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Florence in Words

End of the Year Letter

Rebecca Seawright, Grandma Alice Jackson holding Kennedy and her new stuffed dog, and Jack Wright, Kennedy's father
Dear Friends:

Yes, I know, I am weeks late with this end-of-the-year letter. What inspired me to write today was coming across last year’s plaintively optimistic letter. I hoped that President Obama would be able to do more, and I hoped that my book would do well and that I would quickly find new forms of productivity.

Wan hopes. About the president first, since he’s far more important than my book and even my life. I try to be reasonably optimistic, and I am counting on his effective campaigning to get his message out. No, he is not far enough left of center to please most liberals and many Democrats, but he is all we have to save us from the madness of today’s Republicans. Even Romney seems terrifying to me.

About my book and my future. I’ve made no progress this year; indeed, were I judgmental, I’d say I have taken many steps backwards. But perhaps that is natural after the end of a 15-year project (Women Writing Africa) and a 35-year career (Feminist Press) and a 20-year effort to write a memoir. Perhaps a year off was what I needed, though, ironically, I have not enjoyed it. Perhaps I never learned to “play.”

If you want to know what I’ve been doing, check out my other blogs, several of which mention readings from the memoir in bookstores and on campuses on the west and east coasts. My next scheduled reading is at the New School here in NY on February 3 (details on the website).

Family news: Granddaughter Florence Wright, now in her second year of residence in oncology/radiology in Detroit, came for a visit early in the year. Granddaughter Miriam Lauter, in her third year at Yale where she is majoring in Cognitive Science—and singing in two music groups—stopped by for dinner recently. Her parents have moved from L.A. to D.C. because David has become the Manager of the Los Angeles Times’ Washington Bureau. AnnJ plans to work on her writing projects. Daughter Alice Jackson-Wright, her son Jack, his wife Maban, and their two-year-old daughter Kennedy, spent a week with me here in New York. I gave a party for them and David and AnnJ managed to come by as well.

AnnJ Gumbinner reading to Kennedy, with David Lauter watchingMaban Smith Wright, Joan Gordon, and Mariam Chamberlain talking at my party
AnnJ Gumbinner reading to Kennedy, with David Lauter watching
Maban Smith Wright, Joan Gordon, and Mariam Chamberlain talking at my party

Kennedy petting Yoya as Jack, Jorge, and Don look on
Kennedy petting Yoya as Jack, Jorge, and Don look on

As for travel beyond the U.S., I spent the first two weeks of November in Vietnam, and will be writing about that experience on my blog over the next month. And I have just booked a ticket to Taiwan, where I’ve been invited to read from my memoir at an international writers’ conference in July. So, yes, if you are thinking, what does she have to complain about? Absolutely nothing, but the brain is often not rational. I wish you the best for 2012, and, as for me, I plan, if you will forgive the cliché, to try harder. Perhaps by next year I will be able to report something truly positive: Obama’s election, of course, but something personal as well.

With best wishes to you,
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