November 24, 2017

Old Friendships, Wordships – How We Met Them

Guest Post

Language makes us human. Many of us remember the exact moment when we first encountered a new, unfamiliar word. Over time, these bits of vocabulary became old friends. Such moments can occur for many reasons, such as a sentimental high school moment with a vocabulary card preparing for the SATs. This blog includes three vocabulary moments. The first word arrived as an unexpected guidepost for Cheryl Wilder’s career. The second taught Ellen MacMillan something about judging people. The third from your host, Bill Finger, reminds us how humor and grace can help heal humiliation.

Cheryl WilderCheryl Wilder, a writer and poet, shares her work at http://bornwilder.com/

I had the great fortune to work for an architect during the last years of his career. Part of my job was to research the history of architecture. My focus was on architectural space and not the material or engineering that made it all possible. The other part of my job was to find new language that helped define the spaces in which we live. [Read more…]

Lissome Lean into Lambent Laughter

Guest Post

James HollisDr. James Hollis, a Jungian analyst, has written 14 books and travels widely to speak. He is scheduled to be in Charlotte on September 29-30, 2017, where he has spoken at the Jungian society in recent years. For more on him and his work, go to: https://www.jameshollis.net/. I sent Hollis my blog posted in July, Hortatory Humor (available below on this page), which focuses on a paragraph in one of his books. He responded to my email: “You are the only one who has ever commented on the alliterative fun….in all these years. Most of the time people complain because of the vocabulary and I feel they should thank me because each new word opens a new world. That is how I have always looked at it, and I can see you do also. It is of course fun, and I am glad you joined the fun. It is a fine blog and when it runs, let me know and I will send something.” What he sent is below, dashed off within an hour of an email exchange. My thoughts on his lissome lean follow his remarks.

Following Finger’s felicitous foray into fine fun in his blog on Hortatory Humor, I offer a few reflections on wringing ringing prose from the possibly pretentious or prosaic prospects of one’s perspicacious perceptions.
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Sanity and Spirit, Finding Your Lupine

Guest Post

Chris Abbate

Photo by Sharon Penn

In his book, The Story of Your Life: Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography, Dan Wakefield provides what he calls a “step-by-step approach to exploring your past and understanding your present,” including excerpts from what workshop participants have written. Bill Finger has used this approach in leading workshops at his church and among men’s gatherings. In evaluations, participants have said things like, “inspiring and joyful… I loved hearing what people wrote. I liked that we didn’t critique but just listened.” Finger is scheduled to lead a similar class at the Five Points Center for Active Adults, Raleigh NC (May), and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, N.C. State University (October). Chris Abbate, who participated in a 2016 workshop led by Finger, wrote about his mother, Mass, poetry, and lupine, a good example of how reflecting on the past can illuminate the present. A portion of what he wrote follows in this guest post.

 

The highway to work each August was purple. A huge purple field on the east side of the highway, that in the morning, a big orange sun would rise over and create a purple haze. It sparked something deep within my spirit. It gave me an awareness I hadn’t had before. It was new life. [Read more…]

Finger and Myers Share Beauty and Inventiveness in New Books

Guest Post

Lou Lipsitz

On August 30, 2016, in Raleigh, Bennett Myers and Bill Finger, long-time members of The Men’s Council, introduced their new books to the community of men’s groups that have supported both of them for many years. The Men’s Council and the Triangle Mankind Project (MKP) sponsored the event, part of a monthly meeting series to provide a venue for men to meet and celebrate camaraderie and connection. Women were invited to this event. About 45 people attended. Lou Lipsitz (shown above), long involved in The Men’s Council, introduced them. A widely published poet, Lou won the 2010 Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry; for more, go to http://www.loulipsitzpoetry.com/. Below is Lou’s introduction and his summary of Bennett and Bill’s presentations.

The evening with Bennett and Bill presenting their books was special. We heard from two men who have been through intense struggles, who have gone deeply along, what Robert Bly calls “the road of ashes, descent and grief.” Such a passage is not done easily or quickly. We know that even as boys, men are often steered away from the path of emotional honesty. Better to be tough than vulnerable. Better to hide our wounds and hope somehow they will heal. Often they do not. We cannot microwave our losses into some quick transformation. Instead, it is more like the work of miners and archeologists – the hard sweaty work of digging and digging, and at the same time, the careful discovery of invaluable artifacts that must be treated with tenderness. Such a passage is not done easily or quickly. [Read more…]