activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

For An Unusual Day

July 15, 2018

Tags: Parkinson's

For whatever reason, my fingers are typing today as though there was no Parkinson in sight, and so I’m taking advantage of that to write a public blog instead of a private complaining journal. Yes, it’s midsummer and too hot even for a brief walk (with walker, of course), but I can still dream of the years when a brief hot walk would take me to the beach and the ocean in Amagansett. And without bitterness, for those days made these possible. I chose a New York apartment instead of the beach house when it became clear that I couldn’t afford both. And so I have, at least for today, some calm and only a faint feeling of regret for the loss of the little beach house and the ability to walk along the beach or dip into the ocean on its calm days.

What do I enjoy now? The comfort of my apartment, its bright views of the city, reading (often for Feminist Press still), visits and phone calls from friends, occasional taxi rides to eat out, and once the fall sets in, the opera series I still subscribe to, and the theatre tickets also on subscription. I am fortunate to have caring friends and especially a caring reconstructed family who call daily and visit as frequently as possible for them.

Yes, I know it makes for a bland blog—but I need to own to the absence of depression today. For whatever reason, perhaps because my fingers are typing at their usual speed and correctness, I feel somewhat like my real self. Even if it is to be short-lived, I am grateful to know that somewhere I can still feel as I once did thoughtlessly, taking life for granted.

An important postscript. As I reread what I had written, I realized that I had focused only on my own two inches of being, though I spend many hours a day reading the daily-delivered New York Times or watching MSNBC on the television, or the Los Angeles Times on my phone. And yes, in another time, I would also be out there in political action. But today, I am not going to let that regret control my day.


  1. July 28, 2018 12:46 PM EDT
    No one has commented yet, so perhaps I will take a turn. You were my advisor and favorite professor at Goucher, when I was a less than impressive English major, not one you would remember. As a late bloomer, I nevertheless had a strong enough foundation to eventually become director of publications for a learned society and member of several international publishing boards. One of my career delights was running into you after decades, while we were both waiting to board a flight to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I had been an admirer of the Feminist Press and the work you were doing there. More recently, your memoir has helped me better understand my coming-of-age era and the ways in which my education has enriched my life. I owe you my thanks. As age continues to march on, I wish for you the physical and mental strength to find joy and peace in the voices you have given women. Those voices will endure after the alarming period we are in passes. Few of us can say we made such a difference.
    - Patricia Siegner Shaffer

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.”—Blanche 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
“It is impossible to imagine women’s studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.”–Catharine 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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