podcast Gary Barwin Yiddish for Pirates

Yiddish for Pirates Raises the Flag on Humour

fiction, humour, award winning fiction, Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin's fabulous jaunt through history, war, tragedy and very, very funny scenes all through the eyes and considerable beak of a Yiddish speaking Pirate has won this year's Stephen Leacock award. Listen to Gary here


Meditation On My Birthday

Meditation on My Birthday 

I am sixty-six today and my chest tingles with that sensation that means the words must out. Something wants to be in this world, some thought or sentiment previously unexpressed pushes for itself because every time we speak, every time we write, the words fall themselves toward a pattern never before manifest. We live in this miracle every day. Let me share with you what today’s words need to express.

I am sixty-six and have successfully avoided success with its excess of things, its game of envy, the heavy weight of owning objects identifiable by everyone else; instead, the unique eruptions of what I own fomented from the strictures of my heart. Where I could not help but love, and work, and sweat, and worry, material world responded to my attentiveness. My glorious child, now a mature adult, with the required amount of discontent and as yet unrealized goals, his wife and two flames of delight and surprise my grandkids; my beautiful, humble, small home where, from the windows, I see trees, and sky and oceans of clouds, all these and more rose from the great silence behind all things, the great invisibility that keeps all things until the right moment for their arrival in form. Had I set out to attain them their form would be different, perhaps compromised and so I celebrate the beauty and power of what has arisen despite my inadequacies.

My home opens daily to the riches of life in nature, in seasons and my home birthed a stone terrace spontaneously, as magnificent a structure as the palazzos in Italy and every bit as stunning. This magnificent oddity eclipsed my conscious intent and rational thought to rise like Botticelli’s Venus on the shores of the lake I call mine.

I am sixty-six today and have easily outrun fame. I walked out that door, leaving that singular persona, same every day personality, same as everyone else cookie cutter psychic cluster demanded of anyone claiming fame. For whoever makes us famous, throttles us, chains us, demands performance in more ways than I am prepared to play. I celebrate my lack of fame with the resulting freedom to frame any moment, any word, any breath with my twin, the great liberator, Death.

I am anything because Death owns me. Always has. 

At sixty-six, I have escaped the darkest parts of life, narrowly and have still a profound sense of the mystery of men and women.  I have not lived decades in the same marriage and the combustion caused by my tempestuous emotions ignited more than one star—although the men involved may point upwards to a black hole.

I am sixty-six today and have claimed the liberty of work, my work, by drinking from the cup of sorrow, sadness, bitter grief, loss offered by others who visit me. I drink deeply to know the one taste of salt in all life. Having reduced the salt in my own, I must have this life balancing element from the darkness of the stories of others to recall how salt’s acid burns away the frivolous and shallow, deepens the etches of having lived, once, this glorious experience.

I am sixty-six and still the child in me tugs towards the dolphins, the oceans of the world, skips hearing the news of Benoit Mandlebrot that we dance in the field of infinity, his presence of mind as wide as Rumi’s meadows.

I am sixty-six and curious about almost everything, humbled by how little I still know, grateful to have survived the harsh certainty of my earlier years when life demanded, and when I believed I had, answers.

Now, I mumble frequently and resort always to simple phrases that wish others well. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you be glad of this day, this moment, as I am, may you be. 

Five Parallels Between #metoo, #timesup and Mass Shootings

General Health 
Feb 19th 2018

Five Parallels Between #metoo, #timesup and Mass Shootings 

1/ Men are in control. Men are in control in boardrooms, in production companies, in starring roles, in government. 

2/More men cause massive killings (98%) with assault weapons, than women, and more men rape (98.1%) than women.

3/ Men need power. Having an assault weapon is of course penile in its power metaphor. Having a penis that doesn’t work without violence means violence, or rape, is necessary for a sense of power through penis.  

4/ Lawlessness. The majority of law makers are men. These men do not make laws that appropriately punish rapists, nor do they construct laws that restrict properly acquiring assault weapons.

5/ Men must change, both themselves internally and the laws they pass to govern others. 

I love men. See my blog www.soulsciences.net on Feb 19th, 2018 Meditation on Loving Men to understand how much I love men. My sisters love men. All the women in this world who have been raped, molested, betrayed by men, and that is in fact all of us, all these women are my sisters. My sisters and I have continued in large numbers to love men, raise men, comfort men, discuss, argue and stand side by side with men. It’s time men changed—both the laws and themselves.

Meditation on Loving Men Charlene Jones

Like you I’m watching the news every day for another name to add to the graveyard of yesterday’s sexual mores. Like you I jump on fb and a few other places to discuss the nuances, explain the processes, explore the experiences between man and woman.

What I’ve learned from my head scratching, soul searching, he-did-it-not-so-badly-as- the-other-one but still he did it, didn’t he, is this: my problem is I love men.

I love men and always have from the time as a toddler lagging behind my older brother’s blue jeaned body, his little white t-shirt a beacon through the tall grasses out back, his voice eliciting a parade of possibilities, fun, excitement and adventure through my body. How I loved him!

I love men and this has tangled my life because I fantasize without this weakness I’d easily be, happily be rabid, a nail biting, brittle haired hag spuming the latest rhetoric from books of other women haggard and worn down with battling men.

I love men and always look toward to a man who can flirt, whose words evoke that steady stream of champagne in my veins just for this moment because for this moment he acknowledges my femininity. Talking with my sisters just can’t quite do that.

So the flirting and conversations and the poems! Oh the poetry written by ee cummings, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda and so many more men, setting us, my sex, in our rightful place beside the moon with our power of pulling tides, creating gravity and gravitas, making the Earth spin in her orbit. Only and merely our rightful place.

I love men and nothing, not the incest and humiliation by my brother, not the lies and betrayal, and not the rape and molestation I endured has stopped my love of men. 

And my sisters too, love men. All my sisters, whose voices do not raise me to the moon but who trudge alongside me despite they were raped the night before, despite buckling under the sudden remembrance of an uncle, father, brother whose incest bent their tiny bodies and their childhood, my sisters walking beside me as we pick up the children’s clothes (both boys and girls) get them ready for their baths, help them prepare homework, as we clean the house and shop for groceries, my sisters who last night received his fist in their face or pregnant belly, but still get up today and walk beside me, go back to work and keep this world revolving.

Now, when our truth, silenced for every generation before us by men and women alike, now when our truth reveals its ugly bruises, its rotten core right here in front of us, some people raise concerns for the men, that we may not love them enough. Perhaps one of them may be accused and it won't be real. 

This may happen—we may identify one or two men who do not quite deserve this; on the other hand, how many women for generations have endured rape silently, beatings silently, have just shown up the next day without recourse to trial, lawyers or anyone to take their part? This is history. 

Still I love men. I don't wish to see any man accused unfairly especially since in today's climate he stands to lose his career and more. This is the present. 

It has taken our fairy tale movie medium to expose the worst underbelly, to acknowledge what we and generations of women before us have struggled with: men hurt and have hurt us forever.

My statement to you who are so concerned about the men: we will not stop loving men. It's just that now we demand they stop hurting us. This is our future. 

All the way from Norway Melissa Dee video'd this 8 minute interview about Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind. I talk about how the idea for the book came about, what surprised me in writing it and more. Here's the interview!

podcast: Writer of the Week by UniversalbyDesign Charlene Jones

Writer of the Week Interview with 
Feb 5  2018 

Reversing the usual order of things I am interviewed here by Melissa Dee of UniversalbyDesign. Ms Dee is a delightful host asking questions about Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind and my experience in writing it. Many thanks UniversalbyDesign!Click here for the audio podcast. 
Neuroscience and Meditation, Neuroscience and Visualization, Neuroscience and Imagination, Pain Relief, Healing Physical Pain, Healing Emotional Pain

Sex, Gender and Rainbows Sept 4, 2017

Sex, Gender and Rainbows
Today’s topic introduced by Catherine Sword is the multiple facets of gender. Gender as you know is the perceived identity a person has of his or her or their life.
Sex is what we are born into: we are born into a female body or a male body or in some rare cases a body with both sets of genitals. When a doctor screens a pregnant belly with the jelly and the imaging machine, what she or he or they are looking for is the sex of the baby in utero.
Gender is what happens after you are born. Whether environmental influences play much of a part, no one can say. Recently parents have tried to guide their offspring into more fluid sex roles through for instance keeping all guns and all dolls out of the house, so children play with more “gender neutral” toys. One doctor reports her experience in this way. She says she stopped by the playroom door listening as her two-year old daughter crooned away in sweet, soft tones. Since no dolls were in the house, the Dr. was intrigued and peeked inside. She saw her toddler lovingly cooing to a firetruck which she had wrapped up in a blanket. She was saying, “There, there little truck. It will be all right.”
Since gender identity comprises the largest part of how we identify in our lives, it makes sense those who have come to a different sense of themselves will struggle in our culture. This is because our culture was birthed out of the early Christians who believed God allowed, sanctioned, forgave, showed mercy for and interest in only heterosexuals. Further, He only showed those qualities and more to white heterosexual males. That’s the bottom line, you’ll forgive the pun.
Now the white male pays for all the history that has come before. It’s a bad time to be a white heterosexual male, but it’s still better than being in the fluid category or any other category. Our teens are in angst and those for whom gender is a question are more at risk for suicide than those who believe themselves clearly in the category of hetero.
One final comment: we are all confused. Heterosexuality was never the only choice, it was always just the only choice for being in public. Anyone who was different and public such as Oscar Wilde, paid deeply for what was seen as a social transgression.
It was of course simply that Oscar and his ilk made the white heterosexual males feel insecure. If you think about it nearly everything makes the white heterosexual male insecure except a case of 24 and a rifle. But I digress.
The history then of Western European development is strewn with the bodies of those who bravely tried to define themselves differently and received the blows and wallops for it.
Consider the word faggot. It is of course deeply contemptuous and therefore to be stricken from use for any person who calls him or her or themselves human. But the word does describe what happened. When the wood piles were gathered to incinerate gays and lesbians, the arm loads of wood were called faggots. Faggots of wood crisped the skin and cooked the bodies of these people, because the white heterosexual male community (there were white hetero women who believed in the same things, but they had no power) decreed them wrong.
Now we, the white heterosexual community, must make room: in our bathrooms, at our tables, in our hearts and minds for the explosion of descriptors around gender. If we are confused and maybe even a bit scared of these changes, we must take a deep breath and make room for everyone.

podcast Girlish by Lara Lillibridge on Growing Up with Lesbian Mothers a memoir

Girlish:   A Memoir by Lara Lillibridge About 
Growing Up with Two Mothers
Feb 12  2018

Lara Lillibridge began life in a hetero normal family. Then when her mother remarried a woman in the 1980's Lara found herself having to hide to protect her mothers, her brother and most of all, her safety within this family of two mothers. Listen in here as she describes her life and her memoir Girlish  due out April 3  2018.