional stay-at-home mothers, I self-published.

In 2008, I released another adult nonfiction and six children's books. My readers have been few, and the literary world has yet to fall at my feet.

Disheartened, I have pondered the question, "Why write?" Finally, the proverbial light bulb went off, and I realized it is not so important that I am read. What is important is that I write.

For years, I have admired such artists as Georgia O'Keeffe and Grandma Moses. In their tenacity and perseverance, they held true to their inner visions, and I must do the same. There is freedom in anonymity. When no one is looking, I can really let it rip.

Monday, February 9, 2009


We Americans are a society of gluttonous consumers.

We consume far more than our share of the world's resources, as we live in large homes, which drastically exceed our needs. We then proceed to consume diminishing energy supplies to heat and cool our warehouses of lavish furnishings and electronic gadgets.

We drive automobiles that guzzle gas at one end and belch pollution from the other, while much of the world's population walks or rides bicycles. Of course, the latter are far healthier forms of transportation for the human body and the world's environment.

In our gluttonous consumption of food, others starve, and our girths expand, our arteries harden and our blood sugars skyrocket.

We Americans consume a lion's share of the world's goods and spew forth a similar share of the world's pollution.

In contrast, countries like Chad experience the effects of diminished rainfall, a direct result of global warming. Since 1973, Lake Chad, previously one of the world's great "inland seas," has shrunk by 90 percent. Without water for fish and agriculture, people starve. In empty river beds, women and children dig for muddy water to drink and with which to wash. With diminished crops of maize and sorghum, they barely subsist.

With nominal donations, organizations, like Heifer International, help the people of Chad and similar countries help themselves. With gifts of tools, education or a lamb, goat or heifer, people can grow crops and raise animals with which to nourish their bodies and earn money to send their children to school.

We, the members of a gluttonous society, don't need another bauble with which to adorn our bodies, homes or vehicles. We can choose to use our financial resources for the good of all humanity. One person at a time, we can trim the fat in our lives and help others live.