activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

New Year's Day

January 1, 2012

Tags: Vietnam, family, events, visiting, depression

Lady Borton and I in Vietnam.
Apologies, apologies, apologies. I ought to fill the page, many pages, with that word. I’ve been silent since early October, perhaps mourning for the loss of that family who stayed with me for a week and then returned to their own life (see blog and photos just below). On November 1, I had to wake up to the realities of two weeks in Vietnam on a schedule that would have tired a teenager. But that’s the way my dear friends, Lady Borton and Nguyen Minh Ha, lead their lives. And I managed, though the journey back—14 hours (from Seoul to New York) sitting upright with leg cramps most of the way, after a five-hour layover and another four-hour flight—sent me to bed for a couple of weeks and the depression returned.

So I scraped by through November and into December, reading a dozen novels by Iris Murdoch, writing a few journals here and there, and preparing for two readings at Busboys & Poets in DC and the U. of Maryland, thanks to Zool (Paul) Zulkowitz, Marietta Hedges and her students, and Deborah Rosenfelt. The lively interlude included time with AnnJ Gumbinner, my daughter-in-law, and a brief breakfast with David Lauter.

Sandra Levine on the right, Lady Borton
in the middle, and Autumn on the left.Yoya on my bed pillows
Sandra Levine on the right, Lady Borton
in the middle, and Autumn on the left.
Yoya on my bed pillows

And then in the middle of the month, for nine days, ending on Christmas Day, I had the care of Yoya, the maltese who belongs to Don Thomas and Jorge Cao, and who keeps me smiling through late-night and early-morning walks. But I never wrote my end-of-year-letter. In that sense I broke a tradition that went back at least 20 years…. And I can’t decide whether to patch it over and produce one of these letters for 2011, or let it go.

So here I am asking Jeannette Petras, my cheery guru, whose mugs and bowls grow more beautiful, to send this out as a blog—and as a promise: I promise to reform, to cheer up, to write more regularly, and especially to write about the extraordinary two weeks in Vietnam. If you are among the few who check my blog, do tell me what you’d like to hear about.

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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