activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

Journal/Blog/Journal (*See below)

January 23, 2017

Tags: depression, health

Itís 9 p.m., Friday, January 20, 2017. Yes, I havenít written a blog about my new cat, his beauty and his ďtalkingĒ to me as though he had some Siamese streak in him, my calling him Mr. Taksi, in part because of my taxi-driving father I loved. Iíve had the cat since January 3, although two days after he arrived, his eyes told me he was ill. At the same time, whatever is wrong with me, especially my ability to walk, has been growing worse so that I cried in rehab, not only because of the pain, but because it all felt so useless: walking three steps forward and metaphorically falling four steps backward. So what to do?

Victoria Pajak (Vicki), the woman who has been coming to my apartment at eight p.m. to give Mr. Taksi his evening eye drops and throat drops, knew nothing of my state of mind, but she chose one moment last night to tell me about her two cats, both of whom had been strays, and one of whom was totally blind. The two, normal and blind had been adopted together and they had grown up as close friends and delightful pets.

So, yes, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, at least for an evening. But itís hard that I canít pick up my catómy arms are no longer strong enough to hold a 13-pound cat. Nor can I get down on the floor with him. And it will take some time for him to learn that he can have petting from me only when on the couch or the bed.

As for my own physical state, Iím trying to get an appointment with a couple of neurologists and hear their takes on neuropathy, if thatís what Iíve got (along with depression). I am trying to think about ways to be cheerfulóand thereís politics to depress me daily, so thatís not the route to follow. Suggestions? I have used the usual: yes, I have my brain, and my fingers still work at the keyboard; I live in New York and there are taxis to get me to appointments; I still have a few old friends and I have made a few young new friends. I have a comfortable apartment. And I donít have cancer or Alzheimerís. So, Florence, I talk to myself: cheer up!

*Note: Iíve been typing journals usually every day, since returning from Mississippiís Freedom Schools in August, 1964 and 1965. And long before computers, I typed journals on a typewriter. When I travelled, I wrote in tiny notebooks (and I have more than 100 of them). Later, of course I had a laptop when I traveled. These journals were both private as well as political. I would not have thought of sending them out to the world. But thatís where a blog has to go, and I was urged by Feminist Press to start a blog after my memoir appeared. It was hard not to confuse the blog with the journal, but I worked that out. Iím writing this today because this is the first of what I can call a blog/journal. Itís more personal than usual, or at least thatís how it seems to me. Itís also being filed with the journals, not the blogs.


  1. January 23, 2017 7:27 PM EST
    Florence, you have MANY like me who follow your blog, like we have been following your life, led by your oh so brave leadership. I would call, EXCEPT I always fear it is not a good time. But reading your blog is almost like visiting and talking to you (although NOT as good a hugging you.)
    Love, love, love, Shirley
    - Shirley
  2. January 23, 2017 9:31 PM EST
    I hope your handsome new cat brings you comfort and giggles. I thought of you when I stood stuffed like a sardine in a can on the mall in DC on Saturday, remembering mobilizations in the 60's and people who marched with us then who, this time, were spirits in our boots. Wishing you cheer in spite of it all.
    - Debbie Stone - Goucher '69
  3. January 24, 2017 12:21 PM EST
    You were going to write a book about your brother---have you changed your mind. Maybe putting it in your Journal/Blog would be good for you. I may be wrong but it is a thought. Hope are are feeling better.
    - Goldie
  4. January 24, 2017 5:55 PM EST
    Thanks to Shirley and Deborah for writing about my blog, and yes, I was sad not to be able to join a demonstration this past weekend. I am disheartened about the election, at least in part because I wanted to see a woman in charge before I died. And now I don't know if I will last that long. Goldie, I will write to you separately about how writing about my brother drove me into deep depression.
    - Florence Howe
  5. February 6, 2017 8:33 PM EST
    I love hearing about Mr. Taksi and he is, indeed, handsome. I am glad you're writing this blog and I appreciate your honesty, even about the hard things. I love you very very much. Ellen
    - Ellen Bass

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, womenís contributions, and humanityís future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.ĒóBlanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I and Volume II
Lecture delivered by Florence Howe on January 8, 2011, at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention
ďIt is impossible to imagine womenís studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.ĒĖCatharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
A revised and expanded edition of the classic groundbreaking anthology of 20th-century American women's poetry, representing more than 100 poets from Amy Lowell to Anne Sexton to Rita Dove.

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