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April 02, 2013


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I still have my barbership quartet of those who have chosen to take their own lives. They haunt me and are much more cheerful about it than I am.


I think you meant "barbershop quartet", Westsista, which is a touching term. I don't blame you for being haunted. It's hard to fathom that you know four people who committed suicide. I'm so sorry.

It's hard to ask this, but how do you know that they are "much more cheerful about it" than you are?


I'm curious to know how many others interact with their own "communion of saints".


I don't know if I would call it my communion of saints. I think we each have our own rituals. For me it keeps those who are a part of me alive even when I am unable to shake their hand or have a cup of coffee or a cold beer with them. In the morning I wait to hear a train whistle and say hello to my brother. And on rare occassions a silent rage at a boyhood chum who died an angry man for no reason. Mostly though I am grateful for the gifts all have given, many of which were not even realized as such at the time. Funny, a train whistle just was blowing outside as I was typing. Hello Peter.


Hello Peter.


Flann, this is beautiful writing and a pensive post. I love the image you paired with it and I am imagining Matissta's wide-open eyes as she asks if her mother talks back to you.

I don't hold any anger for dead beloveds, because I don't want to drive them any further away. Actually, I find them inside me, my parents in my very DNA: my Dad's smile, my mom's eyes. But, others occupy places in my internal landscape, forming a moral compass of sorts, guiding me toward true north. Still, I get lost sometimes.

Flann, I've been reflecting a lot lately on doing the work of writing. I, too, have been cheered on by many, both living and dead, but see clearly now that they cannot give me anything. I have to do the work. Since we took the intensive, our teacher has published two books. What have I been doing? A few published essays, a boatload of haiku. She told us what to do and does again in her new book: "Shut up and write."

Last Fall, I attended a literary conference at our community college (where I met Tim O'Brien.) I picked up a copy of the High Plains Register, a journal published yearly by the college. Reading it, I thought, "I should be able to get something published here." And a light went off ... nothing gets published unless I SUBMIT it. The deadline was close. I pulled out and old essay I'd always liked (previously rejected by the Sun magazine) dusted it off, edited it a little to meet my current state of mind and sent it off into cyberspace. Yesterday, I got word that it has been accepted for publication. The release party and reading are scheduled for September.

Let's keep going. Let's put our lives on the line.


I am very fortunate. I've only lost a handful of beloveds to death thus far. I speak to my mom pretty regular. My grandparents visit me in my dreams from time to time. I find it comforting to feel their presence even still. My granddaughter has on two different occasions said that Nani (my mom) talks to her. Hasn't said what she said, though.


Thank you for your thoughtful comment, PEACEsista. I'm pondering it and will for a while. Congratulations on the publication of your essay. I would very much like to read it.

I have some theories about my creative sclerosis. We can talk about them sometime, though, thankfully, it won't be like talking to my communion of saints.

I wish someone had told me decades ago what a distraction and how draining tending to corporate America bullshit would be. I wish someone had told me decades ago not to worry about paying bills or making enough to afford retirement; particularly when three of my saints never saw retirement and three of my saints nearly outlived theirs.


What beautiful posts...Death, it seems, that vast dark field where our dearly loved friends wander, or play, or rest, or worry, is beyond, truly beyond. I think we only know life. I miss my mother so much and talk to her often...mostly in sorrow that I can not sit next to her and feel how warm and safe she is.

So I am carrying so much desire and thankfulness, and today I am very glad in my friends that still live and are so human.

Congratulations, PEACE, on getting your piece accepted...a beautiful voice going into the world!



I found this posting most beautiful and most meaningful. Thank you!


PEACE, my eyes grew wide only because I was surprised that Flann asked my mother for advice. I say this because when it came to the important questions, and you'd ask her, she'd never have any advice to share.

But when it came to an opinion, as to whether or not she liked a haircut, it was endless. Especially when you didn't ask. Ironic.


I don't talk to anyone who has died. I think about them, miss them or tell a story about them, but I don't talk to them.

It would be interesting if I could simply ask a question and get an answer. A unique perspective, helping me focus on what's important or seeing something that I've overlooked.

I do know that I wouldn't want advice from everyone I know who has passed. Maybe limited to only a couple of people; one would definitely be my friend, Judy. She always had good advice and was never judgmental of me.


Congrats, PEACE, for the publication of your essay!

And Matiss, your Judy sounds like a wonderful friend and person.


About Angels and Trees

Where do angels
fly in the firmament,
and how many can dance
on the head of a pin?

Well, I don't care
about that pin dance,
what I know is that
they rest, sometimes,
in the tops of the trees

and you can see them,
or almost see them,
or, anyway, think: what a
wonderful idea.

I have lost as you and
others have possibly lost a
beloved one,
and wonder, where are they now?

The trees, anyway, are
miraculous, full of
angels (ideas);even
empty they are a
good place to look, to put
the heart at rest--all those
leaves breathing the air, so

peaceful and diligent, and certainly
ready to be
the resting place of
strange, winged creatures
that we, in this world, have loved

by Mary Oliver


Perfect poem for this post, treesta. Thank you.


Matissta -- you've had some crushing losses in the past year. Just crushing.

Sista C

This is beautifully written. I've read it several times and have a huge knot in my throat that refuses to go away. I do realize that in some ways these have been dismal times for you, and the slog through can be a barren, humbling exercise---but somehow you managed to hear your muse and created this exquisite .

Girlfriend can write.

Sista C

...and apparently I can't. That's supposed to read 'exquisite post'.


Thank you, exquisite Sista C.


While talking to PEACEsista on the phone today, she commented again on the artwork in today's post. It is a painting by a local painter (in my neck of the woods) named Elise Ritter. The painting is called "Communion of Saints" and here is a link to a print of that work:



Flann, it was good to talk with you today and thank you for researching the artist of the painting featured in today's post. It appears to be pretty different from most of her others.


Beautiful post on a touching topic...I feel more courage not to talk to those who have gone before, cuz the veil is indeed thin...may as well have the benefit of their counsel. Loved spending time with Flann and Matis. Blessings all.


I feel more courage now, not "not".


Thanks much, barista. Hope your week away from home continues to go well for you . . . and thanks for not thinking I was weird when I said I talked to my heavenly beloveds.

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