Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Invitation", a poem by Oriah

For Christmas, one of my gifts from Laurence was "The Invitation", a book by Oriah. The book is based on her original prose poem of the same name written in May 1994.

I find it comforting and filling. For some reason this is the first I've heard of it, or first I remember reading it.

At this time of year, this season of our lives, and this particular landscape of our world, I copy it here for you. A gift perhaps.

Happy 2008. May we dig deep and find ourselves and one another. Really, and truly.


It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interst me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, wthout moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments. "


March 2008 screening

Woo Hoo!

And now back to our regular programming:

Why Get Married? documentary will be part of the Women and Creativity Film Festival Friday March 14 from 6-9 pm and Saturday March 15 from 11:30am-9pm in the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The festival is sponsored by the Harwood Art Center and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Woo Hoo!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why No Kids?

I have wondered about this for years. There are many forty and fifty somethings, men and women, who have never had children. Whether the men and women remained single, or got married, a growing percentage of men and women in the English-speaking world are not parents.

As I was drinking tea yesterday I started listing people I know who are not parents, including myself, my partner Laurence, and even my former husband. I came up with over 20 names in my social circle within a few minutes. In the 1950's I don't think you could come up with more than 2 or 3 names, and then everyone had a hushed reason why that person was "childless". I can think of 2 women of my mother's era who weren't married and no children. It was a social oddity. Both women worked (and did so until they retired) which also made them different in the 1950's. My Godfather, Uncle Bert never married, yet that seemed more acceptable than the "spinster". He was a popular companion and escort for many, seemingly asexual, and he always seemed content to me from my perspective as a child. He might have been gay, and not acting on any desires, I don't know. (yet also, no one asked directly, so I never really knew any of their stories.)

And childless couples in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and even the 80's? were pitied because we all assumed they wanted children yet couldn't have them. As one golden anniversary couple said in my Why Get Married? documentary, they "were amazed that anyone would bother marrying if they didn't want children. And that having children and grandchildren gave you something to talk about in your old age. "

I don't imagine being hard up for things to discuss in my relationship or friendships, but I do wonder how our world will be different as we age and there are fewer in this next generation. And why are the number choosing to not have children growing amongst certain populations? Ah, a topic to research.